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Old 07-14-2009, 11:41 PM   #1
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Ball Hitch Question

Hello all:

I've got a quick question. I have never greased ball hitches before, but have also never towed anything as heavy as a TT. I just brought home a new TT, and upon unhitching it, noticed that some of the chrome has been ground off the ball. Doing a little research on this forum and others, I've found a bit of debate whether or not to grease the ball, and what kind of grease is appropriate.

My question, however, relates to the fact that this ball looks like someone took a file to it. It's grooved pretty good all around the top third of the ball itself. Is this a normal thing for non-greased hitches? It is the right size for the trailer, and it was undamaged when it was installed at the dealership. I have the Equalizer WD hitch. The ball was not greased. If this is what happens after 5 miles or so (the distance to get it home), what can I expect from a few thousand? Is it safe to tow with this ball, or should I get a new one? I've looked at the inside of the trailer housing, and can find no damage, but did run across some black gunk and silver flecks of what I assume to be my ball. Should this area be clean? I've attached a picture of the ball. It's in B&W so you can see the damage better.



OK - so that was more than a single question. I'm sorry. I'll defer to your collective knowledge on this one, as I am eager to learn... and not damage the trailer (or myself...)

Thanks,
Colin
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:19 PM   #2
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It's hard to tell from a picture but it looks safe to me. Just a little beat up. I have been on both sides of the greasing issue. I was taught many decades ago by my father that grease just attracted dirt. So I never greased anything. Well, last year it turned out that the couple on my TT was worn enough to allow slack and a clunking upon accelleration and decelleration. The coupler is non-adjustable to the only cure was to buy a new one, $200 and pay to have the old one cut off and the new one welded on. $300. And, this is with a Pullrite hitch that does not allow more than a few degrees of movement at the ball.

So, now I have switched and am a greaser. I see no reason to go half-way like some that use waxed paper and such. I use axle bearing grease. Sure enough, dirt gets into the grease. So, each time before I go out, I wipe off the ball, wipe out the coupler and re-grease. Takes about 5 minutes. So far, I haven't gotten grease on my pants, but if I'm gonna be anywhere for overnight, I just wipe off the ball. I'm gonna do it eventually anyway. I think I'll look for one of those plastic covers.
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:17 PM   #3
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Thanks! Well, I took it down to the dealer today, and we discovered that there was, at one time, grease in the coupler on the trailer. During shipping (From Indiana to Alaska), quite a bit of dirt contaminated the coupler, and was acting as sandpaper. I think I'll try the greasing route for a little bit and see how that works for me. I'll just have to clean it after every trip. Problem solved, except my bright shiny hitch ain't so bright and shiny any more :(

Ah, well. Still a happy camper...
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:12 PM   #4
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You probably noticed resistance when you made a street corner. That was the receiver and ball grinding on each other. Grease the ball if you wish to avoid future expenses as previously explained. To avoid getting dirt in the grease, or grease on your trousers, wrap the hitch in a walmart bag when not towing. There is grease in the W/D bar sockets anyway, right? BTW you just became a re-cycler of plastic bags.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:59 PM   #5
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Keep mine greased and WalMart bags when not hitched.

Ken
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
There is grease in the W/D bar sockets anyway, right?
Uhhh... that would explain the reverberating metal on metal sound as I turned into my driveway... Them bars be as dry as a desert! I will remedy that immediately. I downloaded the Equalizer instructions, so at least know where to lubricate. 10 year old grease from my grease gun ok? Or do I have to make another trip to the store...
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Old 07-25-2009, 07:11 AM   #7
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Use the grease, just enough to lubricate things, excess only collects dirt and makes a mess. BTW, grease or oil attracts dirt and grit, these combine to make a crude grinding compound. Use the walmart bags liberally.
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Old 07-26-2009, 03:30 PM   #8
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Well, thanks everyone! I just got back from a 6 day trip with the new trailer. (The trip was great!) I used some high pressure marine grease I had , and the ball has no new grind marks on it, the trailer tracked perfectly, and there was no popping and banging as I turned corners. (It's not so nice to be pulling into a campsite at 10 PM with a trailer that sounds like a skeet range... Anyhow, I made sure and cleaned the ball and coupler before re-hitching, and didn't even get grease on my pants! hehe.

Thanks for the help, all!

Colin
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:37 PM   #9
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We should thank you for joining our RVing family and participating. It is nice to get feedback after someone asks a question. Glad you had a great trip.
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:21 PM   #10
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Has anyone ever tried wax on your hitch? I am a woodworker and use paste wax to keep cast iron tools from rusting. It also make them extremely slick. While I was re-applying a wax coat last week to the tablesaw table, I got to wondering if it would work on my hitch ball. It seems to me that if buffed out properly, it wouldn't attract dirt and grime like grease. I'm just not sure if it would stand up.

I put a good coat on mine and am leaving for Missouri next week. I will take along some grease in case the wax doesn't hold up. Will report back in a few weeks after the trip with results. That is, unless someone tells me before I leave that they have already tried it and it didn't work.

BTW, I don't use automotive type wax because most of them contain silicone that make finishing woodwork impossible. I use plain old Johnson paste floor wax.

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Old 09-01-2009, 11:02 PM   #11
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trailer ball grease

Just about anything that will stay as a coating on the ball will prevent wear, but I doubt that wax will do the trick. Keeping a lubricant coating between two moving metal objects is a science, but most greases will work on a trailer hitch/ball--just have to clean the dirt off regularly.

And, if you haven't gotten grease on your levis from touching the hitch ball, you haven't really been camping.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:07 PM   #12
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There is an alternative to using grease. I use it on my slide-out mechanism sliding parts. Amazon.com: Dry Moly Lube 20 Oz. Spray Can - DRY MOLY LUBE: Home Improvement
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