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Old 09-29-2016, 03:53 PM   #1
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Need trailer hitch

Just did a 1000 mile drive. When I left my last gas stop my hitch and tow bar were level. When I got to the campground 250 miles later, the tow bar was almost dragging on the ground and the hitch was pointing down. I tow a Honda CRV which shouldn't be over weight for my Coachman Encounter 37LS with the V10. I do have a drop hitch and I use the NSA Ready Brute Towbar, it doesn't look too good, it may have to be replaced too. Coachman had a recall for the hitch bolts being incorrect and not torqued correctly. That was fixed at the factory however they put the nuts against the hitch without a washer and 2 of them started pulling through the bolt holes in the frame. From my searching, is this a combination of the bad installation, the drop hitch, or maybe it's a Pullrite receiver? I read that there were some issues with them. I can't find a part number on mine. I need another receiver, I can't find one, not at Amazon, Etrailer or directly to Reese or Draw-tite.

Any ideas??
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:22 PM   #2
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I'd say bad installation and poor receiver. I'd go back and ask for free replacement, hitch, tow bar, and labor!
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Old 09-29-2016, 06:17 PM   #3
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I'd say bad installation and poor receiver. I'd go back and ask for free replacement, hitch, tow bar, and labor!
I wish I could. I'm outta warranty and I need to tow the car home. So far no replacements can be found.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:46 PM   #4
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I wish I could. I'm outta warranty and I need to tow the car home. So far no replacements can be found.
Crankshaft,
If you can't find an exact replacement, any good welding shop could knock one out in a short time. That is, if there's one of those around. If you find one, just about all of them know the specs on the class of hitch needed. And, one more avenue, I don't know if there's any within your entire area or, even in your state but, an RV wrecking yard would be a good source too. Good luck.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:26 PM   #5
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I wish I could. I'm outta warranty and I need to tow the car home. So far no replacements can be found.
That recall superseded the factory warranty, contact a nearby Coachman dealer(or directly with Coachman) and file a complaint, with pictures.
As a last resort one of you may have to drive your Honda home, unless you want to pay for repairs yourself; in which case, keep your receipts for the hitch-shop repairs, with pictures. and file a claim for reimbursement with Coachman.
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:40 AM   #6
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Crankshaft,
If you can't find an exact replacement, any good welding shop could knock one out in a short time. That is, if there's one of those around. If you find one, just about all of them know the specs on the class of hitch needed. And, one more avenue, I don't know if there's any within your entire area or, even in your state but, an RV wrecking yard would be a good source too. Good luck.
Scott
I have a call into a recommended welder/fabricator. I'm thinking he could build a better beast or use what I have and build a better hitch.
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:55 AM   #7
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That recall superseded the factory warranty, contact a nearby Coachman dealer(or directly with Coachman) and file a complaint, with pictures.
As a last resort one of you may have to drive your Honda home, unless you want to pay for repairs yourself; in which case, keep your receipts for the hitch-shop repairs, with pictures. and file a claim for reimbursement with Coachman.
You are correct. I did one better, I called Coachmen. They had my coach for 7 months and the hitch recall was part of their work. They are sending me a new receiver overnight. It's a 4 bolt job to install, I know that they should get someone to do it but I have the tools so I'll take care of it. My NSA Readybrute tow bar got damaged when the hitch bent. They are overnighting me a U joint kit. That cost me a lot of $$$. I also have to put that on but Tod from NSA said I can do it. He was a lot of help, I sent him pictures of the damage and he called me right back. He said it might be OK to tow but he'd feel better if the U joint was replaced. I went with the safer than sorry route. I highly recommend them.

Also, Coachmen installed the hitch with grade 5 bolts. They are sending the same bolts so I decided to get grade 8 bolts instead. According to the ratings for grade 5, they should be sufficient but I think grade 8 would be better.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:46 AM   #8
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Geez, unless the new hitch is different, aren't you concerned about a repeat performance on the way home?

Maybe let that welder have a look to see what he thinks. Also, while he's under there, have him check out where the Coachman frame rails attach to the Ford frame rails up by the rear axle. I've seen some pretty "creative" engineering done at that point, resulting in some downright scary situations pulling the kind of weight you're talking about. The best hitch in the world is useless if the frame rails it's attached to come loose....
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:46 AM   #9
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I bolts were not correct and allowed hitch to move then replacement and done correct should be fine.

If bolted directly through frame members that cannot squish and it using grade 8 look for bolts that are NOT threaded in the interface area where the shear point is located as they are stress risers and the weak point...not much of a deal here but just the little bit of extra strength.

Be sure to use grade 8 or 10 WASHERS as often folks don't think about that and they fail allowing bolt to come loose.

Look up torque ratings for the hardware and torque it to that rating then get a paint pen or DW fingernail paint and witness mark all bolts across the nut so you can observe of changed.

Take before and after photos to share here as well as sending back to your provider to confirm properly installed and ask for confirmation.

Just in case the hitch is a bad design and fails you can cover your behind by having the confirmation from manufacturer.

Give it a quick look at every stop on your trip back home as well.

You may request the manufacturer provide a contact for a certified hitch place somewhere along your route or back home to have the "system" inspected at their cost as well...
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Old 10-02-2016, 08:28 PM   #10
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Perhaps I missed this in one of the replies, so if I repeat I apologize. The bolt holes must be snug = very little clearance for the bolt to pass through the holes. A loose fit means greater susceptibility to bolt shear (pg22) if the joint moves any at all.
If frame bolt holes are enlarged or egg-shaped, they must be drilled to the next larger diameter bolt; or if the frame mfgr. permits, bolted AND welded to the frame.
For this reason bolts fastening 5th wheel hitch rails to the truck frame have a knurl where the it passes through frame.
Shear strength is approx. 60% of tensile strength.
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Old 10-03-2016, 06:57 AM   #11
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Geez, unless the new hitch is different, aren't you concerned about a repeat performance on the way home?

Maybe let that welder have a look to see what he thinks. Also, while he's under there, have him check out where the Coachman frame rails attach to the Ford frame rails up by the rear axle. I've seen some pretty "creative" engineering done at that point, resulting in some downright scary situations pulling the kind of weight you're talking about. The best hitch in the world is useless if the frame rails it's attached to come loose....
I was thinking the same thing. Unfortunately it seems that they only use one brand of hitch of their class A's, Pullrite. That is what I got as a replacement. They also seem to be the only company that make a hitch for the F53 chassis.

I'm thinking of having the welder add safety chain hookup rings to the actual frame of the RV. Right now, as we all do, the safety chains hook to the hitch. If the hitch had let loose of the frame there would be nothing to stop the car from disappearing. We reinstalled the hitch with grade 8 bolts, one of the grade 5 bolts we took out was bent. We used locktite red and a torque wrench to button it all down. If I can keep a good campground wifi signal I'll attempt to post pictures later.

Thanks for the input and help
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:05 AM   #12
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Perhaps I missed this in one of the replies, so if I repeat I apologize. The bolt holes must be snug = very little clearance for the bolt to pass through the holes. A loose fit means greater susceptibility to bolt shear (pg22) if the joint moves any at all.
If frame bolt holes are enlarged or egg-shaped, they must be drilled to the next larger diameter bolt; or if the frame mfgr. permits, bolted AND welded to the frame.
For this reason bolts fastening 5th wheel hitch rails to the truck frame have a knurl where the it passes through frame.
Shear strength is approx. 60% of tensile strength.
The frame holes were actually slots. They had no damage on them at all, I was surprised. The hitch mounting was actual holes, those were beat up. The hardware that came out was grade 5 full thread and we replaced it with grade 8 full thread. There shouldn't be any loose fit, I hope. between loctite red and a torque wrench I hope it stays put.

Thanks for the help
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:59 AM   #13
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Just a thought, the hitch on my Itasca is not only bolted to the frame, but also it was welded. When you're at the welder, see what they think about running a weld bead.
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:01 AM   #14
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Just a thought, the hitch on my Itasca is not only bolted to the frame, but also it was welded. When you're at the welder, see what they think about running a weld bead.
I had thought about welding it on, however, what if this happens again? I'm not going to be able to replace it myself. If it does happen again I hope it's close to home so I can limp there and build a beast of hitch that will hopefully never bend or need to be replaced. The hitch that is on there weighs about 50 lbs. I would make the side mounting plates much thicker and add a 3rd bolt hole to it and the frame. I would also attempt to design it so I could eliminate the add on drop hitch. The side plates would drop down farther allowing 2 receivers to be mounted. One at stock height and the other at a 6 inch drop. There is plenty of room behind the receiver bars to add reinforcing gussets to prevent or minimize the chance of bending. I'm guessing that this design could weigh close to 100 lbs.

Almost sounds like I want to get in the hitch business. What do you think of this design idea?
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