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Old 10-26-2022, 08:52 AM   #1
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Toad Check Surprise

4 weeks into a road trip. Heading out for new day and just finished up toad brake check etc. and was doing my last walk around and noticed the hitch ball was at an angle. It had come loose. I had personally torqued this down on installation 8 months ago using a 2' closed end wrench just for this purpose. Very surprised it unscrewed. Never have had this happen in many years of towing toads, boats and trailers. In fact, I have often struggled to get a ball OFF when needed to change. I was also surprised & disappointed I didn't notice it when I took the toad off. I will be replacing the lock washer as soon as I get into a town that has one of this size. Anyway, something to watch for. And yes, I know if I had one of those fancy tow bars this would not be an issue...
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Old 10-26-2022, 09:26 AM   #2
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Good catch.

It pays to do a thorough inspection of your gear constantly. I think for people who are full time, or close to it, you may get complacent. For those of us who are at best weekend warriors, we may not remember to check or think we don't operate enough for anything to have come loose.

Also, when you get into the larger size things like we may have in a towing operation, tapping an item with your finger may not be enough to cause it to rattle a warning. It might take a tap with the end of a wrench or something heavier to alert you to the problem.

I can still remember driving down I-10 westbound between Lafayette and Lake Charles one Sunday morning. A DP went by in the eastbound lanes pulling a Jeep. As I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw the Toad come loose from the MH and literally become airborne as it flipped up in the air and bounced upside down on the highway before landing on the wheels. It was impressive - in other words, I was impressed by the dangers that could be released with an out of control TOAD, thankfully, it appeared the few other motorist on the road at that time managed to avoid a collision. That would have been in the late 80s, but I seem to remember the Jeep was a neutral color like a beige or tan.
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Old 10-26-2022, 09:37 AM   #3
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I actually saw this happen once and don't really have an explanation. Some thoughts though, are you using a long box end hitch wrench that gives you enough leverage? I suppose a torque wrench would be best. Also in the past I have had the ball turn on me when tightening and had to use a large adjustable wrench on those flat spots at the base of the ball, two people helps here.
The second thought is how freely does your coupler move on the ball? Maybe it needs lube?
As far as lock washers I actually read a study that showed how ineffective they really are, maybe consider some Loctite? I would also use a torque wrench on that, seeing as how you are not just pulling a lightweight fishing boat with it.
Also, is that ball shank a snug fit in the hole? The way it is leaning seems like maybe not. If there is slop there I can see back and forth movement loosening it over time, there's a lot of back and forth force at that point. Maybe time for a new drawbar and matching ball.
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Old 10-26-2022, 09:49 AM   #4
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I parked overnight in Albuquerque next to a Dutch Star some years ago that said he actually lost his pickup once. The truck actually separated from the coach, but I don't know what component failed.
So, yes, have a good look at the hitch components.
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanwwelsh
I will be replacing the lock washer as soon as I get into a town that has one of this size.
I'd be replacing the entire ball myself. Walmart, whatever. Since that did not just happen I'd be concerned that the threaded shaft or where it goes into the ball was weakened or damaged. A visual check cannot always detect that damage.

Quote:
And yes, I know if I had one of those fancy tow bars this would not be an issue...
Yeah, that would not be an issue but they have their own issues.

Ray
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:10 AM   #6
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What kind of a toad setup uses a ball on the hitch receiver? Looks like your toad is a trailer? What towbar equipment are you using?

Inquiring mind wants to know.

Thanks

Chris
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:22 AM   #7
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Will certainly add that to my visual check list I perform any time we stop for a break, fuel, or at a campground before we leave if we are in a pull through spot. Appreciate the heads up.
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:35 AM   #8
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I suggest adding a quality flat washer between your lock washer and hitch bar.
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:50 AM   #9
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To re-iterate my mention of the fit between the hole and the ball shank
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisDParise View Post
What kind of a toad setup uses a ball on the hitch receiver? Looks like your toad is a trailer? What towbar equipment are you using?

Inquiring mind wants to know.

Thanks

Chris
It is an old-school Road Master StowMaster 5000. I have used it for many years and miles on our previous MH with no issues with the ball. This is a new to us MH with new hitch because height was different. Someone mentioned the hole being oversized could have contributed. That seems plausible, though I know I have had oversized holes in previous installs with no problem.
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carybosse View Post
Good catch.

It pays to do a thorough inspection of your gear constantly. I think for people who are full time, or close to it, you may get complacent. For those of us who are at best weekend warriors, we may not remember to check or think we don't operate enough for anything to have come loose.

Also, when you get into the larger size things like we may have in a towing operation, tapping an item with your finger may not be enough to cause it to rattle a warning. It might take a tap with the end of a wrench or something heavier to alert you to the problem.

I can still remember driving down I-10 westbound between Lafayette and Lake Charles one Sunday morning. A DP went by in the eastbound lanes pulling a Jeep. As I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw the Toad come loose from the MH and literally become airborne as it flipped up in the air and bounced upside down on the highway before landing on the wheels. It was impressive - in other words, I was impressed by the dangers that could be released with an out of control TOAD, thankfully, it appeared the few other motorist on the road at that time managed to avoid a collision. That would have been in the late 80s, but I seem to remember the Jeep was a neutral color like a beige or tan.
WOW! Interestingly enough, we had an 18' fiberglass boat/trailer come loose from our MH about 10 years ago while on a 2-lane freeway. The nut that holds the ball clasp fell off so the hitch was essentially just sitting on the ball. We hit a bump and off it jumped. Thank goodness for safety chains. The boat and trailer started dancing around back there and I brought it to a stop with no damage to the MH or anyone else. The trailer had a little skid plate there below the hitch so it wasn't damaged either. It was a bit "comical" to see the other cars scatter like rats from a drowning ship when that boat was dancing back there...
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Old 10-26-2022, 11:02 AM   #12
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These are also available
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Old 10-26-2022, 11:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigb56 View Post
I actually saw this happen once and don't really have an explanation. Some thoughts though, are you using a long box end hitch wrench that gives you enough leverage? I suppose a torque wrench would be best. Also in the past I have had the ball turn on me when tightening and had to use a large adjustable wrench on those flat spots at the base of the ball, two people helps here.
The second thought is how freely does your coupler move on the ball? Maybe it needs lube?
As far as lock washers I actually read a study that showed how ineffective they really are, maybe consider some Loctite? I would also use a torque wrench on that, seeing as how you are not just pulling a lightweight fishing boat with it.
Also, is that ball shank a snug fit in the hole? The way it is leaning seems like maybe not. If there is slop there I can see back and forth movement loosening it over time, there's a lot of back and forth force at that point. Maybe time for a new drawbar and matching ball.
1 As noted in original post, was using a box end wrench designed for this.
2 I use silcone spray on assemblies on each use. Though, the old school StowMaster 2000 gets quite a bit of "torque" on it as you turn. It's not the greatest. But have used for years with no issues with ball.
3 Shank vs. hole size is good point. I will be looking at that. Thanks.
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Old 10-26-2022, 11:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NXR View Post
I'd be replacing the entire ball myself. Walmart, whatever. Since that did not just happen I'd be concerned that the threaded shaft or where it goes into the ball was weakened or damaged. A visual check cannot always detect that damage.



Yeah, that would not be an issue but they have their own issues.

Ray

x2: new ball for me too. Don't know what is failing? Lock washer, ball thread, or nut thread. I like the balls that have a safety cotter key in the ball threads below rhe nut.
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