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Old 03-08-2017, 07:34 AM   #57
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Are you sure that trailer couplers and balls used on travel trailers are soft steel prone to quickly wear out? In all my years of towing I've yet to see one wear out and some of our hitch balls are probably 20+ years old. l
Yes the steel is relatively soft. If there is a good chrome plating, that would be a hard surface and help prevent galling, but note I said good. Galling is a process that feeds on itself and, if you are lucky, the surfaces will mate smoothly and run a long time before failure begins. Just because the trailer ball appears fine, there could be wear inside the soft coupler where few people look.
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Old 03-08-2017, 02:02 PM   #58
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I also lubricate the other moving parts of the hitch setup with a liquid spray (Corrosion X), primarily where the hitch attaches to the base plate. I have a couple of hitches, but use a "fixed" type for long trips because I think it's stronger. I'm not saying it IS stronger, but that I think it is. It does a lot of moving up and down where the pins go through to connect it to the base plate.

Steve
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Old 03-08-2017, 03:12 PM   #59
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Folks talking about not greasing farm machinery are not comparing like kind metal to metal joints. Swivel joints on farm equipment usually have hardened steel parts, your trailer coupler and ball are soft steel and they can become galled. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galling

Are you sure that trailer couplers and balls used on travel trailers are soft steel prone to quickly wear out? In all my years of towing I've yet to see one wear out and some of our hitch balls are probably 20+ years old. There are also applications where you can use a Lunette ring with a hitch ball. A lunette ring is able to handle a far higher load than a typical ball style hitch and yet no one greases them. I don't think you can hurt it by greasing it, other than the oft mentioned greasy pant legs but probably not really necessary either. https://www.etrailer.com/p-TR63042.html
I would also add from growing up working on a farm, grain wagons, hay trailers, plows, etc. weren't traveling thousands of miles at highway speeds each year either. Ball lube is just sound maintenance IMHO.
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Old 03-08-2017, 03:19 PM   #60
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I want to point out one thing about metal that I learned from a machinist friend. He built a farm implement of his own design and had springs sliding up and down on a mild steel plate about 3/16" thick.
I pointed out to him that a I thought his design would fail. He said that of all the parts he had made that part would never fail.
His reason was. The spring being very hard and the slide area being soft it was the perfect combination for wear.

Also the grease put on a fifth wheel on a highway tractor is to keep the plate on the trailer that carries the weight on the tractor from wearing. Also the the top of the fifth wheel that makes contact with the plate on the trailer.
The pin that pulls the load does not require grease but gets it's share from the mess on the fifth wheel.
On highway trucks the pin has to be measured at a CVIP inspection. If the pin does not pass it is replaced
When I had my fifth wheel I never lubed anything but the jaw mechanism.
I had a Teflon disc to prevent squeaking and wear on the fifth wheel.

If you grease the ball it will retain foreign material and what the result would be is grinding compound. Not a good Idea!
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Old 03-08-2017, 06:01 PM   #61
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I also lubricate the other moving parts of the hitch setup with a liquid spray (Corrosion X), primarily where the hitch attaches to the base plate. I have a couple of hitches, but use a "fixed" type for long trips because I think it's stronger. I'm not saying it IS stronger, but that I think it is. It does a lot of moving up and down where the pins go through to connect it to the base plate.

Steve
I use a device like this
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....u9L._SY90_.jpg

To stop movement of parts of the hitch at the pin, and would not lube them.

I too had never lubed a tow ball, and while I do consider it, the law of unintended consequences dictates that the trapped debris may do more harm than good.

I have towed things for many decades, and no tow hitch company had ever suggested greasing the ball in any documents or correspondence I have had.
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:47 AM   #62
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Hard to believe this thread has gone so far ! Metal tongue, metal ball, 900#s of tongue weight !!! Never been a farmer, but never seen a tractor hauling a load going down the highway at 70 mph either.Just a retired guy from 40 years in the hardware store ! Any lube is better than none, and i agree about the contaminants grease attracts, before each trip, i take a rag, wipe of the ball, wipe off the inside of the coupler, and apply a new coating of Silicone grease ( Super Lube in the squeeze tube ) to both ! After we unhook at our destination, i but a cover on the ball to hope minimize contamination !

That's it for me !!!!
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:20 AM   #63
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Hard to believe this thread has gone so far ! Metal tongue, metal ball, 900#s of tongue weight !!! Never been a farmer, but never seen a tractor hauling a load going down the highway at 70 mph either.Just a retired guy from 40 years in the hardware store ! Any lube is better than none, and i agree about the contaminants grease attracts, before each trip, i take a rag, wipe of the ball, wipe off the inside of the coupler, and apply a new coating of Silicone grease ( Super Lube in the squeeze tube ) to both ! After we unhook at our destination, i but a cover on the ball to hope minimize contamination !

That's it for me !!!!
X5 Exactly. Lube it. Clean it. Lube it again. Takes all of 5 minutes. Can't see how metal to metal contact is advantageous.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:30 AM   #64
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These threads are awesome. Tractors don't go down the highway at 70 mph. Well that's true I can't argue that point but I can guarantee you that there is a whole lot more stress and pressure between a tractor and the implement it is pulling than there is between your pickup and travel trailer. Think about it this way, your tow rig is pulling a load with low rolling resistance. Heck if you put four wheels on a trailer you could move it just by pushing on it. Your trailer might weigh 10,000 pounds but it is on rubber tires on pavement, it takes nothing to get it to move. A tractor implement, used for turning over dirt like a cover crop disc has a huge amount of rolling resistance, it takes 200 horsepower at 4-5 mph just to move it. The tractor is literally dragging the disc through the dirt to roll the dirt over and bury weed debris. Your fancy 400 horsepower pickup couldn't even pull it, you could never get the traction to move it. You would think linch pins would wear out in a day without any grease but they last years. Your trailer really just bobs along behind your tow rig, the only time there is any real pressure on the hitch and ball is at startup or going up a hill and even then it is minimal. If this was a real issue all those old non-greased hitch balls would be smoking hot from the constant friction but their not because it really doesn't take much to move your trailer there just isn't any resistance at least not compared to things that move earth. I doubt you will damage anything with your ball greasing routine but I doubt it is necessary.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:04 AM   #65
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Lube or no lube, do what floats your boat (or should the saying for this forum be "what rolls your camper?").
Technically, lubing it will make the coupler and ball last longer.
In reality, the rest of the trailer will fall apart and end in the scrap yard LONG before the coupler or ball has worn out from friction.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:29 AM   #66
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Lube or no lube, do what floats your boat (or should the saying for this forum be "what rolls your camper?").
Technically, lubing it will make the coupler and ball last longer.
In reality, the rest of the trailer will fall apart and end in the scrap yard LONG before the coupler or ball has worn out from friction.
You are right there. It's just part of my maint. before heading out. Clean it, lube it and go.

Does help with noise, especially on the trunnion bars. To each his own.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:31 AM   #67
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Lube or no lube, do what floats your boat (or should the saying for this forum be "what rolls your camper?").
Technically, lubing it will make the coupler and ball last longer.
In reality, the rest of the trailer will fall apart and end in the scrap yard LONG before the coupler or ball has worn out from friction.
One other thing, stay from any and all trailers on the highway. Folks will take the easy way out and safety be damned.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:32 AM   #68
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Many years ago as a teenager I was with my father when we bought a ski boat. We were instructed then not to lube the hitch ball. So, I've never lubed a ball and don't plan on starting. I think the dirt and debris it would hold would do more harm than good. As mentioned, there is relatively little stress on the joint. I've put my hands on the ball and coupler after towing a trailer for a full day and there was no heat to be felt. If there was enough friction to cause any excessive wear, it would heat up. Just my 2 cents worth.
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