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Trailer hitch and ball - adjustable?


DennisJK

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DennisJK

I would really appreciate advice on which trailer hitch and ball setup to get.  Every time I start and stop when towing, there is a loud popping, clanking, or creaking noises and it's really stressing me out when towing!  (even with the ball greased up)

Thanks,

Dennis

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Are you sure that it is the ball/draw bar and not the surge brakes in the trailer?  That would be my guess.

Have you had them serviced?  Check the brake fluid and maybe bleed the brakes, but as long as you have surge brakes, you will always have some play in the trailer.

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Check to make sure that the ball is tight on the drawbar.  Next make sure that your coupler is adjusted to fit the ball.  It usually takes a deep well socket from the bottom to tighten the nut to get the spring tension correct.  Too loose and you get a lot of clunking and potential for the coupler to separate, too tight and it gets very hard to flip the coupler lever with the ball in place.  It is best to remove the drawbar and ball from the tow vehicle and adjust the coupler while holding the ball in the coupler so that you can feel the amount of play you have.  

Next you can drive a thin wood wedge between the drawbar and the receiver to make sure it isn't moving around.  If it is still happening with a wedge in place, it is the trailer as @RyanB said.  

You could also drive a temporary wedge into the surge brake housing to keep it from moving as easily.  That will help you isolate where the big clunks are coming from.  If you have an equalized tandem axle setup, also check the springs and equalizers to make sure all of the hardware is in place.  Heck, while you are at it, jack up the trailer and try to forcefully wiggle the tires side to side.  If you feel any movement, it is time to check the bearings and adjust the preload.  Also slowly spin them and feel for a gritty or grinding feeling or sound.  Brakes will drag and make a smooth constant noise, but bad bearings will have gritty sound and feel.

I usually just let a clunky trailer clunk, since it is usually my little fishing boat doing it and it helps remind me that I'm towing something.  If you are sure that the trailer is mechanically sound, it shouldn't be a source of stress to hear it.  The stress comes from knowing that the trailer is not well maintained.

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Posted (edited)

spacer.pngIf it has always done this, then it might just be the normal rattle/clunk form play  between the drawbar and the hitch reciever.  You can get anti-rattle devices like thois one.  https://www.amazon.com/Tightener-LIBERRWAY-Anti-Rattle-Stabilizer-Installation/dp/B01KZ25Y26/?tag=td-default-ca-20

 

Edited by Eagleboy99
No reason
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A lot of crappy drawbars and pins are sold.  You can either buy a decent one, or that bandaid above.  If you have a decent hitch, drawbar and pin it should all be a tight fit.

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1 hour ago, oldjeep said:

If you have a decent hitch

Many factory hitches are just plain awful.  Not much getting around that.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Eagleboy99 said:

Many factory hitches are just plain awful.  Not much getting around that.

Never had one on something meant to tow that was, even the Ford.

Edited by oldjeep
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3 hours ago, Eagleboy99 said:

Many factory hitches are just plain awful.  Not much getting around that.

Examples?  Add me to the list of those without having trouble with a OEM hitch, regardless of who made the tow vehicle. 

  • Like 1
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1 hour ago, RyanB said:

Examples?  Add me to the list of those without having trouble with a OEM hitch, regardless of who made the tow vehicle. 

Nissan Pathfinder.  My kid's Subaru was far, far better.

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martinarcher

I just bought a B&W 5" drop triple ball mount for the Excursion.  Not sure why I didn't do that years ago instead of juggling about 4 different ball mounts.  It is sweet!  

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I'll toss out my standard recommendation for the Rapid Hitch dual ball.  I haven't seen a trailer in years that had a 1 7/8 coupler on it (at least nothing you would tow behind a pickup) so a 2" and a 2 5/16 do everything I need.

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On 5/10/2021 at 12:19 PM, martinarcher said:

I just bought a B&W 5" drop triple ball mount for the Excursion.  Not sure why I didn't do that years ago instead of juggling about 4 different ball mounts.  It is sweet!  

I need to take pic of my 15 yr old B&W. She finally wire out to wear she is getting tossed. Too much liabilty😂😂

  • Haha 1
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martinarcher
On 5/10/2021 at 3:21 PM, oldjeep said:

I'll toss out my standard recommendation for the Rapid Hitch dual ball.  I haven't seen a trailer in years that had a 1 7/8 coupler on it (at least nothing you would tow behind a pickup) so a 2" and a 2 5/16 do everything I need.

You've never been to my dad's house.  I think he's the last guy on the plant with a 1 7/8" trailer.  :lol:  

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martinarcher
10 hours ago, Sparky450 said:

I need to take pic of my 15 yr old B&W. She finally wire out to wear she is getting tossed. Too much liabilty😂😂

What wore out....I hope mines still in action in 15 years.  Half my ball mounts are older than that!  

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35 minutes ago, martinarcher said:

You've never been to my dad's house.  I think he's the last guy on the plant with a 1 7/8" trailer.  :lol:  

My open fishing boat still has one....

I guess the good news is that nobody can steal my trailer!

  • Haha 2
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martinarcher
4 minutes ago, justgary said:

My open fishing boat still has one....

I guess the good news is that nobody can steal my trailer!

Kinda like a car with a 3rd pedal.  Both mine have them, I shouldn't even bother locking the doors anymore.  :lol: 

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1 hour ago, martinarcher said:

What wore out....I hope mines still in action in 15 years.  Half my ball mounts are older than that!  

The main swivel for the ball mount. 

The hitch has been in service since 2003 It went through 4 trucks. Those four trucks combined were about 450k miles. I bought a new hitch when I bought my 2018. Then I retired It to the shop trucks that tow very little. It is now getting tossed.
 I used to tow 20-25k per year. 

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Thanks for all the great advice.  I ordered a LIBERRWAY Hitch Tightener to try first. If that doesn't fix it, then i'm going to get the trailer looked at.   

(I think I unfortunately have to tow boat to the Malibu dealer for maintenance on Saturday.  I think i have a bad alternator.  When i throttle the voltage jumps up to 19V!  going to put both my AGM batteries on tester/charger first just to make sure battteries aren't low and alternator is over compensating)

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3 hours ago, DennisJK said:

Thanks for all the great advice.  I ordered a LIBERRWAY Hitch Tightener to try first. If that doesn't fix it, then i'm going to get the trailer looked at.   

(I think I unfortunately have to tow boat to the Malibu dealer for maintenance on Saturday.  I think i have a bad alternator.  When i throttle the voltage jumps up to 19V!  going to put both my AGM batteries on tester/charger first just to make sure battteries aren't low and alternator is over compensating)

Not to continue the off-topic discussion, but you can change the regulator in your alternator without replacing the whole thing.  If you are under warranty, that's a different story.

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On 5/9/2021 at 9:55 AM, Eagleboy99 said:

spacer.pngIf it has always done this, then it might just be the normal rattle/clunk form play  between the drawbar and the hitch reciever.  You can get anti-rattle devices like thois one.  https://www.amazon.com/Tightener-LIBERRWAY-Anti-Rattle-Stabilizer-Installation/dp/B01KZ25Y26/?tag=td-default-ca-20

 

Thanks EagleBoy, you really made my day today.  I was in a bad mood because my alternator (under warranty) is bad and I had to pull the boat out by myself on a super busy ramp and then drive all over creation.  HOWEVER, the Liberrway Stabilizer fixed all the concerning noises when I stop and start!  Much smoother ride!  Thanks!

The only thing I feel at all is the trailer brake springing a little bit when I take off, but no noise whatsoever!

-Dennis

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On 5/19/2021 at 9:54 AM, justgary said:

Not to continue the off-topic discussion, but you can change the regulator in your alternator without replacing the whole thing.  If you are under warranty, that's a different story.

Yea, i was considering doing it myself, but it is under warranty AND I also found a damn dead spot on my small screen where the stereo on/off button is.  (That is a VERY important button! :) )

 

-Dennis

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