Whilst I was away in Spain I noticed that the rubber boot on my tow hitch was beginning to swell and tear. It was time to replace it before dirt got in to contaminate the grease.
The disintegrating boot.
The method for changing is the same for both Winterhoff and Alko stabilizers. Also these notes and pictures may be of help to anyone wishing to change their hitch from Alko to Winterhoff or vice versa. I began by removing the A-frame cover which was held in place by four self-tapper screws. Both Winterhoff and Alko hitches are attached to the drawbar by two 12mm bolts. Both bolts have got to be removed. However, before removing the rear-most bolt, the one in my picture marked with a red dot,
a piece of 12mm rod needs to be tapped into the hole to hold the end of the hydraulic damper in position. The rod needs to be slightly shorter than the diameter of the draw bar – which on most Alko caravan chassis is 50mm.
The holding bar knocks out the bolt.
Should you remove the bolt without fitting a holding bar, the damper will relax and move away from it’s fixing position.
The drawbar with the bar filling the hole.
With the bolts removed and the rod holding the damper in position, the hitch can be lifted off the drawbar, allowing the old boot to be removed. Whilst the hitch was on the work bench I took the opportunity to clean up the two pads with some fine wet&dry paper
The upside down hitch showing the rear pad.
I hitched it onto the car’s tow ball to check that there was no movement. On the Winterhoff hitch there is a pin which moves along a scale to show when new pads are required.
The hitch fitted to the car’s towball.
When fitting the new rubber boot, it first needs to be stretched over the plastic insert in the housing on the A-frame which is shown in picture No 4. With the new boot fitted, the stabilizer can be bolted back onto the drawbar, replacing the front bolt first. Being careful not to damage the thread, the rear bolt is used to drift out the holding bar. With some new self-locking nuts tightened to 90Nm, the job was finished.