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weyzer

Anderson Hitch Help

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Hi all,

 

I picked up my Olive Oly in May, had no problem towing it back to Maine, 2016 GMC Yukon. Last week i took her out of storage to head out on my maiden voyage so to speak and it appears i really screwed up the Anderson Hitch. I tried to hook it back up the way i was shown in Tenn, straighten out the trailer and tighten both sides evenly, well by the time i got the the camp ground (luckily only 40 miles away) the right chain had pulled free of the bracket and was dragging along the ground, the bolt, washer and "red thing" long gone. Aside from contacting the company for replacement parts, any advice, tips or tricks would be appreciated. I towed her back without the hitch and had no problems but then again it wasn't a long distance and not highway driving....Live and learn, i hope.....Leigh


Olive Oyl


2015 GMC Yukon


2016 Legacy Elite II


Hull # 132

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Do you mean the big nut and urethane cushion disappeared?

 

If that is the case you must not have tightened the nuts enough. There is no way they could turn with lots of compression force from the cushions.

 

If they were indeed tight, then maybe there needs to be holes drilled in the threaded parts so you can drop in quick release safety pins. There is a 170 page thread on the hitch at the Airstream forum, maybe those folks could help. I have never used one, so my advice is only vague at best.

 

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464/the-andersen-wd-hitch-user-thread-92131.html

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Leigh,

 

I will be interested in what the experienced folks have to say.  I'm hardly one of them, but this is what I do.  When I'm unhitching all I do is raise the trailer off of the ball another inch or so after it comes loose.  By then there is enough slack in the chains to drop the triangle without messing with the red bushings.  When it is time to hitch back up, it's just the opposite - after I get the hitch lined up, I raise the trailer until there is enough slack in the chains to reconnect the triangle plate.  Lowering the trailer onto the hitch tightens the chains so I don't have to do anything to the red bushings.  I don't know what would have caused yours to come loose.  Maybe some of the more experienced Andersen users will have better information.  Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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Weyzer,

 

When you hooked up your Andersen and tightened the chains, did you have the same number of threads showing at the rear of the bolt as you had showing when it was first installed?  If yes, I can't imagine how the nut could have come loose given the amount of pressure that is on the chains/red bushing/washer/nut.  With mine (six threads showing when all hooked up) even when making a sharp turn, the inside chain is still very tight.

 

Having said the above, I had wondered about those nuts coming loose and even thought about buying an extra nut to put on acting as a "jam" nut to prevent a problem such as you have experienced.  I decided against this because in the research I did prior to buying mine I did not find one instance of this kind of problem.  However, I may now have to re-think this.

 

Please let us all know what Andersen has to say.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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I have not looked at that part of the hitch since we left the factory.  I'm going to add that to the checklist.  A visual check to ensure there are the same number of threads showing and that nothing has loosened or changed.  Mike


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

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I don't understand how a properly adjusted chain could come loose while being used for towing, under any circumstances. I do think that a nut could get out of adjustment, or even spin completely off, when the hitch was disconnected and you were moving the parts around. Regardless, the solution is simple and 100% reliable:

 

Replace the free running nuts with nylock (self-locking) ones and call it good. You might have to put new ones on after a few years if you adjust them often, since their self locking action will weaken as the nylon insert wears, so buy an extra pair and throw them in your spares kit. Any nut and bolt supplier or a commercial supply company like McMasters will have nylock nuts. Maybe even Amazon. Install them with a light coating of anti-seize if you use stainless steel, since it can gall (seize) if run down too quickly.

 

Anderson nut

 

Nylock nut

 

I don't have a clue what the thread size is, maybe a member can do this mod and post that information.

 

I have another suggestion: if your Ollie's Anderson bracket bolts show that much thread sticking out, install shorter bolts, turn them around, or at least slide some pieces of rubber hose over the threads, so you do not open up your shin one day....

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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John, a couple questions, I just installed the Andersen myself, previous owner did not select the option.

 

Looking at your photo, when people mention how many threads are showing, yours shows about 1.5, per Andersen setup, leave 1 showing and then attach to frame, once attached with no weight, hand tighten, for me about 2 turns, then crank down 3 or 4 full turns, thus 5 or 6 threads is what should be showing behind the nut.

 

The other, with all the pressure on the system, the mount bolts are spaced for standard trailer frames and one above and one below, they are pretty much RIGHT against the frame, even then the bracket ends up slightly angled from the forces and the set screw helps to hold it in position. Looking at your photo, the bottom bolt looks about an inch below your frame with nothing for the set screw to dig into (the only threaded hole on the brackets) and your bushing does not appear to be compressed at all, when forces are applied the lower half of that bracket should slide forward until that bolt hits the frame. Is this how your system has always been? Have you ever noticed any issue with it? What type of trailer is that setup actually on?

 

There is a great YouTube video by Andersen on how to setup the hitch.

 


Randy


One Life Live It Enjoyably


2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB


2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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Randy does bring up another possible solution as to why Weyzer's chain came out of the bracket in the first place - the bracket moved.  If the bracket moved, the chain could have become loose therefore letting the nut back off the bolt.  In the fairly short distance that was traveled I still find this to be unlikely, but, certainly possible.

 

While John's Nylock solution would probably help, I'm not so sure that it is as simple as it seems.  In the short period of time that I've had Twist, I have had the Andersen chains on and off the camper at least 10 to 15 times.  Most of this is for storage, but on at least two occasions I've had to take a chain off in order to get the "whale tail" back on the hitch.  This job is easier with a regular "free running" nut as opposed to Nylocks.

 

Also, I'm a bit confused with John's comment about turning around the bolt.  Unless I'm missing something here, one can not turn around the bolt because of the chain link that is welded to the other end.  And, at least with the Oliver, the propane tank shroud pretty much protects one from "opening up one's shin" on those exposed bolt threads.

 

I'm still curious as to what Andersen has to say.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Is this how your system has always been? Have you ever noticed any issue with it? What type of trailer is that setup actually on?

Sorry, I should have made myself clear. I do not have an Anderson, that pic came off the Internet. I have used conventional WD hitches but not this kind.

 

If I were to install one, I would also install mechanical stops for the brackets. You cannot run a short steel weld as Anderson suggests because the metals are dis-similar, but bolting or tack welding a heavy aluminum strip,  say 1 inch x 1/4inch or thicker, in front should work fine to keep the bracket from moving forward. Ideally there should be a strip in front and in back, to resist the twisting torque.

 

I do NOT think that a single set screw per bracket is in any way adequate in this application! Especially on a soft aluminum frame! It's a seriously bad idea IMHO.

 

If a nylock nut seems too slow to manipulate you could always get a socket adapter and use a good (18 volt or more) battery powered driver drill. It seems to me from reading articles online that the hitch can be removed or installed without screwing around with the nuts. Am I misunderstanding this?

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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John,

 

"It seems to me from reading articles online that the hitch can be removed or installed without screwing around with the nuts. Am I misunderstanding this?"

 

Yes, you are basically correct in that the tow vehicle can be separated from the camper without "screwing around with the nuts".  However, since I store my Oliver about ten miles from my residence and even though the storage facility is gated with video I choose to remove anything that can not be locked down.  This actually is a fairly simple procedure after the pressure is removed from the chains by taking the "whale tail" off the hitch and then taking the two nuts off the bolts - this can all be done by hand.  There was another occasion where I was unable to align the TV with the camper in the same plane that it was when I unhitched.  Even though there is a procedure that Andersen talks about in their instruction manual and in the YouTube video for getting things straight, the camp ground that I was in just didn't have enough room for this.  So, I simply took the chain off one side, towed the camper straight a couple hundred yards and then re-attached the chain making sure that the same six threads were showing on both bolts (left and right sides).

 

As I said in my first post on this subject, it is hard to imagine that the nut would have "backed off" all by itself given the amount of pressure that is on that assembly once hooked up.  I did think of another possible reason that Leigh had this problem - the weld at the end of the bolt which holds a chain link to the bolt failed.  In her first post she says that the chain was dragging on the ground with the nut, washer, "red thingy" and bolt all being gone.  The only explanations that I can think of for the bolt to be gone are either that this weld failed or in the space of 40 miles the chain wore through enough in order to allow the bolt to become lost - this is certainly possible, but doubtful.

 

Buzzy,

 

I have no problem with Leigh's statement that she “Tighten both sides evenly” in that in all that I've read both chains should be tightened the same - in my case I've found that the original setting of 6 threads showing allows both the TV and the camper to ride fairly level.  Adjustments can or should be made to this number of threads showing depending on a number of factors to include the load in the back of the TV and/or the load distribution in the camper.  I'm guessing that you are correct in saying that most WDH owners do not remove the chains from the frame brackets.  But, there really is no reason not to do this as long as you put them back to the proper setting when you re-install.  Hopefully Leigh will let us know what the cause of her problem was so that all of us can learn from her mis-adventure..

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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So, I simply took the chain off one side, towed the camper straight a couple hundred yards and then re-attached the chain making sure that the same six threads were showing on both bolts (left and right sides).

 

Thanks for the long explanation. Have you tried turning the shaft of the hitch by sticking an alignment (pry) bar or Philips screwdriver into the hole that the yoke attaches to? With the coupler up in the air - no load on the ball - that should turn relatively easily, correct? It seems as if it would be simple enough to rotate the shaft a few degrees to the right position to connect the yoke, rather than having to maneuver the entire truck in the hope the bolt and hole will line up.

 

Since you take your chains off routinely, you could use a drill press to drill a couple of small holes in the threaded parts, right at the back, so you could install safety clevis pins.

 

The Anderson hitch is really an oddball, new product, and the typical meth-addled thief who is looking for something to pawn for his next fix is very unlikely to steal the chains IMHO, but I guess it would ruin your next trip to discover that was not the case....

 

Drifting off topic ..... My little "soft road" trailer uses a really weird and wonderful Treg offroad coupler from Australia, and I know that no thief would be able to couple it to his hitch, but it is always possible somebody could just hook on the safety chains and drag it off that way. BTW I tried a Bulldog coupler for a while there, and while that was well built and strong as heck, it was seriously lacking in articulation for really rough forest roads and tracks. The Bulldog is a _fine_ choice for the bigger Oliver, but there are much better choices for the single axle model, if one ventures off pavement very much.

 

I hate thieves.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane

 

 


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Have you tried turning the shaft of the hitch by sticking an alignment (pry) bar or Philips screwdriver into the hole that the yoke attaches to? With the coupler up in the air – no load on the ball – that should turn relatively easily, correct? It seems as if it would be simple enough to rotate the shaft a few degrees to the right position to connect the yoke, rather than having to maneuver the entire truck in the hope the bolt and hole will line up.

 

John,

 

Basically the answer is no - but I have tried to rotate that shaft by just using the "whale tail" as leverage and it will not budge.  Andersen recommends that you do not try to do what you are suggesting.

 

I like your idea of the clevis pins even better than either jam or nylock nuts, but I have not had the problem that Leigh has and without input from her I'm not convinced that the nut is the root of the problem.

 

I too hate thieves and I am as much concerned with the meth guy as I am with the kid that takes "stuff" simply because it is not nailed down.  Don't get me wrong here - I do not live in a high crime area but better safe than sorry particularly with something that is so easy to prevent.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Have you tried turning the shaft of the hitch by sticking an alignment (pry) bar or Philips screwdriver

John, Basically the answer is no – but I have tried to rotate that shaft by just using the “whale tail” as leverage and it will not budge. Andersen recommends that you do not try to do what you are suggesting.

 

I studied the instructions, and Anderson certainly says to not try to align the yoke using a claw hammer (!!!) but you couldn't hurt anything if you used a long pry bar that fit the hole nicely. You are just duplicating what happens when you drag the trailer a little way with one chain connected. You just need some leverage.

 

I am shooting blindly in the dark since I haven't even seen an Anderson hitch in person. But the mechanic in me says there has to be a simpler way to get the parts aligned without having to drive off partially unhooked.

 

If I were Mr Anderson I would have made the ball insert longer and put a big hex nut on the bottom so it would be really simple to turn. Maybe you could have a local shop weld one on.

 

I think it is a really cool hitch, and I love how cleanly and neatly it can be stored in a small space, but it is way overpriced, considering that you can't get one at the extreme 50% discounts of the other types. Replacement parts are spendy as heck. $35 for one urethane spring? $30 for a pair of nuts?

 

Those prices are nuts.... It's a good thing there is a great warranty for failed parts, but buying spares or replacing stolen bits would be darned expensive.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

 

 


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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John,

 

Hopefully we are not beating this thing to death - it really is not very hard or complicated in virtually any aspect.

 

You are probably correct when you suggest using a long pry bar that fits the hole nicely.  However, for the number of times that the alignment "problem" happens, I'm not going to carry around a pry bar.  In addition, one usually does not know that there will be an alignment problem until the bulldog hitch is on the ball, the camper has been raised to allow slack in the chains and you have the Andersen collar basically in position.  I suppose that at this point one could use a drift but the Andersen has pressure on the ball "shaft" (either positive or negative pressure) which could make turning that shaft a bit difficult.  Certainly instead of risking damaging what is a very expensive part (as you point out), trying to adjust the pressure on the ball shaft to neutral, carrying a long drift or pry bar, etc., I elect to simple drive a short distance and then hookup as normal.  I like the idea of a nut on the bottom of the shaft but then you are talking about a fairly good sized wrench or socket ( perhaps they could use the same size nut as they have on the chains for the bolts and just use the same socket?).

 

Again, I think you are right when you say that the Andersen's are a cool hitch.  I really liked my Equalizer WDH that I had on a previous camper but like so many others on the market, they do not work easily with the Oliver due to the cowling over the propane tanks and frame, it was noisy, it was at least as difficult to work with and with the grease on the bars and hitch it could be very messy.  Of course one could cut away some of that cowling in order to use other WDH, but ....

 

Again, I sure do hope that Leigh gets back on here to let us know more information regarding the problem and the response from Andersen.

 

Bill


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Wow,

 

I must say i am impressed with the amount of and depth of discussion on this mishap, thank you every one for your help and possible insights. I had a discussion with Anderson and essentially it boils down to user error. Ever since the first time I unhooked the trailer,  i was never able to get the triangle plate back on without loosening the chains and then re-tightening them. I was unaware that raising the trailer would introduce slack in the chains enabling one to reconnect it (thank you Mike and Buzzy for that clarification). I also, unfortunately paid little attention to the number of threads that remained, essentially just eyeballing it and tightening away. After thinking more about it and talking to Anderson it appears that one chain must have been significantly more tight than the other, couple that with the weight of the trailer, road conditions and speed....the pin was literally ripped free of the bracket. This is further supported by the finding that the hole in shaft is no longer perpendicular to the ball, it must have taken a scary amount of force to twist that shaft. I've posted a picture of the shaft, I took the picture straight on trying to demonstrate that the hole has shifted, draw an imaginary line down the middle of the ball and you'll see it. I hate to say, i have struggled with this hitch since the first day i removed and tried to get it back on and prior to this happening, had thought about getting rid of it, but i invested in it and i am the one who screwed it up so I'm going to give it another shot. I'll replace the parts (ouch), take everyone's good advice, read the instructions, watch the video and try again....Oh yes  this is a learning experience, thanks....Leigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Thanks 2

Olive Oyl


2015 GMC Yukon


2016 Legacy Elite II


Hull # 132

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Sorry to hear of your mishap.  I pitched the Anderson after three trips where I spent way too much time trying to get the thing properly attached.  I did finally learn about raising the trailer which helped somewhat.

 

Your Tahoe has the same suspension as my Avalanche which has coil springs in the rear...not as strong as a regular truck.  As I have posted several times my solution was to have Firestone leveling bags with the on board compressor installed.  This allows me to hitch the Ollie then just press a button under my dash until the air bags lift the rear end to level.

 

Sway has not been a problem, nor do I experience porpoising...even on concrete bridges.

 

You might want to take a look at this option for stressless hitching and towing.

 

Dave

 

 


Current 2007 Airstream Classic Limited 31


2015 Oliver Legacy Elite II (Sold)


2016 Ram 2500 HD 6.7i Cummins turbo diesel


 

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Leigh,

 

Thanks for giving us an update on your "situation".  Other than your wallet it is good to know that nothing was permanently hurt.

 

Perhaps I'm confused (certainly not the first time), but, regarding your picture of the hole in the shaft of the ball, I trust that you know that this shaft is supposed to "move".  As I understand it, the inside of this shaft has a lining on it similar to that of brake linings.  This is what is used to help eliminate "sway" in the trailer.  When the tow vehicle and the camper are hooked together and are in a straight line and the chains are attached with an equal number of threads showing beyond the nut at the rear, this hole should be perpendicular to nice straight line.  However, when turning, this hole will shift left or right (depending on which way you turn).

 

I believe that this is the source of the majority of problems that people have with this hitch.  It really comes to fore when you have backed the camper into a spot, unhitched, and, then come back later and try to re-hitch.  In an ideal world when you try to re-hitch, you will back up to the camper in exactly the same line as you were when you unhitched.  But, sometimes this is close to impossible to do with the result being that it can be then very difficult to get the "whale tail" back on the bottom of the hitch ball and get the hole to line up so that the pin can be put through it.

 

Andersen's product video will show you how to get things back in line without resorting to using pure muscle or other tools.


2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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This is further supported by the finding that the hole in shaft is no longer perpendicular to the ball, it must have taken a scary amount of force to twist that shaft. I’ve posted a picture of the shaft, I took the picture straight on trying to demonstrate that the hole has shifted, draw an imaginary line down the middle of the ball and you’ll see it. I hate to say, i have struggled with this hitch since the first day i removed and tried to get it back on and prior to this happening, had thought about getting rid of it, but i invested in it and i am the one who screwed it up 

 

No offense intended, but you really really need to understand how this hitch works. Watch the videos, read the manual, and ask here if things are still unclear. There is nothing wrong with that ball assembly - you did not damage it in any way - it is simply turned in the housing. AS IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO.

 

If you continue to have difficulties it would be advisable to sell the hitch and do without, or try another solution like airbags and/ or heavy duty adjustable shocks.

 

Towing can be risky at times and you must be completely comfortable with the setup, or you will be unsafe, unhappy and unwilling to take your Ollie on trips.

 

I have to think that the Oliver folks did not explain the hitch very well when you took delivery, but OTH you do need to educate yourself about it.

 

Good Luck.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA


"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

 

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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I agree with John.  There are several good videos on YouTube that explain how the hitch works.  Also, Andersen has videos there that show how to correct misalignment and how to replace parts.  I watched Tommy and crew install the hitch on my truck and I asked questions.  I don't think there is enough information provided on the day of pick up.  The videos I watched before delivery helped.

 

I have found that once the hitch is installed and adjusted it is very easy to take on and off by simply removing the pin and dropping the triangle plate - it's just a matter of knowing how to introduce some slack in the chains by raising the trailer.


Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4X4 5.7L Hemi

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpg

 

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