The Knee You Save May Be Your Own

We’re towing toward the NC mountains tomorrow and looking forward to a five-day rally with the Escapees Club. This will be our first Escapees event although we’ve been members since 2005. Escapees conduct annual, regional, and local rallies and special activities. We’re glad to have this opportunity to try one.

Some electrical & water connections are harder to reach than others

Several years ago, at a fairgrounds rally, we unhitched the truck from the trailer and proceeded to connect water and electric only to realize the electrical outlet was too far from our trailer. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to remain hitched until checking utilities performance and location and the whether the trailer is sitting level? Yep, we try to remember this every time we park and it’s working well for us.

Okay, we now have that part figured out. One major unhitching issue remains — stowing the hitch-head. What’s that? Can’t we just leave the hitch-head in the truck’s receiver? Or is the better question, should we remove the hitch-head from the truck’s receiver? YES, remove the hitch-head from the receiver as soon as we level the trailer and assure we can reach utilities without moving. The correct answer is a resounding Yes.

If you could prevent a painful, expensive and unnecessary injury to your shin or knee or very expensive repair to your car’s front grille, would you consider it a good savings measure? Or maybe it is only a good safety measure? Either way, you have the prerogative and power to prevent painful and expensive damages. Just remove the hitch-head from the receiver after you park your trailer.

Our hitch-head (the part on which the ball sits and into which the weight distributing bars insert) is typical in size, length, and heft to other brands and types. Some folks don’t use weight distributing hitches (to distribute hitch weight to truck’s front axle and trailer’s axles) and tow with a hitch ball attached to the end of a drawbar. Either arrangement displaces the hitch ball between six and ten inches rear of the truck’s bumper.

Would this arrangement, when carried without a trailer behind the truck, have any impact upon pedestrians or other vehicles? It depends upon whether someone were walking around the rear of the truck, or if the truck is backing toward another car or truck or fence. If you’ve bumped your shin on one of these, you already know what we’re talking about.

How would you like to do this to the car behind you?

Or if you were to back your truck one foot too many you could easily put the stinger or hitch-head through the grille, air conditioning condenser, and radiator of the car parked behind you. Good thing you have insurance — this one required $3,200 in repairs to our sister-in-law’s sedan. Probably there would not have even been contact had the stinger not been stored in the receiver and projecting 12 inches behind the truck. Or if the guy hadn’t backed up toward the take-out window he had just left to ask for another biscuit.

This is how our club members showed us to store the hitch-head, under the trailer’s coupling. We don’t have to lift the hitch-head to get it here, we simply pull the pin in the receiver tube and pull the truck away from the trailer. The hitch-head stays coupled to the trailer as we pull the truck forward a few feet to park it. Then we swing the hitch-head around and under the coupler and a-frame.

hitch head stored under the trailer's coupling

The hitch-head is far less likely to sustain damage here than mounted on the truck. We won’t put the hitch-head through someone’s fence, wall, or car grille if we don’t have the hitch-head on the truck. And just possibly we will prevent a very painful, expensive, and unnecessary injury to someone’s shin or knee.

Our hitch-head is locked into the trailer’s coupler and the drawbar has a locking pin through the hole to reduce the chance of someone accidentally hitching to our trailer and taking our home away. No lifting involved, no back muscles invoked, we level the trailer hitch to the truck’s receiver, pull the pin at the truck’s receiver, and pull the truck forward a few feet.

Prevention costs you nothing. And you might save $3,000 on repairing someone’s car grille, or $30,000 on a knee repair. Swing the hitch-head on the trailer’s coupler, under the a-frame. The knee you save might be your own.

Jim and Debbie

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3 responses to “The Knee You Save May Be Your Own

  1. Great post! I saw so much of this at Gillette last year that I finally got the IP to make an announcement over WB Control. We should start writing tickets to people who don’t properly stow their hitch heads and retract their mirrors too. It’s just inconsiderate to leave these obstructions in place around your truck.

  2. Jim

    so when you level the trailer tongue with the truck’s receiver and pull away, does the hitch remain in a horizontal position or does it fall down on the ball and aren’t you worried about the weight of the hitch head pulling on the coupler that abruptly causing some kind of problem? just asking because i carried the hitch head on the trailer we just purchased about 50 yards the other day and discovered just how heavy those suckers are.

    • Dana, When we pull the truck away from the trailer the hitch head sort of floats, balanced by the weight of the weight distributing bars hanging aft and the drawbar hanging forward of the ball. The dynamics are a little new to us because we are, for the first time in several years, towing again without Enkay rock tamer mud flaps assembly on our drawbar. The mud flaps are tall and stiff and created a stand for the hitch head when we pulled the truck away. I just refinished the hitch parts and a-frame (wow, you should see it all!) and decided to try towing without the Enkays awhile. And, since the Enkays aren’t keeping the drawbar in front of the trailer, we can now store the wd bars out of sight and store the hitch-head locked in the coupler and swiveled around under the a-frame.

      First impression of this new setup is, it’s going to work great. We added, at Jerry Hall’s suggestion, Duraflaps to our truck’s rear wheel wells. These are awesome looking and will, we hope, stop the sludge and sand and gravel and anything else from the rear tires. So we don’t have the big old rear-mounted mud flaps holding the hitch up when the truck is away. Not a big difference, we’ll see how this works out. We might want the Enkays (and then, double flaps) again.

      Also, we don’t have the standard coupler on our trailer — we replaced it with a Quick-Bite Coupler 7700 several years ago. The Quick-Bite’s stainless steel jaws surround over 300 degrees of circumference of the hitch ball. It’s a very secure coupling, besides being really cool to back into and have it automatically latch and close when the ball funnels into the jaws.

      Is our hitch head heavy? You bet! I reassembled the hitch this past Monday and used an empty mop bucket to roll the hitch head from the garage to the trailer’s a-frame. Why carry it if I can roll it? I love wheels. Jim

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