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How to Choose a Ball Mount and Trailer Ball – Fast Facts

September 12, 2019


There are many different available sizes of
trailer balls and ball mounts on the market, so simply walking into your local Curt dealer
and picking the first one you see isn’t always going to be your best option. There are three
things that you need to consider when selecting a ball mount; how much weight you are going
to be towing, what size receiver tube the trailer hitch has, and finally how much rise
or drop is needed to provide a level and safe towing set-up. To determine the amount of weight that you’re
going to be towing, you can look at the weight rating plate on your trailer. If your trailer
isn’t equipped with a weight rating’s plate you could take it to a certified scale. Our
trailer weighed in at 2,500 lbs. The hitch that we have on this vehicle is
a Class 5 Xtra Duty trailer hitch capable of handling 15,000 lbs. It also has a two-inch
receiver tube which lets us know that we need a ball mount with a two-inch shank. Now we need to determine how much rise or
drop is needed to provide a level and safe towing set-up. To do this we need a receiver
height measurement. Take the measurement from the ground to the top inside edge of the receiver
tube. Our measurement here is 21.75 inches. The next measurement we need is the coupler
height. To do this, we’re going to use the hand level on the trailer jack to level out
the trailer, and then take the measurement from the ground to the bottom of the coupler.
Our measurement here is fifteen and a half inches. Now that we have both of our measurements,
we need to subtract our receiver height from our coupler height. If that number is negative,
that will show you how much drop you need. If that number is positive, that will show
you how much rise. We take our coupler height of fifteen and a half inches and subtract
our receiver height of twenty-one and three-quarter inches, leaving us with a negative six point
two five. Round that to the nearest number and that gives us a negative six inches. This
lets us know that we need a ball mount with a six inch drop. Now that we’ve determined how much drop we
need, we can move on to selecting the trailer ball. Typically, coupler manufacturers will
stamp or label the correct ball size that they’re designed to work with right on the
coupler itself. If you ever find that the trailer ball that the coupler is designed
to work with doesn’t fit, don’t panic. Most couplers are adjustable, so simply adjusting
the coupler will do the trick. To do this, simply tighten or loosen the adjustment nut
located underneath the coupler. The ball size specified by our trailer here
is two inches, but that’s not the only important part of selecting a trailer ball. The shank
diameter is just as important. We need to make sure that the shank diameter of the trailer
ball matches the hole size of the ball mount. So we need to find a ball mount capable of
handling the gross trailer weight of 2,500 lbs, a drop of 6 inches, a 2-inch shank, and
a trailer ball with a shank diameter that matches the hole size in the ball mount. It’s important to note that we can only tow
to our lowest capacity component rating of our towing set-up. So, even though we have
a trailer hitch capable of 15,000 lbs and a ball mount rated at 7,500 lbs, our maximum
towing capacity is 6,000 lbs due to the rating of the trailer ball. Having a level towing set-up is important.
If your ball mount is set too low this can take the weight off the front of your vehicle,
resulting it poor braking and steering conditions. If it’s set too high, it will displace the
weight behind your trailer axles resulting in trailer sway. That’s why it’s so important
to have a safe and level towing set-up.

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