THE TRAILER HITCH

There are two basic types of trailer hitches: a weight-carrying hitch and a weight-distribution hitch. A weight-carrying hitch is recommended for use with a MasterCraft boat and trailer. However, weight-distributing (equalizing) hitches may be used. 

If using a weight-distributing hitch, the chain must be vertical (straight up and down) under the pulling load where the actuator is extended. Excessive tongue weight beyond the actuator rating must be avoided as it will reduce the brake performance and could dam- age the actuator. Always follow the hitch manufacturer’s instructions. Before deciding which type of hitch to use, consult the tow vehicle manufacturer for recommendations from the tow vehicle’s perspective. 

Be sure that the total weight of the trailer-boat rig does not exceed the hitch’s load capacity. The maximum permissible weight for the hitch should be stamped on the hitch. The hitch should also provide a place for attaching the trailer’s safety cables—two rings or holes on either side of the hitch ball. Be sure the hitch ball is the correct size to match the coupler on the trailer. The correct ball diameter is marked on the trailer coupler. 

WARNING: Failure to use a two-inch (2”) hitch ball and mount rated to 8500- lbs. or higher, where required, may result in failure of the hitch on the tow vehicle and a loss of control of the trailer while towing, which may cause serious injury or death. 

A truck or van using a step bumper as the hitch platform will need to have safety cable attachments such as eye-bolts, as well as a hitch ball, which has been installed according to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J684 Standard. Installing a light or heavy-duty hitch can be a major undertaking. The hitch and its installation must meet the SAE J684 Standard. It is recommended that the job be done by a professional. An authorized MasterCraft Dealer can offer advice. 

To ensure that the boat is riding properly on the trailer supports, the trailer should be in a level position when hitched to the tow vehicle. With the trailer hooked up to the tow vehicle and the jack stowed, measure from the bottom of the frame (behind the swing tongue) to the ground. This measurement should be 20.5”-21.5,” failure to adjust to this height may prematurely activate the surge brakes. 

This can be corrected in a number of different ways. For example, air pressure adjustable shock absorbers may be installed on the tow vehicle, or you can switch from a weight-carrying to a weight-distributing hitch. Consult with the tow vehicle’s dealer or manufacturer. 

WARNING: If the total weight on the loaded trailer exceeds the load capacity of the hitch on the tow vehicle, the trailer may break free, which may result in serious injury or death and/or property damage. 





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