Someone say it ain’t so-please! [email protected] hitch challenges

jgram2jgram2 Member Posts: 1,507
edited July 2018 in Trailer & Towing
We’ve towed this trailer, hitched and unhitched I don’t know how many times and yet! it took us 1.5 hours last Thursday AND ~ about an hour on Sunday to hitch and unhitch. Level and with abundant lithium grease. Now I’m hoping I’ve figured out a secret. After re-watching the Brad Taylor video on Thursday about 3 times (for a total of maybe 20 over 2 years) I finally noticed a minor detail in his demonstration. When Brad lifts the coupler, he uses both hands-one to pull/slide the handle up and back and the other to lift the front of the coupler at the same time he’s working the handle. So I go outside, lie down on the asphalt directly under the coupler so I can view the lock (after making sure the trailer is chocked), lifted the handle with one hand and pushed the front of the coupler up with the other hand et voila, easy peasy, the coupler moves up smoothly and stays up. And I got to visualize the lock mechanism function.

When DH came home with the truck, we tried it...and it worked first time, smooth as silk and uncoupled as easily.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand having the trailer and TV level and countless other things which I still don’t understand may continue to make hitching a challenge, but I feel like I’ve discovered the Grand Unified Theory here. 

Someone assure me we’re not the only ones to have missed this 2 hands detail please. Lie if necessary, just to make me feel better. Oh all right, it was just us. That’s ok. Still learning, this old dog.
John, Judi, Guinness & OD in PDX
[email protected]@t 2015 S Max Outback, ‘18 V6 4Runner 


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Comments

  • LuckyjLuckyj Member Posts: 286
    The main thing is that the ball must not push back on the latch.  This kind of lock the mechanism in place.  Then after you finelized the leveling.
    2017 [email protected] Max Outback "Le Refuge"
    TV 2005 jeep TJ unlimited
    and/or 2005 Nissan X-Trail 4wd
    Alaskan Malamuthe on board!

    Les Escoumins and Petite-Riviere-St-Francois QC
  • IslandJoIslandJo Member Posts: 58
    I had the same problem when my hitch was the wrong height. Changed the 4" drop to a 2" drop and it takes no time at all.
    2018 [email protected] CS-S on an Outback axle 
    2017 Toyota Tacoma with tow package
    Pacific Northwest 
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Member Posts: 369
    There is not doubt that this lock mechanism is tricky!  Mine was very difficult when brand new.  You are definitely on to something - I make sure that the tow vehicle is pulled forward slightly so that the ball is not pressing on the lock mechanism, AND I use both hand like you describe.  Works very well.  In those rare cases it doesn't I have a rubber mallet that I use to tap the front latch upward.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • dragonsdoflydragonsdofly Member Posts: 1,274
    @jgram2, now that you've mastered particle physics, I'll bet you're getting that Middle East thing straightened out. If only everything in life was that easy! Heehee!
    2017 [email protected] sofitel([email protected])TV 2015 Silverado 2500hd(Behemoth). Wyandotte, Michigan.
    Draco dormiens numquam titilandus.
  • jgram2jgram2 Member Posts: 1,507
    edited May 2018
    @dragonsdofly  if only there were you tube vids for it, why, I’d give it a shot, no matter how many viewings it required. My physics exploration stopped at The Dancing Wu Li Masters.
    John, Judi, Guinness & OD in PDX
    [email protected]@t 2015 S Max Outback, ‘18 V6 4Runner 


  • rkj__rkj__ Member Posts: 638
    I’m glad you’ve got it figured out. 

    Most times I unhitch, I need to give the tongue a bit of a jiggle to be able to flip up the lever easily. Pretty easy with how light the [email protected] is. 
    2016 [email protected] 320 CS-S - 2018 GMC Sierra - St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
  • jgram2jgram2 Member Posts: 1,507
    edited May 2018
    Thanks for your comments all, lord only knows how we ever got on the road or off of it! @rkj__  I remember reading in a much earlier thread the poster noted if all else failed, he sometimes jiggled it side to side. Maybe that was you!
    John, Judi, Guinness & OD in PDX
    [email protected]@t 2015 S Max Outback, ‘18 V6 4Runner 


  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 5,865
    What Brad Taylor video?

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | [email protected] Nights: 13 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

  • jgram2jgram2 Member Posts: 1,507
  • dragonsdoflydragonsdofly Member Posts: 1,274
    @jgram2, wow, hadn't heard that title in what seems a lifetime. Moved on to getting a handle on string theory and various other aspects of quantum mechanics but frequently feel my mind is the proverbial black hole. Still pondering the equation series which proves mathematically a bumblebee cannot fly. Regardless of your comprehension level of radius vectors and the like, happy [email protected]
    2017 [email protected] sofitel([email protected])TV 2015 Silverado 2500hd(Behemoth). Wyandotte, Michigan.
    Draco dormiens numquam titilandus.
  • RatkityRatkity Member Posts: 3,757
    There is not doubt that this lock mechanism is tricky!  Mine was very difficult when brand new.  You are definitely on to something - I make sure that the tow vehicle is pulled forward slightly so that the ball is not pressing on the lock mechanism, AND I use both hand like you describe.  Works very well.  In those rare cases it doesn't I have a rubber mallet that I use to tap the front latch upward.
    I call mine, "the magic mallet". It has fixed so many things with one gentle whack. It's almost as good as Verna's wand!! :rofl:  
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • dsfdogsdsfdogs Member Posts: 347
    @jgram2 maybe it was something in the air as I too had a heck of a time today. I was lifting the lock mechanism per the video, but still...I was hitching, ball and socket looked perfectly lined up, but the hitch socket wouldn't "set" or drop fully on the ball. Wiggling the trailer and even pulling the car forward a "smidge" per the video, didn't work. I sprayed more silicone. Nope. After I realigned the TV with trailer and gave the trailer a more vigorous nudge, it dropped and could be locked. Grrrr.
    Debbie in Oregon
    2018 [email protected] 320 S/2019 Toyota 4Runner SR5
  • RatkityRatkity Member Posts: 3,757
    @dsfdogs, t'was one of those days, eh? I've had them. Lined up perfectly and no amount of lithium spray grease or moving the TV either way helped. I will tell you my secret... tis the Magic Mallet. Amazingly, a little thump from it can do wonders. I'm not talking about a whack like Whack-A-Mole... just a little thump seems to work most of the time. The rest of the times, I do just as you did. Re-align and do it all over again!! :)
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 778
    jgram2 said:
    . . .  lifted the handle with one hand and pushed the front of the coupler up with the other hand et voila, easy peasy, the coupler moves up smoothly and stays up.

    Someone assure me we’re not the only ones to have missed this 2 hands detail please.

    LOL, you have found the secret magic trick for our Yoke Style Couplers.

    For those folks that do not wish to lie on the ground under the coupler to see how it works . . . part of a youTube ETrailer video has was good information.

    Watch video between times 2:00 and about 2:35


    Full video is on how to replace the internal parts for our Atwood Yoke Style couplers.

    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  26   Nights:  160 
  • ericnlizericnliz Member Posts: 4,450
    Would SOMEONE spread some magic powder on MY coupler.....PLEASE. :s It's been a mystery since day one. No matter the amount of spray, maneuvering, or otherwise filling the air with blue words helps. 10 times in a row, a royal pain...off & on, then for no rhyme, or reason, I can hook up in EXACTLY the same place, same procedure, and it goes on perfectly. Not so often, the handle lifts easily. :o
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  


  • jgram2jgram2 Member Posts: 1,507
    I shouldn’t admit it, but I’m grateful it’s not just us who have trouble. Misery does love company. Thanks @ericnliz and @dsfdogs.
    Perhaps this thread will help others feel less alone in frustration! So, level [email protected] and TV, liberal lithium grease, the ball toward the front of the coupler because if it’s toward the back-closer to Trailer- it will press on the lock mechanism, maybe jiggle side to side, gentle application of handy mallet, throw in some meditation and hold your face in just the right expression and we’ll get on the road. And maybe a beverage of your choice in between efforts for calming purposes. 
    John, Judi, Guinness & OD in PDX
    [email protected]@t 2015 S Max Outback, ‘18 V6 4Runner 


  • ericnlizericnliz Member Posts: 4,450
    I find SEVERAL adult beverages in order after getting un-hitched. I now carry several size hammers, and find the "claw" portion extremely handy to get the latch lifted, after several (ok, we'll call 'em "TAPS") with the mallet. =)
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  


  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 778

    Are the comments about mallets and multiple hammers in jest?


    The Coupler should not require additional force and can be damaged if force is used.

    Couplers being stuck or jammed is caused by the Ball-2-Wedge-Interface being under too much load.

    To smoothly engage (hitch) or disengage (unhitch) the Tow Ball needs to be:
      -  at the top of the Coupler tow ball space, tow ball not jack carrying load
      -  and tow ball must be at the front of the Coupler tow ball space

    This reduces the load on the Wedge and allows the Yoke & Wedge to be moved. We nearly always backup our [email protected]'s before starting to unhitch, which loads the Wedge.  So block the [email protected] wheels and inch the TV forward . . . just placing in drive or releasing the brakes while in neutral can be enough to move the tow ball to the coupler front.

    When hitching up for towing; The Yoke Locking Tabs (part of spring loaded lift handle) will only engage if the Wedge is fully seated to the tow ball.


    Atwood / Lippert Instructions state
    YOKE STYLE COUPLERS

    A. To open, lift the latch and pull backward, raising the yoke and resting
    it on the nose of the coupler (FIG 9-A.)

    B. When ball is completely nested in ball socket, push latch handle forward until yoke drops over nose of coupler and the latch handle locking tips freely enter slots on top of coupler (FIG 9-B.)


    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  26   Nights:  160 
  • ericnlizericnliz Member Posts: 4,450
    @MuttonChops, NOT in jest at all. I first experienced this problem RIGHT after I got my [email protected] When I got home, I was absolutely un-able to get the hitch off after more than several attempts. :o:s I finally went back to the dealer to see if I was doing it wrong & they, also could not get it unhitched until a couple of "adjustments' to the coupler were made. There is no rhyme, or reason as to why sometimes it cooperates really well, and other times, not so much. I have NEVER had issues with any other brand, or model before, and I have towed various trailers quite extensively. I also need to point out, the "load" factor makes no difference, nor does "level' in the way mine acts. I am NOT in fact, the only one with this issue, and I'm beginning to wonder if it is a series of these couplers that had issues, as I have friends that have a [email protected] CSS that was built same month & year as was mine, and they have the same issues as well. I also had Phillip from Apache Trailer look at mine at Lincoln Rock, and he couldn't give me a good answer as to why it acted in that fashion either. I have dome my due diligence on research & suggestions from others & NOTHING to date has solved the issue. Thank you, however in trying to help. I do appreciate any, and all suggestions for this continuing frustrating issue. Life goes on, and I deal with it as best I can. Sometimes it takes a few more adult beverages than others. ;)  
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  


  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 778
    . . . . Time for a Dale modification . . . .
    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  26   Nights:  160 
  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 5,865
    I am actually increasingly concerned about the amount of people attacking the coupler with mallets, hammers, shovels, and other objects. It sure seems like a recipe for an accident.

    I have a learned a little in many adventures in towing and what I have learned about hitching and unhitch 0i b is that the angle and pressure in the coupler impact the ability to hitch and unhitch.

    Here are my thoughts, please feel free to correct me where I am wrong:

    1. New hitches are a little stiff and loosen up after a few outings.

    2. A properly lubricated, broken-in hitch should easily engage and disengage on level ground, where the TV and trailer are straight.

    3. An angle can make it difficult to disengage the coupler. In this caseI get it as close as possible, chain up and lower the coupler onto the ball. I very slowly move the trailer until I can close the coupler and insert the pin.

    4. When there is pressure on the hitch from uneven ground, get it as close as possible, chain up and lower the coupler onto the ball. I very slowly move the trailer until I can close the coupler and insert the pin. Sometimes that means moving forward or backwards a few feet.

    5. When using the Andersen Leveler, I lift the coupler latch before I move onto the leveler. I also i pull off of the leveler before engaging the hitch when packing up

    A hitch that remains stiff, even on level ground may have a problem. Let a professional inspect it..

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | [email protected] Nights: 13 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

  • dsfdogsdsfdogs Member Posts: 347
    @jkjenn I'm with you - aghast at the responses I saw on that post, and that is being nice. 
    One question on #5 above, do you pull off the leveler with the hitch just sitting on the ball? Then once off the leveler, close the coupler and put in pin? I use Lynx levelers and have had some trouble hitching while still on them.
    Debbie in Oregon
    2018 [email protected] 320 S/2019 Toyota 4Runner SR5
  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 5,865
    dsfdogs said:
    @jkjenn I'm with you - aghast at the responses I saw on that post, and that is being nice. 
    One question on #5 above, do you pull off the leveler with the hitch just sitting on the ball? Then once off the leveler, close the coupler and put in pin? I use Lynx levelers and have had some trouble hitching while still on them.
    Yeah, I move very slowly and am chained up. I have found that this seems to work much better. 

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | [email protected] Nights: 13 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 5,463
    @jkjenn, we first used our Anderson out in Utah this spring and discovered the same issue with being unable to latch the coupler.    We did the same thing - place the coupler on the ball and slowly move forward off the Anderson, then close and pin the coupler.  We have never had a problem closing or opening the coupler on level ground.  We routinely drop the coupler into place by using the Tab handles to rock the trailer.  
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,575
    Much like the 3-way Norcold when you are trying to light it on propane, I'm convinced that hitch can sense your frustration. Heck, if somebody comes at me with a hammer I'm inclined to clench up pretty tight, too!

    Must. Be. Zen. With. The. Equipment.  :-)
  • VernaVerna Administrator Posts: 5,786
    edited July 2018
    2.5 hrs the first night, plus 2.5 hrs the second morning to unhitch, maybe I should have had a hammer nearby for a threat!

    I finally figured it would always be a challenge in my sloping driveway. So, I sat down and studied the angles of the truck and the 400. Yup, there were different. I moved the 400 closer to the garage, backed up hard against the chocks, then let the pressure off just a bit. It worked. 

    My Mother would have been proud, as one of her most common comments to me was “Patience, Verna; Patience, Verna <insert middle name>“. 
    Verna, Columbus, IN, 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red, towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost; [email protected] Administrator
  • RatkityRatkity Member Posts: 3,757
    How many chicks did you squish??? hehe.. yay autocorrect!!! Yes, I knew you meant chocks.
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
  • VernaVerna Administrator Posts: 5,786
    Ratkity said:
    How many chicks did you squish??? hehe.. yay autocorrect!!! Yes, I knew you meant chocks.
    Spellcheck.....it never helps when I really want it to!
    Verna, Columbus, IN, 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red, towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost; [email protected] Administrator
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,575
    Oh, visions of flattened little yellow birds made me wanna' jump on that one, too.

    But, as with hooking and unhooking...  I. Had. Patience.

    Now take it over to the chit-chat room!  :-)
  • RatkityRatkity Member Posts: 3,757
    You know the only time I had Patience was when I had my first German Shepherd. Her name was Patience. 

    The Atwood coupler on the [email protected] was my first experience with one. I had pulled many a camper and trailer and not had the hitching and unhitching issues I had with the Atwood.

    Once. The campsite was sloped downward. I knew it wasn't seated on the ball. I took it slowly (and with the chains on) to the road which had a different slope. BANG! It settled in. Imagine the looks I got. I think V's solution was probably much more elegant, but I was out of chocks and got very impatient. The other type has an adjustable jaw. It took a while and some white lithium grease spray (thanks V!) and I got the hang of it.

    Fast forward. Now back to the other coupler and I had issues with IT! I can't win lol. The concept is the same. Patience and tiny increments with chocks. I found the Anderson balance system helped me (YMMV).
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha [email protected] from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a [email protected] at heart)
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