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Old 01-07-2015, 11:53 AM   #1
Rivet Master
1998 30' Excella 1000
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 546
Anderson Hitch and Atwood Coupler

OK, now I do not want to restart the "for and against" debate on this hitch. I would just like to gather some data.

If you have this hitch and have kept your original Atwood coupler:

-About how long/how many trips have you been using it?
-Have you had damage to the coupler?
+ shark fin, latch or internal failure?
-Have you modified the coupler?
+3/8" bolt in latch?
+safety strap/chain over coupler?

I am aware that some have replaced the coupler. Any info regarding how the original coupler performed, before it was replaced, would also be appreciated.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:29 PM   #2
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
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We used the Andersen on a 4,000 mile trip around the country, then learned of this incompatibility problem. The latch fin began to show some wear, but the great amount of stress the assembly was under was more visible on the ball and inside the Atwood coupler and hitch ball which showed sever wear for the distance traveled, as well as the friction material which was being deformed and squeezed out of its position. I could see the risk of something breaking and uncoupling from the truck.

We didn't change couplers, we changed hitches.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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Old 01-07-2015, 01:41 PM   #3
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Fairbanks , Alaska
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We have somewhere around 20k on the Anderson with our 25'. First 5k was with the standard latch type coupler, however I had carefully enlarged the latch for a 3/8" bolt as you mention. This took all the slop out of the latch and in the 5k I saw absolutely no sign of wear on the latch. With all the hoopla over this coupler(and the fact that our spring trips to the SW are at least 10k miles of towing) I changed to one of "approved" type from Atwood and have put another 15k or so on that one.

With the new one, I'd need to look up the p/n, no wear on the latch but as Doug mentioned you do see wear on the ball and the internal shoe or whatever the call the part that pushes against the ball. I do keep these parts cleaned and greased, I never run it dry as I have heard said you can do, and the wear seems to be within reason. I.E. not enough to make me think there is any type of failure in process. There is also some extrusion of the friction material as Doug mentioned but on mine it seems to have stabilized after a certain amount took place and is functioning fine.

Last item is we have run in temps down to -30 deg F and the friction material and the urethane springs seem to fine.
"When you find yourself in a hole - quit digging!"

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Old 01-07-2015, 04:20 PM   #4
Rivet Master
1998 30' Excella 1000
Livingston , Texas
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Posts: 546
Crisen, I had not thought of the idea to lube the internal part of the hitch latch. Sounds like a good idea. Thanks--
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:02 PM   #5
retired USA/USAF
2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,413
I use the Anderson and still have the original atwood coupler. I use a pin after latching to secure the coupler to the ball. I keep an eye on the fin and have not noticed anything to indicate the beginnings of failure. As a precaution I also have a new coupler to replace the atwood but, as of this time, have not felt any urgency to install it.
We do about 10k-12k miles / year with our rig. I have also not observed any of the friction material finding it's way out of place on the hitch. Next summer will bring us out west again and if we end up near the Anderson people I would like to stop for a visit and look into updating some of the hitch features that have been modified since getting ours.

Ours has been installed now for 2 full years and I am happy with it's performance.
Roger in NJ

" Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the rest"
Winston Churchill 1948

TAC - NJ 18

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Old 01-11-2015, 07:20 PM   #6
Rivet Master
1998 30' Excella 1000
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 546
Polarlyse, thanks for the feedback. I've been wondering where all the Anderson users had gone to....
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:02 PM   #7
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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I was a fairly early user of the Andersen hitch. I had it on my '74 Argosy 20' with original coupler. I used it for a couple of thousand miles and one day decided to clean the grease out of the coupler. When I did that I found that there were internal cracks in the inner cup of the coupler which had probably been there for a very long time. I would estimate that the trailer has over 200 K on it. There was slop in the ball/coupler too. I decided to change the coupler for a new one. This was prior to the finding by Andersen that the particular coupler used by Airstream was not the best one. So, the replacement was a new Atwood of the same type as original.

BTW, even with the old coupler, and wear, cracks and slop the hitch remained hitched and the trailer towed beautifully.

After the new coupler all was well, still towed beautifully.

Then Andersen issued the warning about the coupler.. which I had just replaced.

I could see no reason to change it again, so I have been using it. I have drilled out the pin hole on the coupler to exactly 3/8" and use a bolt through it which effectively eliminates the coupler movement and there is absolutely no wear showing anywhere on the coupler or fin.

I got a new 20' FC in June 2013. Same old coupler. Same solution, a drilled out 3/8 pin. Same great towing, same no wear on the new one. About 12 K of towing in two seasons on it.

A visit to the Andersen Factory and they liked the 3/8 bolt/pin solution and even photographed it. BTW that solution was not mine, someone else here proposed it.

I have seen NO wear on the ball of the Andersen hitch. None.

The friction material has undergone several changes and the system to hold the ball in place with a large C clip now keeps the ball from riding up and the friction material extruding. So, no issues there anymore. Andersen replaced my original ball assembly with no clip for a new one with clip, no charge at the factory.

Bottom line: still a great hitch, still no wear, still would not trade it for any other.
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Old 11-24-2016, 07:22 AM   #8
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San Tan Valley , Arizona
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Picture of the Pin Hole

OK, just to be sure I have this right would you mind taking a picture and posting of the 3/8" bolt installed in the pin hole.
I take it this is the pin hole that is on the coupler latch and in which a lock can be inserted to prevent the latch from being lifted and the coupler released?

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Old 11-26-2016, 01:20 AM   #9
4 Rivet Member
1991 25' Excella
Stanfield , Oregon
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 317
One of the big issues people have is not reading the instructions! You should not lube the ball while using an Anderson weight distribution hitch! That well damage the hitch and greatly reduce its effectiveness. Mine works excellent and has not shown any signs of wear or issue.
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Old 11-27-2016, 07:59 AM   #10
retired USA/USAF
2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,413
Since this thread has resurfaced I guess it's worth commenting on. This past summer we made a 3 month (14,000 mi) trip to and from Alaska. All together I figure we've put about 60,000 miles using the Andersen hitch since installing it fall of 2012. I still have the original atwood coupler. I have another one to install should problems surface but so far, so good.
Roger in NJ

" Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the rest"
Winston Churchill 1948

TAC - NJ 18

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Old 11-27-2016, 09:03 AM   #11
4 Rivet Member
1964 24' Tradewind
Lawrence , Kansas
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 289
I replaced my coupler with a Quickbite coupler when I installed the Anderson. It was one of the first things I did when I started renovating. I was more worried about having a 50 year old coupler than the Anderson vs coupler woes. My experience has been good with that combination. After thousands of miles and 3 years, I see no wear. The Anderson does not transfer weight as well as other couplers, but I am well within my TV limits. On the plus side, it is quiet, backs up well, the sway control is really good, and it controls bounce. Those things and the ease of use make it a winner for me.
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Old 11-27-2016, 11:28 AM   #12
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
Join Date: Aug 2003
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if you want some deep reading you can look at my original tread on the Andersen.

The current point of personnel confusing I see many asking is the question of lubing the ball. As one who has never lubed the ball in my first 40 years of towing, during the time when there was movement at the ball hitch interface, I can see no reason to even bring the topic up when using an Andersen. The only movement on the ball while using an Andersen is the very limited amount from porpoising, which the Andersen all but eliminates, and that from very slight left to right roll from changes in the road crowning. And my view has not changes in the last 5 years of towing with an Andersen.

Yes there is a problem with the Cheaper Atwood coupler and yes I replaced it with a Quick Bite very early. Lippert Corp bought the Quick Bite and shelved it for competitive reasons. So the best fix is no longer available. However the stronger Atwood coupler seams to hold up.
2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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