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Old 02-15-2010, 06:33 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
2007 30' Classic S/O
Somewhere , South Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 38
Hitch Ball Torquing Procedure

First, the AS community will recognize that I am a Newbie, nuf ced. But I do not consider myself a Newbie when it comes to nuts and bolt type projects, in fact too many completed and open projects to list.

When I picked up my AS the selling dealer setup my included used Equal-I-Zer hitch. This is not a discussion about the hitch choice, it is the procedure that I used to tighten the ball. While we were setting it up, (raising the tounge) I noticed a gap between the top of the hitch head and bottom of the ball, the selling dealer quickly tightened it up. At home I took it apart to examine it, the lock washer had lost its sharp corners and the nut showed some wear. I got a new 1 1/4" LW and turned the nut over to use the flat undamaged side. I have not found a satisfactory replacement yet, now to torque the ball.

I'm not crazy about using a pipe wrench to hold the ball, but it already had wrench marks on it.

I filpped the hitch 90 degrees and used one of my project trucks to hold it, a large pipe wrench to hold the ball, jack stand to steady the pipe wrench, Craftsman 3/4" drive socket, short extension and a 600 Lb/Ft Proto torque wrench. With the setup like this, the torque went into the nut, not flexing the suspension.

The Proto is almost 48" nose to tail and made short work of the desired torque. The gage has a pointer that allows you to see the torque reached or set a target value. No, I didn't buy it, got lucky and borrowed it (unused) from work.

Next, I'll paint mark the nut position and keep my eyes open for a new ball that correctly fits my hitch head.

I did search the forum on this DIY project didn't find what I was looking for this time.
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2007 Classic 30' SO
2005 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins 6 Speed
1997 Dodge Ram 3500 5.9L Cummins 5 Speed
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:54 PM   #2
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2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,020
First of all, your garden-variety split lockwashers are scarcely an improvement over nothing at all and should not be relied upon for anything important. I am a big believer in loc-tite and toothed washers. For something as big as a hitch ball, you use red loc-tite if you care deeply whether it stays put or not.

So, with judicious use of large, expensive, precision implements you got the torque exactly right. While in the abstract this is a good thing, in practice it accomplishes little. The important thing with a hitch ball is that a) it is not weakened by overtorquing, and b) it stays put. There is a wide torque range in which this can be accomplished, and in practice you should be checking it before each trip, and over time the threads will corrode enough that there is no longer a risk that it will come loose.

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Old 02-15-2010, 07:02 PM   #3
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carson city , Nevada
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 87
In addition to Jammers comments and a user/owner of an Equalizer hitch, it is not just the ball you need to keep your eye on as to tightness. The hitch to shank bolts and especially the L brackets. Each time I unhitch, I spend a few quality necessary seconds tightening all the bolts/nuts. Equalizer supposedly has fixed the L brackets issue with the new hitches, mine is a year old so it does not enjoy the new L brackets.
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