Do you have a trailer that has a 2-inch coupler, and you want to know if you can connect a 1 7/8-inch ball to it? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.
No, you cannot. Connecting a 1 7/8-inch ball to a 2-inch coupler will lead to an unstable and unsafe connection.
Let’s talk more about why this is true in the succeeding sections. Learn more about the different steps to connect a trailer to your truck and how to do it safely in the succeeding sections.
How to safely connect a trailer to a truck?
Having a hitch and a receiver to connect it to is not all that you need to connect a trailer to your truck. It is also important to know how to do it safely.
Safety is important regardless of the weight that your trailer will carry or even if you're not carrying anything at all.
Keep in mind that you increase your risk of an accident by 10 times whenever you tow something on your truck. And these accidents are likely to lead to severe injury or death.
More than 500 Americans die annually because of trailer-related accidents.
In this section, we will talk about the different aspects of connecting a trailer to your truck and how to ensure that each one will lead to a safer trip.
Pick The Right Hitch
The first step to safely connect a trailer to your truck is to pick the right hitch. It may come as a surprise to some, but the ball and hitch sizes are not there for matching only. There is a maximum load for each size of ball and hitch.
With this in mind, you will need to determine the maximum weight capacity of the trailer that you plan to tow. Next, match the size of the ball and hitch to the trailer’s capacity.
For example, you plan to use a trailer with a capacity of 30,000 pounds. You should not use a 1-7/8-inch ball. A ball hitch of this size is for light-duty trailers, and these balls have a capacity range of only 2,000 to 3,500 pounds.
For a trailer that has a capacity of 30,000 pounds, you need to use a ball diameter of 3 inches with a shank diameter of 2 inches.
Alternatively, you can also use a ball with a diameter of 2 5/16 inches with a shank diameter of one to two inches. This ball hitch size has a weight capacity range of 6,000 pounds to a maximum of 30,000 pounds. Just make sure that you’re using one that can handle 30,000 pounds.
If you have trailers that have different receiver sizes, use a hitch with more than one ball of different sizes. Alternatively, you can use a hitch with a replaceable ball.
Common Trailer Ball Size
The 2-inch diameter ball is the most common ball size for most trucks and trailers. However, this size doesn’t always fit the capacity of the trailer that you need to tow.
A 2-inch diameter ball has a capacity range of 3,500 pounds to 12,000 pounds, which is more than enough if you plan to tow travel trailers that are within 10,000 pounds in weight. However, if your travel trailer is bigger and heavier than 10,000 pounds, then you will need to use a bigger ball size.
Thus, using a 1-7/8-inch ball will drop the weight capacity of the ball (2,000 pounds to 3,500 pounds), while the capacity of the coupler remains higher at 3,500 pounds to 12,000 pounds.
Hence, even if the weight of the trailer falls within the weight capacity of the receiver, this is beyond the safe weight capacity of the ball. This can lead to a failure of the ball.
Moreover, the 2-5/16-inch ball is also a popular size. This is bigger than the 2-inch ball and has a higher capacity.
Connecting The Hitch
It is safer to have someone guide you while you back your truck to the trailer. It can be a challenge to steer your truck in the right direction because the ball and hitch are not always visible from the driver’s point of view.
Having a backing camera will help, although a guide will still be helpful while you are closing the gap between the trailer and your truck. A backing camera is rarely clear enough to show a hitch that is more than 20 feet away.
Before you connect the trailer to your truck, make sure that the trailer is slightly higher than the level of your truck. This will make it easier to connect the ball to the receiver.
Most trailers include a hand crank that you can use to raise or lower the level of the trailer. Move your truck to position the ball directly under the receiver. This is important if you have a heavy trailer that is impossible to reposition manually.
Lower the trailer slowly to connect the empty space at the tip of the trailer’s neck to the ball hitch receiver on your truck.
When connecting the ball to the recess, the ball should fit securely inside the space. Lower the trailer’s neck until you secure the ball inside.
Connecting The Chains
Do not forget to connect the chains. These chains are a secondary connection in case the ball hitch fails.
Each of the two chains should match or exceed the trailer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). If the connection fails, these chains should be able to support the weight of the trailer and its cargo.
Connect the chains in a cross position. Thus, the chain from the left side of the truck should connect to the right side of the trailer. The chain from the right side of the truck should connect to the left side of the trailer.
The cross pattern of the chain allows it to catch the trailer if the ball hitch fails instead of letting the trailer fall. The “X” shape will catch the neck of the trailer.
Make sure that the chains are not too long. Long chains will drag along the surface of the road, which can weaken them. This makes the chains useless during an emergency.
On the other hand, the chains should not be too tight. They should be loose enough to let the trailer turn on both sides.
Connect the chains to the designated location on the trailer and truck and lock them securely.
It is important to check that the lights are working on your trailer after you connect the power cables.
Have someone check the lights at the back of the trailer while you test the lights from inside your truck. If any of the lights do not work, have a mechanic fix the problem immediately.
Check the power cables for damage to ensure that the lights will not fail while on the road. Also, check the wire connectors. Use a contact cleaner to get rid of corrosion in the contacts.
If the wiring has damage, have a mechanic fix the problem before you leave with your trailer.
Setting up your weight distribution system is important to make your trip safer. A weight distribution ensures that the weight of the trailer is evenly distributed to the wheels of your truck. This provides your truck the stability to make it safer while on the road.
A weight distribution hitch also ensures that the truck and trailer are level with each other. It helps to correct sagging due to the weight that your trailer is carrying.
In most cases, having a weight distribution hitch allows you to safely carry up to the maximum capacity of your trailer.
Some manufacturers have guidelines on when a weight distribution hitch is a requirement on your truck. Check the user manual of your truck to find out when it is important to have one and what kind.
Some trailers have their own brakes, which makes it easier for your truck to stabilize speed while on the road. If your trailer has its own brakes, ensure that you connect the breakaway cable to your truck.
It is important to note here that you should connect the breakaway cable to your truck separately from the safety chains or the ball mount.
The connection should be secure enough so that it will activate in case the ball hitch fails.
If your trailer disconnects from your truck, the backward movement of the trailer will pull the cable that is secure on your truck. Pulling this cable will engage the brakes on the trailer, slowing it down and bringing it to a full stop.
This prevents potential accidents that can come from trailers getting unhitched from the towing vehicle.
Check the traffic rules for trailers and trucks at your destination. This will allow you to make sure that your trailer is compliant with the traffic rules of that state. Knowing this can save you a lot of frustration.
Always use hitches with the correct sizes. If you have difficulty connecting a receiving hitch and a ball hitch, have a mechanic check the ball hitch and fix it to ensure safety while you travel.
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