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Old 09-16-2011, 08:17 AM   #1
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hitching problems

Sometimes I have problems to lock the ball with the sliding locking device. It does not want to latch and I have to move the van back and forth to lock it and sometimes it is okay. Is there a special trick to lock this mechanisism properly. We have a minilite 2011 trailer and yesterday It took me 15 minutes to lock it properly. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:27 AM   #2
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I am not sure what type of a hitch you have, but the process I use is to back the truck so the hitch is just resting on the ball, then back a little more and let the hitch slide onto the ball. Then I let the truck roll forward the slightest bit. Hard to describe, but picture rolling forward the slightest bit and causing the ball to rest against the inside of the front part of the hitch housing. This will take pressure off of the locking mechanism if it is the type that comes from behind to secure the ball in the hitch.

You can also adjust the coupler, but if you have recently bought the trailer from a local dealer you could probably bring it in and they would make sure it is adjusted right. If you want to do it yourself, here is a link:
How To Properly Adjust The Fulton Type Trailer Coupler « Philco Trailer Sales
Also, make sure everything is moving freely before putting the hitch on the ball. If not, use some WD-40.

This may all be bad info and if it is, someone here will probably let us both know
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:42 AM   #3
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Most of the time after lowering the hitch onto the ball I also have to move the TV forward to get the locking mechanism to drop in place. What you are describing in normal - lock your trailer brakes when you pull forward & you will feel a slight movement.
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Old 09-16-2011, 11:22 AM   #4
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I have found the hitching process is pretty unforgiving if both the trailer and TV aren't budging. The TV because is in Park (auto tranny) with the emergency brake on and the trailer because the wheels are chocked. Similar to the two previous replies the trick that I have learned is to get one of the two to budge.

If on level ground with no chance of the trailer rolling away from (or into) me, I un-chock the trailer's wheels (for safety I place ground chocks 6" in front and back one set of wheels, away from the wheels so I can get the movement I need, but close enough to catch the trailer if it starts to get away), lower the trailer on the TV, let it self-adjust (front/back, left/right), close sliding lock, and I'm all set. You will be surprised how much you can be off (hitch over ball) and still hitch.

Please always double check everything and you should be ok.
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:56 PM   #5
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Try this. Don't put the ball completely under the hitch. When you back up to the trailer tongue leave a bit of trailer ball exposed. As you lower the trailer onto the ball the trailer will pull forward a bit, or it will pull your vehicle back a touch more as the tongue settles onto the ball which will leave room for the tongue lock to lift up against the bottom of the ball and lock into place. Sometimes if the trailer tongue lock is to loose it will bind on the bottom of the ball stem and freeze everything. If you look up from the bottom at your trailer tongue you will see the 'tongue lock' and a nut that is used to adjust the lock up or lower it down.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill_C View Post
Try this. Don't put the ball completely under the hitch. When you back up to the trailer tongue leave a bit of trailer ball exposed. As you lower the trailer onto the ball the trailer will pull forward a bit, or it will pull your vehicle back a touch more as the tongue settles onto the ball which will leave room for the tongue lock to lift up against the bottom of the ball and lock into place. Sometimes if the trailer tongue lock is to loose it will bind on the bottom of the ball stem and freeze everything. If you look up from the bottom at your trailer tongue you will see the 'tongue lock' and a nut that is used to adjust the lock up or lower it down.
That is what I try to do, so that I make sure the ball clears the coupler pawl.
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:36 PM   #7
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as others have said, you have to pull the TV forward so the ball pushes against the front of the tongue. this will allow the latch clamp to go under the ball and be able to secure it.
i usually put the ball so the tongue has to "reach" for it. that puts the ball as far forward as possible.
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mtnguy View Post
That is what I try to do, so that I make sure the ball clears the coupler pawl.
I would look then at the pawl being to tight. It should not be a hassle to hook up.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:20 PM   #9
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I have a 2306 and I also have a hard time getting the 'sliding latch thing' to catch.

I have to look underneath the hitch and actually see the locking part in place up against the ball, then I open and close the latch while still looking at it, just to make sure it is fully engaged.

Good to know I'm not the only one who finds this a PITA.
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:41 PM   #10
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I have the equalizer hitch and the way I have the hitch head tilted back towards the camper and have some grease on the ball - mine latches for the most part without issue - only time mine has a hard time hitching is when I have the truck at a weird angle and trying to hitch up but another thing to try is lower the camper on to the ball and release the mechanism before the camper is seated onto the ball.

Maybe try greasing your latch mechanism where the ball meets inside the coupler.

I use either the equilizer hitch grease and or the Reese round container of teflon grease (used on Fifth wheel hitches)
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