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Old 10-07-2008, 08:59 PM   #1
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Adapt-A-Ball

Hi all,
Given that I recently purchased a 1955 Safari with coupler for a 2" ball and that I intend to retain our 1994 Excella with it's coupler designed for a 2 5/16" ball, I have a hitch ball dilema. I believe I can get by with the same hitch ball height for both trailers, so how can I do this using a common hitch for both trailers?

My Reese Dual Cam WD Hitch also has EnKay Rock Tamer mud flaps permanently (more or less) installed on it to keep the Hummer H2 from throwing boulders at the trailer. I can't sacrifice that protection, but yet I don't want to purchase two full hitch and mudflap setups (too much $ and no place to store two massive 70+lb. assemblies when not in use).

My options appear to be:

1. Continually swap the 2" and 2 5/16" hitch balls back and forth, which is a lot of work possibly requiring two people to do it because of the large torques required. And I wonder about the long term affects of torquing these hitch balls over and over and over again, probably several times a year.

2. Buy an Adapt-A-Ball or equivalent. I see that I can get an Adapt-A-Ball rated for 8000lbs which should handle both trailers OK - the Excella is maybe 7000 lbs. loaded and the Safari will be well less than 4000 lbs loaded, although my current 2 5/16" ball is a 10,000 lb. version to provide a little more safety margin. This seems like the only "quick change" solution, but I wonder about long term durability of this setup.

I am guessing that I am not the first one to face this dilema. I think I want to go with the Adapt-A-Ball (or equivalent) solution. Does anyone have any long term towing results using this ball system on heavy trailers for lots of miles? Did you have any issues?

Or is there another hitch ball option that I haven't discovered yet?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:23 PM   #2
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I got the name "adapt-A-Ball from a local trailer place, and started there, I'll add some more info after a little google search for "interchangeable hitch ball" (search results).

There are actually many competing hitch ball systems: one called Convert-A-Ball as well as interchangable hitch ball systems made (or marketed) by Drawtite, Reese, Fulton, and Master Lock (some of which are likely the same product under the packaging) and probably others.

Some claim to be rated to 10,000 lbs trailer weight and 1000 lbs tongue weight. So far I haven't found any that expressly state that they can or cannot be used on a weight distribution hitch.

The search for information continues . . and your experience and thoughts are greatly appreciated. Many minds are better than one.
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:58 AM   #3
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Try this..

Iv'e seen this on quite a few commercial rigs.. If it's not a big pain with your rock guards it might work.


Trailer Hitch Accessory For All Your Needs
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:19 AM   #4
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If it were me, I'd put a new 2 5/16 hitch on the '55. Probably needs it by now anyway.
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:53 AM   #5
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Joe, when the haha is purchased new with a 2" ball it is an Adapt-a-Ball. Over the years owners have changed to a 2-5/16" when necessary and they were never a problem.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
If it were me, I'd put a new 2 5/16 hitch on the '55. Probably needs it by now anyway.
Steve- I totally agree with you! Thats what I did with the Tradewind. I get a little nuts about my AS's and would rather have the best set-up possible with as little to go wrong as possible.
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for the ideas everyone.

Bob, I am not sure which item on that page you were refering to, but I absolutely need the WD setup for the '94. I won't be using WD with the '55. The trouble is that I used to take the EnKay flaps off regularly when I took the hitch off, but then two things happened. The bolts got sticky and hard to loosen or tighten, . . . and often things were not tight when I reinstalled them and I found they moved during travel. Since I have not been removing them, they have stayed put and don't move during travel. And unfortunatley after evaluating all of the alternatives, the EnKays provided the best protection for the trailer, so I can't go with a cheaper brand. And I need removable mudflaps because I do take the H2 off road occasionally and ones mounted to the body would get hung up on obstacles.

Steve & Rick, What do you estimate it would cost to change the 2" coupler to a 2 5/16" coupler assuming I paid to have it done (I don't weld)?

Sean,
That's a good start, but one difference with the HAHA (correct me if I'm wrong) is that the trailer does not pivot on the ball, at least not to the extent it does in other hitch setups. That would seem to limit the impact wear might have on the interchangeable ball system.

* * * * *

Bottom Line: I am totally confused as to what to do at the moment. Once I get the '55 home (go to pick it up this weekend) I have until the spring to figure out the answer, because the '94 is already winterized and won't be moving until spring. Maybe the new coupler will be the way to go or maybe I'll have to bit the bullet and but a 2nd hitch and mudflaps, but those interchangeable hitch balls still look good too. Aaarrrggghhh.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:53 PM   #8
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Steve & Rick, What do you estimate it would cost to change the 2" coupler to a 2 5/16" coupler assuming I paid to have it done (I don't weld)?
I could only say the job would only take a good welder a couple of hours, at the most. I have not had any welding done in years because I do weld, so don't have a clue of what the rates would be per hour.
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
I won't be using WD with the '55.
One more of my "opinions"...I personally would not tow a trailer with the WD hitch without using the bars. This is not so much a weight issue, but a hitch position issue. A weight distributing hitch places the hitch ball sometimes as much as a foot and a half farther behind the bumper than a standard non WD hitch, and without the bars, this sets up a bad situation giving the trailer much greater leverage to control the tow vehicle. It can cause sway and also bad pitching of the tow vehicle when the rig hits bumps in the road, and in either case, can lead to a loss of control of the tow vehicle.
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:57 PM   #10
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One more of my "opinions"...I personally would not tow a trailer with the WD hitch without using the bars. This is not so much a weight issue, but a hitch position issue. A weight distributing hitch places the hitch ball sometimes as much as a foot and a half farther behind the bumper than a standard non WD hitch, and without the bars, this sets up a bad situation giving the trailer much greater leverage to control the tow vehicle. It can cause sway and also bad pitching of the tow vehicle when the rig hits bumps in the road, and in either case, can lead to a loss of control of the tow vehicle.
Steve,
I appreciate the opinion, and it may be valid in some situations, but I doubt a non-WD hitch would gain me more than 3", because I need a massive 8" drop from the top of the 2" hitch recevier to the top of the ball. The bigger the drop, the longer the length generally. But mainly, this is a non-issue in my case because I tow with an H2 which is a very heavy vehicle that has likely the shortest rear axle to hitch distance of any tow vehicle (short of a pickup towing a 5th wheel). Having towed 3 different Airstreams of different lengths and weights with different sway control setups over thousands of miles with the H2, I have never experienced so much as a wiggle due to a strong cross wind or a passing semi. This thing is rock solid as a tow vehicle. And believe me I take safety very seriously - no use risking your life over a few $ - but in this case, those 3" really don't matter.

BTW - The '55 Safari probably weighs only about 1/3 the empty weight of the H2!
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Old 10-09-2008, 12:24 AM   #11
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I have seen replacement locking lever and tab assemblies which may make it possible to switch the '56 to a 2 5/16" ball for less than $30. Try Inland Andy or PPL's for the parts - I have seen too many catalog pages recently to recall where I saw them.

By the by, don't forget to get some smaller W/D bars as well as the rest of the assembly for your Reese dual-cam so you can use it with your new acquisition, too.

Congrats and good luck on the new aluminum in your stable.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Sean,
That's a good start, but one difference with the HAHA (correct me if I'm wrong) is that the trailer does not pivot on the ball, at least not to the extent it does in other hitch setups. That would seem to limit the impact wear might have on the interchangeable ball system.

* * * * *

Bottom Line: I am totally confused as to what to do at the moment. Once I get the '55 home (go to pick it up this weekend) I have until the spring to figure out the answer, because the '94 is already winterized and won't be moving until spring. Maybe the new coupler will be the way to go or maybe I'll have to bit the bullet and but a 2nd hitch and mudflaps, but those interchangeable hitch balls still look good too. Aaarrrggghhh.

Absolutely correct about the ball on the haha. However, I have NEVER seen a hitch ball that is a problem even on conventional hitches. And, I think I have removed some hitches from 1955 at international rallies.
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Steve & Rick, What do you estimate it would cost to change the 2" coupler to a 2 5/16" coupler assuming I paid to have it done (I don't weld)?
.

A good coupler is only about $75.00. Any good welding shop could do the job for you.


They would have to first cut the old one off and then weld the new one on. I think I gave the guy a $100 bill for his time.
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Old 10-10-2008, 03:39 PM   #14
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I use a Fulton interchangeable ball on my WD hitch , have had it about 2 years and it is wonderful,just did a 2,200 mile round trip to ohio,with the 2" ball on and a 8,000# trailer no problems.It sure beats pulling out the big wrenches everything you need to pull a different trailer. Dave
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