Safety wiring your balls……. - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 02-16-2014, 10:19 AM   #1
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Safety wiring your balls…….

What a lead in title, but years ago we used to safety wire all nuts to the bolts on our motorcycles to meet track safety standards. I also have safety wired a couple of trailer balls to the stinger to prevent it from coming loose in the past. With a new hitch set up I'm wondering if I should repeat this procedure and drill a hole through the nut and bolt and safety wire together. Do other members perform this procedure? Thanks for your input.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:31 AM   #2
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Jim, I haven't drilled and wired mine, but it is probably a good idea. I inspect it before each hookup - looking closely to make sure that that big lock washer still looks fully compressed and nothing wiggles.

But since I don't carry the one big old adjustable wrench I have that is big enough for that nut, I wouldn't be able to retighten it anyway....better buy one!
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:49 AM   #3
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Clean threads, apply loctite, and torque to specs.
Loctite Threadlocker Red 271 from Loctite Adhesives
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:07 AM   #4
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Needing a torch and heating to 500F to change out a ball? Wouldn't the Blue Loctite combined with the lockwasher be sufficient? .....just askin'
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:30 AM   #5
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Blue loctite used on bolts up to 3/4". Easier than drilling and attempting realignment of holes when changing balls.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:14 PM   #6
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Motorcycles, race cars, and aircraft are all notorious for vibration (which loosens fasteners) and react particularly violently to anything failing. As a result, it is common to safety-wire fasteners on them... but even then, not all fasteners. I race-prepared a Honda car, and there was no requirement under our national sports car competition association rules to pin, wire, or otherwise lock any fastener which was not normally locked on the stock vehicle (such as axle nuts).

Ordinary road vehicles, on the other hand, are held together by hundreds (thousands?) of threaded fasteners, none of which are safety wired, almost none of which are pinned (such by a cotter pin), and few of which are locked by adhesives (such as Loc-Tite).

I've never had a trailer ball come loose, or any other part fall off a vehicle (although half the little junk screws holding the plastic air conditioner housings on my motorhome are coming out), and I have no intention of taking exceptional precautions with the nut for the ball's stud. I think I'd notice the clanking around long before the nut made it all the way off the excess stud length, but I just don't see it as likely anyway.

If I were going to do anything more than the stock split "lock washer", I would look for a locking nut (Nylock style or all-metal) in that huge size.

If a torch is used to disassemble any fastener, I think that fastener should go in the recycle bin. Who controls temperature closely enough with a torch to melt the adhesive but not affect the fastener's heat treatment?
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:36 PM   #7
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Sounds kinda like looking for a solution to a problem that does not exist. I many hitches, an d balls of all sizes, I have never had an issue with a properly torqued ball coming loose. I did however have to use a gas wrench a couple times to get them off.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
What a lead in title, but years ago we used to safety wire all nuts to the bolts on our motorcycles to meet track safety standards. I also have safety wired a couple of trailer balls to the stinger to prevent it from coming loose in the past. With a new hitch set up I'm wondering if I should repeat this procedure and drill a hole through the nut and bolt and safety wire together. Do other members perform this procedure? Thanks for your input.
All becomes unnecessary if you have an Anderson hitch. On the other hand, I too, have never had a ball loosen if torqued correctly. In fact, there was no way as an individual I could torque my Equal-I-zer hitch ball to the required foot pounds. It had to be done at a dealership. It is on there so we'll it may never come off easily.
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by techfan View Post
In fact, there was no way as an individual I could torque my Equal-I-zer hitch ball to the required foot pounds. It had to be done at a dealership. It is on there so we'll it may never come off easily.
According to the Equal-i-zer manual:
Quote:
Hitch balls require a 1-7/8" socket and torque wrench capable of approximately 430 ft. lbs. torque for installation.
I have a long enough flex handle to apply 430 lb-ft, but I get that it's a lot. This number assumes your ball has a 1-1/4" thread diameter, but if you use a more reasonable 1" thread (a 3/4" thread wouldn't be strong enough, but a 1" thread has far higher capacity than the Escape needs) the wrench will be smaller and the torque much lower. Of course a bushing would be required on the 1" shank to fit the 1-1/4" hole. From Reese (manufacturer of tow balls):
Quote:
When installing hitch balls, torque all 3/4" shank dia. balls to 160 ft. lbs., 1" shank dia. balls to 250 ft. lbs., and 1-1/4" shank dia. balls to 450 ft. lbs.
250 lb-ft is no problem with a reasonable length of wrench. Lightweight people need longer wrenches (such as a long flex handle and socket).

Ball nut installation/removal tip:
It's hard to pull horizontally with enough force, so put the ball mount in the receiver rotated a quarter turn, so that the nut is on one side instead of the bottom. Choose the side which will make pushing down on the wrench turn the nut the way you need (to tighten or loosen as required). Now you can use your weight on the wrench to apply sufficient torque.
Now my question for Tim: did the dealership actually use a torque wrench? Just guessing, I doubt it.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Sounds kinda like looking for a solution to a problem that does not exist. I many hitches, an d balls of all sizes, I have never had an issue with a properly torqued ball coming loose. I did however have to use a gas wrench a couple times to get them off.
^ This, to go with that I have only ever had one ball assembly ever have a problem. However, that problem did not become evident till I went to change the ball that had been on the hitch for over 10 years. In those years I had towed you name it up to 10k lbs trailer around Maine hills and such. The problem ... the lock washer had cracked when I removed the nut it fell apart. In all those years once a year I would throw a wrench on it and nudge it ( yes that is the technical term :}) just to check it and it never once nudged. :} Now I never used a gas wrench to remove one ...But did have to use an Irish Speed Wrench LOL Which I think is the same thing as gas oxy/acetylene rig. If one was to be worried about the failure of ones nuts ... Double nut it get an extra split ring washer and nut and tighten it down on the first one. Use an anti seize compound if you wish to make it easy to take apart. I would suggest against using any of the Loctite's no matter what they say lol most need an Irish Speed Wrench if they have been on there a long time.

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