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Trailer ball rant

Alan Glos

Active Member
2019 is almost over, but there is still time for one last nautical rant. Why in the name of common sense do small trailers come with a 1 7/8" -or- 2" diameter hitch ball rig? Why not make 2" the standard rig and be done with it? Is there any logical reason why both exist? There is a real safety issue. You can put a 2" hitch on a 1 7/8" ball and
might not notice the difference until you hit a pothole and the hitch disconnects at 60 mph! Case in point: The usual ball I have on my VW is 1 7/8". A few weeks ago, I drove 4 hours away to buy a nice Sunfish with a small trailer. I assumed the trailer had a 1 7/8" hitch, but when I got there and hitched it up, I noticed a lot of play in the rig, and discovered the trailer was rigged for a 2" ball. Fortunately I had a 2" ball with me that I swapped out for my usual 1 7/8" ball and drove home without incident.

For the life of me, I can see no reason to have two rigs only 1/8" different. Does anybody know why both exist?

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Has to do with the amount of weight you are towing. Hopefully the correct coupler
size was mounted on the trailer tongue. There are four sizes and it's unlikely you
will need the 3 inch ball for 30000 lbs. My guess is that ball would only be for
farm equipment or a aircraft tow bar. Best thing if you buy and sell trailers is
to get a 3 ball coupler. You only have to remove and rotate to get the correct
ball facing up. When you lock the hitch down pull up on the tongue to check
for excessive play. Many times the hitch lock is not adjusted correctly. I also use
oversize safety chains and always a key lock on the tongue lock lever. A lot of
deaths come from improperly attached trailers simply because they were too
lazy to put a pin or key lock in the tongue lever. I was behind a trailer once
that detached and pull itself over to the side of the road. Stupid @#$% farmer
had tied the trailer to his truck with Binder-Twine.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Has to do with the amount of weight you are towing. Hopefully the correct coupler
size was mounted on the trailer tongue. There are four sizes and it's unlikely you
will need the 3 inch ball for 30000 lbs. My guess is that ball would only be for
farm equipment or a aircraft tow bar. Best thing if you buy and sell trailers is
to get a 3 ball coupler. You only have to remove and rotate to get the correct
ball facing up. When you lock the hitch down pull up on the tongue to check
for excessive play. Many times the hitch lock is not adjusted correctly. I also use
oversize safety chains
and always a key lock on the tongue lock lever. A lot of
deaths come from improperly attached trailers simply because they were too
lazy to put a pin or key lock in the tongue lever. I was behind a trailer once
that detached and pull itself over to the side of the road. Stupid @#$% farmer
had tied the trailer to his truck with Binder-Twine.
...and cross the chains...
 

Coastal Redneck

Active Member
Excellent observations from Webfoot1, road safety is important... as a former OTR truck driver, I saw more trailer wrecks than I can remember, and improper hookups were often the reason for the wrecks. One guy's trailer detached at freeway speed and totally disintegrated... a swath of wreckage extended down the interstate, lol. The guy's whole life as a trailer hand lay exposed for all to see as the cop waved folks by on the shoulder... moi, I like a bit more privacy, lol. :confused:
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I agree Alan, I finally got all of our trailers swapped over to 2 inch. But I also carry a 1 7/8 for pickin.

Here's Eddie, he's been building boat trailers for 25 years now. On Skipper's trailer he changed the coupler over to 2 inch, replaced the tongue, put on a new winch and bow stop. The frame also got new tires, wheels, hubs, axle, springs, bunks, bunk hardware, rollers, brackets and LED lights. The frame is original, been in the family since the 90s.

Eddie Audrey.JPG
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
"...You only have to remove and rotate to get the correct
ball facing up. When you lock the hitch down pull up on the tongue to check
for excessive play. Many times the hitch lock is not adjusted correctly. I also use
oversize safety chains and always a key lock on the tongue lock lever. A lot of
deaths come from improperly attached trailers simply because they were too
lazy to put a pin or key lock in the tongue lever. I was behind a trailer once
that detached and pull itself over to the side of the road. Stupid @#$% farmer
had tied the trailer to his truck with Binder-Twine.
1) Twine is cheap...

2) Ever wonder why Dodge changed to "Ram".

3) Secure the boat...use lots of twine...


Fullscreen capture 812019 72642 AM.bmp.jpg
:eek:
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Usually it slides off backwards when people rely on the ratchet strap. I always
bolt a separate chain to the winch post and hook to the bow eye. Looks like
the above disaster was relying on the weight of the boat to keep it on the
trailer as no rear straps are apparent.

When use to joke about how Dodge advertised their trucks as "Ram Tough" yet
got beat into submission by Northern Michigan roads and deer impacts as did
all.
 

US 1214

Member
Hey! I drove by that accident. It was more comical... err... worse than the picture shows. The boat was just pulled out of the water and wasn’t tied down to anything. Trucked stopped to fast, and well physics is physics. The boat hit the cab like a ramp and landed on the car in front of the truck. The forward car was being towed during this picture.

Left the sun shade up for extra lift :D

No one was hurt miraculously.
 

Coastal Redneck

Active Member
Meh, some powerboat operator perfecting his technique to correctly dock, a la Rodney Dangerfield in "CADDYSHACK"---best scene in that flick was when Rodney dropped anchor through Ted Knight's boat, LOL. :confused:
 

Coastal Redneck

Active Member
Awwwww... don't we get to see the anchor-dropping scene? I'd find it myself, but I'm too busy drinking beer & watching football, lol. That IS a funny scene with the gal christening the boat, but the anchor-dropping scene is better... Rodney was CLASSIC in that flick, but then again, he's ALWAYS classic, AYE??? :rolleyes:
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
All those guys were great back then. You had truly funny people trying to act instead of actors
trying to be funny. Also needed a really strong director to keep'em from running amok and destroying
the movie. Let us all remember Spielberg's 1941 as a cautionary tail. Still I wish Hollywood had the
stones to risk another 1941 rather than the rehash/retread big money bombs we get today. Caddy Shack,
Ghost Busters, the original Star Wars, all happy accidents. Sail on Rodney and gang, we all miss you.
 

Coastal Redneck

Active Member
Yes, I miss the days when movies were made for entertainment, not political purposes & propaganda... :confused:

Moi, I like the old westerns, "JOE KIDD" would be a fine example with its majestic Mt. Whitney scenery in the background, plus the excellent bouldering in the Alabama Hills, lol... the Spaghetti Westerns were good too, some of Clint Eastwood's best, Sergio Leone & Ennio Morricone made for a good combo. :rolleyes:
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Once Upon A Time In The West, best movie ever next to the original Seven Samurai. That western
played the space between the notes. Most of the time it was just characters looking a each other
and man was it great. Opening sequence still just blows me away. Reminds me of someone
who said about STTOS, "Kirk, Spock and McCoy would be interesting if they ran a donut shop."
Deforest Kelley was also a great talent who could play both the white hat or the black hat.
 

norcalsail

Active Member
I want to thank Alan for pointing out the safety issues of having a 2" hitch on a 1 7/8" ball. I haven't made this mistake but these are the type of reminders that keep us (me) safe. After a bit of messing around with tie downs, I feel I have finally found a very secure system to transport the Sunfish. "I'm just a country doctor Jim!"
 
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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I want to thank Alan for pointing out the safety issues of having a 2" hitch on a 1 7/8" ball. I haven't made this mistake but these are the type of reminders that keep us (me) safe. After a bit of messing around with tie downs, I feel I have finally found a very secure system to transport the Sunfish. "I'm just a country doctor Jim!"
While this is interesting, it gets away from the central theme of this thread - the movies.

Getting us back on topic, everyone should see Knives Out. And if you haven’t seen The Color Purple, you should and it’s available on demand.
 
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