By Greg Iles
There are a lot of anti-rattle devices on the market, all aimed at limiting or removing the “clunk” from the loose-fitting tow hardware. Anybody who has towed anything recognizes that annoying clank-whack-thunk when you stop, start, go around a turn, back up, etc.
Unfortunately, it’s not only annoying, it can actually cause towing problems. The loose linkage can cause erratic auxiliary braking behavior, trailer wander, and toad wander, not to mention additional wear on components from all the slapping around.
Existing anti-rattle devices have various merits and disadvantages. The U-clamp devices place their pressure all the way at the outer edge of the insert, which limits their effectiveness. Cross-bolt locks are made of low-grade metals and can strip threads and fail. The cheap square-hole clamps tend to loosen in a short time.
Here’s a cheap, easy way to tighten up your hitch sleeve and keep it that way: drill and tap a couple of holes in the top and/or side of the receiver sleeve (it depends on which kind of clunk you are trying to eliminate, up-down or side-to-side). Screw in some 3/8 inch thread size 16 bolt or set-screws. The needed drill, tap, and screws can be obtained from your local hardware store for around $10.
Mount the tow insert, tighten the screws, and add a drop of GREEN Loctite to each one (don’t use blue or red Loctite — they’re too hard to remove). Voila — no more clunking.