Today we are going to review the components needed to pull a trailer. Basically, this video is designed for somebody who just decided they have a need for a trailer, so we will cover all the components in the most basic form, so you know exactly how to update your vehicle. What we are going to do is start from the truck and work our way back to the trailer. First off, we are going to show you the hitch itself. All vehicles require a hitch to pull a trailer. What this device does is makes an attaching point on the frame of the vehicle, or body components, and transmits the forces from the trailer to this one point here. This point here is the receiver part. Consequently this hitch is called a receiver hitch because this hitch can receive a draw bar, or also called a ball mount. It is held in place by this pin which we just ed, and this clip holds it in place. There are more fancier pins, like locking pins, but that is the basic thing you need right there to get the job done. 1:12
This part that I am shaking right here is the ball mount itself. It comes in a variety of weight categories and drops. Drops being that this part of the hitch right here can go down to lower the ball, or raise it up to the rise position. So when the ball is lowered down here, it is a . If it is up, its in a rise position. If you notice too, we are shaking it, it has to be like that so you have room to slide the ball mount in and out of the receiver hitch. It is the nature of the beast, some will be quieter, some will be louder, this one is about in the middle of the range. It can be looser, it does not hurt anything, or sometimes it can be a little bit tighter in there. The hitch balls come in three different sizes, 1- 7/ 8 inches, 2 inches as shown here, and 2- 5/ 16 inches. Basically, the bigger the hitch ball, the more weight capacity it can handle. It is easiest to think of it that way. 2:23
What the hitch ball does, is allow the coupler on the trailer to go onto the hitch, to connect to the truck, to give it the flexibility to rotate left, right, up, down, in a rotating position. Especially if you take the trailer off road or if you go over uneven surfaces. Next I will show you the components on the trailer itself. Now shapes will vary from trailer to trailer, but the basics will always be the same. This right here is the coupler, and the ball fits inside right here in the round part that matches the ball. The one thing you want to know is you have to match the coupler to the ball itself. In this instance, if you do not know what size ball to use, it is supposed to be stamped on the coupler or comes with the paper work for the trailer. It will say 2 inch, so you will have to use a 2 inch ball, if you use a 1- 7/ 8 ball, even if it is a 1/ 8 inch difference, you have the possibility of when you hit a bump the trailer may pop off. You must use the right size ball. What usually latches the coupler onto the ball is this mechanism up here. This is what is typically called a latch. What this does is lock onto the ball so the trailer cannot come off. Again, the hitch ball fits inside here, and this part moves to catch the bottom edge of the ball to keep it from coming off. Right now it is in a locked position we will pull it up, you can see how it moves out of the way, that allows the ball to fall into place, then we latch it back down, and that catches the ball. There are different varieties, this is a lever style. It can also be called a trigger style, which has a trigger you can pull up like this. There is also a style called a hammerblow/ bulldog where the coupler actually splits like this. That is pretty much it for the coupler. Again, the coupler comes in different weight categories and ball sizes depending on the trailer being towed. 4:34
The next component we are going to show you is the safety chains. In most applications there are going to be two chains that are either welded or bolted on each side of the frame. These are hooks on the safety chains that go onto the safety chain loops on the hitch. This is the jack assembly. This is what raises and lowers the trailer on and off the hitch ball. Crank it clockwise and it goes up, counterclockwise it goes down. This jack can be located in a few different spots. It can be in a recessed location like we have shown here, it can be up very close to the coupler, or can be mounted on the side of the frame. The last thing we are going to show you on the trailer is the electrical. In this case, this trailer has a 4-pole flat, that means it has 1,2,3,4, poles and the whole assembly is flat. This is a basic connector that will allow you to have running lights, brake lights, and turn signals on your trailer. There is also a 5-pole which also has a reverse lead for a surge coupler if it has it. It is kind of optional. The 4-pole is the most popular one out there and there are also some socket type connections, that is the 6-pole, which is a small round one which you find on industrials trailers and stock trailers. Then you can find the bigger 7-pole with the flat blades in them, that is more for recreational vehicle industry. Now we will go back over to the truck and show you where the electrical is on that. On the tow vehicle, here is our 4-pole flat which is generally mounted in this general vicinity of the hitch usually on the driver side of it. It could be mounted in different spots as well too. It also depends on the connector too. The bigger 7-pole connector will probably have a bracket going from the hitch or from the bumper and then mount it to that. 6:39
At this point we are going to hook the truck and trailer together to show you how all of the components fit. Once you have the hitch ball underneath the coupler, make sure your latch is opened up and then you can lower the trailer on to the ball. Lower it on the ball until the weight is all on the hitch ball itself and the jack will be a little off the ground. At this point you can lock the coupler on to the ball. On a lighter trailer you can probably pick it up and move it around. On a heavier trailer, not so much but that is one other thing you can try. We are going to hook up the safety chains. You would think it is a good idea to go straight back across to the safety chain loops that are on the hitch itself but actually you do not. What you want to do is take the one on the right hand side and go underneath to the loop on the left hand side. When you criss cross both of them it basically makes a cradle for the trailer to fall into if it ever comes off the ball. Now we can plug up our electrical. To hook up the electrical it is pretty simple. Just match end to end, these three holes are going to go to these three poles and just push them together. When you hook up your electrical make sure you have enough slack to go around turns. Basically if you match the safety chains or are about 1/ 2 way in between the coupler and the safety chain usually you have enough slack that way. The last thing we need to do is retract the jack fully. You do not want to leave it down part of the way because it could hit something when you go over a bump, bend it, and damage it even more. You will also notice we have a block underneath of it. That reduces the amount of time it takes to crank the trailer up and down. Take the wooden block and put it safely away. The last thing you want to do is take a good look over at everything and make sure everything is secured. The chains are hooked up, the wiring is tight, and the coupler is locked down on to the ball. Then you want to try out the lights on the vehicle to make sure you have got running lights, left turn, right turn, and brakes. When you are ing your ball mount for your truck and trailer combination, if you are in doubt and can not get it level exactly, start off a little high and let the weight bring it down to level. With that everything checks out and you are ready to pull your trailer down the road.
Today on our 2010 Lincoln MKX were going to address the exhaust rattle issue. There are a couple of reasons for occasional contact between hitch and exhaust. One, the manufacturers have loose tolerances from mounting the hangers that suspend exhaust systems. Final placement of the exhaust can vary slightly from vehicle to vehicle. The flexibility of rubber isolator connecting exhaust hanger to the vehicle frame allows for more movement of the exhaust system relative to other vehicle components. An isolator can also stretch over time.
So you are in the middle of doing your hitch installation and you are in the process of taking out one of your existing factory bolts. In the process you find that the bolt is not coming out due to the fact that the weld nut inside the frame has broken. We are just going to go ahead and show you a couple of things you can do to not only get the bolt out of the way but to also go ahead and continue on to be able to put your hitch in position without the weld nut welded inside the frame. The first thing that we obviously need to do is go ahead and get the bolt out of here. There are a couple of different ways you can do this. You can take a chisel, is you have one large and strong enough to do so, and possible grind the head of the bolt off. Or you can actually take a torch and torch it off. And that is actually what we are going to do on this application here. I am going to try to get most or as much of the head of the bolt off as I can. And we will take and push the remaining section of the bolt-weld nut combination up inside the frame. 0:49
A common problem that we run into with a lot of our vehicles that have existing weld nuts in the bottom of the frame is that when you go to try to put a bolt in them you have an excessive amount of road grime or rust built up in there and when you go to put your bolt inside the weld nuts you find not only does it not want to thread but it also appears that the bolt is too big for the weld nut. The first thing that typically comes to mind is that the bolts that I received are too big and 99.9 percent of the time this is not the case. What we have actually got here is an excessive amount of rust and debris built up in the weld nuts that are preventing the bolt from starting. We are going to show you how to get those thoroughly cleaned out so that we can not only get our bolt started but to get it threaded completely into the weld nut. 00:41
Today we are going to show you a cheat. In some cases you are going to have a hitch that uses threaded holes in the bottom of the frame. Those holes are going to be probably corroded up within a few years of the vehicle being on the road with dirt, grime, salt corrosion, you name it is probably in there inside the fine thread. What you want to do is clean out the threads probably with an existing hitch bolt if it is lightly corroded and you can probably work it in and out a few times and do that. 00:20
Okay as you can see here on the drivers side, our weld nut has a lot of corrosion built up in there. And when we try to install our 10 millimeter bolt is not wanting to start at all, in fact it almost seems like the bolt is too big for the weld nut. It is a common misconception, again when the weld nuts got a lot of build up in there.