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Old 12-22-2019, 10:23 AM   #1
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Spruce , Michigan
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 25
Trailer hitch Ball Sticks

We just picked up a 2019 28 RBT International Serenity trailer. When hooking it up, it took some finagling to get the latch on the receiver to drop into its proper position where the holes for the latch and the plate on the receiver head to align. I assumed it was because the truck needed to move slightly forward or aft to take the pressure off the ball to allow the lever to drop into the proper position. After driving it to our RV site, when I tried to unlatch the lever, it would not release. Before we left the dealer, I sprayed a generous amount of silicone spray into that lever from the top of the lever where it enters the mount. We do not have the new hitch with the recall. This is the latch which is what Airstream has used forever. Any thoughts on what I can do to make sure it works freely. By the way, I also put a generous amount of vaseline on the ball before seating it. Suggestions?
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:05 AM   #2
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
Kansas City , Missouri
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We experienced a similar thing on our 27. We had perviously had a 25.

What we did were a couple of things.
1-there is a spring under the dome of the coupler. Make sure it is moving freely and you may need to get some equalizer lube on it (a little dab will do you)

2-more importantly, we found that we were actually running the jack too far down before clicking in the top latch on the coupler. Try flipping it much sooner, as soon as the coupler slips onto the ball. Once we started doing this we have had zero problems. The flip latch holes line up perfectly.

The mechanism in the coupler that snaps onto the ball is curved to hug the largest point diameter of the ball. If you run the jack too far down you have gone past the point that it needs to grab the hitch ball correctly.

ps-we didn't figure this out ourselves. A very kind man at our storage place who runs a lawn business helped us for about 20 minutes on a very hot Saturday morning to figure this out.

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Old 12-22-2019, 11:09 AM   #3
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Kansas City , Missouri
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Also, get familiar with the "tug forward and lift up" on the latch. When it is closed, the spring in it is snapped down flat. To open it you tug forward to release the spring off the ball and then flip up the latch.

Piggy Bank
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Old 12-22-2019, 12:50 PM   #4
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2018 25' International
Slidell , Louisiana
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Great advice piggy bank. The hitch design AS uses is quite simple, very strong and pretty bullet-proof but unfortunately they can be a bit finicky, mostly due to manufacturing variances. When the clearances are tight, you see the kind of issues mentioned here, but tight clearances dramatically reduces wear and extends life. When clearances are loose, it goes on easy but some anti-sway hitches experience performance problems.
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Old 12-23-2019, 10:52 AM   #5
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2014 27' FB International
Hooper , Utah
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Vaseline? You purchase ball lube which is a grease. Vaseline is not a lube used on hitches. A grease also works itself into the trailer hitch, but they also make a specific lube for that as well on the trailer tongue. Vaseline just heats up via friction on the hitch and runs off. Agree that the trailer hitch and towing ball sticks when they are not aligned and you must move your vehicle a bit. I often just jack up the trailer tongue higher and the two normally separate.
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:09 AM   #6
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1975 23' Safari
El Dorado Hills , California
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Trailer Ball Sticks

I agree, Vaseline is not that good to use. I recommend a thick "axle" grease, and be liberal with the amount you use.

I also agree that it is best to push the latch down as soon as the hitch is on the ball but not fully down with all the weight on it.
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:20 AM   #7
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on the road , TN
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Funny thing even on 2019 fc 26u hard getting it correct! A Fellow Airstreamer said when you get it on high lock it!
I spray mine with White Lithium Grease It stays right there does not run off!
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:22 AM   #8
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There is usually and adjustment by turning the nut at the bottom of the latch mechanism. If it is too loose the ball with jump around too much. If it is too tight, you will have too much preload on the ball which will make the latch hard to open and close. Also use spray lithium grease to lube the mechanism. A new latch almost always needs adjusting.

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Old 12-23-2019, 11:42 AM   #9
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2014 27' FB International
Clearwater , Florida
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Posts: 94
Hitch lock issues

I have found the first ball/hitch alignment is critical. Seems to work best when the ball is not too far back. Also grease is your friend. Good old high pressure grease. Moly/CV joint. And a ball cover to keep grease off you and dirt out. No adjustment on mine.
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:43 AM   #10
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2019 30' Classic
Brooklyn , New York
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I use Reese Hitch Ball Grease. I am new to towing an AS so I clean the ball an reapply it before every tow. I also apply Equal-i-zer High Performance Lubricant to the latches moving parts. It may be overkill, but I make this part of my routine.
Reese Hitch Ball Grease: https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...ese/58117.html Equal-i-zer High Performance Lubricant: https://www.equalizerhitch.com/store...ance-lubricant
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:49 AM   #11
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
Yorba Linda , California
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I had a 2015, 27fb with no hitch problem, now my 2019, 27fb gets hard to remove the hitch. I installed rock flaps and bar to the receiver and I can jiggly the ball. I found this works sometimes.
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Old 12-23-2019, 12:05 PM   #12
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2016 30' International
Quartz Hill , California
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Posts: 285
I also had trouble getting my latch to properly align with the holes. The service tech at my local Airstream dealer showed me an easy solution.
If the holes don't align, simply raise the electric jack until the latch clicks into place. I have used this technique for a couple of years now. It has never failed to work.
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Old 12-23-2019, 12:43 PM   #13
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2007 30' Classic S/O
Somewhere , South Carolina
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Something you could try is get a ball that is not bolted to anything and clean out the coupler. Then with the latch in the open position insert the ball by hand then feel the looseness. Now latch it and feel the fit of the ball latched. Should be a lot less "sloppy". Then with the ball latched hold the shank and open the latch. It should drop out cleanly. As others have started, lube will help and getting the coupling and ball in just the right spot for it to lock or release.

And I just noticed there are 27 guests looking at your thread right now. 1:42 EST.

Good luck,

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Old 12-23-2019, 01:06 PM   #14
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Clayton , Georgia
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Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post
Also, get familiar with the "tug forward and lift up" on the latch. When it is closed, the spring in it is snapped down flat. To open it you tug forward to release the spring off the ball and then flip up the latch.

I second this. It's easy to forget at first and try to just pull up on the latch. Gotta move it forward first! Also lots of grease is good. I use the stuff that's used for packing wheel bearings. About once a year I clean out all the old grease that's gotten dirt impregnated in it and smear fresh grease all over the ball and in the coupler.
Erik & Carol
Clayton, Georgia
AS: 2018 Flying Cloud 28 "Baby Zeppelin"
TV: 2017 Ford F250 Lariat w/ Blue Ox Sway Pro
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Old 12-23-2019, 01:41 PM   #15
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We use lithium grease (don't get it on your chothes) - We have found the coupler sticks when the ball is pressed tight against the lever latch. What we do is pull forward a bit then chock the truck so it doesn't roll back when put in park - allow the chocks a very small bit of slack on the trailer so it can flex (move a bit) then uncouple ( lift with Jack ) this usually happen when a a bit of a slope.
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:24 PM   #16
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2019 30' International
Pennsylvania , Pennsylvania
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OP is gone, must be out tryin' to get that hitch undone.

I never have the problem with reindeer towin'.

Anyway, when hitching up, I try and have my ball positioned just a wee bit forward of center, the receiver seems to like to plop down on real nice that way, and the latch cooperates nicely.

Sometimes, when raising the trailer receiver to unhitch, the ball will stick in there, she'll then pop off, and I can watch the truck settle rearward a bit, so it's important for me to try and have the rig level, throw the truck out of gear, hit the e brake, throw it in park, in that order.

A couple times a year I'll clean out the receiver, up in under there, grease/grime cutter, clean it out real good, plus, I like to do the same with the ball, clean it off, and then grease it up real nice.
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Old 12-24-2019, 07:11 AM   #17
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I had this problem with a new hitch and new truck. In addition to the grease I found if I put the truck in neutral (chock tires) it allowed it to move around some to free up from the trailer. Then a simple bounce up and down on bumper would pop it off.
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Old 12-24-2019, 08:42 AM   #18
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Tampa , Florida
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Here's what helped me.
1. When hitching, I try to position the truck a tiny bit forward, so as the coupler falls on the ball, it pulls the trailer forward. This prevents the latch from getting caught on top of the ball.
2. Tube of 'White Lithium Grease'. Every time I hitch up, I put a generous dollop of grease on the ball. Yes, it makes the ball covered in grease, but unhitching has never again been a problem.
3. Buy a ball cover so your pants legs have a chance of staying clean.
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Old 12-24-2019, 10:22 AM   #19
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2019 30' International
Spring , Texas
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I always need to raise/lower the trailer until there is no pressure on the ball. You can see that point when raising when the weight is off the ball, right before the hitch starts to pull the ball up. At that point, itís easy to open/close the lever.
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Old 12-27-2019, 11:04 AM   #20
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2003 28' Classic
Stillwater , Oklahoma
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Make sure the ball is as vertical as it can be. This adjustment can be made on your hitch. If it is canted back or forward my hitch won't seat properly.
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