A tricky question about hitch problems

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 05:33
ThreadID: 129437 Views:3399 Replies:13 FollowUps:16
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I have had a lot of trouble getting my McHitch to release on this trip.

It is stuck so hard, I have to jack it up with the Trail-a-Mate, then I have to use my bottle jack to jack up the hitch as close as I can get to the pin.

At first I thought it was a McHitch problem, but now I have changed my mind.

The hitch seems to jam because there is too much sideways pressure on it. That is hard to believe when I have lined the car and van up perfectly straight, but when you see the attached photos, you will see how much the male pin and the female are apart (out of alignment).

The female reciever has moved laterally after being released.

How can this happen ? I have given up trying to figure it out.

Tomorrow I pick up a new pin that Joe from McHitch kindly sent me over no charge. But I don't think it will fix the problem.

Thanks,

Willie.(in Broome CP)

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Reply By: Condinup - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 06:46

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 06:46
Looks to me like something pulling or pushing the van sideways. As if brakes are dragging or a suspension issue. Even a bent jokey wheel but I would imagine that would be noticed.
Does it always move the same way? Does it happen when you pull up forwards or only reverse?
Need to look into it a bit further than the hitch I think.
Re
Mg
AnswerID: 587738

Follow Up By: Willie - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 08:23

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 08:23
Hi Mg,
I have always reversed before I tried to get the pin off. I Will try to test it on a drive through.
Thanks,
Willie
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Follow Up By: Condinup - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 20:57

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 20:57
Hi Willie,

If it happens in reverse then maybe you have a handbrake shoe dragging that tries to lock up in reverse or some type of brake issue doing the same.
It's like there is something pulling the van one way. Does it always go the same way? If it was a problem on one side then it should go one way forwards and then the other in reverse.
Like backing up to a chock on one side.
Still seems to me to be a brake, handbrake or suspension issue.

Re
Mg
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Reply By: Dingley Deserters - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 08:10

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 08:10
Willie, If you have either driven or reversed into a camp spot in a turn you will notice the tyres on the van are being peeled off the rims in opposite directions, particularly on solid surfaces. Although the van and vehicle may be lined up straight the tyres may not have centred back on the rim. This is quite often enough to drag the van around in the opposite direction of the turn as has possibly happened in your case.
Geoff
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Follow Up By: Willie - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 08:31

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 08:31
G'day Geoff,

That is a good theory and I think that could happen occasionally, but this is jamming every time I unhitch.

This afternoon, I was able to swing into a vacant site opposite mine, then reverse straight for about 10m. This should have taken any of that alignment problem out of the equation. Yet it was still jammed tight and needed the two jacks and a couple of wacks to get it to break it's grip.

Thanks for your input,

Willie
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Reply By: Willie - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 08:33

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 08:33
Maybe I should contact the factory about the problem.
AnswerID: 587740

Reply By: Flavs - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 09:29

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 09:29
Hi Willie,
I had ours bind a couple of times when I had forgotten to clean the ball and inside the receiver with WD40 and a rag when it was out in the salt air or dusty conditions for awhile. I even gave the ball a bit of a polish with wet n dry and the WD40 after being subject to salt air for a couple of months.

As for the twisting. I have had that happen on a couple of times normally when the wheels are not chocked tightly enough or a wheel moves a bit into a hollow. Still comes off the ball especially if it is cleaned often.

Cheers
Noel
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Follow Up By: Willie - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 09:53

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 09:53
Hi Noel,

Joe from McHitch told me to clean the pin and the receiver and I did this with fine wet and dry. The pin was nice and shiny when I had finished. This made not a shred of difference though.

The hitch locks up EVERY time I try to get the van off. And there is the big sideways movement every time as well.

So it is not something caused by the occasional uneveness of the ground. The last two times it has happened , the gound has been asolutely smooth and flat.

This is a real mystery.

Thanks a lot,

Willie.
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Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 18:20

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 18:20
Hi Willie,

We often get this sideways movement when unhitching but we never have any jamming problems, but are not using a McHitch but the AT 35. The only way I have found to limit this to some degree is to (a) try and get nicely lined up with a bit of forward and reverse and (b) finally chock the front wheels on both sides of the van.

Regards John and Jean
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Follow Up By: Willie - Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 19:45

Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 19:45
OK, thanks for that. I wonder what causes the sideways movement.
Willie
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Follow Up By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 18:18

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 18:18
MY mistake above its the DO 35 hitch not the AT - another senior moment

John
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Reply By: Cargra - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 00:10

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 00:10
G day Willie,

2 things, I can't add anything re the van movement but on occasion I have had a binding problem which was fixed but putting the tug out of gear and handbrake off.
Also I received an adaptor plate with my hitch which accommodates the locating lugs on the hitch, I can't see that in your Pix?

How you sort it.

Cheers graham
AnswerID: 587743

Follow Up By: Willie - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 01:13

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 01:13
Thanks Graham,

The adaptor plate for locating the pins sounds interesting, but I cannot see that fixing the problem of the lateral force. I will try to find a picture of it on the McHitch website.

I will ring McHitch tomorrow and send him the photos I took. Maybe he can solve this problem.

Cheers,

Willie.
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Reply By: Theywent Thataway - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 08:34

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 08:34
We have the D035 hitch and to stop the sideways movement, which we used to frequently get, we bought a pair of X-chocks which go between the wheels and stop the van moving at all when lifting off the hitch. Don't know that it will fix the binding but will certainly reduce those scary moments when the van hitch jumps sideways.

Dave.
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Follow Up By: Willie - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 09:03

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 09:03
Why do you reckon it jumps sideways Dave ?

Jumping sideways does not worry me, it's the jammed hitch caused by that lateral pressure that's the problem.

Thanks for your help,

Willie
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Follow Up By: Theywent Thataway - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 09:07

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 09:07
From what I have seen it appears to be a combination of many of the things already mentioned or even a slightly different angle of the ground on which I have stopped causing one side to want to roll a fraction - only has to move an inch to be a much larger movement at the hitch.
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Reply By: Willie - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 09:08

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 09:08
I know that Joe at McHitch says to use no grease, but a Kedron owner in the park here in Broome says he has had a bit of the same problem and now uses a small amount of graphite grease on the pin. He says that it has helped - does graphite grease attract dust like normal grease ?

Thanks to all of you,

Willie.
AnswerID: 587745

Follow Up By: Gone Bush - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 10:28

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 10:28
Maybe you could try a Dri Lube stick Willie.

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$3.30 at Supercheap

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Willie - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 22:09

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 22:09
Thanks Stephen.
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Reply By: Uncle Dodgy - Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 18:58

Monday, Aug 25, 2014 at 18:58
Hi Willie

Suggest you check the wheel alignment on all the wheels on the BT.
You can find information on this in the BOG Bible under Wheel Maintenance.
If there is even only one wheel out of alignment, it will create a tendency for the BT hitch to move sideways when it is released from the tow point.
You might have hit a bad pot hole at some time.
Emergency Wheel Alignment Check is the file I am suggesting for you.
If that doesn't find the problem, check the wheel bearings for drag.

Hope this helps
Cheers
John

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Follow Up By: Willie - Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 00:59

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 at 00:59
Good advice John, thanks.

I will have to find somebody who knows how to do this, as I am mechanically challenged.

If it is out of alignment, it will chew up the tyre pretty quickly.

Willie.
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Reply By: Uncle Buck - Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 at 03:57

Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 at 03:57
Willie;
I have had the same Mc Hitch for about 4 years and for the past 2 or more years mine has also bound up. Thought of giving it a laxative but Joe says no lubrication on the pin or the receiver. You certainly dont want any movement on the or in the receiver when it is hitched up. This only happens when the ground is not flat or the whole rig is not straight. I solved the problem with a 1kg hammer which I carefully tap on the side of the receiver when I see the suspension lift on the car slightly above the normal height. Naturally I keep the chains on and stand back but it usually only moves a halve inch at most. Certainly keeping the pin and receiver clean helps.
Scott.
AnswerID: 587747

Follow Up By: Willie - Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 at 04:32

Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 at 04:32
Thanks Scott. Now I have heard of two others with this problem, I am not so worried that I have somehow buggered it up.

Have you discussed the problem with Joe at McHitch ?
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Follow Up By: Uncle Buck - Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 05:29

Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 05:29
Willie;
Have not spoken to Joe about it although I probably should have. The first time it happened I was having the van serviced and it did it at the mechanics. He said to give it a tap with the hammer which I did and it released. As I always have a hammer or two in the van the problem was solved. Mind you it does bind up so tight it will substantiall lift the rear suspension of the LC200. I would not like to be giving a tap with a hammer then. I never let that happen. As soon as I see it lift the suspension to about the normal position with no van I give it a tap and it releases.
Scott
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Follow Up By: Willie - Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 06:20

Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 06:20
OK. Sounds exactly like my problem, although I put the new pin on that Joe sent me, and it is coming off much more easily. I still have to jack it up and jump on my bumper bar, but at least it WILL come off. Before, as I said, I had to use two jacks to release it.
Thanksfor your help Scott,
Willie
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Follow Up By: Uncle Buck - Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 07:04

Sunday, Aug 31, 2014 at 07:04
Willie;
Try the hammer. Don't jump up and down on the bumper. You may fall off and break something. Anyway I did forget to mention that previously Graham mentioned in an earlier post that he could not see an adaptor plate on the bar. Its definitely not there and I believe it should. Joe actually fitted my unit and welded an adaptor plate onto the bar that the pin passes through and through the bar and is tightened by the nut underneath. This stops any movement of the hitch where it is attached onto the bar and a lug from the hitch goes either sied of the adaptor plate.. This should be ridged and have no movement at all. I suggest you call Joe as I suspect yours may not be correctly installed.
Scott.
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Reply By: MattandLana - Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 06:12

Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 06:12
Hi guys. As someone said above, if the van always moves to one side and always the same way, then it's not the hitch. What''s happening is that something in the van is causing it to track out of line with the car, and the hitch/car is continuously placing a lateral pull to keep the van straight. So the answer must lie in finding out why the van is not going the same way as the car. Wheel alignment sounds like a possible suspect.

With cars it's possible to have the wheels all aligned with each other but not with the chassis, so the car runs true but is slightly crabbing on the road. I assume the same can happen with vans.

I'd certainly try it going forwards. Find a nice long flat straight bit of road where you can test safely and roll gently to a stop. Same symptoms?

Hope you crack it. A binding hitch can be hazardous to your temper, fingers and marriage. Knowing in advance it's going to do it does not always help one's equanimity. Hang in there!
AnswerID: 587748

Reply By: Flavs - Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 10:42

Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 at 10:42
Hi Willie,
The adapter locator plate is not on your tow bar I presume because you do not use a weight distribution hitch and the lugs of the McHitch locate over the edges of your tongue.

However, the photos show a curved wear mark caused by the front of the hitch. This appears (from the photo) to be part way up the angled part of the tongue and may be causing some wedging between the tongue and the ball hence increasing or causing the binding.

All that said, the locator may give better clearance from your tongue.

When mine has not released at times I have used a large screw driver under the locator lug and this has also released the hitch as I jack it up. But if I clean it on hitching up I do not get it binding.

cheers
Noel

Another photo showing the side angle of the tongue and this wear mark may help
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AnswerID: 587749

Reply By: Willie - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 05:08

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 05:08
If anybody is interested in my McHitch problem, I will give you an update.

I installed a new pin that Joe from McHitch sent me no charge.

This fixed the problem of the pin sticking (I also now use a bit of dry lube). Whether of not it would be a permanent fix, I do not know.

I will not be finding out either, as I have now sent the the whole kit and caboodle back to McHitch for an upgrade to an Automatic Trailer Coupling - the type you back onto (hopefully !).

Cheers,

Willie.
AnswerID: 587750

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