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Author Topic: Trailer hitch ball lubrication  (Read 15605 times)
crw4374
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« on: June 02, 2010, 05:06:52 PM »

I seem to remember my father always having some sort of grease on the trailer hitch ball.  Question- Is the trailer hitch ball supposed to be lubricated?  If so, how often, with what type of lubricant and where to buy?

Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2010, 05:25:53 PM »

I had no experience with towing prior to buying my PUP, so I asked my dealer about this.  He said there was no reason to lubricate the hitch ball.  I believe his comment was that the only thing it would do is get grease on your pants if you rub against the hitch ball.  I have not used any lubricant and haven't had any problems. 
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 05:30:36 PM »

The owners manual of the popup says to lube it.

Many people don't believe it's necessary.

I lube the coupler with white grease once in a while and carry a paper towel in my pocket with my keys to remember to wipe it clean later.  When unhitching I pull out the paper towel and wipe off the hitch ball.  

Otherwise someone in the family gets full of grease on their pants.

On other posts, many people think adding grease is way more mess than it's worth.  I do it because I dutifully follow instructions in the manual.  Just in case the manual is more right than people's opinions.

The 2007 Fleetwood manual states on page 53:
"Maintain a light coat of grease on the ball hitch of your vehicle.  This will induce longer ball hitch life and towing ease.  The coupler should be adjusted when required to maintain the coupler/ball tightness.  With the coupler attached to the ball and the coupler release handle down in the locked position, adjust the lock nut (on the underside of the coupler) to compress spring to within 1/32" of solid. "
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 05:47:28 PM by CampingFamily1 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 05:41:20 PM »

I had no experience with towing prior to buying my PUP, so I asked my dealer about this.  He said there was no reason to lubricate the hitch ball.  I believe his comment was that the only thing it would do is get grease on your pants if you rub against the hitch ball.  I have not used any lubricant and haven't had any problems. 

No doubt he'll be the same dealer standing there ready to sell you a new replacement hitch ball once your score the current one you've not greased.  The coupler rotates about the hitch ball and because it's otherwise metal to metal contact it needs to be greased.  If a greasy hitch ball when not hitched to the trailer is your concern then just stick a hitch ball cover on it.  Those running separate sway bars will also want to grease the sway bar ball, and again covers are available for those as well, 1" IIRC.
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 05:51:31 PM »

Thanks for the tip on a hitch ball cover.  That's a better idea than my paper towell

I found one conveniently on Amazon here.  It's in my Amazon cart now!



« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 05:54:51 PM by CampingFamily1 » Logged

tsc
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 05:58:33 PM »

My Fleetwood manual also says to grease.

I have used Bearing grease, and it has served me well. I am now using Reese Hitch Ball Lube, because I got it at a really good price. I put about a dime sized dolop and spread it around everytime I hitch up. To prevent the grease getting everywhere, I also use a hitch ball cover.
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 11:18:02 PM »

I've gone both ways-never greasing and keeping a light coat. I really think it's a matter of personal preference. Obviously, a bit of lubrication will make things move easier, keep the chrome coating on the ball preventing rust and prevent squeaking. But I've towed for years without coating with no adverse effects. When I do grease, I just use a cheap lithium compound. One tub will last you a lifetime.
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2010, 03:16:54 PM »

I had no experience with towing prior to buying my PUP, so I asked my dealer about this.  He said there was no reason to lubricate the hitch ball.  I believe his comment was that the only thing it would do is get grease on your pants if you rub against the hitch ball.  I have not used any lubricant and haven't had any problems. 

No doubt he'll be the same dealer standing there ready to sell you a new replacement hitch ball once your score the current one you've not greased.  The coupler rotates about the hitch ball and because it's otherwise metal to metal contact it needs to be greased.  If a greasy hitch ball when not hitched to the trailer is your concern then just stick a hitch ball cover on it.  Those running separate sway bars will also want to grease the sway bar ball, and again covers are available for those as well, 1" IIRC.

Oz- while I normally would agree with your cynicism, I don't think it applied in this case.  The dealer knew I lived 1.5 hours away and was in the military so I would be moving soon.  Even if I was still stationed there when I needed a new hitch ball, would I really drive 1.5 hours to get one from him rather than running 5 min to the local wal-mart?  He knew I wouldn't be coming back there if I needed a new hitch ball.  You may disagree with him, but I don't think his opinion was motivated by the sale of a new hitch ball. 
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2010, 03:23:11 PM »

I seem to remember my father always having some sort of grease on the trailer hitch ball.  Question- Is the trailer hitch ball supposed to be lubricated?  If so, how often, with what type of lubricant and where to buy?

No need for the mess or a cover.  Simply fold a 12" x 12" piece of wax paper twice to make a 4-layered 6" x 6" piece and you're good-to-go.  Cool Smile

All I've ever used in almost 9 years of towing the PU year 'round down twisty dirt roads and the ball still looks like new.
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2010, 08:23:57 AM »

I seem to remember my father always having some sort of grease on the trailer hitch ball.  Question- Is the trailer hitch ball supposed to be lubricated?  If so, how often, with what type of lubricant and where to buy?

No need for the mess or a cover.  Simply fold a 12" x 12" piece of wax paper twice to make a 4-layered 6" x 6" piece and you're good-to-go.  Cool Smile

All I've ever used in almost 9 years of towing the PU year 'round down twisty dirt roads and the ball still looks like new.

Jeff....so you dont use ANY lube at all? Just the wax paper? Or do you lube then cover w/ the wax paper?
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2010, 06:41:34 PM »

You just use the wax paper.
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2010, 09:05:02 PM »

Jeff....so you dont use ANY lube at all? Just the wax paper? Or do you lube then cover w/ the wax paper?

Just the wax paper.  Nothing else.
1 piece per tow.
I keep a roll of wax paper in the jack storage compartment in the rear of the TV.
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2010, 09:40:23 PM »

Jeff....so you dont use ANY lube at all? Just the wax paper? Or do you lube then cover w/ the wax paper?

Just the wax paper.  Nothing else.
1 piece per tow.
I keep a roll of wax paper in the jack storage compartment in the rear of the TV.

Great tip.  Thanks, I'll try it.  I've avoided the grease thing so far. 
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2010, 11:08:15 PM »

I'm one of those don't grease it guys. I've owned 12 trailers over the last 40+ years and have never wore out a ball or coupler. The only coupler that ever failed on me was from backing the trailer into a tree. (Don't ask) I have about 6 different ball size / draw bar drop combos in the garage and most have the chrome wore off the front of the ball. They're still round and they still safely pull a trailer. I find my trailers always wear out before the couplers.
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2010, 11:21:36 PM »

I use proper "Trailer hitch grease".
http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid=15147&BASE
I put on a rubber glove, put a tiny bit of grease on the finger and wipe it all over the ball, take off the glove and toss it.

When I get home, another rubber glove and a paper towel and the ball stays like new. No squeaks or groans.

I cut a hole in the bottom of a tennis ball. I put the tennis ball on the hitch when not hooked up.
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