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Old 06-27-2012, 06:08 PM   #1
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I need a new coupler and your advice

I have just installed a new Andersen WD hitch on my beloved '74, 20' Argosy which has been extensively renovated and is a perfect trailer for me. This morning I was un hitching the new system and looking at the pressure points on the ball on the Andersen hitch. The ball is locked in place for the most part and is not the pivot point as it is with most WD hitches. As no grease is used I had previously de-greased the coupler but had not inspected it carefully.

What I found in the coupler were two hairline cracks, one you can see in the attached photo at the bottom of the picture. They are not new, and were not caused by my 50 miles of tow yesterday with the new hitch. They have been there and the coupler needs to be replaced.

I have done the search of the forum and see my options look to be:

1. An original type Atwood
2. A Bulldog type coupler
3. A Quickbite coupler
4. Some other conventional coupler, other than the Atwood

All will require the old coupler to be removed and a new one welded on. That will be the significant cost part of the job. The coupler cost differences are not real important to me. The rear pressure direction caused by the Andersen hitch loading (if you are following the Andersen user's thread) is of some concern.

Bart, I know, favors the Bulldog and I like what I see, and it has been made absolutely forever (since the 1930's). The original Atwood has been used by Airstream for many years and I believe is a good design. The Quickbite looks to be another nice design but I have no real problems in hooking up to a conventional ball by dropping on to it.

What do you say, users? Any more advice?

And to all, if you have a high milage well used Airstream or Argosy, learn from what I found and de-grease you coupler socket, take a strong light, look inside and see if you note any wear or cracks. I can catch my fingernail on the one seen in the photo at the bottom. The one that does not show is visible, but very hard to feel. BTW, the big grove in the center is part of the coupler design, it is not the crack. The crack is the y shaped thin line at the bottom of the photo.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:09 PM   #2
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Idroba, thanks for the info. Since just about everything on my Argosy needs replacing, I will check mine out. Keep us updated on your decision.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:41 PM   #3
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I have a new Quickbite still in the box and I think it's going to be just perfect for those of us that prefer to hook up without help. It seems well built and pretty much fool proof for being sure you are locked in.

With the way the jaws are designed however, I'm not sure a W/D system that puts a lot of rearward pressure on the coupler would be the right combination. The other option that I gave serious consideration to was the Atwood Yoke Style.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:56 PM   #4
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Ganglin: I was just researching the Quickbite and found a Youtube video on unhitching it which indicated that "backing into the ball with the wheels chocked" would allow some pin to release. Since the Andersen hitch puts rear pressure on the ball all the time, it does look like the Quickbite and the Andersen system are not the best match, as you note.

Thanks for you input.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:56 PM   #5
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I really liked the Atwood yoke on my Basecamp... my Intl' has the Atwood flip...

I've seen both on eBay for around $45... I'm sure a shop could do the swap in an hour or less, so it's a pretty cheap fix...
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:02 AM   #6
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I have been doing more coupler research tonight and find the Bulldog coupler is about 4 to 5 inches longer than the original Atwood coupler. That becomes a problem with my new Andersen hitch as it makes the hook up brackets need to be farther forward and my propane tanks are in the way. My snap up brackets on the old Reese/Draw Tight would have the same issue, so I guess the Bulldog coupler is also out of the running.

The original Atwood is looking like the best choice so far.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:06 AM   #7
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Friday: the time to grind the original off seems to be the major cost in replacement. Indications are that it can be a difficult job as there is lots of weld to remove. I know nothing about welding, so it all seems like magic to me that welds can be removed at all. LOL.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:19 AM   #8
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Question about grease on the ball.

Hi, you say this hitch doesn't need grease on the ball because the ball turns with the coupler. Is this also stated by the hitch manufacturer? Even though the ball doesn't turn in the coupler, it does twist from side to side when for example you are going up a driveway or any un-level area. If your tow vehicle goes over a rise in the road, only on one side, then the tow vehicle would lift and fall and the trailer would also lift and fall. So what I'm saying is there still is going to be some metal to metal movement between the ball and the coupler.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:00 AM   #9
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For those that are looking at the Quickbite... Here's some pic's of my installation a while back... (11/2008) http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...day-46178.html

It's been a trouble free coupler - easy to hook/unhook - no grease - BIG HEAVY SS 'jaws' that entirely encapsulate the hitch ball... By design, it's virtually impossible for the ball to come out of the QB coupler when hitched & pinned properly...

Having used the QB coupler, I disagree with the above opinion of it's compatibility with the Anderson WD hitch... The 'jaws' on the AB are massive, and are secured when hitched with a heavy steel 'strap' and held in place with two large steel pins...

There is a clearance 'gap' in the jaws at the rear when in the 'hitched' position... however there is still plenty of 'meat' that completely encloses the ball that would provide lots of support for the Anderson's WD application, IMHO...

One other note... You can see in my pic's that we removed the old coupler entirely, and started from scratch... The QB's 'V' shaped end of their couple is actually designed to fit OVER (clearance'd) the old coupler, after the old ball socket end has been cut and ground away...

I didn't realize this feature until we had removed the old coupler, and had to use some 1/4" steel spacers on each side at the rear of the QB to fill in the GAP... Had we known, it would have been a much easier/quicker installation...

Happy Trails...
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:13 AM   #10
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Idroba - I'm going to bow to Mexray's opinion on the Q/B. They have actually installed and used it where my observation is based on looking at the parts in a box. The rear gap in the jaws with the rearward pressure was my concern but Mexray does not seem to think that will be an issue. You can see that gap in photo 4 that Mexray posted. It is one massive coupler.
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Old 06-28-2012, 10:04 AM   #11
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Mexray: Very helpful information in your post. Because of my drop stinger on the Andersen, there is not much clearance between the front of my existing Atwood coupler and the drop mount. It might be 3/4". I am wondering if the Quickbite is longer from the ball to the coupler front when closed than it would be with the Atwood. Is there any way for you to measure the ball center to front of coupler when closed dimension on your AS?

Thanks for the info on the grind off the front and weld on top of the old coupler idea. Do you think that would put the ball farther forward than on the original setup? If so, I again get back into the chain length and location of the chain mount brackets with the Andersen.

I am off to the big city (Missoula MT) to maybe see some couplers at a place I know there.

Again, all comments and ideas are very much appreciated.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:03 PM   #12
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Here's some add'l pics I took this morning:

1. shows the o'head view with about 5" from the ball center line back to the beginning of the 'V' in the frame.

NOTE: the two heads of the jaw pins, shown on the top of the QB are essentially the center line of the hitch ball socket...the jaws rotate outward on these pins...

If you refer to some of my previous pics you can see that the QB moves the ball center line FORWARD about 2" when compared with the original coupler...

2. shows a side view of the 'lip' of the QB jaws that are 2-1/2" from the ball center line...

3. another top view, showing the center line of the ball, forward to the end of the jaws is 2-1/2" - the perspective isn't great in my pic, but it is 2-1/2 inches...

I don't know what the 'clearance' measurement of the Anderson's mounted ball center line to the shank is - but you'll need a bit over 2-1/2" for a QB to clear and work properly...Perhaps someone with an Anderson can post that measurement here for us to evaluate...

Hope this helps...
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, you say this hitch doesn't need grease on the ball because the ball turns with the coupler. Is this also stated by the hitch manufacturer?
Yes, no grease required or recommended. I discussed this in depth with them before and during the purchase of mine. I have almost 3000 miles on mine so far and see no need to use any grease at all.
Lots of good information on the Andersen site, videos, etc. Andersen Manufacturing Inc.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:20 PM   #14
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Idroba, according to Dave Andersen links can be added or removed from the chain as necessary. You might have to contact them directly to find out how much for your situation. They added 3 links from the standard for mine before sending it to me to have the proper clearance for the tank mounts.
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