Help Needed with Atwood Yoke Style Coupler

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by Valerie Hall, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. Valerie Hall

    Valerie Hall New Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    North Carolina
    The coupler on my NTM Fleetwood Cheyenne is noticeably difficult to open and close. The previous owner had been hitting it with a hammer to get it to cooperate, but I searched for a repair kit thinking it would be a wise thing to replace to extend the life of my PUP.

    Unfortunately the kits arent sold anymore, so before taking it in to get it replaced altogether (requires cutting off existing and welding on replacement), I've been cleaning it up and applying lubrication, as was suggested by a few very helpful forum members.

    I have included a video and photos to show that although the open/close mechanism up top now moves more freely, nothing on the underside seems to move at all and from videos I've seen online, as you open it up top, the guts inside/underneath should be sliding backwards to allow the ball to come in and then as you close the yoke, those same parts should slide forward again, "capturing" the ball.

    Any ideas beyond the clean up/re-lube efforts? What am I missing in trying to understand how this silly (but critical) part is supposed to function?

    20181013_143506.jpg 20181013_143512.jpg 20181013_143517.jpg

    I want to be safe and will have it replaced if necessary, but want to cover all bases if there is anything else I should try first.

    Thanks in advance!!!

     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  2. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I thought when you lifted the handle up, the front outside piece raised and the inside jaw opened.
     
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  3. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Malvern, PA
    Looks like a lot of corrosion and dirt. Not sure what to suggest using but perhaps if you can get that all cleaned out and maybe use a small wire brush to also clean it, that may solve your problem.

    Thanks for posting the video that really helped. A picture is worth 1000 words a moving picture is worth 1 million.
     
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  4. Valerie Hall

    Valerie Hall New Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    North Carolina
    Hi, the front outside piece DOES indeed raise, but there appears no action inside that would indicate "opening of the inside jaw" -- at least not with lifting up of the handle. I think that is at least one reason the previous owner was beating on this thing, sorta "forcing" the jaw open on the inside to go over the ball and then hitting it again from the top to force it to close/lock over the ball.

    HUGE shrug.
     
  5. Dingit

    Dingit Active Member

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    That's what I have. It is incredibly persnickety. It works best when hooking up totally flat, with the coupler perfectly level. We hates it. It defies logic.

    Cleaning it might help some, but it'll never be nice. These were used on another trailer--R-Pod maybe?--from that period and I found a few useful tips on their forums. I forgot them, but it was nice to know I wasn't alone.

    Yours might just be broken though. It you replace it, replace it with anything else. :)
     
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  6. Valerie Hall

    Valerie Hall New Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    North Carolina
    I'm trying now to figure out what tool to use to get into the little nooks and crannies surrounding the guts that could clean up whatever dirt is stopping this thing from moving. I've tried liquid wrench and a toothbrush sized brass brush to get what I could reach but still no luck in getting movement inside this silly thing.

    Thanks for the comment on the video -- I figured that was the easiest way to explain my problem ... and after 10 years or so as a viewer on YouTube, I finally POSTED a video.. ha!

    THANK YOU
     
  7. Valerie Hall

    Valerie Hall New Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    North Carolina

    OMG, PERSNICKETY would be the very best (socially acceptable) word to describe this thing. IMHO any other type seems to at least make logical sense to me in HOW they work... have ways to adjust them, etc. This thing is supposed to have been used because it's "so safe". Ummm, I can't for the life of me understand that statement, but who am I?

    I have done tons of reading on this particular type of coupler -- 99% of it is complaints and 1% of "hey, what the hell do I do to fix this thing"?!!! [:(!][XX(][MOD]:sad:[?:~{]o_O
     
  8. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I am surprised it locks if the jaw doesnt move with the lever. Have you tried hitching up and then using the jack to see if it will come off the ball?
     
  9. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    When hitching up ...... the tow vehicle can't be pushed back into the coupler, it will jam the lock. Stop the ball position just to the front edge of the coupler and as you lower the jack onto the ball have it pull the trailer forward as the ball goes into the coupler. You should be able to now push the yoke forward and lock.
    IIRC etrailers.com sold the repair kits if needed.
     
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  10. Fred1diver

    Fred1diver Active Member

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    Sep 11, 2018
    I have the same type of coupler, it was a real pain to operate when I got it, I just used some penetrating oil to use it up and it became really easy to use, just clean it up and lube it and it should be fine
     
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  11. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    lift the handle/yolk and slide the mechanism back! rinse and repeat till it is easier

    you can see it move back from top and from underneath in this video
     
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  12. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave Active Member

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    Nova Scotia
    Looks like the jaw doesn't slide like it should?

    Use PB Blaster, it's cheap and it can be bought at Walmart.

    Clean everything up (take it aaprt if you can) spray PB everywhere on it, reassemble, then keep working and moving the parts.
     
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  13. GreyFox

    GreyFox Active Member

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    Oct 10, 2018
    S Ontario
    First I would use a power washer to clean out the obvious dirt and gunk that's currently clogging the mechanism, then soak it with a liberal application of spray lubricant. If that doesn't do it then it's obvious the previous owner has bent the mechanism by repeatedly hitting it with a hammer, in which case the best solution would be to replace it. Treated properly there's no reason this coupler shouldn't operate with little effort at all. One trick that does help though is when hitching up to always make the coupler "reach" for the ball a bit so the locking clasp doesn't inadvertently land on top of the ball as it closes.
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. Valerie Hall

    Valerie Hall New Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    North Carolina
    I appreciate everyone’s responses and advice.

    I followed each tip received but nothing I did to clean or lubricate my old coupler was successful so I had the old one (Atwood yoke style) cut off and a new Fas Lok (Class III Fulton) welded on. Quick videos below.

    I LOVE not being afraid of my hitch, lol.

    Thanks again, everyone!




     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  15. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    How much did it cost? I am considering doing the same to mine since my hydraulic brakes need a complete rebuild, the coupler is jacked and I would rather put electric brakes on instead.
     
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  16. sleach

    sleach A short run will get you within walking distance.

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    Boulder, Colorado
    Congratulations and thank you! You are already a valuable member of this forum!
     
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  17. Valerie Hall

    Valerie Hall New Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    North Carolina
    Hello. The new A-frame style coupler was ~ $25 from Amazon.

    I paid $200 for the mobile welding service. A little higher than I'd hoped it would be, but I think that's more sour grapes knowing that if I was in TN, my family could've done it for me for the price of dinner and a hug around my Uncle's neck.

    But, I'm very pleased with the work, having it done in my own driveway was great and the guy really did have to struggle to get that old one cut off without damaging my frame underneath and was very careful in taking everything off the tongue and just as careful hooking everything back up for me. He checked my chains and showed me how to use the new coupler and said if anything at all acts up, he'd be right back over to take a look and make any corrections needed. So, I'm happy to pay for good service.

    There aren't many options here for mobile welding service and truth be told, the local machine shops were hesitant on providing quotes over the phone, and then some wanted a little less and some wanted a little more but I would have had to bring my PUP to them.

    Good luck with your project.
     
  18. Valerie Hall

    Valerie Hall New Member

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    Sep 19, 2018
    North Carolina
    Thank you so very much! This forum has been a God send to me and if I can help anyone else in any way, I'm glad to do my little part. :)
     
  19. Fless

    Fless Active Member

    Whichever style hitch you have, this is a good idea. I've used it for years to make the connection easier. Be sure to lightly grease the hitch ball, too.
    _
     
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  20. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    This thread reminds me of DH. He has hit ours with a hammer so many times, I'm afraid we will eventually have to replace it. Thankfully, we own welders and have family living on our property than can do the welding.

    Ours does function, you just have to do it right. It takes a woman's touch, since it always works for me, just takes some light fiddling with. I have pretty much taken over the hitching due to DH's impatience with it. I do always get stressed when it's time to hitch up the camper. I should replace ours and be done with it.
     
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