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.