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Old 08-04-2020, 10:54 AM   #1
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Bulldog Coupler

I am going to change out the coupler on our Escape 21 from the factory Ram coupler to a Bulldog Coupler
Which Bulldog coupler do you prefer , the collar lok ( 7000 lb) or the Wedge style (8000 lb)?
The cost difference is minor , so I am more concerned with eze of usage and safety .
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:50 AM   #2
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The collar lock with the casting that swings from the side to 'grip' the ball is my preference. I've got a ~20 YO 7k# rated utility trailer with that coupler and a much newer 3500# utility with it; love those couplers, they've been great performers. Everything that makes it work is obvious and accessible from above; it's super KISS and intuitive with nothing to adjust at all. No question that it's hell-for-stout.

IMO the collar lock is 'inherently safe' in that it's immediately obvious that it's coupled and secured; there's nothing going-on below the coupler / out of immediate sight related to the connection with the ball; it's either coupled right or not-at-all with no possibility of 'grey' in-between (zero chance that you've got a part that grips the ball sitting on top of the ball and not secured because it doesn't work that way / doesn't have that part).

Never owned the wedge-lock type but did see it in use once on a trailer at a jobsite - didn't care for it - a totally different mechanism, with 'hidden' and more pieces underneath. It is possible to set the hidden part that grips the ball on top of the ball rather than under the ball where must be to secure the connection. In that sense it's similar to an 'atwood type' (there's things 'out of sight' that must be positioned correctly for it to securely couple to the ball). I don't doubt it's a good coupler, but it's not as KISS and 'all-exposed' as the collar type, IMO.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:50 AM   #3
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Bulldog coupler

Steve, I just changed out the coupler on my 2020 21C. I used the Bulldog collar lock. When I had our Casita, I also changed out to the Bulldog. I have never had a problem with them, easy to hook/unhook and always felt secure towing.
I was told that RAM also makes a "bulldog" style coupler, never tried it.
A word of caution. If you have the factory storage box, measure the A-frame assembly carefully. I have the storage box and electric jack. On my trailer, I could not move the storage box and/or the propane tray further back. It was very tight getting the Bulldog welded on.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:11 AM   #4
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When I was farming we had a Bulldog collar lock that was probably built in the late 40's. It was on a trailer built for hauling tractors (my dad was an IH dealer). We used it to haul a 2,000 gallon water tank for a few decades. That collar worked perfect!

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:13 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by md cawley View Post
Steve, I just changed out the coupler on my 2020 21C. I used the Bulldog collar lock. When I had our Casita, I also changed out to the Bulldog. I have never had a problem with them, easy to hook/unhook and always felt secure towing.
I was told that RAM also makes a "bulldog" style coupler, never tried it.
A word of caution. If you have the factory storage box, measure the A-frame assembly carefully. I have the storage box and electric jack. On my trailer, I could not move the storage box and/or the propane tray further back. It was very tight getting the Bulldog welded on.
We have the factory storage box and the electric jack
Based on the measurements obtained from Bulldog and E-trailer it appears there may not be the necessary space to weld on the Bulldog Collar Lok coupler
My electric jack already hits the propane cover and the propane cover is almost tight to the storage box . Moving things around to accommodate the increased length / dimensions of the Bulldog coupler may not be possible
Looking at different couplers with different dimensions but I have no intentions of replacing my existing poor quality Ram coupler with another poor quality Ram !

** The factory Ram coupler has a length of 13 1/2” - the others are 16 to 18” in length.
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
I am going to change out the coupler on our Escape 21 from the factory Ram coupler to a Bulldog Coupler
Which Bulldog coupler do you prefer , the collar lok ( 7000 lb) or the Wedge style (8000 lb)?
The cost difference is minor , so I am more concerned with eze of usage and safety .
Steve going to be ordering my Bulldog Coupler here soon , the 7000 collar lock . . Have been talking with Greg . He sent me pictures of his install . We both have factory box and electric jack on our 19 . The only difference for me is I purchased a 30 lb , taller tank cover . That gives my electric jack a little more room . Pat
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:59 PM   #7
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Jack mount on Bulldog

Looks like there's a Bulldog weld on coupler with a mount for the tongue jack.
https://www.etrailer.com/A-Frame-Tra.../BD028287.html
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:56 PM   #8
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Escapes are quality trailers and Bulldogs are quality couplers. It would be great if ETI would install Bulldogs (either standard or optional). That coupler would be my choice as well.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rotorbudd View Post
Looks like there's a Bulldog weld on coupler with a mount for the tongue jack.
https://www.etrailer.com/A-Frame-Tra.../BD028287.html
That is the one ! Pat
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Old 08-08-2020, 10:05 AM   #10
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Ordered our Bulldog coupler from E-trailer this morning . Hopefully their shipping is faster this time , their last order took 12 days to get here and the box arrived with about 6 layers of packing tape trying to hold it together
We are planning on making a trip to Thomson Illinois in late September and would prefer to be towing with a coupler that we trust , works well and is safe !
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Old 08-08-2020, 10:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Ordered our Bulldog coupler from E-trailer this morning .
Having experienced the quality and simplicity of the Bulldog coupler, I'll be curious about the install onto your rig .

I'm contemplating doing the same to our 21NE in the new year (still haven't taken ours out yet). Not sure what rig you'll be installing it on, but if it's a newer 21, the dimensions should be nearly identical to our rig.
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Old 08-08-2020, 10:50 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ops View Post
Having experienced the quality and simplicity of the Bulldog coupler, I'll be curious about the install onto your rig .

I'm contemplating doing the same to our 21NE in the new year (still haven't taken ours out yet). Not sure what rig you'll be installing it on, but if it's a newer 21, the dimensions should be nearly identical to our rig.
2018 Escape 21C
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Old 08-08-2020, 12:52 PM   #13
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I am having the coupler linked above, but in the 5,000 # version, installed Monday. I will report back on the fit with my manual jack and front box.
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Old 08-08-2020, 01:26 PM   #14
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Howdy Steve, Hope all is well. I know nothing about the bulldog coupler. It seems to be considered a better set up. Why is that?
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Old 08-08-2020, 02:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mcdonner View Post
Howdy Steve, Hope all is well. I know nothing about the bulldog coupler. It seems to be considered a better set up. Why is that?
Howdy Ralph ! , All I know is that we had Bulldog couplers on the shop equipment when I was working and they worked well every time . The Ram coupler on our Escape hangs up and there is just too much jacking around / prying to please me plus Iíve had to repair it because the latch pivot pin fell out .
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:56 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Howdy Ralph ! , All I know is that we had Bulldog couplers on the shop equipment when I was working and they worked well every time . The Ram coupler on our Escape hangs up and there is just too much jacking around / prying to please me plus Iíve had to repair it because the latch pivot pin fell out .
Thanks Steve. I know what you mean about the "hanging up". it can be frustrating.
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:19 PM   #17
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I've also had enough of the ram coupler after less than a year with it, and am sold on getting a bulldog slide lock coupler welded on. I've got a related question to this - when I pull everything apart, is it also worth replacing the trailer jack (I have a manual jack)?

I'd only replace it with another manual jack, and am just wondering if the unit Escape puts on is the same low-end quality of the coupler. Is it worth replacing with an American made unit while everything is pulled apart?
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:32 PM   #18
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I would think that "campers" would be able to cope with a little adversity and overcome challenges, like placing the hitch on the ball.

I'm guessing I have the Ram on my 2008 17B.

Have I had issues? Once in a while I've had to move the tow a half inch forward or back.

I figured I had to learn how to do it.
How does that saying go? "It's a poor workman who blames his tools"?
Maybe the Bulldog is easier and smoother, but so is checking in to a Hilton Hotel.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:17 PM   #19
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Sounds depressing ....
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:52 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by mcdonner View Post
... I know nothing about the bulldog coupler. It seems to be considered a better set up. Why is that?
IMO it's worth noting that there are thousands of users of 'Atwood type' couplers (those with a mechanism that lifts a 'retaining frog' under the ball to secure the connection, including RAM branded), that use those units for years and years with little or no inconvenience or problems suffered. Maybe a function of care-in-use, care-in-adjustment, care-in maintenance, but nonetheless they can work and work just fine for a very long time. Users with that positive experience may fairly and understandably have trouble characterizing the Bulldog as 'better'; who would argue with those individuals' experience?

IMO the bulldog being discussed, with a totally different coupling mechanism, offers some advantages in terms of simplicity of the mechanism and it's tolerance or propensity for mis-use, mis-adjstment (there is none), or poor maintenance resulting in inconvenient situations. That may fairly translate to an overall 'better' characterization by some folks (myself included).
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