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Old 05-14-2012, 03:00 PM   #1
More than one rivet loose
 
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Angry I am coming un-hitched.

This morning I was taking the trailer to the welding shop to have the coupler on the trailer replaced.

I did not make it in one piece.

At Malfunction Junction in Missoula the trailer came un-coupled in the intersection. The whole mess slid threw intersection and came to rest on Russell street. It appears the trailer slide under my truck. The pictures tell the story.

3 miles at 30 mph. I just don't get it.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:06 PM   #2
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Yikes! I can't really see exactly what happened, or do you know for sure? Glad you're safe, you've had your episodes, as we all know.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:06 PM   #3
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Ouch, sorry to read about that.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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So sorry to hear of your experience.
In the photo the coupler appears to be intact. Any idea of the cause?
I hope to avoid duplicating your incident with one of my trailers.
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:04 PM   #5
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Glad to hear nobody was injured. The trailer can be fixed... although at a cost and with some aggravation.

I'm very interested to understand why you were inclined to change your coupler. Not that I question your decision... just want to know what prompted you to go that direction. I've sometimes wondered if we should replace ours but we're not having any problems. Do they need to be replaced periodically?

I noticed the damage to the rock guard but I'm guessing it did not damage the actual skin of the trailer. We had a similar boo-boo due to hitting a tire tread on the roadway. Airstream would only sell us both the right and left guards even though we only needed one of them. Consequently, I opened the rock guard and used a rubber mallet to bang it back to something that looked presentable. It looks okay compared to the many hundreds of $$$ I was quoted from an Airstream dealer.

Once again, good to hear everyone is okay. And I'd like to know more about your decision to change the coupler.

Lucius
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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Are you sure you have the right size ball on the TV?
When you hitch up. Do you check to make sure the pawl is correctly positioned under the ball?
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:33 PM   #7
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Looks like you have an Equalizer W/D hitch. If you had the bars on, I can not see how they could push up on the coupler that much to make the coupler come loose from the ball. If you are going through a big dip in the road,Equalizer bars are pretty stiff and exert a lot of stress on the A frame of the trailer. When that occurs there is a moment couple formed about the ball and the place where the bars meet the trailer, which causes an upward force on the ball, but that usually does not completely nullify the static weight downward force on the ball, which usually holds it in place. Did you have the bars on the hitch and properly loaded?? Are you sure the ball was ever fully seated in the coupler and the retainer locked? I can see in the picture that the retainer cam was down now. Lighter more flexible bars, like those on properly selected Reese W/D hitches, flex rather that cause quite so much variation in forces going through the ball/ coupler joint when they encounter a dip.
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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Oh no! Didn't you just mention recently that you were selling/ putting this on consignment? Somebody REALLY wants you to keep the airstream!
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:59 PM   #9
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Cut the gal some slack! She was being considerate of next buyer - and making it safe to take the trailer TO the dealership.

Remember her prior wreck where trailer was twisted off the ball = coupler or coupler latch damage probably occurred and wasn't caught at the time. I've heard that the coupler latch can wear out, and it makes sense that the coupler might too, even if greased regularly. Wear on either could let the ball release. Lucky it was a low speed event. If I'm ever in a wreck, I'll have the coupler replaced thanks to this timely warning, and if I have to drive it to the shop, I'll go at 5mph with flashers on and someone in the bed of the pickup with a chain rigged to pull the e/r trailer brake cord.

Bad coupler + bump in road can = Ball pops out! (reminds me of a man I used to know).


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Old 05-14-2012, 05:05 PM   #10
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Oh no! That's a horrible thing to happen, hope everyone is ok. Betcha it really spoiled your day though. So sorry for you. ((Hugs))
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:27 PM   #11
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Ugg, that's beyond frustrating. I'm sorry that it happened but I'm glad that no one was hurt.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:49 PM   #12
More than one rivet loose
 
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Before I go to bed I thought I respond to a couple of questions. I did not use the WD bars because I was going three miles at 30 mph or less.

The dent in the rock guard is related to the accident. i kicked it. I was that pissed.

According to the welding shop the coupler was worn out. According to the adjuster the coupler should have be replaced twice already. After each incident.
The latch was replaced at least once.

It also had over 80,000 miles on it.
yes, I had the right ball. there is only one ball for my trailer 2 5/16.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:48 AM   #13
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Boooo, how frustrating!

Glad no one was hurt.

It's a new day. Take a deep breath......


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Old 05-15-2012, 08:59 AM   #14
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Michele,

Without seeing the coupler it's had to say, but it's possible you had what is called a "false hitch", and that is when the coupler does not go down far enough onto the ball to grasp the ball, but sets on top of the ball only to fall off at the first bump.

The way to insure you are not getting a "false hitch" is to use the tongue jack after hitching to try to lift the coupler off the ball, and if you have a good hitch, the tongue jack and coupler will try to lift the tow vehicle. This is actually a good procedure to use every time you hitch because not only will it prove you have a good hitchup, it will also test the coupler and may have found your problem if it indeed is a worn out coupler.

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Old 05-15-2012, 01:25 PM   #15
More than one rivet loose
 
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Steve,
I am a very experienced tower. I am familiar with a false hitch and how to check for it.
The event is behind me. now I have to get the truck and trailer repaired. The insurance company is replacing all of owing equipment on the truck. Hitch receiver, shank, head, ball. plug. pigtail. everything that was in use.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:37 PM   #16
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Michele,

Glad your ok!!! So sorry you had another "incident" though. Especially now that your selling.

Two years ago we got our "new" boat. After towing it 1500mi back home from Ark, with no problems at all, on our first trip to the launch ramp it came un-hitched, safety chains held, break-away locked the trlr brakes and we were able to coast to a stop without any damage.
Lesson....I now secure the latch down with a band clamp + the lock pin.

Question...can't quite make out what exactly I'm looking at here?

Bob
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:41 PM   #17
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Steve, thanks for that tip.

Pardon my ignorance, I don't know what it's called, but there is a wire on my assembly which is supposed to stop the trailer automatically (after an unintended uncoupling).
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:50 PM   #18
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thecatsandi,
This is truly a shame. I'd be a little pissed too!
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:13 PM   #19
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An Airstream can be fixed - people, not so much. How is your FOOT? That's a hell of a dent from your kick! I did that once to the kitchen cabinet and broke two toes.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:15 PM   #20
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Good luck, Michelle, remember, "Once an Airstreamer, ALWAYS an Airstreamer".
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