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Old 08-15-2015, 09:05 PM   #1
cospilot
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Class 3 hitch pin almost came out

Has anyone ever had a coupler pin fall out? A few weeks ago when I went to unhook the camper I discovered the pin was half way out!
The cotter pin or hair pin was missing and I know for a fact it was installed when I hooked it up.
Has anyone ever known one to fall out?
I cannot imagine anyway it could have fallen out because the pin is very difficult to install and remove and I see I way for the pin itself to have enough sideways pressure to cause the hair pin to sheer off or fall out.
I want to replace it obviously but don't want to take any chance it might fall out again


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Old 08-15-2015, 09:29 PM   #2
Festus2
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You can get hitch pins with locks or safety pins to prevent them from being stolen or from falling out.
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Old 08-16-2015, 03:10 AM   #3
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I would agree that there is no way the hitch pin is going to move and sheer off the cotter pin. Either the fit was loose, the pin just happened to break and fall out on its own, you actually did forget to install it (I have) or someone sabotaged you.

I use a locking hitch pin like this and for the latch I use something like this pin.

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Old 08-16-2015, 04:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
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I would agree that there is no way the hitch pin is going to move and sheer off the cotter pin. Either the fit was loose, the pin just happened to break and fall out on its own, you actually did forget to install it (I have) or someone sabotaged you.
Yup, that's the sum of it.

In addition to using a locking hitch pin in the receiver, I've always used a long shank padlock for the coupler latch on any trailer I tow, and I now use a medium shank padlock on the latch for the fifth wheel jaws. Securing these devices with locks or padlocks is not so much a matter of preventing theft as it is ensuring that they are properly and safely secured for travel and can not be accidentally or intentionally disconnected.
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Old 08-16-2015, 07:59 AM   #5
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I have read about a case or 2 of suspected sabotage, where a 5th wheel came off the hitch after a rest/gas stop. I use a cotter pin with safety lock but I re-check everything (bars, pull-up pin locks, cams, hitch pin...) after rest stops or anytime I leave the truck.

Glad you're safe and it all mostly worked out
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Old 08-16-2015, 08:56 AM   #6
cospilot
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no one sabotaged it, i hooked it myself and drove straight home with no stops in between.
i know i put the clip in because i usually loop the safety brake cable around the cotter pin when i make that step.
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Old 08-16-2015, 09:30 AM   #7
bill-e
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no one sabotaged it, i hooked it myself and drove straight home with no stops in between.
i know i put the clip in because i usually loop the safety brake cable around the cotter pin when i make that step.
Ahh, could you have made a turn and the safety cable yank the pin out? I would still maintain that there's no way for the cotter pin to be broken by the hitch pin.
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Old 08-16-2015, 11:09 AM   #8
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You are positive you did everything right but the cotter pin is gone. I guess the best thing to do is what has been said; get a new hitch pin with lock and stop worrying about where the cotter pin went. That's what I use and it isn't going to come off or get sheared off. I also use the long shank lock on the coupler latch....although that won't do a lot of good if the hitch comes out of the receiver
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Old 08-16-2015, 11:48 AM   #9
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Here is what I have been using.....get a pin at Tractor Supply, or any tractor shop, that has a shoulder and a wire grab handle on one end and a hole for a hairpin on the other end. I drill out the hairpin hole just a little to get a Sessame combo lock through it. I use bolt cutters to cut the wire grab handle off. I also always put the combo lock on the drivers side so I can confirm it's there at a glance.
I also use a combo lock on my trailer hitches. I sometimes launch my boat at isolated spots and don't want to drive the boat home.
Yeah, someone wants it bad enough they'll get it. Probably could use a high security key type lock to make it hard to cut off.
I haven't had a hitch pin fall out yet.
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Old 08-16-2015, 04:50 PM   #10
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Howdy All;

It's part of a walk-around that I do any time I've left the vehicle when
I'm hooked to a trailer or 5er.
I walk around and pointedly look at things like lug-nuts, wheels, any
hook-ups (wiring, and mechanical), "kick the tires", door seals on the
trailer, look at the trailer windows check the awning, and do a lights check.
So far I've had to re-seat the bead that runs around my front door ( the
one the covers the screws that hold the door frame to the trailer), close an
overhead vent that opened on it's own (???), and replace a running light
that had a short life span.

...an ounce of prevention ...

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Old 08-16-2015, 07:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
...an ounce of prevention ...
hankaye hit the nail on the head ,there are no gadgets that can possibly replace that.
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Old 08-17-2015, 09:08 PM   #12
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Just FYI......DO NOT buy the locking pin with the idea that your hitch is secured from being stolen or that the locking style are better for securing the stinger then a standard hitch pin with a hairclip pin. I work in a welding shop and folks come in all the time to get them removed because of being rusted or lost keys. It takes me longer to get the tool (no I will not say which tool and no....it's smaller then BFH) but I can remove the pin in less then 10 seconds and it has nothing to do with grinding or torches. I giggle every time I see those expensive aluminum drop bar triple ball mount trailer hitches secured with those hitch pin locks. I could make a mint selling scrap aluminum
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:06 AM   #13
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I've just picked up a locking pin that will work with my truck key. So no fear of losing the key. Bit pricier but I thought it was worth it.

And, yeah, it won't prevent a determined thief. But it will keep kids from screwing around. just like every other lock I own.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
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And, yeah, it won't prevent a determined thief. But it will keep kids from screwing around. just like every other lock I own.
And that's the real point of suggesting a locking or padlock to secure these things on our RVs and trailers. Skilled and determined thieves will bust through just about anything. Here, we're worried about accidental loss of the pin or the average thief who has no skill but spots an easily exploited weakness or the person bent on mischief.

My biggest worry with a fiver has been that someone casually walking by would yank the handle for the jaws while the rig is parked behind Cracker Barrel. The padlock stops the average troublemaker who will just keep walking and look elsewhere.

And that's the whole point of the recommendation.
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Old 08-18-2015, 05:34 AM   #15
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Yes there are all kinds of ways to steal things. Most hitch couplers only have 2 bolts holding them on the trailer. Bring your channel locks and another coupler and it don't matter what kind of lock is on the hitch. In about 30 seconds you can drive away with that trailer. Bugger up the threads on the coupler bolts will slow them down though.
Maybe I'm paranoid, but I turn the hairpins on the 5th hitch rails so you have to climb in the bed to pull them. I do need to improve that 5th hitch handle little pin snap lock thing. The other day I pulled it out without flipping it over. Maybe like Steve, put a lock on it.
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Old 10-16-2015, 02:35 AM   #16
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I use a locking hitch pin like this and for the latch I use something like this pin.

Bill

Thanks for the link. I just went ahead and bought that locking hitch pin. Good idea.
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Old 10-16-2015, 04:55 AM   #17
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no one sabotaged it, i hooked it myself and drove straight home with no stops in between.
i know i put the clip in because i usually loop the safety brake cable around the cotter pin when i make that step.
On one trip my brother in law helped the unhitching and placed the WD bar on one side where I normally don't keep it. I hitched up, thought I checked everything and drove the 2 hrs home. Went to unhitch at home and was missing one bar. There it was, setting on the trailer a frame. And I SWORE I did everything/checked everything. Morale of the story, sometimes your mind sees what it's used to or expecting to see. Now I have my DW go behind me and check. As for locks I use the Bolt locks on the trailer latch and the receiver pin. They are fantastic, they have specific locks that are programmed by the key for your TV. Insert your ignition key in the lock and unlock it first time. Now your ignition key operates the lock. One lock for TV and everything associated with it.
http://www.boltlock.com/
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Old 10-16-2015, 05:39 AM   #18
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I use locks on everything.

For the 5th wheel pins I use these:
http://www.etrailer.com/Locks/Reese/RP58093.html

This on the receiver:
http://www.etrailer.com/Locks/DeadBolt/RH5-XL.html

And this on the 5th wheel release handle and trailer coupler:
http://www.masterlocks.com/product/3...-steel-padlock

I also lock my tailgate.

When pulling bumper pulls I run the electric brake break away cable through the padlock, keeps it off the ground, away from the WD bars, and in line with the hitch.

I've had people try to sabotage me. The locks obviously deterred them a bit, but they did pull the pin on the break away cable and released the latch on my tailgate (that's why I now lock that as well). I was doing my walk around after a stop, noticed the break away cable pin was pulled. Went to reinstall it, put my hand on the tailgate and it fell open. If I had started down the road with the tailgate in that condition, it would have fallen open and possibly damaged the trailer. I lock everything and check/double check everything.
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Old 10-16-2015, 04:01 PM   #19
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I've had a pin fall out. It was on a rough section of I-20 in Alabama. The hitch pin was the type with the steel toggle on the end. You line it up, insert it and it typically stays in there. We were pulling a car hauler to the track at Talladega and the rough roads caused the pin to fall out. The trailer slammed into the back bumper on the truck destroying the electric tongue jack and causing a little other damage.

I would NOT recommend anyone use that type of hitch pin. It wasn't pleasant.
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Old 10-17-2015, 06:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
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.... As for locks I use the Bolt locks on the trailer latch and the receiver pin. They are fantastic, they have specific locks that are programmed by the key for your TV. Insert your ignition key in the lock and unlock it first time. Now your ignition key operates the lock. One lock for TV and everything associated with it.
http://www.boltlock.com/
Thanks for posting this... I ordered 2 bolt locks, Hitch and coupler, from Amazon.

2 less keys on my key ring

-Brian
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