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Old 10-05-2016, 05:34 PM   #1
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TT Hitch Ball wear

I hope this is the right place to ask this question if not let me know.
We made our first long trip that took about three weeks and about 3,000 miles from Al to Penn last month. About 3/4 through the trip I noticed the hitch making noises that it never made before. When we stopped and set up I inspected the ball and it seemed to be wearing some with visible signs of brass showing through the chrome ball. I looked under the hitch where the ball rides and it seems to be wearing a grove in the back side of the hitch. I kept it lubed with silicone the rest of the trip and that seemed to help but it continued to make noise after a long day. Any ideas What would caused this and how should it be fixed or avoided or is this normal wear and tear? (as in tearing it up).......
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Old 10-05-2016, 05:50 PM   #2
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I put a clean smear of wheel bearing grease on the ball before trips.
Not only does it lube things but the layer of grease inside the tongue keeps the bare metal from rusting. Rusting on the inside of the tongue is what causes wear.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:38 AM   #3
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I do not understand why people are hesitant to grease their hitch ball.

Over on TheHullTruth.com, a boating forum, there are HUGE arguments about it.

This is a metal on metal moving joint - Of COURSE it needs to be greased.

Don't be shy, or only give it a little silicone grease. Before every trip, I take a can of wheel bearing grease, flip it upside down and put my hitch ball in it. Get that thing covered!
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbcutright View Post
I hope this is the right place to ask this question if not let me know.
We made our first long trip that took about three weeks and about 3,000 miles from Al to Penn last month. About 3/4 through the trip I noticed the hitch making noises that it never made before. When we stopped and set up I inspected the ball and it seemed to be wearing some with visible signs of brass showing through the chrome ball. I looked under the hitch where the ball rides and it seems to be wearing a grove in the back side of the hitch. I kept it lubed with silicone the rest of the trip and that seemed to help but it continued to make noise after a long day. Any ideas What would caused this and how should it be fixed or avoided or is this normal wear and tear? (as in tearing it up).......
Hitch Type? Pic.even Better! Youroo!!
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:45 AM   #5
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This is probably not the best application for silicone spray. Bearing grease is the better choice, this is a high load application. Put a plastic grocery bag over the ball when you park
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Old 10-06-2016, 09:17 AM   #6
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First off, you want to have a forged ball, not a cheap one. That ball is the only thing between you and your trailer, or fifth wheel parting company going down the road...

It's 2 metal surfaces sliding against each other under load so it need to have a boundary lubricant applied. Chassis grease, spray grease or any grease for that matter (even KY will work)....lol

If you are wearing the plating off the ball (and plating tells me is't a cheap, not forged ball), that indicates a dry surface and the 'wearing' is not really wearing, but the coupler is seizing to the ball itself (that is what you hear, the noise).

I know, no one likes a greasy ball (gets on your clothes if you rub against it).

Myself, I cover my hitch ball when not in use, with a tennis ball with a split in it to fit over the ball. I use a bright green tennis ball that is readily seen.

A lubricated ball will also improve handling as it will allow the trailer to track truer behind the tow vehicle....
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:44 PM   #7
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By reading some of the replies we don't want the O.P. to think that all metal to metal surfaces should be greased. If you are using a weight distribution type hitch that has swaybars that ride on cams or a L-bracket DO NOT grease those areas. You need friction for the sway bars to operate properly.
Happy trails,
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:44 PM   #8
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You're scaring us with a brass loiking ball. Brass is relatively soft. Pkease pist a picture but i highly suspect you need to invest in a higher-end ball.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:51 PM   #9
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He's most likely seeing the substrate that the chrome was applied to. Chrome doesn't stick to steel very well, so plating involves a coat of copper then nickel before the chrome.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:55 PM   #10
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My hitch was making all kinds of noise and showing some wear. I tried lithium grease on the ball and it helped some. Until it rained and then it went right back to grinding and squeaking again. The cure was bearing grease on the ball and the pivot points on my trunnion bars. With the occasional cam pop it's very quiet and no more signs of wear.
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