4WDING, CAMPING,CARAVANING, ADVENTURING...& A BLOODY GOOD LAUGh
MCHITCH UNIGLIDE TRAILER COUPLING
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK ALLEN
UP, DOWN AND AROUND
MARK ALLEN CHECKS OUT THE LATEST IN OFF ROAD HITCHES – THE MCHITCH UNIGLIDE OFF ROAD COUPLING
It angles over 90 degrees vertically both up and down, it angles left and right past the 90 degree horizontal mark and it rotates a full 360 degrees – you really would be in trouble if your trailer or van reached anywhere near these maximum angles! It’s coloured bright yellow and is made here in Australia buy a clever tool maker that tows heavy weight trailers all over the countryside.
It’s the McHitch, strange name but true, and is a combination of the creators name (Joe McGinnes) and the word ‘hitch’ - McHitch.
Having had Joe take us for a drive through his local forest tracks to demonstrate what his new hitch was capable of, there’s no doubting the hitches extreme capabilities with his newly acquired Suzuki Vitara and Cub offroad trailer. He took us through some highly eroded tracks with no sign of the hitch binding or reaching its limits.
Joe tells us he was “sick of wearing out 50mm ball couplings and needed something that would not only last longer, but also provide an easier fitting and removal method plus increased articulation”. A universal joint was sourced from the factory Toyota catalogue (nice to know it’s easily replaceable if needed) for the 3.5 tonne unit and a similar joint from a 6 tonne truck for the …you guessed it the 6.0 tonne coupling. The circlips that traditionally hold part of the joint together have been replaced by reverse-threaded end caps, which can be adjusted to remove play from the joint itself.
The standard grease nipple on the uni joint, plus two nipples on the rear body section allow for good lubrication of all moveable parts.
It’s this uni joint that provides both the vertical and horizontal articulation, while the rotational twist is via the couplings rear body. Joe’s next and main point of difference with all other couplings on the market is that his towing (or connection) point has been separated from the articulation point to remove the chances of wear. Joe says “The McHitch Uniglide Trailer Coupling goes back to the drawing board and alleviates this problem by separating the point of attachment and the point of wear (the tapered pin is the point of attachment, the universal is the point of articulation)”.
Joe has also replaced the typical 50mm ball by a tapered stainless steel pin, which not only locks into the hitch, but also allows self centring of the hitch while winding down the jockey wheel. Once the hitched is lowered onto the pin, the hand wheel is hand tightened (or can be nipped up by using the safety pin as a lever), which causes the safety ratchet trigger to automatically lock into position. The safety pin is then slotted into a hole that ‘locks’ the coupling to the pin – providing three safety locks all up.
This method of attaching the hitch to the pin eliminates all movement at that joint, thus no (claimed) wear and tear and also (claimed) silent operation.
Joe has also taken customers into consideration that have other brands of off road hitches who can’t or don’t want to replace them and has developed adaptors for most. This gives the (claimed) advantage of separating that towing point from the main articulation point as well as providing an easier way of hitching up.
Also, for those that tow larger caravans, there is an adaptor plate that sits onto a standard Hayman Reece hitch that accommodates level rider bars. There is also yet another adaptor plate for those with narrower towing tongues to step-up to the width of the McHitch base, which has tabs either side to prevent twisting on the tongue.
There is also an over rider braking body option, so no need for electrics.
Joe is currently undertaking ADR compliance testing, so stay tuned for the outcome or check onto his website at www.McHitch.com.au for all the latest updates.
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The Long Paddock 4x4, 4WD, caravan, camper trailer, camping products reviews, tests, comparisons by Mark Allen