Hitch broke - Anyone else see this happen before? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 07-19-2016, 06:29 PM   #1
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Hitch broke - Anyone else see this happen before?

So the wife and I headed to the coast last weekend to enjoy a little R&R. Upon getting there, dropping the front landing gear, and trying to pull away the truck, I found I wasn't going anywhere when trying to roll away from the trailer. At that point, I check and even though my release arm had been pulled, and was locked in the open position, the jaws were not releasing. It was at this point, I found the release lever also had all sorts of play in it, and I knew something was wrong. I have a 16k Reese 5th wheel hitch that is 2yrs old now, for what its worth.

Some climbing in the bed of the truck on my back while everything was still connected to remove the 1 spring that holds the jaws closed (kind of scary that is all that holds them closed when the part that failed fails) and then manually pry the jaws open so I could release my trailer ultimately got me unhooked, and able to take apart the hitch and see what was wrong.

There ended up being a missing C shaped open lock washer missing from the bottom of the 90* elbow on the release handle, that ultimately held the handle to the lever inside the hitch.

Looked like this:


I had to take my hitch apart to this point:

To be able to get under it and see what the hell I was trying to fix.

Anyways, has anyone else ever had this happen? Seems odd that it would fail, and also a bit un-nerving that a simple spring is all that holds the jaws closed when pulling such a large, heavy and expensive item.
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5th Wheel: 2013 Denali 262RLX
Pull Vehicle: 2006 Chevy 2500HD Duramax, CCSB
Hitch: Reese 16k
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by West1134 View Post
...Anyways, has anyone else ever had this happen? Seems odd that it would fail, and also a bit un-nerving that a simple spring is all that holds the jaws closed when pulling such a large, heavy and expensive item.
Sorry to hear of your troubles... and I agree with you about only a spring holding the jaws. This is precisely why, when I received a Reese hitch with my truck, I removed & replaced it with the B&W hitch I had in my previous truck. I didn't like how "flimsy" the thing looked.

The B&W uses lever action from the handle to keep the jaws secure, and a locking pin to keep the handle from moving in transit.
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:42 PM   #3
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Ditto ATCGuy. Samething on my Demco Hijacker. There is no way the jaws can open.
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ATCguy View Post
Sorry to hear of your troubles... and I agree with you about only a spring holding the jaws. This is precisely why, when I received a Reese hitch with my truck, I removed & replaced it with the B&W hitch I had in my previous truck. I didn't like how "flimsy" the thing looked.

The B&W uses lever action from the handle to keep the jaws secure, and a locking pin to keep the handle from moving in transit.
My Reese has "internal" levers that the release arm connects to along with the spring. And with all properly secured, the release spring has a locking plate that keeps it all solid. But when the release arm comes off like mine did (which I'm assuming happened upon trying to disconnect) it can definitely pose a potential issue.

This is our first trailer & hitch. Learning lots these past couple of years. Down the road, will have a lot more knowledge going into whatever our next purchase will be.
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Old 07-20-2016, 04:38 AM   #5
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Just looking, seems my Reese 30K is a lot heavier built.

That's why I went with it...and that the Voltage is 19,000 fully loaded.

Sorry you had problems. What has Reese had to say?

Thanks,

Pirate
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Old 07-20-2016, 02:52 PM   #6
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If C-clips aren't properly seated, they have a habit of flying off. I've had more than one that looks like it's seated, but if the middle tang doesn't get properly seated in the groove the clip is under tension. When I use that style of clip I use a screw driver to tap the clip down, then into the groove. If the clip was hung up, you can see and hear when it snaps it self into place.
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