It was a hot humid day in Denver, it only got into the mid-80s but the humidity was high so that made it pretty miserable.
Since I'm headed up to Montana Sunday morning there's a lot of things I need to get done before I go so I've been pretty busy lately, And normally putting in a new hitch is not something I would tackle with all of the other things I need to do but in the case of the Andersen Ultimate hitch it really has been a piece of cake.
I put the female part of the hitch on the Arctic Fox and it was literally a five minute job. Two bolts, four Alan head screws, and it was pretty much finished. I still haven't figured out yet where I want to mount the push - pull handle that locks the hitch to the trailer, I may just leave it dangling until I've used it a few times so I can see where the most convenient location might be.
I backed the truck under the Arctic Fox and hooked it up to test it with the ball in its middle position. There are three positions for the ball, easily adjusted by pulling a pin and moving the ball up or down, and I thought the trailer looked pretty much in the same position fore and aft as it had been in with its old hitch.
The first thing that became apparent with the new hitch is the trailer has to be jacked up a few inches higher to clear the ball than it did to slide into the old hitch so it seemed like I spent more time Jacking the trailer up and down. It wasn't a big deal but the motors that raise and lower the trailers landing gear had to run for a longer period of time. So even though I was fairly satisfied with the trailer being level I decided to try the ball in the lowest position.
I jacked the trailer up off the ball reset it to its lowest notch and lowered the trailer back down again. And even though standing back and looking at the trailer it didn't look much different than it did with the ball in the middle position when I went inside and put a level in the freezer, where I normally check for level, the level was absolutely perfect. And since there was still 6 or 7 inches of clearance between the trailer and the sides of the bed I'm going to leave it like that for now.
I did some rough measurements while it was hooked up and it looks like there's plenty of room between the sides of the bed and the back of the pin box so it shouldn't be hitting anything when I make a sharp turn, but I won't completely trust it until I've made a few sharp turns without crushing my bed walls. Which by the way was already crunched on the left side by my previous fifth wheel during a very sharp turn.
Because of a storage box that I built for the front of my truck bed it's always been hard for me to see the hitch and the pin when they get close together so hitching up in the past has always meant getting out of the truck two or three times to check how things are going during hitch up. Unfortunately the new hitch didn't solve that problem. Now if you don't have a box in the back of your truck you will be able see everything just fine but I've always had to put a piece of tape on the pin box and on my homemade storage box that I would line up when I was hitching up. The tape still works perfect to line up the new hitch ball side to side but I need to invent some ingenious way to line up the ball fore and aft which you don't have to do with a regular old-style hitch.
So far what I like most about it is when it's hitched, you know for certain that it's hitched, there's no guessing, there's no hoping, there's no fairly certain, all it takes is a quick glance from virtually anywhere around the truck and you can tell that ball is absolutely positively safely hitched, there is no ambiguity. With my old hitch to get that same kind of certainty I would have to get under the fifth wheel overhang let my tailgate down a little ways and look deep inside the back of the hitch, often with a flashlight, to make sure the jaws were closed and locked.
If you spend some time on the RV forums you will find people talking about accidentally dropping their trailer into the bed of their truck, and damaging the trailer and the bed side walls, and unfortunately its not as rare as you might think. In fact a lot of people recommend doing a "pull test" where you Jack up the landing gear so it's about an inch off the ground, hold the trailer brakes on, or chock the trailer wheels, and then pull a little bit with the truck just to make sure the hitch is really holding. I see no reason to ever have to do that with the Andersen ultimate hitch.
The more I deal with the hitch, the more I like it, and the better I feel about it. Most of the apprehension I felt about the hitch when I ordered it has gone away. I think the only thing I need now is to take a trip so I can see how it will handle on the road especially dirt roads. And only then will it become a trusted part of my boondocking life.
This shows the lubricant that's molded into the female ball socket so you never have to lube the ball.
This is my old kingpin just before I put on the new ball hitch
The new ball socket
The Andersen ultimate hitch ball socket
The trailer and the hitch lined up together
The ball fully seated, there's no mistaking that it's hitched up