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Old 04-18-2009, 10:45 PM   #1
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To grease or not to grease

I was recently told that it is "old school" to grease the hitch ball.

I've been greasing the ball for many years, just like I saw my Dad do.

Why would it be better to leave the ball dry?

Mike Brumback
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:49 PM   #2
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I was told the same thing by a trailer repair shop. His explanation of that advice is, the grease will accumulate dirt and water, and cause more wear than a dry connection.
He did admit it is better to grease before use, provided you thoroughly clean the ball and coupler first.
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:56 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Grand Master View Post
I was recently told that it is "old school" to grease the hitch ball.

I've been greasing the ball for many years, just like I saw my Dad do.

Why would it be better to leave the ball dry?

Mike Brumback
1963 Tradewind
My 7000th post.

Physics says when one piece of metal moves on another piece of metal, it should have some type of lube.

Not lubing the hitch ball will cause scoring on the ball as well as wear. It will also contribute to excessive wear on the "fork" in the coupler, that no one ever looks at.

Have enough of that happen and the coupler will no longer stay on the ball.

Lube the ball, all you want. It harms nothing, ever.

Not lubing the ball is not wise, by any standards.

Even Simon "says," along with Mother Superior, too.

Andy
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:57 PM   #4
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If you love it, lube it! The next question is, dry lube, silicon, lithium, grease, machine oil, synthetic, etc. dunno!
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:59 PM   #5
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If you love it, lube it! The next question is, dry lube, silicon, lithium, grease, machine oil, synthetic, etc. dunno!
Probably the best thing is a good wheel bearing grease.
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:09 PM   #6
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I have seen one instance in my life where the trailer needed to get its ground through the hitch, and too much grease prevented grounding of the trailer and lights on the trailer did not work. This was a car hauler and not a camping trailer. If trailer connector provides the ground and if all parts are clean prior to geasing, either a little or a lot of grease is better than none. My opinion.

Roger
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:10 PM   #7
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Two metal parts, joined together, moving is separate directions, cause friction. lubricants allow free movement and reduce the friction/wear. Lubricant costs $1.50 per 200 application. Cheep insurance for the user, no mater what the product.
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:36 AM   #8
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Hi, I found and use a teflon trailer ball lube. I think it is made by Reese. It is a good idea to wipe it clean and re-apply once in a while so you don't get dirt built up in/on it.
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:25 AM   #9
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Hi, I found and use a teflon trailer ball lube. I think it is made by Reese. It is a good idea to wipe it clean and re-apply once in a while so you don't get dirt built up in/on it.
That's the same product that I've been using for a number of years. Reese also recommends greasing the ball, and that's good enough for me. I smear a smal amount on every time that I hitch up.

I also always have a roll of paper towels handy and wipe the grease off as soon as I unhitch (hopefully before I bump into the greasy ball and get it all over my pants!), and then put a cover over the ball so it stays nice and clean until the next time I hitch up.
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Old 04-19-2009, 05:20 AM   #10
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I had the nut on a ball loosen because the unlubed ball was turned by the coupler. I don't think it would have happened if it was lubed.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:42 AM   #11
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Yep.....even with the Hensley. Clean and grease every Spring when I re-install.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:55 AM   #12
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I clean from time to time and keep lots of grease on the ball. Since I now have a lock for the hitch head, I tend to leave it on when unhitched. Barb gave me some "hitch hats"—some plastic things that look like small shower caps (it's amazing to me how women have all these strange things, but have so few wrenches) to put on the ball when we drive around—plus some rubber bands to keep it on. The grease will collect dirt regardless, but grease plus some dirt is better than dirt and no grease.

Whether or not I have grease on the ball, my clothes will seek and find grease somewhere. My experience is that with all the sitting on the ground, even using a tarp, dealing with grease and dirt and sewer, and the rest of it, clothes, especially pants, get dirty pretty fast while traveling with a trailer. Then the dirt gets transferred to the cheap cloth on the cushions inside. How did Wally always look so clean?—I travel looking like a hobo.

I'm wondering how long the "fork" in the coupler (that I have never looked at) lasts?

Gene
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:11 AM   #13
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I clean from time to time and keep lots of grease on the ball. Since I now have a lock for the hitch head, I tend to leave it on when unhitched. Barb gave me some "hitch hats"—some plastic things that look like small shower caps (it's amazing to me how women have all these strange things, but have so few wrenches) to put on the ball when we drive around—plus some rubber bands to keep it on.
you can always cut a hole in an old tennis ball to pop over the ball. It'll keep the grease contained (more or less), and the bright lime green color may attract your attention enough so you don't walk into it.
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:19 AM   #14
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Whether or not I have grease on the ball, my clothes will seek and find grease somewhere. My experience is that with all the sitting on the ground, even using a tarp, dealing with grease and dirt and sewer, and the rest of it, clothes, especially pants, get dirty pretty fast while traveling with a trailer. Then the dirt gets transferred to the cheap cloth on the cushions inside. How did Wally always look so clean?—I travel looking like a hobo.
Gene
In your locale would not in season "birthday suit maintenance" be an option?
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