Safety check

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(Threads with essential information about building teardrops)

Postby looped » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:31 pm

wlooper89 wrote: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.


That is a good idea,, i was reading this thread and dollar signs were running though my head about how much a torque wrench was going to cost and well your idea makes sense!

I now have an excuse to remain 255lbs light till i get this build done! :)
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Postby Leon » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:50 pm

On all of my hitches I've put a couple of small weld spots on the thread below the nut. This way I'm not changing the metal of the nut or the ball where the nut sits, but if it does come loose it can't come off, plus if the trailer is locked to the ball it prevents someone from unscrewing the bal to steal the trailer. If I have to replace the ball I can grind the couple welds then unscrew the nut.
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Postby jdarkoregon » Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:00 am

We went camping just this last Friday, I checked the ball before we left, and I'll be darn, i could wiggle it around, It took about two full turns to tighten it up. I don't know about the torque, but I couldn't tighten it any more.

THEN, coming home on Sunday, I hooked everything up, and walked around to check the lights, and I had NO tail lights, blinkers or brake lights.
It only took a couple minutes to fix, because I new of the only place that it could be unconnected, but the idea that I could have been traveling without any lights back there wasn't a good feeling

Get used to it, check everything before you use it.

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Postby Karl » Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:24 pm

I hope the hitch ball on my new Jeep Wrangler needs to have the nut torqued to 300 ft. lbs. or else I'm going to have to figure out a different way to do that than you did! :)
I'm not a propeller head as it pertains to mechanical things so, to do it like you, do I shorten the wrench by 33.3% or lengthen it by 50%? I'm guessing it is either (200/300 x 1ft) OR (300/200 x 1ft). So, unless this involves something other than simple math and simple logic, my guess is to lengthen the wrench by 50% in order to get more downward force to achieve 300 foot pounds of torque , right? Please tell me I am correct or I will have to turn in my Mensa membership card.

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Postby wlooper89 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 12:01 am

This site has a conversion tool for a lot of torque units. For example one foot lb is equal to 12 inch lbs. ... 013276.htm

I am not sure about this but it appears that 300 ft lbs could be reached by placing 200 pounds 1.5 feet from the hitch ball or 150 pounds 2 feet from the ball, after turning the hitch ball and nut 90 degrees as mentioned in my earlier post.

My case was easier because I only needed 200 foot pounds, my wrench is about one foot long and I weigh about 200. I just stepped on the end of the wrench and that was it.

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Airborn Harley

Postby pjsauls » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:06 pm

I still recall following several vehicles behind a pickup trailering a Harley in 1984 on Interstate 65, north of Bay Minette, Al.

The truck hit a rough place at the threshold to a bridge, and the hitch came away from the ball -- the chains must have released as well(or might not have been fastened) and the trailer and Harley started doing cartwheels down the bridge. At the far end the trailer must have dug in -- it ended up on the right shoulder: the Harley must have risen at least 30 feet in the air (spinning) and landed about 150 feet further down the right side of the highway. :shock:

Everyone was very impressed, as you can imagine, especially the pickup driver. :cry: :x

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Postby marianwhit » Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:39 am

Having ADD and staying up all night to look at great websites like this one, I have to make things idiot-proof (read 'me'-proof). So I made a list. It is for a Hunter Fat Shadow, but could work for you with minor changes. It is in excel format. I laminate the daily list and maintenance schedules, keep it in the driver's side door pocket.

You can request it from me by PM and giving an email address where I can send an attachment.

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Checking your Balls (Hitch) Size matters

Postby Wild Bill » Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:26 pm

Not only do you have to check your balls but size also matters, I had my 2 inch ball in my reciever and hooked up our troop trailer that has a 2 5/16 tongue on the trailer, Got about 3 blocks before I felt the trailer come off and was hanging by the crossed safety chains. Put a nice ding in the bumper of my van but no real damage, could have been a lot worse had I been driving 60 mph. Had to drop the trailer and go back home and get the correct size Ball and pick up the trailer. The same would apply if you have a small 1 7/8 Ball for a small trailer or boat and try to connect to your tear with a 2 inch ball. Painted the ball size on the trailer so I would not do that again. Saw a U-haul Trailer come apart at 60 mph years ago, it was full and flipped over several times with the peoples belongings flying in the air. Lucky no one was hurt. Had a company trailer break off with an excavator on it, All the welds broke and the rear frame member that the pintle was bolted to came off. The chains were attached to the broken frame member, The Hyd hoses held the thing together till I got it stopped. No injuries, Check those welds, Hitches also rust and become a hazard after a few years. Happy and safe jerking. Bill
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Postby dovaka » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:21 pm

i always put a little weld dot between the thread and the nut just enough that it will never back off but not so much that i cant dremel it off if i want to take it apart for some reason
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Postby Shadow Catcher » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:16 pm

I have never had a problem using just the lock washer.
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Postby eamarquardt » Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:21 pm

I always check my "balls" and lights before starting out towing. They invented "loc-tite" for a reason and it's good stuff.


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Postby dovaka » Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:38 pm

Shadow Catcher wrote:I have never had a problem using just the lock washer.

i never did either but i saw other people having problems so welding that little dot is quick and easy insurance
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Trailer (Safety) Check List

Postby BC Dave » Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:02 pm

Heres a trailer checklist I use so Im remined to check things, so I do it and so I dont have to think as much when packing and in a rush to get going. This is part of a camping & trailer checklist in word in 3 columns.

Leaving a campground i found one signal & marker light that had water in it and didnt work, somewhat dangerous; fixed in 5 minutes.

I'm sure this isnt complete; so pls add exp to the saftey section.

Trailer Checklist LIST

Safety Check before leaving

Trailer Hitch
Hitch & pin & locked
Chains on & locked
Tire pressure checked
Electrical plug & lights disconnected
Battery secured & charged
Cargo secured & distributed
200 lb tongue wt
Windows shut & lower air intake taped
Spare tire inside

Jack in box
Levelling wood

110 Electrical Cord

Day before check

Tire pressure checked
Battery charged
Ice for cooler
All liquids in fridge a day ahead of time
Fill Water Containers

GPS & Batteries Charged
Camera & Battery Charged
LED trouble light & battery

Tools & Toolbox?

Trailer Items to store

Thermarest & foam
Pots, pans
Stove, lighters, reflectors
Naptha Fuel, & propane canister
Dishes, cutlery, knife
Spices & Seasonings
Espresso maker and coffee
Hot chocolate
Extra Water bag
Water filter
Flashlight, batteries
Chess, cards, etc.
Axe & Swed saw
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Postby Laredo » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:14 pm

with all due respect -- that dangerous trailers site discounts irresponsibility and over emphasizes the scare-factor.

Common sense suggests that if you're pulling a trailer, you need safety chains and a hitch-pin (at the minimum) with a cotter-pin fastener to hold it in place.

Many here have suggested welding / peening threads to make sure the ball doesn't slip out of the bumper if the nut / washer combo comes loose. I concur.

But IMNVHO, it's bad practice to pull a trailer that doesn't fit the ball correctly, and if you're not going to use safety chains, don't tow. Just don't.
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Postby Corwin C » Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:45 am

...on keeping big brother outta my business...

Well spoken afreegreek. :applause:
Last edited by Corwin C on Sun May 09, 2010 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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