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Author Topic: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.  (Read 3999 times)

Fatdog2

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2018, 12:14:41 PM »
After looking at my 2" 5000# coupler I can put one bolt through the outer tube wall, as the Y frame is closed up with aluminum plates on the main frame rails.  The jack is bolted to the coupler before it's installed on trailer frame. Installing a bigger coupler would be the same situation. I looked at new 21 ft LL at local dealer and it has weld on CA-5400 14,000lbs 2-5/16" coupler in galvanized finish compared to painted one on e-trailer. LL put in side bolts but I couldn't tell how they installed the side bolts, all the way through the frame, or just outer wall as it looked like the bolts were behind the front top mounting bolts.

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2018, 01:12:46 PM »
IMO you have two options. You can add side bolts to your existing 2" coupler or you can replace it with the Bulldog 2-5/16" coupler and add side bolts to it. The Bulldog item appears to be https://www.etrailer.com/A-Frame-Trailer-Coupler/Bulldog/BD44150WH301.html. @tinkeringtechie had good results with this unit and apparently it was easy enough according to his posts. It is plated steel, not painted.

I replaced my 5000# coupler with a heavier unit supplied by the pre-Thor LL. I think it was in use on their larger toy haulers but I'm not certain. I installed side bolts that went only through the frame outer wall. This has proven totally adequate when using the E2 WDH with a Tacoma TV. I don't know if the OEM 5000# coupler would have allowed a similar bolt placement since I never considered it but I believe several forum members have successfully used the OEM coupler. I considered bolting completely through the frame but that has its own problems. If you could get a nut on the backside of the frame you would have to include a steel tube or stack of washers inside the tube to prevent collapsing the tube. See the below picture to see how I was able to install the bolts. Note that the washer stack is essential to prevent deformation of the frame and/or coupler. I don't recall any problems installing the power jack after the coupler was in place.


Any 20 minute job can be stretched to a week with proper planning

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Fatdog2

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2018, 02:52:21 PM »
Thanks Charlie, I looked at my 5000# coupler and I can put two bolt in just like you did, and one side stack in some washers, while the other side might take one washer as it's a tighter fit. I wonder why LL didn't do a recall or they just figured the total weight loaded would be below 5000#? Thank you for the advise, it's appreciated. Peter

charliem

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2018, 03:58:50 PM »
Early pre-Thor 21s were lighter and rated at 5000# GVWR although they always had two 3500# axles. This meant they were close but technically in spec with the 5000# coupler. LL would not have been obligated to recall as long as they stayed with the 5000# GVWR rating. That said the shipping document for my 2014 actually listed GVWR at 7000#. What LL did not initially grasp was the misapplication and mis-installation of the coupler. Steel couplers are designed to be welded along all edges to a steel frame. You cannot weld steel to AL so they drilled holes in the top and used 4 bolts. That was the real problem. It took a lot of talking and corresponding by me and other forum members to convince them but they finally started using a heavier coupler and, eventually, the side bolts. Of course when Thor came along the camper got heavier and they are forced to use a heavier coupler.

To be fair the bent couplers were not observed on non WDH installations. LL did not recommend WDH but they also did not prohibit it. Their main concern was drilling holes in the AL frame; a valid concern especially if done near the top or bottom edges of the load bearing sections of the frame. The bolts you will add are outside the load bearing section of the frame so no problem there. Be sure to use grade 8 bolts and torque them appropriately.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 04:04:46 PM by charliem »
Any 20 minute job can be stretched to a week with proper planning

Charlie
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E2 WDH, P3 controller

Fatdog2

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2018, 10:32:17 PM »
My 2014 21BHS has the same GVWR @ 7000#. I'd be concerned about the load bearing area too, from the looks of coupler I'm pretty far from both, it should be fine. When we bought our camper the dealer really pushed against putting WDH on our rig when we towed it with Ford Explorer. With the Ram 1500 that we have now, which has a fiberglass truck cap and I added a set of 1000# air lift bags in the rear coil springs, the tv & trailer sits level and tows nice. No noticeable sway. This is all good information to know and thank you and other members for working this out with LL when you did. I read about grade 8 bolts on your initial post, lot stronger bolt.

tbwrench

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2018, 05:58:13 PM »
I just wanted to update. I have installed the Bulldog coupler. Not terribly hard, once I figured out what to do, but took a lot of thought. I ended up making a template off of a piece of plastic (about 1/8" thick old sign I found). I centered the pattern off of the center hole where the jack goes. Then drilled a hole through my template, bolted that hole and so on for the next 4 holes. Please note, the bolt holes on the coupler are not perfectly symetrical. When I made my template i noticed that if I flipped the template upside down, the bolt holes no longer lined up perfectly.

The holes where the jack attaches are threaded on the original coupler, but but on the Bulldog. At first I bolted the jack to the coupler with nuts, but the nuts were interfering on the inner channel of the frame. I drilled holes in the bottom plate on the frame where the hole for the jack is and bolted the jack straight through to the bottom. I can't remember the bolt length, maybe 5 1/2" long. I feel this adds strength to the coupler, so not a bad solution. Now couples is bolted on with 8 bolts!

The steel plate the new coupler is made from is roughly twice as thick as the old coupler. I'm going to keep an eye on it, however I'm not putting side bolts on the coupler. The coupler flairs out from the frame rail, so bolting on would be dicey without distorting the rail. The flair comed out at an angle, so shimming the space is also not easy. I am also worried that bolting into the side of the frame rail channel may compromise the rail, as I feel upword force sufficient to bend the coupler would simply bend the coupler while also ripping the rail. Time will tell!

Anyways, the template seems super easy now, but thinking how to actually do it took several months thought.

Thanks to all who posted here to help me out!

tbwrench

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2018, 06:17:34 PM »
Almost forgot.......

When I actually went to hook my trailer up a week ago, I was quite dismayed to realize that my safety chains no longer worked, as the new couples is quite a bit longer! Of course it was a Friday afternoon and the family was sitting in the vehicle ready to go. Called my local safety supply store and drove down as fast as I could before they closed, and got some bulk chain. Away I went!

Also not sure if the new longer angle affected it, but when I was pulling out of my alley my sway bar bottomed out! There is quite an angle between the street & alley. I used a Blue Ox sway bar system. NO good at all as I was planning on travelling a fair distance, about a 9 hr drive. Had planned to do 4hrs day 1 then 5hrs day two.

I have a 2012 Toyota Tundra and have just installed a larger (almost double capacity!) gas tank (If you have a Tundra I highly recommend this!). Also a tonneau cover recently. Long story short, 8:50 PM i was driving (my car) like a madman to Standen's (a local store that sell springs & such) to buy some air bags for my truck. 4:30 AM and the air bags were installed. I climbed into bed for a glorious 2 1/2 to 3 hr sleep and away we went the next morning.

And the moral of this story is, test stuff out before you're ready to go somewhere after modifications!

Sylvain

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2019, 12:44:14 PM »
I read this entire post and was wondering if this modification (adding the side bolts) should also be done on a 2013 13QBB or is this a problem only for larger trailers?

Thanks

Paul

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2019, 02:01:31 PM »
Hi Sylvain, when I had my 2015 13QBB I didn't had side bolts and had no issue. I think you should be ok especially if you don't use a WDH
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Sylvain

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2019, 02:16:41 PM »
Hello Paul, thanks for your reply.  I don't use a WDH.  We are towing with a Silverado.  I believe it's a little bit overkill to tow a 13QBB though.

Paul

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2019, 03:16:40 PM »
If there is no sign of the hitch has bent you should be ok
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Sylvain

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2019, 05:49:43 PM »
No Paul, everything seems to be very straight!

Merlin

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2019, 09:58:49 PM »
Hello Paul, thanks for your reply.  I don't use a WDH.  We are towing with a Silverado.  I believe it's a little bit overkill to tow a 13QBB though.

One our esteemed forum members has a favorite acronym: TANSTATMTV.  There Ain't No Such Thing As Too Much Tow Vehicle. We all agree.
Michigan

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2019, 01:23:47 PM »
Hello Paul, thanks for your reply.  I don't use a WDH.  We are towing with a Silverado.  I believe it's a little bit overkill to tow a 13QBB though.

One our esteemed forum members has a favorite acronym: TANSTATMTV.  There Ain't No Such Thing As Too Much Tow Vehicle. We all agree.

Yes, I agree too!

Sylvain

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Re: I'd like to change me trailer hitch coupler.
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2020, 03:31:51 PM »
Hello everyone,
Since we have decided to add a second propane tank to our 13QBB and maybe an extra battery I would like to do the side bolts modification to the coupler.  Can someone direct me to type of bolts should I use (stainless, size, grade, etc) please? 

Thanks
« Last Edit: April 29, 2020, 03:35:38 PM by Sylvain »