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Troubleshooting Up and Down Play with Fulton Swing Away Hinge Kit on a Magic Tilt Boat Trailer

Question:

I have a Fulton swing away tongue kit installed on my boat trailer. It has always had significant up and down play when closed that causes the trailer coupling to angle up slightly at the hinge and attach at the hitch ball at an angle. I have a friend that just installed one of these kits on his trailer and I noticed his hinge is much tighter and doesnt allow the up and down movement mine has. I can move my coupling up and down about 1inch as measured at the hitch ball. I have also noticed that the upper rubber stopper on the hinge is smashed totally flat. I dont believe this is a wear issue since the hinge has always had this movement. I am presently going to install two .080inch stainless steel shims in the upper and lower gap of the hinge to spread some of the load to the face of the hinge instead of the the hinge bolt and pin which will also eliminate the up and down movement of the tongue at the hinge. Is this play normal or is there something wrong with my hinge? Note: This is the second hinge I have installed since the original one was twisted. My boat weighs 3,800 pounds and the trailer weighs 650 lbs so I worrry about this movement in the hinge. Here are two more pictures of my hinge. Note the upward curve when it is hooked to my truck forward of the hinge. I am thinking I will install a shim in the gap at the hinge. It is .080". I have some 3/4" .080" titanium that I can attach at the upper and lower part of the hinge to fill the gap where the rubber bumper's were. I will use the hole in the hinge to attach the titanium plates with a flush mounted screw or Hi-Lock. I am just curious why this gap is so wide? I have a co worker who just installed the same hinge and his gap is half as wide as mine. It was always wide and not due to wear.

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Helpful Expert Reply:

Thanks for sending pictures!

The titanium shims you installed are just fine, but note that the inch of play is absolutely normal per my contact at Cequent Corporation.

The Fulton Fold-Away coupler hinge kit you referenced is most likely very similar to # FHDPB330301. Your aluminum trailer is not intended to work with the coupler hinge kit because it's steel. Drilling holes on your aluminum Magic Tilt boat trailer is a safety concern and over time it will break.

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