Hitch ball loosening after each trip

cdawson46

New Member
Jul 11, 2018
5
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?
 

BikeNFish

Super Active Member
Apr 24, 2017
4,348
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.
 

WrkrBee

Super Active Member
May 23, 2018
6,545
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.
 

Matt Benoit

Active Member
Jul 30, 2017
544
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
 

mattlreese

Active Member
Sep 6, 2017
231
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.
 

J Starsky

Super Active Member
Aug 3, 2017
1,165
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.
 

cdawson46

New Member
Jul 11, 2018
5
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.
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.
 

cdawson46

New Member
Jul 11, 2018
5
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.
I believe it does have one that came with it from uhaul.
 

nineoaks2004

Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday
Oct 15, 2006
8,242
Dukes, Fl
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.
 
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joet

Super Active Member
Mar 16, 2011
5,015
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
 

Fbird

Active Member
Sep 10, 2017
262
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]
 

emoney

Super Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
880
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
 

WrkrBee

Super Active Member
May 23, 2018
6,545
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.
 

joet

Super Active Member
Mar 16, 2011
5,015
Elkins WV area
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.


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.
 

Adam H

Active Member
Aug 22, 2015
549
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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