Saturday, July 28, 2012

quickbite...

Years ago my uncle had a large utility trailer break free of his tow vehicle. The trailer careened into a car dealership taking out three new cars. They were write-offs. Thankfully nobody was hurt. The outcome could have been much worse. In the United States it is reported that over 15,000 lives have been lost to towing-related accidents since 1975 with many more injured. The death toll includes accidents caused by poor lane changes, where control was lost due to trailer sway, or tire blowouts. It also includes cases where trailers broke free of their tow vehicle - something that never needs to happen.

Trust your trailer to this!
Found one at this price on EBay
The coupler is an important but often overlooked trailer component. Many trailer owners take it for granted that their cheap coupler will securely connect their valuable trailer to the ball on their tow vehicle. They never look up at it from below and see the flimsy mechanism that is supposed to engage with the ball. They don't check that it is properly engaged *every-time* before they pull the trailer. (Accidents have happened because curious kids at rest stops etc. have flipped up the catch without the owner noticing). Many don't grease the ball or the coupler to prevent wear & eventual mechanical failure because they find it messy (and don't want to ruin any more good pairs of pants). They simply don't think about their coupler. Besides they have safety chains. They don't realize that although safety chains help, you can still have an accident or significant damage if the coupler comes off the ball. Most realize that severe trailer sway can cause you to loose control. They don't consider how bad sway could be if the trailer is just being towed by the chains!

Better quality and much safer coupler designs are available...



When I was researching the features I wanted on my new travel trailer I came across information on QuickBite Dual Jaw Locking Couplers that are a much safer alternative to the standard trailer coupler. The posted video outlines the convenience and safety issues that the patented QuickBite was designed to address. Potential for human error is practically eliminated. Convenience is increased.

I had Livin' Lite factory install an a-frame QuickBite coupler on the Camplite CL11FDB I ordered. They hadn't installed one before but because it is designed with the same geometry and hole pattern as per typical couplers, it was no more work for them than a standard coupler. When I arrived at the factory to pick up my trailer I had never towed anything before. In the Wakarusa, Indiana, parking lot of Livin' Lite I proceeded to setup my Equl-i-zer weight distribution / anti-sway hitch following the hitch manual's written instructions line-by-line. It was fairly straight forward.

When it came time to couple our Jeep with the trailer, I opened up the QuickBite's jaws by releasing the catch on the heavy-duty safety strap, adjusted the height of the coupler with a few cranks of the jack wheel so the jaw height matched the ball height and I put the provided guidance accessory poles in the associated holes in each of the two jaws. The coupler was ready. The Jeep was ready. I was ready. I could see the two four-foot poles through the Jeep's rear window. They were about 5" apart. I started my reverse, setting a course where the center of my rear window (and therefore the hitch ball) was aligned between the two poles. I backed up and felt the coupler's jaws grab the ball with a snap - confirmed by the two poles coming together. Yahoo! I had successfully coupled my very first time by backing directly into the QuickBite without assistance, fussing with alignment, getting out of the vehicle to check positions, or any stress. To finish the setup I put the locking safety pin through the coupler. It supplements the spring-loaded catch on the heavy strap that holds the jaws together. With the strap in place the coupler cannot come off the ball. In fact the ball is effectively grabbed and held by the heavy duty stainless steel jaws. I then installed the Equil-i-zer's tension bars and checked the weight distribution. I plugged in the 7-pin electrical socket, fastened the end of the break-away system's lanyard and the safety chains to the Jeep. After confirming the light signals all worked and a walk-around safety check, I was good to go.

Quickbite Coupler as installed on my Camplite 11FDB
My QuickBite Coupler
In the picture you can see the QuickBite as installed. Wrapping the front is the heavy-duty safety strap that securely holds the two ball-clasping jaws from pivoting open. The two bumps with holes at the front of the coupler are on the jaws. In those holes you temporarily put four-foot rods that are the alignment system. The two pivot pins associated with the jaws are seen going down from the top. With the safety strap closed down, there is no load on those pivot pins. The loads are put on the pivot associated with the safety strap and the locking pin that extends through the entire coupler to prevent the strap from pivoting.


The Quickbite Coupler's jaws are 2lbs of stainless steel
The jaws seen upside down
Quickbite with locking pin & jaws removed
Locking Pin - Jaws removed
This is all that keeps most trailers on their hitch ball
Typical Coupler Catch
This was our first stop at a campground when bringing the trailer home from the factory.
Parked at campground
The Quickbite system is robust. It makes standard couplers look wimpy. The Quickbite's jaws weigh about two lbs. each and its locking pin and pivot pin are very heavy duty. I've included a picture of a standard coupler mechanism - not much keeping your trailer from passing you on the highway!

The QuickBite coupler comes apart and can be put back together easily allowing complete lubrication. I can't see any component that is ever likely to fail. It all appears very strong, well designed, and well built. Although more expensive than the basic couplers, I think it is money well spent given the extra safety & convenience it provides my family -- and I don't need a backup camera!

Regards, Ross    July 28, 2012 [edited August 12, 2012]

3 comments:

  1. I have the Quickbite also and love it. I have been towing for over 50 years and it doesn't get any better than this.

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  2. Thanks for commenting. Nice to know there are like minded people out there. I admire the QuickBite as an example of good engineering but also for the way it looks. Very pleasing on so many levels! I'm sure most others don't understand but all those with QuickBites probably do.

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  3. Having read so many positive reviews on the QuickBite couplers I am convinced that I should have one. Unfortunately I am unable to find a supplier to purchase one, any suggestions would be appreciated. I am located in British Columbia, Canada.

    ReplyDelete

I welcome your comments -- Ross