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Thread: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

  1. #1
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    Default Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    My boat is stored, on its trailer, in my garage. My driveway slopes pretty steeply up to the garage, so the car and trailer are not in line when I'm attaching the trailer to the car.

    The trailer is a trailex SUT-500, which has an (I think) pretty standard attachment for a 1 7/8" ball. There is a handle that when up, loosens a bit below and makes a bit more room for the ball; when down, it clamps the ball in securely (I'm probably telling you all things you already know).

    The problem is, I can't seem to get the trailer onto the ball when the trailer and car are at the angle that they are from the garage to driveway. The opening on the trailer coupler doesn't seem to open wide enough to slide down onto the ball when at that angle. Is there some adjustment that can be made, or something perhaps wrong with the coupler (hard to think there could be something wrong with the ball!). I've certainly jiggled it a bit, and there is some lubricant on it, but I haven't done anything to it since it arrived from the factory.

    What I've ended up doing, which works but isn't fun, is attach the trailer to the ball mount first, and then slide the ball mount into the hitch receiver while rolling the trailer forward slightly (while doable, this is not particularly comfortable, as the trailer, fully loaded, is ~450lbs).
    Daniel

    Building a Campion Apple 16.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Maybe something different? The pintle hitch is pretty beefy but maybe you can source one that is reasonably sized

    Pintle Hitch

    Although the line of distinction between a standard hitch or something like a ball mount can be a little faint with Pintle Hitches, we still call it a hitch. The hooking part of this system is called the pintle, which is attached to the truck, and the lunette (which is the ring it hooks to) is attached to the trailer. The pintle can be mounted either directly to the framing of large commercial trucks and dump trucks or it can mounted to a mount that slides into the receiver of a hitch. Although these hitches tend to be a little more noisy than a standard ball mount connection, their weight ratings can be drastically higher. They can tow anywhere from 10,000 to 60,000 Ibs. gross trailer weight. These hitches are very common in the construction industry.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Leading down from that latching toggle is a threaded bolt that attaches to what I call the 'under tongue', which is what's blocking your hook up. Just wind the toggle anticlockwise to open the under tongue more or even off, so it's out of the way as you set the trailer socket down on the ball. Once on, reattach and tighten the under tongue.

    Double check the connection when more on the level. Few things more embarrassing than a runaway trailer.

    G'luck

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    I do not like the flip type couplers (they can fail) and always use the "handwheel" type couplers
    Dico, Fulton etc all make them and I'm sure one is available as a direct replacement for your existing coupler.
    Just don't forget to tighten it!

    A126D747-61D3-4A83-B869-FBE65475BE29.jpeg

    B688D541-03F0-4941-8EF8-EAEC94771ECB.jpeg

  5. #5
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    Default

    Thanks all!

    Ian, that sounds just right, and more pleasant that my current process.

    Though, those hand wheel couplers look interesting! (And, the existing coupler is just bolted on, so I expect you’re right that swapping would be easy).
    Daniel

    Building a Campion Apple 16.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    You only have to hit one good pothole on the freeway and cast that flip style off the ball to convince yourself to change it...
    (Hopefully your safety chains are real)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    You only have to hit one good pothole on the freeway and cast that flip style off the ball to convince yourself to change it...
    (Hopefully your safety chains are real)
    Standard practice around here is to put a clevis pin or a padlock through the hole in the lever so it can't open unintentionally.
    Sadly, I still occasionally see a rig with really rinky dink safety chains, or none at all.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    I have rescued one (a friend, we were traveling in concert) with a padlock still locked through the hole. That doesn't mean much, it did not open, the problem is on the underside, a rather critical over-center adjustment that requires a socket wrench and should be made for each specific ball, because things change. A little jack-knife here, a steep ramp there and things are no longer what they were.
    Unfortunately this happened on hwy 680/80 interchange southbound about an hour after dark, 10 lanes of 70+ mph traffic and no place to pull over for about 3 miles.
    Owner is a real sailor the safety chains had steel screw shackles and everything stayed behind the car, except when he stopped and it went under the car, no damage, a Drascombe Lugger.
    Lots of sparks for three miles though...

    (For a point of reference I had a fleet of about 15 trailers in my charge from #60,000 to #3500 and have seen a lot of trailer things go wrong! I won't use that lever type latch if I have an option)

    The adjustment (w/loctite):
    D3BF93BE-B056-4644-917A-A21E5C95C0BE.jpg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    If the trailer does not have a tongue jack to lift the tongue in order to test the coupler/ball connection, give the handle a hearty yank.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Quote Originally Posted by dbp1 View Post

    The problem is, I can't seem to get the trailer onto the ball when the trailer and car are at the angle that they are from the garage to driveway. The opening on the trailer coupler doesn't seem to open wide enough to slide down onto the ball when at that angle. Is there some adjustment that can be made, or something perhaps wrong with the coupler (hard to think there could be something wrong with the ball!). I've certainly jiggled it a bit, and there is some lubricant on it, but I haven't done anything to it since it arrived from the factory.
    Is your drive long enough for you to be able to park the tow vehicle down slope, so that the ball hitch lines up just before the trailer wheels come off the level onto the slope. That way the rig is aligned without the trailer trying to roll down slope.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Is your drive long enough for you to be able to park the tow vehicle down slope, so that the ball hitch lines up just before the trailer wheels come off the level onto the slope. That way the rig is aligned without the trailer trying to roll down slope.
    I've actually _also_ done this, and it works, though ideally I don't have to roll the trailer out so far (the ~75lb tongue weight is doable, but isn't particularly fun -- I guess I could get a stand/wheel for it).

    I've looked around, and haven't found one of the screw type couplers mentioned. The trailex trailer has 2.5" wide channel, which doesn't seem to be standard (3" seems much more common).
    Daniel

    Building a Campion Apple 16.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Quote Originally Posted by dbp1 View Post
    I've actually _also_ done this, and it works, though ideally I don't have to roll the trailer out so far (the ~75lb tongue weight is doable, but isn't particularly fun -- I guess I could get a stand/wheel for it).

    I've looked around, and haven't found one of the screw type couplers mentioned. The trailex trailer has 2.5" wide channel, which doesn't seem to be standard (3" seems much more common).
    You really should fit a tongue jack/jockey wheel. You will wonder how you ever managed without one.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    It should not be a problem connecting at an angle, unless the angle is making the trailer hitch higher on one side than the other. Otherwise, the ball is round, and the hitch does not know the difference.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    It should not be a problem connecting at an angle, unless the angle is making the trailer hitch higher on one side than the other. Otherwise, the ball is round, and the hitch does not know the difference.
    Hmm. When the ball is above the garage floor, it'll be higher than it should be. I had thought even when it is in the driveway, but close to the garage, it still wouldn't work, but maybe I'm wrong, and never tested being right at the edge -- as I said, I had put it on a few feet down the driveway, and that works fine. And if it does work right near the edge, then that, plus the tongue stand/dolly will probably be good enough. Thanks!
    Daniel

    Building a Campion Apple 16.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    It should not be a problem connecting at an angle, unless the angle is making the trailer hitch higher on one side than the other. Otherwise, the ball is round, and the hitch does not know the difference.
    I think the problem is that the "neck" on the bottom of the ball is getting in the way of the latch closing properly due to the angles involved.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    I think the problem is that the "neck" on the bottom of the ball is getting in the way of the latch closing properly due to the angles involved.

    The neck presents the same from any angle. It is round/ cylindrical.

    Screen Shot 2022-07-14 at 2.09.28 PM.jpg

    What am I missing?

    Only other explanation I can think of is that the flange or lip around the hitch hits the bumper/ reciever or truck when attempted at an angle?

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    So.... how about two wooden ramps on the garage floor that would angle the trailer up in the back when you back it in. So you could hook and unhook at a better angle. Then the trailer could live on the ramps. Of course you would have to chock the trailer tires before you unhook.
    David Satter www.sattersrestoration.com
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    From hooking up horse trailers in awkward places I've faced this. Due to the down slope of the trailer, the ball is not getting past the under tongue. Usually just backing the screw off to give more space does the trick but sometimes it has to be more fully released. Once the ball is in the socket, then everything can be tightened enough to get to level (or same slope car and trailer) ground for proper adjustment.

    Again, be sure to block the wheels on both the vehicle and trailer.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Trailer ball mount, attaching at an angle

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    The neck presents the same from any angle. It is round/ cylindrical.

    Screen Shot 2022-07-14 at 2.09.28 PM.jpg

    What am I missing?

    Only other explanation I can think of is that the flange or lip around the hitch hits the bumper/ reciever or truck when attempted at an angle?

    Kevin
    The neck in your picture is vertical. in the case of the OP, because this tow vehicle is pointing "downhill" the neck is presenting at an acute angle to the trailer hitch itself. The little tongue that is supposed to slide under the ball and capture it can't because the neck is in the way.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  20. #20
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    The neck in your picture is vertical. in the case of the OP, because this tow vehicle is pointing "downhill" the neck is presenting at an acute angle to the trailer hitch itself. The little tongue that is supposed to slide under the ball and capture it can't because the neck is in the way.


    Aha.
    That point went right past me. Thanks for the clarification.

    Kevin


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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