Maintenance Tips to Consider for the Ford F-350 Super Duty Hitch
Although it is considered as an accessory, the hitch of your Ford F-350 Super Duty should be maintained like any key component of your truck. Without regular maintenance and inspection, the hitch can quite easily be the point of failure between the truck and the trailer, leading to a very dangerous situation on the road.
To help you up, here's a list of some essential maintenance tips for the Ford F-350 Super Duty hitch every owner should know:
- Do not use the hitch to pull anything beyond its weight capacity.
Hitches are categorized to a specific weight class; for the Ford F-350 Super Duty, this is usually in the Class 3 category. So before you attach a trailer onto the hitch, make sure that it is well within the weight class specified for it. Keep in mind that pulling anything that's heavier that what the hitch can safely carry will but unnecessary strain on its components, resulting in irreparable damage or even actually breaking apart while on the road.
- Do not alter or modify the hitch in any way that compromises its integrity.
Such modifications include drilling holes, welding, or cutting sections of the hitch. Hitches are painstakingly designed to match OEM standards to ensure safety, and by modifying the hitch you also run the risk of compromising its integrity. It should also be noted that manufacturers tend to not recognize the warranty of a hitch that has been altered as well.
- Take note of and clean up any signs of corrosion.
The location of the hitch makes it highly exposed to mud and moisture from the rain and bodies of water, so don't be surprised if rust spots suddenly appear. If your hitch is coated with a chrome finish, you can often remove the rust by rubbing the affected areas with an aluminum foil ball dipped in vinegar. For painted or machined hitches, however, applying commercial rust dissolving solution and scrubbing with a wire brush is your best bet.
- Keep an ear out for rattling noises.
Rattling or clanking sounds indicate that the hitch bar is hitting against the receiver or the frame, which is a no-no on both counts. When this happens, check the connections and tighten them accordingly.
Useful Tips in Mounting a New Ford F-350 Super Duty Hitch Properly
Whether it's a toy hauler or a boat trailer, your Ford F-350 is going to need a trailer hitch at the back to make it possible for you to tow such. Installing a trailer hitch nowadays is not that difficult, as most hitches sold today are modular and that recent pickup truck models like those of the Ford F-350 Super Duty come with pre-drilled mounting holes specifically for the hitch drawbar.
If you are planning on mounting a new Ford F-350 Super Duty hitch onto your truck, be sure that you are well-versed in the procedure and have all the tools necessary to ensure a safe and successful installation. To that end, here are some tips that you might find helpful in installing a new hitch onto your vehicle:
Tip #1: Loosen the exhaust pipes.
You will have a much easier time getting to the mounting points for the hitch if you'll loosen the bolts of the exhaust pipe and muffler and get them out of the way. This can be especially helpful if you have custom mufflers and exhaust parts, as these may prevent you from installing even an OEM-compliant hitch onto the frame. Some F-350 owners even suggest removing the bumper as well. But regardless of whatever component you remove to make mounting the hitch an easier one, make sure to re-install these parts and tighten them securely.
Tip #2: Secure the drawbar with a C-clamp
The design of the drawbar can make it difficult to hold in place while you tighten the nuts. Having someone hold the hitch for you normally fixes this problem, but you can also do the same by clamping the drawbar onto the frame with a C-clamp. Simply slide the clamp over the frame and the hitch bar and tighten it until the bar is no longer moving when nudged.
Tip #3: Make sure that the hitch's parts must have solid contact with each other.
Even a tiny gap between the hitch bar and the receiver will cause both parts to hit one another, resulting in a loud clanking sound and speeding up the wear of these hitch components. You may need to sand off the undercoating of the hitch if necessary, while in some cases it may be required to install an anti-rattle device on the receiver end to ensure a snug fit.