Coupler not uncoupling on 21' - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 10-14-2014, 10:54 PM   #1
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Coupler not uncoupling on 21'

Sometimes when unhitching I can't get the coupler to release after removing the spring bars. Have had to jockey the truck forward or back slightly and then can raise the coupler off the ball. ETI's coupler is a little different than I'm used to. Am I doing something wrong?
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Old 10-14-2014, 10:59 PM   #2
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Quote:
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Sometimes when unhitching I can't get the coupler to release after removing the spring bars. Have had to jockey the truck forward or back slightly and then can raise the coupler off the ball. ETI's coupler is a little different than I'm used to. Am I doing something wrong?
Hi: skiman...I've heard of this before. It requires an adjustment. I believe that was accomplished by a farm implement dealers mechanic with a sledge hammer. Once done it seemed never to require it again. Alf
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:02 PM   #3
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Our 21 has the same problem. I stand on the hitch while raising the electric jack and it finally breaks free.
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:03 PM   #4
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Carl these new type couplers are more of a positive lock than the ones I have had in the past on my Scamp and our old utility trailer. Sometimes I have to put my foot on the stinger behind the ball on sort of jump on it to get it pop loose. Same thing sometimes with coupling. I have to rock it back and forth a bit to get it to drop on..
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:10 PM   #5
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I think the ETI coupler is a type of "bulldog" coupler - you can't lock it unless the ball is actually captured. When I futzed with undoing mine I found that there is a point of minimum pressure on the ball (tow not too high or too low) where the catch folds back without a lot of pressure - anywhere else it takes a pry bar to get the sucker to let go. I think wear may prove to be a factor in time - only used mine half a dozen times so far.
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:11 PM   #6
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Has happened many times with our 19 too.
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:13 PM   #7
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There is some play in the way the ball fits in the hitch. If the ball is towards the back of that play, then the coupler won't release. If the ball is towards the front of the play, it releases easily. If I think of it, I try to end the parking manouvre moving forward, or I apply the trailer brakes on full and let the truck roll forward.
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:21 PM   #8
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Hmm. I've had the same issue. It seems to me this may be caused by the black coating on the trailer side of the coupler being applied in too thick a coat on the latch. It seems possible the coating of paint or whatever it is, is binding in the hinge mechanism of the latch, causing the latch to stick closed. That latch just does not operate smoothly at all and I have also found if I open the latch all the way with the trailer unhitched, it will stick open too. And once its stuck, it is really stuck.

My solution has been to use a small block of wood and a mallet to tap it loose. Each time I do I see a little bit of that coating chip away, seemingly from the inside of the hinge. It might be my imagination, but it also seems the latch is becoming progressively easier to operate each time I force it open and closed. Meanwhile, a touch of primer and gloss black lacquer and the appearance is none the worse for wear. YMMV.

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Old 10-14-2014, 11:32 PM   #9
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There is some play in the way the ball fits in the hitch. If the ball is towards the back of that play, then the coupler won't release. If the ball is towards the front of the play, it releases easily. If I think of it, I try to end the parking manouvre moving forward, or I apply the trailer brakes on full and let the truck roll forward.
Your experience is similar to my own. I usually put the tow into drive and move forward an inch or so before hooking or detaching the coupler (jerking forward is best). Makes the whole process work much more smoothly.
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:46 PM   #10
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(jerking forward is best). Me thinks that is it...just like trying to seat the tongue latch for placing the pin you need to suddenly back up sometimes.
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Old 10-15-2014, 03:45 AM   #11
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Yup I was struggling with that too. very different hitch then I'm used to. Seems like i need to be exactly in the right place for it to drop or release. I too moved a little to get it to drop in. Nice to know it's not just me!
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Old 10-15-2014, 06:51 AM   #12
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I don't know what kind of hitch is being used by Escape but when I had my Scamp 19, it was an Atwood. While it sometimes struggled to disengage and sometimes came off with less of a struggle (never smoothly), I could never get it to lock when hooking up without moving the TV forward or backward a bit to seat the ball within the coupler. I would be surprised if it is a Bulldog coupler as my experience with them is that the couple and uncouple easily. But as I say, the Scamp 19 was always a pain to couple and uncouple.
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Old 10-15-2014, 06:58 AM   #13
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On our 17 it was often a struggle, mostly hitching up more than unhooking. I was told when hooking up it has to slide on rather than be centred over the ball - so I usually tried to put the front edge of the hitch near the centre of the ball, then when I lowered it, it slid on and that usually worked.
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Old 10-15-2014, 07:47 AM   #14
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The new paint does not allow the same friction as a worn, older, bare metal, used latch. I carry a claw hammer and pull up on the latch, it is getting better with use.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:03 AM   #15
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Are we talking about two different issues. One being the ball does not drop in or release and the other being the coupler latch does not release or lock down freely. I have had the latter problem. I pry it up with a large screw driver and lock it down by pounding it with a rubber mallet. It does seem to be getting easier.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:30 AM   #16
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Making certain the workings on the hitch are well lubricated with white grease, and using a ball lubricant, helps a lot in the ball releasing from the hitch, as well as lessens wear on the components.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:30 AM   #17
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Are we talking about two different issues. One being the ball does not drop in or release and the other being the coupler latch does not release or lock down freely. I have had the latter problem. I pry it up with a large screw driver and lock it down by pounding it with a rubber mallet. It does seem to be getting easier.
My latch was a little sticky at the beginning but is OK now. More of an issue is after ever thing else is unhooked and the trailer is sitting on the ball. The latch is pulled back. When I start to crank up the jack it continues to raise the the trailer. I have to put the truck in gear and jockey it a little forward or a little back. I am not sure which way to jockey so I may do it twice. Then I crank it up and maybe jump on the stinger and it will drop free. Meanwhile my wife is having heart failure as I am moving the trailer with only the Lego blocks holding the front up. As well as feeling like I don't know what the heck I am doing.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chapitre View Post
On our 17 it was often a struggle, mostly hitching up more than unhooking. I was told when hooking up it has to slide on rather than be centred over the ball - so I usually tried to put the front edge of the hitch near the centre of the ball, then when I lowered it, it slid on and that usually worked.
I have always used this approach with all trailers, though have the ball only slightly ahead of its final resting point. This allows the latching mechanism to operate freely when closing on the ball.

You should never, ever have to force the latch on the hitch to close or open. If you always have to, you need to adjust the latch a bit, as it is too tight for the ball.
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:34 AM   #19
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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.
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:39 AM   #20
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The style of ball coupler that Escape trailer uses is a PITA compared to the couplers on the other trailers that I use.
"If the coupler is properly setup"
Are you aware of a adjustment/setup procedure ? I cannot find a means of adjustment.
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