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Old 08-25-2013, 04:35 PM   #1
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Ball Installed Wrong!!

As I was reading through some posts on '72 Ambassadors, I came across one that was asking for a '72 brochure for their trailer. I thought I had one so I looked through all of the old paperwork from the PO and the first paper I looked at was one on the proper installation of a 2 5/16" hitch ball. I don't know if this is for every hitch, but for mine and many others that I have found showing their hitch ball in a photo, the Lock washer is suppose to go under the ball, NOT above the nut. Camping World mounted my new ball when I purchased my new WD System. Problem fixed, I swapped it over.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:02 PM   #2
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Interesting and I wonder if it really makes a difference. Is there a right way?
Maybe some experienced machinist, millwright or Mechanical Engineer can chime in on this question. Since I tend to overdo, and over build everything, so I would be tempted to put lock washers in both places. Then use a castle nut with lock tight for good measure.
Right way, wrong way and my way--every which way but loose.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:07 PM   #3
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I am thinking it is because the weight on the coupler makes it want to turn the ball in both directions, where the nut only loosens one way.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:13 PM   #4
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hmmmm, interesting....never thought of it before and to the best of my knowledge, never seen it installed this way.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:21 PM   #5
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Y'all goin make me go look...

I did and I have 2 with the lock washer under the ball and one with the lock washer under the nut.


I can agree in theory with mopariac's thinking.

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Old 08-25-2013, 05:24 PM   #6
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In theory, shouldn't the lockwasher "dig in" both ways (clockwise and counter-clockwise) after seating well after torquing?

Never mind...silly oversight
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:31 PM   #7
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It is probably to keep the ball from turning when you put a wrench on the nut. In general, you put the lock washer on the nut to keep it from coming off. If the ball spins then you can't get it tight anyway without an impact wrench.

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Old 08-26-2013, 08:43 AM   #8
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A split-ring lock washer only "locks" in one direction--so I would agree with the above, that putting it under the ball is probably to keep the ball from turning when the nut is being torqued down. Another thing to consider is that once you torque the hell out of any nut with a split ring lock washer on it, the washer is so flat that it is no longer serving any locking purpose (ie., the tips of the spit ends are no longer making contact with the surface of the nut).
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:58 AM   #9
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Hmmmm; interesting question. Like absolutely everything these days, there is an endless amount of information available online. How a split-ring lock washer works and whether it is effective or not is discussed here Lock Washers » AnM Developments to mention one of many hits you get with a Google search.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:14 AM   #10
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The insecurity of lock washers in critical positions is why bolts, nuts, and screws are safety wired on aircraft.

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Old 08-26-2013, 10:24 AM   #11
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Maybe, as mentioned as issues in other posts, the lock washer helps give more clearance for the coupler? Who knows. I am just one that takes instructions as if someone knew what they were talking about when they wrote them, but with all the answers and opinions listed above and researching through google, I am beginning to realize that opinions (like in my instructions) may be just that and not based on tests. Alas, the world is so confusing sometimes...
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:14 AM   #12
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Current production Reese heads that have the balls pre-installed have the lock washers between the nut and the head.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:05 PM   #13
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I have a Reese draw bar that has a pocket that matches the hex on the bottom of the ball so it won't spin when tightening. I don't use this on the Airstream.

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Old 08-26-2013, 01:19 PM   #14
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“wayneskid” post with the link to "Lock Washers » AnM Developments," got me thinking. Let the readers beware.

Depending on the kinds of steel of the hitch ball, the washer and the nut, one can consider their metallurgical properties. What are their individual coefficients of expansion, contraction, and elasticity under various stresses, temperatures and pressures?

A properly torqued nut and bolt will exhibit a bit of tension on the bolt and compression on the nut. The threads of each component, if not over stressed to the point of shear failure, will act like springs and be distorted ever so slightly. Just enough to create enough counter acting tension and compression (or adhesion) to secure the coupled fasteners for the desired long-term steady-state configuration.

Or just go out now and then to check that the nut is tight enough.
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