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Replacing the Overrun Damper and Hitch-head

On trip to Bellingham,Northumbria, when we stopped at the services on the M6 just before turning right onto the A69, I noticed what looked like grey oil dripping from under the handle. It was the oil out of the coupling damper. The result? Seized solid. The effect was for the caravan to "push" the car as the brakes were released when stopping, quite disconcerting! On arriving on site tried to push the hitch head in, wouldn't budge. Took it easy on the way home. The coupling damper would have to be replaced.

Old Hitch head
First job was to remove the "A" frame cover to gain access to the damper.

Rear fixing
Then take out the rear fixing bolt of the damper.

Rear fixing bolt remove
Removing the bolt and nut, both were 19mm.

Overrun rear
Some are fixed horizontally, mine was vertically held.

Front fixing
To release the front of the damper, the hitch had to come off.

Front of damper
Once the bolts were removed had to remove the end of the damper for it to be extracted from the rear.

Dampers old and new 
Old on top,new below. I reused the old spacer as it was a better fit.

Hitch head kit
I decided to fit a new hitch with stabilizer, an upgrade. Greased the hitch before attaching.

Damper front fixing
The right hand bolt secures the front of the new damper to the hitch head, the torx bit is included in the kit.

Damper rear view
Just pushed the damper from the rear to replace the bolt, note the spacer, goes on top.

Nuts old and new
I found out the nuts are "use once" type. New nut is Nyloc, important it doesn't come off!

Rear complete
This shows new nut in place and the position of the spacer at the top of the tube.

Hitch complete
Re-fixed the "A" frame cover. Attached the hitch lock.Job done.



The job was fairly straightforward once I realized the spacer on the end of the damper had to come out to extract the damper from the rear. Instructions came with the new hitch head again straightforward. Sourced the damper from Widnes Caravans who had spares on the shelf, most other dealers could "get" me one. The first place I looked was on Alko's web site but you cannot buy them from there?!

I decided to fit a new hitch as I did not have a stabilizer (must admit I have not had a problem towing, it's going to be interesting the next trip) and to get a good hitch lock. If I change caravan in the future, I will take it with me.

The costings: Alko Damper 56.55, Nyloc nut 19mm 47pence,Widnes Caravans.

Alko 3004 Hitch Triple Pack, a kit which includes the hitch, a safety ball and security lock 260, Barron's Culcheth.

Tools Required: Torque wrench, 19mm 1/2inch drive socket, screw driver and grease gun.                                                              

Page Updated 27th June 2007

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