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Trulyvintage

Check the bolts on your towing hitch !

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Pulled in for fuel and heard a weird squeaking noise coming from the rear of my truck

After looking at several things, I discovered

one of my receiver hitch bolts had sheared off

and all the others were loose ... 

 

I had just installed the hitch (4) months ago

myself with grade 8 fasteners and double torqued

each one.

 

The roads across this country are for sh#t

and take a toll on a towing rig - never thought

all the shaking and bouncing could loosen

up a receiver hitch ...... 

 

Jim 

Edited by Trulyvintage (see edit history)

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I second your suggestion. About 20 years ago I traveled about 100 miles to pick up a car. On the way back with a loaded trailer the nut on the bottom of the receiver hitch ball fell off. I quickly learned the importance of the safety chains! After spending about 2 hours looking up and down the highway for the nut and washer I was back on my way with no damage or injury. (My pants needed some cleaning though, if you know what I mean) Now I check before every use. You can never be too safe. Ben

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" I quickly learned the importance of the safety chains! ". My uncle invented trailer safety chains. At least that's what my mother tells me about my late uncle Paul Snifka, who ran a hardware store in St. Francis, WI. As the story goes, sometime, I believe in the early 1940's, apparently there was a contest sponsored be a magazine like "Popular Mechanics" or "Mechanics Illustrated" or one of those, that solicited useful suggestions for whatever, and Uncle Paul won the contest for his trailer safety chain suggestion. The idea took off, or in today's terms went viral, and eventually became law. I never tried to verify the validity of this claim, but that's the story according to my mom, and I'm sticken' to it!

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A story I've told before but worth repeating. Dad and his fishing buddy towed their 20ft heavy wooden fishing boat 100 miles to the Chesapeake Bay behind his '64 Cadillac. Arriving at the boat ramp they opened the trunk of the Caddy to get their fishing gear and laying there was the nut and lock washer from the tow ball.

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I saw a hitch break just as they pulled off the street into the GM center in Warren, MI. They had towed almost 1,000 miles and had never noticed anything.  

 

Every time I service my tow vehicle I look for rust streaks around the hitch and mounting bolts, early sign that the hitch is moving/fasteners not tight as they should be.

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We always think a structurally important piece should be attached with the best fasteners so we make that special trip to pick up the Grade 8 bolts thinking that we did it "right". The parts in my ag equipment that use shear pins are all Grade 8 so that they snap off quick and clean as they are quite brittle compared to other hardware. In this case you might consider substituting those Grade 8 bolts for something that is capable of doing a little stretching before it snaps. It may sound counter intuitive to go to a lower grade, but in this case it would be safer. (Edit...just noticed this got dragged up from 2013....Marty, fire up the DeLorean...)

Edited by whtbaron (see edit history)

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post-76559-0-08915400-1446237410_thumb.j

About five years ago during the winter I decided to check my very heavy duty Reese hitch. I thought I saw weld cracks on both sides of the plate that holds the ball hitch. After bead blasting this is what I saw. I ground out the areas and it was indeed cracked all the way to the bottom of the welds. A disaster waiting to happen.

I ended up veeing out the cracks all the way down to good metal and re-welding with multiple beads of 6011 rods, finishing with top beads of 6013 for appearance. After 5 years of towing no sign of cracks.

A couple of years before this I was towing back from Hershey and the trailer felt squirrely. Seems the ball nut had backed off about 1/2". The ball is now attached with lock washer, lock tite and a cotter pin.

Morel of the story is give your hitch a good preflight inspection before every tow.......Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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Pulled from Florida to Auburn, then from Auburn to Virginia.  Heard a funny noise when I pulled into the driveway, didn't think much about it.  Weeks later got ready to tow back to Florida and discovered the ball was very, very loose.  It was a Sunday.  I managed to find a garage guy I knew from years before who had a bunch of truck tools.  Hard because they were the old sizes and the bolt was metric, but with pipe extensions, etc. we got it tight.  Little scarry on the 900 mile trip home with the car in the trailer.  After I got home, I had the ball both tightened professionally and then welded.  It won't come loose again.

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We always think a structurally important piece should be attached with the best fasteners so we make that special trip to pick up the Grade 8 bolts thinking that we did it "right". The parts in my ag equipment that use shear pins are all Grade 8 so that they snap off quick and clean as they are quite brittle compared to other hardware. In this case you might consider substituting those Grade 8 bolts for something that is capable of doing a little stretching before it snaps. It may sound counter intuitive to go to a lower grade, but in this case it would be safer. (Edit...just noticed this got dragged up from 2013....Marty, fire up the DeLor

 

Fred Duplechin from Houma, LA Lagniappe Chapter of Louisiana Region AACA - at the Louisiana Superdome last year with Marty (Roth - not McFly)

post-97723-0-42085900-1457581319_thumb.j

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Had a Hitch give up from just plain nasty old North East Rust a number of years ago on one of my old Chevy Suburbans. Good thing I was in a Buddy's yard when it happened. If you drive a vehicle with age in the Rust Belt get under it and look every once in a while. Chevy and GMC Suburbans are prone to rusting in the rear area. I have had both 1989 and 1990 model years. Good tough Truck, Up here, it is the Rust that gets them. Dandy Dave! 

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)

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