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Old 05-16-2012, 03:47 PM   #41
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Coupler latches are adjustable; there is a big nut on the bottom that should ALWAYS be checked. You can adjust how tight the coupler grabs the ball. If you never check this, and tow for 80,000 miles, it's bound to develop play (due to never tightening the nut or checking it) which of course could cause the trailer to come off the ball. Not saying that that is what happened here, but I thought checking your coupler tension was as common as checking your lug nuts. Maybe it's not...
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:52 PM   #42
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Good discussion! Something to think about. I've replaced the ball 1 time due to pitting. Reese makes a hitch lube called "On the Ball". It is a dark liquid but is very thick. Another manufacturer, I think is Starbrite (they make other products in the RV industry) has a white hitch lube that is the consistency of cold creme. You put that on with your finger. I've used that product also.

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Old 05-16-2012, 05:01 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by ggoat!!! View Post
Coupler latches are adjustable; there is a big nut on the bottom that should ALWAYS be checked.
Thanks for that tip. Something new I now have learned.

I use wheel bearing grease on the ball. I clean it off every couple of days and put new grease on to keep the grease clean.

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Old 05-16-2012, 05:03 PM   #44
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For years, I've used Therma-Plex Lo-Temp bearing grease on the hitch ball. It is a very stiff grease, just slightly softer than warm parafin wax! I haven't seen any wear and tear on the ball or the coupler after pulling the trailer around 110,000 miles, but I am going to look it over very closely before the next trip.

I've researched greases a bit and there is a grease that is popular with backhoe and excavator people for it's "no pound-out" properties. Pound out occurs when pin and bearing surfaces are forced together in an abrupt manner forcing the grease out of the joint. These new greases are extremely resistant to pound out. I know one is made by Mobil, but I'd have research it to get the name. I'm planning to use it on my wheel bearings when I put on new brakes, hubs, bearings etc. this summer. I think I'll also start using it on my hitch ball.

One of the pound-out resistant greases is:
AMSOIL Synthetic Polymeric Off-Road Grease
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:10 AM   #45
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Thanks for that tip. Something new I now have learned.
I'll second this. I had no idea it was adjustable. Thanks.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:12 AM   #46
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I think the most valuable chore for hitches is cleaning away the old lube on a regular schedule so any scoured away chrome or iron metals dispersed and suspended in the grease will not be active in cutting away more metal no matter what lube you choose.

I'm with petroleum jelly for light duty irregular towing, the best grease gets ugly - like Dr Seuss's stain it becomes a sequential adventure in cleaning where the stain is transferred from X to Y to YU and back again.

I was gifted with a broken case of aerosol Lubriplate pintle hitch grease back in the 80's (still using it) and I've used it on everything from tractors and hitches, electric hedge trimmer cutters and limb pruners to mowers, bicycles and motorcycles. It has a penetrating action of going on thin with the propellant and carriers bubbling & boiling away that helps fill teeny voids. This grease is similar to what the subway railcar fleet I worked on used on their coupler hitches.

What I like about X-357 is it dries to a dryish coating that resists gathering dust & sand or having an huge oil content creep out into black fuzz. What I don't like about it is its ability to amplify a spot on clothing or shoes into 8-15 different stains on multiple items across hours of inattentiveness. Also it's meant to be applied daily/weekly on heavy equipment so the build up around the pound-out areas re-wets the pressure points to some degree - so its a 1/4" thick crust just waiting for kids, dogs, trousers and cargo to leave its mark on.

Guess one can't have everything... but a coupler ball cover and regular rag wipe downs of the safety chains and coupler area makes ugly grease more livable.

"LUBRIPLATE X-357 is a lithium, extreme pressure, water resistant and anti-corrosive heavy-duty lubricant designed for exceptional penetrating and lubrication properties. This product, with its extra amount of fillers, including molybdenum disulfide, provides a lubrication film and still appears dry."
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:24 AM   #47
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I'll second this. I had no idea it was adjustable. Thanks.
The latch is also easily replaceable.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:42 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by ggoat!!! View Post
Coupler latches are adjustable; there is a big nut on the bottom that should ALWAYS be checked. You can adjust how tight the coupler grabs the ball. If you never check this, and tow for 80,000 miles, it's bound to develop play (due to never tightening the nut or checking it) which of course could cause the trailer to come off the ball. Not saying that that is what happened here, but I thought checking your coupler tension was as common as checking your lug nuts. Maybe it's not...
Adjustable... and critical to have adjusted correctly... The comment on spalling would make sense if the coupler was loose and was allowing the hitch to hammer up and down on the ball.

My Basecamp had a nicer coupler than my International... the coupler on the Basecamp retracted completely so getting it on was easy... My current style coupler the lock just flops around and you really need to get the ball on the front of the coupler before you lower it so it slides underneath the latch...
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:40 PM   #49
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So I assumed that couplers were pretty standard. Is that not so? Are there couplers that work better in terms of ease and telling when they are engaged? What brand does OEM Airstream use? Are there specific couplers for use in Haha's or PP3? Just curious. I will probably be replacing mine (that is Colin Hyde will ) .... It doesn't seem to be a big ticket item, but is there an "upgraded" coupler I should consider?

I did read somewhere that it's a very good idea to have an extra ball that's the same size as the one one your TV (cheapie is fine) and use it to make the latch adjustments. You can look underneath and see what you are doing and how the latch engages the ball .....and its alot easier than dealing with the ball while still attached to your trailer.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:00 PM   #50
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I looked up in there today and the sun was uncooperative by blinding me most of the time. But I could see no bolt in the coupler, but behind it, underneath, there was something I could not make sense of. I have to do this either early or late so the sun isn't making it impossible. The part that holds the ball was pretty floppy, but once locked against the ball seemed solid.

So where is the adjustment and how do I adjust it?

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Old 05-19-2012, 10:41 PM   #51
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Do anyone know the manufacturer of the coupler used by Airstream?
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:45 PM   #52
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Do anyone know the manufacturer of the coupler used by Airstream?
Atwood 88007 for most models
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Old 05-19-2012, 11:11 PM   #53
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This thread is scaring me! I plan to examine ours very closely.
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Old 05-19-2012, 11:49 PM   #54
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So I assumed that couplers were pretty standard. Is that not so? Are there couplers that work better in terms of ease and telling when they are engaged? What brand does OEM Airstream use? Are there specific couplers for use in Haha's or PP3? Just curious. I will probably be replacing mine (that is Colin Hyde will ) .... It doesn't seem to be a big ticket item, but is there an "upgraded" coupler I should consider?

I did read somewhere that it's a very good idea to have an extra ball that's the same size as the one one your TV (cheapie is fine) and use it to make the latch adjustments. You can look underneath and see what you are doing and how the latch engages the ball .....and its alot easier than dealing with the ball while still attached to your trailer.
There are a couple of interesting variations, but the basics are the same... something secures the coupler under/around the ball. I really like the Atwood sliding coupler better than the latch style. It disengages completely so you don't have the latch binding up like it sometimes can do...

Hammerblow makes a design that uses a sliding sleeve, which is very easy to visually see if it is properly engaged.

They are fairly cheap ($50), but most are weld-on, so if you count having to grind the old one off, re-weld a new one... I'd expect at least $150 for labour...

My Basecamp had an Atwood sliding, my Intl has an Atwood latch style...
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Old 05-20-2012, 01:07 AM   #55
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I've got a question. We use a Hensley Hitch where the pivot point is not the ball. To take off this hitch after every use to grease the ball would be unreasonable. How do you guys with Hensleys handle this. I have seen folks drill and tap 1/4" holes into the top of receivers and add grease zerks. Anyone tried that? The people at Hensley told me this was something I would not have to worry about.
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:08 AM   #56
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I've got a question. We use a Hensley Hitch where the pivot point is not the ball. To take off this hitch after every use to grease the ball would be unreasonable. How do you guys with Hensleys handle this. I have seen folks drill and tap 1/4" holes into the top of receivers and add grease zerks. Anyone tried that? The people at Hensley told me this was something I would not have to worry about.
Dan
Dan,

Clean/grease the ball every spring when re-installing the haha. Also affords a good opportunity to inspect the entire assembly for potential concerns.

POI......R&R is nothing like install, add's less than 45min to our get-ready.

Bob
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:18 AM   #57
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The latch is also easily replaceable.
Michelle,

Sorry for your situation but many thanks for sharing and getting folks to take a second look.

I'm going to look at mine, but I'll also be searching for a latch replacement instruction thread.

Happy Trails are ahead.

Gary
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:48 AM   #58
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I just found the model number on my 30' it is 81912. Did a little searching and found this http://www.rvtechlibrary.com/chassis/atwood_jacks.pdf and on page 2 references the 88007 that Michele mentioned which is a FLIP LATCH and does have a repair kit but mine is a THUMB LATCH and does not have a repair kit.

Time to get the flashlight, I liked someones idea of using a loose trailer ball as an inspection aid.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:13 AM   #59
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The document below does not mention a coupler adjustment nut/bolt.

Atwood Yoke Style & Flip Latch Couplers — Installation/Operation/Maintenance:

http://www.atwoodmobile.com/manuals/...%201.22.08.pdf


Text extracts from above:

WARNING - PERSONAL INJURY: For proper tow vehicle and trailer hookup, towing performance and to prevent damage to hitch and trailer coupling, the tow vehicle and trailer are to be level with respect to flat ground after hitching up. If your trailer is not level, equipment is available to raise or lower the hitch ball.


CAUTION - PRODUCT DAMAGE:

• Use caution when backing or towing vehicle for hook-up, damage to coupler may result.

• Avoid sharp turns when towing or backing. Jack-knifing could bend coupler or create extreme stress or fracture.


FLIP LATCH COUPLERS

PART # 88555, 88600 8,000 lb. Capacity
PART # 88007, 88010 10,000 lb. Capacity

1. To open, slide forward and pull up open latch before inserting ball (FIG 10-A.)

2. Place coupler on ball of same diameter as coupler ball socket size and of same or greater capacity than trailer GVW.

88555/88600 ............2˝
88007/88010 ............2-5/16˝

3. When ball is completely nested in socket, push top of latch handle rearward until handle snaps into closed position.(FIG 10-B.)

4. Extend jack to ground and lift car/trailer combination 2˝-4˝ to insure coupler is securely attached to tow ball. Retract jack completely before towing.

5. Insert padlock through hole in handle (FIG 7-C).

Note: These couplers are not adjustable for ball size.


MAINTENANCE

1. Lubricate ball socket and ball clamp with wheel bearing grease. Clean and lubricate monthly.

2. Check towing hitch, ball and coupler for signs of wear before each trip. Replace coupler if damaged or worn.

3. Lubricate moving or sliding parts monthly with S.A.E. 30 weight oil.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:59 AM   #60
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Cats - sorry about your accident but, you always seem to bounce right back. After your previous thread about coupler wear I had mine looked at - it' s the original 71 with new guts that I put in two years ago. They didn't find any problems with the coupler but still recomended replacing it simply due to the age. Checking it they put a loose ball in it and looked for play - looked at the lip for cracks and felt the forward inside face for any rough spots or grooves. I think the prior owner used wheel bearing grease on it. We changed out to Teflon ball grease as that's what we've used on all our campers and never had any issues.

After your latest adventure the coupler is going to get replaced. I liked the Attwood Yoke style because of the positive locking feature. In the end I decided to go ahead and get the Quickbite and placed the order yesterday.

Regarding adjustable couplers. I've seen those but only on heavy duty trailers and farm equipment - never had one on any camper we've ever owned.

If nothing else Cats - while I'm sure you rather they didn't - your adventures make the rest of us stop and think. I know your selling the unit so I presume you went with standard replacement coupler?
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