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Old 02-16-2013, 09:30 AM   #1361
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I have a 1965 streamline duke and I upgraded the coupler to a bull dog. I have the Andersen hitch. The last trip was about 800 miles and the hitch worked perfect. When i disconnected the hitch there was a huge groove worn into the upper front of the ball. I contacted Andersen and they sent me a new one. We took a 150 mile trip and the groove is in the new ball. Not sure if it will keep getting a bigger groove, or finally stop the wear after one it is seated.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:23 AM   #1362
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Sounds like the problem is with your coupler. Have you looked to see what is causing the groove.
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:00 PM   #1363
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Can you post a pic of the groove?Since the ball does not rotate in the coupler. It would be interesting to see what causes the groove.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:54 PM   #1364
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I have followed this thread since I joined the forum, reading about the advantages of the Andersen hitch, which I concur with, whether there is a problem with the hitch or with a worn out coupler, or if there is a problem at all. I purchased a hitch in January, installed it and last week took my AS on its first trip with this hitch. We went to Big Bend NP, an 800 mile round trip for us. I bought the trailer in December, 2012. It is a 2006 25' Safari. It was in pristine condition, having been used only 6 times. All evidence confirmed the lack of use and wear on the trailer, including the coupler. Also, having been aware of the potential problems with this hitch, I examined the coupler in detail prior to installing and using the hitch. After arriving at the park, I looked at the latch on the coupler and could see what I would term significant wear. On returning home, I saw that the wear had continued to damage the latch on the coupler. It appears to me that the coupler latch cannot continue to sustain this kind of damage and maintain its integrity. The catch will ultimately shear off and allow the ball to not be contained. I do not believe that in my case coupler wear could be culpable in the least for creating this situation. The only other component in the equation is the hitch itself. Does anybody have an explanation?
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:41 PM   #1365
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I just examined the latch on my Airstream and see absolutely zero wear, none. I've used the Andersen hitch 4,000 miles all through the country.

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Old 02-18-2013, 07:32 PM   #1366
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
I just examined the latch on my Airstream and see absolutely zero wear, none. I've used the Andersen hitch 4,000 miles all through the country.
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x2. About 6,000 for me.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:39 PM   #1367
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I have only towed a few hundred miles on my 2013 22' sport, without an Anderson. I have noticed a lot powder coat coming off, etc.

I can't tell in the pictures how much is just powder coat coming off, vs actual metal wear. From my experience, it doesn't take much at all for the powder coat to crack and come off up on the latch anywhere there is rubbing.

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Old 02-19-2013, 12:34 AM   #1368
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Does anyone know if couplers are, I'll call it regulated by the DOT as an independent component?
I don't see any markings like you see on tires for example.
Is the latch on the Atwood coupler a result of a requirement by some branch of the Government? A so called "improvement of design"?
Since the Marvel coupler is apparently no longer produced. I would ask the question. Would Marvel be required to upgrade their design if they were making couplers today?
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:14 AM   #1369
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It seems to me that Attwood needs to upgrade their couplers to the early Marvel produced couplers as they clearly seems the superior design to me.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:15 PM   #1370
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Insights on Andersen/ Atwood

Before lowering the trailer onto the ball insure that the chains arenít tight. The tension bolts ought to be flush with the tension nuts or less and definitely NOT protruding out. Now lower the trailer onto the ball, insuring that the ball has rested touching the TOP of the coupler housing. Latch it down and tighten the chains to your measurements, approximately 7-8 threads showing on the tension bolts. Observe that the latch has not risen and if it did the latch shoe is displaced and not seated ideally as designed. Perhaps this slight rise or displacement of that latch shoe when tightening the tension chains is vital as itís not seated optimally for maximum lateral pressure. At this point the latch shoe is seated and pinned towards the rear of the coupler held by the sum of WD tension applied. The idea here is that the ball and coupler are coupled as a unit, no movement, hence no grease necessary. Are there strong enough forces to cause a movement within the coupler? The high-density urethane spring will vary in tension as the trailer moves, by its nature as a dampening spring. It dampens these movements by expansions and compressions from any movement while on the road, (anti-bounce), feature. The chains will react to these movements but keeping the latch shoe still pinned tightly because the tension is constantly there. For people seeing wear the ball moves within the coupler grabbing the latch shoe along. For people that do not see a problem, their ball is solidly fused with the latch shoe as if theyíre welded together and the high-density urethane spring takes up or dampens all if not most of the movement along w/ car, trailer shocks, tires and so on. That ball/coupler moving as one held only by friction from thousands of pounds of pressure mustíve been difficult to achieve on couplers designed for movement thus packed with grease by the Andersen engineers. The tension applied by the WD of the Andersen is strong enough to hold the Atwood shoe in place with little to no movement for most users. Thus far it seems that way for this revolutionary hitch. It will take a lot of folks having problems before Andersen does anything or heaven forbid a major catastrophe on the road by one which is unlikely because of trailer safety brakes and chains. HowieDís idea , post #1299, of drilling a hole through the coupler and pinning that latch shoe in place is what the Andersen WD tension is intended to do on itís own.

Later this year I will post my experiences on just adding steel washers above the ball to eliminate or minimize any internal ball/coupler movement with the Andersen.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:06 PM   #1371
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All things considered I wonder if it might be a good idea to put a light coat of grease on the back of the ball to minimize any friction caused by vibration between the ball and the latch. Just a thought.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:31 PM   #1372
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dmand001, I just don't see the problem you describe, nor subscribe to these solutions to a problem we don't have. Are you sure you're just not dealing with a worn-out coupler?

Also, I do believe there is intended to be some vertical motion at the ball when going down the road, must be. The urethane bushings are there to dampen this motion.

Rich, although Andersen says grease is not needed, I do spray the chain tubes with a shot of lube, and wipe a bit on the ball before each use. I suspect too much lube could come down onto the friction surfaces, but I don't know if it could go into them.

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Old 02-20-2013, 02:40 PM   #1373
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There is NO movement between the coupler and ball when turning, as there is in a conventional ball and coupler.
The plate to which the chains are attached turns the ball as the coupler/trailer turn a corner. Therefor, there is no need to lubricate the ball.
The slight up and down movement created on rough roads should not create significant wear on the ball or coupler unless the ball and/or coupler are worn out from use in the convention mode where the coupler rotates on the ball when turning. If the coupler is that worn, it should be replaced, no matter what.
As for the 7-8 thread exposure when adjusting the tension. This should only be used if you have your brackets spaced at the 27"to 29" dimensions shown in the Andersen instructions.
In order to install the frame brackets where they will fit the best. Because of propane tank location especially. You may be required to lengthen or shorten the chains accordingly. This is stated in the Andersen installation and set up instructions.
In my case. When I measured the distance from the ball to the front of the trailer on each side of the "A" frame. I found there to be about 3/4" difference from one side to the other. The coupler had been welded on crooked. From the factory. Not that it matters, since the ball is round. It might shift to tow center by an eighth of an inch to one side. When I installed the frame brackets, I made sure they were set the same distance from the front of the trailer. Therefor one chain requires that the nut be turned in further for proper tension.
In light of this and the fact that in my case, longer chains were required. Only by one link. I came to the conclusion. That measuring the compression of the urethane bushing is a more accurate way of evenly tensioning the chains.
I don't attempt to tighten the chains while they are under tension. If I think more tension is required, I raise the trailer tongue while still coupled to the ball and make the adjustment. Then lower the tongue.
I don't remove the chains from the square tube when hitching or unhitched. I remove the shackles from the plate. It makes it easier to remove and install the plate without the extra weight of the chains.
This setup procedure has worked well for me. I have had no problems with the Marvel coupler up to this point. The latch pawl does not move, once coupled and latched.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:06 PM   #1374
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Angry Andersen Problem

Well, I read all the info on the Andersen Hitch and was impressed. I ordered one and had it installed like the directions stated, even did the spot weld on the brackets. Had problems on my first trip with the lock assembly and the claw shank pushing up. Apparently, the rearward forced was so great that the shank sheared off the front of the bracket that holds the claw down. Called Andersen and they said it was okay. However I ordered a new claw assembly and planned to install it during the Florida State Rally, which I did. Dave Schumann looked at the assembly and questioned it stability not have the claw locked down under the ball.

Installed the new assembly, but since the lock portion on the top was sheared off, it didn't matter. When I got home and lowered the jack to release some tension on the chains, the trailer popped off the ball even with the lever still locked.

Called Andersen and sent them a picture and they said they are working on the problem. Well, that's great but my coupler is ruined. I will have to buy a new Attwood coupler and pay someone to install it, grind off the brackets and go back to my Blue Ox.

However, there may be another option . . . purchase a Quickbite and have it installed. According to Andersen, it will work. However, the Attwood is $90 and the Quickbite is $180 plus installation.

I'll give Andersen some time to come up with a fix. I hope it is soon since I plan to stream in early May.

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Old 02-20-2013, 03:21 PM   #1375
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
dmand001, I just don't see the problem you describe, nor subscribe to these solutions to a problem we don't have. Are you sure you're just not dealing with a worn-out coupler?

Also, I do believe there is intended to be some vertical motion at the ball when going down the road, must be. The urethane bushings are there to dampen this motion.

Rich, although Andersen says grease is not needed, I do spray the chain tubes with a shot of lube, and wipe a bit on the ball before each use. I suspect too much lube could come down onto the friction surfaces, but I don't know if it could go into them.

doug k
This is not intended for you nor others with no problems and have peace of mind. My intention is to find a solution to the problem that some of us in this forum have expressed. Have you not read of some of the issues? Of course youíre ignorant of the issues we have as your set-up is perfect. Ours are not so perfect yet but will get there soon enough. Perhaps a worn out coupler, though one poster had almost a new coupler with wear issues, perhaps this or that, weíll see soon enough as long as thereís free, sincere information sharing in this forum. Others have concerns and in the end will find their peace of mind like you have, hopefully.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:38 PM   #1376
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floridalarry View Post
Well, I read all the info on the Andersen Hitch and was impressed. I ordered one and had it installed like the directions stated, even did the spot weld on the brackets. Had problems on my first trip with the lock assembly and the claw shank pushing up. Apparently, the rearward forced was so great that the shank sheared off the front of the bracket that holds the claw down. Called Andersen and they said it was okay. However I ordered a new claw assembly and planned to install it during the Florida State Rally, which I did. Dave Schumann looked at the assembly and questioned it stability not have the claw locked down under the ball.

Installed the new assembly, but since the lock portion on the top was sheared off, it didn't matter. When I got home and lowered the jack to release some tension on the chains, the trailer popped off the ball even with the lever still locked.

Called Andersen and sent them a picture and they said they are working on the problem. Well, that's great but my coupler is ruined. I will have to buy a new Attwood coupler and pay someone to install it, grind off the brackets and go back to my Blue Ox.

However, there may be another option . . . purchase a Quickbite and have it installed. According to Andersen, it will work. However, the Attwood is $90 and the Quickbite is $180 plus installation.

I'll give Andersen some time to come up with a fix. I hope it is soon since I plan to stream in early May.

See attached picture
By stacking flat stainless steel washers, about 1-1/4" in diameter above the ball before hitching prevents the ball from popping loose at least. Stack as much as possible to remove that gap bet' the ball and coupler but still being able to hitch properly. Try it, ran that idea w/ a Steve w/ Andersen and liked it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:56 PM   #1377
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floridalarry View Post
Well, I read all the info on the Andersen Hitch and was impressed. I ordered one and had it installed like the directions stated, even did the spot weld on the brackets. Had problems on my first trip with the lock assembly and the claw shank pushing up. Apparently, the rearward forced was so great that the shank sheared off the front of the bracket that holds the claw down. Called Andersen and they said it was okay. However I ordered a new claw assembly and planned to install it during the Florida State Rally, which I did. Dave Schumann looked at the assembly and questioned it stability not have the claw locked down under the ball.

Installed the new assembly, but since the lock portion on the top was sheared off, it didn't matter. When I got home and lowered the jack to release some tension on the chains, the trailer popped off the ball even with the lever still locked.

Called Andersen and sent them a picture and they said they are working on the problem. Well, that's great but my coupler is ruined. I will have to buy a new Attwood coupler and pay someone to install it, grind off the brackets and go back to my Blue Ox.

However, there may be another option . . . purchase a Quickbite and have it installed. According to Andersen, it will work. However, the Attwood is $90 and the Quickbite is $180 plus installation.

I'll give Andersen some time to come up with a fix. I hope it is soon since I plan to stream in early May.

See attached picture
If I were in your shoes I'd go with the Quickbite. It works with the Anderson and looks a lot easier to hoop up to the tow vehicle.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:11 PM   #1378
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I'm liking that idea more and more, but will give it some time....Andersen hopefully will come up with solutions as it's not only airstreamers involved here.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:40 PM   #1379
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floridalarry, The description you gave of your problem with the Andersen hitch exactly coincides with the problem I am having with mine. The difference is that I have used mine little enough (800 miles) that is has not yet sheared off the catch for the latch. If I continue to use it as set up, that will be the ultimate conclusion. As for it being caused by a worn out coupler, the coupler on my trailer has less than 5000 miles and likely less than 3000 miles, based on all observable criteria. I have not talked to Andersen but will in the next day or two. While changing to a Quickbite coupler may be an option, I don't recall seeing that as a requirement on the Andersen website or advertisements. I am considering a bead on each side of the catch to the end of the catch, not just part way on the side as it came from the factory. My question is whether that would solve the problem or transfer the force to another component on the coupler, such as the latch itself. It may be that the only reason the latch itself is not breaking is because the catch is shearing off first. I am still in a quandary as to what the ultimate, long term solution should be.
Thanks to all of you for your suggestions and input.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:32 PM   #1380
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floridalarry, I can see where that may be possible after studying my hitch. Should it happen, I can't see how the ball could come out of the coupler with the chains tensioned, but with the broken latch the ball may fall out when chain tension is released.

The problem seems to be inside the coupler, where the coupler and the latching mechanism do not form a nice inner sphere to hold the ball. Instead the latching mechanism protrudes into the inner sphere of the coupler, allowing the ball to constantly push against it.

The Andersen puts considerable force on the back of the coupler, and so would hard braking, especially if the brake controller was adjusted lightly or if the brakes became disconnected.

My impression is the Atwood coupler is a clunky design, should form a nice round pocket for the ball, but it doesn't.

The Quickbite coupler does indeed appear to be a superior design, not only to preclude these issues, but ease of hookup as well. Does anyone have an issue with the Quickbite? Do we have some estimates to install one?

doug k
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