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Old 02-19-2015, 10:29 AM   #1
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EQUAL-I-ZER HITCH OWNERS- check for loose Balls

(This is the post I made on the Greasing of the Ball to reduce friction and wear. Has anyone else found that their ball has loosened up from short trips or long trips towing with the Equalizer Hitch assembly? Here is my experience on this last road trip.)

I am a confirmed ball greaser of the first order. For eight years I towed a 23 foot Safari with the "?" hitch with the tension bars and chains. Never a problem. (Cannot recall the name of the hitch, but those with the chains may add the brand.)

The Airstream dealer only offered the Equalizer Hitch assembly with 1,000 pound spring arms for the 25 foot International CCD attached to the 2012 Tundra Crew Max.

While in Arizona a fellow Airstreamer with a front bed International did not grease his ball and mentioned that it had come "loose" and needed to have it tightened. Well... I figured you need to grease your ball to reduce the friction and prevent something like this to happen... ever again.

When inserting the hitch into the truck's receiver you have the two tension bar inserts flopping around so nothing felt out of the ordinary... but this time I grabbed my ball, just this one... and it was... LOOSE. I carry a socket and long handle socket wrench to avoid paying to have a ball transplant when a ball gets worn from long use. Never needed it... but I carry it along anyways. The large nut with "lock washer" was loose by 2 and a half rotations to tighten. I could move it by hand with little effort.

This was really our first long trip into the Southwestern Desert Country. All on paved roads and RV Park camping, which is not our normal camping.

CHECK YOUR BALLS BEFORE YOU LEAVE TOWN Equalizer Hitchers. Mine was loose, yours could be as well. Even by torquing I could get the ball to rotate in the hitch... so here at home I will use a second monkey wrench to keep the ball from rotating and try to get this taken care of... The ball also seems to have more wear on one side on the top of the ball. This I will bring up to Equalizer and the local Airstream dealership. Hopefully it is a fixable adjustment and not a common flaw. It did get my attention.

I am going to post this experience on a separate post and get any feedback from other Equalizer Hitch owner's experiences.

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Old 02-19-2015, 10:33 AM   #2
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That's pretty scary. Good thing you checked. Close inspection is the word of the day when hooking up.

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Old 02-19-2015, 10:38 AM   #3
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I use an Equalizer hitch (among others) sounds like the ball may not have been torqued properly to begin with. Part of my spring maintenance routine is to re-torque everything that requires it, with periodic checks during the year.

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Old 02-20-2015, 12:12 PM   #4
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Tucson, AZ to Castle Rock, CO WITH BALL INTACT

Tucson, AZ to Castle Rock, CO taking the southern route was a total of 885 miles.

When disconnecting the trailer from the tow vehicle the ball remained tight onto the hitch. Wahoonc might be correct in his assessment that the ball might not have been properly tightened from the dealership.

The other 25 foot International was a 2015, so also a new hitch and ball.

What I noticed first was that the ball does not have milled flat spots to attach a large "monkey wrench or wrench" to that the large nut and lock washer can be torqued. The ball will spin when you begin to torque the nut and lock washer. I orientated the ball so that the print on top was aligned where I could easily see if it had moved any when traveling.

As Aaron says... "re torque everything that requires it with periodic checks".

Something I have added to my long list of things to do every time we hitch up and head off to another Airstream Adventure.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:59 PM   #5
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My problem is not putting in the hitch pin before driving off. Ill only do that once

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Old 02-20-2015, 01:33 PM   #6
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Good point on checking things. I found the thru bolts loose once and now check before every long trip. The torque spec. in the Equalizer manual is 430 ft. lbs, for the ball. That is huge. Without a long "cheater" pipe on the end of your pull handle, it would be hard to get it that tight. Few folks have torque wrenches that will read that high. I used a 3/4 impact at a local machine shop. Supposed to do 450 ft lbs, so I just gave it all it had. My machinist buddy did not have a torque wrench that would read that high either.
It's still tight after 5 years.
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Old 02-21-2015, 12:03 PM   #7
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Moral of this story: Take good care of your balls of whatever kind.
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Old 02-21-2015, 12:44 PM   #8
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In 40,000 miles of towing with the Equalizer setup, I never had the ball loosen. However, I did have to replace the hitch head (14,000 lb. version) when towing behind my Tundra, because the welds on the hitch head began to crack. Equalizer responded well and sent me to the closest dealer (100 miles away) and had me pick up a used hitch head they had in stock. Meanwhile, Equalizer sent me a brand new tow head as well. I also had a bolt snap on the L bracket mounted to the A frame on the trailer. Fortunately, I was carrying spare.

Once I fully understood the proper setup of the hitch, I am very fond of the system and enjoy good, quiet (no creaking) reliability.
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Old 02-21-2015, 02:41 PM   #9
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I always check my balls before I leave, during the trip ,and after arriving ,they do get greased....
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Old 02-21-2015, 03:00 PM   #10
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Yep. I had the same problem last summer. My old hitch failed on the ferry from Port Townsend to Seattle and I drove to the nearest RV repair shop for a replacement. They installed the Equalizer. Things seemed fine as I visited North Cascades NP and then when I unhitched at Mt. Rainier NP the ball was so loose it flopped around when the hitch lifted from the ball. I tightened it as best I could with a monkey wrench and proceeded. At Redwoods NP it was loose again (not as bad as before). I added an extension to the monkey wrench and REALLY tightened it. I haven't had the problem since but I check it regularly.
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Old 02-21-2015, 03:55 PM   #11
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I discovered my ball was loose on a trip last summer, also. I stopped at a friend's factory down in MO and had one of his maintenance guys tighten it back up.

It is hard to get those really tight without a flat on the ball stem, but this guy had a small pipe wrench that he used, and did get it tight.

No problem since then, but I will be checking it before I hitch up again.
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Old 02-21-2015, 05:50 PM   #12
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My Equalizer hitch ball was loose also. Turn the hitch over and inspect. If the lock washer is not perfectly flat, the ball is loose. It is awkward to tighten. You have to get a large socket into a small space onto the bolt and hold the ball itself with a large pipe wrench on the base before tightening.
Other hitch components were loose as well. The hitch will slip if everything is not very tight. I could not tighten sufficiently with hand tools and had to have a tech tighten every thing up with an impact wrench.
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Old 02-21-2015, 05:51 PM   #13
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It is important that the threaded stud on the ball be as large as it can be and still fit thru the hole on the stinger.
Proper torque is required as well.
I never remove a ball from the stinger once it has been installed. Unless I am replacing it with a new ball that will remain on the stinger for it's lifetime. If I need a different sized ball for another trailer. It has it's own stinger.
It is possible to over torque the ball to the point where the lock washer has lost it's spring. Negating it's function.
That being said. I tow with an Andersen System. No worries about the ball coming lose. As it rotates with the coupler.

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Old 02-22-2015, 12:30 PM   #14
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I tighten my new ball one time with a 3/4 drive torque wrench at 459 ft lbs,and it will never come loose,a short pipe wrench isn't going to do it....
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Old 02-22-2015, 01:58 PM   #15
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To get proper torque, it is important that the threads on both the ball and the nut are clean. You should be able to easily thread the nut all the way onto and off of the ball by hand before installation to be sure that the threads are free of dirt, rust, or any burrs which might cause binding during torquing, otherwise the torque reading will be adversely affected.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:43 PM   #16
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Many AS owners in Colorado have loose or ungreased balls. This is related weather, climate shift and altitude.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:41 PM   #17
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Hi, over ten years and an unknown amount of miles, [over 10,000 miles on my Alaska trip alone] but my ball has never come loose. If tightened properly the first time, there is no reason for it to come loose.

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Old 02-23-2015, 01:26 PM   #18
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Now on this forum we hear of loose balls,on the other forum we talk of greasing the balls,I wonder if the loose balls should be greased before they are tightened or after?? Some one should get a job.......
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Old 02-23-2015, 02:28 PM   #19
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Old 02-23-2015, 03:22 PM   #20
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Since we are still on the subject of balls and grease, synthetic or just plain. After a phone discussion earlier this morning, Ranchers always prefer them plain. They are always towing livestock and would know. Rancher's Supply does supply the socket and long flex handle to tighten your nut, lock washer and keep your ball from becoming loose while towing. Or worse yet... falling off in traffic.

Jobsmart 1038921- 19 inch Flex Handle 3/4" drive... Satisfaction Guaranteed
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- Is it proper procedure to grease a trailer's ball swirling, left to right, or right to left?
- Can you mix or alternate synthetic and plain old grease, or could it affect ball friction going uphill, downhill?
- If you look at any trailer ball, why do they seem to wear so much while greased? Imagine if you did not grease, you could really mess up a nice ball and hitch at the same time.
- Somehow, some posts seem... a bit off topic. More into Bowling, than Trailers.

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