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Old 11-13-2019, 01:23 PM   #1
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Safety Catch issues - Trailer Hitch Cup

We have the type of hitch shown in the (lousy) pic. We have problems with it when hitching and unhitching. It takes more time to deal with the safety catch (what is the correct nomenclature) than the entire rest of either process.

When hitching, we drop the cup on the ball and then try to insert the catch (it's a lift up and push down thing). Our problems are that it generally won't go on either an up or down motion and then when we finally get it down, we are unable to tell if it is properly engaged or not. It is possible to push the catch down and then lift the truck without it being properly engaged. we are not the only ones; many experienced campers and RV mechanics and tow truck drivers have worked with it trying to help us. Each time we drive off thinking it is engaged but we are never really sure.

Unhitching requires much jacking up and down while pulling up on the catch - trying to find that sweet spot. Often we have to move the truck while trying this and sometimes have to jump up and down on the hitch because it is lifting the truck.

You can see in the image that all the paint has been knocked off by various folks beating on the catch - generally accompanied by colorful language. At this point, it so frustrates my wife that she wants a motorhome.

What should we try before we have the whole thing replaced? If we opt to replace it, with what should we replace it?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:28 PM   #2
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How much lube is there in that? It looks pretty dry.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:33 PM   #3
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No grease - we spray WD40 or PB Blaster in there each time (mostly) and I also have used CorrosionX HD. That is a recent thing based on a suggestion similar to where your question is leading. Not sure it is enough.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:36 PM   #4
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I have the same kind of "ball hitch lock". Everytime I use it, I give it a squirt of WD40 and often have to release the brakes on my TV so the ball moves in the ball mount enough to either engage or disengage the ball hitch lock.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:40 PM   #5
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You're going to need to get dirty and go under there with some grease or heavy oil and lube everything up really well. Also, put some on the ball as well.

It really doesn't matter much which type you use. However, I prefer the waterproof white lithium. Grease up everything you can see. Make sure it goes up in the bottom as well where the spring and pins are.

If you would like to use spray that would work too.

WD40 is more cleaner than lubricant. It won't help much and it'll wash off easily too.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:56 PM   #6
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and always use a locking pin once latched
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:56 PM   #7
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Ok - We'll do a thorough job with lithium or maybe a spray to get more coverage than fingers can produce.

Having gotten the latch in - how do we determine that it is inserted correctly?

- and Danny, my wife uses a padlock as a locking pin.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:01 PM   #8
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Of my 3 ideas, 2 have already been mentioned.

Get a spray can of white lithium grease and put a small amount on each movement point and little around the inside of the coupler so it will not gall the ball. WD40 is a cleaner and water displacer but not really a good lubricant.

When unhooking, chock the trailer wheels then pull the tow vehicle ahead and inch or two to relieve pressure on the moving catch in the trailer coupler.

Third thing is, if you look up inside the trailer coupler there is usually a nut under there. This is an adjustment for how tightly the coupler holds the ball. It should be adjusted so it holds snugly but not too tight, if it is too tight it will be hard to latch and unlatch. The way I adjust mine is to remove the hitch ball from the drawbar and put it in the coupler and latch it in. The ball should move with just a little resistance and not be so loose that it will rattle when you shake it.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:10 PM   #9
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I use a old tooth brush and keep mine smeared with Grease. Slides on and off like butter on HOT toast.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:15 PM   #10
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Clean it real well with some brake cleaner. Get all the old lube and grit out of the mechanism. Then as others have said spray it with lithium grease. Latch and unlatch it a bunch of times as the lithium spray sets up, this gets lube in all the tight spots.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:39 PM   #11
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good enough
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Old 11-13-2019, 04:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtPutnam View Post
Ok - We'll do a thorough job with lithium or maybe a spray to get more coverage than fingers can produce.

Having gotten the latch in - how do we determine that it is inserted correctly?

- and Danny, my wife uses a padlock as a locking pin.
Once you have it latched and locked what makes you say it is not secured?

I have the same setup and had to hit that with a hammer half the time to disconnect so I get what you are saying on the disconnect. I never had issues with connecting if I just rocked the truck back and forth a bit.

In the end I got a propride P3 and now never undo the latch so that is one way though likely overkill for what you are wanting to accomplish.
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Old 11-13-2019, 04:46 PM   #13
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I use garage door lubricant: https://blastercorp.com/product/garage-door-lubricant/

Yes, sometimes I need to release the parking brake to get the hitch to catch.

If I can get the safety pin through the hole, then I know I'm good.
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Old 11-13-2019, 04:55 PM   #14
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I use garage door lubricant: https://blastercorp.com/product/garage-door-lubricant/

Yes, sometimes I need to release the parking brake to get the hitch to catch.

If I can get the safety pin through the hole, then I know I'm good.
We had the pin engaged and it lifted the truck when jacking up, however, the guy in the next site who was watching us struggle pointed out that it was not under the ball. We all struggled then for another (probably 15 min) what seemed like a Ĺ hour to get the thing solid. We and the trailer are still intact so it must have been fine.
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:06 PM   #15
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We used to have one like that, that was a little aggravating. The trick I learned was after dropping the hitch on the ball, to pull forward enough to tighten the ball against the front of the hitch cup and then the latching mechanism would engage and disengage easily.
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:07 PM   #16
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That is a Lippert coupler. There is no adjustment on them. I have greased my coupler and ball and have not had a problem with the coupler. I have never questioned whether the coupler was connected or not, but I will never pull any trailer without a lock or coupler pin in place.
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Old 11-14-2019, 01:41 PM   #17
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Padlock as a locking pin?

I used to lock my hitch, until I read an interesting article highlighting that in the event of an emergency, First Responders or other helpful folks can't unlatch and save a locked-on trailer.

Now when towing, use a non-locking pin on my TT hitch.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McCormickJim View Post
Padlock as a locking pin?

I used to lock my hitch, until I read an interesting article highlighting that in the event of an emergency, First Responders or other helpful folks can't unlatch and save a locked-on trailer.

Now when towing, use a non-locking pin on my TT hitch.
I use a PTO pin when hitched for travel, and a padlock when camping/in storage.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:09 PM   #19
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I have had the same problem from time to time. I was advised to hitch up by aligning the ball about 1/2 to 3/4 way under the tongue - leaving part of the ball ahead of the tongue. When the tongue makes contact with the ball, it should suck it up and the latch will then drop into place easily. Of course the lube helps as well.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:10 PM   #20
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Bama Rambler has the way to solve the problem. Always works for me.
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