Check your nuts! (and bolts)

We had a rattle on a trip. It was a new one and I thought it was the two greenland paddles knocking about in the back of the Subaru, since we both have one now. Then it started getting louder.

One of the hex screws that holds the Hullavator mount to the aerobar had backed out some! Not much, not even a quarter turn, but that was enough to make it rattle. That part was installed a year or two ago. So I’ll make that part of my annual checkup.

Go check your nuts!


Blue locktight is your friend


Just checked. They’re still there. All is good.

I’m partial to the purplish low strength (formula 222 iirc) for these applications. I’ve screwed myself with the blue/242 loc-tite before, because it didn’t want to let loose and it wasn’t a location I could apply heat to or get a wrench on the nut (captive) leading to a stripped fastener head (phillips, slot, torx etc.)


That reminds me…


Many years ago I was pulling a UHaul trailer from NY to Boston, my first time trailering. I started to get the feeling of the tail wagging the dog and pulled over. The large nut holding the ball on had come almost completely loose and would have fallen off if I hadn’t stopped. Then the ball, on a stud, would probably have pulled out of the bar, with disastrous consequences.

Now I check my rigs regularly while on the road. One of my hitches has a removable ball with a cotter pin to retain the bolt (d’oh); the other has the ball welded to the bar.

So…that doesn’t keep me from being stupid. I did learn that while most trailers (UHaul type) take a 2" ball, a 31’ travel trailer will probably have a 2 5/16th" ball. Towed 40 miles through the hills of upstate NY with this mismatch; fortunately nothing bad happened. When I went to hook up after 3 nights in the (rented) trailer to return it (another 40 mile drive, an alert individual pointed out the mismatch. Thank goodness my rear camera wasn’t working or I might not have asked for help in hooking up!

So…check your nuts, and bolts, and balls!