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Old 04-05-2018, 08:10 PM   #1
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Unhitching 19

We unhitched for the first time today. I unhooked the lights, chains and chocked the wheels. I removed the leveling bars. For the life of me I couldn't get the hitch to separate from the van. I lowered the tongue, raised it, Jo the van forward and back... nothing. Finally after about 30 frustrating minutes, it came apart.

Any suggestions on how to make this less frustrating?
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:43 PM   #2
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Oh, we feel your pain. We seemed to be plagued by the "don't unhitch me" bug every time we tried to unhitch. Talked to other Escape owners at rallies and discovered it's not an uncommon phenomenon. What we have found is that you have to raise the hitch a bit (not too high), then 'rock' the ball out of the hitch with the truck (forward/back/forward/etc.). It's frustrating and time consuming, but it's the only thing we've found that works. Some people have mentioned that they grease the ball a bit but that doesn't give me 'warm fuzzies' so we just rock the baby out of it's cradle.
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:45 PM   #3
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This thread may help
http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...ease-9740.html
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CADreamin View Post
Oh, we feel your pain. We seemed to be plagued by the "don't unhitch me" bug every time we tried to unhitch. Talked to other Escape owners at rallies and discovered it's not an uncommon phenomenon. What we have found is that you have to raise the hitch a bit (not too high), then 'rock' the ball out of the hitch with the truck (forward/back/forward/etc.). It's frustrating and time consuming, but it's the only thing we've found that works. Some people have mentioned that they grease the ball a bit but that doesn't give me 'warm fuzzies' so we just rock the baby out of it's cradle.
So, let me test my understanding. You raise the tongue slightly with the jack. One of you holds the hitch release up while the other rocks the truck. Correct? I'm assuming you've chocked the wheels and disconnected everything at this point.
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:53 PM   #5
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Stuck ball

Quote:
Originally Posted by CADreamin View Post
Oh, we feel your pain. We seemed to be plagued by the "don't unhitch me" bug every time we tried to unhitch. Talked to other Escape owners at rallies and discovered it's not an uncommon phenomenon. What we have found is that you have to raise the hitch a bit (not too high), then 'rock' the ball out of the hitch with the truck (forward/back/forward/etc.). It's frustrating and time consuming, but it's the only thing we've found that works. Some people have mentioned that they grease the ball a bit but that doesn't give me 'warm fuzzies' so we just rock the baby out of it's cradle.
Grease, up inside the coupler, on the ball and on your knee when you run into the uncovered ball. Regular chassis grease, or wheel bearing grease, but grease. Itís a lot faster than rocking the tow vehicle. It will give you more time to feel fuzzy and youíll sleep like a baby.
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:54 PM   #6
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No one is holding the hitch release up. We just rock (maneuver) the truck forward a bit, try the release, move the truck back, try the release, etc. Surprisingly, we've found it just takes a minuscule amount of movement. I've found that the more forward the ball looks, the easier it is to release ... if that helps.
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:56 PM   #7
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Great thread to read Rubicon!
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:02 PM   #8
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I used to have this problem with my Scamp. Once I KNEW everything should release, and wouldn't, jacked up the trailer a couple of inches, stepped up on the bumper of the truck and 'stomped' hard on the draw bar. That made it release. Get a bigger hammer...
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa Dave View Post
Grease, up inside the coupler, on the ball and on your knee when you run into the uncovered ball. Regular chassis grease, or wheel bearing grease, but grease. Itís a lot faster than rocking the tow vehicle. It will give you more time to feel fuzzy and youíll sleep like a baby.
But totally agree.

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Old 04-05-2018, 09:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kingbiscuit View Post
One of you holds the hitch release up while the other rocks the truck. Correct?
You shouldn't need to hold the latch up. Even if the coupler (that's the part on the trailer) won't come off the ball easily (which is addressed in the other thread which was linked above, and the thread linked to that one), the latch should flip open and stay there without being held.

The latch runs a jaw which slides under back part of the ball. Once the latch is open (so the jaw has slid back) if anything is stopping the trailer's coupler from coming up off of the ball, it's catching at the front of the coupler.
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:41 PM   #11
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Another suggestion:

Try leaving the parking brake off on your tow vehicle.
The jumping on the bumper works best if the tow vehicle can roll forward or back that half inch that it will with the brake off.

If you have any sort of weight distributing hitch, that complicates everything. It puts the whole connection in tension until you properly raise or lower it. If that is your case--get assistance.
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:45 PM   #12
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Hey, I started that other thread! Had forgotten all about that. Follow up for everyone then.

Since the info that was originally given to me in that thread, I've not (HUGE KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!) had any problems unhitching. I actually can hitch and unhitch better without Dirk helping me! Go figure.

I don't put the wheel block thingies right up against the tires. I also make sure I spray some stuff on the hitch from time to time.

And I read the follow up msgs from August (I wasn't reading the forum much around then - and later) so missed those posts. Did just order that square L-pin thingie from Amazon. Dang - that looks nice! Will get to test it out soon. It'll be here Saturday and we're taking the trailer out again on Sunday for more backing up practice.

When taking those icky zigzagging pins out, I added one of those clip thingies that mtn climbers use (yep, totally forgot what they're called). I clip that on and it's much easier to remove the pin. Yay!
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Old 04-06-2018, 05:50 AM   #13
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Since the op has a new trailer, some grease and a little wear will help a lot. Not sure ETI puts any lube on the coupler when new so that and some rust could be the culprit as well as the torsion axle motion movement that does not always align the coupler just right. In retrospect, I'd much rather have a tight vs loose connection.
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Old 04-06-2018, 11:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
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...When taking those icky zigzagging pins out, I added one of those clip thingies that mtn climbers use (yep, totally forgot what they're called). I clip that on and it's much easier to remove the pin. Yay!
Yes, the cotter pins are a little small and tricky to remove on my WDH as well. I carry some small pliers in the storage box for this, but I like your suggestion better!
I'll add a small carabiner or loop to get a good grip when removing the pin. Thanks.
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Old 04-06-2018, 11:35 AM   #15
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unhitching

The only time I've had a problem getting my 19 to unhitch is when the trailer is on level ground and the vehicle is pointed a little bit downhill. When they are both level never any problem.
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Old 04-06-2018, 12:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goalie39 View Post
Yes, the cotter pins are a little small and tricky to remove on my WDH as well. I carry some small pliers in the storage box for this, but I like your suggestion better!
I'll add a small carabiner or loop to get a good grip when removing the pin. Thanks.
If you are talking (well, typing) about the clips (these ones) used to lock the "L" shaped hold downs on the WDH, I replaced mine with Linch Pins. They make them in a size that will replace the clips, and are much easier to use (although if you are not careful, it will snap back & nail your fingernail unless you completely open them.)
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Old 04-06-2018, 02:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Kingbiscuit View Post
One of you holds the hitch release up...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
You shouldn't need to hold the latch up...
the latch should flip open and stay there without being held.

The latch runs a jaw which slides under back part of the ball.
Thinking about this, I wonder if you are opening the latch all the way. Escape typically uses a yoke-style coupler (my favourite type), and if it is this type it is opened by lifting whatever latch lever is on top, pulling the yoke up (that's the band which curves around the front of the coupler), and pulling it back. If it isn't pulled back, it will just fall back down, and more importantly the jaw underneath won't be pulled clear of the ball.

It's likely a different brand, but these two images (from eTrailer, a retail website) of a typical yoke-type coupler show the coupler closed (yoke down, jaw forward) and open (yoke up, jaw rearward):
Attached Images
File Type: png YokeCouplerClosed.png (116.4 KB, 17 views)
File Type: png YokeCouplerOpen.png (120.6 KB, 30 views)
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Old 04-06-2018, 02:58 PM   #18
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My 19 latch has been sticking since new last November. Usually have trouble getting the latch to close after hitching. It usually requires me to pull ahead of the hitch by about a quarter of an inch and let the hitch clunk on. Otherwise the latch won’t close. It’s finicky but it works. Unlatching is generally not smooth either, sometimes holds on a little before letting go. I do ensure the latch is open and have fallen in the slots. As long as it doesn’t get worse, guess I’m content.
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Old 04-06-2018, 03:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Thinking about this, I wonder if you are opening the latch all the way. Escape typically uses a yoke-style coupler (my favourite type), and if it is this type it is opened by lifting whatever latch lever is on top, pulling the yoke up (that's the band which curves around the front of the coupler), and pulling it back. If it isn't pulled back, it will just fall back down, and more importantly the jaw underneath won't be pulled clear of the ball.
Yes, watch the video on the product page. At about :30 he shows how the yoke is brought back and made to stay open by dropping the tabs on the bottom of the latch lever into the groove. I'm pretty sure that is the exact coupler ETI uses.

www.etrailer.com/A-Frame-Trailer-Coupler/etrailer/CA-5210-B.html
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Old 04-06-2018, 04:40 PM   #20
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I've had issues unhitching since the day we picked up the trailer over 3 years ago. Yes, the yoke is all the way up and back, and yes I've lubed inside the coupler and also the ball.

I usually wind up jacking it up high and bouncing on the bumper (thank goodness for my X-Chocks). Comes out with a sudden thud. Backing or going forward slightly with the tow vehicle has made very little difference. Slope up or down doesn't matter either.

I've looked into why this happens, but have no firm conclusion. I suspect that the ball on my Andersen hitch may be just slightly larger than 2" and creates a tighter fit. I've no evidence to support that theory though.
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