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Old 02-17-2013, 08:17 PM   #1
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Atwood / Marvel Coupler Wear

I read with interest discussions concerning the effect of no sway hitches on the couplers, reference the Anderson Hitch thread, the last page.

I am installing a ProPride no sway hitch. The thing weighs 200 pounds or more. I hung it on my coupler and got worried about the vertical movement, or slop, I observed. I then placed a new 2 5/16 ball in my old coupler and measured a full 5/16 of an inch vertical movement of the ball when latched.

I got underneath and looked up at the coupler. I thought I saw similar wear that was photographed in the Anderson hitch thread. My 27 year old couipler has always had a Reese hitch in it. My Airstream has over a 100,000 towed miles.

So I ordered a new Atwood ball retainer shoe and installed it today. Using the same new 2 5/16 ball, I measured the verticle movement at 2/16 of an inch when latched. It "feels" much tighter than the old shoe, and I think better able to handle that 200 pound plus ProPride hitch head.

We talk about the bouncing we get on wavy pavement. I can imagine the hammering this ball retainer shoe gets from all that action. Keep your safety chains and hooks in good shape. Couplers wear and they are not easy to replace. I have a new coupler on my list of upgrades. It's a big weld shop ordeal to replace it.

On my coupler, the ball retainer shoe "slides" up and down a "ramp". When you lift the latch lever, it pulls the ball retainer shoe up and back so the ball will fall out of the coupler. When you lower the coupler on the hitch ball and snap the latch down, the ball shoe retainer "cams" down and forward into the lower portion of the ball keeping it from falling out.

I'll post some pictures of old and new later.

David
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:22 PM   #2
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"Atwood / Marvel Coupler Wear"

I don't believe that this is a Marvel issue. No one has reported any problem with the Marvel couplers when using the Andersen system to the best of my knowledge.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:16 AM   #3
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I am with AWCHIEF. I have a Marvel Coupler on the Argosy 26'. Have not experienced any of the issues with the Andersen WD hitch. There is no slop in the ball coupler combination. As I have mentioned in other threads. I literally have to stand on the bumper of the TV to get the ball to drop out of the coupler. Since the coupler does not rotate on the ball with the Andersen hitch, other than a slight vertical motion that might occur. I don't see how there could be significant wear. Seems like it will last a considerable amount of time.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:40 AM   #4
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I didn't communicate well. This thread was intended to communicate the fact that our hitch couplers wear out, like tires, electric brakes, axle rubber, or furnaces. The coupler needs watched and serviced just like any other major component on our trailers. My coupler has quite a bit of wear in it.

My coupler has never seen action with a no sway hitch. I don't believe or was not implying that no sway hitches by any manufacturer accelerate wear on the coupler.

I am greatful to Airstream Forums and the good people who participate for the knowledge that couplers wear. I had never checked mine, and now that I have checked it, I found quite a bit of wear.

Maybe taking a new ball, latching it into the coupler, and wiggling it around is a rough indicator of how much wear there is on the coupler. I might try it on a new trailer and then compare it to my old trailer. I'm sure the manufacturers have some specification on how good the spherical socket with retainer shoe in place must be. I'm sure my coupler has worn bigger.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:03 AM   #5
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Would rebuilding the coupler latch help any?

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Old 02-18-2013, 08:26 AM   #6
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Like anything mechanical, couplers do wear. Depending on the use and sometimes abuse.
IMHO it would be prudent to replace the coupler. If the pawl is worn, chances are good that the socket inside the coupler is worn as well.
While carrying a spare latch for the coupler is probably a good idea. Replacing only the latch assembly will not make an old coupler new again.
While somewhat expensive to have the coupler replaced by a certified welder. The coupler assembly itself is not that big of cost. $200 to $400 is cheap insurance when it comes to safety on the road.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:45 PM   #7
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Atwood Coupler

Do not use the Andersen WD hitch with the Atwood (Marvel) 88000 series couplers. Failure will happen. Andersen recommends the Atwood 81911 or 81912. You will see from the attached photo what the Andersen did to the shark fin. on my 88010 The AS is now being held on by tongue weight. This has been discussed on the Andersen thread.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:29 AM   #8
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OLD:

the vertical movement, or slop, I observed. I then placed a new 2 5/16 ball in my old coupler and measured a full 5/16 of an inch vertical movement of the ball when latched.

NEW:


Using the same new 2 5/16 ball, I measured the verticle movement at 2/16 of an inch when latched


Thanks. A good benchmark for others.

.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:47 PM   #9
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Can anyone confirm that a Marvel MC883 coupler on a 1972 AS WILL NOT be a problem with the Andersen hitch. And is this opinion based on your own observation or consultation with Andersen?
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Old 08-15-2013, 07:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesstoaster View Post
Can anyone confirm that a Marvel MC883 coupler on a 1972 AS WILL NOT be a problem with the Andersen hitch. And is this opinion based on your own observation or consultation with Andersen?
Anyone on here foolish enough to guarantee there will be never be a problem with any forty year old mechanical device is just plain nuts. Heck, a forty year old wheel can fall apart. Having said that, there are about two hundred pages of Andersen information to research on this forum and nobody has reported a problem with your specific coupler. Look it up. If you are that fearful, I would change the coupler. At $5/year of service, it has been a bargain.
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Old 08-17-2013, 03:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rendrag View Post
Anyone on here foolish enough to guarantee there will be never be a problem with any forty year old mechanical device is just plain nuts. Heck, a forty year old wheel can fall apart. Having said that, there are about two hundred pages of Andersen information to research on this forum and nobody has reported a problem with your specific coupler. Look it up. If you are that fearful, I would change the coupler. At $5/year of service, it has been a bargain.
Did somebody ask for a guarantee? If they did it certainly wasn't me. Seems to be a perfectly legitimate question since numerous posters have said Marvel is OK but not Atwood. The Marvel MC886 looks a lot like the newer Atwoods, hence the question. And yes I did search "Marvel MC886" to no avail.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:14 AM   #12
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"Can anyone confirm that a Marvel MC883 coupler on a 1972 AS WILL NOT be a problem....."

"Confirm", "Guarantee", you seem to be asking for some kind of assurance about a forty year old hitch. You really would take the advice of an anonymous Internet expert about the condition and reliability of your coupler? If so, I say you are good to go.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rendrag View Post
"Can anyone confirm that a Marvel MC883 coupler on a 1972 AS WILL NOT be a problem....."

"Confirm", "Guarantee", you seem to be asking for some kind of assurance about a forty year old hitch. You really would take the advice of an anonymous Internet expert about the condition and reliability of your coupler? If so, I say you are good to go.

How about we just confirm, no guarantee, that Rendrag does not know if the Andersen hitch has the potential to damage the Marvel MC883 coupler and leave it at that.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:45 PM   #14
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All I can say, is with over 5,000 miles of towing the Argosy 26' and using the Andersen System with the now 40 year old Marvel Coupler. There have been no problems.
I have pointed this out in the past. The Marvel coupler on my trailer does not have and NEVER had the "shark fin" currently used on the Atwood coupler installed on A$ trailers.
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