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Old 10-25-2020, 10:54 PM   #1
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Safer options for an old trailer coupler?

Hi All!

I recently acquired a 1981 Sunline 15 1/2í SB. This is the first thing Iíve ever towed and I have no clue what Iím doing. The trailer came with the original trailer coupler and, just messing around with it and towing it a couple times, I feel like there has to be something safer/better out there. Iíve attached some pics below of what Iím dealing with. When I first towed it home I just dropped it on the ball, moved the latch back to stick in the two slots and went. It rattled around quite a bit and just didnít seem right (but Iíd never towed before so I wasnít sure what would be ďrightĒ). This last time I towed I put a zip tie around the latch to keep it in place and it was much quieter during towing and seemed better.

Iíve looked at newer hitches and they all seem to have some safety mechanisms built in that I donít have. The coupler on my trailer appears to be welded on but is there something I can do to replace the hardware to make this safer? What are my options?

Thanks!





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Old 10-27-2020, 01:45 PM   #2
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Looks like my pics didn't come through via a link. I'll try to actually attach them.
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File Type: jpg 50535434472_d49d6b34d8_c.jpg (47.8 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg 50535281181_5a88c78428_c.jpg (103.3 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg 50535282836_b4eff65b31_c.jpg (126.2 KB, 8 views)
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 81SunlineTT View Post
Hi All!

I recently acquired a 1981 Sunline 15 1/2í SB. This is the first thing Iíve ever towed and I have no clue what Iím doing. The trailer came with the original trailer coupler and, just messing around with it and towing it a couple times, I feel like there has to be something safer/better out there. Iíve attached some pics below of what Iím dealing with. When I first towed it home I just dropped it on the ball, moved the latch back to stick in the two slots and went. It rattled around quite a bit and just didnít seem right (but Iíd never towed before so I wasnít sure what would be ďrightĒ). This last time I towed I put a zip tie around the latch to keep it in place and it was much quieter during towing and seemed better.

Iíve looked at newer hitches and they all seem to have some safety mechanisms built in that I donít have. The coupler on my trailer appears to be welded on but is there something I can do to replace the hardware to make this safer? What are my options?

Thanks!
This may help,

First off, yes the ball coupler is welded onto the camper, most travel trailers have welded on couplers, even brand new ones. Many trailer repair shops, (does not have to be a RV repair shop,) can grind off the old coupler and weld a newer style on if that becomes a need.

Your style coupler came up a short while ago by another member. This post. https://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/f...ner-19832.html

Your coupler looks to be one of the Atwood Mobile couplers who has now gone out of business. Parts to rebuild the coupler, "might" still be available with some hunting on the web or from a trailer repair places. Trailer repair being a place that sells/repairs flat beds, box trailers, utility trailers etc. Again not necessarily a RV shop, but some RV shops may have them too. The ball coupler is not a Sunline or camper specific item.

A few basic things first though from your description of all the sloppy play.

They make 3 type of tow ball sizes that are the common. Meaning the ball diameter. 1 7/8" OD, 2" OD and 2 5/16" OD. The size of the ball is often stamped in the top of the ball.

The ball coupler is not marked normally to the size ball it is made for, but you can measure the inside of the coupler, or just take the tow ball drawbar or shank you have, and put it up inside the coupler (not attached to the tow vehicle) latch it up and see how it fits.

Most couplers only have 1/32" to max 1/16" clearance between the ball and the sides of the coupler. If yours flops around more then that, you may be using the wrong tow ball for the coupler.

A 1 7/8" tow ball will fit inside a 2" ball coupler and latch up. But that it not the right tow ball for a 2" coupler. It is too sloppy.

The same goes for a 2" tow ball in a 2 5/16" ball coupler. The 2" ball will fit and latch up, but it is too sloppy as it is not the correct tow ball.

If the tow ball is too big, say a 2 5/16" tow ball, and the coupler is made for a 2" ball, it will not fit physically in the coupler.

The tow ball is also stamped with a weight rating, the ball needs to be equal too or have a higher rating then the size of the trailer being pulled. Your camper is pretty light weight, odds are high you are not over the tow ball weight rating, but something to check.

I am not sure what size ball coupler you have on that size camper. Check and see if you are by chance using the wrong tow ball.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 11-01-2020, 07:12 AM   #4
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Thanks JohnB!

I will pick up a 2 5/16 ball and see if it fits and let you know.

Also, thanks for the link to the previous discussion about my exact issue! Perhaps if I'd searched a little more thoroughly I could have saved everyone the trouble!

Thanks again!
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