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Thread: Trailer hitch--grease?

  1. #1

    Default Trailer hitch--grease?

    Does anyone put grease on the ball of the trailer hitch? I never have, but my new ,larger, boat has been lifting the back of my truck up every time I raise the trailer off of the hitch. It's stuck on there, and I have to move the truck a little forward/backward to get it unstuck.

    Will grease make the trailer pop off easier? Could grease on the ball cause problems? If you do add grease, what kind do you recomend?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Does not sound like it is a 'hitch stuck' problem as much as a problem with your latch mechanism.
    I do not use any type of liquid lubricant, but do occasionally give it a shot of powdered graphite

  3. #3

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    I use plain old grease that I use to lube my truck chasis with. Still, sometimes when I try to jack up the tongue I have to move my truck forward or back so that it releases. Not a faulty mechanism.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Your hitch is a moving part. A lot more than you might think. On long runs towing, yes I lube it. On short runs I don't.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    You also want the grease to reduce friction. It is amazing the heat that it will build.
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  6. #6

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    Yes, grease will reduce friction initially. But it also attracts dust and dirt which will cause more wear than clean steel on steel. Long trips like trips the lower 48, it may be a good idea.

    Not to mention you will rubbing up against and get grease everywhere.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heathkiks View Post
    Yes, grease will reduce friction initially. But it also attracts dust and dirt which will cause more wear than clean steel on steel. Long trips like trips the lower 48, it may be a good idea.

    Not to mention you will rubbing up against and get grease everywhere.
    I guess I should pull the grease from my trailer bearings, then.
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    Sometimes if you're on uneven ground the shoe on the coupler will get hung up on the ball. Could just need to be adjusted a bit.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post


    I guess I should pull the grease from my trailer bearings, then.
    I hope your bearings are sealed

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the info. A coworker said that it is because they are surge brakes. He said the coupler under the hitch gets stuck on the ball from the surging of the trailer, and that it is a common problem.

  11. #11

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    Yes, I use a dab of the same lithium grease that I use on my trailer. Yes, it attracts dirt and when I'm not towing, I wipe it off. I've run into some issues with the hitch getting hung up and it appeared that the ball was jammed to the back of the coupler like would happen if I was backing up an incline. I am now in the habit of setting chocks and engage the truck in Drive then place back in Park.
    Since I've started doing this, I've been able to disconnect easier.

  12. #12
    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    It is amazing how much problems a little rust on the ball will cause. One of the problem is the ball sticking in the hitch. I us a medium cut emery cloth and clean up the ball and then coat with grease, wipe off any extra and you are good to go. I do this a couple of time a year.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruger01 View Post
    Thanks for the info. A coworker said that it is because they are surge brakes. He said the coupler under the hitch gets stuck on the ball from the surging of the trailer, and that it is a common problem.
    I don't see how it could have anything to do with having surge brakes. I think it has to do with the ball being jammed up toward the front or back of the coupler when you put the truck in park, kind of like what Cizmo said. If you look up into he coupler you can see how this can happen, even if the trailer didn't have surge brakes. And since your post I've looked around a little on the internet about using grease and it looks like lots of people use it, lots of people don't, and nobody has really had any problems with it either way.

  14. #14

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    It's good that it sticks, better than it flying off, that might be more unsettling. Sometimes I grease sometimes not, mine sticks depending on the position or angle. I just bought a new ball, receiver, and pin, just about sixty bucks. That's super cheap and should be something you replace every now and then just to keep it fresh.

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    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Myers point. When you release the hitch clamp before jacking up your trailer, we're not talking about a lot of extra room that creates. If you are parking your trailer against stops, like I do, the you have probably put the ball against the back of the hitch, and if you pull forward a little to correct this, then you have tension on the front of the hitch. I'm glad it doesn't release easily in those situtations.

    If you can, seems like the best way to remove tension is the park the trailer, chock the wheels, put your truck's transmission in neutral to settle, and then put it in park to hold the spot. Should jack up without catching much.

    I'm in Kodiak. So my trips are short, and I don't use grease. Haven't found a need to yet, but based on my past experience with trailers, I would use a very light coat of synthetic grease if I was hauling longer distances.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver View Post
    I don't see how it could have anything to do with having surge brakes. I think it has to do with the ball being jammed up toward the front or back of the coupler when you put the truck in park...
    True, it is not surge brakes, because I have had that problem on nearly every heavily loaded trailer that I have ever owned, and none had surge brakes. It happens when the trailer gets pushed up against the back of the ball. I just jump on the bumper and the ball usually comes loose. Sometimes I shoot some WD40 up there to free things a bit.

  17. #17
    Member Jimw's Avatar
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    I grease the ball, always have and always will. A little wheel bearing grease on a paper towel rubbed around the ball and the shank. Considering it is a pivot point with a lot of pressure on it, grease is a good thing. $0.02
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    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Default bumper under water????

    I dab on a little grease now and then. If you’re not towing over dirt roads dust and dirt build up shouldn’t be much of a problem.
    If you submerge your hitch when launching you definitely need to keep it greased and rinsed after every launch, not that you do that. I have seen a few boaters launch and retrieve their boats with the hitch, bumper, and tail pipe all under water; can’t imagine what that does to the surge brake mechanism and trailer wiring harness not to mention the truck itself.
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  19. #19
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    I use to grease my hitchball, but hated the dirt that built up and it always seemed the kids or me would get it on our good clothes. I started using Amsoil Heavy Duty Metal Protector. It dries to a wax like film and does not attract dirt. Basically a chain lube. I also use the same product on all my trailer and boat parts to prevent corrision.

    Here is a link

    http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/amh.aspx

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post


    I guess I should pull the grease from my trailer bearings, then.
    Do you have dust covers? All 'greasable' joints should!

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