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Spike

Changing Bulldog Coupler and Ball Size to 2-5/16"

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I'm wondering if any EII owners have up-sized their Bulldog Coupler and ball size from 2" to 2-5/16".

 

I may be too paranoid, but I have always marveled at how that 2" coupler and ball was meant to be enough to safely couple the trailer to the tow vehicle and tow it for thousands of miles, often over rough terrain, straining the coupler and ball. Wouldn't the larger sizes of couple and ball, with heavier maximum load ratings, be safer?

 

What are folks thoughts about this possible modification? Has anyone done it? If so, why? Are there any disadvantages--other than expense and labor--to upsizing? Would upsizing just be a waste and not add any extra safety to towing our Ollie II?


Onward through the Fog!


EarthPicks of Cochise County


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Some have done it, no worries or problems. I agree that a 7000 lb load rating is very marginal for a fully loaded Elite II when you take it off smooth roads. The bigger coupler will fit, just drill a new set of bolt holes in the right place, that is the tricky part. If you use an Andersen hitch, replacing the ball assembly is more costly than a $15 Walmart deadweight ball.

 

The tongue will sit a little higher, not a big deal....

 

The trailers should come this way from the factory. But I think they want as much commonality as possible, which explains the weird six bolt wheels on 3500 pound axles, to match the wheel pattern on the Elite with its single heavier axle. It is good for the factory guys, but not for an owner who wants disc brakes and must swap axles or buy a new set of five bolt wheels....! Grrrr.

 

I may upsize, but I may go to an offroad coupler and lose the ball entirely.

 

Go for it. Take pictures.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

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"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 did this a couple of years ago when I bought the 3/4 ton diesel. It has a 2-1/2” receiver so I thought “why not?” The hitch I’m using now is rated at 20,000 pounds. That ought to handle my overweight Oliver nicely.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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If any one has pictures of the upgraded 2 5/16 coupler I would appreciate it  The 2” coupler isn’t a big concern although I was surprised that they use a 2” coupler. 2 5/16 is the norm for most Rv trailers. 1 7/8 are a thing of the past.

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I had my Ollie outfitted with the larger Bulldog and Anderson ball.  Ran 8,000+ trailer miles last summer and was pleased with the reduced wear rate of the larger assembly.  If I were buying another Ollie, I would go with the larger set-up again.

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Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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We have ordered the 2 5/16 coupler for our trailer when we take delivery in May.  The upgrade is not an "option" though.  We had to pay the cost of them purchasing and installing the larger coupler as a service item.  We'll end up with both the original 2" coupler as well as the 2 5/16" coupler when we drive away.  Hey, we paid for it (the original 2" coupler), we might as well take it with us.  Not sure what we'll do with it though.  Might just give it to someone in the Oliver world who needs it for whatever reason.

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2018 Elite II, Hull #414 (the very last 2018 produced).  Trailer name "2 HOBOS" .   2006 Dodge 3500 Megacab, 4x4 with 5.9L Cummins diesel.

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Hey, we paid for it (the original 2″ coupler), we might as well take it with us. Not sure what we’ll do with it though. Might just give it to someone in the Oliver world who needs it for whatever reason.

Ask for the packaging that the big one shipped in.... Put the 2 inch one in the Oliver Classifieds for $40, or on eBay, and it should sell quickly.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

  • Thanks 1

"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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If any one has pictures of the upgraded 2 5/16 coupler I would appreciate it ...

 

Here are a few pics of our 2-5/16” coupler. It basically appears just like the 2” one.

54F1A409-BC93-4B11-A0B3-96658DB91783.thumb.jpeg.064d99f251e173d52d6fa02b8c4aea6c.jpeg

457045A8-71CB-4E73-81E6-5BE8010DD60B1.thumb.jpeg.f9144c8575574f450130c7d4fb827115.jpeg

D49D6610-2F5B-44C0-84C9-DED983D739B31.thumb.jpeg.7f499fe2082c3a1232391f2a3b2147d4.jpeg

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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Here are a few pics of our 2-5/16” coupler. It basically appears just like the 2” one.

 

How did you drill the holes to attach the coupler to the tongue? Was a hand-held drill sufficient for the task? Or does one need some kind of drill press?


Onward through the Fog!


EarthPicks of Cochise County


AZCACOKSMONVNMORTNTXUTmed.jpg

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Spike, I drilled them in a drill press. If you don’t own one, they could be drilled with a large hand held. If I remember correctly, the holes were 5/8” or so. Most folks that don’t have a drill press won’t have bits that large so you may have to get some help.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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Spike, I drilled them in a drill press. If you don’t own one, they could be drilled with a large hand held. If I remember correctly, the holes were 5/8” or so. Most folks that don’t have a drill press won’t have bits that large so you may have to get some help.

 

How did you get them accurately located so that they matched the holes in the aluminum tongue? They need to be a very close match....

 

Thanks.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane wa

  • Thanks 1

"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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Thanks for the pictures. Doesn’t look like a difficult change over. I have never used this type of hitch I’ll wait and put the 2in into use before I consider the change.  Takeing apart the trailer and I haven’t even gotten it yet. Love it. 6/26/19 ?

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...How did you get them accurately located so that they matched the holes in tlhe aluminum tongue? They need to be a very close match….

 

Thanks.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane wa

 

 

I just measured the placement of the holes from the 2” hitch and laid out the holes on the 2-5/16” hitch to match.

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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I just measured the placement of the holes from the 2” hitch and laid out the holes on the 2-5/16” hitch to match.

I have to admit that I’m a little uncomfortable with that method, since the 2” Bulldogs come with the holes predrilled to Oliver Trailers and they probably match the tongue holes precisely since they are built on a jig.  Going the other way, drilling new holes in the steel to exactly match the old worn ones in the tongue, is tricky at best.

 

I haven’t done this mod yet but I would probably bolt the coupler down, drill a third “keeper” bolt hole right in the center, remove the coupler and then and bed the upper part in epoxy so it can’t shift.... there are tremendous loads on it from the Andersen chains and once it starts moving it will worsen with hard use. It should be a very precise fit.

 

That’s me though, anal plus.

 

It would be helpful if Oliver could provide a technical drawing showing the exact measurements for the mounting holes.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

  • Thanks 1

"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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That drawing is very cool, thanks for posting. And Mark spelled out the process beautifully.

 

I have saved that pdf and will print a copy for the owners manual.

 

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,

 

 

 

I switched mine early last year and it went fine.  The new 2 5/16 coupler is not much stronger, but the ball certainly is.

 

I just bought the part and transferred the hole locations over to it from the old one.  Be careful that you use the right grage 8 bolts, you can use the old one, but I had to add a washer to each because the nuts had run out of threads before pinching the coupler onto the tongue.  This meant the bolts were able to move around and it had started to elongate the holes a bit.

 

The trick is to use bolts that support the load in their unthreaded area, but have enough thread to tighten correctly.  This means you'll need ones that are about an inch too long and cut them off.  A couple of washers allows you to get just the right length of unthreaded area in the coupler.

 

There isn't enough room in the new piece to change it's overall length much and the farther out you go the weaker the design.

 

The new piece uses a different catch and the lever is gone.  Good!  I kept tripping on that thing.

 

 

Bulldog-2.thumb.jpg.6123dde4338f42aecd12f690946c0d67.jpg

Bulldog-1.thumb.jpg.b0477d61300f5c515b55de61414a9f55.jpg

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John


"I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt."


LE2 #92 (sold),   Black Series HQ19   

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This is a very helpful post.  Oliver will do this work for you, but they charge about $250 plus tax for the installation.  They keep the 2" coupler.  Seems to me, there ought be a bit more credit since they will be able to bolt the 2" coupler on a new trailer, but so be it. I don't doubt there is an hour or so of labor to install this.

The PDF of the hole layout is very helpful.  A 5/8" annular cutter mounted in a drill press and some cutting fluid ought to make quick work of drilling these holes. If you are worried about aligning the holes, you could probably go to 11/16" to take care of any misalignment.

Planning to do this mod once I get the Oliver home.  Anyone have the part number of the 2 5/16" Bulldog coupler?

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Thought I had seen the 2 5/16 hitch at Tractor Supply?

After 20,000 miles or so we have had no problems with the 2" .  We were concerned when first getting the camper, but hasn't proven to be a problem. The 21' cabin boat also rides on an aluminium trailer with a 2" ball. Again no problems. 

Edited by Mainiac

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