An easy fix to stop towed vehicle rattle

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By Greg Illes
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 and stopping that towed vehicle rattle. Anybody who has towed anything recognizes that annoying clank-whack-thunk when you stop, start, go around a turn, back up, etc.

Tighten up the hitch sleeve to stop towed vehicle rattle

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 stop the towed vehicle rattle once and for all. 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.

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Where do you hitch your breakaway cable?

##RVDT1463

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Dave Helgeson
29 days ago

Does this do anything to stop front to rear clunking? Also have you checked with the receiver manufactures if this is safe and/or voids their warranty? My concern would be cracks propagating between the 3/8″ holes you drilled and the hitch pin hole.

Bob P
29 days ago

The use of green loctite is for installing a loose fitting bearing. Blue loctite is for holding threads and can easily be loosened with normal hand tools. Red loctite requires the use of heat from a torch to loosen the threads and then you must unscrew the threads before it cools or it will lock again. Whoever gives you this info needs to research before typing.

Thomas D
29 days ago

I did that 9 years ago with my chev truck that cane with a 2 1/2 hitch and an adapter for 2inch. Only way to fix noise, no place to put a clamp. Dangerous? I don’t think so. Not that much metal removed

DAVE TELENKO
29 days ago

Got some good information & some not so good. As far as tapping a 3/8-16 hole in your hitch sleeve isn’t a great idea as a your sleeve is only 1/4″ thick & the minumin thickness for the 3/8′ tapped hole is 3/8″, also from my experience with GREEN loctite is that one is for permanent locking like cylinder sleeves! Hope this doesn’t offend anyone as its my opinion from my own experiences! Also it would be much stronger to weld on a 3/8″ nut & then drill it through the sleeve & re-tap it!!
Snoopy

Stu Hill
29 days ago

This is all wrong. Drilling holes in receiver hitches weakens them. The square clamps work just fine and they never loosen as they all have lockwashers on them. Mine have never loosened.