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Old 06-29-2012, 12:26 AM   #15
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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Thanks to everyone for their detailed help, especially Mexray for the great Quickbite information.

In the end, I decided to stay with the original Atwood coupler. My main reason is that the Bulldog and the Quickbite both extend the ball location forward compared with the original Atwood position. Although I know you can add links to the Andersen chain to compensate for the added length of the coupler, if I ever want to use any of my several Reese/ Draw Tight hitches the added length would put my snap up brackets too far forward and that cannot be compensated for on those hitches the way it can be on the Andersen. I would have to move my gas tanks forward, not only another change that has to be made, but I don't like the looks of the far forward gas tanks.

The Quickbite was very tempting though, as was the Bulldog. I very much appreciate everyones time on this.

The Atwood will be arriving late next week. The good folks I talked to in Missoula sent me to a shop who has lots of coupler replacement experience. They could not easily get the Atwood, but were completely willing to put one on if I provided it. They thought probably 2 hours at $70 per hour. I am budgeting for 3 hours... My favorite RV parts place located the Atwood in their normal supply warehouse in Utah, and they will have it shipped it up along with their weekly order. It is nice to deal with local businesses who care about their customers and don't rip you off.

Again, thanks to all for your time and great information. It helped me make the decision quickly today while I was in Missoula, which is a 125 mile one way trip for me.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:32 PM   #16
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The welding shop will probably use a 4-1/2" grinder with a 1/16" thick grinding wheel to get the coupler off. They will probably go through a few of them, but the job should go really quick.
Let us know how it goes.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:08 PM   #17
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1974 Argosy 20
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Kooskia , Idaho
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Ok, I got my new Atwood 88007 OEM coupler yesterday and have had a chance to carefully inspect it and how it is made. It is easy to look at off the trailer.


After looking at the new coupler, and the 38 year old one still on the Argosy, I have concluded that although the old one is worn and has stress cracks in one section, it is not in danger of failing in any way, and is completely safe to tow, I am sure for many, many thousands of miles. That is a relief to understand, but of course it is worn, and will be replaced. A ball in the new one moves up and down about 1/8 inch, and on the old one 3/8 inch, so you can see there is wear, but well within the ball holding tolerances built into the coupler design.

The construction of the Atwood 88007 hitch has an inner cup and an outer cup, welded together. The inner cup takes the wear, and is where the stress cracks have developed in my old one, but it is fully supported from total failure such as coming off the ball, by the outer cup, which in normal situations takes none of the load at all. The locking and unhitching parts in the rear of the coupler are also very robust and well supported. Although I am sure mine are worn, they cannot come apart. Loading of the ball from the rear is just as well handled in the coupler design as is the front loading. Atwood has been making the same coupler for more than 40 years, so the design has proven itself well. There is a slight change in how one lifts the release mechanism, for a more positive lock, an improvement over the earlier ones I have. I believe all Airstreams use this same coupler, even today.

So, good news and a confidence builder to look at how the coupler is built an how many fail safe parts there are incorporated into it. It is a simple, but very effective, design.

I will be using it with my new Andersen WD hitch which puts more pressure on the back of the hitch ball than with usual WD hitches. So, I am happy to report that I feel the design is fully up to the job.

After 38 years and countless thousands of towing miles I feel that the old coupler owes me nothing, and I will be glad to have a new one on Wed. morning. I will report more then.

I do repeat that if you have an older trailer, which has been towed a lot of miles, you might de grease the coupler and inspect it very carefully for any internal stress cracks or weld cracks. If you have an old hitch ball, and you insert it in the coupler and it moves up and down more than a quarter of an inch, you might consider a new coupler. The OEM Atwood costs about $75. Mine has not been installed yet but they estimate 2 hours at $70 an hour. I will know more when I get the bill on Wednesday.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:22 PM   #18
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1974 Argosy 20
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Today was new coupler installation day. The shop cut the old one off, ground the rails flat, and welded the new Atwood original stile coupler in place in 2 hours, for $140. So, the total job was under $210. The shop in Missoula MT did an excellent job.

It looks like it always did, but this one does not have the stress cracks or the 3/8" slop in the vertical ball movement. I have the old one which I may try to get better photos of, showing the problems. Right now I am out camping! Yea!
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:31 PM   #19
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Hey guys. I don't mean to revive the ol' coupler beast, but I have the same problem on my 1972 Tradewind. There appear to be two stress cracks on the coupler that I need to replace. I was originally thinking of hiring a welder to fill in the cracks with metal and some how grind the surface smooth. After reading this post, I will need to buy a new coupler and go from there.
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:48 PM   #20
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
mapleton , Utah
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I'm glad somebody revived this thread today because I am considering changing out my original atwood for a new one too. Where if you dont mind my asking, Idroba< did you find the coupler in Utah? I have been unable to locate one locally.
thanks
tim
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:16 PM   #21
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1974 Argosy 20
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My RV parts place in Missoula MT found that their supplier had one in stock in their warehouse in Utah, and ordered it for me. It came in a week, over 4th of July which delayed it a bit.

Prior to ordering it from them, I googled the Atwood number and found several places on line which sold them. The cost was about the same. I like to give my local RV place as much of my parts business as possible so they will stay viable and be able to get things for me when I need them. But, if you are having problems finding it, on line is the way to go. Mine was an Atwood 88007. Just Google it.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:21 PM   #22
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1974 Argosy 20
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Further post to rumrunner: I see you have an old '55 FC. The Atwood number may not be right for you. Look for local places that sell or build trailers, like horse trailers and cargo trailers. They have experience with couplers and sources to get them. The trailer builder that I had mine removed and welded on had a number of couplers in stock, including the excellent Bulldog coupler. However, I finally opted for the OEM Atwood for reasons outlined in the posts above.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:04 PM   #23
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2013 25' Flying Cloud
san mateo , California
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Atwood & Andersen hitch

Idroba, checked my vintage Atwood coupler and no cracks and all good. I'm concerned though on the rearward pressure
that my Andersen appllies to that locking wedge mechanism wearing out. It's good now but I could see it wearing out
in the future and being pushed upward dropping the ball. Wondering what design improvements that Atwood has done
inspiring your confidence? Atwood has that wrap-around yoke style latch but 8000 lbs capacity,which might hold the
latch down some but not sure as the rearward pressure is really tremendous. I really have to keep a close eye on mine
as i love the Andersen hitch.
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