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Fulton Fold-Away Coupler Hinge Kit Review and Installation

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Review and How to Install the Fulton Fold-Away Coupler Hinge Kit


Hey, everybody. How's it going Today, we're gonna be going over and showing you how to install the Fulton folding trailer tongue. So what our folding tongue essentially does is it's gonna allow for a better clearance of our trailer in tight spaces. So probably, the most common use here for this kit is if we have a garage that we'd like to store our trailer in, but the trailer is gonna be a little bit too long to fit in there. Therefore, by installing this folding trailer tongue kit here, we can easily swing the coupler portion away, so we have better clearance to fit our trailer in our garage to keep it nice, safe, and sound. So there's a couple different kinds of these trailer tongue kits here.

We have weld-on kinds and we have the bolt-on kinds. Now, I personally prefer the bolt-on kinds because they're a lot easier to do with something the average person is gonna have the tools to do at home. Whereas the weld-on kind, obviously, is gonna require a professional welder. Therefore, it's gonna be much more accessible for you guys to be able to do this one at home than the weld-on version. So our brackets here are actually made out of steel and they have a nice zinc-coated finish.

And basically, what this means is for your boat trailers, you're not gonna have to worry about this rusting out over time. That zinc plating here is gonna do an excellent job of keeping this thing nice and protected, so you don't have any issues with corrosion or rust. So one thing I do wanna point out to you guys is unfortunately, it's not recommended to use this trailer tongue kit on aluminum frame trailers. So the way this works is we're going to have a hinge pin on one side and a hinge bolt on the other side. Now, we can actually swap the order of these to have the tongue swing away to the left or swing away to the right.

It's pretty easy to use. All we need to do is pull the clip out of the bottom of the pin and then just pull the pin straight out. And as you can see here, we can easily fold our tongue away to either side to have clearance to get in your garage. When we're ready to tow again, the process is equally as simple. Make sure you're not pinching any of your brake lines or anything.

But just fold it back into position, line it up, insert your pin here, install the clip, and you're ready to go. So we'll go over this a little bit more later, but we do have a couple different options here, depending on the size of the frame on our trailer here. So no matter what size frame you have, chances are there's gonna be an option to install one of these kits. So in regards to the amount of tongue we can have swung away here at once, the maximum is gonna be 48 inches, measuring from the center of the hitch ball back to the point here on our frame. Now, granted, this is the maximum, there are definitely a couple different variables that go into this measurement. One of them is going to be the size of the frame. The other one is gonna be the tongue weight. So in the instructions, there's gonna be a nice, handy chart that we can use. Once we input the tongue weight of our trailer and the frame size, we're gonna be able to tell the max amount we can make that cut back from the center of the hitch ball. We can obviously move it further forward if we want, but there is gonna be a maximum, depending on the frame size and the tongue weight. So once you take that into consideration when you're choosing this kit here to make sure it offers enough swing-away to be able to fit the trailer where you need it. So our kit here is gonna have everything we need to physically bolt it on the trailer and attach the two halves. However, there are a couple items you're gonna wanna pick up with this hinge kit. But thankfully, we sell all of these here at etrailer. Number one are longer safety chains. Now, the reason we need to obtain longer safety chains is because we actually need to move the connection point for the safety chains behind the hinge here. Due to the design of this, we can't have the safety chains attached to this portion of the trailer. You do need to have it attached behind the hinge here. In case anything we're to happen with this mechanism here, you would still be covered. So you are gonna wanna pick up some longer safety chains. Number two, it's gonna depend on what type of trailer tongue coupler we have rather. So there's two main types of couplers. We have surge brake actuators and we have standard couplers. So surge brake actuators, they operate hydraulic brakes on the trailer here. Now, thankfully, this kit is compatible with both. But if you do have surge brakes, you may need to purchase a longer section of brake hose there in order to allow the tongue to swing away without any issues. Now, this goes without saying, but if you have a hard line running through the frame here, you'll need to replace that with a flexible line. So you'll either need to replace the hard line with a flexible line, or if you already have a flexible line, you'll simply need to purchase an extension and a union, which again, we sell here at etrailer. And then, last but not least, you may end up having to move your trailer tongue jack. Ours for this particular application was mounted right here, and we need the tongue jack to be on this side of the frame. We need it behind the hinge mechanism, and it didn't quite fit in the space that we have here. So we just simply put it over on the A frame here. But depending on where you make your cut or the objects you have on your trailer, you may be able to easily tuck it in behind the foldaway here. So just something for you guys to keep in mind. So the first thing we need to do in order to determine compatibility is measure our frame. So there's a few different hinge coupler kits, depending on what our frame size is. Therefore, we need to measure this so we can order the correct one. For our particular frame here, we'll show you how to measure this. We'll measure the width, which we can see is three inches wide by the height of the frame, which is four inches. So this particular tongue here is three inches wide by four inches tall. Therefore, we're gonna order the three-by-four hinge coupler kit. So now we know the correct hinge coupler kit to use based on the size of our frame, we're ready to start our installation. So we're gonna take a jack stand here and support our tongue behind the mark where we're gonna be cutting. And you wanna make sure you chock your wheels as well. So the next thing we need to do is we need to find the cut mark on the trailer tongue here. So in order to do that, we need to, one, take into consideration the dimensions of our frame. And two, we need to take weight into consideration as well. So tongue weight is gonna be the main one here, so we're gonna need to know our trailer's tongue weight. We do have these scales here at etrailer available for purchase, or you can get an estimated to weight based on the overall weight of the boat and trailer. So again, just as a reference, our particular trailer here has a 500-pound tongue weight with a three-by-four-inch frame. Therefore, using the chart provided in our instructions, the max pivot point is 42 inches. So now, we're gonna take our tape measure here and find the point that we need to cut on our frame. So keep in mind, we need to be measuring from the center of the coupler here, and using the diagram provided in your instructions based on the tongue weight of the trailer and the frame size, as we said, the max point is 42 inches. Now, I say max point because you can actually move this further up towards the front of the tongue, if you wish, but the 42 inches for this particular application is the max. So now that we have our mark made on our frame here, we're gonna be taking a square, so we can draw that line straight across as even as possible. So we'll do it to the top here and on each side in the bottom as well. So we need to keep in mind with our cut line here, we need to make sure that there isn't any objects within five inches of this cut line. So go ahead and take our measure here. It looks like we're about six to seven to our jack here, so we have room this way. And we have room this way as well. So sometimes your trailer tongue jack can get in the way, and in which case, you can either slightly adjust the cut line, or I actually recommend just moving the jack a little bit further forward. So next, we're ready to go ahead and hack into our frame here. But before we do that, we need to make sure that we're not gonna cut or drill into anything running inside the frame. Now, a lot of the times, the wiring for your trailer connector is ran inside the straight pull tongue here. And if you have a surge brake actuator on the trailer, which our particular model does, you probably have some brake lines ran through there as well. So we need to go ahead and take some time to remove that wiring and brake lines, if equipped, from inside the tongue here. We'll go ahead and show you how we're gonna do it on this particular trailer. Yours may vary a little bit, depending on what trailer you have and whether or not it has a surge brake actuator. So I went ahead and cut off the trailer connector. Now, there was a bonded lead going to the trailer connector, so I didn't cut it right behind the trailer connector just where the wires attach to that. And you can see the holes in our frame here, so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna crawl under the trailer. I'm gonna find the point where it enters this piece of section of the frame, and I'm simply gonna pull all those wires out. So next, you can see here we have our brake line going into the back of the actuator that we need to remove. So we're just gonna take a couple wrenches here, make sure we have a bucket underneath to catch anything that spills out. And now, we'll just simply remove this fitting here. So make sure you got some gloves on here. You are gonna lose a little bit of brake fluid. Now, I'll shove that down there. And then, I'll go back underneath the trailer and pull it out the rest of the way out. So we've got all of our lines and wires pulled through the frame here and now we're ready to begin cutting. Now, there's a couple different tools we can use for this. You can use a portable band saw, which is what we have, what we're gonna be using here. However, you're probably gonna have an angle grinder at home. That's gonna work just fine as well. Just keep in mind, we need to make as straight of a cut as possible. So once you get most of the way down, you wanna stop and make sure the tongue is properly supported. We're gonna be using a tongue jack here as well as some assistance from a friend holding the coupler. And now, with our tongue properly supported, we can finish our cut all the way through. So now that we've got our frame cut in half here, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna come back with a sanding disc here. If you have a file or some sandpaper, you can certainly use that as well. We're just gonna clean up all those rough edges. So the next thing we'll be doing, we'll be measuring from the edge of our frame here that we just cut back four inches and then up one inch. And this mark here is gonna be used to attach our safety chains. Because with this kit here, we have to relocate the safety chain attachment to the frame behind the hinge here. So we will need to purchase some longer chains most likely. But what we need to do right now is go ahead and mark that spot and then drill it out to the specifications in your instructions. So we'll measure over four inches from the edge of the cut. That'll give me that line. And then, we're gonna measure up one inch from the bottom of the frame. So that's right where our jack stand is. So we're about right there. So that bottom mark is where we're gonna be drilling. We'll go ahead and do that same thing on the other side. Now that we have our locations marked, we're gonna take the center punch tool that comes in your kit here, line that up with the center of your mark, hit it with a hammer. We'll do that on both sides. And then, we'll drill this hole out to the final size, which is 1/2-inch diameter. So now that we have this side drilled out, we'll jump over to the other side, do that same thing, and then we'll probably come back with either a file or I'm actually gonna use a burr bit to clean up those holes. So now, it's important before we bolt on this part of the hinge onto the trailer, we need to make sure that our cut is square. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna take the trailer side of the hinge, and we're gonna slide that over the frame like so. And basically, what we're looking for is these stops that are built in to the top and bottom of this hinge kit here, there's one on each side, we wanna make sure that those are flush to the end of the trailer frame. If you have a gap on one side, that means your cut wasn't square, and you'll need to grind down that section in order to line it up. So once we got our cut nice and flush here, we're gonna take the male side of our hinge kit, it looks like this. We're just gonna simply place it over the tongue on our trailer here. Now, we already verified that these stops are gonna line up earlier. So what we're gonna do right now is we're gonna take a clamp and we're gonna secure the hinge onto the frame of the trailer. If you guys have a C clamp, that'll probably work as well. Anything you have to put pressure on that to stop it from moving is gonna work fine. So now that we have the male portion of the hinge secure on the frame here, you're gonna take this little center punch tool that comes in your kit. Now, the center punch tool diameter is gonna line up with the holes there, and we're gonna have that little indentation in the center. This is gonna allow us to get the exact center of the hole for drilling later. So we got four holes on the top we need to center punch out and four on the bottom. So the way this works is it's pretty simple. Line it up in there, hold it steady. Make sure you have good aim with your hammer here, you don't wanna hit your fingers. And just give it a tap like that. And you can see, we now have an indentation in the exact center of the hole. So we'll just repeat that same process for our other holes on the top and bottom. So one of our holes is actually covered on the bottom with one of our clamps, so easy fix is just to take another set of clamps, attach it at the top, and then you can remove the bottom one and punch out your holes that you missed. And now that we have all the holes punched, we can remove our clamp and the holes. So now with each of our holes marked here, we can begin drilling them out. So what we're gonna do is we're actually gonna work our way up in drill bits to make things a little bit easier. So the first drill bit size we're gonna be using is a 1/8-inch. We're gonna work our way up to a 1/4-inch, and then a 3/8-inch, and then the final size, which is 1/2-inch. Now, we need to make sure that when we're drilling these holes, we drill down as straight as possible. We wanna make sure that we're not askew here to either side. So the best way to do that I found is just to stand straight up and down here the best you can. And just drill straight down. So I'll go ahead and drill all my pilot holes, and then I'll enlarge them to the final size. So now that we have the top holes drilled out, it's gonna be a little bit harder, but we'll go ahead and repeat that same process on the bottom side. I think what I'm gonna do is I'm also gonna take a flat file. I'm gonna come inside the frame there and knock down all the burrs inside. So when I took the coupler off, I actually missed a couple of my punches there. I couldn't quite see them from the bottom of the frame. So rather than just guess and drill a hole in the wrong spot, I'm gonna place the coupler back over the frame here, and I'm gonna re-install our bolts. Just like so. And then, I'll know it's in the correct position, so I'll go ahead and take my punch tool again and remake those marks so I know exactly where to drill. So we've got all of our holes drilled here, we're gonna take a file, knock down all those burrs inside there, and then we'll take a vacuum and clean out any of the loose metal in the frame. Now, we're gonna take one of our bolts and make sure it'll go through each of our holes. So now with all of our holes cleaned, we're ready to permanently attach the male end of our hinge. So we're gonna be taking the provided bolts in your kit here. I think we're actually gonna start with the back two first. That way, I have more room to get our nuts into the frame there. So we have the bolt up top and then we'll reach in there as best we can and secure it with your nut. So it is pretty tricky to get 'em started. What you're gonna do is you're gonna place the nut on your finger like so, and you're gonna reach back there as far as you can. And then, spin it from the top to thread it on. Now that we've got the two back in, I'll go ahead and get the two closer to the front, which are gonna be a little bit easier. And once we get the top four in, I'm sure you guessed it, we'll repeat that same process on the bottom for our bottom four holes. So I'm having a little bit trouble getting my bolt in here, the last one actually, which is okay. We can't always be perfect. I got seven out of eight of them in. This one, it's just a hair off and it's not wanting to go in. I could probably thread it in there, but what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take our 1/2-inch drill bit. I'm just gonna slightly open up this hole a little bit more in order to get our last bolt in. I definitely wouldn't do that for all of these, but if it's just one at the very end, you can do this trick here. Just be careful. Take out a little bit of material at a time and then check. So there we go, all the way through. And we inserted that last bolt there pretty easily, so we just had to take out a little bit more material. And as I said, you wouldn't want to do that for every hole, but if it's just your last one there not too big of a deal. So now, we're gonna take a T-55 Torx bit and a 3/4-inch wrench to tighten and torque each of our eight fasteners here. Now, I will say the Torx bit you get in your kit looks a little bit different. It's the same size. Ours is just attached to a socket 'cause it makes things a little bit faster. But you can certainly just use the one that comes in your kit. So I'm gonna give you guys some advice here. Take a little bit of time torquing these down. Sometimes, these torque wrenches, they wanna jump out. And you really don't wanna strip these bolts out. So just take your time here, making sure you have as much downward pressure here on the bolt as you can. A lot of times, once you get it turned a couple times, the wrench here is actually gonna lock into place somewhere inside this coupler. That way, you can just focus on the torque wrench. And sometimes, you gotta hit that out with a hammer to get it out. That one just took a little bit of maneuvering. So again, we'll just repeat the same process here, making sure we take our time. So we don't strip any of the screws. Now, we've got the female portion of our hinge bolted on the tongue. Now, what we're gonna do is we're gonna get our 5/8-inch pivot bolt ready That way, when we set the tongue onto our coupler here and align the two slots, we can secure them together. Now, keep in mind, we want the pivot bolt to be on the side that we want the trailer to swing too. So if we put it over here, our tongue is gonna swing this way. If we put it over here, our tongue is gonna swing this way. So keep that in mind when we're installing our bolt. So now that we have the female side attached to our tongue here, we can go ahead and set it into position on the trailer. So once we have it into position, we're gonna grab our 5/8-inch diameter hinge bolt, which looks like this. You wanna apply some lubricant to the bolt there. And now, we can go ahead and set it into position. Now, we do have two sets of holes here that we can insert this in. We're gonna be installing the bolt in the side that we want the swing-away to go. So if we install it in this side, our trailer tongue is gonna come out this way. If we install it in this side, it's gonna come out this way. We have our steps in the way over here, so obviously, we want it to come this way, so we're going to install it in this side. And then, we have our lock nut underneath to secure it, and once we have it in there, we'll tighten and torque it down to the specifications in your instructions. So if you're wondering what size wrench and socket you need, it's gonna be 15/16. So now that we have our bolt in place, we'll go ahead and grab our tongue here and swing it out to verify everything functions correctly. And once we've done that, we can line everything up and install our pivot pin here. Again, a nice light coat of grease will work great for this, and we'll just simply secure it at the bottom here with our clip. So what we need to do next is in your kit here, you're gonna get these little rubber bumper pads. So if you look on the coupler side here of our hinge, you're gonna see two little holes here in the casting. So we're actually gonna be installing those plugs or bumpers, whatever you wanna call 'em, into those holes. It is a pretty tight fit, so I would get some oil or some grease just to help get those in place, and we'll just shove them into position. So yeah, it's definitely a little bit easier if you have a flathead there just to pry those sections into place there. You wanna be careful not to damage the rubber though. So next, we're gonna be installing our safety chains into the hole that we drilled earlier behind the male portion of our hinge. So we're actually gonna be reusing the existing hardware that the customer had to secure the safety chains. But as we mentioned, we are gonna need longer chains due to changing the connection point significantly further back. So what we're gonna do is we're just gonna take one of our open end of our links here, we're gonna slip, in this case, it's a 1/2-inch bolt through that link there. Sometimes, it can be kinda tight. And then, we have a flat washer on there. And we'll just simply slide that through the frame like so. And then, we'll jump on the other side to show you the connection over there. So now on the other side here, we'll simply take our other link, slide that over the bolt like so. We're gonna place on a flat washer, a split lock washer, and then our hex nut. Once we get that threaded on there, we'll go ahead and tighten everything down. So if you remember from before, we actually had our tongue jack mounted on this section of the frame here between our coupler and where we have the hinge installed now. But obviously, that's not gonna work for this setup here. You're not gonna be able to swing the tongue out if we have the tongue jack on this section. So we actually need to go ahead and move that. And the correct location to move this is really gonna depend on your setup here. It's gonna be very specific to your application. Sometimes, you can actually mount them on the section behind the hinge here. But this particular one, we have some steps in the way, and we can't put it over here because it's gonna impede the swing-out function. So the best location for the tongue jack here on this particular application is going to be to the side of the A frame here. So now, we've got everything pretty much wrapped up for the swing-away installation. Now, what we're going to do is, if you remember earlier in the video, we removed all the lines and brake wires from inside the tongue of the trailer here. So what we're gonna do now is we're just gonna reinsert all those lines and wires. Keep in mind, this is obviously gonna be a little bit different, depending on whether or not you have surge brakes, but we're just gonna repeat the same process that we did earlier, but in reverse. And that's gonna do it today for our look and installation of the Fulton folding trailer tongue..


Questions and Comments about this Video

Info for these parts were:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Cole B
Installed by:
Cole B

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