Hitch storage

When we purchased this trailer in early 2013 we also purchased an Equal-i-zer hitch to go with it. During the course of 3 different tow vehicles, the hitch has been reconfigured and a couple of different shanks have been used. It is current iteration (2.5″ shank) the entire combination is very heavy:

I can manhandle it with my favorite hitch tool, the Hitchgrip. I talked about it in another blog post. Here it is in action:

But this post is about storage. That is where to store the hitch and equalizer bars. I normally just store them like I see others. Balancing them on the ‘L’ brackets:

As you can see above there is no security for the bars and they do tend to fall off when the trailer moves (normally this is about 2 am and it makes a very loud noise). I am looking for a better solution.

I normally will store the hitch in the trailer’s ball receptacle. I put a padlock on the latch and a receiver lock on the shank to make things a bit more difficult:

The huge problem with this is it requires two people. I lift up the hitch with two hands and Roxie slams down the latch. Also, I am not sure of the security of this setup (it can also be a real shin buster!), as I would much rather use this:

Here is my solution. It took me a bit to find a welder to do this for me. Essentially it is another hitch receiver with a location for the bars:

This is with the hitch slid into the receiver and secured:

Then the torsion bars slide into the top. They have holes in the so a deadbolt will fit right in to secure them:

Here is the final setup with all components:

This will make things so much easier as I can use my Hitchgrip to transfer easily between the two locations. The bars will not fall off or be stolen. Thanks to Gary’s Welding in Visalia and Amazon for getting the receiver to me overnight! I hope this helps others with their ideas.

Smartplug upgrade

Our shore power connector is a 50amp twist lock connector. The 50amp cord is heavy and unwieldy, especially in cold weather. I also have a 30amp cord that uses a specific twist lock connector that goes from 50amp on the trailer to 30amp on the cord connector. This twist lock setup is difficult for Roxie to use and getting harder for me. I have also heard of bad connection issues with twist locks. Time to look for another.

I have seen the Smartplug series of plugs and adapters for a while. Having some potential problems with our connectors made it seem more plausible to upgrade. A friend of mine, Bruce, recently upgraded also and I tend to trust him about electrical issues as he was a power lineman. Time to upgrade. I purchased a 50amp combo kit in Stainless Steel (from Amazon). I also purchased an additional 50amp connector to upgrade a second power cord, but there was a twist on this one.

Let’s look at the process via photo captions.

The old twist lock connector almost at its’ end of life.

The connector disconnected. Wires of this gauge are beasts! This took a large effort and hurt my thumb.

The wires cut to their appropriate lengths.

Now they are stripped to the required lengths.

Wires get inserted into the corresponding color slot and tightened down.

Screw the strain relief together around the cable.

Completed 50amp cord connector.

The next cord was my 30amp cord. This is where it gets interesting. SmartPlug does not have a 50amp to 30amp converter as I did with the old twist lock. The solution was to use the SmartPlug 50amp connector but wire it to accept 3-wire 30amp from the pedestal and deliver 4-wire “50amp” to the plug. Here is how I did it.

The old 30amp connector has met its’ fate!

Wires cut a bit long as I have to use a portion of one as a jumper.

Here the wires are stripped with the jumper wire ready to go.

These images show the external strain relief that are not a standard part of this connector.

Here is the jumper that brings in 3 legs (only 1 hot) and puts out 4 (two of them hot – red and black).

All wired up and ready to close.

Completed 30amp cord with 50amp connector.

The final step is the connector on the trailer. I was hoping this would not take too long.

The old twist lock connector.

Remove the screws, pull it out of the trailer and release the internal wiring.

The bare wires ready for installation. There is not much give on these wires, very tight!

Insert the wires and tighten them down.

The completed project.

Everything appears to be working and the project was very easy. Since I was doing my non-standard 30amp to 50amp cable I contacted SmartPlug for some reassurance. Terry responded telling me that I should use a different cable strain relief for the 30amp. In the spirit of full disclosure he did send me those parts in exchange for installation pictures. None of this was an issue since I planned on blogging about it AND I had already purchased the other parts.

All in all I am glad I have done this now. It should also make this easier for Roxie to plug the electric in now.