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Old 10-04-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
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Excessive hitch wear

After about 1,000 or 1,200 km hauling the new Escape, I started hearing groaning when turning. It took a while for me to figure out that the source was the hitch ball. Up until that point, I had been running it dry. For the rest of the trip, I used lithium grease all over the ball. That reduced the noise dramatically, but it seems the damage is done.

In the first image, you can see that the chrome is scraped off the ball. The second image is blurry, but you can see how the hitch is worn, too. It is so rough in there that I think I could tear off some skin if I rubbed my finger across it hard.

I bought a new ball, but with the inside of the hitch so rough, I am sure its surface would not last the 1100 km trip we have planned for next weekend.

Since the damage is done, I think I will hand-sand the hitch, grease the old ball, and take the weekend trip. It will be the last trip of the year.

Should I have been greasing the hitch? It seems a great way to collect grit on dusty roads.

What would you do now?
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File Type: jpg hitchball600.jpg (62.1 KB, 125 views)
File Type: jpg hitchwear.jpg (48.4 KB, 140 views)
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Old 10-04-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

Hi Ron
I would just grease up the hitch and old ball and it will work
itself smooth again, you will see a bit of black grease come
out, so watch your pant legs around the hitch.....
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:33 PM   #3
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

I too would just add a bit of grease to the ball only. It takes very little. I keep some paper towel along with the grease in a tool kit I carry for use with the tow and trailer. I put a cap I got at Princess Auto on the ball when not in use. About few times I hook up I wipe out the hitch, wipe off the ball, and put a thin coat of hitch grease on the ball.

A bit of wearing of the chrome off a ball is common as the ball & hitch wear in to each other.
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:45 PM   #4
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

Hi: ronstew... Remove the stinger from your tug and clamp the ball into the tongue. IF it is binding when you move the stinger from side to side& up and down, then the clamp/fork inside the tongue is too tight!!! There is a nut up in there, seen from the ground up which is used to adjust the ball clamp. I then used white grease as it showed up less on my pants. Alf
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:28 PM   #5
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

To not get greasy pants from the hitch ball, I use the old tennis ball trick. I sliced a tennis ball a little over half way through, and cut a 1" hole in the center of the slice area. As soon as the trailer is unhitched, the tennis ball goes on the hitch ball and stays there until time to hitch back up. The 1" hole allows the tennis ball to mostly close down over the hitch ball. No more greasy pants, although the dog seems a bit put out that she had to sacrifice one of her tennis balls.
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Old 10-17-2009, 07:36 PM   #6
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

I am new to towing, but my RV dealer suggested liquid dish detergent for the ball. When your done, you can just wash it off.
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:06 PM   #7
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

Hi Mike and welcome to the forum.

I have to strongly disagree with your RV dealer, dish soap will thicken and harden causing things to gum up. A bit of soap mixed in water makes a great temporary lubricant, used for pulling cables, putting weather stripping into a groove, and stuff like that.

A tad of grease on a ball is really easy to clean, just a quick wipe with a paper towel and it is all gone.
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:27 PM   #8
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

Hello Jim,
Thanks for the welcome to the forum. I look forward to being active here.
Thanks for your insight.
I have now moved back to the tad of grease camp!!
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:45 PM   #9
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

I use a spray on teflon lube that dries to a white dry film. It seems to work quite well and is not messy at all.

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Old 10-17-2009, 11:55 PM   #10
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

That should work fine Eric. How does it do as far as wearing off goes?
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:37 AM   #11
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

Jim - it does wear off. I just give it a squirt each time I hook up and it never seems to be a problem.

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Old 10-18-2009, 10:10 AM   #12
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

I think the bottom line is that one should use a good lubricant, one designed to reduce friction between two metal surfaces. There are lots of different kinds of these available. Vaseline, soap, wax and the like are not meant for these purposes.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:30 AM   #13
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

This was a great thread to read while on our recent 3000+ mile journey back to TX with our new 19. We had started hearing lots of loud squeaking noises when pulling the trailer pretty early in the trip. I checked the ball and definitely noticed wear from the friction/rubbing. So per the advice here, I picked up a small tube of lithium grease to apply to the hitch ball each time prior to hitching up. Although it certainly helped with the wear & tear on the hitch ball and reduced the squeaking noises we'd been hearing, we still hear quite a bit of squeaking. I'm thinking it's possibly the brakes. I'm gonna do more listening this weekend. If it sounds like it's coming from the brakes, I guess I'll try adjusting them (or having someone else adjust them for me ) and ser if that fixes it.
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:08 PM   #14
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

I followed Doug and Jim's advice. I did hand sand the inside of the female component to remove the worst of the burrs. Then I greased the ball, and went on a very twisty road (Oregon Hwy 47). After that, there was no noticeable improvement in the trailer's hitch surface, but the groaning was gone.

I wish that I had greased from the start, but it is too late now.
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:32 PM   #15
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

For all you 5.0'ers out there. Alf put me onto a nylon (teflon, ) washer that you put on the 5.0's tongue, that "lubricates" between the tongue and hitch. Just snaps on quickly, and is very inexpensive at Camping World. That way you don't have to grease it. Works great! Alf or I can attach a picture if anyone needs it.
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:30 PM   #16
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

I too have noticed some sqeaky noises coming from the brakes on my 19' when first starting out in the morning. An RV mechanic told me that this was normal. He said to apply the brakes lightly using the slide bar on the controller to clean off the slight rust that may have formed on the magnets overnight.
On a similar note, I was noticing some brake grab, especially at low speed. A trailer brake adjustment fixed this problem. I was under the misconception that an adjustment was not needed until at least couple of thousand kms. I figure I had about 1000 kms when the grabbing problem showed up. Other than these two problems, the 19' handles and stops extemely well.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:03 PM   #17
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Re: Excessive hitch wear

Good to know re: using the slide bar on the controller to warm the brakes up & clean them off a little. However, 52chev also brought up another symptom that I forgot to mention which is the trailer's brakes seem grabby at low speeds for me as well. I've tried adjusting the Prodigy brake controller setting lower but haven't been able to find the sweet spot. Getting a brake adjustment would likely solve this issue for me as well. Especially considering we just put 3200+ miles on them during our trip back to TX.
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Old 08-25-2018, 07:54 PM   #18
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Grease prevents excessive wear but is a bit messy. I've never liked the vinyl caps commonly available. They are hard to get on and off and collect grease around the bottom edge. A 2" ABS pipe fits perfectly over top. I glued on a cap and added a hairpin to keep it in place. It performs flawlessly.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:03 AM   #19
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I picked up new Escape 21 last month, and guy that towed it to Sumas, WA suggested we use spray graphfite lubricant instead of grease. Said grease will get contaminated with dirt and work as grinding compound. They did a great job installing the WDH, so seemed like the thing to do, especially just starting out with my new trailer.

So, I bought a can at WalMart, (WD-40 Specialist Dirt & Dust Resistant Dry Lube PTFE Spray, approx $8) and sprayed the WDH hitch trunnions and hitch ball area best I could. Appeared to work great, no squeaking/ noise whole tripe. I didn't unhitch until we got home and was surprised at the wear on the ball, not good.

I'm back to grease, has worked well for me for 30 years, maybe a little messy, but otherwise no problems. I usually use whats handy, like axle bearing grease, often I recycle used axle bearing grease that comes out of the axle hub when I grease the EZ-lub axle bearings. I keep a big rag handy and wipe clean and re-grease the hitch each time I hitch up.

I'm not really worried about the wear on the hitch ball and trailer hitch, looks ugly, but not really damaged yet. However, long term might have to replace ball and/ or trailer hitch, so x-nay to spray graphite for me.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:36 PM   #20
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I use a silicone lubricant on a small stick and this has worked well for me. Same stuff I was using on sticky doors. Loren
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