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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Weird flat towing problems - need advice

Hey gang...
Never having flat towed a my YJ before, Idid a search here and found a wealth of tips and tricks for doing it right. My problem is more towing related than jeep related though.

I have a Hidden Hitch model 44000 tow bar hooked to my 1988 YJ being pulled by a C2500 Suburban. The properly sized (for the hitch) 2" ball is bumper mounted and is approx. 3" below level for the tow bar. When towing the Jeep the ball becomes loose. It is installed properly with a lock washer, thread locker, the proper shank size, and tightened to 250+ ft lbs. I have noticed that the tow bar's flat piece of metal the locks under the ball has gouged the ball quite deeply when towing and is possibly causing the ball to rotate when turning while driving. What's wrong? Is the clamping mechanism set to tight? Does the ball need to be exactly level? I have pulled heavier items with the same ball and had no problems, but I guess the ball is ruined now. [img]images/graemlins/cussing.gif[/img]

I have pulled boats, and utility trailers and never had this issue. Any advice from you guys that tow a bunch?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 12:53 PM
 
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Re: Weird flat towing problems - need advice

I would check to see if the tow bar should have a 1 7/8" ball. Does it go on and off easy? Also, you may want to drill a hole through the nut and shank and put a cotter pin through it so the nut can't rotate. I have seen a few jeeps being flat towed with worse angles than you describe - that doesn't sound like it should cause a problem. I have towed a lot of different trailers and have never had to loosen the clamp mechanism on the hitch.

I'm just guessing.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Weird flat towing problems - need advice

Thanx for the advice. The hitch has 2" ball stamped on it - it is a good snug fit - it must be something else.

The cotter pin sounds like a good safety measure anyway.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Weird flat towing problems - need advice

Update:
I called Hidden Hitch and they are baffled - they say that the clamping mechanism is too tight - MAYBE and that making the tow bar exactly level might help - they don't know. I got passed to a design person who explained that the clamping mechanism was there to insure a secure connection since there is no tongue weight to help hold it in place. They are going to research their files and see if they have ever seen this.

Surely, this is not that oddball of a problem?! [img]images/graemlins/crybaby.gif[/img] Any more suggestions?
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-16-2003, 10:14 PM
 
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Re: Weird flat towing problems - need advice

This may not really be an answer to your question, but more of a general flat towing thing.
The ball end of the bar (on the tow truck) should be slightly higher than the Jeep end of the bar. This is tough to do on a lifted Jeep. but that is part of the reason they make tow shackles with the hook point in them.
Reason: if the towbar is angled up toward the Jeep - on a hard stop, the jeep trys to lift or ride up on the towbar. If it is angled down the Jeep trys to dive down and can't except to compress the suspension. So the angle might also be part of your problem.

Don't get me wrong, I have towed many things with the tow bar angled the wrong way and never had a problem, but I know I really shouldn't do it.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 10-17-2003, 08:42 AM
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Re: Weird flat towing problems - need advice

It's an odd problem for sure.

Maybe take a hard look at it - slip a hitch ball in the coupler alone, tighten it up, look from underneath. I'd bet what you'll see is the movable portion that tightens up to the ball (tongue?) is worn or cut wrong. It could be only touching on one side of the base of the ball. Touching off center on the passenger side could try to turn the ball loose every time you stop.
It should contact the base of the ball equally around it. You might need to spray paint the ball black - then put it in and wiggle to see where/how it's contacting.

Cotter pinning, or jam nutting with a nylock nut is a safety measure all hitches should have. I've seen several balls come loose -- can get exciting.
A good friend flipped his boat/trailer and truck because the ball came loose, broke, dropped, dug in and bingo! He found out how well fiberglass resists asphault abrasion - not very well.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 10-17-2003, 09:09 AM
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Re: Weird flat towing problems - need advice

</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
A good friend flipped his boat/trailer and truck because the ball came loose, broke, dropped, dug in and bingo!

[/ QUOTE ]

An example of why you should use proper length safety chains and cross them. Might not work all the time but improves the chances from none.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 10-17-2003, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Weird flat towing problems - need advice

Thanx guys for all the good input!! As always good stuff.

I will examine the clamping "tongue" for unusual shapes and the condition of its surfaces.

I may also try to put some smaller tires on the YJ to bring the tow bar closer to level - or a lift kit on the Suburban (hmmm!). I did hear back from Hidden Hitch - they said to figure out a way to have the tow bar level and test it again, and double-check to be sure that the tow bar mounts on the YJ were in fact centered. They said they may want the tow bar back and the ball to study because unofficially people use this tow bar at all kinds of crazy angles with no problems.

I'll keep everyone posted!!! [img]images/graemlins/chairfall.gif[/img]
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 10-18-2003, 06:57 PM
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Re: Weird flat towing problems - need advice

Hey, yes I am a mid size boy [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] but I do have a suggestion. You really should be greasing the ball when you hitch up. I know someone will try to say that you don't need to, but YOU SHOULD. Anytime you have a metal to metal surface that is going to move in relation to each other, INSTALL GREASE. We do it with semi's on the fith wheel plates, you grease u-joint's, shackles, there is oil in your engine, power steering, transmissions and diffs and transfer cases, why wouldn't you lube a simple thing like the ball hitch? I always do. [img]images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]
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