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Old 04-29-2016, 11:05 AM   #71
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It seemed like such a violent drop when it came unhitched, I wonder if it would damage the jacks with such a sudden impact. But if they are just barely above the pavement maybe not. They were fully retracted when this happened and with the trailer resting on the bed, the jacks were almost touching the pavement. I was glad the jacks weren't impacted then, because that kind of a drop-about a foot, I would think would certainly damage them.

Oh and with the grease, great inputs on here. The hitch expert told me there is no need to have it on the hitch plate when you have a lube plate, but should definitely have some on the moving parts. When he removed the 5th wheel and turned it over, he showed me two areas on the underneath where there was some wear and said should have grease. Basically anywhere you have mechanisms moving, makes sense.

Good idea on the Go-Pros for filming. I'll let you know!
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:13 PM   #72
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The reenactment...

Well hooked it up, 2 GoPros mounted, wife videoing off to the side. And nothing. Put it in the same place and same position when it failed and tried 3 times and couldn't get it to drop. So I am at a loss.

Some good news, even though the hitch isn't really damaged, my insurance is paying to replace it. With another Reese 26K hitch. At least it will be new and unused and I could exchange it for something else. They also told me to hang on to the old hitch and they are going to have it inspected by some engineer. Have to give my insurance credit, they are being more helpful than I thought they would be. Probably against the rules to say who they are, don't want to be banished...

On another note, after talking to my hitch installer, I decided to give Reese another shot, I did and got thru to a guy in the technical department and he actually spent some time listening to what happened and going over possible causes. He suggested a possibility might be what he called a Mid Pin versus a High Pin. He said this can happen if the kingpin is a little high, where it might even be missed when looking for daylight between the pin box and hitch plate. He said the handle and jaw will partially close, but not completely and if the handle/jaw doesn't fully close, it is possible the hole in the handle for the safety pin might still accept the pin even though it isn't fully engaged. He said without visible breakage or shearing, there is virtually no way the kingpin can come out of the hitch with the jaw fully engaged and locked.

This actually makes more sense than anything and I have to admit it's possible that is what happened. I saw the jaw around the pin and I know I put the safety pin in and there was no daylight between the pin box and hitch plate. Hard for me to imagine that the jaw wasn't fully engaged, but being able to put the safety pin in would have led me to believe it was, even though I know I inspected everything else. But that would explain why I was able to tow it for 60 miles and then it came apart when I was in a high stress turn and then restarted. If it were Mid Pinned, that would have allowed for towing and also coming apart. That is scary, if this is the case, it could have disconnected at any time. If I am imagining this right, if the safety pin was in the handle outside the slot it's supposed to be in, that also would have prevented the jaw from fully engaging, when it might have if I would have left the pin out. I wasn't distracted or in a hurry and checked it when I hooked up and immediately after pulling out of the camp site. If I Mid Pinned it and still missed any warning signs, this is a very poor design and this could happen to anyone.

I'm still not sure it is possible to put the pin in when the handle/jaw are open, I will have to look at it when I get it back from the shop. But if it is, this could be the explanation. What a crappy design that you could be fooled into thinking everything is connected properly, and it absolutely isn't.
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:17 PM   #73
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On mine if the jaws are locked open the pin will absolutely not go in. Glad you might have found a cause.
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:34 PM   #74
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Just a wild shot, but did you check the kingpin for damage or out of spec condition?

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Old 05-06-2016, 09:38 AM   #75
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Yeah I thought about maybe its not the hitch at all, but a defect with the kingpin. But it is straight and solid, nothing obvious. I'm still not sure about if it's even possible to put the safety pin in when the handle is open or partially open. Need to check that out when I get it back in a couple weeks.
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:13 PM   #76
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I hope I never use it, but I do have piece of mind having installed a blue-ox bed saver on my B&W hitch. Sometimes it's a pain when unhooking if I haven't raised the fiver high enough, but that's just a push of a button away.
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:10 AM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tombstoner View Post
Have to give my insurance credit, they are being more helpful than I thought they would be. Probably against the rules to say who they are, don't want to be banished...
Well you can understand why its important to not allow giving credit to the folks that provide good customer service. It makes the rest look bad, cuts into their business, and we can have that.
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Old 05-07-2016, 01:20 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tombstoner View Post
have to give my insurance credit, they are being more helpful than I thought they would be. Probably against the rules to say who they are, don't want to be banished...
There's nothing wrong with giving credit where credit is due.
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:33 PM   #79
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The Conclusion

Well my truck has been repaired ($12,000) and the crap Reese 26K hitch is being replaced today with a Curt 24K, and I take the trailer in to be repaired tomorrow. From my own investigation (since Ford wouldn't do one), and in talking to Reese, I believe what caused this incident was a "Mid-Pin" connection. I described how that can happen in my last post. When I got my truck and hitch back from the shop, I checked it out and I can see now how that is probably the cause.

With a Mid-Pin, the kingpin comes into the hitch a little high, just enough for the handle/jaw to close, but not all the way because it isn't properly seated. There can still be no daylight between the pin box and hitch plate (there wasn't), the jaw looks engaged around the king pin (it did), and it is possible to fully insert and clip the safety pin (which I did). There is a metal flag that normally blocks the safety pin hole unless the kingpin depresses a tab inside the hitch well. But, this safety pin hole remains open enough to insert the safety pin, up to less than an inch (the width of the metal flag) before the handle/jaw is fully engaged. The first three photos are of the hitch with the safety pin inserted, but the handle/jaw not fully engaged, such as what could happen in a Mid-Pin. The last three photos are with the handle/jaw properly closed. I will attach two more showing the distance of the handle when not properly closed but with safety pin inserted, is less than an inch of when it is properly closed.

Compare the photos of the jaw partially engaged such as in a Mid-Pin connection and fully engaged in a proper connection. There is very little visual difference. There is however, enough room in the hitch well to allow the kingpin to pop out under the right circumstances.

This hitch design allowed me to pass the safety inspections which were supported by the fact that I knew the safety pin was engaged. This was coupled with my belief that if the kingpin wasn't properly seated, I couldn't insert the safety pin. Not only did it look, feel and sound like it was properly connected, it stayed connected for 60 miles of towing in a variety of conditions before the kingpin finally popped out of the hitch in front of my house at 2 mph. The trailer could have come disconnected at anytime, including at freeway speeds. Had I jammed the breaks when it disconnected at that speed, 9 tons of trailer would have come thru the cab of my truck. Or if it disconnected with the pin box bouncing around in the bed and held in by the tailgate, the weight of my trailer could have easily taken my truck with it off the road.

Even though the safety pin shows at a slight angle while inserted with the handle/jaw partially open, it might have been completely vertical if the jaw was jammed against the kingpin. I don't know if I would have caught it either way. But I do recall after the kingpin had popped out of the hitch, I thought that the safety pin was at an odd angle. So to add to all of the non-warning signs, the safety pin very well may have been straight up causing me no concern and only shifted to that angle, in the third photo, after the kingpin came out, allowing the handle to try and close completely. In that regard, had I not inserted the safety pin into an almost closed handle/jaw, it probably would have snapped into place once I started towing. In this case, the safety pin actually prevented the handle/jaw from completely closing by holding it in a partially open position. Wow.

My Conclusions. Ford sucks because they didn't care enough to inspect or find out what the cause of this was. USAA-my insurance, rocks because they did care and listened. They cashed me out for my $1600 Reese hitch made in China, so I could buy an $800 Curt hitch made in the USA. I paid my deductible, but with this explanation and having their engineer compare my story with inspecting the hitch, I may get that refunded, and I am petitioning that I be found not at fault. So I feel that there was no actual mechanical failure, but rather the faulty design of this hitch allowed me to be misled into thinking it was properly connected when it wasn't. I've towed for many years, I'm not careless especially when connecting my trailer, and everything looked and felt like a proper connection. If you have this type designed hitch, you should be terrified this could happen to you. Who knows, I may have connected like this before and for whatever reason, it didn't come apart. So scary. Curt looks like a good solid hitch with a double jaw system and other safety issues. At least it isn't a Reese.
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:46 PM   #80
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Last photos

The first photo shows the handle closed to just before the metal flag starts to cover the safety pin hole. The second photo shows the handle/jaw fully closed-That distance is less than an inch. This means the handle can looked closed, the jaw is around the kingpin-almost completely, and it is possible to insert the safety pin.
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:45 PM   #81
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I notice that your jaw of your hitch is not painted white. I painted mine white so I can see the jaw is fully closed and around the 5th wheel pin.

Not saying it is fool proof but it helps.
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Old 05-23-2016, 04:09 PM   #82
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That's a really good idea for this type hitch. I use a flashlight even in the daytime, but painting it white would really help. Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:51 PM   #83
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I guess I still don't get it...if you look at the jaws when closed it won't close all the way on the top or bottom of the king pin...the flag also won't go in on mine. It takes both the jaws shut and up against the latch on the inside back of the hitch to allow the pin to be inserted. I just don't see how the jaws won't be all the way closed and the pin go in.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:44 PM   #84
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Tombstoner, why would you trade a Mexican made hitch for a Chinese made hitch?

Get a quality NO QUESTION if it's hitched hitch, B&W!!!
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