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 > Best hitch (non-slider)

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BigToe

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Posted: 01/20/13 03:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, the Super Binkley head was built precisely because of the pin wear. The builder extracts the jaws and hardware from the Binkley, and makes his own top plate (square) and encasement. He uses hardened bushings on the head pivot as well as the lower side to side tilt (the giant bolt beneath). It's all part of a $4,500 hitch system though, so not for the faint of heart. And not really necessary for trailers that are 19K or less.

NJRVer

NJ

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Posted: 01/20/13 05:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BigToe wrote:

The Binkley head is not without problems.

The pivot pins wear out, sometimes within less than a year on heavy trailers (between 19K-25K). Many photographs of Binkley hitch heads exhibiting this pivot pin wear are searchable online. I found the best examples on hotshotter forums, as well as the Escapees forum. Those that redesigned or rebuilt their Binkley heads substituted the original pins with hardened bushings.

Another issue with the Binkley head, albeit trivial compared to the more concerning issue above, are the jaw thickness. Almost too much of a good thing. The Binkley jaws are larger than an inch thick... I can't remember they are 1.125" or 1.1875" or 1.25"... I have the specs somewhere.

Anyway, it is this jaw thickness that forces folks to find thinner lube plates, because of the stacked tolerances of how much these robust jaws grasp the fiver pin. Not a bad problem to have, but it is an issue that has caused some owners a bit of aggravation finding a lube plate, or cost them a bit of money ordering a special one from Trailersaver.

It seems like B&W struck a balance, with 1.00" jaws, between making them thicker than (almost) everyone else in the industry, but still thin enough so that any lube plate found at any RV store (including Camping World) throughout the land can be swapped in when needed.

That isn't intended to be a plug for B&W... as B&W hitches have problems of their own. The problems I've personally noticed have been with their turnover ball goosneck hitch heads and cross rails. Very poor quality paint that flakes off brand new product. I recently went through a small pallet of kits, and found most of the painted angle irons were corroded under the paint. It appeared that the steel was not prepped sufficiently enough for the paint to adhere.

Being quite surprised at this reality, given all the singing and praising that I have read about B&W hitches over the years, I researched it further. What I found was interesting...

1. No one has complained about the paint finish of the Companion 5th Wheel hitches. This would include the Patriot and the OEM versions of the same.

2. Several have complained about the paint finish of the Turnover Ball hitch head, as well as the attchment cross rails.

3. All the ones who complained are the ones who actually installed the underbed portion themselves, and were able to see the B&W product in the uninstalled state.

4. Many people who praise the B&W Turnover hitch they have, actually did not install the hitch themselves (by their own admission), but had it installed by a shop, and as such, they may not have had the opportunity to see the paint quality of the underbed portion of the hitch.

Paint easily flaked off of the 800R underbed hitch head I received. A fingernail was all that was needed to flick more paint off, so the entire piece was scotchwheeled, acid treated, primed, and repainted.

The angle iron cross rails had lines of rust bubbles in them. A putty knife was taken to them, and all the bubbling paint was scraped away to reveal the corrosion.

I find it hard to believe that these under bed pieces are "powder coated". The hitch head even had small places where no paint was applied, which doesn't seem consitent with an electro deposition process. My observations made me wonder if above bed hitch pieces are powder coated, whereas underbed pieces are wet painted? I plan to ask B&W this question next week.

To my mind, the paint quality of what is permanently affixed and not visible, nor easily accessible, nor easily servicable UNDERNEATH the truck is far more important that what is removable above the truck. The purpose is not aesthetics as much as it is corrosion protection.

Even for end users inclined to slide under their trucks to have a look at the B&W installation below, there are still only 2 out of 4 surfaces to each of the angle irons (or 1x2's, application depending) that are accessible to repaint. The other 2 surfaces are either mated to the hitch head, or facing the underside of the truck bed. Not serviceable without uninstalling the hitch.

If corrosion has already begun at the factory, and is simply painted over, and the paint (or powder coat) is not adhereing to the corrosion that is bubbling up beneath it, and those surfaces are flush mated up to the hitch head... then the end user will never see the eventual weakening that awaits as that corrosion continues, fed by water wicking inbetween the mated surfaces.

The self installers who have reported these problems were able to see these problems first hand... myself included. Most folks, however, have their hitches installed. The boys that do the installing get paid for completeing the task, not for stopping along the way to strip and refinish parts that should have been better controlled by the factory.



I for one would interested in what B&W says about their coatings when you call them.
The turnover ball hitch & companion hitch is what I am interested in so I can swap back and forth between fifth wheel and gooseneck and at the same time have a clear bed when needed.

Cummins12V98

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Posted: 01/20/13 06:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NJRVer

The B&W components are of very high quality. Even if you have some surface rust it will never become a problem.

Buy the best and flush the rest!


2011 Ram Laramie Longhorn 3500 Dually Long Bed, Cummins 350/800 HO, Towin Machine
B&W Companion Hitch, Maghytec Trans and Rear Dif Covers, AMZ/OIL Top To Bottom
2007 1/2 Mobile Suites 36 SB3 27,000# Combined

BigToe

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Posted: 01/20/13 06:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NJRVer, that is what I'm doing also... "swapping back and forth between 5th wheel and gooseneck and at the same time having a clear bed when needed."

You want it all, don't you? Clear bed. Disappearing gooseneck. Vanishing 5ver hitch. And a quick change between the three states of being.

A couple of things I learned about the B&W Companion: First, to do it right, it is not as quick as what one might easily assume. (requires loosening and retorqueing 4 Ubolt nuts and one top bolt each and every time). Second, some folks have noticed that the outrigger skids on the Companion have ended up denting their beds. It is hard to know whether or not that was the user's fault though, because many users do not do the First thing correctly.

The under bed puck system (original equipment on Fords if optioned), also known as the Reese Elite/Signature line, does not require a torque wrench to remove and replace the hitch. And, the puck system not only offers a higher capacity hitch (25K Lbs), it also offers many other brands of fiver hitches to choose from, including a B&W model that is rated at a higher capacity (20K lbs) than the Companion that drops into their gooseneck (only 18K lbs).

On the other hand, the Reese Elite underbed gooseneck ball introduced with the Ford OEM implementation, but also available in the aftermarket under Reese branding, is unproven. A lever on directly on top of the wear surface of the ball engages and releases two ball bearings in the ball stud that protrude into an annular groove in the ball socket. Those two little hemispheres peeking in and out of the Reese ball simply does not look as secure to me as the 5/8" rod passes all the way through the B&W ball shank, engaging on both sides of the socket.

To it's advantage, the Reese/Ford ball does eliminate the need to reach underneath a dirty muddy wheel well to engage a lever. And, the little lever on top of the Reese ball is indeed trapped by the trailer coupler from flipping upward. But, that trailer coupler had better be cleaned and greased inside, and there had better not be any 1/4" by dust gravel road pebbles caught up in that grease, as I can imagine the gooseneck trailer coupler grinding that partical into the mechanism of the flip up lever on top of the ball. It's never that clean at a ranch. There is always hay and rocks and debris in the back of the truck on a ranch. At least the ranch I spent 6 years working on.

On the other hand, the B&W ball is just a ball. A very beautiful ball at that. Simple. Removeable. Secure. It might rattle a bit though, as it isn't welded in place like the old hitches on the ranch where I worked. But unlike those hitches, when the ball wears on a B&W, it can easily be replaced for about half the cost of the Reese ball with the tricky mechanism inside. And with the square shanked B&W ball, all the rotation between trailer and ball happens on the sphere, not on a cylindrical shank, as can potentially happen with the Reese ball with the ball bearing retainer.

On the other hand, there is no "air ride" fifth wheel hitch that is available for the B&W interface. Only an 18K static hitch, and that is it.

Whereas with the Reese Elite puck system, one can get a TrailerSaver hitch, easy in easy out. One can get an EasyRider air hitch from Hitchcrafters. One can get a Mountain Masters air hitch. An Air Safe hitch. Doesn't matter, because even if the air ride hitch manufacturer's have not made their own OEM puck adapter plate, one can get a puck adapter from Reese as well as Curt that has industry standard rails 22" apart, rated to 22K lbs.

The puck to rail kits mean that essentially ANY hitch can easily be mounted and withdrawn from the underbed puck system without a torque wrench. Without any tools at all. A legaxy hitch. The hitch that daddy used. A hitch that breaks down and is easy for one person to haul into and out of the bed without hoist. Or a favorite hitch.

Even without a puck to rail adapter, one can get a Pullrite 25.5K hitch, that locks right into the pucks, even easier in, and easier out, because Pullrite cleverly designed their own one step T bolt engagement system.

I don't find this plethora of 5th wheel options with the B&W turnover ball system.

Yet, on the other hand (I'm losing count of how many hands I have here), the B&W turnover ball has more gooseneck options than any other gooseneck receiver on the market, including, but not limited to, a 3" ball (Reese offers this), an inverted fiver pin (for trailers that have the fifth wheel hitch inverted on the trailer, which is what the Holland Binkley head was originally designed for), a swivel eyelet, a four inch to the rear ball extenstion (Pop Up offers this), a lumber rack, an extended height 2 5/16" ball, a regular height 2" ball, some type of farming implement I'm not sure of, a partridge in a pear tree... the list goes on and on.

So essentially, the B&W system has become like a vertically oriented receiver hitch (though not quite the same dimension). There are companies, including Reese, that design products to be used in the B&W "receiver.". Reese in fact offers a fifth wheel hitch with outrigger skids that inserts into the B&W, but it is limited to 18K.

At the same time, the Reese Power Puck system has become like a 4 point vertically oriented receiver hitch. There are companies, including B&W, that design products to be used in the OEM/Puck "receivers.". B&W in fact offers their own Companion style 5th wheel hitch for the puck system in a higher capacity than their own single point system.

To have the most flexibility in my cab chassis, and because there really isn't a "kit" per se that is a direct bolt up to the cab chassis for the gooseneck part, I'm designing the bracketry to incorporate both the Reese Power Puck receivers AND the B&W gooseneck receiver.

The system will have 5 small holes in the bed, just like the OEM Ford or Elite system, only instead of the center hole receiving the Reese gooseneck ball, the center hole will receive the B&W ball, along with all the accessories and hitches that come with that system... while still having the puck system to be able to chose from all air ride hitches and other hitches that the rest of the world enjoys.

Call it indecisiveness.

Cummins12V98

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Posted: 01/20/13 06:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You need to add the hard plastic strips under the rails in the valleys on the bed or on some trucks the base will move fore and aft. Mine was moving until I installed the strips.

NJRVer

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Posted: 01/21/13 07:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BigToe,
Lots of valuable info there.
Thank you.

BigToe

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Posted: 01/22/13 10:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NJRVer wrote:

BigToe,Lots of valuable info there.Thank you.


Thank you... Sometimes I do wonder if the mountains of info I occasionally post is just white noise, or actually valuable to anyone.

One thing I do try to be is accurate, and on that note, I'd like to update some information I posted about the paint quality of B&W.

On the day I made that post, I ordered another B&W accessory (the inverted fifth wheel pin, part # GNXA4000). It arrived today, new in a fully intact box with all cardboard staples present and no holes, no tears, and no re-taping (quite unlike the Reese box that I also received today from a different retailer).

Upon opening the small cubical B&W box, I found the part's paint to be perfect and flawless. To be fair to B&W, I wanted to make sure to report this updated fact for a balanced and accurate perspective.

Dave Wilburn

Ogden UT

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Posted: 01/24/13 12:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My truck had a B&W turnover and I planned to add the Companion, then DW picked a 19k lb trailer. I didn't like the idea of a 19K GVW trailer on an 18K hitch. I found the Curt X5 adapter that goes in the B&W and has standard rails. I then put a Curt Q20 20K hitch on that. Great hitch and it all lifts out and leaves the bed empty like the Companion with no tools. I usually just let the trailer pick up the whole thing out of the truck for storage. No lifting needed.


04.5 Ram 3500, '12 Voltage 3905 Epic, 69 baja bug


Cummins12V98

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Posted: 01/24/13 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dave Wilburn wrote:

My truck had a B&W turnover and I planned to add the Companion, then DW picked a 19k lb trailer. I didn't like the idea of a 19K GVW trailer on an 18K hitch. I found the Curt X5 adapter that goes in the B&W and has standard rails. I then put a Curt Q20 20K hitch on that. Great hitch and it all lifts out and leaves the bed empty like the Companion with no tools. I usually just let the trailer pick up the whole thing out of the truck for storage. No lifting needed.


I have said this before, the B&W is under rated for sure. Compare it to the Curt you have now. There is no way the Curt is any better/stronger built than the B&W.

Curt has about 1/2" thick jaws compared to the B&W's 1" thick jaws for example.

I am at 18K and 4,500# with my Mobile Suites and if it were 20K I would not change the hitch.

When anything is engineered they usually have a huge factor built in, some more some less.

WellShooter2

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Posted: 01/24/13 06:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cummins12V98 wrote:

NJRVer

The B&W components are of very high quality. Even if you have some surface rust it will never become a problem.

Buy the best and flush the rest!


X2

Rust on the parts under the bed? Dust on top of the refrigerator? Ohh My !!!


2008 2500HD D/A
2008 Keystone Challenger


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