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Old style hitch coupler...need advice

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  • frankhec
    Posted this in another group and thought I would post here also. As I understand the law in Virginia, you must be able to use a safety pin to keep the coupler
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 2, 2010
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      Posted this in another group and thought I would post here also. As I
      understand the law in Virginia, you must be able to use a safety pin to
      keep the coupler from accidentally coming unlatched. My old camper
      coupler looks like THIS
      <http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRkLFMb4FthEgi-LPxVwxejrdUnd9c\
      BsDQBwm4N11r6_vlbSg&t=1&usg=__ROHd2575Bv0Yipdl4d_s8il15Hs=> one, only
      without the padlock. The lock on the one in the pic would deter theft,
      but not accidentally becoming unlatched.
      My questions...would I be grandfathered in and not have to have a place
      to run a pin through?
      How much of a safety issue is this? Are they known for unlatching? I was
      thinking of a way to modify by either welding (would have to get someone
      else to weld) 2 small pieces of flat bar on either side up to the latch,
      then drilling the latch and bar and running a pin through it. Or perhaps
      I could drill through the "collar" (just in front of where the padlock
      is on the pic) clear through to the other side and run a pin through
      there? Or remove the whole thing and replace. Would be a lot of work as
      it is welded and I guess I would need to find someone to weld a new one
      on.
      Any thoughts??



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jerry Noone
      Hard to tell from the picture - what is the U shaped piece that seems to go around the front of the coupler? Looks like it is movable. If that swivels up and
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 2, 2010
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        Hard to tell from the picture - what is the "U" shaped piece that seems to go
        around the front of the coupler? Looks like it is movable. If that swivels up
        and over the top of the coupler, you could probably just drill through both that
        piece and the coupler? I think it is rare that the couplers release but it can
        happen. Newer couplers have a clip that snaps into place when you latch the
        coupler to the ball and I have seen those "pop" off on bumpy roads. Also, when
        you are stopped someplace and forget to check the coupler before going again,
        some POS could come by and lift the latch - first bump and the trailer will be
        loose - except for the safety chains of course.. You do have safety chains? They
        are required in every state that I know of.
        Also, you might look to see if the coupler "snap" on yours could be removed and
        replaced with a newer style.

        Good luck and trailer safely.
        Jerry





        ________________________________
        From: frankhec <frankhec@...>
        To: classicrv@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thu, September 2, 2010 10:54:52 AM
        Subject: [classicrv] Old style hitch coupler...need advice


        Posted this in another group and thought I would post here also. As I
        understand the law in Virginia, you must be able to use a safety pin to
        keep the coupler from accidentally coming unlatched. My old camper
        coupler looks like THIS
        <http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRkLFMb4FthEgi-LPxVwxejrdUnd9c\
        BsDQBwm4N11r6_vlbSg&t=1&usg=__ROHd2575Bv0Yipdl4d_s8il15Hs=> one, only
        without the padlock. The lock on the one in the pic would deter theft,
        but not accidentally becoming unlatched.
        My questions...would I be grandfathered in and not have to have a place
        to run a pin through?
        How much of a safety issue is this? Are they known for unlatching? I was
        thinking of a way to modify by either welding (would have to get someone
        else to weld) 2 small pieces of flat bar on either side up to the latch,
        then drilling the latch and bar and running a pin through it. Or perhaps
        I could drill through the "collar" (just in front of where the padlock
        is on the pic) clear through to the other side and run a pin through
        there? Or remove the whole thing and replace. Would be a lot of work as
        it is welded and I guess I would need to find someone to weld a new one
        on.
        Any thoughts??

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • frankhec
        You are correct Jerry, the U shaped piece does indeed lift up and slides back over the ball part of the coupler. Drilling through those may very well be an
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 2, 2010
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          You are correct Jerry, the "U" shaped piece does indeed lift up and slides back over the ball part of the coupler. Drilling through those may very well be an option.
          Thanks for your opinion!

          --- In classicrv@yahoogroups.com, Jerry Noone <rjerryc01@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hard to tell from the picture - what is the "U" shaped piece that seems to go
          > around the front of the coupler? Looks like it is movable. If that swivels up
          > and over the top of the coupler, you could probably just drill through both that
          > piece and the coupler? I think it is rare that the couplers release but it can
          > happen. Newer couplers have a clip that snaps into place when you latch the
          > coupler to the ball and I have seen those "pop" off on bumpy roads. Also, when
          > you are stopped someplace and forget to check the coupler before going again,
          > some POS could come by and lift the latch - first bump and the trailer will be
          > loose - except for the safety chains of course.. You do have safety chains? They
          > are required in every state that I know of.
          > Also, you might look to see if the coupler "snap" on yours could be removed and
          > replaced with a newer style.
          >
          > Good luck and trailer safely.
          > Jerry
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ________________________________
        • Warren
          If you can t unhitch with that lock in place and can travel with that lock in place, your good to go. My 1953 Airstream has a spot for a pin but mine is on
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 2, 2010
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            If you can't unhitch with that lock in place and can travel with that lock
            in place, your good to go. My 1953 Airstream has a spot for a pin but mine
            is on top of the coupler.
            --
            Warren
            1989 GMC R2500 HD Suburban.
            1953 Airstream Cruiser Travel trailer (The Runaway Sue)
            Western KY


            On Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 12:54 PM, frankhec <frankhec@...> wrote:

            >
            >
            > Posted this in another group and thought I would post here also. As I
            > understand the law in Virginia, you must be able to use a safety pin to
            > keep the coupler from accidentally coming unlatched. My old camper
            > coupler looks like THIS
            > <http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRkLFMb4FthEgi-LPxVwxejrdUnd9c\
            > BsDQBwm4N11r6_vlbSg&t=1&usg=__ROHd2575Bv0Yipdl4d_s8il15Hs=<http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRkLFMb4FthEgi-LPxVwxejrdUnd9cBsDQBwm4N11r6_vlbSg&t=1&usg=__ROHd2575Bv0Yipdl4d_s8il15Hs=>>
            > one, only
            > without the padlock. The lock on the one in the pic would deter theft,
            > but not accidentally becoming unlatched.
            > My questions...would I be grandfathered in and not have to have a place
            > to run a pin through?
            > How much of a safety issue is this? Are they known for unlatching? I was
            > thinking of a way to modify by either welding (would have to get someone
            > else to weld) 2 small pieces of flat bar on either side up to the latch,
            > then drilling the latch and bar and running a pin through it. Or perhaps
            > I could drill through the "collar" (just in front of where the padlock
            > is on the pic) clear through to the other side and run a pin through
            > there? Or remove the whole thing and replace. Would be a lot of work as
            > it is welded and I guess I would need to find someone to weld a new one
            > on.
            > Any thoughts??
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • JerryK
            Frank, I have the same hitch on a tow bar my Dad used for twenty years and over 50,000 miles to tow his car behind the motorhome.  While he did use safety
            Message 5 of 10 , Sep 2, 2010
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              Frank,
              I have the same hitch on a tow bar my Dad used for twenty years and over 50,000
              miles to tow his car behind the motorhome.  While he did use safety chains I
              don't think he ever used a padlock.  He towed with it from 1974 to 1994.   I
              went out in the garage a looked at that hitch both top and bottom, since it is
              not mounted on a trailer it was easy.  I used a loose hitch ball and checked out
              the mechanism.  The U-shaped piece on the hitch pivots up, and then backwards.
              There is a heavy steel shaft/rivet that goes from one end of the "U" through the
              hitch and back through the other end of the "U".  Inside the hitch this same
              shaft goes through a rectangular piece of metal that slides fore and aft when
              the "U" is moved fore and aft.  When the "U" is moved forward this block of
              metal grips under the ball and at the same time holds the ball to the front of
              the hitch.  In that position the hitch can not come off the ball.  The shaft
              (and block) can not move backward and release the ball until the "U" is lifted
              up and over the hitch and moved backward.  The shaft and block can not
              move rearward if there is a padlock in the hole that shows in the picture.  My
              advice would be to use a padlock with a shackle that just barely fits through
              the hole.  For more piece of mind and security a second hole could be drilled on
              the other side of the hitch and second padlock installed.  With the padlocks
              installed even if the handle is lifted the "U" and block will not be able to
              move rearward and release the ball from the hitch.   You could design
              a clip/bracket, that could be locked on and runs from the top of the hitch to
              the flipper handle, that would prevent a passerby from lifting the flipper.  The
              great strength of the hitch comes from the U-strap around the front of the hitch
              holding the shaft and block against the back of the ball and holding the ball to
              the front of the hitch.  Hope this helps.
              JerryK

               



              ________________________________
              From: frankhec <frankhec@...>
              To: classicrv@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Thu, September 2, 2010 1:54:52 PM
              Subject: [classicrv] Old style hitch coupler...need advice

               
              Posted this in another group and thought I would post here also. As I
              understand the law in Virginia, you must be able to use a safety pin to
              keep the coupler from accidentally coming unlatched. My old camper
              coupler looks like THIS
              <http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRkLFMb4FthEgi-LPxVwxejrdUnd9cBsDQBwm4N11r6_vlbSg&t=1&usg=__ROHd2575Bv0Yipdl4d_s8il15Hs=>
              one, only
              without the padlock. The lock on the one in the pic would deter theft,
              but not accidentally becoming unlatched.
              My questions...would I be grandfathered in and not have to have a place
              to run a pin through?
              How much of a safety issue is this? Are they known for unlatching? I was
              thinking of a way to modify by either welding (would have to get someone
              else to weld) 2 small pieces of flat bar on either side up to the latch,
              then drilling the latch and bar and running a pin through it. Or perhaps
              I could drill through the "collar" (just in front of where the padlock
              is on the pic) clear through to the other side and run a pin through
              there? Or remove the whole thing and replace. Would be a lot of work as
              it is welded and I guess I would need to find someone to weld a new one
              on.
              Any thoughts??

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • JerryK
              Richard, Does the new law mention or say that in addition to keeping the tow and towed vehicles together in case of hitch failure safety chains are supposed to
              Message 6 of 10 , Sep 3, 2010
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                Richard,
                Does the new law mention or say that in addition to keeping the tow and towed
                vehicles together in case of hitch failure safety chains are supposed to keep
                the tongue from hitting the pavement? 

                Some where, some time in the past I read or saw something that has lead me to
                believe the purpose of crossing the chains under the tongue was twofold, one
                reason was to allow slack for turning and the second reason was to form a basket
                to catch the tongue and keep it from hitting the pavement. 


                Am I all wet or is that right?

                JerryK




                ________________________________
                From: richard <lamont4689@...>
                To: classicrv@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Fri, September 3, 2010 7:58:44 AM
                Subject: [classicrv] Re: Old style hitch coupler...need advice

                 

                It's best to see the (new law ) on towing that came in effect in July 1 2010---

                you must have Locking chain hooks as well and the safety chains must be able to
                hold the weight of the towed item.
                and they must be crossed NOT twisted. to take out slack,if your trailer has
                electric brakes they must work.







                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • gmmullins4
                what you will find if you read the whole law they changed is it follows federal law, and no it does no grandfather those older setups, and covers the part
                Message 7 of 10 , Sep 3, 2010
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                  what you will find if you read the whole law they changed is it follows federal law, and no it does no grandfather those older setups, and covers the part where they must not be able to be opened acidently and should be pinned or simarly locked, but do not say what lock is to be used. and then adds that the strength of the safetychain/wire rope and how it is attached to the tow vehicle and the towed vehicle. no more hooks are allowed, no more of the slip type ball clasps are allowed.

                  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-07-05-trailer-laws_N.htm

                  it also means they are getting tough on folks that have a toad that weighs over a certain amount(3000lbs) to have a brake system designed to stop the vehicle towed if it breaks loose and for normal braking. so you will be seeing more brake buddys in use. you will eventually not see those dodge diesels pulling huge 5th wheels in the near future as the weight factor gets put into towing like washington state. they already have a max speed of 55mph.

                  no longer will dog chains be legal for tow chains:-)


                  --- In classicrv@yahoogroups.com, "frankhec" <frankhec@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Posted this in another group and thought I would post here also. As I
                  > understand the law in Virginia, you must be able to use a safety pin to
                  > keep the coupler from accidentally coming unlatched. My old camper
                  > coupler looks like THIS
                  > <http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRkLFMb4FthEgi-LPxVwxejrdUnd9c\
                  > BsDQBwm4N11r6_vlbSg&t=1&usg=__ROHd2575Bv0Yipdl4d_s8il15Hs=> one, only
                  > without the padlock. The lock on the one in the pic would deter theft,
                  > but not accidentally becoming unlatched.
                  > My questions...would I be grandfathered in and not have to have a place
                  > to run a pin through?
                  > How much of a safety issue is this? Are they known for unlatching? I was
                  > thinking of a way to modify by either welding (would have to get someone
                  > else to weld) 2 small pieces of flat bar on either side up to the latch,
                  > then drilling the latch and bar and running a pin through it. Or perhaps
                  > I could drill through the "collar" (just in front of where the padlock
                  > is on the pic) clear through to the other side and run a pin through
                  > there? Or remove the whole thing and replace. Would be a lot of work as
                  > it is welded and I guess I would need to find someone to weld a new one
                  > on.
                  > Any thoughts??
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • jfboone@aol.com
                  A few years ago, I had an older trailer with a slip type ball clasp. I modified mine by having a washer (ground flat on one side so it would stand up straight)
                  Message 8 of 10 , Sep 3, 2010
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                    A few years ago, I had an older trailer with a slip type ball clasp. I modified mine by having a washer (ground flat on one side so it would stand up straight) welded to it. All I did was use a tie wrap through the washer and down, underneath and around the drawbar to be sure the assembly didn't slide out of position. It was quick, simple, cheap and easy. And it cost me only a few tie wraps every summer.

                    -- boone
                    '89 Ultrastar 28'






                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: gmmullins4 <gmmullins4@...>
                    To: classicrv@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Fri, Sep 3, 2010 8:13 am
                    Subject: [classicrv] Re: Old style hitch coupler...need advice





                    what you will find if you read the whole law they changed is it follows federal law, and no it does no grandfather those older setups, and covers the part where they must not be able to be opened acidently and should be pinned or simarly locked, but do not say what lock is to be used. and then adds that the strength of the safetychain/wire rope and how it is attached to the tow vehicle and the towed vehicle. no more hooks are allowed, no more of the slip type ball clasps are allowed.

                    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-07-05-trailer-laws_N.htm

                    it also means they are getting tough on folks that have a toad that weighs over a certain amount(3000lbs) to have a brake system designed to stop the vehicle towed if it breaks loose and for normal braking. so you will be seeing more brake buddys in use. you will eventually not see those dodge diesels pulling huge 5th wheels in the near future as the weight factor gets put into towing like washington state. they already have a max speed of 55mph.

                    no longer will dog chains be legal for tow chains:-)

                    --- In classicrv@yahoogroups.com, "frankhec" <frankhec@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Posted this in another group and thought I would post here also. As I
                    > understand the law in Virginia, you must be able to use a safety pin to
                    > keep the coupler from accidentally coming unlatched. My old camper
                    > coupler looks like THIS
                    > <http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQRkLFMb4FthEgi-LPxVwxejrdUnd9c\
                    > BsDQBwm4N11r6_vlbSg&t=1&usg=__ROHd2575Bv0Yipdl4d_s8il15Hs=> one, only
                    > without the padlock. The lock on the one in the pic would deter theft,
                    > but not accidentally becoming unlatched.
                    > My questions...would I be grandfathered in and not have to have a place
                    > to run a pin through?
                    > How much of a safety issue is this? Are they known for unlatching? I was
                    > thinking of a way to modify by either welding (would have to get someone
                    > else to weld) 2 small pieces of flat bar on either side up to the latch,
                    > then drilling the latch and bar and running a pin through it. Or perhaps
                    > I could drill through the "collar" (just in front of where the padlock
                    > is on the pic) clear through to the other side and run a pin through
                    > there? Or remove the whole thing and replace. Would be a lot of work as
                    > it is welded and I guess I would need to find someone to weld a new one
                    > on.
                    > Any thoughts??
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >







                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Ron Mitchell
                    I can t seem to load the picture anymore, but from what I remember, it looks like an Atwood coupler. You might be able to check with them on replacement parts
                    Message 9 of 10 , Sep 3, 2010
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                      I can't seem to load the picture anymore, but from what I remember,
                      it looks like an Atwood coupler. You might be able to check with them
                      on replacement parts to comply with the law.
                      If you're going to start welding, I'd consider welding a small
                      eyebolt to the frame member and another to the lever, so that you can
                      put a lock through the two to secure it. Make sure you have enough
                      clearance to fully open and close the coupler.

                      Here's the Atwood site:
                      http://www.atwoodmobile.com/chassis-components/straight-tongue-couplers.asp

                      Good luck!

                      Ron
                      76 Coachmen
                    • gmmullins4
                      yes it keeps the tongue from contacting the pavement or dirt and nose diving. big problem with many chains i have seen is they are rated lower than required to
                      Message 10 of 10 , Sep 6, 2010
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                        yes it keeps the tongue from contacting the pavement or dirt and nose diving. big problem with many chains i have seen is they are rated lower than required to hold and carry the weight of the vehicle being pulled. i take no chances and use 2" chain rated at 20,000lbs for my lightweight toyota pickup.

                        that new law over in the east will eliminate dog chains from being used anymore. yep dog chains!! over the years seen so many dog chains being used, its scary.



                        --- In classicrv@yahoogroups.com, "richard" <lamont4689@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In classicrv@yahoogroups.com, JerryK <regal5575@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Richard,
                        > > Does the new law mention or say that in addition to keeping the tow and towed
                        > > vehicles together in case of hitch failure safety chains are supposed to keep
                        > > the tongue from hitting the pavement? 
                        > >
                        > > Some where, some time in the past I read or saw something that has lead me to
                        > > believe the purpose of crossing the chains under the tongue was twofold, one
                        > > reason was to allow slack for turning and the second reason was to form a basket
                        > > to catch the tongue and keep it from hitting the pavement. 
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Am I all wet or is that right?
                        > >
                        > > JerryK
                        > >
                        > it doesn't (say ) that but I do it so if there is a failure the (crossed chains) will catch (towed) hitch.
                        >
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