Why is my ball getting mangled?

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by stickfigure, Aug 18, 2021.

  1. stickfigure

    stickfigure New Member

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    Hi puppers! First time posting.

    Just got back from our inaugural trip with a new-to-us 1999 Colman Taos. Loved it! However, on arriving home I discovered a huge gouge in the ball. The hitch itself looks fine. Both ball and hitch are marked 2".

    What causes this and how do I avoid it? Do I need to adjust the hitch connector?

    The trip was about 130mi each way, including about 20 mins (each way) of rough dirt road. Tow vehicle is a Honda Element.

    PXL_20210819_012725017.MP.jpg

    PXL_20210819_012651644.MP.jpg

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  2. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Dating the wrong girl!
     
  3. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Un-Supported Member

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    Is your underjaw wore out? Need to compare it to a coupler of similar design. It can be replaced. eTrailer has a rebuild kit.

    Coupler.jpg
     
  4. Old_Geezer

    Old_Geezer Well-Known Member

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    Indeed! That'll do it.
     
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  5. Tom Jordan

    Tom Jordan Active Member

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    Looks like the underjaw did it. Did you notice if that gouge faced backwards? Was the lever hard to press down; or alternately was it unusually loose when closed? To help diagnose, put the [new] uncounted ball Into the slot and check for fit. I suspect @WrkrBee is correct.
     
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  6. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Also, shoot some lube in there once or twice a year and grease it and the ball. Looks dry.
     
  7. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    It looks to me like the underjaw nut was too tight causing the jaw to ride too high on the ball. It looks like the edge of the jaw was riding on and grinding on the ball at its widest part. If so, the trailer wasn't really secure on the ball and could have jumped off.

    With all the wear that is on that ball, I would expect equal wear on the jaw. Both parts need replaced.

    When you replace the jaw, stick your new ball up in the coupler, latch it down, and tighten the nut. When the edge of the jaw tightens against the ball causing it to be hard to turn by hand, back off the nut enough to allow you to turn the ball. When the nut is set correctly, you should be able to easily move the ball like it's in a socket, yet it not fall out.
     
  8. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    You need to lube your ball.. and latching mechanism..
     
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  9. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    Chineseium ball. Get a stainless or better quality ball and lube your hitch
     
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  10. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    That is a U Haul ball. That damage was cause by neither an inferior ball or lack of lube, IMO.
     
  11. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

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    Yes, the metal is soft (cheap). I have used the same hitch balls for 20+ years and never a gouge like that. Even with worn out couplers.
    It does look like the jaw of the hitch is riding too high on the ball but it should not gouge it like it was made of plastic.
     
  12. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    Maybe some people will post up some pics of their U Haul balls. Perhaps U Haul sells inferior balls.

    I have half a dozen balls, some as old as 30 years, some less than 10. The one I use the most I bought in 1996, I admit to never lubing it with any of the trailers I pull with it. It is a "budget" ball and probably Chinese. It nor any of my other ones are gouged around the circumference.

    I am betting if the OP puts on a new ball and uses lube, but does nothing to his coupler the new ball will be gouged up like that.
     
  13. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Un-Supported Member

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    Post a picture looking straight up to the bottom of the coupler. The underjaw may be on top of the couple pin. The pin takes the load of the underjaw and transfers it to the coupler sides. If the jaw is on top of the pin, it will push the top of the jaw forward and cause the condition seen.

    Clean the underjaw and take another picture. Filings/swarf can cover up a lot of detail that can tell you more about the cause of wear.
     
  14. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Never thought I'd see you make a post using the word "balls" so many times... :D:rolleyes::p
     
  15. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I never thought we'd be talking about mangled balls this much, either.
     
  16. stickfigure

    stickfigure New Member

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    Thanks everyone! I added some pics from different angles to a gallery here (some with the ball in):

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/PVAArbgnEhcd3JPw5

    Putting the ball in (without the car), it does seem excessively tight. The hitch will stay upright by itself rather than fall down. I think what happened is something like this:
    • Dip in terrain put the car-trailer in a V shape (hitch at the bottom of the V)
    • That put the underjaw high up on the ball
    • Terrain went back to flat
    • Excessively tight underjaw "grabbed" the ball and put the gouge in
    A new ball and a new repair kit for the coupler are on their way. I'll make sure it's adjusted looser.
     
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  17. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I dont know how its supost to look, but make sure you have the corect size ball. They do come in diffrent sizes. Some are bigger , some are smaller. Always lube your ball, and use the corect size one.
     
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  18. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    This is worn far beyond a "crappy ball" situation.
     
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  19. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Ummmmm no comment.. This could go South real fast after 25 years of working nights, ones sense of humor gets a little warped.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2021
  20. rlongfield

    rlongfield Member

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    ok I'm seeing lots of recommendations to lube the ball. What I'd like to know is, what lube to use, for the hitch ball :smiley:.

    Dont tell me to google it, cause well I don't think I'll get the results I'm interested in :)
     
    Snow likes this.

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