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Old 07-20-2018, 11:09 AM   #1
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Trouble Unhitching

I have a 2017 Escape 21 with the E2 Fastway wdh but I don't think this has anything to do with the wdh. Lately I have had problems getting the trailer tongue to come off the ball after the wdh bars are removed. There can be two problems.

Usually I can get the hitch latching mechanism to disengage (move up and back) but then I have trouble raising the tongue up off the ball with the electric jack. So I move the tow vehicle (truck) forward and back a bit and then stand on the rear bumper of the truck and move it up and down a bit and the tongue will come up off the ball. So that has just been a nuisance.

Last trip, though, I could not get the hitch latching mechanism to disengage (move up and back) at all. It seemed frozen up. I moved the truck back a forth a bit, raised the tongue jack, stood on the bumper and moved the truck up and down, etc. but nothing worked. I thought I would have to take the trailer with me to work the next day. Somehow after a several more minutes of scratching my head and doing some more of the same the latch disengaged and everything was fine. I thought maybe something might need lubrication but after unlatching, the latching mechanism moves very freely with no problems at all. So I think it must have been in a bind somehow but I don't know how and don't really know what I did that happened to free it up and get it to disengage. So I don't have an idea how to prevent it or confidence what to do if it happens again. I would appreciate any ideas.

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Old 07-20-2018, 11:26 AM   #2
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un hook the hitch at the truck and pull away from the trailer then go back and release the ball it is sticking because of a bind , mine does the same thing and a friend of mine also with a 21 has the same problem.

Mylo & Pat
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:59 AM   #3
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For the past 50 years if I have problems I put my truck into neutral and then wiggle it loose. You do need to chock the truck tires if on a grade. Has never failed me yet.


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Old 07-20-2018, 05:50 PM   #4
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There has been some reports of a failed latching mechanism. There are no adjustments. I believe there was a case where the latching mechanism was cut off and a new one installed. Some how I would think enough “persuasion” could be applied.
Paul and Janet Braun
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Old 07-20-2018, 09:33 PM   #5
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I sometimes have trouble unhitching when my truck and trailer are on different slopes which creates an angle that binds the hitch. Is this the case for you? I eventually unhitch by moving the truck or trailer a little until I can pop it off by jumping on the bumper. I never have any trouble when both the truck and trailer are level.
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:49 PM   #6
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I often have to put some weight on the bumper, usually pops out, once a year, I spray the mechanism with a little oil, keeps it freed up.
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Old 07-21-2018, 03:12 AM   #7
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I too have occasional trouble unhitching my 17. I'd chock the trailer and somewhat sharply engage forward and than quickly reverse. Then I started greasing the ball ( lithium based grease and you have a chance washing it out). Use same as wheel bearing grease. Cover ball with a tennis ball cut with a 1-7/8" hole saw to fit over ball. Saves shins and clothes..... and your coupler should release the ball much more easily.
Some where there is tension if it does want to release freely.
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Old 07-21-2018, 05:37 AM   #8
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When I've had issues I had to move the truck forward or backwards just a smidgen, don't remember which way it was though. I think it had to do with taking any forward or backwards pressure off the ball.

As mentioned, greasing the ball helps, use very little grease. After you ruin enough clothes you learn to avoid the ball, sort of.
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Old 07-21-2018, 05:45 AM   #9
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I find that if I spray the two sides of the hitching mechanism, put a glove on (to cushion my hand) and forcefully slap the hitch mechanism, it will usually disengage every time. You can’t be gentle or timid about this!
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:34 AM   #10
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I too have had this issue since day one. I found the problem to be the bar that slides under the ball when you close the top latch. It binds up and does not slide back far enough to free the ball when you lift the latch. I found that the generous application of a good lubricant and manually sliding the bar back and forth seem to have taken care of the problem. Use a glove when you manually slide it back and forth lest you get pinched in the process.
Per other previous threads this is one of the things that came with an ETI cost saving and makes me wish ETI offered an upgraded frame option with a better coupler and a marine galvanized finish.
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:45 AM   #11
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I just keep the brake tool or you could use a large bladed screw driver in the setup bucket. When it sticks the brake tool or screwdriver blade lifts it right up with very little effort.
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Old 07-21-2018, 04:46 PM   #12
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I have had occasional problems. I found that if the TV front is higher than the trailer, it won't always disconnect. Once we get the trailer positioned and the wheels blocked, I release the parking brake on the TV and it is much easier to get the ball to drop from the hitch. That little bit of play really helps us.
Bill Dornbush
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:01 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts and your help!
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:09 PM   #14
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I became tired of struggling with the coupler on our 2013, 19' trailer and switched to a Bulldog coupler which is much easier to use.
"Never argue with an idiot. They only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:22 PM   #15
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I’ve had no problems with either the coupler on the 2010 19 or the 2013 21. I keep the ball lihgtly greased, the inside of the coupler lightly greased, I watch it closely as I raise the trailer and when it reaches what I think should be a neutral position, I lift up on the yoke and feel for some give. Usually it slides right up and back but if in a little bind I use a large screwdriver under the yoke lip and pry up. Never had it fail to come loose with no more than a few
Pounds of pressure. YMMV
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Old 07-27-2018, 12:00 AM   #16
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I've started spraying a shot of motorcycle chain wax into my coupler, rather than greasing the ball. first, I cleaned it all up to get rid of the nasty black grease what would leave an awful stain on any light clothes that come with 18" of it

the chain spray seems much cleaner. it sprays on as a liquid, then dries to a tenacious wax. I'm also using a stainless steel ball now, instead of the more common chrome plated steel ball.

a little goes a long way.
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Old 07-27-2018, 03:10 AM   #17
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It's a problem we've had since the first day we had the trailer. We've tried all the fixes mentioned above - lube, neutral, going back and forth slightly, adjusting the nut underneath, you name it. Still a royal pain to unhook, and always required a bit of bouncing on the bumper, and came out with a loud thud.

Finally fed up with the crappy coupler, I had a local trailer shop cut it off and weld on a Sleeve-lock coupler from E- Trailer. The coupler was under $55 and my trailer guy only charged $40 to cut the old one off and weld the new one on. Huge difference. It can't possibly try to hold on to the ball when open because the jaw opens much wider than the ball size. Literally effortless to unhook, lifts right off. Wish I'd done it a couple years ago and saved myself all the hassle. It's almost fun to unhook the trailer, and as an unexpected bonus, it added a couple more inches of distance between the tow and the trailer, providing ample clearance to drop the truck tailgate when hooked up, and allowing a slightly tighter turn when needed. It even came with threaded holes for the jack just like the stock coupler, which made reinstalling the power jack easy with no hardware changes.
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Old 07-27-2018, 04:10 AM   #18
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That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing. If it keeps being an issue for my new 21 I will certainly consider having this done on mine. Nice to know there are options.
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Old 07-27-2018, 06:31 AM   #19
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That is what is called a Bulldog nosed coupler, used in bigger commercial set ups, I believe Oliver uses a bull nose set up.
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Old 07-27-2018, 07:24 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
It's almost fun to unhook the trailer now.
Dude, you need to get out some more and find some new fun things to do.

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