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Old 05-30-2008, 09:24 PM   #1
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Loose Ball Nut - CAUTION

Hi ALL,

It was barely perceptible. But, last Monday on loading up, I was not 100% lined up with the ball when I lowered the tongue onto it. I thought I saw the ball slide a little sideways. So I reached down and tried to turn the nut, but it wouldn't move. Thinking that nearly all of the stress on the ball's shaft is horizontal sheer vs. vertical and that the Reese load leveling bars tend to push the tongue down onto the ball, I thought I'd chance it and check it at home after parking the trailer. At home with the trailer load off it, sure enough, I could move the ball a bit. I don't have a wrench big enough to fit (It's a huge nut), so I took it to a shop where they had to scrounge to find something that would fit. They did and it's tight now. The guy at the shop grinned when I gave him a 20 for his time and attention. That's a cheap, big trouble avoidance cost.

This post is strictly intended as a serious CAUTION to everyone to check for loose ball nuts to avoid dangerous situations. That nut might have been loose for years and ready to vibrate down and off -- I have no way of knowing.

Hope I got your attention,
Walt
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:27 PM   #2
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That's a good post on possibly a huge problem...Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:34 PM   #3
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i like to put a little burr in the thread at the edge to keep the nut from spinning off on it's own. just a small one will do in case i need to remove the nut.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:36 PM   #4
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My Nut was loose too

Before my last trip I put on a new 2 5/16" ball with a 1" shank and lock washer and really torqued that sucker down good. When I got back it was loose as a goose
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:55 PM   #5
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I bought a hitch wrench,big-big box end w/2 different sizes,always check before hooking up.I think Reese makes the wrench,I got mine at Tractor Supply.
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:57 PM   #6
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I took mine to the local RV place and had the Incredible Hulk guy in the back get after it with a wrench the size of a third world country. I think he also put a lock washer on it, too.

Good advice, Walt.

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Old 05-31-2008, 05:48 AM   #7
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Tightnut

LOCTITE
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:59 AM   #8
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ditto on the locktite, also you can turn your hitch 90 degrees in the reciever to allow you to stand on the wrench when tightening the nut.

if you see ANY rust around the base of the ball it is probably loose!

i figure they are consumable items and replace mine every 2 years or so, cheap insurance for about 20 bucks for a new one!

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Old 05-31-2008, 09:41 AM   #9
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I don't think the problem is the ball nut vibrating loose, If the ball clamp is tight, everytime you go around a corner you are putting a ton of torque into unscrewing the ball.

Be sure the ball clamp allows the ball to rotate freely, expecially if you have adjusted or replaced the clamp latching mechanism.
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:49 AM   #10
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markdoane makes a good point about friction. That is one of the reasons I grease the hitch ball every time I hitch up. I also wipe the ball dry every time I unhitch. That removes any grit it may have picked up and prevents my yellow lab from getting an ugly smudge from it. I use Reese's hitch ball lube.
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:07 AM   #11
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don't forget to clean the hitch and latch too.
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:01 PM   #12
More than one rivet loose
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Clark
LOCTITE
LOCTITE blue not red. you will not get the red loose ever again.
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:21 PM   #13
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Cool good thread

Thanks driver1, a good message for all. My first purchases after buying our AS was a torque wrench, large thin walled socket and a Reese wrench for the Equalizer hitch nuts/bolts. A little bit more than the $20 for the mechanic, but they fit in the truck better than a mechanic (and no kidnapping charges).

time
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:13 PM   #14
2006 F350 V10 Ext. Cab LB
 
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Is there a recommended torque for these nuts?

Walt
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