Hitch ball loosening after each trip

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by cdawson46, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. cdawson46

    cdawson46 New Member

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    Jul 11, 2018
    So we just started using our new hitch with our 1996 Coleman cheyenne, and after our first trip I noticed the hitch ball had loosened enough so that I could turn it with my hand.
    So I got out the wrenches and tightened the heck out of it.
    We recently just went on a 5+ hour trip to northern Ontario and after getting back I noticed the same thing again, it's loosened up once more.
    I have yet to put grease on the ball due to budgetary reasons, but I am at a loss for how to stop this, as I tightened it about as much as I can physically tighten it myself.
    Will putting grease on the ball allow the trailer to not loosen the ball?
     
  2. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    Maplewood, MN
    Is there a lock washer being used between the nut and the ball mount? If not, that is your problem.

    If you don't have grease for the ball, you can use any lubricating material on the ball: WD-40, engine oil, vegetable oil, etc... until you can grease it.

    I use a squirt of WD-40 before each use because grease can get messy after a while.
     
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  3. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Active Member

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    May 23, 2018
    South Carolina
    Are you running out of threads on the ball stud? This will make if feel tight, when it is not. Take the nut off and add a washer, then a lock washer, then the nut. After that I drill a hole below the nut and add a split pin to prevent from losing the nut, if it gets loose.
     
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  4. Matt Benoit

    Matt Benoit Active Member

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    Jul 30, 2017
    Warren, MI
    Grease will help. Also the draw bar may help... Most Reese drawbars have a recessed area that the ball fits perfectly into preventing it from turning. I also purchased the wrench that they sell specifically for the nut on the ball. It's the right size and longer than anything else I have. I believe it was $7 at Walmart. This allowed me to tighten the nut beyond any other means. Also, when tightening the nut, make sure that the draw bar is in the hitch. Don't try to do this in a vise or on a table. Use the weight of the vehicle to your advantage too keep the draw bar from moving.
    Screenshot_20180808-094845_Samsung Internet.jpg
     
  5. mattlreese

    mattlreese Member

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    Sep 6, 2017
    Is the ball torqued to the required specs? Mine required 250 ft lbs which is a massive amount of torque. I did not have a torque wrench that went that high or a bit high enough so I had the dealer do it when I rented a popup a few years ago.
     
  6. J Starsky

    J Starsky Active Member

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    East Central MN
    If you are not using two large pipe wrenches while leaning on them for all life, it's not tight enough! Great stuff from above, but you might consider lock-tite product to help you out as well.
     
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  7. cdawson46

    cdawson46 New Member

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    Jul 11, 2018
    I bought the entire hitch system from uhaul, and I installed it as the instructions read.
    I think after reading everyone's comments, that I'm not able to get it tight enough on my own.
    Might have to go into the dealer that installed the hitch to get them to tighten it.
     
  8. cdawson46

    cdawson46 New Member

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    Jul 11, 2018
    I believe it does have one that came with it from uhaul.
     
  9. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Active Member

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    May 23, 2018
    South Carolina
    Make sure you have the right ball for the draw bar. Some balls have 3/4" and some 1" studs (I'll verify diameters later). A small stud in a big hole will allow for play and loosen nuts, also. Something about this sounds wrong, but minds out of the gutter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  10. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

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    Tip for tightening; put the ball mount into the receiver turned 90 degrees from normal so you can push down while tightening. Put a socket and breaker bar on the nut and stand on it.
     
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  11. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    4,780
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    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    Also as mentioned if the stud is small and the hole is large, they do make a sleeve that will keep the ball from slipping, however it would be better to get the proper ball with the right size stud and also a lock washer will lock it down, I always use red locktite to make sure, I keep my ball greased and have a cover that goes over it when not used. If you cannot get it tight a garage with air tools can tighten it up for you reasonable. It could be dangerous and potentially deadly if the ball comes off while traveling. When I went from 2" ball to 2 1/4" they had to cut the 2" ball off, nothing they had a CW would remove it, after about 1/2 hour they finally asked if they could cut it off with a torch and I agreed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  12. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Elkins WV area
    If the hole is the correct size for the shank on the ball... and if the nut is torqued to the proper spec. It won't come loose. Something is wrong somewhere. Just tightening the nut as tight as you can get it does not make it rite. Follow the torque spec that came with the ball,, ,use a torque wrench you can't guess
     
  13. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    You can use the DW's Nail Polish for lock tite. Just ask her for one she dont like and she will give you your choice of color.
     
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  14. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

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    Jun 14, 2014
    A proper lock washer will keep it from loosening for sure.
     
  15. Fbird

    Fbird Active Member

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    Sep 10, 2017
    Ferndale MI
    Like others have said make sure the shank on the ball is the same for the drawbar. Make sure there is a lock washer, it's job is to make sure the nut stays tight. I know most everything has a torque spec but I have found the old German spec of gootentite works for this application. Do use the proper wrench or socket. If you don't think you can get it tight enough, take it to a mechanic you deal with. He'll probably do it for nothing. As a mechanic tips in these cases are appreciated[:D]
     
  16. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    I’m of the opinion that everyone that tows anything you should a “hitch ball wrench”. They carry them at Wally World for like $20 I think and fit a 2” or 1 7/8” balls. It’s probably 18”-20” long and allows you to get the proper amount of torque when tightening. This way you compress the lock washer and it can do it’s job. If it isn’t compressed then it’s just a regular washer and almost more of a spacer
     
  17. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Mar 16, 2011
    Elkins WV area
    How can one determine the difference in torque between 150lbs and 350lbs with just a wrench?
     
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  18. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Active Member

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    May 23, 2018
    South Carolina
    If the hitch is turned 90 degrees in the receiver, I put the wrench on the nut, about level, and I stand on the wrench at 12" out, that's about 200 ft lbs. If I stand 24" out on the wrench, that's about 400 ft lbs.
     
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  19. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Mar 16, 2011
    Elkins WV area


    The point is how can you be sure of the amount applied every time is the exact same..,you can't.
    you could be off by a hundred pounds. A good attorney at deposition would have a field day.
     
  20. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    California
    And how would an attorney know what it was torqued to? That's like the weight people fearing litigation at every turn, and i live in the litigation capital of the world.
    I do the same thing, hitch sideways, 30" bar, soaked in red locktite and jump up and down until the bar stops moving. Unless the shank breaks off, it doesn't matter at that point if it's 200 lb/ft or 400 lb/ft. Never had one come loose.

    Adam
     
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