Safety check

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Safety check

Postby TomW » Sat May 10, 2008 4:50 pm

I had an incident on Tuesday of this week. I was hauling my 5x10 utility trailer back to work when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the trailer standing up. I slowed down and the safety chains pulled the tongue down. I was lucky as the trailer went under my bumper and nothing was hurt.

When I hooked up the trailer at my house, I gave the trailer the conventional pullup/shake test, connected my safety chains, and checked the lights. Standard procedure, nothing out of the ordinary.

After investigation, the trailer did not come off the ball but the ball came off the bumper. The washer, lock washer, and nut were missing from the ball. The ball was still in the trailer coupler. No stripped threads, just the nut missing.

I now have a locknut and pin system to make sure the nut does not come off. I was lucky this time and someone was looking out for me. Thank goodness I did not have my teardrop connected.

Moral of the story. Check everything, even the things which seem unlikely!
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Postby 48Rob » Sat May 10, 2008 6:06 pm

Good advice! :thumbsup:

Thanks.

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Postby satch » Sat May 10, 2008 6:49 pm

Consider yourself lucky. Thanks for the info 8)
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Postby FireLion » Sat May 10, 2008 7:50 pm

Being a former tractor trailer driver, I'm used to checking "everything", it's the most unlikely things that will get ya into trouble. Check, double check and check again.
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Postby starleen2 » Sat May 10, 2008 9:36 pm

Add another to the pre-trip tow - good advice, I haven't even thought of that until now :o
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Postby asianflava » Sat May 10, 2008 10:39 pm

I got one of those Reese "Towing Starter Kits" Includes the receiver, ball, and hitch pin. The ball was pre-mounted to the hitch. I wanted to flip the hitch but I couldn't get it off with my giant crescent wrench. I know that sucker isn't coming off. Well, scraping the threads on the pavement (steep driveway) will probably help keep it on too.
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Postby doug hodder » Sat May 10, 2008 10:47 pm

Good info Tom...and in addition...when you do the final fit up on your trailer to your tow vehicle, couple the ball and then pull up and down on the hitch. The coupler is adjustable, by tightening the spring loaded lock nut under the coupler. You shouldn't have an excessive amount of play on that...it'll clank and bang when driving down the road. Doug

Rocky...I had a ball with a long stem on it also...after having been dragged on the pavement, it had to come off with a "blue tip wrench" Doug
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Postby dhazard » Sat May 10, 2008 11:38 pm

I had an interesting time towing a 53 Chevy truck behind my 78 ford truck. I towed the Chevy from Colorado to California. I checked all connections every time I stopped for gas, never found anything that was loose. When I got to Half moon bay I walk around to the back of the truck and found that one side of the bumper had come loose from the frame, the bolts under the truck had fallen out… The last ten miles down to the coast is a two lane road with some serous turns. I can’t believe that the bumper didn’t come off. :shock: :o :worship:

I now look at the hitch mounting bolts.
;)
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Postby angib » Sun May 11, 2008 4:18 am

Well I never..... I have always looked at the US-style single-nut ball and worried about that happening.

Here in Yurp, we don't have that style of ball - and y'know how it seems what other folks do always looks less safe that what we do ourselves.....

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Postby del » Tue May 13, 2008 5:38 pm

angib wrote:Well I never..... I have always looked at the US-style single-nut ball and worried about that happening.

Here in Yurp, we don't have that style of ball - and y'know how it seems what other folks do always looks less safe that what we do ourselves.....

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Postby mechmagcn » Tue May 13, 2008 6:12 pm

dhazard wrote:I had an interesting time towing a 53 Chevy truck behind my 78 ford truck. I towed the Chevy from Colorado to California. I checked all connections every time I stopped for gas, never found anything that was loose. When I got to Half moon bay I walk around to the back of the truck and found that one side of the bumper had come loose from the frame, the bolts under the truck had fallen out… The last ten miles down to the coast is a two lane road with some serous turns. I can’t believe that the bumper didn’t come off. :shock: :o :worship:

I now look at the hitch mounting bolts.
;)

That is actually a good idea. Years ago I was driving on the interstate and was passing a 5th wheel with a utility trailer behind it with 2 Harley Road King motorcycles on it. Something didn't look just right, so I slowed down for a better look. The bumper of the 5er had broken loose on one side and was hanging down :shock: I sped up and tried to get the older gentleman to pull over, but he just waved and kept going, had to pull in front of him and make him stop. We hooked his utility trailer to my truck to get it to the next truck stop where he could get repairs done. He might have lost $40K worth of bikes and trailer and have no idea where :cry:
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Postby Micro469 » Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:53 pm

mechmagcn wrote:
dhazard wrote:I had an interesting time towing a 53 Chevy truck behind my 78 ford truck. I towed the Chevy from Colorado to California. I checked all connections every time I stopped for gas, never found anything that was loose. When I got to Half moon bay I walk around to the back of the truck and found that one side of the bumper had come loose from the frame, the bolts under the truck had fallen out… The last ten miles down to the coast is a two lane road with some serous turns. I can’t believe that the bumper didn’t come off. :shock: :o :worship:

I now look at the hitch mounting bolts.
;)

That is actually a good idea. Years ago I was driving on the interstate and was passing a 5th wheel with a utility trailer behind it with 2 Harley Road King motorcycles on it. Something didn't look just right, so I slowed down for a better look. The bumper of the 5er had broken loose on one side and was hanging down :shock: I sped up and tried to get the older gentleman to pull over, but he just waved and kept going, had to pull in front of him and make him stop. We hooked his utility trailer to my truck to get it to the next truck stop where he could get repairs done. He might have lost $40K worth of bikes and trailer and have no idea where :cry:
Jeff


Couple of weeks ago, I was on the 401 (major highway across Southern Ontario) on my way to work and saw a brand new pickup with a new utility trailer behind it. The trailer looked wierd, it was a tandem axle, 12" wheels about 4' wide, the trailer was 6' wide. I commented to my partner that the trailer looked like trouble, and then... HOLY COW!! ..a puff of blue smoke... he kept on truckin...at about 120 K (75?)....It took me a while to get beside him... Honking and waving like an idiot. Finally, he pulled off and I stopped too. The bearings on both wheels on one side completely burned out....What a smell.
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Postby G-force » Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:34 pm

Most balls with a 1" shank are supposed to be tightened to 250 foot pounds of torque. Its good to check it occationaly.
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Postby S. Heisley » Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:39 pm

You bring up a very good point, John. It is important to check everything, even when the trailer is new. I bought a Red Trailer kit which warns you to clean, inspect, and repack the bearings before you even put the trailer together. Yet, four different people scoffed at this, including a mechanic and an auto parts sales person. These four people all said just repack the bearings with lots of grease and everything would be fine. I did this without a problem but had a niggling feeling about it. So, I took everything apart again, cleaned them with an old toothbrush and kerosene; dried and inspected the bearings correctly and began repacking them. It wasn't until I was repacking them with grease this last time that I cut my hand on TWO shards of metal, stuck in the bearings. I had to use pliers and it took some effort pull those shards out. I suspect that brushing and rolling the bearings pulled the metal shards out to where they got stuck and could be seen. Had I not done all this, those shards could have moved to where they got stuck while I was on the road and caused some serious damage.

There is just so much to think about, both as a trailer builder and as an owner.... It wouldn't hurt to have some sort of safety check list. Do we have anything like that?

Sharon
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Postby wlooper89 » Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:10 am

My hitch ball came with instructions to torque the nut to 200 ft. lbs. My solution was to turn the ball mount 90 degrees and insert it into the hitch receiver. As the wrench is about a foot long and I weigh about 200 lbs., I simply stood on the end of the wrench to torque the nut. I try to remember to check the nut and lock washer every trip but it is easy to forget. So far I have not found the nut and lock washer coming loose.

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