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Old 04-30-2019, 12:38 AM   #1
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Andersen Ultimate Hitch Issue

Hi everybody,
Just got home from BC towing my new 5.0TA with a Ford F150 Supercrew with V8 engine. When towing I always switched the transmission to the Tow/Haul mode as instructed during my orientation. Overall it tows amazingly well and very smooth! I did however have a recurring issue, the truck has a built in sensor so that when going down steep hills in the mountains and you start to brake the engine will automatically sense that the trailer is pushing and drop down a gear to engine brake the trailer and help to slow it down. The issue is that when it does this the first time there is a noticeable clunk as if something is slipping in the hitch, as if the trailer is suddenly shifting forwards. As each subsequent gear shifts down it does not happen again until the first downshift on the next hill. Has anyone experienced this? Do you know what is happening or what I should check?

Thanks.
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Old 04-30-2019, 12:57 AM   #2
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I found threads on tow/haul clunking here that may be related. We have a 2010 and I have experienced some harder than normal shifts when towing but nothing that raised concern.

I didn't find as much on the F150 but found numerous topics of clunking noises on F250 in Tow/Haul

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/9...haul-mode.html

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/4...-tow-haul.html

I did see a general complaint about clunking transmissions on 2015 and newer F150 but they didn't seem tied to Tow/Haul.
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Old 04-30-2019, 07:55 AM   #3
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Ours clunked occasionally when we started or slowed. There was slop in the hitch/rail connection. I purchased some fifth wheel rail sound dampeners from Etrailer and the clunking has never happened since.

Food for thought,

Perry
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marsman View Post
Hi everybody,
Just got home from BC towing my new 5.0TA with a Ford F150 Supercrew with V8 engine. When towing I always switched the transmission to the Tow/Haul mode as instructed during my orientation. Overall it tows amazingly well and very smooth! I did however have a recurring issue, the truck has a built in sensor so that when going down steep hills in the mountains and you start to brake the engine will automatically sense that the trailer is pushing and drop down a gear to engine brake the trailer and help to slow it down. The issue is that when it does this the first time there is a noticeable clunk as if something is slipping in the hitch, as if the trailer is suddenly shifting forwards. As each subsequent gear shifts down it does not happen again until the first downshift on the next hill. Has anyone experienced this? Do you know what is happening or what I should check?

Thanks.
It is possible that the red part of the hitch on the trailer has rotated 180 degrees when starting to slow down. The 4 set screws holding the red part were slipping. Then when power was applied at the bottom of the hill, it rotated back. Ours would loosen over time. It's a good thing to check.
The only other part that could clunk would be if you had the rail mount version of the Andersen and the connection in the rails was sloppy.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Chris R View Post
It is possible that the red part of the hitch on the trailer has rotated 180 degrees when starting to slow down. The 4 set screws holding the red part were slipping. Then when power was applied at the bottom of the hill, it rotated back. Ours would loosen over time. It's a good thing to check.
This could happen, and would be really disturbing (to me); however, I don't see how it would make a "clunk"... more like a disconcerting "wiggle" as the trailer swings four inches to one side while going around the ball. I agree that this should be checked for, soon after installation and occasionally, with any Andersen Ultimate installation.

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Originally Posted by Chris R View Post
The only other part that could clunk would be if you had the rail mount version of the Andersen and the connection in the rails was sloppy.
The ball is retained in the hitch by just one pin, so any slop between the ball's shank and the hitch could cause clunking (much like a ball mount clunking in a conventional hitch receiver), but no one seems to have an issue with this. It would likely be more of an issue with a very low pin weight... and it wouldn't happen just on the first downhill engine braking application.

As with any ball-and-socket hitch, the ball could clunk around in the coupler. In the Ultimate Andersen uses a polymer (I think nylon) liner cup in the coupler (which is how they can get away with an aluminum ball), which seems to conform to the ball and prevent clunking. Again, there might be an issue with very low pin weight, and again it seems very unlikely to have anything to do with this issue.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perryb67 View Post
Ours clunked occasionally when we started or slowed. There was slop in the hitch/rail connection. I purchased some fifth wheel rail sound dampeners from Etrailer and the clunking has never happened since.

Food for thought,

Perry
Interesting. For under 5 bucks seems like it's worth it just for the metal on metal rubbing.
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The ball is retained in the hitch by just one pin, so any slop between the ball's shank and the hitch could cause clunking (much like a ball mount clunking in a conventional hitch receiver), but no one seems to have an issue with this. It would likely be more of an issue with a very low pin weight... and it wouldn't happen just on the first downhill engine braking application.

As with any ball-and-socket hitch, the ball could clunk around in the coupler. In the Ultimate Andersen uses a polymer (I think nylon) liner cup in the coupler (which is how they can get away with an aluminum ball), which seems to conform to the ball and prevent clunking. Again, there might be an issue with very low pin weight, and again it seems very unlikely to have anything to do with this issue.

The ball/shaft and pin is a tight fit in the aluminum support, so I don't think that can move, no or little wear. The ball within the nylon cup is also a snug fit.
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Old 04-30-2019, 12:41 PM   #8
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The ball/shaft and pin is a tight fit in the aluminum support, so I don't think that can move, no or little wear.
It does seem to be tight enough that it isn't a clunking problem; the one that I have seen in a store was a pretty good fit. It's free to slide vertically, of course, for adjustment (which requires some clearance), but apparently not sloppy like so many hitch components. The ball (with shaft) is aluminum, so in the steel support version there will need to be a little more clearance.
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Old 04-30-2019, 07:12 PM   #9
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So I researched "akmacs" links and I do believe he has hit the problem on the nail. It's most likely not the hitch but rather a common attribute with the post 2014 Ford pickup 6 speed tranny's with built in engine braking feature when in Tow/Haul mode. There are a lot of people online that report the exact same symptoms as mine when braking down a steep slope in the Tow/Haul mode; the tranny will downshift repeatedly to help braking the trailer and the shifts are often so sudden that there is a clunking noise during the shift.

I will speak with a Ford service representative the next time I service the truck which is on May 13th and get back to the forum with his comments on it. Some folks say its normal others say its a software adjustment on the tranny shift parameters and some say its a problem that Ford will not acknowledge. I'll let you know what I think after speaking with the rep.
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Old 04-30-2019, 07:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marsman View Post
Hi everybody,
Just got home from BC towing my new 5.0TA with a Ford F150 Supercrew with V8 engine. When towing I always switched the transmission to the Tow/Haul mode as instructed during my orientation. Overall it tows amazingly well and very smooth! I did however have a recurring issue, the truck has a built in sensor so that when going down steep hills in the mountains and you start to brake the engine will automatically sense that the trailer is pushing and drop down a gear to engine brake the trailer and help to slow it down. The issue is that when it does this the first time there is a noticeable clunk as if something is slipping in the hitch, as if the trailer is suddenly shifting forwards. As each subsequent gear shifts down it does not happen again until the first downshift on the next hill. Has anyone experienced this? Do you know what is happening or what I should check? Thanks.
I doubt it would be in the Pin Coupler, but might be worth checking everything is torqued to specs. As already stated likely what you are hearing is the shifting of hitch where it attaches to the rails if that is the version you have. To check this you can make your own rubber shims and insert between hitch and rails to see if sound is less or goes away.

If you have goose neck style Anderson make sure the coupler bolts on the Square Tube Coupler of hitch are torqued to specs.
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