I filled a trailer with some scrap metal to take to the junk yard. It
was a heavy load. I drove it 12 miles to another farm to get more
scrap. Then drove home. The next day I was taking the load to the
junk yard and began driving down my roadway. Thats when the trailer
came right off the ball. Luckily this was my own private roadway and
the safety chains held it, so there was no damage except a few things
that fell out the rear. The trailer seems to be heavy to the rear,
and the load was obviously more heavy in the rear, but still, it was
the proper size ball and it was latched down all the way with a bolt
in the lever hole to lock it down.
I recently had to loosen that nut under the hitch because I could not
get it on the ball. I re-tightened it to approximately the same 1/4"
from the end of the threads. Nothing broke inside the hitch, it just
popped off the ball. Why would this happen? Do those nuts need to be
a specific tightness using a torque wrench? If so, how do I find out
the proper method to tighten it? I dont want this to happen again. I
was lucky this time since it happened off the highways. This really
has me puzzled since it was driven 12 miles on the highway with the
I should mention that I was backing it up to toss on one last piece of
scrap, when it popped off the ball. (whether that matters or not).
Sounds like a couple problems.
First. Never have more weight on the back of a trailer than on the front.
In fact, I want the tongue on my trailer to weight at least 100 - 150
If you have more weight in the back, the trailer is libel to severely
when on the road. You may be lucky that it came unhooked in your driveway.
A badly fish-tailing trailer can flip a vehicle.
Second, your hitch may be too loose. You said you adjusted it to get it on
the ball. Something was wrong - perhaps it wasn't lined up perfectly, I
don't know. With the trailer empty, adjust the trailer hitch to just barely
over the ball, and then close the hitch to make sure it isn't too tight.
At roughly 6mils/in/F for thermal expansion/contraction, 100F dT would
lead to roughly 1 mil change in dimension for a 2"D ball. Not likely
that was the root cause of losing a hitch connection (assuming the
comment wasn't simply the sidebar subthread meaning... :) )
If the hitch came right up off the ball, there could be several things
First, and most importantly, the trailer was loaded tail heavy. This can
cause VIOLENT! oscillation transferring to the tow vehicle. I have
personally seen two vehicle/trailer crashes where the trailer just goes
berserk, and eventually causes the vehicle to crash.
Now, if the hitch could come up off the ball, there's something wrong with
the hitch, the ball, or both. The hitch should grip the ball tightly enough
to hold it there. Either the hitch is worn, the ball is too small, or both.
You need to read up on trailer hitches, because you are not only a danger to
yourself, but to me, and others. You obviously don't know how to load a
trailer, or tow it, or what you're looking at when looking at a connection.
Your name is not Mayhem, is it?
Heart surgery pending?
Heart Surgery Survival Guide
I was a passenger in such a setup on my way with friends to go camping in
the Zoar Valley, NY. It's a pretty damn scary feeling. It was a rebuilt
bread truck named Ezekiel with over 250K miles driven by my roommate's GF
who had little driving experience and no trailer experience. At 50 mph a
very slight swinging started and then it turned into the truck rocking
violently from side to side. Could have easily been a tragedy EXCEPT that
the hitch-up was bad/weak and the trailer eventually just broke free. All
happened in seconds. Very, very scary seconds. Happened about as fast as a
badly imbalanced washing machine load takes to sound like it's going to
self-destruct. The lesson learned was to always rent a U-Haul van when I
needed to haul something and never a trailer.
Once, when I was in the Marine Division of the Sheriff's Office, we attached
a boat to a pickup and scooted off to the boat ramp to answer a distress
call. I jumped out of the truck as the driver made a U-turn to back the boat
in the water.
Discussing it for a moment, we were sure: a) We attached the trailer to the
truck, and b) We were in the right truck. That left c) The boat came loose.
Heading back down the road, our heads were full of visions of a boat and
trailer running head-on into a station wagon with 15 Mexicans and their
children on the way to a Christening! At 50 miles per hour! Each.
Sure enough, about three miles down the road we found the boat and trailer
parked quietly in a gently-sloping ditch (it was a 4-wheel trailer.
Fortunately, in about three minutes, a power company line truck came ambling
down the road. We stopped him and, with his winch and chain, managed to
extract the boat from the ditch, get it hooked back up, and on our way.
Never did make the rescue to which we were assigned. I think the people
drowned or something, but we were okay.
OMG!!! The two stooges!!! LOL!!! Tell us again about how smart you are. You
are one dumb SOB, the other dumb one was the driver.
Never mind about playing a moron on the internet, you pretty much confirmed
you're a moron with this response.
Neither of us attached the boat. That was the job of the jail trustees
working in the shop. If you can't trust a trustee, well, there you are.
It wasn't all a failure - we learned a valuable lesson: Always carry a chain
or substantial rope in the truck. You can't depend on a power company truck
just passing by.
I have about 50' of HEAVY chain, and have had comments from people about
overkill. But not from people I have pulled out of the ditch. Rope is okay
if that is all you got. It is subject to all sorts of degrading from use,
weather, heat/freeze/thaw cycles, UV sunlight, abrasion, stretching, etc.
The nylon straps with hooks are good.
Advice: Buy the biggest heaviest longest one you can afford. The short
ones are no good if the disabled vehicle is very far from the roadway.
Carry both, and get the big hooks. On chain, have one grab hook and one
slip hook. A grab hook will latch onto one link of chain. A slip will move
along a chain. Different applications. The nylon straps are good for those
little tin can cars with lots of plastic.
Final caveat: Don't hook up to the bumper. They will pull off.
Last and final caution, don't jerk on the chain/strap. Easy, easy, easy
Heart surgery pending?
Heart Surgery Survival Guide
When the Air Florida flight crashed into the nearly frozen over Potomac
River some years ago, NOT ONE of the police cars from the various agencies
responding had a goddamn rope to throw to the few survivors splashing around
and drowning. One of America's true heros, Lenny Skutnik dove into the icy
water to save them as the "Uh Oh" squad stood around gawking.
"During the rescue operation of passengers from the crashed plane, one
passenger, Priscilla Tirado, was too weak to grab the line dropped from a
helicopter. Hundreds of people were watching, including emergency services
personnel. Skutnik saw the situation, and stripped off his coat and boots
and, in short sleeves, dove into the icy water and swam the 30 feet out to
assist her. He succeeded in getting Tirado to the river shore, from where
Tirado was subsequently taken to hospital, saving her life."
That's the kind of American we should remember this Fourth of July.
1) Yes. 2) Maybe never, maybe to save a kid who fell through broken ice. 3)
Yes. I'll point out that they all had guns but I can assure you that many
of them had never fired them in the line of duty. That's more rare than
most people think. Should they stop carrying guns? That's where the "need"
No one had ropes at the Air Florida crash except the rescue choppers. Park
police, State police, Pentagon Protective Services, etc. Not one stinkin'
rope among them. Even a dinky, not very strong poly rope should be in the
kit of anyone who is likely to be a first responder. No citizen should have
to risk his bloody life because not one of the dozens of cops around had a
damn rope in the spacious trunks of their huge Crown Vics.
Just Crown vics? Lots of cops around here drive around in fluffed up
trucks carrying nothing but themselves.
About 5 years ago the Feds were still throwing boxes of money on the
front step of every police department for "anti-terrorism". My buddy is
the chief of a medium size city and he said he could basically do what
he wanted with the money. Many chiefs bought fluffed up trucks (if you
ever watch any of the crime shows if 7 officers respond there are 7
single occupant big black fluffed trucks racing to the crime scene). He
doesn't go for silly stuff so in at least his department no one drives a
fluffed up truck.
Good idea. It doesn't take up very much trunk space and can usually be
tucked away without ever getting in the way. I wonder if the local police
mandated a rope be carried after the Air Florida crash?. They were roundly
criticized for standing around on the riverbank doing nothing. Sadly I'd
bet that if the same thing happened, it would play out in the same way.
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