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Subject Topic: to grease tow hitch or not?
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Message posted by dill1970 on 19/5/2010 at 7:03pm
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we're new to caravanning & you wouldnt believe the conficting advice we're getting! basically we've been told to wipe off the grease on the tow hitch as its better when its a bit rough & have been advised to rough sand it. others have said its better with the grease. we're off for the first time on friday & im a bit worried that we'll do the wrong thing! HELP!

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Message posted by mikecandsarhab on 19/5/2010 at 7:09pm
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what hitch type do you have, is it an alko stabiliser hitch, winterholf stabiliser type if either of these never ever greese the ball or hitch, make sure you ball is spotless, by some cleaner to make sure it clean and free from paint, if you have a none stabilising hitch your fine to greese it alittle.

(sorry about the spellings)

mike


Message posted by millermicm on 19/5/2010 at 7:09pm
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If it is an Alko hitch and friction stabiliser absolutely no lubrication at all. it must be totally clean.

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Steve



Message posted by mikecandsarhab on 19/5/2010 at 7:11pm
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oh if it the bailey you have in your profile it will have a alko hitch with stabilser so, you will need to clean your towball and make sure the paint is off, do you have the extended alko type towball?  so do not ever greese your hitch head or ball.

mike


Message posted by dill1970 on 19/5/2010 at 7:24pm
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ye it's got the al-ko aks 3004 stabiliser. tow bar was fitted by fords, paint has been removed from tow ball but there is grease in the tow hitch (was like this when we bought it)

Message posted by mikecandsarhab on 19/5/2010 at 7:53pm
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you are going to need to remove the friction pads and clean them, you might be able to if you have some time in situe,  you need to remove all greese on the pads then give them some light sanding, and hopfully they wont need to be replaced.

to remove the side pads you take the two red caps off the side and with a screwdriver in the holes give a quick tap and the side pads pop out, for the front an rear ones, you need a torx head socket or screwdriver if you look in the hitch head from underneath youll see one screw for the rear pad, and if you pull the red hitch head cover off youll see the screw for the front one,  

mike


Message posted by JTQU on 19/5/2010 at 8:01pm
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Quote: Originally posted by dill1970 on 19/5/2010
ye it's got the al-ko aks 3004 stabiliser. tow bar was fitted by fords, paint has been removed from tow ball but there is grease in the tow hitch (was like this when we bought it)


But importantly is the grease in the hitch in a way it can contact the ball?
There are a few bits that can be greased but not where it contacts the ball, otherwise the stabilising friction will be lost.

Message posted by jhsw on 19/5/2010 at 8:26pm
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Hi dill1970,  To clean friction pads on the stabilizer and clean the tow ball, use disc pad cleaner on both,it disolves the grease an will evaporate, it can be bought from any car accessory shop, take out as much grease as possible with rag, then spray with the disc pad cleaner, if that dose not leave clean, then as sugested above take pads outof stabilizer to clean, hope this helps.

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If in Doubt Check it Out.



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Message posted by jhsw on 19/5/2010 at 8:29pm
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Hi,  SORRY correction BRAKE CLEANER.

 



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If everything runs smoothly then I must have done something wrong
If in Doubt Check it Out.



John

Message posted by LegsDownKettleOn on 19/5/2010 at 8:33pm
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If the grease had got into the pads then they will need replacing. You will never get it out.

Message posted by Paul B on 19/5/2010 at 9:05pm
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Just to add to the confusion...

I'm assuming that the tow bar is the flange type bolted connection... in which case you should really be using an Alko tow ball. These are sloghtly different geometry to a standard ball, allowing the pitch to rotate without the stabiliser clashing with the ball. http://www.towequipe.co.uk/products/alko-type-towball-tow-ball-towbar-bar-4-alko-aks-type-stabaliser.html These generally need cleaning as above advice, and paint removing.

if you've got a swan neck then just clean the tow ball as the other advice above.


Message posted by Rune Caster on 20/5/2010 at 8:58am
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I notice that no one has asked if you have towed the caravan with a greased ball - just assumed that you have...


Think of the stabliser as being similar to the disc brakes on your car:

The tow ball is the disc and the friction pads inside the hitch are the pads

As you wouldn't grease or rough up the disc on your car neither should you do it to your tow ball, nor should you polish your tow ball with abrasive either as the tolerance between the al-ko hitch and tow ball is only 2"/2" minus 40 thousandths of an inch (that is providing the tow ball starts at 2" in the first place)

As has been said getting surface grease off the friction pads can be done with brake cleaner but if the grease has soaked into the pads (as it would if you traveled any distance with a greased ball) then you will need new pads.

The only time it would be an idea to grease your ball is between towing to prevent the ball from getting rusty and then clean it off with brake cleaner before you hitch up. Doing this will stop the ball getting smaller when you resort to using abrasive when trying to get the rust off.

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Message posted by D S B on 20/5/2010 at 9:58am
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Quote: Originally posted by Rune Caster on 20/5/2010
The only time it would be an idea to grease your ball is between towing to prevent the ball from getting rusty and then clean it off with brake cleaner before you hitch up.
Sounds like a useful hint Rune.

-------------
David

Message posted by Viggo on 20/5/2010 at 3:57pm
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Also, beware if you ever allow anyone else to tow your caravan, such as a warden on a campsite or someone at a storage site. They should know to ensure that the towball on their tractor or car is clean, but anyone can forget if they are unused to doing the job or if in a hurry. Don't be afraid to ask, because grease in a friction stabiliser can be expensive to fix and, if it goes unnoticed, it stops the stabiliser doing its job and therefore is a danger to you and others.

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* You never know where you're going 'til you get there...

Message posted by dill1970 on 20/5/2010 at 4:10pm
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ive got all the paint of the tow ball,has for the hitch i'm going away tomorrow so haven't got time to do the pads so i'll just have to get as much as i can off with a rag for now will that be ok...cheers everyone for all the replies.

Message posted by phillfirsttime on 01/8/2012 at 10:46pm
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Was just about to get some grease ,as adviced to was lucky to come across this thread , first time towing so was a worry

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