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Old 03-12-2014, 03:25 PM   #1
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Hitch Ball Height

The bottom of the hitch receptacle on my Chevy Tahoe is 22” from the ground. I think Escape recommends 19-, or 20”, to the top of the ball. Should I consider that the hitch receptacle could be a little lower when the vehicle is packed with travel supplies, when shopping for a hitch that would get me to the correct ball height? I know the hitch bars are available in different degrees of offset. How critical is it that the ball height is exactly at the Escape recommendation. Which side to error on, too high or too low?
Thanks,
Gary
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:33 PM   #2
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Side on a bit low. Towing hitch high may cause some sway issues. But being as close to level as possible is always the best. Can you turn the stinger over and remount the ball with new washers? I did that on my Scamp when I went from 14" to 15" tires.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:59 PM   #3
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Also, if it's a tandem axle you're pulling, ball height has a big impact on tongue weight. Too low and you shift the trailer weight onto the front axle, which shifts the effective axle location forward, which lowers tongue weight. Too high and your rear suspension takes most of the load which raises tongue weight.

Now from a safety point of view, you want high tongue weight which you can get by raising the tongue. But to reduce sway, you want to lower the tongue. So it's contradictory, and difficult to quantify tongue height relative to safety.

Level is best. Get yourself a stinger that, when under load, positions the ball at a height that keeps your trailer level.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:56 PM   #4
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If you go with a ball height of about 20" without the trailer, you will be fine. Loaded it might sink about an inch, all depending on the loading and your tow suspension.

An inch, or even two, off of level will have little impact, but the more you are off, the more affect it will begin to have on hitch weight. Like Donna alluded too, if it gets to high, the weight is reduced potentially causing sway, and too low and you may increase your tongue weight beyond allowable.

Here is a diagram that shows how drop height is determined for your ball mount. A-B=C

Ball Mount Drop.JPG

After towing for 40 years now, and only recently hearing the latest catch phrase of 'stinger' for a ball mount, it really does sound weird.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
...After towing for 40 years now, and only recently hearing the latest catch phrase of 'stinger' for a ball mount, it really does sound weird.
The term "stinger" was new to me also. Maybe it is a 'south of the border' expression? I suspect the expression was derived from the feeling you get when you walk behind the tow and bang your shins on the ball mount.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:12 PM   #6
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I think I've always called it a "stinger," and trust me you only bash your shin into the dang thing once. Kinda like a growling dog, you give it a wide berth when walking around it.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:38 PM   #7
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So what is the proper term for a "stinger"? Ball mount?
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:46 PM   #8
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Or you remove said "Stinger" when unhooked from the trailer. My better half requests that I remove it as soon as we unhook the trailer. Happy wife Happy life so out it comes .
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:51 PM   #9
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Toyota RAV manual advises to remove it when not towing. I think it's to prevent damage to hitch mounting, but that leaves your spare and rear hatch vulnerable ( so I leave mine in ).
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:45 PM   #10
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So what is the proper term for a "stinger"? Ball mount?
Yep siree!
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