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Old 10-01-2014, 06:14 PM   #1
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Andersen Hitch Refurbishment

After 12,000 miles of towing with the Andersen hitch, it has started to show signs of wear. FIrst, the ball worked its way down into the friction material about 1/4", and then 1200 miles into our last trip the friction material started working its way out of the holder, maybe as much as 3/8". I could see evidence of wear inside the friction material as well. Also, I was beginning to suspect that the elastomer springs were taking a set and losing some of their spring as a result. I called Andersen, explained the situation, and they immediately sent me replacement parts under warranty.

Here are some photos of the hitch and a comparison of a new "spring" (3.00 inches long) and an old one (2.90 inches long). I'll follow this post with a description of changing the friction material. In case anyone is wondering, I still like the hitch!
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:30 PM   #2
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Okay, following instructions from Andersen, I inverted the hitch, and with a mighty tap from my grandfather's sledge hammer, it came apart easily. In some cases, I guess it's necessary to unbolt the aluminum body, bolt it in inverted, and then whack it. In my case, I could just put the whole thing in inverted. I've also been a little concerned about wear generated by the line formed between the flat section on top of the ball and the where the ball shape starts. I've rounded this edge with a fine file, resulting in a little better wear distribution. Oh, and Andersen now recommends lithium grease on the ball.

Some may use this as evidence to stick with conventional weight distribution hitches, but for about 10 minutes work, this one is as good as new and ready for at least another 12,000 miles. Now that I've seen it apart, I'm sure it could have gone a lot further before replacing anything.

I can't seem to get attachments added to this one. Sorry!
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:33 PM   #3
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One more try.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:33 PM   #4
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I don't have half the miles on it that your do, but am noticing some wear on the friction material too, more than I would expect. Good to hear that Andersen is holding up to their lifetime warranty. I know when I requested a replacement socket, as the one I was sent was mis-milled, and was not deep enough, they quickly sent me a replacement.
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Old 10-01-2014, 06:40 PM   #5
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I stopped at Andersen on my way to Osoyoos in June to replace the incorrect brackets sent to me by a 3rd party seller, they quickly removed and replaced the correct brackets within 15 minutes out in the parking lot. It is a big place and they make more than just this hitch.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:02 PM   #6
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On your removal... Do you have an early one without the snap ring?? Ours has a large snap ring on the bottom which would require me to get a tool to help with removal.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:13 PM   #7
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Anyone know the brand of the standard wdh that ETI installs?
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techfan View Post
On your removal... Do you have an early one without the snap ring?? Ours has a large snap ring on the bottom which would require me to get a tool to help with removal.
Right. Ours is an earlier one (only the second that ETI installed). It does not have the snap ring, so I neglected to say that most will need a pair of snap ring pliers (or a suitable shade tree method) to remove the snap ring first.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I don't have half the miles on it that your do, but am noticing some wear on the friction material too, more than I would expect. Good to hear that Andersen is holding up to their lifetime warranty.
I was originally concerned that I might be wearing through the material, but it had lots of life left in it. And I was quite pleased with Andersen. They responded entirely based on what I described over the phone and promptly got the new liner and springs to me under warranty. If only Dometic....no, I'll stop there.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker View Post
Right. Ours is an earlier one (only the second that ETI installed). It does not have the snap ring, so I neglected to say that most will need a pair of snap ring pliers (or a suitable shade tree method) to remove the snap ring first.
I also believe the additional wear and shifting of material is reduced with the introduction of the snap ring. This is particularly true if one lifts on the ball to apply the tension to the chains. This process will lift the ball out of the friction material.
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:13 PM   #11
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I also believe the additional wear and shifting of material is reduced with the introduction of the snap ring. This is particularly true if one lifts on the ball to apply the tension to the chains. This process will lift the ball out of the friction material.
I'll have to check that. With the yoke attached, which it is when I lift the ball to work with the chains, I've never noticed the ball lifting out of the aluminum housing. Of course it could only go a short distance because of the yoke attached at the bottom. Until this last episode when the friction material started working its way up, the ball was actually sinking lower and lower into the material (which stayed flush with the top of the housing the whole time). I assumed they went to the snap ring so they could do away with the collar that I have to install in place of the yoke when using the hitch in a non-wdh application. I'll watch a little more closely next time we hook up.
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Old 10-01-2014, 10:39 PM   #12
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Yes, some of the early models had the ring, now replaced with a snap ring.
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Old 10-01-2014, 10:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batcat View Post
Anyone know the brand of the standard wdh that ETI installs?
Pro Series.
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Old 10-01-2014, 10:56 PM   #14
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It would make sense to have the snap ring to keep the ball shaft from moving when the ball is pulled up, and to provide strong retention of the ball shaft, because the applicable standards (VESC V-5 and SAE J684) require that the hitch system be able to withstand an upward force of (as I recall) half the rated trailer weight capacity (which is half of 10,000 lbs in this case!)

I don't think the designers ever expected the ball shaft to be repeatedly pulled out and replaced in use.
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker View Post
... a new "spring" (3.00 inches long) and an old one (2.90 inches long)...
As a bonus, the extra length means - assuming that the outside and inside diameters are the same as the original - that the spring rate is slightly lower. Since our trailers are relatively light, the one-size-fits-all Andersen No-Sway is almost certainly stiffer than ideal for them.

These urethane springs are readily available, but it is a good thing that Andersen WD owners don't have to buy the springs themselves.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:06 AM   #16
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Here's a link to Andersen's site showing the cone replacement process, including the snap ring. FAQ They state that the snap ring was only intended to retain the ball when towing without the rest of the WDH assembly (the yoke in particular). While I replaced the cone, they state that it's often sufficient to simply re-seat it. For a long trip without spares, that's good to know. The original is not badly worn and will go along in my tool kit in case I need a spare.

On the urethane springs, I was beginning to notice that I wasn't quite getting the trailer level at the original seven threads showing behind the nut as set up by ETI, and I was running out of socket depth to go another turn. I considered adding a washer behind each nut, but Andersen's quick response with new springs made that unnecessary.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:44 AM   #17
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Parker,

Thank you for the very helpful and informative update on the Andersen.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:03 AM   #18
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You're welcome!
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker View Post
Here's a link to Andersen's site showing the cone replacement process, including the snap ring. FAQ They state that the snap ring was only intended to retain the ball when towing without the rest of the WDH assembly (the yoke in particular). While I replaced the cone, they state that it's often sufficient to simply re-seat it. For a long trip without spares, that's good to know. The original is not badly worn and will go along in my tool kit in case I need a spare.

On the urethane springs, I was beginning to notice that I wasn't quite getting the trailer level at the original seven threads showing behind the nut as set up by ETI, and I was running out of socket depth to go another turn. I considered adding a washer behind each nut, but Andersen's quick response with new springs made that unnecessary.
I've heard they offer the urethane material (springs) in different densities. Do you know if that's true?
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:43 AM   #20
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I don't know. I would expect that to be load-dependent. The ones supplied with the unit were fine, but I think they got a little tired. Stiffer ones would probably do the weight transfer function with fewer turns of the nuts, but would also result in a stiffer ride. I trust their choice of materials for the load.
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