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Chuck

Comfort Ride hitch issues

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I am aware of 2 Comfort ride hitch failures since the June time frame. The latest happened to an attendee of the New Horizons Rally in Creede. The failures appear to be the same. Failure around the bottom sleeve. Fortunately, the latest failure happened at slow speed coming to a stop, where the trailer brakes pulled the trailer back, destroying the tail gate. Fortunately a rescue party went out and brought the trailer to Creede. The issue is in the process of being resolved. So, what to do. There is enough mental energy expended towing without having to worry about hitch failure. The pic shows my solution. I fished cables through the hitch and locked to the hitch frame. I only lose about 1/2 articulation on the back side. If the hitch broke on my tow rig, it would simply side off and hit the street. Those that use these hitches know they are supposed to be trouble free. It is very difficult to even inspect this failure area. Hope that Comfort ride addresses this issue on a wider scale.

7B5D0F5B-6033-4884-B1E4-2BF52592723A.jpeg

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Was the failure in the head attachment area, or in the head latching area? There have been instances of customers not latching these style heads and jaws (Binkley style heads) completely, resulting in the trailer separating from the head and dropping into the bed.

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I don’t have a 1 1/2” socket to check the bolt. Pick one up this week. A fellow HDT ‘r had a bolt break. That is my first order of business to check, as there is some slop. We will be in Tombstone for some time. There is a good hitch shop in Sierra Vista.  I am also going to replace the sleeve as well as have the bottom unit reinforced. This kind of stuff should not happen!

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Here is a picture of our Comfort Ride failure (left).  Luckily it was a short 200 mile day.  While unhitching, in Nashville we found the whole hitch head bent back and the welds starting to fail.  Campground recommended a welder and we had it reinforced with two steel plates (for and aft), as well as a piece of angle iron (right).  This was several month ago and we now have 2000 miles on the "reinforced" hitch and it's doing great.  nxKA1cvl.jpg

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I got taken to task on a previous thread for the opinion that I thought hitches should be tested to failure prior to being placed on the market to pull 20,000 and bigger trailers down the road.  The argument was “too expensive “, “ over engineered”, etc.  Looking at the last picture of Chuck, tell me that trailer could not have gone careening down the interstate.  Luckily it didn’t.   It is COMPLETELY separated from the hitch base.

Edited by SuiteSuccess

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Can't tell really well with the pics but in the last pic that Chuck posted, is there a sleeve between the two plates where the pin ripped out? If not, that would be my first fix. The second thing I would do is add two vertical gussets on each side between the two plates to box the area in. That section of the hitch receives a lot of force. Some fancy engineers use a lot of words and terms to describe the issue, old farts say "not enough steel, when in doubt, make it stout". That also goes along with the moron theory, "when in doubt, add more on".

Both of those failures occurred at the same place on the hitch and is something that needs to be looked at by a competent, structural or mechanical engineer with good failure analysis software. I also agree with Carl that using a good lab and test to failure would be a big help to find a good fix for the issue.

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Chuck,

When Rick Olson was with Comfort Ride he was very involved in solving  any issues and was very responsive to customers.  Not sure how involved he is since the sale to Roadmaster.  Hope issues get fixed. 

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Howdy All,

I bought my Comfort Ride hitch from Rick, and had it installed along with doing the nessisary frame extension by a shop local to Rick that he recommended.  two and a half years and 30,000 miles late towing a 22,000 pound trailer I have not had a problem.  That said, ANYTHING, can break.  I have kept a close eye on my hitch ever since the first reported failure, I haven't seen any photos of the first one so I can't make any arm chair evaluation of it.

However I was sent four photos of this hitch, one of which shows what I am "ASSUMING" to be this hitch before it failed.  In the photo showing the hitch BEFORE failure it looks to me that the weld going around the tube that surrounds the pivot bolt is BAD in that the weld starts and stops with a distinct gap directly below the bottom of the tube.

As a person who once made my living as a certified welder I would guess that the failure was directly related to a bad weld and especially the stress riser that was caused by the incomplete weld at the bottom of the tube support.  I can't figure out how to post the photos I was sent, "Chad", if your reading this thread and can post up the photos you sent me it sure would be appreciated.  As a welder and fabricator before I bought the Comfort Ride hitch I gave it a darn good look over and it appeared well designed and made to me, but I have no idea what if any type of testing the hitch was subjected to before it was sold commercially.

What we don't know is, was this hitch subjected to extreme forces caused by panic stops or jack rabbit starts, was it built by a competent person, again I point out the weld shown in one of the photos that  I was sent, was the penetration of the weld good or was it just surface flash, was the metal used of the same quality-source as other hitches, lots of questions that need to be answered.  I know that "I" will continue to monitor my hitch and if it shows ANY signs of stress I will pull it and do whatever is nessisary to return it to safe service.

In closing, my thoughts are that this type of failure doesn't just happen, this was going on for some time, there had to be some warning that this was coming, this part of the hitch is a bit hard to see but it is EASY to simply reach in with your fingers and feel if there is any distortion or cracking.  I still feel the major cause of this failure was BAD WELDS looking at the remaining part of the hitch after the tube was ripped from the main part of the hitch there is little to no weld showing, it appears that the tube was ripped out leaving no weld material behind, this should have never happened.

Dave

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I raised my hitch up and also noted the incomplete weld issue. It is about 1/8” on the bottom. Hence my little insurance policy of adding the cables. See pic above. I should be ok until I get to AZ. Also noted play at the pin, like the sleeve is wearing excessively.

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I am happy to post the pictures I sent you Dave, I just want to get permission from the person who sent them to me first.  Assuming I do, I will add them to this thread.

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Just now, Chad Heiser said:

I am happy to post the pictures I sent you Dave, I just want to get permission from the person who sent them to me first.  Assuming I do, I will add them to this thread.

Howdy Chad,

Thanks, the one photo that shows what I "ASSUME" to be the same hitch BEFORE it failed, to me gives a pretty clear indication that the welds at least the weld clearly shown that goes around the main pin support tube to be a bad weld and would allow a stress riser in the area of the hitch that broke.  The bottom of that structure is the most stressed and should be one of the assemblies strongest pionts.

Dave

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I got permission to post the pictures.  Here you go.

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Here is a link to a You Tube video of when the failure occurred.

The only thing that kept the trailer attached to the truck was the tailgate.  The tow vehicle was a pick up in this instance.

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OK, it did have a sleeve installed but the weld doesn't appear to have very much penetration and there is not a lot of meat in that stress area at the bottom of the pin. From the way the front and rear plates are bent, it looks like the weld started to give way at the top due to the plate bending. Personal opinion is that a plate running fore and aft on the sides of the two plates would prevent them from rotating into failure.


Anything can happen with a hitch though and it needs to be looks at by a competent engineer that is familiar with failure analysis to determine if it is a hitch failure or brought about by outside forces. This could be a hitch failure or a user error at this stage but if I had this hitch, I would be looking at it closely to see it something like this has started to develop.

Was this hitch bought before or after Rick sold the company?

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mr. phoenix has some hitch force data recorded which is ver rrr y interesting.... especially regarding tow vehicle brake forces...

Edited by noteven

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