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A new challenge # 2


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Over the years I've been playing around with these.


No, these cost more than a buck, a lot more than a buck depending on "WHO YOU TRY TO BUY THEM FROM".

Lets say I've been obsessed with these, these have not been my friends. You might have seen me sniffing around abandoned TrailerSavers and abandoned heads trying to snag these in any condition. Since the "marriage" to these has been tenuous, my marriage councilor suggested that I try to "reach out" and be more understanding. This I did,


as you can see "my understanding" has been very thorough, I spared you guys all the numbers, didn't want you guys to catch "dimentia".

Few years back I took my "understanding" to a shop and they were actually able to come up with "close relatives".




But these were like "relatives" who were raised and live in Hollywood, beautiful folks but frankly you can't afford them to come for a visit too often.



Recently there has been a "new development", so I'm at it again.



This only proves one point, if the "marriage is lousy" no amount of marriage counseling, advice from friend or relatives will do any good in the long run. Sooner or later one party will wander of the reservation, or try to find a more "compatible partner".

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And just when do you sleep ???? :)

Anxious to see what you finally come up with on this.

Cheers Man,


Bob, I sleep very well, THESE DAYS!. Remember, last year I moved permanently to Paradise, which means I have gained annually at least 5-6 months of quality time FOR MYSELF. It looks like both Christmas and New Years Eve will "sport" temperatures in the low 80's. In my previous digs 5-6 months a year it ranged from tolerable, to somewhat tolerable, to not tolerable to obnoxious and finally to disgusting. In the last location, latitude 43 degrees and longitude 72 degrees, the disgusting period comprised of at least three months. Today, we spent pleasant couple of hours at a local machine shop discussing the construction of the jigs necessary to machine the raw castings.

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Henry, are those hard-face beads on the machined jaws or just something to decrease slack when the locking block is in place ??? Just curious. Charlie

All jaws are cast (old and new), actually "over-cast" to allow for machining to fit. Fairly complex jig is required to make everything work with the tolerances needed (you can't achieve those tolerances even with investment casting and nowhere near with sand casting). The old jaws were actually removed from a working head, you are seeing machined portions which were actually in contact with each other and "working".

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The Binkley head which has been in production probably for over 3 decades has one of the best king pin locking systems in the industry, you are essentially looking at it here. At one time it was considered a "small commercial head". As with any long standing product it could stand some "upgrades and improvements" in other areas, but the jaws and the jaw lock work very well.

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Are the original Binkley jaws cast or forged (I know you said the "old" jaws were cast)? It seems to me that a forging would be the way to go, albeit far more expensive for tooling and setup costs, due to its greater material strength compared to casting. For instance, I believe chain hooks are generally forged.

I might be a little concerned about strength for a cast steel part... Of course if the original Binkley jaws never break and have been in use for 30 years as a standard design, then obviously the strength of the material as a casting is just fine!

Are those new parts sand cast or investment cast? They look like a good-quality sand casting from where I sit. Nice work!


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Both parts "old" and "new" were sand cast, I suspect that the old parts, besides being machined where needed were also glass beaded to improve the surface "look", but I am guessing here.

Investment casting will produce better detail but it costs more as do the tools. In manufacturing, unless you work for the aerospace industry or the military industrial complex you use the method that will produce good parts at reasonable costs.

Looking at an "older" example, most of the parts for the prototype ET were waterjet cut.


Very pretty and very accurate, I'm sure this fabricating method contributed significantly to the fact that this prototype cost over $6,000 (no, that was not the sell price, that was the cost to build the first one)

All the parts in new ETs are plasma cut.


I'd venture to say, they look and work just fine at significantly lower cost.

Pretty is expensive, sort of in the same vein as a Hollywood or a "trophy" wife.

Gorgeous jaws, aren't these?


Machining these cost about 10 times what it cost to sand cast the ones below.


The choice of material for the job follows the same philosophy, anything could have been used to cast these from pig iron to inconel and everything in between. But, between pig iron (or grey iron) and steel there is a whole range of alloys known as ductile irons. There are five grades typically used for casting and depending on the chemical composition of the trace elements combined with iron they have different mechanical properties which then can be matched with the application. One of the "desirable" properties of the ductile iron is its low shrinkage rate during casting which is quite a challenge with steels, particularly in castings with large cross sections.

If you look carefully in the above picture you'll notice two parts (a jaw and a block) which were cut in the major thickness area to see if there was any evidence of internal shrinkage, there were none.

My next challenge is finding an procuring a new "expensive" "toy" to deal with these. This will require a trip to Miami to check on couple, but until then "mum's the word".

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Will those new jaws be in my hitch? Just wondering.

It depends how the "process" evolves, it might take some time to set everything in motion. Your hitch will have a SuperBinkley, as shown below.


if I remember right did we discuss making an oversize and thicker base plate to span the rails in one shot?

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Phoenix--Got a question. I understand that the jaws above "wrap" the pin for even wear and the least slop. But....I also have had the lovely experience of the jaw wedge not QUITE seating and dropping the trailer. I've also wondered if the jaws ever break. My OEM commercial hitch I removed simply had a slightly tapered bar that slide across behind the pin, spring loaded to wedge into a pocket on both sides and fit tightly against the pin. Now, it seems to me that this bar would be extremely hard to NOT hitch properly, and would be REALLY hard to break. Is the downside pin wear? Or is there something I'm missing?


One reason I'm asking is my grain semi has some wear to the plate and I'm considering swapping to my other plate.

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Hitches and hitch heads come in two flavors, with "slop" and without. Sloppy latching is a legacy heads (and hitches) which would articulate only in one plane, forward and back (hard mounted side to side). A head which fully wraps the pin and yet does not tilt side to side will put an awful lot of stress on your fifth. One of my pullers came with a head like that.


It only articulated forward and back. Look at the divots in the head plate, 3/8" deep around the pin and on the perimeter where the edges of the king pin plate dug into the head plate.


I took down the fiberglass around the king pin and there was no damage to the frame around there, but this is a custom rig with custom built frame. Your Lippert frame could not do it, it would crack long before those divots appeared. I have not heard of any fully wrapping, forged or cast, failing. Certainly a pair above would have a good reason to. Before I replaced it with an ET this head has pulled a 22,500 lbs fifth for over 40,000 miles.

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Have not been resting on our ****, ah laurels. Figured that ET-20 and ET-21 parts received should not be used as "ornaments" only.


A very accurate and substantial machining and mounting base has been fabricated.


In the past few days a good bit of engineering was done to develop the machining procedures and sequence for the raw castings. There are six construction planes that are critical, two have to coincide and four have to end up critical distances apart. Every one has an effect on the other five. Today I felt like a "real engineer" (again), I solved that challenge.


Proper alignment achieved, ready for the boring bar.


Boring's done, a precision test pin (diameter 2.000") fits into the jaws with about 0.005" clearance.


Monday we finish couple of minor tasks on the jaws and we move on to the ET-21 (block), that one is relatively easy.

I expect that by Tuesday two heads will be "sporting" ET-20 and ET-21 parts!

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