Choosing the Correct Hitch & Ball Mount

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PopUpSteve

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Dec 22, 2002
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Southeastern PA
Original Source: etrailer.com

Choosing the Correct Hitch & Ball Mount

Measuring for Your Ball Mount
Measure the hitch height

Measure the hitch height from the ground to the top of the receiver opening on the trailer hitch. With the vehicle parked on level ground, measure to the top of the 2" hole on Class III and IV hitches and the 2-1/2" hole on Class V hitches.



Measure the Coupler Height
Measure the coupler height from the ground to the bottom of the trailer's coupler. Make sure the trailer is level and on level ground.



Compute the difference
Compute the difference between the hitch height and the coupler height. If the hitch height is greater than the coupler height, the difference is the drop that is required. If the coupler height is greater, the difference is the rise that is required. The ball mount with the rise or drop closest to the difference should then be chosen. For example, if the hitch height is 24-3/4" and the coupler height is 17". Because the hitch height is greater, a ball mount with a drop of 7-3/4" would be required for a level trailer. A ball mount with an 8" drop is closest to the actual drop and thus is the right one to use.

If the hitch height is greater than the trailer height, then
  • hitch height - trailer height = drop

If the trailer height is greater than the hitch height, then
  • trailer height - hitch height = rise

Ball Mount Dimensions
Drop

This is the distance from the top of the shank to the top of the ball platform.



Rise

Rise is the distance from the top of the shank to the top of the ball platform.



Length

The length is the distance from the center of the ball hole to the center of the pin hole. The length will determine how much clearance will be available between the vehicle and the trailer and can be used to get past a spare tire or tailgate.



Ball Hole Diameter

Ball hole diameter is the size of the hole in the platform of the ball mount. This measurement will determine what diameter shank your hitch ball should have for it to properly fit in the ball mount. Typical sizes are 3/4", 1" and 1-1/4".



Ball Mount Classes

Class I Ball Mounts
When towing with a Class I trailer hitch, the Class I ball mount that is recommended by the manufacturer should be used. All Class I trailer hitches are tested and rated with the specific ball mount for that hitch. Using a ball mount that is not recommended by the manufacturer will void the warranty.
Has a 1-1/4" x 1-1/4" shank
Class II ball mounts will not fit on Class I trailer hitches
Held in place with a 1/2" pin
Uses ball with a 3/4" shank diameter
Rated for 2,000 lbs GTW
Only 1-7/8" or 2" hitch balls can be used



Class II Ball Mounts

When towing with a Class II trailer hitch, the ball mount that is recommended by the manufacturer should be used. All Class II trailer hitches are tested and rated with the specific ball mount for that hitch. Using a ball mount that is not recommended by the manufacturer will void the warranty.
Has a 1-1/4" x 1-1/4" shank
Class II ball mounts will not fit on Class I trailer hitches
Held in place with a 1/2" pin
Uses ball with a 3/4" shank diameter
Rated for 3,500 lbs GTW
Only 1-7/8" or 2" hitch balls can be used



Class III Ball Mounts

Class III ball mounts and hitches are rated to tow up to 6,000 lbs GTW. Class III ball mounts will work with trailer hitches that have a 2" x 2" opening. The GTW and TW of the ball mount should match or exceed the trailer hitch.
Has a 2" x 2" shank
Held in place with a 5/8" pin
Uses ball with a 1" or 1-1/4" shank diameter
Rated for up to 6,000 lbs GTW
Can use a 1-7/8", 2" or 2-5/16" hitch ball
Can accommodate weight distribution system, which will allow you to tow more weight



Class IV Ball Mounts
Class IV ball mounts and hitches are rated to tow up to 12,000 lbs GTW Class IV ball mounts will work with trailer hitches that have a 2" x 2" opening. The GTW and TW of the ball mount should match or exceed the trailer hitch.
Has a 2" x 2" shank
Held in place with a 5/8" pin
Uses ball with a 1-1/4" shank diameter
Rated for up to 12,000 lbs GTW
Can use a 1-7/8", 2" or 2-5/16" hitch ball
Can accommodate weight distribution system, which will allow you to tow more weight



Class V Ball Mounts

Class V ball mounts and hitches are typically rated to tow 12,000 GTW. Class V ball mounts will work with trailer hitches with a 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" opening. When towing with Class V receiver hitches, the GTW and TW of the ball mount should match or exceed the receiver hitch.
Has a 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" shank
Held in place with a 5/8" pin
Use a ball with a 1-1/4" shank diameter
Rated for up to 14,000 lbs GTW
Can use a 1-7/8", 2", or 2-5/16" ball
Can accommodate weight distribution system, which will allow you to tow more weight
 
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