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Old 04-22-2016, 04:18 PM   #1
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B&W failure

We had a Base failure with our B&W Companion (turnoverball version) hitch. This failure happened with a trailer and pin weight near the advertised limits (but not over). I think that the way that the Chevy bed is designed, the plastic rails need to be toward the center of the truck, contributing to the failure.
To B&W's credit, they sent a replacement base twice (because it failed after replacing it the first time).
We have pulled the whole thing out and replaced it with a different brand with standard rails.

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Old 04-22-2016, 08:29 PM   #2
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I have a B&W too. But do not have the part that is bolted to the frame. I have a 15K fiver, and have no issues.
Glad to hear they sent you a new mount.
Only problem I have had was the bolt on top used to torque it to the hitch striped out. Drilled and taped it with larger grade 8 bolt. Same size as the u-bolt nuts.
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:05 PM   #3
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Looks like problem is spacers are too tall and not allowing base to sit flush on bed.
Spacers should just fill 'U' channel gap
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
We had a Base failure with our B&W Companion (turnoverball version) hitch. This failure happened with a trailer and pin weight near the advertised limits (but not over). I think that the way that the Chevy bed is designed, the plastic rails need to be toward the center of the truck, contributing to the failure.
Its not just a certain brand truck as this happens quite often on haulers forums with GM/Dodge Ram/and Ford trucks when pulling heavy 5th wheel/goose pin flatbed trailers.
I would add some of these folks may run 80k-100k miles a year so their hitches are worked hard. Most go back with a bed rail system.
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:03 PM   #5
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That picture looks very odd--have never seen a bolt thru the flat plate on the bottom of any B&W. Certainly that spacer is too high.
Have been running a Companion 16K at 17400 for many years--only problem I have seen is that I moved the head and did not get the bolts tight and wallowed out the holes.
Is that spacer specific to your truck? Good friend has an '11 GMC w/B&W and his does not use any spacer/anything under the flat hitch rail.
What are the 'plastic rails' that you mention?
Joe
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:14 PM   #6
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In the picture, the spacer looks to be bent upwards at the forward end. With all that unsupported area toward to outside of the spacer, it will always flex and bend under the stationary weight, Dynamic weight will finish it off as that area will continue to flex while going down the road.

I would rethink my mounting, and stay away from anything that leaves any area of the base unsupported.

DTW

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Old 04-22-2016, 11:43 PM   #7
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I have the same hitch on my Chevy 3500. I checked mine and your spacers are installed upside down. The flat part goes up and the tapered part goes on the bottom which contours to the tapered grooves on the bed. I'm sure this is causing your problem. Too bad you got rid of it due to an installation error. They are an awesome hitch.
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Old 04-23-2016, 08:15 AM   #8
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In addition to the spacers being installed upside down, there has to be something else wrong. The "H" structure of the base of the B&W hitch is there for stability, not to support weight. The pin weight of the 5th wheel should be supported almost entirely by the center shank of the hitch, which goes through the truck bed to the structure below that is bolted to the truck's frame rails. The sheet metal floor of the truck bed should not be supporting any substantial amount of weight.
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Old 04-23-2016, 08:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 918jeeper View Post
I have the same hitch on my Chevy 3500. I checked mine and your spacers are installed upside down. The flat part goes up and the tapered part goes on the bottom which contours to the tapered grooves on the bed. I'm sure this is causing your problem. Too bad you got rid of it due to an installation error. They are an awesome hitch.
You might check your installation instructions again. The wider portion of the plastic rail is to be on the bottom as long as it fits in the slot. It does fit in the slot even though it may not look like it in the picture.
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:40 AM   #10
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Although I have a Reese hitch, I can guarantee you that the spacer is indeed not only too tall but also upside down. The spacer should be only thick enough to fill the cavity between the raised sections inside the bed.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:02 AM   #11
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I can assure you that the spacer is probably installed correctly. I installed mine about 18 months ago and have pulled it thousands of miles with no problem. The weight is carried by the tube that goes into the post hole, not the rails. This is the best hitch I've ever owned. Here is a picture of mine:
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Steadfast View Post
You might check your installation instructions again. The wider portion of the plastic rail is to be on the bottom as long as it fits in the slot. It does fit in the slot even though it may not look like it in the picture.
I had mine installed by a B&W dealer so I'm trusting their installation. I have not had one problem with this hitch.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:11 AM   #13
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That is interesting, I put this together myself and installed it and I'm pretty anal regarding instructions. I've got the original instructions and will check it out. Thanks.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:48 AM   #14
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Those of you that are having success with this hitch in your Chevy, that is great. I really liked the hitch myself. The reason for the post is to say if you go heavier, up to the advertised 5,000 pin weight, you may have the same problem we did.
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