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Brad NSW

Comfort Ride Hitch Failure today - Welded and holding!

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Drove 180miles to Nashville, TN today and found this as I unhitched (see photo). 

Called and left a message (today/Sunday) with the new company that bought Comfort Ride.  We'll see what they say/can do?

Help: Anyone have recommendations on a new hitch brand, and somewhere near Nashvillethat can install on an HDT?

Wasn't like this when we left this morning and only normal driving (some bumpy interstate) but that's it.

KVJZfR7l.jpg

 

Edited by Brad NSW

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I messaged you on Facebook.  I cannot really participate here since I have a business that sells hitches.

Edited by Jack Mayer

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SuiteSuccess, thanks.  I'm contacting local welders who can reinforce/reweld the existing head for a temp fix. 

I'm thinking  the same pattern but reinforcing it with some fore/aft support!!!

I've sent an e-mail to ET asking about buying a super senior and talked to Jack Mayer who said he can install an ET in KS if I can get it there!!

Bill Perrin also gave me a number to the VP at RoadMaster who I'll call tomorrow to see what he can do about drop shipping a new head box.  

Gotta be at a wedding in S. Carolina in  days!!!

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Hitch Repaired at local welder (CJ Trailers).  He cut out the bent yoke plates, straightened them in a 50T press, then rewelded.  We also added 3 fore/aft plates to stiffen/reinforce that yoke + we welded a 2" angle over the pin.  May be overkill but it's stronger than new.  

From what we can figure, the welds around the pin gave first.  Then the yoke started to bend backwards.  The welds on the yoke were starting to crack, which would have dropped the trailer!!  Glad I only went 150 miles yesterday!!

Now we have to think about a permanent solution!  Thanks for all the references and ideas everyone!

yemxAwNl.jpg

 

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Brad,

Glad you got it fixed.  I think the problem is that our trailers are becoming heavier and heavier and are subjecting the hitches to forces they weren’t experiencing in the past.  I’m not an engineer and don’t pretend to be but none of the present hitches in use for trailers the weight of your New Horizons has been tested to failure prior to coming on the market.  Subsequent generations of these hitches are fixes for “in use” failures.  I know I suffered a Gen 1 ET Hitch failure with an 18,000 pound trailer and part time limited pulling mostly on interstates.  Several other similar failures lead to mods on the Gen 2 and a better hitch, but even with a Gen 2 “revamp” my hitch required re-machining because of out of square weld up and abnormal movement.  Now with jigging and re-producibility at Young’s hopefully that is no longer an issue.  I’m not trying to diss the past or present hitch designers/builders and we’ve had previous debate on failure testing, but think it’s important to learn a lesson from your experience.  Every pre-trip should also include the hitch components and a comprehensive inspection should probably be done twice yearly.

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SuiteSuccess  - agree, especially with the pin behind the axles, which adds a lot of extra bounce/motion!  I always do a good pre-trip inspection and walk around at rest stops.  

We head out tomorrow for a 250 mile day, which will include several stops to monitor the repair.  But with the added structure I don't anticipate issues (fingers crossed)!

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Also as a learning point.  Probably a good practice to attach your break away cable to a point separate than the head of your hitch.  I’ve seen one on a pickup and lighter hitch attached to a cotter pin holding in a rail pin.  Not the best idea.

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Carl, I'm still involved in ETs (just don't build them anymore) My website is still up, I field many question and welcome anyone who wants to "chat" or get advice. If they need an ET I turn them over to PopUp at Young's. Young's hired me to to do the "fun stuff", engineering. You can see the new easier mounting scheme for ETs on the other thread on this site. Several new models of ET are being created, including the gooseneck version and there will be a baby ET designed soon. Also new Phoenix bed probably will happen next year. Fun fun.

The ability to recognize if there is a weakness in a design if paramount, particularly if the market changes. The fifth wheel trailers have grown dramatically heavier in a relatively short period of time over the last decade. Yours was a perfect example behind the Gen 1 ET, hence the introduction of Gen 2 design, when I saw those issues. And as you remember I didn't leave owners of Gen 1 in a lurch, I offered an upgrade to those hitches, with an exception of few that I don't know where they are all Gen 1s have been upgraded. If you think this is the end, Jack and Mark were telling me about rigs in high 30K GVW with almost 9K pinweight. For those we came up with a SSS (tripple S) ET (Super Super Senior), it has some serious beef in it. But that is not the case with competition, they keep building what they had for years and that's that. I have a competitive hitch in my garage (replaced with an ET), completely demolished by a 30K GVW fifth over a period of 3 years and approximately 40,000 miles traveled. It's a good hitch but not for 30K trailers and looking at it I can see exactly while it failed and what I would change in it to work fine with 30K trailers. But, it's not my job to "help them out".

Having a sticker on a hitch saying "Max GVW 32K" (pretty common), is not necessarily a "statement of fact". On many hitches that I see there is probably a fervent desire that they are never hitched up to a 32K fifth and they rarely are. When they are "interesting" things show up.

Young's is producing Gen 5 ETs, I know personally of half a dozen Gen 3 and Gen 4 ETs pulling low to mid 30K fifths

Edited by phoenix2013

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Henry,

I hope you don’t take my comments as a personal attack.  That is not the purpose of this discussion.  I only have experience with the ET so I can’t comment on the engineering or strength of the others.  Your design is brilliant but I take exception with the execution.  I still stand firmly behind the idea that at least the prototype of ANY hitch pulling the weights we are carrying should be tested to failure either by computer or mechanical modeling PRIOR to hitting the market.  My Gen 1 rods (through the dog bones) were cracked with the top rod failing completely and the bottom rod was cracked also. Gen 1 owners were the test bed.  If it had failed completely the head assembly could have separated and an 18,000 pound trailer would have been free to careen around the highway possibly harming or killing innocents.  Brad’s pictures point to the fact with further back and forth motion his flanges could have failed and his head assembly separated resulting in a 25,000 pound trailer being loose..  I paid for the Gen 2 “remanufactured” sled but quickly found it was out of square and required extensive re-machining to square and beef up.  A fellow HDTer will verify the asymmetric loads that were being placed on my “new” sled.  It would have eventually failed.  I am glad Young’s is making the ET and hopefully jigging and quality controlling the product.  I’m glad you’re still involved with your baby.  Boeing didn’t just load up 300 folks in a 777 and fly through all conditions until a wing failed.  They sacrificed multiple $10 million wings to be sure.  Profits should never outweigh safety.  Ford know’s what that feels like.

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3 hours ago, phoenix2013 said:

Carl, I'm still involved in ETs (just don't build them anymore) My website is still up, I field many question and welcome anyone who wants to "chat" or get advice. If they need an ET I turn them over to PopUp at Young's. Young's hired me to to do the "fun stuff", engineering. . . . 

Henry, appreciate you’re still “involved”.  

Our ET is about 30,000 miles young pulling our 22,500 lbs rig. Aside from a pre-trip visual, I routinely grab the head and try to shake it and I find little displacement. But my examination is a pretty crude go, no-go test. We’re real pleased with your hitch, though some point down the road, I suspect we may need to refresh it and replace worn components. 

I’d like to know your recommendations for periodic inspection of the ET series of hitches. What are the key wear areas and parameters we should be monitoring and at what frequency would you recommend?

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4 minutes ago, phoenix2013 said:

Jim, do you have the newer square head or the older round Binkley head?

We have the round Binkley.  The jaw locking block is stamped F   ET-21

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Carl, I do take it personally. As I recall I suggested to you that we swap out your original Gen 1 ET long before the upper shaft let go. You chose not to do it until it broke on the way to the Hutch Rally and became an emergency. As I recall I made the ultimate effort to arrive at the Rally with a replacement hitch and take care of it at the Rally. As you might also recall, I've replaced other Gen 1 hitches at other Rallies for customers who decided not to wait until it broke. As far as Gen 1 owners being a test bed don't forget I was one of them. Long after I redesigned it and took care of many Gen 1's, mine upper shaft cracked too, after a very hard emergency stop and yes thanks to my (redundant dogbones) "brilliant design" I didn't fret. I immobilized the hitch from moving and continued my trip of 1,600 miles until I could get to a point where I could do the repair. Another customer quite recently had the same issue with his Gen 1. I described to him the "procedure" I used and he drove several hundred miles to his destination where he could do a swap. I believe you arrived to the Rally with your trailer still attached. So your statement  "If it had failed completely the head assembly could have separated and an 18,000 pound trailer would have been free to careen around the highway possibly harming or killing innocents" has a nice sensationalist touch but it doesn't happen and didn't happen in the real world on three actual occasions.

I know what Dave did to his and your hitch to re-square it, yes he's a brilliant engineer and fabricator and he made it better, you can make anything better. But again I challenge the notion that without doing this the hitch was unsafe or " If it had failed completely the head assembly could have separated and an 18,000 pound trailer would have been free to careen around the highway possibly harming or killing innocents"

Duplicating what Boeing and Ford does, again has a nice touch, but is totally unrealistic for millions of companies and manufacturers. ETs were always put together with jigs and fixtures, but that only works to a point on such a large and complex assembly. When I was at Young's we got rid of many of the jigs, why, because they have millions of dollars of machinery capable of making parts that fit perfectly without the jigs.

Edited by phoenix2013

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1 hour ago, Jim & Wilma said:

We have the round Binkley.  The jaw locking block is stamped F   ET-21

You have one of the last batches of the Binkley head I used prior to switching to the square Super Binkley. Did I show you that "grab and shake" routine for the Binkley test? You have a heavy rig but as long as  you have minimal motion in the two lateral shafts on either side of the head you are OK. The original Binkleys heads do quite well in longevity on ETs because of the anti-chucking feature which lessens the forward and back impact. It's the hard forward and back impact on other hitches that kills those shafts and they are not repairable, not easy.

As far as the jaws are concerned you should be able to move them by hand when they are in the open position. There is a spring in the back of them, but if they are (properly) loose you should be able to overcome it with your fingers. If it gets to the point when you need a tool (like a screwdriver) to move them they need some attention (which I can suggest).

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I think the turn this discussion has taken should be reviewed by "time & place" standards.  This forum doesnt seem to me to be the place and this topic not the time to discuss this topic.  Perhaps a more discreet method of communication.

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3 minutes ago, rpsinc said:

I think the turn this discussion has taken should be reviewed by "time & place" standards.  This forum doesnt seem to me to be the place and this topic not the time to discuss this topic.  Perhaps a more discreet method of communication.

My apologies.  You are right.  I will stand down.

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I find this all this very interesting, as an observer.  I am using a TrailerSaver, clearly not in the same league as the ET, but it's working for our little 21k# trailer.

What intrigues me, is why nobody's gone the route of modifying a commercial hitch to float, or, making a "real" floating pin box to work with a commercial hitch>  Clearly, the single jaw used for the commercials is strong enough, likely far superior to the twin opposing jaw design, plus it allows for articulation without adding more wear (failure) points.

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43 minutes ago, rickeieio said:

I find this all this very interesting, as an observer.  I am using a TrailerSaver, clearly not in the same league as the ET, but it's working for our little 21k# trailer.

What intrigues me, is why nobody's gone the route of modifying a commercial hitch to float, or, making a "real" floating pin box to work with a commercial hitch>  Clearly, the single jaw used for the commercials is strong enough, likely far superior to the twin opposing jaw design, plus it allows for articulation without adding more wear (failure) points.

The problem is the space, only 7 inches, the rails are at 40 inches the commercial hitch is 7 inches, hence the industry standard of 47 inches from ground. I've been bantering with it for 2-3 years, and doing weird and expensive stuff I got it down to 9 inches including the 1 inch that  I "stole" from the frame (there is 1 inch in between the rails down to the brace that spans the rails). I know of only two people that could use such a hitch, two guys who absolutely thought that they needed a really short small cab truck. Every time I got going on it I had this thought, "how much effort I want to put into something that will end up with a market of two"?

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9 hours ago, phoenix2013 said:

 

As far as the jaws are concerned you should be able to move them by hand when they are in the open position. There is a spring in the back of them, but if they are (properly) loose you should be able to overcome it with your fingers. If it gets to the point when you need a tool (like a screwdriver) to move them they need some attention (which I can suggest).

Hi Henry,

The square head replacement of the trailersaver Binkley has worked well so far with our ancient Trailersaver.  So far the jaws have stayed loose, but what is the recommendation for keeping them this way?

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42 minutes ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

Hi Henry,

The square head replacement of the trailersaver Binkley has worked well so far with our ancient Trailersaver.  So far the jaws have stayed loose, but what is the recommendation for keeping them this way?

I liberally coated the jaws, the pins going through the jaws and the block with a copper anti seize compound. I you think about it, there is very little motions on the jaws, only few times in the season when you hitch and unhitch, so that compound should work for years. People who made Binkleys didn't do that, I took enough of them apart to know. So basically a raw metal, pins, were in contact with raw metal, jaw pin holes, in the elements. No way to get in there and grease things. Moisture, rain, would migrate in there and the pin outer surfaces would rust together with pin holes inner surfaces. I've had an older Binkley so rusted that a shop put it on a 50 ton press, when it broke the rust that pin literally exploded out of that head. So if they move freely the anti-seize compound is still working nicely. The lateral shafts require nothing, they have non greasable composite bearings on them.

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Didn't the possibility of installing a couple of grease fittings on the Trailersaver come up a year or 2 ago?  I thought someone did just that.  Trailersaver wasn't too happy and  didn't feel it was needed and would void the warranty.  Without lubrication the main pin wears the hole oblong and you get fore and aft slap.  Mine did and so did a hitch I saw at a WCR a few years ago.

I think a machine shop could drill and install one on each side providing the strength of the hitch wasn't compromised. My Trailer is 22.5k.

 

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