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Old 07-02-2014, 07:24 PM   #1
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How to Tighten Ball hitch

Hi,
I'm about to go out on our second camping trip (first was a month ago). I have a ST 270BH with an Equalizer Hitch 10000/1000.

While hitching it up tonight I noticed something. After locking the ball in place, I raised it up a bit, pulling the truck bed up, so I could get the bars in. I noticed that the ball hitch was slightly separated from the rest of the hitch(see photo). However, when I put all the weight of the hitch on it, it was fine, no space. So, it's a bit loose I guess. I took off the trailer and tried to move the ball hitch up and down myself and there was a little play in it. I wasn't able to tighten it by hand though.
So my question is, how do I tighten this thing? The ball hitch has, two squared off edges that are flush with the body of the hitch. The best measurement I could get was either 2.5 inches or 2 3/8 . I can't tell precisely.
I took a photo of the nut underneath as well (which I was not able to move with my hand).

Thanks,
mike


It is common for these ball hitches to come loose like this often? With this small amount of play, is it OK to still tow, or should it be completely tight?
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:34 PM   #2
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You should tighten that nut on the ball!! You won't be able to do anything by hand. You'll need a socket that will fit the nut on the bottom of the ball, maybe an extension if it's to far up in there, and a good breaker bar.
Don't be afraid to put your shoulder into it to tighten it. If you don't have the tools to do it, take it to somebody who does. I would highly recommend you get it tightened up before towing.

You might need something to hold the ball when you are tightening the nut on the bottom.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:39 PM   #3
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They should be tight, tight, tight. Mine never came loose. To tighten you will need a large socket and breaker bar and a piece of pipe 2-3 feet long for leverage. I don't remember what the torque should be but I would guess in the 150ftlb range if not more. another way to tighten it is to take the truck to an auto shop/ or tire shop (maybe a U-Haul store) and they should be able to do it for you (maybe free).
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:40 PM   #4
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Darn, Lloyd you beat me to the punch again!
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:21 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. I was set to leave in the morning, so it's a bit of a bummer. I need to figure out how to get this tight before I leave. What is a 'breaker bar'?
Went to Lowes tonight, but the best they could come up with is a pair of large pliers with adjustable jaws. That's what I bought but didn't try it out yet.
Suggestions where to get tools to fix this?

Also, how can I tell what size the nut is, is there some standard size for this hitch? Maybe the specs of the hitch will have it.. I'll have to look...

Thanks,
mike
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:23 PM   #6
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Most definitely tighten that ball. Walmart sells the wrenches to tighten them with or stop Uhaul or any hitch shop.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:26 PM   #7
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We use a large long wrench and a socket wrench that Dh got from home depot. This might not work for that. There are breaker bars designed for a socket wrench, you might need that. You might also need one to grab the ball to create counter pressure when tightening. Sears might have what you need or ho to any hitch shop. I would not trust that to tow.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:41 AM   #8
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Torque should be in the 450# range.
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:00 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Quickest way was to bring to local Auto shop. They tightened it for me, telling me that it was probably never tight to begin with since it came loose so easily. So, I will wait and see if it gets loose again before I invest in an impact wrench, which is what the general consensus says is the best tool for the job.
He actually had to take the hitch apart a bit to get to the nut under the ball. Took him a bit of time.
The shop guy was very friendly, charged me nothing but finally allowed me to give him $10 after flat our refusing the $20 I handed him.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hondavalk View Post
Torque should be in the 450# range.
X2 it should be torqued
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