Coupler not uncoupling on 21' - Page 3 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 10-15-2014, 11:44 AM   #21
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The latch handle mechanism operates freely on out 19 but when unhitching I (almost) always have to stand on the bumper of the truck to get free of the hitch.

Hitching requires precise positioning to lock in place. With my old pop-up I could always move the trailer to help it find its position. There is no bumping the 19 in to place!
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Old 10-15-2014, 12:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
..."If the coupler is properly setup"
Are you aware of a adjustment/setup procedure ? I cannot find a means of adjustment.
As far as I am aware, the coupler is non-adjustable; but you do have to make sure that the size of your hitch ball is compatible with the coupler. Would also help to make sure the coupler mechanism and hitch ball are kept clean and well lubed.

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Old 10-15-2014, 12:42 PM   #23
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I must have an older style then, as mine is most definitely adjustable. I find it surprising that they wouldn't be. Here is a shot of my latch mechanism.

trailer hitch.jpg
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Old 10-15-2014, 03:02 PM   #24
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The yoke-style coupler shown by Dave (ice-breaker) is what I have seen on at least some Escapes; it is a well-proven design, and the original one I have on my 1979 Boler (built by Atwood) works fine. Although not a new design, I wouldn't call it an "old" design... it is quite current. When the yoke is over the front, it is unquestionably latched, and (if not missing one of the few moving parts) it stays that way. If the mechanism of one of these doesn't move smoothly, I would check for rust or fouling with paint or dirt.

The style shown by Jim is not newer, just different. Although it is adjustable, it needs adjustment. I dislike these things, as they are routinely not properly adjusted. I'm sure that the one ETI put on Jim's trailer is of good quality, but the basic design is, well, basic - the very cheapest couplers are of this design.
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Old 10-15-2014, 03:55 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ice-breaker View Post
This coupler looks quite similar to mine. If the coupler is properly setup, I don't see any reason to pound on it with a hammer. If the latch does not go down or does not open up, there is a reason for it. Usually failure to open/shut the latch simply means the hitch ball is not as far forward in the coupler as it should be. Move your vehicle forward and that should allow the hitch ball to move to the front of the coupler. If hitching up, the should then drop into place in the coupler and the latch should work freely. If unhitching, the latch should be easy to move up and open by hand. No pounding necessary.
The image (above) that accompanied Ice-Breaker's post looks exactly like the coupler used by Scamp of the 5er, except that Scamp welded a piece of round stock on the shroud to assist in getting it to the locked position. And you don't have to beat on it. Simply pull the TV forward a bit (I used to have the spouse pull the vehicle forward while I tugged on the round stock to get the coupler to close). Once the TV moves a foot or so, the coupler readily closed. Difficulty unhooking may be the result of the trailer wheels or TV wheels not being chocked so that there is a lateral stress between the TV and the trailer.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:01 AM   #26
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When we got our 10 year old Scamp the coupler was making loud rattling noises while towing. I knew I could tighten the pawl nut to take out the rattle since the coupler looked like Jim Bennett's type. When I tightened the nut it took out the play and still allowed the ball to turn freely. No more rattle! But, another problem arose. With the un-coupler lever lifted, the pawl wouldn't allow the ball to release. So I slowly loosened the screw until the ball would release. Then it rattled like heck! My coupler was worn out, so I had to replace it.
I had read favorable reports on the Bulldog sideways clam shell type couplers, but I was worried they would be finicky to close when coupling. I took the chance and installed one anyway. Luckily I was pleasantly surprised how easily it operated. I have always been able to close the gate with just hand pressure even if the ball is 1" off center. With the gate open there is a pretty large opening for the ball to enter compared to the standard ones where powder coating can cause clearance issues, and tightness on the new ones until worn in. Etrailer sells the Bulldogs, among others. I don't have any long term info on how well they hold up over time because mine is only 2 years old with less than 6000 miles on it. With a little lube on the ball it should last many thousands of miles I would expect. The housing looks to be cast iron or maybe a forging.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:01 AM   #27
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I had a Bulldog on a previous trailer and, in my opinion (not worth much!), the Bulldog is the best coupler made. In many years and miles of use, never had any problems.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:43 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
The image (above) that accompanied Ice-Breaker's post looks exactly like the coupler used by Scamp of the 5er, except that Scamp welded a piece of round stock on the shroud to assist in getting it to the locked position. And you don't have to beat on it. Simply pull the TV forward a bit (I used to have the spouse pull the vehicle forward while I tugged on the round stock to get the coupler to close). Once the TV moves a foot or so, the coupler readily closed. Difficulty unhooking may be the result of the trailer wheels or TV wheels not being chocked so that there is a lateral stress between the TV and the trailer.
The Escape coupler curves back under the front of the ball, more so than other couplers I've used. So with the tug too far forward, the coupler is sort of hooked under the front of the ball; too far back, the ball puts pressure on the latch, making it difficult to operate. You just have to find that sweet spot in the middle and it works easily, but I have to admit it can be a pain. When unhooking, I often have to pull forward slightly to take pressure off the latch so I can open it, and then I may have to roll back a little to make it easier to get the coupler off the ball.
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:15 PM   #29
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I think it's apparent why there are alternatives - all more expensive - to the basic lever-latch coupler design. It's just not a great system. I realize that worn parts can be replaced, but some other designs (including the yoke type used on some Escapes) don't seem to have a wear problem in decades of typical travel trailer use.

That sideways clamshell coupler - Bulldog's "Collar-Lok" design - is forged; Bulldog also has cast couplers of a different wedge-latch design. I have only tried the Collar-Lok on new trailers in an RV lot - just latching and unlatching with no ball - and found the collar which slides forward to latch them very awkward. Since they seem to be very popular with people who use them, I can only guess that the collar moves better once worn in. Once the collar is slid back, the coupler should freely release under almost any condition. Bulldog is one of the Cequent brands, and these couplers are readily available in various mount styles including the 50-degree A-frame used by Escape. They are heavy.

Another coupler with solid (not stamped) jaws is the interesting QuickBite (acquired by Lippert in 2009). Similar to the jaw design of some fifth-wheel couplers, and also found (under other brands) in a format for gooseneck use, it is unusual because the ball is backed into the coupler which then snaps closed onto it, like hooking up a fifth-wheel. It is latched by a band that comes down over the front like the yoke of some couplers used by Escape (and on my current trailer). The band should come up easily as long as there is no significant side load on the coupler, and once the band is up the tow vehicle just drives away.

My guess it that the QuickBite is probably a bad combination with an Andersen No-Sway WD (because there is no jaw at the very back of the ball), and even the Bulldog forged coupler might not be a great match (because there is a vertical joint between the socket and jaw right up the back).
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:51 AM   #30
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part of the issue...

I think part of the problem is I have been backing onto the Anderson levelors setting the brake, putting the wedges in and trying to unhitch. I think this jams the ball into the coupler latch making it hard to unhook. Last night I pulled onto them and it seemed to work better. If backing onto Anderson's I am going to insert wedges and then nudge forward to take pressure off the ball.
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