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Changing a hitch ball with the assistance of my good friend Murphy

My blog is dedicated to folding trailers (AKA PopUps or PUP’s). Hopefully non-PUP owners will find some of the posts of interest/value.

I’ll cover equipment, modifications, maintenance, camping stories, and of course SPUT’s (Stupid Pop Up Tricks). Please forgive my rants & raves and posts on my camping buddy – my granddaughter.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I try and keep the post short but augment them with pictures from my SmugMug gallery.


He Ruide
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Changing a hitch ball with the assistance of my good friend Murphy

Posted 03-21-2009 at 11:42 AM by heruide
Updated 03-21-2009 at 11:45 AM by heruide
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A couple weekends ago I had the simple task of removing my 2 5/16 inch hitch ball and replacing it with a 2 inch ball so I could haul all the things DW and I collected during the last eight months from Houston to my home in Cincinnati in a Uhaul trailer.

This was going to be a very simple task with four steps:

1. Remove the nut and lock washer from the existing hitch ball shank
2. Remove the 2 5/16 hitch ball
3. Insert a 2 inch ball shank into the hitch bar
4. Tighten the nut with its lock nut unto the shank

Simple yes… but I had to do this with the assistance of Murphy. Yes he is the guy that discovered what we know today as Murphy’s law "If anything can go wrong, it will” and as you will see he was right.

My experience started on Friday, when I thought I would purchase a 2 inch greaseless hitch ball and test it during the 1200 mile drive. So I called Camping World just to make sure they had it in stock. The lady that answered the phone had no idea what I was talking about and neither did the parts guy. After several calls to different folks at Camping World, I figured out that they did not have one. So I used the internet to call every RV dealer, trailer shop and 4X4 parts stores. Three hours later I gave up. However, it was an interesting experience. I had to explain to several folks working in trailer shops the concept of a greaseless hitch ball.

Finally, I accepted that I would have to use a conventional hitch ball. The U-Haul folks said they could install one but it was going to cost more than if I did it myself. So early Saturday morning I was at Wal-Mart and got a 2 inch ball plus the wrench to remove the nut. In their parking lot I discovered that my 2 5/16 inch ball has a 1 1/4 inch shank with 1 7/8 inch nut. So my newly purchased wrench is too small – Thanks Murphy.

OK, we’ll just let the U-Haul folks remove my 2 5/16 inch ball. NOT! I could not believe that the U-Haul shop did not have a 1 7/8 inch socket – Murphy strikes again.

Well let’s see… I can remove my WDH bar from the receiver and purchase and step down hitch bar with a 2 inch ball from the U-Haul folks. So I got the set of keys for all my PUP locks. While I found the keys for the PUP door, deck locks, hitch ball lock, Honda generator, even the storage unit in Cincinnati… but the key to remove the hitch bar is back in Cincinnati. Murphy you have made your point!

Hummmm what to do? Well we ( Murphy and I) can either find a lock smith or get a wrench to remove the 1 7/8 nut. I had no idea where to find a lock smith, but I know where my favorite hardware store “Northern Tool” is located. The first good news of the day is that they have both a wrench and a socket. However, the socket needed a ¾ inch socket wrench which they had. The combination of socket and the ¾ inch wrench was more than the wrench… but I may be able to use it with other large nuts. Since I could not find a reducer bushing to use the 2 inch hitch ball 1 inch diameter shank, I decided I would also purchase a 2 inch ball with a 1 1/4 inch shank.

Rather than head back to U-Haul, I decided to remove the 2 5/16 inch ball in the Northern Tool’s parking lot. Good move as after breaking the nut the whole ball and nut started turning. Since my ball does not have a wrench flat, I needed a pipe wrench to hold the base of the ball tight while turning the nut. So back in the store and purchase a pipe wrench. I found a light aluminum pipe wrench in my favorite colors… Yellow and Black... However, it was twice the price of a regular iron pipe wrench. I figured I had done my part in stimulating the economy, so I purchased the iron pipe wrench.

Now while I was back in the store buying the pipe wrench, Murphy was outside trying to remove the hitch ball nut. I really wish he had waited since I found out that the nut was cross threaded and trust me… trying to remove a cross thread 1 7/8 inch nut even with a huge ¾ inch socket wrench is no easy task.

So I can either go to a supermarket and get a can of spinach, ask some of the Hispanic men that are at the Home Depot parking lot looking for work to help me or get more leverage with a piece of pipe. I liked the idea of helping out the Hispanic men but I discovered that Murphy had removed all the cash from my wallet and I’m sure these men would not take a credit card. So I purchased a 24 inch long 1 inch diameter pipe and with the help of DW was able to remove the nut and install the 2 inch ball.

Of course my green house gas emissions were not over since I had to:

1. Return the small wrench and hitch ball to Wal-Mart
2. Go back to Northern Tool to replace the 2 5/16 inch hitch ball I had destroyed and
3. Go back to U-Haul to pick up the trailer - four hours later.

The good news is that Murphy decided that I had learned my lesson and the trip to Cincinnati went off without any other mishaps.

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grcooperjr's Avatar
Glad you got it done and made it home... How are you doing BTW. Hope all is fine...
Posted 03-22-2009 at 03:37 AM by grcooperjr grcooperjr is offline
heruide's Avatar

Thanks. I'm doing great. It is good to be back at home. The stemcells have grafted and I'm looking forward to my next scan towards the end of May.

Posted 03-23-2009 at 04:02 AM by heruide heruide is offline

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