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It’s your trailer coupling – here’s your guide to make an informed decision
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The coupling is the vital link between your vehicle and your RV. There’s a plethora of coupling options available but whether the hitch suits the RV is another matter. Not all couplings are equal and while some are safe for following the blacktop, they can let you down when used off-road.
So how do you know if your coupling is the right one to get you safely to that campsite you’ve been dreaming of? Let us help you.
STANDARD BALL COUPLING
The most common coupling is the standard 50mm ball coupling body as it’s convenient to use. The 50mm towball has a rating of 3500kg and is suitable for highway touring and some dirt-road driving. This solution isn’t the safest or strongest for towing a caravan or camper trailer off-road. It’s not designed for rigorous conditions, and the lack of articulation limits its effectiveness. The towball could disconnect or snap off when put under great strain in rough terrain. The result could be catastrophic. A 70mm towball is required for all loads above 3500kg (rated to 4500kg).
AL-KO OFFROAD COUPLING
The AL-KO Offroad coupling is designed to connect to a standard 50mm towball. A positive towball latching system allows easy connection without need of a pin or hole alignment. The AL-KO coupling allows 360-degree articulation and is available in 2.0 or 3.0 tonnes fixed, or 2.0 tonnes override (for mechanical or hydraulic braking systems). The coupling is made from non-corrosive materials with zinc-plated or Dacromet-plated components. The rear body is greaseable and the lock rings are replaceable.
The Hyland coupling connects to an off-road style 50mm towball that has a higher stem than the standard 50mm ball and provides 360-degree articulation suitable for off-road towing. Sharing many of the conveniences of a standard ball coupling, with easy connection and rated to 3500kg; however, the towball can become noisy over time.
With a low profile, this coupling probably won’t interfere with your vehicle’s rear door or tailgate. The Hyland is greaseable and can be padlocked to prevent the theft of your RV.
POLY BLOCK COUPLINGS
Poly block couplings use a polyurethane block or bush welded onto a coupling that connects to a U-shaped receiver and locks in with a spring pin. The block helps to reduce noise and vibration between the RV and the tow vehicle.
Poly block couplings offer great articulation with 360-degree rotation and 70-degree horizontal and vertical movements. They are rated from 2.0 to 3.5 tonnes. Treg and Trigg are the two most recognised brands. The Orac coupling uses a similar process, but it uses a polyurethane bush inside a cylinder instead of a poly block.
McHitch has two coupling offerings that suit all towing applications from a small box trailer to a large 6.0-tonne
- The McHitch Uniglide trailer coupling utilises a universal joint to handle all the horizontal and vertical movements to past 90 degrees. Urethane bushes within the rear body handle the twisting actions with 360-degree articulation. This coupling has a double-locking mechanism that connects to a stub-axle-like pin on the receiver.
- The McHitch Automatic couplers also utilise the universal joint with the pin attached. This then connects to the receiver with the help of a self-guide before being locked in with a release lever and pin.
The universal joint and rear body are greaseable on both units and the low profiles make these suitable for vehicles with rear doors or tailgates.
The OzHitch coupling has a self-aligning guide on the receiver that allows the fully-bushed hitch to simply drop into position before being double locked securely in place with a pin. With movement similar to a universal joint the OzHitch provides 360-degree articulation with 85 degrees of movement up and 70 degrees of movement down. Made from galvanised steel, the OzHitch is available in three ratings – 2.5 or 3.5 tonnes fixed, or 2.0 tonnes override.
The hitch and rear body are greaseable.
The Hitchmaster DO35 and DO35 V2 are both suitable for the off-road RV market. Rated at 3500kg, the tow pin receiver self-locates into the double-locking mechanism as the coupling is lowered. A small Polyblock reduces vibration between the RV and vehicle and the coupling is plated in super alloy to minimise corrosion.
A dust cover ensures the coupling locks securely and protects the mechanism from water and dust ingress. A fully-greaseable body allows articulation of 360-degrees rotation and a minimum of 70 degrees up and down. A Hitchmaster DO45 is also available which is rated up to 4500kg.
The Hitch-Ezy coupling is designed especially for the heavy-duty off-road RV market. Rated at 5000kg it’s the highest rated of all the couplings in this article. With an automatic double-locking mechanism, the hitch self-locates as it’s lowered onto the tow-pillar.
Providing articulation 90 degrees up and down, and 360-degrees rotation, this coupling is well engineered. Urethane bushes in the main shaft reduce vibrations and
O-ring seals keep out dust and water. A dust cap and plug are also available to protect
the mechanism when not in use.
The greaseable body and a low profile make this coupling suitable for vehicles with rear doors and tailgates.