A hitch ball or trailer ball is a part of the receiver hitch to provide a connection point of a trailer with the towing vehicle. It consists of a metallic stem to insert into the receiver hitch tube and a metallic platform for the hitch ball.
Forest River travel trailers are compatible with 2 hitch ball sizes depending on the coupler size. They are 2-inch and 2-5/16 inch hitch ball. You must select its size after taking proper measurements using a measuring tape.
- 1 What is the purpose of the Forest River Hitch ball?
- 2 Factors Affecting the Forest River Hitch Ball Size
- 3 Size of Forest River hitch ball
- 4 Is travel trailer hitch ball size standard?
- 5 How to measure the correct hitch ball size for a Forest River travel trailer?
- 6 Do you need to apply lube on the hitch ball?
- 7 What is the cost of the Forest River hitch ball?
What is the purpose of the Forest River Hitch ball?
To connect a travel trailer with a towing vehicle, you need to install a hitch assembly on both sides. The manufacturer has already fixed a hitch receiver tube on the vehicle side.
You will need a metallic extension with a design to fit inside the hitch receiver tube and a locking pin to secure it. The hitch ball has a metallic stem or shank to fix it on the mounting platform. There are also designs with the pre-welded ball.
However, that is a rigid setting, and you cannot change it. On the trailer side, the first part is a trailer coupler. It has a groove according to the hitch size, and both make a secure yet flexible connection for easy towing.
Other parts included in the trailer hitch are locking pins, a hitch lock, and safety chains. Hitch with its mount shank and trailer coupler is essential for connecting the two vehicles. The rest of the components are safety accessories to prevent accidents during towing.
Factors Affecting the Forest River Hitch Ball Size
There are 5 main factors to consider while selecting the hitch ball for your travel trailer.
Weight of the trailer
A larger ball size means a higher weight rating. Therefore, before selecting the ball size, you should have the estimated figure of the weight rating you intend to tow.
It is safe to have exact weight figures of fully-loaded trailers. Overloading can cause it to break during traveling risking your safety and other public on the road.
The trailer coupler and hitch ball should make a perfect combination to ensure safe towing. Coupler size should be according to the hitch dimensions.
If the coupler is larger than the ball, it will make loose connections and bounce off the ball. It will make the trailer decoupled from the towing vehicle causing damage.
A smaller coupler will not fit on a larger ball. Therefore, both sides should be compatible for a secure connection.
A level between a travel trailer and hitch ball
The travel trailer has a coupler at its chassis or frame height. Its mounting platform and trailer should be at the same level to make them fit with each other.
In the case of a taller coupler, you can purchase a high-rise ball. You should select a rise or drop mount to make a level connection if there is an increased height difference between the two.
Material of Construction
Material of construction also affects the weight rating of the hitch. Stainless steel and Chrome balls are of good quality for heavy-duty applications, while zinc balls are also available.
Shank size of the hitch ball
The shank of the hitch ball has threads to fix it with the help of a nut and washer on the platform of the ball mount.
The shank diameter and the ball hole should match for proper installation. In a smaller diameter, the shank will become loose while towing.
You can cover the difference by using bushing. In the case of a large size shank, it will not fit into the hole.
Size of Forest River hitch ball
Forest River travel trailers are available in a variety of sizes and designs. Most of them have gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) ranging from 5000lbs to 12000 lbs.
Therefore, they are compatible with 2″ and 2-5/16″ hitch size to tow them safely. Another important aspect is the ball shank diameter and its length.
The 2-5/16-inch ball is compatible with a shank of length 2-¾” and a diameter of 1-¼”. Therefore, it is feasible to use Class IV and V hitch designs for larger trailers.
You can use a 1-inch diameter shank having a length of 2-¼” with a 2-inch hitch ball for a Class III hitch. However, exact dimensions depend on the type of travel trailer, coupler size, and weight ratings.
Is travel trailer hitch ball size standard?
Yes, travel trailer hitch ball is available in 4 standard sizes according to their weight ratings. Here is a table to show the standard sizes and their weight ratings with intended applications:
Hitch Ball Size
1800 to 3300 lbs
3300 to 11000 lbs
5800 to 30,000 lbs
Large, commercial, and heavy-duty towing
There are also standard shank lengths and diameters according to the manufacturer.
Therefore, you can select them accordingly to make a secure connection.
How to measure the correct hitch ball size for a Forest River travel trailer?
The diameter of the hitch ball is an important parameter to measure before buying a new one. Standard designs have dimensions marked on top of the ball.
However, you should measure the inside of the coupler with the help of a measuring tape. Then, select the ball diameter to match that measurement.
Another critical dimension is the diameter of the shank for the ball mount. It should match the hole size of the hitch receiver tube of your towing vehicle.
Finally, measure the shank length from the bottom up to the threads for mounting the hitch ball. It will add the rise to the hitch of your trailer.
Do you need to apply lube on the hitch ball?
It is not mandatory but a good practice to apply grease or lube on the hitch ball of your travel trailer to prevent rusting and wear and tear due to friction.
It will also help avoid squeaking due to friction between different parts. Apply the recommended grease at the end of every season or before starting a trip.
What is the cost of the Forest River hitch ball?
Its price depends on its dimensions and material of construction.
For example, a 2-inch ball made of chrome can cost you around $10-$15, while a 2-5/16″ hitch ball has a price of $25-$30. Stainless steel designs have a higher price due to their durability and strength.