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Old 10-27-2013, 06:35 PM   #31
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I am going to suppose that you did not have a lock on your coupler latch.

We try to be particular about the tongue shaft being just barely below the chains as we have had the chains get out of position on occasion.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:14 PM   #32
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No, I always have a lock on the coupler. I can only speculate... that the coupler jaw gripping under the ball had just a hair too much play in it and that big jolt, at that speed, was just violent enough.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:09 PM   #33
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That makes me wonder if there are heftier coupler locks than what we have or if we have to have a good look at how snug the fit. Pretty surprising.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:46 PM   #34
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I wonder what would happen if while doing 50 mph towing on I-70 you did not see a road construction seam at night and, when the rear tow vehicle wheels bounced harsh over it, this violently dislodges the trailer hitch resulting in the safety chains doing a great job of safely nesting your trailer tongue...
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I am going to suppose that you did not have a lock on your coupler latch.
The lock just keeps the latch from moving. Any decent coupler will not move the latch and uncouple no matter how hard it is pulled - once properly latched - because couplers use "over-centre" latch mechanism: forcing the jaw pulls the latch tighter.

On the other hand, if there is too much free play between latch and ball...
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No, I always have a lock on the coupler. I can only speculate... that the coupler jaw gripping under the ball had just a hair too much play in it and that big jolt, at that speed, was just violent enough.
That makes sense to me: with too much play the trailer can tow fine, until a big enough jolt rocks the trailer enough to pull up on the ball.

The last Escape coupler I saw was a yoke type; I don't know if they all are. The yoke style cannot be adjusted, and don't need to be - short of substantial damage (or missing parts, as in a FiberglassRV discussion) I don't think they ever let go. My 35 year old Boler coupler is one of these (an Atwood).

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It happened to me in another trailer life when towing a 16 ft Scamp.
Scamp uses economically sourced parts to enable a modest trailer price... including a $28 basic lever-latch coupler. Maybe there was nothing wrong with Myron's coupler, but maybe it wasn't the most reliable.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:41 PM   #35
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Right, B-P. And the Escape couplers seem seriously heavy duty to me. The incident, remember, happened on my old '86 Scamp. In fact I had replaced its original ball clamp mechanism because it seemed too worn out. Could very likely be I didn't screw it in enough, and found that out the hard way.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:26 AM   #36
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Putting a lock on the latch often insures that the latch is on properly. I would still guess that most decoupling occurs when people do not have latch locks (and would have likely had the latch on properly had they used one). There are a surprising number of decouplings and I would guess that few had to do with the problem described here.

It is, however, not impossible to put the latch lock on wrong. We did that once. We need to look to make sure that it is on right.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:56 AM   #37
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My latch "lock" is usually a quarter-twenty hex bolt and lock nut. I did buy an actual lock for that particular trip, though. Either way, I have noticed... seems if it don't be goin' in and through to the other side, it ain't latched.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:21 AM   #38
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Putting a lock on the latch often insures that the latch is on properly.
I agree, but I think that's probably almost all of the benefit. The lock doesn't do much once it's in, but putting it in forces a check. I like the yoke type (as Escape uses), in part because it is very obvious when it is fully latched.

I think the common lever-latch style (which is what I have found on every non-rental trailer I've towed other than our Boler) is an invitation to problems because it must be adjusted properly. The only type I like less is the handwheel design used by U-Haul... those things have to be adjusted every time they're latched, and every time I checked the one we had on a long trip it was loose again.

Anyway, I'm glad Myron's first Escape trip didn't include a repeat of the unfortunate Scamp coupler incident!
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:34 AM   #39
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I always carry a spare sizzors jack in the trailer or in my tow vehicle. This really saved my bacon during the coupler incident. The road was a slight incline, had to first put blocks behind the wheels, then, there was no way I could lift the tongue up to un-chain the safety chains from the tow vehicle. Trailer just too heavy, chains were stressed real tight.

Ah, but that was then. This is now.... cannot forget boondocking at Walmart during the last leg of the big trip:
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:15 AM   #40
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Re: Ah, but that was then. This is now.... cannot forget boondocking at Walmart during the last leg of the big trip:

And, who could forget waiting in line in Victoria for the Black Ball Ferry...? These folks were touring Vancouver Island in their Model T's!! Told me they got um, I think, 16 miles per gallon. But where, I asked, was the heater?
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