Jump to content

Failed Andersen tension chain coupler - ideas?


JRK
 Share

Recommended Posts

I did not adjust the Andersen after pickup on Wednesday, as I was directed. I was told that I would not need to adjust the tension chains.

I noticed this failure of the coupler. I do not think that that the connector was properly screwed into the female portion. The threads do not appear to be stripped.

Question-how do I adjust the Andersen? The instructions indicate that I am to loosen/tighten when remove/replace, sort of. I was not shown that at delivery. I was not shown how the Andersen would lower the front end, if need, by distributing the weight, as in the instruction manual.

I find no information in the instruction manual about the coupling link. I went to Tractor Supply someplace in Oklahoma, maybe New Mexico - Tumcumcari, I think, and bought a similar coupler to replace the failed one. Does anyone know what grade steel it should be? I assume that this is the reason it is there-to fail if the strain is too excessive, but again, no info found in the manual. Maybe I am not looking in the right place.

Towing an E1 with a Toyota Tacoma. Have had no issues in the about 1,500 miles, until now.

IMG_2248.jpg

IMG_2250.jpg

      

2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4

2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andersen does not usually have a coupling link on their anti-sway and weight distribution hitches. My understanding is since the tongue bracket has to be installed much further back on the Oliver the chains have to be extended.  I was able to find the following information from Andersen (https://help.andersenhitches.com/faq/what-is-the-weight-rating-tensile-strength-of-the-wd-chain) on the chain strength:

  •     3/8" zinc-plated chain
  •     Grade 30 commercial
  •     2650 lbs minimum working load (sometimes called tensile strength) –with 4x breaking strength
  •     Minimum tensile of 55,000 p.s.i. 

2019 Ram 1500 - 2020 LEll - Hull #676

ALFLGAMDNYNCPASCTNVAWVsm.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

If you haven't done so already, I  would encourage you to open a service ticket on the home screen here. Even if you fix it yourself, Oliver should be made aware of it.

  • Like 4

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
23 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

If you haven't done so already, I  would encourage you to open a service ticket on the home screen here. Even if you fix it yourself, Oliver should be made aware of it.

Agree with Sherry, let Oliver know.  Part of my pre-flight checklist when I used the Andersen was to check those two links and the connecting points to the whale tail/triangle.  A couple of times I had to tighten one or both of those extension connectors.  Mike 

  • Like 1

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your coupler, AKA "repair link" needs to be rated for at least the rating of the chain.  Quick-links like the one that failed are typically not rated very high.  More like something that one would put on a dog chain.  Oh yes, they do have their place.  I use them to connect to the eyelet on my bird feeders hanging from the eaves on my garage.

IMHO, something like this would be much safer...

image.thumb.png.3b91cf7d959e8456c01934953b33c672.png

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 2

820.png.45d6985802d380947444b4da5835ac4e.pngMike and Yasuko

2021 Legacy Elite Hull #820 "The Owls Nest"

Tow Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Tundra Limited 5.7 V8 TRD Off-Road 4x4 "Tundrasaurus Rex"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That would take the heat off Oliver, provided they fastened it properly upon installation.  Regardless of who provided the component, I would bet a bottle of 15 year Macallan’s that it is not rated the same as the chain.

820.png.45d6985802d380947444b4da5835ac4e.pngMike and Yasuko

2021 Legacy Elite Hull #820 "The Owls Nest"

Tow Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Tundra Limited 5.7 V8 TRD Off-Road 4x4 "Tundrasaurus Rex"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Same thing happened to me with my now-gone Andersen (well before this gentleman’s post). Service ticket done. Mine was not just disconnected. It was deformed, stretched, sometime during a two day drive. I just happened to notice it. To me this is extremely dangerous, whatever the cause(s). I was also told no adjusting and it was constant adjusting and very difficult, to put it mildly.

43B17845-1D9C-41B8-BAF3-DCB056D7F31A.jpeg

Edited by Moonlight Mile

2021 Elite 1 -- Hull #731

Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4

Now Sold

 

 

states.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
Posted (edited)

I think the relative danger depends on how effective or necessary you think the Andersen is to begin with.  Plenty of half ton drivers don't use the Andersen at all, but of course there's differing opinion as to how wise that is.  Regardless, the stretched link will render the weight distributing properties of the hitch useless, but that's the limit of the danger.

Edited by Overland

❄️

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had the same thing happen to me. Elite 1 as well with the Andersen. It happened while driving Highway 1 to Big Sur. My thought process was I didn’t use a crescent wrench to tighten the threads, and after so many hours, it just unscrewed itself from the vibrations.  I bought a similar sized stainless steel coupler at Home Depot in Paso Robles. I use a crescent wrench to snug it up as part of my pre-travel checklist.

2017 Elite 1

Hull 220

1997 Dodge 2500

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Moonlight Mile said:

Same thing happened to me with my now-gone Andersen (well before this gentleman’s post). Service ticket done. Mine was not just disconnected. It was deformed, stretched, sometime during a two day drive. I just happened to notice it. To me this is extremely dangerous, whatever the cause(s). I was also told no adjusting and it was constant adjusting and very difficult, to put it mildly.

 

Sheri, so, did you ditch the Andersen WD hitch? What hitch are you now using?

As we discussed on the phone, your Threaded Quick Link deformed and stretched because it was not properly screwed together. That link is easily replaced if you want to begin using the Andersen again. Checking these links to make sure they're tight before travel is necessary (but, since your truck likely needs no weight distribution, as Overland stated, it was not a dangerous situation). There is no reason to ever loosen them as this would not serve for any adjustment. As some have suggested, if I had an Andersen set-up (I don't) I would put a drop of Loctite on the threads and tighten them down well.

Edited by ScubaRx
  • Like 1

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 #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“Now gone,” as I said. Ditched as unsafe IN MY OPINION and the constant adjustments were not easy or something I wanted to have to deal with every time I hitched etc. Not sure anyone can say with certainty whether mine was properly screwed together (and if not, why not) or defective. Either way, I ditched it as unsatisfactory and, in MY opinion, dangerous. 
 

YMMV, as always. 

Edited by Moonlight Mile

2021 Elite 1 -- Hull #731

Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4

Now Sold

 

 

states.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the Andersen is functional and not at all unsafe if maintained correctly. No brand of weight distribution hitch is zero maintenance and frankly they are all a PITA to use. Applying spring bar tension to  one like this

A599FD8C-0C17-4C30-9A4D-BD9662D8F743.thumb.jpeg.aedea77a6f7ebfc4524c2225b59d42b4.jpeg

is difficult and can remove a finger. The Andersen is however the lightest and by far the easiest to store when not in use.  If I were towing a LE1 with a full sized body-on-frame SUV or any full sized pickup, I certainly would not use it. I am unclear as to why Oliver Sales seems to be pressuring every new LE1 owner to buy one.... Just say no. 😀

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies

"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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Moonlight Mile said:

“Now gone,” as I said. Ditched as unsafe IN MY OPINION and the constant adjustments were not easy or something I wanted to have to deal with every time I hitched etc. Not sure anyone can say with certainty whether mine was properly screwed together (and if not, why not) or defective. Either way, I ditched it as unsatisfactory and, in MY opinion, dangerous. 
 

YMMV, as always. 

Just so I can better understand...

When you say "Adjustments" here, were you tightening/loosening each side of the chains once your whale tail was connected?

So far, I have had to do this each time I leave once the whale tale is connected + fastened, but it never takes more than 5 minutes. Each chain should be fairly tight, and both should have the same tension. While not super quick, adjusting the height of the trailer over your hitch makes it a lot easier to get the whale tale on + fastened as well.

It does look like you are towing the Elite I with a ram 1500 though. So maybe a WD hitch isn't needed if it is under the specs for your hitch. I'd be curious as to what the max numbers are on your specific truck hitch to know for sure if I'd use the anderson or not.

Edited by jordanv

2021 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Twin Bed - Hull 762 | 2018 F150 3.5L Ecoboost V6 w/ Max Tow package

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes crawling under the front, using special Andersen ratchet, both sides. Every time. Also the hitch pin that came with the Andersen was very difficult to get into the hole; some suggested it needed to be filed down — extremely difficult to get into hole. As to filing it down I do not have the tools or shop equipment to file metal down. I did not need the Andersen. My truck specs can be googled. 2021 Ram 1500 Rebel with towing package.

2021 Elite 1 -- Hull #731

Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4

Now Sold

 

 

states.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

I think the Andersen is functional and not at all unsafe if maintained correctly. No brand of weight distribution is zero maintenance and frankly they are all a PITA to use. Applying spring bar tension to  one like this

A599FD8C-0C17-4C30-9A4D-BD9662D8F743.thumb.jpeg.aedea77a6f7ebfc4524c2225b59d42b4.jpeg

is difficult and can remove a finger. The Andersen is however the lightest and by far the easiest to store when not in use.  If I were towing a LE1 with a full sized body-on-frame SUV or any full sized pickup, I certainly would not use it. I am unclear as to why Oliver Sales seems to be pressuring every new LE1 owner to buy one.... Just say no. 😀

John Davies

Spokane WA

Agree. 

2021 Elite 1 -- Hull #731

Ram 1500 Rebel 4x4

Now Sold

 

 

states.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I can tell you is, you will probably never be able to use the links again as it is critical that the threads lineup to screw together. The added chain to make it longer is somewhat critical, that is I want my chain to be the correct length so I have no extra links hanging down. I will say here when I purchased my extra chain I did get enough to have it a little longer, say 2-3 lengths rather then be too short, then cutoff the extra.  I can say that I'm very happy with the Anderson and it's operation. 

 

trainman

Edited by Trainman

Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I’m not sure why folks are loosening/tightening chains each time they hook up and unhook.  They method I was shown by Oliver, 5 years ago, was to put the trailer on the ball, then raise the ball and truck a few inches which puts slack in the chains, then attach the triangle plate to the hitch, lower and go.  When disconnecting, you first raise the hitch until there is adequate slack in the chains, disconnect the triangle plate, lower a bit, then open the bulldog.  Once I had my chains adjusted I never touched them again.... for years.  Is this not the preferred method anymore?  I did make it a habit to check the extender links and the shackles on the triangle plate to ensure they were tight.  Mike

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 3

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Mike and Carol said:

I’m not sure why folks are loosening/tightening chains each time they hook up and unhook.  They method I was shown by Oliver, 5 years ago, was to put the trailer on the ball, then raise the ball and truck a few inches which puts slack in the chains, then attach the triangle plate to the hitch, lower and go.  When disconnecting, you first raise the hitch until there is adequate slack in the chains, disconnect the triangle plate, lower a bit, then open the bulldog.  Once I had my chains adjusted I never touched them again.... for years.  Is this not the preferred method anymore?  I did make it a habit to check the extender links and the shackles on the triangle plate to ensure they were tight.  Mike

I recall a few posts about some folks overdoing it using the tongue jack to raise the hitch while still hooked to the tow vehicle, raising it really high and putting a lot of stress on the ball (even pulling the ball shank out of the Andersen hitch) or stressing the closure of the Bulldog coupler.  I think there’s even a warning/caution on this somewhere in the Andersen literature to only raise it about 1” to 2” above the unloaded ball height.  Any more than that and you’re basically lifting your tow vehicle by the hitch.  At delivery we were shown to only raise the hitch just enough to just barely unload the trailer tongue weight on receiver on the tow vehicle, and to judge that by watching the ball mount in the receiver to see when it just raised enough to move off the bottom of the receiver.   That put enough slack in the chains to allow the tensioning nuts to be loosened by hand to easily remove the whale tail.   And then reverse the process when reattaching, then lower the tongue and use a wrench to tighten the nuts, and to count the exposed threads extending out of the nut (6 or 7 exposed) to tension the chains.  That process worked well but it was tedious.   Now towing with an F-250 so I no longer use the Andersen.  

Edited by FrankC
  • Thanks 1

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

I’m not sure why folks are loosening/tightening chains each time they hook up and unhook.  They method I was shown by Oliver, 5 years ago, was to put the trailer on the ball, then raise the ball and truck a few inches which puts slack in the chains, then attach the triangle plate to the hitch, lower and go.  When disconnecting, you first raise the hitch until there is adequate slack in the chains, disconnect the triangle plate, lower a bit, then open the bulldog.  Once I had my chains adjusted I never touched them again.... for years.  Is this not the preferred method anymore?  I did make it a habit to check the extender links and the shackles on the triangle plate to ensure they were tight.  Mike

Funny you mention that... but I purchased a used anderson hitch from someone on this forum. So Oliver installed it for me at the factory (for a fee). The left chain has loosened up after it as tightened two or three times so far. They didnt see anything wrong with the hitch, so they thought it may be that the silicone bushing is settling in.

Needless to say, I have tightened them each time I re-connected our trailer to the F150 so far.

  • Like 1

2021 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Twin Bed - Hull 762 | 2018 F150 3.5L Ecoboost V6 w/ Max Tow package

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators
3 hours ago, FrankC said:

At delivery we were shown to only raise the hitch just enough to just barely unload the trailer tongue weight on receiver on the tow vehicle, and to judge that by watching the ball mount in the receiver to see when it just raised enough to move off the bottom of the receiver.   That put enough slack in the chains to allow the tensioning nuts to be loosened by hand to easily remove the whale tail. 

That’s what was demonstrated to me as well.  I raised the tongue, watching the hitch at the truck receiver.  It never took more than and inch or so after that for the chains to be loose enough to pull the pin and drop the whale tail.  I never had the ball pop out.  I retired my Andersen in December.  Mike

  • Like 2

Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

I’m not sure why folks are loosening/tightening chains each time they hook up and unhook.  They method I was shown by Oliver, 5 years ago, was to put the trailer on the ball, then raise the ball and truck a few inches which puts slack in the chains, then attach the triangle plate to the hitch, lower and go.  When disconnecting, you first raise the hitch until there is adequate slack in the chains, disconnect the triangle plate, lower a bit, then open the bulldog.  Once I had my chains adjusted I never touched them again.... for years.  Is this not the preferred method anymore?  I did make it a habit to check the extender links and the shackles on the triangle plate to ensure they were tight.  Mike

Thanks Mike et al,

Because the threads did not appear to be stripped when I took the stretched coupler off, I assumed that it had not been tightened when it was delivered. I was not told anything about the chain coupler when it was delivered - not a complaint, just an observation. Oliver had to cut quite a few links off the chain to fit the E1. 

I was told at delivery just what you said, Mike, about leaving the adjustments alone. However, the Andersen website and manual instructions say that you should loosen before removal of the whale tail and tighten when the whale tail is replaced. Wasn't sure what to do, and it sounds as though there is no one consensus as to what to do. I have not been able to get the pin back into the hitch without loosening just a quarter turn. I was told to leave the trailer attached to the ball, raise it until the hitch closes the gap in the receiver (just a little more than an inch) and remove the whale tail, and reverse the procedure to install. The chains are just a bit too taught to easily remove the pin and whale tail. 

I also have had the issue where the two chains have differing tension. One may have no deflection while the other is sloppy loose, as checked when getting fuel and the truck/trailer are in a straight line. At the next stop, the taught/sloppy chains may be reversed, so it is not one is too taught and the other is too loose. 

I have opened a service ticket. Other than that, I have only had an issue with the door step binding when I try to slide it into the chassis. I took a few extra minutes today to figure out how it works, and think that I see the issue. The rod binds in the slot, and does not allow the step to properly seat, then binds in the slots when trying to return. There must be a trick to shoving in the step.

I will keep an eye on the hitch chains to see if anything changes. It may be that the bushings are settling in, as the brakes have settled in after the first about 2,000 miles. I went from an 8.5 on the P3 just to have any slight braking to now a 5.2 to prevent grabbing.

  • Like 2

      

2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4

2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

In reverse order - 

I'm not too surprised with your adjustments on your brake controller.  Now that things in this regard have "settled down" it is likely that little (if any) further adjustment will be necessary.

I'd still keep a strong eye on that Andersen.  I've never experienced ANY "settling in" of the bushings (the red things) and really don't see how these would ever "settle in".

The only times when I've experienced one chain being slack is when the TV and the Ollie are not in a straight line.  However, even a slight deviation from straight can produce a difference in the tension.  When you have the Oliver disconnected, can you move the Andersen hitch ball manually?  You can usually test this by either reconnecting the whale tail without the chains or by taking the lug wrench that Oliver provided and placing the end of it into the "pin hole" at the bottom of the hitch ball and rotate the hitch ball from side to side - it should be reasonably smooth during this movement.

For what its worth - my procedure with my Andersen is exactly as Mike described above.  The only times I mess with the large screws under the trailer is when I'm in a situation where I simply can not back the tow vehicle anywhere near the same angle as it was when I unhitched.  Even then, I normally will use the lug wrench to manually adjust the whale tail to the proper alignment versus messing with the chain adjustments.

Bill 

  • Thanks 1

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...