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Old 03-02-2016, 06:19 PM   #1
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Check Your Hitch Bolts!

When was the last time you checked your trailer hitch bolts? As others have mentioned to me in another post, they found the nuts on the their hitch bolts loose. I checked mine today. On one side of the hitch all 4 were tight. On the other side of the hitch all 4 were loose! I was able to get several turns on each nut and could see that 2 of the nuts were not tight enough to compress the lock washer. If you have not checked them in a while take 10 or 15 minutes with some large wrenches you can apply good torque. This will now be on my annual list of things to check.
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Old 03-02-2016, 06:29 PM   #2
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Some Loctite woudn't hurt either.
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Old 03-02-2016, 06:49 PM   #3
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Exclamation

recently i also found an issue:

After 40k+ miles with our toad, and nary any issue, I walked past the front of my toad and something caught my eye - one of my tow bar-to-toad hitch pins had worked over half way out!
For at least 30k+ miles I have used a simple one piece hitch pin, found at most farm stores, that includes a 'security knob' at the end that flips up after the pin is engaged thru the tow bar. It's designed to provide a simple method without the need for an additional cotter pin or similar to contain the hitch pin. It had somehow(probably operator error!) not been set correctly when installed at the last connection, probably 1000 miles or more!

wheeeeewwwwwww!
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MRUSA14 View Post
Some Loctite woudn't hurt either.
Agreed
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MisterT View Post
recently i also found an issue:

After 40k+ miles with our toad, and nary any issue, I walked past the front of my toad and something caught my eye - one of my tow bar-to-toad hitch pins had worked over half way out!
For at least 30k+ miles I have used a simple one piece hitch pin, found at most farm stores, that includes a 'security knob' at the end that flips up after the pin is engaged thru the tow bar. It's designed to provide a simple method without the need for an additional cotter pin or similar to contain the hitch pin. It had somehow(probably operator error!) not been set correctly when installed at the last connection, probably 1000 miles or more!

wheeeeewwwwwww!
I have also wondered if I should use a different hitch pin setup other than what I have currently. My receiver has the standard 5/8" hitch pin with a cotter pin on the end. I have thought about changing it out for a locking hitch pin but theft is not my concern so much as the pins security to stay in place. I think I would feel better if I had a pin that has 2 layers of protection to keep it from slipping out. Maybe a locking pin that also had a place to attach a cotter pin on the end. Just a thought. Maybe I should invent it if it does not exist. If you somehow did not attach you lock properly the cotter pin would be your last line of defense and visa versa.
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:59 PM   #6
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I'll say this one more time. Since the 1970's, most knowledgeable engineers do not design anything with split lockwashers. It has been shown that they actually compromise bolted joints. I suggest removing the low grade nuts and bolts on your hitch and replacing them with Grade 8 nuts and bolts with hardened flat washers. If they're 1/2 inch, torque to 100 ft lbs. This will more than double the clamping force of the joint.
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Old 03-02-2016, 08:04 PM   #7
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Here's a link to a brief article on the subject with more links.
http://www.boltscience.com/pages/hel...ingwashers.htm
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Old 03-02-2016, 08:35 PM   #8
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And one last link. A non technical discussion about fasteners and joints.
http://engineerdog.com/2015/01/11/10...out-fasteners/
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:26 PM   #9
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And one last link. A non technical discussion about fasteners and joints.
10 Tricks Engineers Need to Know About Fasteners – EngineerDog
Good articles. Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:21 AM   #10
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In 2004 I drove our '02 DSDP to the Spartan factory to have a new 14,600# front axle installed in place of the OEM 12,000# one. While on the rack they checked the whole chassis and found the hitch bolts were loose. Torqued them correctly and never had any more trouble with them.
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterT View Post
recently i also found an issue:

After 40k+ miles with our toad, and nary any issue, I walked past the front of my toad and something caught my eye - one of my tow bar-to-toad hitch pins had worked over half way out!
For at least 30k+ miles I have used a simple one piece hitch pin, found at most farm stores, that includes a 'security knob' at the end that flips up after the pin is engaged thru the tow bar. It's designed to provide a simple method without the need for an additional cotter pin or similar to contain the hitch pin. It had somehow(probably operator error!) not been set correctly when installed at the last connection, probably 1000 miles or more!

wheeeeewwwwwww!
I cured that by using locks in EVERY pin on the towbar. Had kids remove a hitch pin at a Home Depot one time on my utility trailer. Didn't suspect a thing till I started to leave and say a group watching me too intently so I stopped and checked. I always carried extra pins so I used one and left.
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Old 03-03-2016, 11:31 AM   #12
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I'll toss in the advice to also add yearly maintenance to check your toad baseplate mount bolts. I found one loose the first time I checked ours, and since then have had three friends tell me they found some of their baseplates bolts loose too...

Best to all,
Smitty
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Old 03-05-2016, 06:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
I cured that by using locks in EVERY pin on the towbar. Had kids remove a hitch pin at a Home Depot one time on my utility trailer. Didn't suspect a thing till I started to leave and say a group watching me too intently so I stopped and checked. I always carried extra pins so I used one and left.
Makes you wonder why they would think that would be funny. Could have killed someone.
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Old 03-05-2016, 06:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by noserider View Post
When was the last time you checked your trailer hitch bolts? As others have mentioned to me in another post, they found the nuts on the their hitch bolts loose. I checked mine today. On one side of the hitch all 4 were tight. On the other side of the hitch all 4 were loose! I was able to get several turns on each nut and could see that 2 of the nuts were not tight enough to compress the lock washer. If you have not checked them in a while take 10 or 15 minutes with some large wrenches you can apply good torque. This will now be on my annual list of things to check.
Thanks for the reminder
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