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Old 04-18-2016, 04:43 PM   #1
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Reese hitch failure!

I know the standard response will be-You didn't hook it up right.
But I did.

I have a Cyclone 4100 (44 foot-18,000 GVWR) and a Ford factory installed Reese 18K 5th wheel hitch in my F-350 dually, both less than a year old. Have towed with this combo about 2,000 miles and have towed trailers for many years.

I properly connected the trailer, insured the jaw and handle were in the locked position, properly seated on the hitch plate, with the safety pin installed and clipped, and completed the pull test. I towed the trailer about 60 miles and arrived at my residence on a cul-d e-sac. This involves a fairly tight U-turn, which I have done many times with this hitch and trailer. I stopped in mid-turn to let my wife off, never altering the hitch because we were going to unload and then take the trailer directly to a lot where it is stored. As I started to pull forward to straighten the trailer, the kingpin completely detached from the hitch and the trailer dropped onto my truck bed causing about $10K of damage to the truck and trailer. The jaw/handle were still in the locked position and the safety pin still engaged and clipped.

I at first figured I must have done something wrong, but I didn't. I am at a loss to explain how this happened and have found nothing obviously wrong with the hitch. I thought this was a good quality hitch and pretty idiot proof. It is either hooked up correctly, or it isn't and you can't insert the safety pin, which was still in place with the trailer now detached. I have a claim filed with Ford, who will investigate themselves to see if they are liable...

Any suggestions on what caused this or have you heard of failures like this?
Any suggestions on a better hitch to replace this faulty one with?
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Old 04-18-2016, 04:59 PM   #2
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The picture I get is there was was problem with the kingpin on the trailer and not with the hitch. Do you have any photographs.
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Old 04-18-2016, 05:27 PM   #3
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I can't find anything wrong or defective with the kingpin or the hitch. The kingpin simply popped out of a locked jaw. The opening of the hitch when the jaw is closed seems rather large to me, I would think it would have a tighter fit around the kingpin. There was a lot of torque on the hitch having stopped in the middle of a large U-turn. That is the only reason I can see for it detaching, even though that shouldn't have cause it.
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Old 04-18-2016, 05:46 PM   #4
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I've got the same hitch....following to see why it happened.
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Old 04-18-2016, 06:21 PM   #5
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Are you saying the hitch jaws opened up and let the kingpin out? Even with the hitch supposedly locked?
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Old 04-18-2016, 06:45 PM   #6
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Holy smoke! So sorry to read this. I am glad no one was hurt. I have never heard of this happening. The first thing that popped in mind was an 18K lbs trailer with an 18k lbs hitch. That means you were running up to or over the max weight of your hitch. With the binding and stress of a tight turn, maybe your hitch was just maxed out. Just guessing.

When buying my hitch, I was given the advice to get a larger hitch. For example, if I had a 16k lbs max trailer then get an 18k lbs hitch, if I had an 18k lbs max trailer, then get a 20k lbs hitch.

I went a little more. I have a 16k lbs max trailer with a 20k lbs hitch.
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Old 04-19-2016, 04:41 AM   #7
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Might it have been high pinned?
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Old 04-19-2016, 06:19 AM   #8
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My experience is in tractor trailer hitchs but I noticed 2 things in your pictures.

The gouges all over the plate, caused by missing the pin a few times and the pin possibly riding on top of the lock dog.

If you are not, slightly, lifting the trailer when backing under it, you have the front to high.

Lots of info on hitching, out there.

The second thing is, where is the grease ?

We always had grease on the hitch parts. Everything worked so much better.
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Old 04-19-2016, 07:14 AM   #9
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If the jaws forced open while locked due to the stress of the tight turn, there is a good chance that the hitch is damaged internally. You may want to get Reese involved, but replace with a 20K hitch.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:27 AM   #10
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Geez, sorry to hear. How disheartening. Although I haven't a clue as to how this can happen...hopefully you can get the problem solved and your damages can be covered if it is the fault of the hitch. Whatever the problem, please post with a follow up so the rest of us will know. Good luck with your case.
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Old 04-19-2016, 10:51 AM   #11
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As posted in your other identical thread on this forum:

Holy smoke! So sorry to read this. I am glad no one was hurt. I have never heard of this happening. The first thing that popped in mind was an 18K lbs trailer with an 18k lbs hitch. That means you were running up to or over the max weight of your hitch. With the binding and stress of a tight turn, maybe your hitch was just maxed out. Just guessing.

When buying my hitch, I was given the advice to get a larger hitch. For example, if I had a 16k lbs max trailer then get an 18k lbs hitch, if I had an 18k lbs max trailer, then get a 20k lbs hitch.

I went a little more. I have a 16k lbs max trailer with a 20k lbs hitch.
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Old 04-19-2016, 10:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
My experience is in tractor trailer hitchs but I noticed 2 things in your pictures.

The gouges all over the plate, caused by missing the pin a few times and the pin possibly riding on top of the lock dog.

If you are not, slightly, lifting the trailer when backing under it, you have the front to high.

Lots of info on hitching, out there.

The second thing is, where is the grease ?

We always had grease on the hitch parts. Everything worked so much better.
He is using the Lube Plate. No grease needed. PTFE plate eliminates the mess that grease creates with the same benefits. Made by Reese. I use it too
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:11 AM   #13
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When hooking up I always make sure the Lube Plate just touches the top of the 5 wheel. I will adjust the trailer height until it is "just right".

If it does not slip in clean to the center of the jaw I will adjust the alignment of the truck or the trailer height until it does.
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raineman View Post
He is using the Lube Plate. No grease needed. PTFE plate eliminates the mess that grease creates with the same benefits. Made by Reese. I use it too
You still need "some" grease on the king pin and jaws. Yes ?

The PTFE plate handles the weight, not the thrust on the pin.

You know why grease has been around for ever ? It works.
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