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Old 08-26-2018, 06:58 PM   #1
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Coupler latch problem

I'm debating the seriousness of a problem I've developed with my coupler. The front edge of the lip that the latch slides under has worn down. Can a good welder repair it? Would it be best to replace the whole coupler? Any suggestions would be appreciated. (Sorry for the rotated photo).
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:17 PM   #2
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Couplers wear out. It appears like the "locking shoe" may be riding up higher on the ball.

Here is a test I do occasionally. I take my spare 2 5/16 diameter ball and slip into the coupler and then lock the shoe. Then I "feel" the slop, or end play, between the ball and the coupler. If the shoe is warn, or the coupler spherical socket is "stretched" the ball will move up and down.

You can do the same test on a new trailer somewhere just to see how tight the ball fits into the coupler.

I did replace the shoe in our 86 Airstream a few years ago. It did tighten the ball in the coupler when locked.

We connect safety chains to keep us kinda safe if the ball pulls out of the coupler, as well if the tow vehicle hitch falls off the vehicle. Both have happened to folks in these Forums.

David
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:34 PM   #3
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Looking at your photo, I think it is not latched. This could be because of excessive wear. But for a 2000 model trailer I doubt it is worn out.
The malfunction could be caused by a dirt/grit/grease buildup behind the wedge that latches onto the ball. Try cleaning and relubrication before replacing.
When I clean mine I scrape out the bulk of the buildup, wipe multiple times with disposable towels. Then I use brake cleaner spray and wipe … repeat... repeat... until it is clean. After cleaning, oil the latch mechanism and grease on the ball.

This video will give you an idea of how the hitch works. (maybe not exactly your hitch but very similar)
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:42 PM   #4
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I look at the photo, and encourage immediate replacement. It appears to have developed some previous damage, and now is most likely rusting from the inside. Rust may accelerate metal fatigue and premature wear. At the very least....refurbish the coupler.
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:14 PM   #5
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Be aware. This repair kit is not the correct kit for the old Marvel coupler.
The proper repair kit for the Marvel coupler does not have a notch in the pawl bar.
I will try to find the part number and supplier for the Marvel coupler and post it here.
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:16 PM   #6
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Meant to ask.
What type of WD hitch are you using?
Is the hitch ball 2 5/16"?
Not 2"?
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:30 PM   #7
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Hi

Unfortunately there are a lot of ways to mess up a coupler. Dirt / grit / sand can grind one down. Rain and salt can rust one out. Having a proper latch is a "really good idea". The bits to repair one are not a lot of money .... fix it / get it fixed.

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Old 08-26-2018, 09:37 PM   #8
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WD type

It came with a Reese Weight Distribution System w Shank - Trunnion Bar.
2 5/16 ball size.
I'll start with a good internal cleaning and if it shows no improvement, look into getting a replacement.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Be aware. This repair kit is not the correct kit for the old Marvel coupler.
The proper repair kit for the Marvel coupler does not have a notch in the pawl bar.
I will try to find the part number and supplier for the Marvel coupler and post it here.
It is not a Marvel coupler on my 1999 or my 2000.

This is what is on both. I'm pretty sure this is what is shown in post #1.
http://odmrv.com/catalog/index.php?m...oducts_id=1411

The Airstream part number for the Atwood "Repair kit, 2 5/16" is 680345. (from the part manual for my 2000)
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:29 PM   #10
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Didn't think it would be. Just pointing it out to those with older A$'. Who may be reading this thread.
I have a '74 Argosy. It has a Marvel coupler.
Obviously this was before Atwood acquired Marvel.
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Old 08-30-2018, 05:28 PM   #11
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Great improvement

The latch repair kits are going to be harder to find. E-trailer says they have none and that Atwood is going out of business.?? I was able to get one from Centreville Trailer Parts. Made the swap and it now works much better.
Thanks for all the advice.
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Old 08-30-2018, 08:12 PM   #12
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If I were going to replace the coupler on either of my trailers. I would go with a Bulldog coupler.
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Old 08-31-2018, 08:41 PM   #13
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Hey TG Twinkie: What is a Bulldog coupler?

I have a flatbed trailer I use to haul my ATV to the mountain trails I ride. It has a great coupler on it, although just a 2" socket for a 2" ball. It has a horizontal sliding collar that clamps a segment around the ball. It has a lever to open and close the sliding collar that releases the spring loaded segment. It just seems more secure than the vertical sliding shoe found on most Airstreams.

David
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:30 PM   #14
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Hey TG Twinkie: What is a Bulldog coupler?

I have a flatbed trailer I use to haul my ATV to the mountain trails I ride. It has a great coupler on it, although just a 2" socket for a 2" ball. It has a horizontal sliding collar that clamps a segment around the ball. It has a lever to open and close the sliding collar that releases the spring loaded segment. It just seems more secure than the vertical sliding shoe found on most Airstreams.

David
That is a Bulldog coupler.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:39 PM   #15
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That is a Bulldog coupler.
Etrailer has them. Rated for different trailer weights up to 15,000 lbs.
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Relaytest View Post
I'm debating the seriousness of a problem I've developed with my coupler. The front edge of the lip that the latch slides under has worn down. Can a good welder repair it? Would it be best to replace the whole coupler? Any suggestions would be appreciated. (Sorry for the rotated photo).
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Mine is doing the same thing.
It is a new ball & i used the marvel vintage repair kit for the latch.
Did you come up with a solution??
The tongue on mine doesn't have excessive wear or slop when the ball is locked in.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:34 AM   #17
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Final Solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dingo Girl View Post
Attachment 346264
Mine is doing the same thing.
It is a new ball & i used the marvel vintage repair kit for the latch.
Did you come up with a solution??
The tongue on mine doesn't have excessive wear or slop when the ball is locked in.
I replaced the latch and still had issues, so I eventually had the whole coupler replaced. Had to get use to a different latch system but now all is good.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:52 AM   #18
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I may end up doing the same thing. Thanks
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:37 PM   #19
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I took my Overlander out camping this weekend to an Airstream rally.

I made a mistake when hitching up. I didn't notice I had not lifted the lock lever before I lowered the coupler on the ball. The lock lever came up just like in your photo. I lifted the trailer off the ball, opened the lock lever, and then lowered the trailer on the ball. Then I could lock it up and lift the back of the truck to attached my weight distribution bars.

So for some reason the ball is pushing the shoe up. With the lever up and the show down, it is supposed to tuck into the groove at the back of the coupler. You can feel it move back there.

Any chance the show is in there backwards. I think one side of the shoe is machined spherical to match the ball diameter, the the other side is not. Maybe being assembled backwards is causing the shoe to hit the ball.

David
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:49 AM   #20
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Unfortunately the part is in correctly. I wish it was wrong it would be an easy fix.
I found the old one and put it in.
it clamps down flat but there is a tiny bit of up/down slop & none side to side.
I'm still stumped.
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