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Witter Detachable Overhaul


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So I came home today from a weekend away and after about 3 weeks I detached the tow ball from the car and immediately felt there was a problem with the tow ball/hook mechanism.

 

Very gritty movement and not engaging in the unlock position.

 

So I decided to take it apart.

 

Like all things start by removing the sticker that covers the screws, in this case just the one screw in the middle of the blue rotary knob. Taking the knob off should have been easy as there is a spring underneath, but this was the gritty issue, I had to carefully pry it off with a screwdriver.

 

Fault one the red band that goes over the green band, remember when the thing engages you see green, well the production method is to have a green band fixed to the knob base unit, then a red band with a cut out slips over the top, the cut out being the "engaged zone", well this had split and had rotated round causing the gritty feeling, fixed this with a touch of super glue, after a clean.

 

So then I'm thinking lets give the internals' a fresh lick of grease, and I want to see what's what.

 

Undo one more screw and the knob base which acts as the top bearing for the mechanism and also has the moulding to allow the blue knob to pop up which prevents accidental twisting, comes off.

 

Remember mine wasn't locked, so when I pushed down on the main striking pin with a fair amount of force as there is a strong spring along its length, ( its that bit that shoots out the top), I could remove the single cog, then out comes the striking pin, and be careful here as there is a small spring with a cap on, that's the bit that holds the striking pin in place.

 

I gave everything a clean, grease on the striking pin shaft, placed the large spring over the shaft, oil in the holding pin hole replaced the little spring and cap into that hole then pulled out the pin that is the part in the tow hook as in if the striking pin was locked off and with some effort and the aid of a metal rod placed horizontal on the garage floor pushed the striking pin back into position only letting go when the holding pin engaged.

 

Phew!

 

Then its a case of greasing the cog and replacing it so the oblong moulded section is in the correct place, this mould lifts into the base when the tow hook is fitted popping up the blue knob.

 

I used Loctite when screwing back the base, replace the spring and the blue knob, using Loctite on this screw too.

 

A quick test fire, I use the word fire because if you gently release the mechanism by which I mean by holding the blue knob and slowly rotating then it wont pop up, so you have to strike the pin and hey presto it works fine. Super glued the sticker back on, job done

 

So set for another 3 years worth of use.

 

Has anyone any links or ideas how the receiver mechanism works??

Edited by Guest
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Makes me wonder what's the point of fitting a detachable as opposed to a fixed flange towbar.

Willerby Avonmore previous kit VW Splitty Camper,Ford Transit Camper, Commer Highwayman, Sprite Alpine Caravan, Rapids Export Folding Caravan, Fiat Autosleeper Harmony, Ci Granduca Motorhome, McLouis Glen 432 Motorhome, American RV Trail-Lite twin slide outs 8.2ltr petrol/lpg, Lunar Solaris Limited Edition Caravan.

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Makes me wonder what's the point of fitting a detachable as opposed to a fixed flange towbar.

 

I guess the clue is in the name, you can remove the detachable and you can't remove a fixed flanged towbar.

 

Removing it leaves the car aesthetically pleasing and negates leaving your shin on it if you forget its there.

 

With a caravan on the back and even with a hitch lock, a thief has just 2 bolts to remove to take your caravan, a detachable with a hitch lock is not that easy.

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My Witter detachable ball needs replacing after 4 years. There's play in it when fitted to the bar. I've kept it maintained and always removed when not in use but it's still worn out.

 

Mike

Mike

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My Witter detachable ball needs replacing after 4 years. There's play in it when fitted to the bar. I've kept it maintained and always removed when not in use but it's still worn out.

Mike

You get some play in them from new, how much is too much? I doubt it's past using

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Had it checked and apparently some side to side movement is ok but anything up and down is not. I think it's getting worse with use. I'd rather get it replaced than take any chances.

 

Mike

Mike

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I guess the clue is in the name, you can remove the detachable and you can't remove a fixed flanged towbar.

Springtime: But it requires maintenance and is not 100% reliable. A number of cases of failure which does not give peace of mind.

 

Removing it leaves the car aesthetically pleasing and negates leaving your shin on it if you forget its there.

Springtime: Never found the shin problem an issue.

 

With a caravan on the back and even with a hitch lock, a thief has just 2 bolts to remove to take your caravan, a detachable with a hitch lock is not that easy.

Springtime: Now I think this is just getting silly. A thief might just as well use a fire axe.

Willerby Avonmore previous kit VW Splitty Camper,Ford Transit Camper, Commer Highwayman, Sprite Alpine Caravan, Rapids Export Folding Caravan, Fiat Autosleeper Harmony, Ci Granduca Motorhome, McLouis Glen 432 Motorhome, American RV Trail-Lite twin slide outs 8.2ltr petrol/lpg, Lunar Solaris Limited Edition Caravan.

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Had it checked and apparently some side to side movement is ok but anything up and down is not. I think it's getting worse with use. I'd rather get it replaced than take any chances.

Mike

They all have side to side movement, the MOT allows for I think don't quote me 3mm.

 

How much up and down movement is there? I'll stick mine on and check.

 

I'm going to do a thorough check anyway just to be safe after I rebuilt it.

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Hi Simple Life

 

It's hard to see exactly how much movement there is but I can feel it and hear it when hitting potholes. I really can't remember if there was any movement when it was fitted new. Had it checked and was told that there should be no up and down movement at all when engaged but side to side was ok, so was advised not to tow. As I said before I'd rather replace it than face any consequences.

 

Mike

Mike

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Just nipped outside to check my 9 year old Witter detachable. No movement in any direction. No it not rusted in place, I only fit it when I am about to tow, I got fed up with hitting my shins on the fixed type.

When I do take it off, I always give it a silicon spray, wipe it down, then spray lightly with lithium grease. Then a few drops of light oil into the key hole.

Chris in Warwickshire, Elddis Odyssey 482 (2008), Mitsubishi Outlander diesel, 2017

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Hi Simple Life

 

It's hard to see exactly how much movement there is but I can feel it and hear it when hitting potholes. I really can't remember if there was any movement when it was fitted new. Had it checked and was told that there should be no up and down movement at all when engaged but side to side was ok, so was advised not to tow. As I said before I'd rather replace it than face any consequences.

 

Mike

My friend has recently had a Witter detachable fitted, he rang me asking if a bit a side to side play was normal, I said yes as there will be a little because of the design of it. I also have been known to wiggle towbars of strangers cars in car parks. Did this for a few months which then formed the opinion as above.

 

I can't find anything on the web about how the Witter hook is held in place, I can only imagine that there is a shaped hinged bar that engages with the notch when the striking rod shoots out the top.

 

Let us know if a new hook worked I'm wondering if it's the receiver bit that's worn. Could be either I suppose.😯😯😯

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Let us know if a new hook worked I'm wondering if it's the receiver bit that's worn. Could be either I suppose.😯😯😯

 

The new ball comes with a new receiver. Being fitted next week. Will report back reference any play.

 

Mike

Mike

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Detachable or Fixed, you pay your money and take your choice, I am in favour of a Fixed Swan Neck and have had this type fitted to my cars for yonks, I have seen too many caravanners on site lying on their backs with a hammer in their hand, not for me as I broke my back some years ago car rallying

Les

 

 

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Detachable or Fixed, you pay your money and take your choice, I am in favour of a Fixed Swan Neck and have had this type fitted to my cars for yonks, I have seen too many caravanners on site lying on their backs with a hammer in their hand, not for me as I broke my back some years ago car rallying

Agreed, the fact that they can fail does not install confidence for me - Fixed all day long.

Edited by springtime

Willerby Avonmore previous kit VW Splitty Camper,Ford Transit Camper, Commer Highwayman, Sprite Alpine Caravan, Rapids Export Folding Caravan, Fiat Autosleeper Harmony, Ci Granduca Motorhome, McLouis Glen 432 Motorhome, American RV Trail-Lite twin slide outs 8.2ltr petrol/lpg, Lunar Solaris Limited Edition Caravan.

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Agreed, the fact that they can fail does not install confidence for me - Fixed all day long.

I switched to detachable 2 cars back because of looks My Witter is completely invisible once detached, even the electric socket swivels into the bumper space out of site.

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I switched to detachable 2 cars back because of looks My Witter is completely invisible once detached, even the electric socket swivels into the bumper space out of site.

Just because you can make it invisible doesn't make a hapeth of difference to me. If you are towing then the most important factor is safety and reliability - so as I said fixed towbar all day long.

Willerby Avonmore previous kit VW Splitty Camper,Ford Transit Camper, Commer Highwayman, Sprite Alpine Caravan, Rapids Export Folding Caravan, Fiat Autosleeper Harmony, Ci Granduca Motorhome, McLouis Glen 432 Motorhome, American RV Trail-Lite twin slide outs 8.2ltr petrol/lpg, Lunar Solaris Limited Edition Caravan.

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New neck and receiver fitted. Tiny bit of movement side to side nowt up and down. Out of curiosity tried old neck in new receiver and loads of movement in all directions.

 

I guess everybody has their own views on detachable or not. All the rigourous testing done by the likes of Witter must mean something. I'm happy that I can fit the neck properly and keep it maintained so I'll be sticking with detachable on this and probably any future cars.

 

Mike

Mike

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On my last car I went with a detachable and then found I never took it off because there was usually rubbish in the boot when I wanted it out of the spare wheel tool carrier thing or it was handy to leave it on when parking places incase someone fancies reversing into it.

This car I saved the pennies and went for a swan neck fixed, although with two bolts it could be removed by the hole in the bumper if I wanted.

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New neck and receiver fitted. Tiny bit of movement side to side nowt up and down. Out of curiosity tried old neck in new receiver and loads of movement in all directions.

 

I guess everybody has their own views on detachable or not. All the rigourous testing done by the likes of Witter must mean something. I'm happy that I can fit the neck properly and keep it maintained so I'll be sticking with detachable on this and probably any future cars.

 

Mike

Very informative thank you.

 

Nice to know you can by spare parts.

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