Originally Posted by bolerfan
This thread is about Andersen Hitches not Pro Hitches which seem to be flawless. But for those of us who have the Andersen we need to be aware of what is happening with our hitches as we rack up the mileage in towing. The cone seems to have been addressed by Andersen in changing the material to a more dense urethane. Having said that they need to clear up the problem of seating the cone ( I posted about the need to polish the inside of the hitch to a super high gloss). The chain wear is also a concern. I also mailed the pics to Andersen who said they would replace the chains on warranty once it was felt that failure due to wear would be imminent. For me personally this is not yet the case and I am not aware of anyone writing to say the chain has actually worn through. Another post mentions the wear on the ball. It says the Atwood that Escape uses is not on the Andersen caution list. Yet the post discusses excessive wear and something about drilling out a pin. Not sure what that is really involved here ....but this is in essence what this this thread is about.... giving Andersen users the experiences of other Andersen users. I want to learn what problems have been experienced and what solutions undertaken. And that ball wear issue is something that would definitely have the potential to be a safety issue. This hitch is different, and there are some design issues no doubt....with the sharing of information by Andersen users we can make our decisions for fixes from an informed position.
My experience with using the Anderson hitched for 21,000 miles.
I started towing without using any lubrication on the ball or coupler. Within 500 miles after picking up our Escape, I was hearing increasing amounts of “groans and squeaks” from the hitch. I contacted Anderson several times about the hitch noise and ball wear I was seeing to get their input. Anderson’s final response was “Some ball wear is expected from the coupler and clasp and some white lithium grease on the inside of your coupler especially the moving parts is recommended.”
From that point on, I’ve applied a light coat of white lithium grease to the back and top of the ball most every time I hitched up and occasionally to the moving parts of the coupler. I still had occasional noise but it was significantly less than what I had heard prior to applying the lubricant.
After 11,800 miles, the red liner had extruded quite a bit. I sent Anderson a photo and promptly received a new black liner. When I removed the old liner, I noticed quite a bit of delamination of the liner surface and pieces of it were adhered to the pin socket.
I did not reinstall the snap ring after installing the new liner as I don’t tow anything other than our trailer and the pin is secured by the swivel plate when the hitch is in use. As a point of reference though, after hookup, the trailer has routinely been jacked up without the snap ring in place to make it easier to install the hitch plate to the bottom of the pin. Even though there is nothing securing the pin other than the friction fit, the pin has never come loose from the ball housing while doing so.
After the liner change, I continued to have occasional, minor hitch noise similar to what I’ve always had. However, last fall it fairly suddenly got to the point where the “groaning” was so loud when making tight turns (like backing into a site) I actually thought the hitch receiver was failing! At a campground in Tulelake, CA, I knocked out the pin and found small pieces of the friction liner adhered to the tapered pin.
I cleaned both surfaces, sprayed the parts with a light coat of dry silicone lubricant, and reassembled. When I put the pin back into the ball housing, I rotated it 180 degrees to create a new contact surface between the ball and coupler. When I made this change, there were 6,300 miles on the new liner and it had not extruded at all from its original position.
Absolute silence for the next 1,500 miles and I didn’t notice any degradation of the sway control function of the Anderson hitch. When the same groaning noise while making tight turns started to return after 1,500 miles, I repeated the process. The hitch has been silent for the 1,800 miles towed since.
Significant wear occurred on the hitch ball during the 500 miles I was towing without any lubrication being used. I’ve seen a smaller wear spot during the 3,300 miles towed since I rotated the pin. I believe the lack of lubrication was a big contributor to the initial ball wear.
I contacted Anderson to let them know what I had found with the liner degradation and to find out if using dry lubricant on the “friction” surfaces would be detrimental to the hitch performance. The response from Dave was, “Thank you for the detailed email and the pictures of what is going on with your hitch. We are finding this issue to be happening from time to time with our new cone and working on a long term solution. What you are doing right now is a great way of keeping it quiet and if you ever feel we owe you a new liner or even a complete ball housing with new liner and ball keep us posted as we have those items covered under the lifetime warranty.”
I’ve not had any problems with the urethane bushings and only see minor wear on the chain links where they contact the edge of the square tube. Recently I used a Demel tool to smooth out the minor sharp edges on the inside of the tube walls that had been caused by the chains rubbing against them. I didn’t consider the wear excessive for the 21,000 miles the hitch has been used.
By the way, I’ve heard quite a bit of groaning and popping from more conventional brands of WDH setups used by other campers as they’ve creaked by us in campgrounds; the occasional noise from the Anderson hitch isn’t unique to their product.