How Much Wiggle Room Should There Be In A Trailer Coupler

Question:

One of your resposes said I should have a little wiggle room in the coupler, and that is normal. I looked at smaller tounge couplers and they had a snug to firm grasp on the ball. My hitch A-Frame Coupler 2-5/16inch Ball 10,000 lbs. by Dutton-Lainson Item # DL73920 has some wiggle room, maybe 1/8inch gap around the ball, cant measure it, but I hear it clunk. It wont come off the ball and I know the load will be about 70 tongue weight anyway. Am I getting my shorts in a knot wanting the couple snug or even sort of tight? I see the Demco has a spring loaded clamp in the coupler that looks adjustable. Will this have wiggle room too? Don't want to cut one off and weld another on if I don't have to.

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Expert Reply:

Correct, there will need to be a small amount of wiggle room or play between the trailer coupler and hitch ball which is to allow the trailer to track and turn smoothly. If the connection point between the trailer coupler and hitch ball was too tight then the trailer would not track or turn correctly. However, if the connection point is too lose then the coupler could become detached from the hitch ball. The vast majority of trailer couplers are not adjustable but there might be a few out there that are. That said, there is not any sort of gauge to use to determine if the coupler has too much play as it will just be by feel.

If you are concerned with the security of the connection point then it would be advised to replace. This option also allows for better overall peace of mind. I understand that most people do not want to change out the trailer coupler but if the connection point is loose then this is necessary to ensure safety of both you and others on the road. If you were to use the Demco 50-Degree A-Frame Trailer Coupler part # DM16680-52, you would not have to do any welding as this is a 100% bolt-on option. The other trailer coupler would need to be removed by grinding the welds down.

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Conner L

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