E2 hitch latch won't' close - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 04-03-2017, 10:03 AM   #1
LRL
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E2 hitch latch won't' close

After two weeks of working perfectly I can no longer get the hitch latch to sit into its receiver holes. The front part of the latch seats easily over the hitch, but the rear part, with the handle, won't' snap down and back as it's supposed to. This is the case whether or not there is a ball in place.
Any suggestions?
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Old 04-03-2017, 10:40 AM   #2
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If available apply some ball lube, the paint could be binding it.
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:04 AM   #3
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I have a terrible time with mine if my trailer and tow vehicle are not in line (on the same plane). But, if I understand you correctly, you say that yours is binding even without coupling to the trailer ball. I agree that some hitch grease (or maybe even WD-40) might lubricate the latch enough to close easily.
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:45 AM   #4
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Hi: LRL... It needs an attitude adjustment!!! A five lb. sledge carefully aimed should do it. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 04-03-2017, 12:01 PM   #5
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I'm not a fan of this coupler, it's very difficult to latch and unlatch and can smash fingers easily when trying to get it open when unhitching. I keep a screwdriver in the tow kit now, just to deal with the coupler. Need to add Alf's hammer as well.
Probably some lube will help, Lee. I haven't looked closely at it to see if there is any adjustment capability, maybe someone will know that answer. Does your coupler still safely engage the ball even though the tabs don't fully seat?
Personally, I'm thinking of having it changed out to a Bulldog coupler at some point.
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Old 04-03-2017, 12:46 PM   #6
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Thanks all. The coupler does appear to close around the ball, yes. And that is correct, the top handle won't settle into place regardless of what I do. I've tried WD 40 and silicon spray. Haven't tried hammering the thing down. That sounds sort of brutal.
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Old 04-03-2017, 12:49 PM   #7
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Do the holes for the lock pin line up?

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Old 04-03-2017, 01:08 PM   #8
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The holes line up just fine, but the lock won't slide posteriorly to let the pins slide into the holes. Again... this worked perfectly until yesterday afternoon. I can't for the life of me figure out what I did differently that would have changed this.
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Old 04-03-2017, 01:34 PM   #9
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I didn't realize how sticky mine was until I went out to duplicate your problem. Hence, the copious amounts of fresh oil.

It looks like the latch assembly is hinged and rotates on a pin. But the pin is also in a slot. Hammer from the rear forward and see if that doesn't let the tabs drop into the slots.

I can see that the interior mechanism needs to be able to rotate and that it's a close fit. It wouldn't take much to jam it up.

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Old 04-03-2017, 01:36 PM   #10
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Interesting problem. Mechanically, it should be a simple up-down pivoting of the latch and a forward-back sliding of the yolk. Doesn't seem like there is much that can go wrong unless something (like a small piece of gravel?) has fund a way to wedge itself into some place and create a binding force. Does one side or the other of the yolk seem more willing to budge forward and back compared to the other side? Whichever side won't budge is likely where a mechanical "insult" might be occurring. With the latch lifted to prevent damage to it, perhaps a light tap forward and back on the yolk on each side, with something more tender than a 5 pound sledge hammer, would actually be in order to see if that might knock some small foreign body out of the mechanism. It's worth a try, but as they say in the world of medicine, "First, do no harm!". Good luck. Please keep us posted....

P.S. I just saw where Ron beat me to it - with nice visual aids, no less!
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LRL View Post
After two weeks of working perfectly I can no longer get the hitch latch to sit into its receiver holes. The front part of the latch seats easily over the hitch, but the rear part, with the handle, won't' snap down and back as it's supposed to. This is the case whether or not there is a ball in place.
Any suggestions?
We had the exact same issue with our '21 and the e2, but we only made it 2 days before having it occur.

For us, we drove back to Escape and Reace took our trailer out back and fixed it. He told us it was by using a small sledge hammer.

I didn't see how it was done, ie where to hit, and with the handle in what position when placing the hit, but it's worked fine since.

Please let us know the resolution....I should've gotten more details when we were there.

Thank you.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:23 PM   #12
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I really appreciate the visual aids, too, that Ron posted. Although I've never had this problem I'll at least know what to try. If I remember, that is...
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:27 PM   #13
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I really appreciate the visual aids, too, that Ron posted. Although I've never had this problem I'll at least know what to try. If I remember, that is...
Yeppers and the claw part of the hammer can be your "screwdriver" to lift the tab to unhook. I always carry a hammer with me.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:55 PM   #14
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a mechanical "insult" might be occurring.

Like that term, I've had things that suffered from some mechanical insults.

- with nice visual aids, no less!
I'm all for visual aids. When I first joined a group that designed a lot of various projects they'd sit around the table waving their hands in the air while describing their projects. Finally I couldn't stand it anymore because there was an unused SMART Board in the room. Took me a couple of years to turn them from hand wavers to digital images. If you can't show me a photo, it didn't happen.

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Old 04-03-2017, 03:19 PM   #15
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Thanks all. The coupler does appear to close around the ball, yes. And that is correct, the top handle won't settle into place regardless of what I do. I've tried WD 40 and silicon spray. Haven't tried hammering the thing down. That sounds sort of brutal.
You're not "hammering" - it's called a percussion adjustment. No major whacking required.
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Old 04-03-2017, 03:22 PM   #16
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Just to reduce confusion...
  • The "E2" is one of the available weight-distribution systems; it is unrelated to the problem described.
  • The part of the hitching system discussed here is the coupler. As is normal for Escapes, it is a yoke-style coupler, traditionally built by Atwood but this is presumably another brand (Escape has changed brands over the years).
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Old 04-03-2017, 03:54 PM   #17
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In the second photo of the original post, the yoke is all the way down, but the tabs of the latch are nowhere near the slots in the top of the coupler. Cleaning and lubrication can't fix that. The part of the yoke at the top and front appears to be severely bent, shifting the latch forward so it can't work properly until it is straightened or replaced.

Ron's photos provide a good comparison, showing what the area where the latch pivots on the yoke looks when not bent.

I strongly suggest not hitting anything with a hammer if you don't understand what is going on. Random banging is only likely to wreck more parts.

Here's that photo annotated to show where it is likely bent:
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Old 04-03-2017, 03:57 PM   #18
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Haven't tried hammering the thing down. That sounds sort of brutal.
It is brutal. Please don't do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill_75 View Post
We had the exact same issue with our '21 and the e2, but we only made it 2 days before having it occur.

For us, we drove back to Escape and Reace took our trailer out back and fixed it. He told us it was by using a small sledge hammer.

I didn't see how it was done, ie where to hit, and with the handle in what position when placing the hit, but it's worked fine since.
If Bill's coupler yoke was bent the same was as this appear to be, the bent part could have been hammered back to the way it was supposed to be. Without an explanation from Reace, there is no way to know what was actually done; without knowing that Lee and Bill had the same problem, there is no reason to think that the solution would be the same.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:10 PM   #19
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Possible someone backed into the hitch while unhooked?
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:24 PM   #20
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Possible someone backed into the hitch while unhooked?
The part of the yoke which supports the latch appears to be bent forward... so sure, if it were unlatched and the yoke flipped up (opened), and a bumper of a reversing vehicle went over it and jammed the latch lever back into the body of the coupler, then it could bend this way. Interesting possibility...
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