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Trailer ball-nut broke at 70 mph, some decent riding and a lot of prayer got the bike and trailer stopped without the wife and I taking a spill or any damage to the bike. Safety chains kept the trailer where it was supposed to be (behind the bike). The event happened on day 1 of our 10 day trip to Montreal from Richmond Va. We were in Maryland when the ball-nut broke. Finished the trip without further incidents, however the driver of the vehicle wasn't as lucky as us. The car's accident wasn't related ball-nut breaking. Have posted a few photos in the rides forum.




 

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I do not and personally will not use this type of ball. I use the type that has the ball and the bolt as an integral part, and which uses a nut with a large flat washer and lock washer to secure the ball to the hitch bar. I'm anal, I guess, but I always drill through the threaded portion that sticks out beyond the nut and use a spring clip to capture the nut should it become loose. It's important to check either type of ball for tightness of the nut or the hitch bolt often!!!
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I do not and personally will not use this type of ball. I use the type that has the ball and the bolt as an integral part, and which uses a nut with a large flat washer and lock washer to secure the ball to the hitch bar. I'm anal, I guess, but I always drill through the threaded portion that sticks out beyond the nut and use a spring clip to capture the nut should it become loose. It's important to check either type of ball for tightness of the nut or the hitch bolt often!!!
When I replaced the ball, I switched to the same style that you are using. As soon as I got home, I drilled it and put a cotter pin in, to prevent the nut from slipping off.
 

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Just so I'm sure what's going on here, is this a hollow ball where the bolt comes from underneath through the hitch and up through the hollow stem of the ball?

Doug
 

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nasty

Broke or stripped/vibrated out? Did you find the bolt?

If it "broke" and you did find the bolt I would be shipping that unit off to the Highway Safety Administration or a $300 dollar an hour attorney or both.

The Oh Sh*T factor enough ought to be worth a new trailer eah?
What brand model# was it and how long has it been on the bike?
Nice sparkies on the ball rub down while it was still coupled.

NICE RIDING MAN!

Hope all the no chain folks read this post.
 

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I would like to know more about what happened here. I have often wondered what it would be like for the trailer to come off. I cross my chains several times in hopes that the hitch will sit in the crossed chains and not dig into the pavement. Did your hitch drag the ground? What type of motion did you get from the bike? The car was not involved in this accident, or was it?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Rick Mays- thanks, my lady and I are fine, like I said, some decent riding but the Good Lord did most of the work;)

Section 168- it broke, couldn't find it, driver of vehicle behind me said he saw it fall off, but as he was trying to pull up beside me the trailer detached from the bike so backed off to give me room to manuever, glad he did.

Jbosey- I too cross the chains and glad I did, it kept the trailer close to the bike and probably gave me a little more control. At first I and the other motorcylcelist thought the trailer had a flat, at least that's how it looked in the mirrors, it swayed from side to side, but as I tried to brake, I could feel the trailer bumping the bike and knew it was off the hitch, I stayed steady on both brakes (abs) but not grabbing too much, eased from the center lane to the shoulder and finally got it stopped. the last few feet to stop was the scariest, that's when I could really feel the trailer pushing the bike. the car accident was the next day, female driver just slammed on her brakes, car swurved then flipped,nothing in front of her, but she was on the phone at least when she passed us, she was about 50 to 60 yards ahead of me, I guess, when it happened. I had plenty of time to get to the left shoulder and go past, not a scratch on her,(lucky and blessed)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Broke or stripped/vibrated out? Did you find the bolt?

If it "broke" and you did find the bolt I would be shipping that unit off to the Highway Safety Administration or a $300 dollar an hour attorney or both.

The Oh Sh*T factor enough ought to be worth a new trailer eah?
What brand model# was it and how long has it been on the bike?
Nice sparkies on the ball rub down while it was still coupled.

NICE RIDEING MAN!

Hope all the no chain folks read this post.
That system has been on the bike for 1 year. Got back home saturday, going to see the Honda dealer where it was installed. I checked it before I left and it seemed fine. The driver behind me said all he could see was sparks and if my pants weren't soiled his was. As far as NICE RIDING, thanks, but you know what they say " its better to be lucky than good", I was very lucky:coffee1:
 

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Luck helps but obviously you did not freak and make any radical moves.

Don’t let it go to your head but again…

Nice Riding Man!

It will be interesting to hear any other stories and similar events that come in on this thread.

I hope the no chain folks all read this. Think if that trailer got loose and caused a pile up.

I would much rather RIP myself than take a bystander vehicle out.

Looks like the ball stayed coupled though correct? Looks like that got the rub out?

What did your bride experience? I would like to pass along the “feeling” she experienced on this too my significant other just incase my trailer ever decides to try and escape on me.

She could have freaked as well and made the whole deal more interesting.

So and I apoligize,

Good 2nd Up Riding Too!
 

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Rick,

You are right ... I shoulda expressed my feelings that all is well with discount and his lady. Actually, I wasn't intending at all to rant or school him ... his story brought back vivid memories of a similar incident that happened to me when using one of the same type balls on a trailer behind my truck many years ago. I still have the ball and see it pretty often since it's stored with my other trailer towing items.

Discount 804, I really am glad you guys got stopped without serious incident. Another thought that occured to me as I read your account was "Good for him ... he had his trailer safety chains connected correctly and they did their job!" You guys gotta excuse me ... I've been responsible for safety things most of my life, and so those are always on my mind. Towing adds some potential issues to motorcycling, and this incident shows that it's possible to do so safely even when bad things happen if folks are taking care of business. I appreciate you posting this story for the rest of us to read and think about.

Rick, thanks for reminding me about the really important stuff!!
 

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One question, if the bolt broke-where's the threaded part that would have remained inside the ball? Don't see it in the pics:shrug:


I cross my chains several times in hopes that the hitch will sit in the crossed chains and not dig into the pavement.
Good thing you do cross the chains as that is exactly what you are supposed to do and required by law in some places to do!:thumbup:
 

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Looks like the bolt backed out. Should have been detected as a clunk when accelerating or decelerating before coming completely out.

I use the studded ball on any hitch I own and peen the threads in two places as close to the nut as possible with a drift punch. May come loose but will not come off.

Glad you made it to a safe stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Rick,

You are right ... I shoulda expressed my feelings that all is well with discount and his lady. Actually, I wasn't intending at all to rant or school him ... his story brought back vivid memories of a similar incident that happened to me when using one of the same type balls on a trailer behind my truck many years ago. I still have the ball and see it pretty often since it's stored with my other trailer towing items.

Discount 804, I really am glad you guys got stopped without serious incident. Another thought that occured to me as I read your account was "Good for him ... he had his trailer safety chains connected correctly and they did their job!" You guys gotta excuse me ... I've been responsible for safety things most of my life, and so those are always on my mind. Towing adds some potential issues to motorcycling, and this incident shows that it's possible to do so safely even when bad things happen if folks are taking care of business. I appreciate you posting this story for the rest of us to read and think about.

Rick, thanks for reminding me about the really important stuff!!
Thanks, I too know how easy it is to get side tracked, I figured the story hit home somewhere:thumbup:
 

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The solution for that kind of broken bolt is a good heavy lock washer and a punch.

It is easy with a bolt shank ball, all you do is punch the nut into the bolt threads.

I suppose the style of bolt into the ball, I would take the hitch somewhere and have a couple tac welds put on it. Top and bottom.

Try a ball with a threaded shank and a nut to secure it. Then you can just punch the nut so it will not back off.
 

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Glad you got it stopped safely. Had to be scary.

I know the RIVCO balls are bolted up through the bottom to make up strength for being aluminum. Not sure why a steel ball would be put together that way.
 

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If it broke off why Isn't there a peace of the stub left in the ball:?:
 

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There's no bolt broke off in the ball. If the bolt backed out, there should have been some play in the linkage that gave a warning ??? What does the picture of the flipped over car have to do with everything??? I'm glad that everyone lived through whatever happened, but I'm calling BS on the story. Sorry, just MHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
There's no bolt broke off in the ball. If the bolt backed out, there should have been some play in the linkage that gave a warning ??? What does the picture of the flipped over car have to do with everything??? I'm glad that everyone lived through whatever happened, but I'm calling BS on the story. Sorry, just MHO.
The car was an illustration of how lucky/blessed we were for ending up safe and sound (it was an accident we witnessed a day later). There is no BS to call, trailer came loose, we stopped without going down and that's not an HO, it's a fact.
 
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