Greasing towballs

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 08:48
ThreadID: 77544 Views:4046 Replies:8 FollowUps:9
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Just wondering what the general consensus is on the greasing of tow balls.
I was reading Tonys thread number 77497 about his trailer coming unhitched & was wondering if hitch wear might be the cause.
I grease my tow ball to, hopefully reduce wear.
I also like grease on my legs as well (not).
Greasing tow balls was a common practice once. I remember the tennis balls being used as covers to keep the grease off of peoples legs. Now we have fancy caps to hide the grease & guards to protect our shins from the tongue.
What is the opinion on tow hitch wear & am I wasting my time greasing my tow ball & washing grease off of my legs?
A nonlubricated connection must wear faster than lubricated one.
What other lubricants do people use, if any?
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Reply By: Fred G NSW - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 09:14

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 09:14
You will get a variety of opinions here for this one, but in IMHO, I never use grease of any kind on the tow ball as it will attract and hold dirt and grit making for a good grinding paste. I just clean the ball and coupling before each hitch up.

I also replace the towball after each major trip, usually once a year. Only cost about $15 to replace, it's best to be sure, to be sure if you know what I mean.

Fred.
AnswerID: 412074

Follow Up By: Fab72 - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 14:09

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 14:09
Fred...totally agree that replacing the ball after every major trip is cheap insurance but surely the hitch is wearing too. These are not as cheap or easy to replace so why wouldn't you (and others) use some form of lubrication.

FYI..... I use vaseline. Doesn't stain the strides like wheel bearing grease does. I also find that the grease/vaseline quietens the whole thing down a bit.

Take note of what the industry professionals do. Wouldn't be too many semi's running around with dry turntables and hitch pins would there.
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Reply By: Rockape - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 09:19

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 09:19
Mate,
if you are useing the van on the blacktop, there is no reason not to grease the ball.

If you are going off road, then don't grease.

Have a good one.
AnswerID: 412077

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 09:30

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 09:30
Never grease mine as I think the very small amount of movement wont really wear it away.

Have just ended a 13 month 50,000k trip and ball is not worn noticeably.


Incidentally after reading the thread re the boat trailer I have forgotten on two occasions to drop the handle onto the ball in the morning.

Usually stop 15 mins down the road to check it all and found van still hitched up.

Guess its up to how much or not enough ball weight would cause that.

A WDH does of course hold the two together.
AnswerID: 412081

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:32

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:32
hi graham
take the towball out of the towbar and measure it with a good set of verniers all around
and then pop it into the cup on the hitch you might be surprised at just how much free play you have or there may be a flat spot on the front side of the ball

but then as i recall you bought a new c/van in geraldton enroute of your 50th km trip did'nt you so that throws a different angle on your no wear factor
cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:39

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:39
Yep we did but still using the same ball it measures 49.82mm and is 3 years old

Has got any flat spots

Have done 2 trips Brisbane to Hervey bay, 1 to Yamba and the 50k round the block


Cheers
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Reply By: Member - mazcan - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 13:34

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 13:34
hi
i have always lubed the tow ball and use a tennis ball cover
pop it into a plastic cliplok bag when not in use

used crc then silicon spray but since lanolin spray came onto the market have changed to that as it does'nt attract the dust like the others and is'nt as messy

everyone to their choice and opinions on this one


but i will always use lube on the towball as imho it stops wear and makes the parts move unre-stricked during twists and turns thousands of times on and off road
with the down weight and the thrust /pull pressure on the ball and cup of the heavy vans being towed these days the fiction imho is quiet substantial and wouldthey will move freely when lubed rather than not
where can any one drive to in a perfect straight line when travelling somewhere without having ball/cup movement ---- except over a cliff???
just my opinion for what its worth as a farmer from the past lubrication always payed
cheers
AnswerID: 412121

Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 17:38

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 17:38
HERE HERE.
I Always use a good quality lubricant on the tow ball.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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Reply By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 14:51

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 14:51
Here is one out of left field that works for me...no grease or lubricant at all.
A supermarket plastic shopping bag !!!
Just put it over towball and drop hitch onto it./ Make sure hitch is adjusted to be JUST off binding, grabbing (and fit a nylock locknut to it).
Fold the bag flat before installing it so you are only using the 2 layers.
After tightening every thing up....trim bag around hitch so there is about 6 inches of plastic flapping around in breeze..or maybe a little more...and tie it off under towball nut beneath drawbar.
Lasts pretty well...is very effective on dusty roads (no wear)...and is very easily replaceable once the plastic chops up a bit.
I use this on my 7x4'6 bos trailer for years now...and it works.
The first time I ever used this was on My Honda Goldwing towing a small trailer....and it stopped the "trailer feedback" that happens when towing trailers with motorcycles...thus making the bike behave more like it should ...with consideration for trailer of course.
HTH.

Cheers Keith
Nothin is ever the same once I own it ...........

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AnswerID: 412126

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:21

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:21
hi keith
thats an interesting alternative to grease and i'm willing give it a trial after all plastic is oil based
i;m sure many will read your thread with interest as i have thanks for the tip

i might try a condom lol no harm in that hey !???

but there is talk and i say talk of plastic bags going out of the system

but then again there is an election on the horizon???
cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:49

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:49
A condom eh !!???.....HMMM...mite work...just may have to be one of those heavy duty high friction unbustable ones hey...lol
Another thing I forgot to mention...instead of tying plastic bag off under towball.....just wrap some insulation tape around plastic on narrow neck of towball. It looks a bit neater...but the problem is that the plastic needs to be loose a bit...just so it can move if it needs to and not tear...which is why tying it off can be better.

Cheers Keith
Nothin is ever the same once I own it ...........

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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 17:10

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 17:10
I am so not going to make a comment about putting condoms on your balls :-)
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Follow Up By: Capt. Wrongway - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 19:37

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 19:37
G'day Keith,
That's an old trick mate. I used to do that on my 1500 wing as well, when towing the camparoo.
Regards,
Barry.
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Reply By: Member - Duke (TAS) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:28

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:28
Fatso,
Thoroughly clean your ball or balls (whatever the case may be) of grease then get a cake of soap and use that. Been doing it for years and works a treat. Also washes off the legs or Vehicle very easy.
Regards Duke
AnswerID: 412130

Reply By: Tonyfish#58 - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:42

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:42
Fatso - There is not a lot of manufacture recommendations on this one that I can find - but there is millions of opinions on this subject - I have put some links below - Grease proof paper is used a lot

Thread 1

Forum 2

Forum 3

Forum 4
AnswerID: 412133

Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 16:02

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 16:02
When you search there is a lot for the grease or some lubrication?

Super Cheep Advice is do it

SA Transport say do it

Haymen Reece say do it
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Reply By: jabiru340 - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 18:41

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 18:41
I use Reece Hitch Ball Lube. It has been developed specifically for that purpose.

Always grease the tow ball no matter what the conditions are likely to be. Never had any dust enter up under the hitch.

I do wipe the ball and replace the grease when I think it needs to be.

My view is there is metal to metal contact that needs lubricating no matter what.
AnswerID: 412153

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