Tow Hitches

Submitted: Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 01:21
ThreadID: 123010 Views:3386 Replies:5 FollowUps:11
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We have a 21 ft van and it was fitted with the standard AT35 coupling which I often found very hard to disconnect when there was sideways tension on the coupling, because of severe loss of arm strength due to my war injuries.

2 years ago I changed to a pintel ring coupling which was very easy to hitch and un hitch BUT on our recent 8 month trip found that this coupling with its 22.5 degree max angle was not suitable for negotiating the steeper banks that we wanted to go up or down. Even the 27 ft van we were travelling with that also had a similar coupling was binding up on inclines that the caravan was quite cabaple of negotiating with the AT35 coupling.

While in Melbourne while visiting friends with a Trakmaster van, they took us over to the Trakmaster factory where I purchased a Hyland Coupling that they fit on nearly all of their vans. The Hyland coupling rotates in two directions the same as the AT35 but is a 50mm ball coupling and it comes with its own ball mount that has a longer shank to prevent any binding problems. We have only done the 2000 odd km trip from Melbourne back to Noosa with a couple of detours, but so far I am glad to be able to report that it is able to negotiate the steeper inclinds without any problems and more importantly for me, it is by far the easiest off road coupling to hitch and un-hitch that we have had. I only wish that I had changed over much earlier.

Brian
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 01:50

Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 01:50
For anyone interested, we tried it years ago, and the wear rate was too much... They have since redesigned it, and we have one in trial now. Our major concern will be the wear rate on the pivot points with a heavy van surging on the corrugation, when it is surging a bit back and forth at a high rate of rotation, maybe 20 cycles a second of wear. It was extreme on my own tests, just at the point when you were not accelerating or decelerating, in the sort of neutral in between point, the thing oscillated on the horizontal axis...

On the highway, I see no problem. On long bits on the corrugation.... Don't know, but we are willing to give it another try...

The Ranger is trying to do the right thing, in hobby, in life, 24/7....

You all have a good weekend, I am checking out, gotta talk to some horses about things...
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Follow Up By: NIK `N` OFF - Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 06:08

Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 06:08
Hi Brian, i had the hyland on my previous van and had no problems with it, intial bit of wear on the ball but didnt get any worse and travelled a constant 25,000klms over all types of terrain. I have requested one for our new van as the ease of attaching is a priority when the majority of our camping is done on coastal beaches.

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Mick & Vickie

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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 06:49

Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 06:49
Steve,
Can you get the person who is trialling this hitch to contact me so that we can compare notes.

Mick,
Did you get a ball supplied with yours? Graig at Trakmaster said that it was important to use the ball that he supplied as it had a shank that was more suitable for this hitch than the standard 50 mm ball.

Everyone that I have spoken to who are running them on Trakmasters, Pheonix and Kedron off road vans have all been happy with them.

Back in 2001 we had a similar one fitted on our van, but it wasn't as strong looking as these ones are and that pulled apart when we had a crash. I was told that they were all recalled after our crash.

Brian
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Monday, Oct 30, 2006 at 19:17

Monday, Oct 30, 2006 at 19:17
Brian,
I will contact the Owners as the vans are finished and come throught the ranks in the next few months, to get them to contact you. I obviously cannot give you their details due to the Privacy laws, but when I have results I will let you know, or they may contact you themselves.

Brian, and fellow Boggers, I have seen plenty of good results on lighter and smaller vans and would say no problem. But on heavier vans and harder going on rough tracks and corrugation, I am still concerned about the pivot points wear. Right now, if pushed, I would vote NO, unless you were prepared to pull it off and throw it away after two years or even 12 months of extreme travel. Time may prove me wrong, I am open to possibilities, but I would rather err on the side of caution on something like this. Let us wait for more tests on the road with larger vans before taking the plunge.

Regards, LR Trying to do it right, all of the time...
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Monday, Oct 30, 2006 at 22:26

Monday, Oct 30, 2006 at 22:26
Steve,

I am quite happy for you to give my details to the person that you said above is trialling one now.

Brian
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Reply By: Luvntravln - Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 06:31

Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 06:31
Here comes trouble .............

What are the weight limits? 3500 or 4500?

Jay
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 06:43

Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 06:43
As far as I know they are 3500 kgs, and as our van comes in under that we don't have a problem.

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Follow Up By: NIK `N` OFF - Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 09:29

Saturday, Oct 28, 2006 at 09:29
Brian,

I know the 50mm ball i had on the cruiser at the time wasn't suitable and it was changed to another, to me they appeared the same, perhaps a slightly longer shank but I cant give you any definates.

And Jay yes it was 3500kg more than enough for what we require.

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Mick & Vickie

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Reply By: Maximus - Sunday, Oct 29, 2006 at 03:23

Sunday, Oct 29, 2006 at 03:23
Is there a site or whatever so I can have a look at one. Would like to see one.
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Sunday, Oct 29, 2006 at 04:33

Sunday, Oct 29, 2006 at 04:33
Steve said he has one on trial so he will know where to obtain them from.
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Reply By: The paca people - Sunday, Oct 29, 2006 at 03:28

Sunday, Oct 29, 2006 at 03:28
Hi Maximus'

See www.campertrailers.org/couplings.htm for a comparison an the major hitches and the Hyland in particular.

Cheers from Martin B.
the 'Paca People
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Reply By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 00:49

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 00:49
In final summary, yes it looks attractive for ease of hookup, but I just do not like the wear points nor believe it will hold up well on severe corrugation surging in the nuetral position. The need is there for a bearing, a greaseable bearing surface on the pivot points, and it does wear on the ball.. We are more than willing to give it another try, but I would reserve it for smaller vans at 3 tonne and under fully loaded up.

Pending the results, I would wait. Our hitch is still the best, and if you learn the trick of unloading it with the jockey wheel at a perpendicular angle, you can push it back away from the tension and it will unload and slip out. It is even easier now with our new solid tyre Jockey wheel and socket drive handle. I would not change myself at this point. Time may alter this view, but pending that favorable outcome, this remains my advice: Wait. Most peoples problems with our hitch is just no using the jockey wheel to take the Pressure off of it, not understanding or being able to visualize how to "unload" the hitch when on a bit of an angle.

Here is an excerp from TIP # 66 for a review of Off-Road hitch choices, if you are fighting it, you may just not understand how to do it easy with the J-wheel...

Now, back to our Off-Road Hitch.... Many people are battling a bit, unnecessarily, to hook up and unhook when in a loaded angle position… So, here, let me help you understand how to live with the difficulties of hooking up and unhooking our proper Off-Road hitch… And the tricks to the technique, as I see some people trying to back the yoke on the tow vehicle just to exactly right over the pivot block on the van.... Near on impossible frustration that takes two people all the time.... Here is the "Art Form" to do it all by yourself....

To hook up: This is the technique we use all the time.... You bring the hitch up alongside the part on the ball mount part on the car. You bring it up to the level position alongside, never try and back the tow vehicle into the hitch, as that is too hard, just back up alongside. Then crank up the hitch to the perfect matching level and use the Power Jockey wheel to move it over the couple of inches to mate it up, and drop in the pin...

If the final alignment is wrong by a little bit front or back, once you are mated in so you can slip in the pin, then you can use the handle to swivel the JW to make any front and back alignment with a 45 degree cant on the JW to move it over and forward or reverse to fine tune the mate of the two so the pin slips in... Have a play with that...

On the hitch, if you are fighting it to disconnect, it is not in "Nuetral". There is a bit of a knack to feeling it out to get it into the nuetral position. You have to crank it up until your suspension on the vehicle is relieved of the load, and you can tell that by feeling the tiny bit of play in your ball mount (the piece that slides into the receiver on your vehicle...). If you have any play, and most do, you can feel it move as the car suspension is unloaded and you start to lift the ball mount from the downward loaded to the upward loaded position..... If you are straight on, and in a nuetral loaded position, the pin should just fall out.... When the hitch breaks in and there is a tiny bit of play on the Yoke of the hitch on your tow vehicle, you can feel that “Neutral Position” there, even see it, and then no problem the pin just slips right out. You will actually see the pivot block move in the yoke, up about a mm, as the hitch moves to the "nuetral" position, and then the pin is free...

Now another look at in when parking in at an angle: There is a bit more to it, as lateral (sideways) force can be loaded on the pin as well.. Use your power jockey wheel in that situation to rock the van sideways against the loading, as you pull the pin with the other hand... Of course the handbrake has to be on, and if it is steep block the wheels.. First make sure you are in the nuetral unloaded position, and then rock the van in a lateral fashion to free up any sideways loading... Yes it will take a bit of practice to get good at it, as with anything, "Perseverance Furthers"...

The only problems come in disconnecting in the rough terrain when you have unknown loading or torque on the hitch and the pin is stuck... It is much the same as above… Yes, stop that bad language, and learn the tricks: Ha! The hitch is relieved of the lateral torque much the same way with the Power Jockey wheel... You can put your finger on the base of the ball mount where it slides into the receiver, or at the Yoke of the AT-35 hitch itself, and feel when the van is in a neutral position as it starts to just move with a mm or so play in the housing of the receiver or the Yoke on the tow vehicle... When it is in a neutral weighted position, it is just a matter of rocking the van sideways with the Power Wheel in the correct direction, to relieve the torque and the pin should come free to remove it...

And I should not have to say this, but be careful!! WARNING FOR HOOKING UP! I saw one well meaning poor Soul poke a finger down the hitch hole to see how well it was lined up!!! He was lucky and not hurt, but it made us both sick when I told him ..... That is a terrible way to lose a finger, not that there would be a good way.. Another person lost the tip of a finger, luckily just the skin, doing something equally as stupid… Be VERY careful with fingers and bits as you hook the van up… OK?

I hope this will help some of you that have had difficulty in learning the tricks to doing this hook up and unhook jazz at angles and such... It is not as difficult as some of you are making it, you just have to discover the secrets...

As with horses and most things, once you understand the language, it’s not so hard… Ranger

AnswerID: 569577

Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 03:09

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 03:09
Steve,
I cannot understand what you mean about this statement.

"but I just do not like the wear points nor believe it will hold up well on severe corrugation surging in the nuetral position. The need is there for a bearing, a greaseable bearing surface on the pivot points, and it does wear on the ball.."

The coupling is fully greasable in both directions whereas my early AT35 had no grease points at all. The wear on the ball would be minimal as there would only be movement when turning. The movement when tilting sideways or front to rear would be taken up by the pivot points.

Brian
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 03:22

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 03:22
Well you go on and try it Brian. I have told you what I thought on the matter, that is never good enough for you. You are compelled to feel you have the upper hand and the last word, go ahead. That bloody hitch pivots for and aft at a rapid rate on the corrugation to the limits of the cup.

It is out of professional courtesy that I answer you rather than ignore a direct question. But I have found it unproductive to argue with you, think what you want, go ahead and try it. I am not convinced yet that it is the way to go for reasons I have stated. I want to avoid constant battle with you, that is why I am discouraging the barrage of private emails from you to Bushtracker. My only concern is that others are not led off course. That hitch has not passed the Bushtracker test as yet.
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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 05:05

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 05:05
Sorry to have up set you again Steve,

My original posting said that I have fitted one and informed other members of my opinion of it, It was you that came in with all the negatives, and said that you have one on trial now. If you have one on test then you should have known that they have grease points, that is why I couldn't understand your previous posting.

Please don't keep putting me down and disagreeing with whatever I say on the forum. Just because I am prepared to put comments on the forum that are facts that we have done or had happen to us, I am now the bad boy who is getting put down by you all the time.



Brian
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 17:42

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006 at 17:42
Brian, Oh Brian, don't put this over on me, you hound me all the time, twice as much by private email to Bushtracker with harassment, until I have had to tell you to buzz off !!

I don't mind your comments, but you always go out of your way to bait me up... Friends of yours say to me "Humour him, he is just a stirer" and such... OK, but when you stalk me on the internet constantly, what 5 emails to Bushtraker to me on Friday? When you stalk me trying to find any excuse to nit-pick and harrass me, it does get tiring... Why don't you just look in the mirror and ask yourself why you feel compelled to nit-pick everything I say both here and Privately on the Bushtracker Site?? Are you bored Brian??? Come on Brian, lighten up, don't be so obsessive...

Now to show my good will towards you I will go the extra mile to prove to you that this is not personal: I walked over and had one more look at the pivot points on the cast iron cup head. And no, I still do not like them. It is a coarse thread bolt, tapped into a cast iron head. On my own rig I saw the rapid movement, a front to back rattle at 2 to 10 cycles per second on the corrugation in the nuetral position, and I have my doubts about the longevity of the hitch. They modified the cup head to go down further on the ball, as the original one failed very early with excessive wear, but there is still movement. You have to use a matched ball to minimize this forward and back rocking, and with large loads the wear will be increased. On a larger van, there is no hardened bearing surface, and on the corrugation, as I have already stated, this looks like a point of excessive wear. We are willing to try it again, and that is what we are doing.

Now come on Brian, stop hounding me, nit picking me all the time, you have worn me out on the private Bushtracker email... Let's get along.... Just because you are the Secretary, does not mean you have to try and one up me all the time. Lighten up, I am here to be an honest help to people, and I don't need the flak, Ranger
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