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Old 10-24-2006, 02:49 PM   #1
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Ball Grease or Not?

OK fellow Airstreamers, need your help. We have been using teflon ball grease for the past two years on our hitch ball and our Reese weight dist. bars. So have many of our fellow AS'ers. Well yesterday my very good friend Don (you all know Don don't you?) stopped by one of the RV centers here in CT and they advised him to never put any type of grease on his ball.

Well, we would love to hear from the rest of you on what you do to keep things smooth?
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:22 PM   #2
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Thats a new one on me. did they offer any explanation for this advice?

you should NOT put any grease on the cams of your dual-cam hitch. that works by friction....grease defeats its function. If the noise it makes when you turn bugs you, Reese says you can put vaseline on the cams, which isn't all that slippery...not enough to impede its functionality, anyway. I've done that, and its amazing that it really works. But no grease on those.
for the trunion heads, they recommend a couple of drops of machine oil...like 3-in-1 oil.
and just so ya know, I'm just parroting Reese's recommendation. not my "opinion."
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Old 10-24-2006, 04:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickandsandi
... and they advised him to never put any type of grease on his ball.

Well, we would love to hear from the rest of you on what you do to keep things smooth?
Their purported advice is wrong. The ball needs to be greased as well as only the areas Chuck mentioned.

Perhaps their advice was misunderstood/misreported.

Tom
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Old 10-24-2006, 04:53 PM   #4
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Rick, One good long trip with no grease and I can gaurantee you will be needing a new ball. The one that is used without grease will gaul very badly. It is possible, and no I'm not saying it definitely would happen, but it is possible that a ball can be worked loose by running it with no grease. The Reese people make the wonderful Teflon grease for our safety and to protect our equipment (as well as to make a profit). They would not make much money making a product for an application that you should not be using it on! Oh, and by the way, the surfaces that will gauld your ball will need replacement as well.
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Old 10-24-2006, 05:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelbird312
...Oh, and by the way, the surfaces that will gauld your ball will need replacement as well.
And that's the kicker. Karma to you, steelbird, for pointing that important fact out.

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Old 10-24-2006, 05:42 PM   #6
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Well done my fellow Airstreamers! I was positive that greasing one ball was the correct thing to do. I guess I just needed to hear it from my friends.
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
One good long trip with no grease and I can gaurantee you will be needing a new ball.
Have you noticed how many folks don't grease the ball and get along just fine? For years? And many miles?

I used the Reese Hitch Lube over two years and got more galling on the ball than running dry. I have also used wheel bearing grease and other concoctions. I have seen reports from the wax paper and zip lock bag advocates, too.

I also understand the concern about the ball receptacle but I seldom see anyone replacing that. The only significant wear item there seems to be the ball latch.

What I do like to do is to clean the ball and the coupler with a paper towel and then use a spray on silicone or teflon lube -- that more for keeping the dirt out than lubrication.

I don't really see much of a downside to lubing the ball except for my personal experience. I do wonder about the conviction and emotion that is shown here on the topic, though.
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:31 PM   #8
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I was told to never put grease on the ball. It is part of the friction system for the WD hitch.
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:34 PM   #9
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I have towed over 5000 miles this year with no grease on my ball. It has held up fine. Until the truck rolled and pulled itself out of the tongue.
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:38 PM   #10
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I've had a hitch ball gall from lack of grease and also ruined a set of EA-Z-Lift torsion bars by not greasing the ends. A synthetic bearing grease like Amzoil won't turn into white snot like most regular grease. I'm guessing the teflon grease Reese sells is similar to the white tefon grease bike shops sell for bearings. It too is waterproof. Besided the galling an ungreased unused ball will rust. That's not good!

The down side of grease is that 1) it can make a mess (old tennis ball or flamingo hitch cover ) and 2) the grease attracts dirt which can muck up the works worse than anything. The white teflon grease is nice in that it cleans up readilly. Good old WD40 is a good cleaner and protectant but a lousy lubricant.

I'll have to reread the instructions for my Reese trunion bars. I could have sworn they recommended greasing the ends where they insert/twist into the hitch head. Could be wrong or maybe they've changed the recommencation. I know they've changed their tune about leveling via bar tension.

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Old 10-24-2006, 08:44 PM   #11
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Where there is friction you need grease to slow wear and decrease noise. We have always greased our tow ball and associated heavy used towing equipment. Never have had a problem.
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Old 10-24-2006, 08:59 PM   #12
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From Reese website

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FAQs

What kind of maintenance do I need to do to the weight distributing hitch
WDH and sway controls?

Lubricate the ballmount sockets and spring bar trunnions to prevent rapid wear. When hooking-up, place one drop of oil on the top and a second drop on forward side of upper trunnion. Place a third drop on the rear side of lower trunnion before inserting trunnion into ballmount. Use a heavy oil such as "REESE ON THE BALL". Don't forget to lubricate the hitch ball with one or two drops also. Trunnion should be lubricated each towing day. It is not necessary to unhook the spring bars however, as there are two oil holes in the ballmount top plate for upper trunnion lubrication. Lubricate lower trunnions with one drop at contact point between trunnion and lower socket. Excess oil, dirt, and grit should be wiped out whenever trailer is uncoupled.

Can I grease the Dual Cam Sway Control (DCSC)?

Do not grease the cam and cam arms. The Dual Cam was designed to use metal-to-metal friction. Heavy greasing of the cam and cam arm surfaces with affect performance. If noise is offensive, a very light coating of lubricant, such as Vaseline, may be used. Tongue weights over 1,200 lbs. may require a light coating of grease to reduce friction and prevent excessive wear. The Dual Cam Sway Control DCSC is not to be lubricated on the cam arms when the tongue weight is under 1,200 lbs. Instead you will want to apply a thin coat of a petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline. This will act as a poor lubricant, but works well to dampen the sound. For trailers with over 1,200 lbs. tongue weight you should apply a couple of drops of an 80/90 gear lube to the cam arm to prevent excessive wear caused by the increased tongue weight.
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Old 10-24-2006, 09:06 PM   #13
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Uh, oh. Here comes a story...

My dad moved mobile homes in the late 60s and early 70's, back when the idea was that a mobile home should be mobile. Many of them belonged to folks in the military. These would have the wheels still on them (or stacked up under a tarp) when he came to move them. He would always pack the wheel bearings, inspect the tires, and put a good slobbering of the wheelbearing grease all over his ball before taking off.

Like many others, he had an International Transtar with a big gas engine, huge gull-wing hood, and a dual-wheel single axle.

The rear frame could slide in and out to increase or decrease the wheelbase. Being short was necessary to tow one of the new 60 footers and stay within length requirements back then. The hitch ball could be moved up and down and was attached to a tall gas tank/tool box mounted right behind the cab. When the frame was extended, the tool box and the gas tank moved aft as well. It also rode noticeably better when it was extended.

It was a cool truck when gasoline was cheap.

Lamar
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Old 10-24-2006, 09:21 PM   #14
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I towed a gooseneck horse trailer for years and followed the mfg recommendation to grease the ball. I picked up my new AS and the ball was greased by the dealer. Who am I to argue with the experts. I personally keep the ball greased ( and clean !)
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