Are you having problems unhooking the trailer hitch from the ball?

Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 2,151Administrator
This seems to be a common issue we hear on the forum area.  This video should help you out and explains what is happening when you have problems getting the hitch off the ball.  


Mike Smith 
Linden, Mi
2015 T@B Max S
Attached Image

Comments

  • HomebodyatheartHomebodyatheart Posts: 1,112Member
    Nice video, clear and simple. He doesn't mention any lubrication of new hitches though. Thanks for the post @Michigan_Mike!
    2017 T@B Max S silver and cherry red, TV 2015 Toyota Highlander L@dybug ("Bug" aka my esc@pe pod), towed by Big Red, or Silver
  • TboneTbone Posts: 21Member
    edited November 2017
    Pitch angle of the tv can be tricky too when  unhitching!

  • TammaraTammara Posts: 32Member
    Tbone said:
    Pitch angle of the tv can be tricky too when  unhitching!

    I think this is my issue.  I back my T@B onto my driveway, so trailer and TV are facing downhill. If I understand the video correctly, the coupler is pushing forward onto the ball, so the locking mechanism cannot disengage.  I need to pull my TV forward a fraction of an inch without my trailer moving forward, by chocking the wheels. 

    Is this correct??
    Would lubricant help at all?
    2017 T@B 320 S     Jeep Cherokee 3.2L V6
    States Visited Map


  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,077Member
    I think chocking the wheels are key and just putting it in D for a sec and moving forward a fraction of an inch. Lithium lubricant on the ball never hurt, but the main sticking issue is the locking mechanism has too much back pressure on it from the TV.
    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha T@B from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a T@Bluver at heart)
  • SAMSAM Posts: 1,405Member
    I agree with Ratkity.  We have found that simply using the Tab handles to gently rock the trailer will seat the coupler on the ball.  If TV and trailer are on even a slight slope, the locking mechanism will stick.  Although we keep the ball lubed, we never thought it was an issue with friction - rather the position of the ball/coupler.
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 2,151Administrator
    edited November 2017
    And as others have noted about this in the past, the hitch does seem to go through somewhat of a break-in period and this process becomes easier over time.  

    I was actually in shock when I picked up my trailer as I had driven just over 10 miles after leaving Massillon, pulled over to get some fuel and to check the trailer (something I do out of habit) and noticed that the locking handle had not been pushed down completely and fully engaged/locked in place.  This is critical and was missed prior to transporting the trailer and hadn't been mentioned to me earlier.  That scared me (images of having the trailer jump off the ball traveling down the highway) at the time and I bought a lock afterwards and always lock the hitch prior to transporting the trailer.

    Lubricating the hitch is a good thing too and does help in maintaining good mechanical function.   


    Mike Smith 
    Linden, Mi
    2015 T@B Max S
    Attached Image
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 3,560Member
    @Michigan_Mike, It would be REALLY nice if the dealers would include proper hitching & un-hitching in their walk-through. It sure would help the frustration factor when 'ya get home & yer scratchin' yer head sayin' to yerself, "Now I KNOW it shouldn't be this hard!!" :o :s =)
    2016 T@B MAX S-aka: WolfT@B
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Eric & Liz  Spokane, Wa.


  • TwojgramsTwojgrams Posts: 538Associate Member
    @ericnliz Agree-I'd go so far as to recommend 2 demonstrations, 1 with the TV angled slightly downhill from the trailer and 1 in a spot with the TV and T@B level. But there's only so much time in a saleswoman' day, so that's likely asking too much.
    John, Judi, Guinness & OD
    T@Bit@t 2015 S Max Outback/2006 V8 4Runner 

  • HR_TalyHR_Taly Posts: 91Member
    edited November 2017
    Here's an interesting video that shows what it looks like underneath when latching/unlatching.

    I also have trouble with mine from time to time - mostly I grab the handles of the T@B and shove back and forth and try, try again. I get it to work, but it does make me slightly anxious each time (I solo, so I don't always have help!).  Mine seems to stick when moving the latch forward to close it - even when empty and not on the trailer ball.  It's odd.




    2018 T@B Max S silver and black (aka TadT@B), Full-timing since July 2017

  • TammaraTammara Posts: 32Member
    Thank you @Michigan_Mike for the initial video and @HR_Taly for the one above.  They have helped tremendously in understanding how my latch works.

    @HR_Taly, I also solo and sometimes have some difficulty, and have wiggled my trailer and tried repeatedly. I understand that anxious feeling.  I don't know if I will have an easier time, now that I understand how the hitch works and have a better idea of which way to wiggle the trailer or move my TV, but I will have a bit more confidence.  

    I am going camping in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to putting the knowledge into practice. 
    2017 T@B 320 S     Jeep Cherokee 3.2L V6
    States Visited Map


  • mickietucsmickietucs Posts: 642Member
    Perhaps while at T@Bazona, we could get some "in-person" tips/demonstration from someone willing to duplicate the difficulty when the trailer is angled downward - not sure that's possible but a visual lesson would be great. After having mine for a few years I just recently had this issue at a campground and had to ask for help to get the coupler off (and back on) - must have been on a slight angle!
    Michele, Tucson, AZ. TV - '13 F150 & '16 T@Bitha special order.



    "Travel changes us. We don’t even have to try. We simply need a little willingness-and a decent pair of shoes."  (author - McCarthy, Longest Way Home...").

  • CincyKidCincyKid Posts: 3Member
    Just another thing to try.  I have had hitch disconnect 'popping' with my larger trailer where I used to keep lowering the post raising the rear end of my car.  Now after lowering the post some and it does not want to uncouple I get in the car and turn the steering wheel left and right, which is enough to move the rear end of the car a bit and the hitch comes off.  Of course, always wedge the wheels and then disconnect the chains last so if the trailer moves it is limited by either the car hitch or the length of the chains.
  • JandJ92010JandJ92010 Posts: 307Member
    The only time that I had trouble unhooking the hitch, I just pulled the pin that holds the hitch in the receiver and just pulled my TV ahead a few inches. That was easy.
    The HobbiT@B, 2015-L, towed by a2014 RAM C/V
  • TorzanneTorzanne Posts: 30Member
    We park our T@B on our driveway which has a very steep incline. Absolutely no issues when we're camping on level ground but unhooking on our driveway always requires a crowbar. Chocking and pulling forward will release the locking mechanism but then I need to back up again to release the coupler which doesn't budge without the crowbar. I do wonder if I'm damaging the hitch or wearing it down. 
  • TorzanneTorzanne Posts: 30Member
    Forgot to mention that lots of swearing is also required to unhitch in our driveway. I'm sure our neighbors find it entertaining. 
  • SAMSAM Posts: 1,405Member
    Torzanne, JandJ92010 has the answer for you!
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • dsfdogsdsfdogs Posts: 20Member
    Excellent videos, thank you. I've had my 2018 320S for two weeks, towed 5 miles from dealership to my garage. We got it unhitched with some struggles. Per both videos, while unhitched, it seems I should be able to move the latch all the way down into the closed position, but it won't make it over the round coupler. It's in the open position now. Is this normal? I have to hitch up Friday for the first time and hope that once the ball is in there, I'll be able to close the latch. Thanks. 
    Debbie in Central Oregon
    2018 T@B 320 S, TV: 2006 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4WD
  • SAMSAM Posts: 1,405Member
    You should be able to close the coupler when unhitched as that allows you to place a tongue lock.  Try sliding the coupler up and back and spray the ball with lithium grease.  The coupler joints may be a little stiff, so work it multiple times to get it to cooperate.
    Sharon and John - Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Blue and Silver 2017 CSS towed by a 2015 Salsa Red Toyota Sienna
  • dsfdogsdsfdogs Posts: 20Member
    edited November 2017
    Thanks @SAM you are right, I should be able to lock it. I had previously read about silicon spray so used that liberally and success! Thank you.
    Debbie in Central Oregon
    2018 T@B 320 S, TV: 2006 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4WD
  • tabiphiletabiphile Posts: 15Member
    dsfdogs said:
    I had previously read about silicon spray so used that liberally and success! Thank you.
    A silicone spray is the correct choice to lubricate your ball and coupler. Unlike greases it will not carry and accumulate dirt. Liberally applied it will actually help lift out/remove dirt. The spray provides a short term friction that helps to overcome the metal on metal locking forces that occur even with very minimal misalignment....since there is no way to avoid misalignment's it can be a very helpful tool to keep handy. Rocking the hitch and TV also help but if you are close and unable to get the lock to drop, don't be shy about moving the vehicle a few inches/feet to help it drop in. You won't lose your trailer if the ball is seated. This is not a freak out situation unless you happen to drive off and forget it....
    The issue that you are trying to overcome is a perfect locking situation manifested by the force alignments in the coupler and it's relationship to the ball. Simple mechanics can help to address this by either changing the force vectors or the friction.... so move it, spray it or do both.... and spray the ball,not just the coupler....
    Do not use WD40...it is not a lubricant.
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 2,151Administrator
    edited December 2017
    dsfdogs said:
    Thanks @SAM you are right, I should be able to lock it. I had previously read about silicon spray so used that liberally and success! Thank you.
    I agree with tabaphile, rocking the trailer a bit back and forth with your tow vehicle will help seat the tongue properly and allow the locking latch to be pushed down completely.   These are critical issues as the latch must be engaged in the down position or you risk losing the trailer while in transit.  This is something most of us have encountered and this task will become easier with time, effort, knowledge and knowing exactly how the tongue deploys, seats and rests in the final position.  There is also a break-in period too for this mechanism and it does operate better with use, wear and while riding on the ball.  
    My biggest fears here for new owners is that people might lean toward using a hammer and pound the latch mechanism downward to get it to seat.   This is something you never want to do as over time you will deform and bend the locking ends and latch and could easily end up in a rollover situation if the trailer were to come off the ball traveling down the expressway, etc.  Familiarity with this task will make it easier and will allow you to travel safely and without the anxiety that these issues create.  


    Mike Smith 
    Linden, Mi
    2015 T@B Max S
    Attached Image
  • dsfdogsdsfdogs Posts: 20Member
    edited December 2017
    Thanks @Michigan_Mike, no hammers for me! My issue above was while I was unhitched and I couldn't get that moving piece that slides forward into a locked position to move. It's like it was stuck hitting the top of the rounded section-for the life of me, couldn't figure out how it was going to get over the rounded coupler section. Well, once I sprayed with silicone and it moved, THEN I could see there is a channel on each side that the two side bolts slide back and forth in, that allows the coupler thing to move forward and close. I had no idea!  :o 
    Friday I had to hitch (for the first time) and it was a beautiful thing. I sprayed the ball with silicon and the hitch easily dropped in place. Unhitching was just as awesome.  :)
    Debbie
    Debbie in Central Oregon
    2018 T@B 320 S, TV: 2006 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4WD
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Posts: 2,151Administrator
    edited December 2017
    It's amazing what a little lubrication does for moving parts (no pun intended!) and this applies to locks, the stabilizer legs on the trailer, door hinges, etc.   I'll also add in another reminder for the door lock assembly and checking the screws and alignment as that seems to be an issue and many have found the screws have loosened up, with one member becoming locked inside his T@B one summer too!   :o

    We DO have a lot of fun here on the forum and when camping!    =) =) =)
    Mike Smith 
    Linden, Mi
    2015 T@B Max S
    Attached Image
  • TammaraTammara Posts: 32Member
    GREAT SUCCESS!!!
    Having a better understanding of how my coupler and lock work (especially on an incline) and a bit of lubricant made this weekend's outing a breeze. I usually hitch my trailer up and carefully take it from my driveway to the level street before I can lock it. And when I return, it would take me at least 15 minutes of trying and retrying to release the hitch.

    Thank you for the videos, the insight, the tips.
    2017 T@B 320 S     Jeep Cherokee 3.2L V6
    States Visited Map


  • Restless_NativeRestless_Native Posts: 97Member
    Thanks Mike. Like others, I’ve had this happen but didn’t know why. Never knew whether I should pull forward or back. Good to know the “workings” of the hitch!
    Amanda, Ft. Myers, FL Ag@tha 2017 T@B CS-S  , TV: 2013 Chevy Equinoz LTZ
    http://visitedstatesmap.com/image/FLGALAMENYOHVAeb2b9a0fc3402f34fd7d901324491501539129xlg.jpg
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