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Old 09-20-2020, 07:50 PM   #1
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Coupler latch not opening

Just got to our campground after a long drive. When I went to unhitch the latch on the coupler would not lift up. Fortunately the guy in the next site helped me out. Between moving the jack up and down and wiggling the truck slightly up and back it finally popped up. I have seen other post talk about lubricating. Would this help? What do you use for a lubricant? And exactly what/where are you lubricating? I appreciate feedback.
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Old 09-20-2020, 08:29 PM   #2
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I wash mine out with brake cleaner and spray everything up in the ball socket with white grease to lube it. I also use the red tube and give the latch a spray from the top down.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:11 PM   #3
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If you have the older style (metal release/lock pin) the internals quickly rub down to bare metal, which rusts just enough to create a lot of friction with any tension or compression through the hitch. Chock the trailer wheels and make sure the TV hasn’t rolled tight in either direction. Now that it is free, give it a shot of WD 40 or similar and exercise the mechanism to distribute the lubricant to all internal surfaces.
White grease is fine for the ball (some swear by it on other threads) and some will migrate to the coupler, but the spray is quicker.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:16 PM   #4
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Grease is your friend use it liberally. It does pick up road grime so clean it off every few months. Solvent can help as was mentioned, but a rag or paper towel does fine if it has not been too long.
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Old 09-21-2020, 05:01 AM   #5
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Were you parked on a flat site or was it sloped?

Sloped, the coupler is pulling away from or into the hitch ball. It's still hooked not floating inside the coupler to ball.

Grease, yup. Clean inside coupler once in a while, same.

I helped a solo camper hook up last outing and the top of the ball was all gouged and tore up just below the flat spot on the top. I suggested grease and gave her several small packs. If it's damaging the ball, it's damaging the inside of the coupler. Don't need that.

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Old 09-21-2020, 06:13 AM   #6
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Thinking about it, I usually had trouble when the coupling was under compression,, as in backing up a slope. My prefers sites on the outside of the loop, for privacy. With a water view, that slopes down away from the loop, leaving the ball nestled against the solid front of the coupler. The mechanism doesn’t bind, but she experiences a nice little jolt inside when the trailer is raised up.
Lubrications is always good!
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Old 09-21-2020, 06:33 AM   #7
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If you have a spare 2 5/16" ball you can insert it and latch it closed. Now push the ball back into the coupler as if its hitch pointed downhill pushing against TV. Now release and try to drop the ball straight down I bet its fighting the latch. Same if trailer is hitch pointed uphill repeat trial but pull ball out away from hitch like its pulling against TV.

It wants to be closely centered and able to drop out.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:01 AM   #8
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There is a trick to unhitching, and the latch will bind if there is a load on it.


Do you have weight distribution bars like I do? If so, when you get parked you'll want to chock the tires (I use X-Chocks and a couple of pieces of 2x4), raise the front of the trailer with the jack to take the pressure off of the bars and remove them. Lower the front of the trailer until you see the tow vehicle stop moving down but the trailer is still going down.... stop the jack. This has taken the tongue weight off of the ball. At this point, the ball needs to be toward the front edge of the coupler so that the ball is not binding the latch/coupler. If you backed into your site, the ball is probably still putting pressure on the back of the coupler. If needed, move the tow vehicle ever so slightly forward. If there's nothing wrong with the latch, it should open easily. Disconnect the break-away cable, the 7-pin plug, and the safety chains. Then you can raise the front of the trailer and pull the tow vehicle ahead.



I showed a guy that trick after I had seen him beating on the coupler/latch trying to get unhitched. He was very appreciative. I saw him again at another site and he thanked me again for saving him from the frustration!


My dad showed me that process when I was a teenager..... made me look like I knew what I was doing the first time my wife and I went out with our Avion!
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:55 AM   #9
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One year I arrived at Alumalina and put on a show of how not to uncouple. Seriously, I tried all the Ninja tricks, from rocking the truck, bouncing on the bars, using the jack, nothing worked. I even removed the pin from the receiver and it didn't release.
For some unknown reason it did. After that I have liberally applied white lithium grease on the ball prior to every outing. Never another problem.OBTW, the latch was up/open, the clasp simply refused to release.
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:01 AM   #10
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I raise latch as much as I can then hit w/rubber mallet while holding latch up [not on under side] comes open very easy, reverse procedure if not locking. Have done this way for yrs. no damage, easy way & quick. Only use rubber mallet nothing metal. Warning only do this procedure when set firmly on ball not raised.
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Old 09-21-2020, 10:29 AM   #11
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I buy a small can of lithium grease with the removable plastic cap. I keep a box of the disposable rubber gloves and paper towels next to the grease in the storage compartment. I apply a very light film of grease to the ball and up in the coupling prior to hooking up. Keep the grease really light, excess grease just collects dirt. Everytime I unhook the trailer I wipe the grease off and apply new just before rehooking. It sounds like a lot of work but it really isn't and the benefits outway the work all day long. Each time it only takes one glove and 2 or 3 paper towels. Buy the smallest tub of grease, it lasts forever.

Don't overthink it, it is really simple.
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Old 09-27-2020, 10:15 AM   #12
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I found putting the TV in neutral helps, particularly with a newer vehicle. Chock your TV tires of course.
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Old 09-27-2020, 12:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulnGina View Post
There is a trick to unhitching, and the latch will bind if there is a load on it.


Do you have weight distribution bars like I do? If so, when you get parked you'll want to chock the tires (I use X-Chocks and a couple of pieces of 2x4), raise the front of the trailer with the jack to take the pressure off of the bars and remove them. Lower the front of the trailer until you see the tow vehicle stop moving down but the trailer is still going down.... stop the jack. This has taken the tongue weight off of the ball. At this point, the ball needs to be toward the front edge of the coupler so that the ball is not binding the latch/coupler. If you backed into your site, the ball is probably still putting pressure on the back of the coupler. If needed, move the tow vehicle ever so slightly forward. If there's nothing wrong with the latch, it should open easily. Disconnect the break-away cable, the 7-pin plug, and the safety chains. Then you can raise the front of the trailer and pull the tow vehicle ahead.


I showed a guy that trick after I had seen him beating on the coupler/latch trying to get unhitched. He was very appreciative. I saw him again at another site and he thanked me again for saving him from the frustration!
I'm still stuck with this problem. Last fall when I parked, I was on level paved ground. Jacked up and down making sure I was in that sweet spot. Tires on both vehicles chocked lightly. Never could get it to uncouple, and it had been greased. I ended up carefully pulling the hitch out of the tow vehicle by driving it forward, still attached. Once out, I tried pounding the living crap out of it in various configurations. Still attached. It's still on the floor of the garage [COVID has kept me from getting back to revisit it] stuck together. FWIW, I had it apart only a couple of days before.
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:28 PM   #14
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You probably have a Demco hitch. It’s different. Be sure to check out this thread. https://www.airforums.com/forums/f46...ch-201251.html
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:31 PM   #15
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You probably have a Demco hitch. It’s different. Do a search on this site for Demco hitch. Lots of useful info. ( I posted the link in another reply, but it has to wait for moderator approval.)
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:52 PM   #16
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To release, you have to have no pressure on the hitch, and slide the latch forward as you lift up.
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:25 AM   #17
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Safety Chains Last

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulnGina View Post
There is a trick to unhitching, and the latch will bind if there is a load on it.


Do you have weight distribution bars like I do? If so, when you get parked you'll want to chock the tires (I use X-Chocks and a couple of pieces of 2x4), raise the front of the trailer with the jack to take the pressure off of the bars and remove them. Lower the front of the trailer until you see the tow vehicle stop moving down but the trailer is still going down.... stop the jack. This has taken the tongue weight off of the ball. At this point, the ball needs to be toward the front edge of the coupler so that the ball is not binding the latch/coupler. If you backed into your site, the ball is probably still putting pressure on the back of the coupler. If needed, move the tow vehicle ever so slightly forward. If there's nothing wrong with the latch, it should open easily. Disconnect the break-away cable, the 7-pin plug, and the safety chains. Then you can raise the front of the trailer and pull the tow vehicle ahead.



I showed a guy that trick after I had seen him beating on the coupler/latch trying to get unhitched. He was very appreciative. I saw him again at another site and he thanked me again for saving him from the frustration!


My dad showed me that process when I was a teenager..... made me look like I knew what I was doing the first time my wife and I went out with our Avion!
I agree with all of this except the chains come off last. If the trailer is on a bind and comes off the ball, you don't want it rolling over your chocks and down a slope. Ask how I know this. Scary for sure.
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Old 09-28-2020, 06:56 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Mikebrady62 View Post
I agree with all of this except the chains come off last. If the trailer is on a bind and comes off the ball, you don't want it rolling over your chocks and down a slope. Ask how I know this. Scary for sure.

Ugh....... that would suck!!

Good point!! Thank you!
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