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Old 05-15-2012, 10:59 PM   #29
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Question...can't quite make out what exactly I'm looking at here?

Bob
that is the "battery box". on my trailer it holds the electric-hydraulic brake actuator.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:06 PM   #30
More than one rivet loose
 
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An Airstream can be fixed - people, not so much. How is your FOOT? That's a hell of a dent from your kick! I did that once to the kitchen cabinet and broke two toes.
My foot hurts. especially since I forgot that my right ankle has arthritis.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:17 PM   #31
More than one rivet loose
 
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Howdy & ouch..... Happily, no van full of orphans driven by a nun and a horse drawn cart weren't involved, eh?

I'm wondering if there was a lubrication schedule you followed, and if so, what lubricants were used as 80,000 miles is a respectable figure even if it was test-to-destruction.
Cleaned and greased before each trip. I used petroleum jelly. It only stayed on for a few days at a time.

I went to the welding shop today. I have the old coupler. the front lip is gone. worn off. this would have been on the front underside of the ball. I have gone through several balls.

I will get a picture in the morning.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:23 PM   #32
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What's a band clamp?


Where do I git one?
you can get one at the hardware store. get Stainless steel only.
also can be called a hose clamp. one brand name is Breeze or Ideal. There is another brand I prefer but it is too late to remember it right now.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:51 PM   #33
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Michelle, You're a very experienced RV'er and if this can happen to you, it can happen to any of us. It's a big "heads up" for me. I'll be sure to check mine. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:03 AM   #34
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Thecatsandi,

I believe you mentioned that you have 80,000 miles on a 2006 Airstream, and I am curious about your statement that you have gone through several trailer balls. Were these actually worn out? I have towed quite a bit, but not 80,000 miles on one trailer; and I have never worn out a trailer ball.

Vaseline is a pretty thin, low temperature lubricant. I tried using it in roller skate bearings, and it liquefies and runs out. I wonder if this might be part of the problem.

We use wheel bearing/ball joint grease, which is much thicker and doesn't melt at normal temperatures. It is relatively resistant to water (though, not water proof) and stays where you put it. I think you may find this better suited for lubricating the mating hitch parts.

Please note that we live in Arizona (versus Montana), so I'm not sure whether this advice applies directly to your situation. Just a thought, though...
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:51 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecatsandi View Post
that is the "battery box". on my trailer it holds the electric-hydraulic brake actuator.

I see it now...that's the brake line with the wound spring reinforcement that exits back towards the axles.

Bob
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:20 AM   #36
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Thecatsandi,

I believe you mentioned that you have 80,000 miles on a 2006 Airstream, and I am curious about your statement that you have gone through several trailer balls. Were these actually worn out? I have towed quite a bit, but not 80,000 miles on one trailer; and I have never worn out a trailer ball.

Vaseline is a pretty thin, low temperature lubricant. I tried using it in roller skate bearings, and it liquefies and runs out. I wonder if this might be part of the problem.

We use wheel bearing/ball joint grease, which is much thicker and doesn't melt at normal temperatures. It is relatively resistant to water (though, not water proof) and stays where you put it. I think you may find this better suited for lubricating the mating hitch parts.

Please note that we live in Arizona (versus Montana), so I'm not sure whether this advice applies directly to your situation. Just a thought, though...
the balls were spawled. metal was flaking off. this should have been a clue. I was told to use vaseline since I would be replacing it regularly. hind site is 20-20. it should have been a thicker grease. although most of the grease went where the pressure are the "greatest", the top of the ball. the front of the ball has all the pulling force. there was grease there.

There is a lot of forces that come into play and I can see the basic ones but do not have all the information to see all the forces involved.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:56 AM   #37
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Steve,
I am a very experienced tower. I am familiar with a false hitch and how to check for it.
The event is behind me. now I have to get the truck and trailer repaired. The insurance company is replacing all of owing equipment on the truck. Hitch receiver, shank, head, ball. plug. pigtail. everything that was in use.
Yes, I understand you are a very expereinced "tower", as most of us here are. I was just trying to help, and not trying to question your capabilities.

However, maybe if you had checked for a false hitch, just maybe you would have found the bad part without the accident on the road, or maybe you did........
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:41 AM   #38
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In any accident there is a lot of speculation and "should haves". I think we all want to figure out how something happened—that's ordinary human curiosity. I think we want to make sure it doesn't happen to us. But … let's be careful about how we discuss this so we don't victimize the victim. And it is natural to question everything.

Each time the trailer was fixed after previous accidents, the repair shop should have checked the coupling and probably replaced it if the accident could have compromised the coupling in any way. I believe after the Colorado accident, the trailer was fixed at Jackson Center.

The coupling actually lasted a very long time despite the stresses involved. Michelle has towed 80,000 miles with it, checked it and checks for false hitches. I wonder how many other people have replaced couplers after an accident or after tens of thousands of miles? Maybe we will think more about that—I was cleaning the old grease out of the coupler the other day and checked it very carefully. But I'm not sure I'd know whether it was starting to go bad. So does anyone know the life of a coupler?

I'm not sure grease is the answer. The grease is mainly to preserve the ball. Even so, the ball gets scratches and pits over time from the dirt that mixes with the grease. It can be argued that vaseline, because of its low drip temperature, is better because the dirt would wash out with the liquified vaseline. Also, the Owner's Manual says to lubricate the coupler with oil—so compared to that, vaseline is thick. I can't remember wether is was 30 wt. motor oil or "household" oil (various things on the trailer get different kinds of oil), but the point is Airstream recommends a lighter lubricant than vaseline. Because of the grease on the ball, I expect the oil used on the coupler is replaced by the grease anyway. I think Airstream means to oil the coupler latch, but some runs down into the rest of the coupler and maybe they mean that too should be oiled, not greased (I'd better check the manual again to make sure I am remembering this right because I can't be expected to remember something I read 2 days ago).

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Old 05-16-2012, 12:40 PM   #39
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The biggest red flag so far has to be the "spawling" (spalling) of the ball. It takes one of two things to cause spalling, either extreme loading, or low grade metal used to make the ball. I can't imagine loads being that extreme, so I would check and/or replace the ball with a different brand. About the only spalling I've ever seen was steel wedges driven into wood by a sledge hammer.
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:44 PM   #40
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Sorry for the problem. Sure looks like another 3 miles would not be a problem. The false hitch thing. Not on an airstream. I pulled a golf cart to Florida with a landscape trailer. Hitched it up, checked with the hand crank to be sure it had it, drove the golf cart on, went to florida. There I backed the golf cart off, the trailer jumped off the ball, and the tongue hit the middle of my tailgate pretty hard. Difference, I was pointed downhill at home and the trailer was pushing slightly when I checked. I Fl I unloaded with the trailer pointed up hill and the ball was just loose enough and well greased enough to come off. If there is pressure foward or back even a loose couple may pass a stationary load test. Glad it did not happen on the way. I now have that thing tightened up to where I have to stomp on it to close it down.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:47 PM   #41
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Coupler latches are adjustable; there is a big nut on the bottom that should ALWAYS be checked. You can adjust how tight the coupler grabs the ball. If you never check this, and tow for 80,000 miles, it's bound to develop play (due to never tightening the nut or checking it) which of course could cause the trailer to come off the ball. Not saying that that is what happened here, but I thought checking your coupler tension was as common as checking your lug nuts. Maybe it's not...
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:52 PM   #42
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Good discussion! Something to think about. I've replaced the ball 1 time due to pitting. Reese makes a hitch lube called "On the Ball". It is a dark liquid but is very thick. Another manufacturer, I think is Starbrite (they make other products in the RV industry) has a white hitch lube that is the consistency of cold creme. You put that on with your finger. I've used that product also.

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