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Old 03 August 2008, 17:16   #1
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Hitch locks ... your opinions please

I've been thinking (I know ... dangerous business ) about how to secure the hitch end of a trailer. It strikes me that hitch locks fall into two categories: those which are integral to the hitch, and those with aren't (images of each below).

As I see it there are pros and cons with each type
Integral
----------
Pro: Compact, can be used to lock trailer onto vehicle
Con: Is security as good as External devices, Less visible

External
------------
Pro: Very visible, security can be validated (e.g. by sold secure)
Con: Seem to only be for use when de-coupled from vehicle

So the questions are ...
Are there any other benefits/disadvantages that I've missed AND Which do you guys prefer?

Cheers

Andrew
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Old 03 August 2008, 17:25   #2
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can you "just" unbolt the hitch and bolt on a new hitch with both versions? With the lock to the car option you can, in theory at least, unbolt the tow hook from the car, and bolt it back on to another vehicle.

is less visible a negative? I can see that having some visible security is a good deterant for the passing opportunist, but if someone has been eyeing your boat up then subtelty may just help foil their attempts when they come to nick it.
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Old 03 August 2008, 17:35   #3
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Our new Trailer had a Bradley hitch on it, and all we needed to get was a lock that fitted into the hole that was built in to it.

The bonus to this is you can either just lock it so that the hitch won't open (and thus can't be towed) or you can actually lock it onto your towhitch so it can;t be uncoupled.

The downside as you say is that it's not a visible means of deterence, but we've got a wheel clamp for that.
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Old 03 August 2008, 18:38   #4
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From what I hear the professional theif will detatch your tow hitch from the trailer by any means to his disposal be it angle grinder, bolt cropper, drill or gas axe and just chain the rest of the trailer to a vehical to tow away without the need for a hitch. I would think that several security measures need to be taken ie: Wheel clamp, hitch lock and chained to an imovable object (not possible at the slip). High visibility will visibly deter a theif from a distance, and might make him go for easier pickings else where.

I have the Bradley hitch too with barrel that slides into the casting, I understand this can be easily drilled out though. Might I suggest looking at the Bulldog mini hitch lock, this can be fitted to certain types of hitch whilst the trailer is attached to the car (needs to be removed whilst towing). Beware that it doesn't fit all hitches though.
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Old 04 August 2008, 13:59   #5
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I think the best integral hitchlock is the Indespension triple lock. It has a tongue and ball that fold up into the cup of the tow hitch when locked

THe bradley is not too bad but I have heard that people get a standard tow ball then turn it down a few mm so that it fits in past the locked pin and then they get just chain it down to the tow hitch so it wont lift off.
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Old 04 August 2008, 15:09   #6
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I am currently investigating/using this one

http://www.graystonengineering.com/a...esmenupage.htm

go to accessories and scroll down till you see the one in the red packet

I dont like the fact that two grub 'studs' get pushed into your hitch head though,.. but it works !
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Old 04 August 2008, 15:53   #7
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Having just been in the situation of using a bradley type barrel lock and my daughter loosing the keys, 2 mins with a spanner and I had the whole assembly removed (towball from car and hitch from trailer) - 4 bolts!

Speaking to my trailer manufacturer, the bradley locks are apparently quite hard to drill as they have a small ballbearing in the centre of the lock mechanism. I was about to attempt this when I found the keys (dropped down between car seat and centre console bit)

I always use a wheel clamp when the boat is parked but when towing, the hitch lock prevents any casual removal of the trailer if I'm away from the rig for a few minutes.
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Old 07 August 2008, 05:58   #8
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when my boat was stolen recently it had a hitch lock (slide over the hitch type) and a wheel clamp fitted. no sign of either post theft, insurance man said this is usual they remove all evidence and take it with them.

i can only assume they changed the wheel and the hitch on site, which must have taken a good half hour i would imagine before towing it away. considering this happened from a friends front drive, i am stunned (and waiting for a cheque!!)

so my advise, is get something that prevents this. my new wheel clamp will be the type that covers the wheel bots not just a C shaped clamp, and i will be looking for a hitch cover than covers the hitch mounting bolts.

PS: it was not the rib that was stolen... thats a seperate story, and in any case they just cut the outboard off the transom of that one...
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Old 07 August 2008, 07:02   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
i will be looking for a hitch cover than covers the hitch mounting bolts.
I'm sure the small print on my insurance says something about the hitch bolts being covered with part of the hitch lock
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Old 07 August 2008, 07:14   #10
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rest assured i have read all the small print, i'm 99.9% sure i'm covered.
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Old 07 August 2008, 07:37   #11
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my mate told me about some caravan thieves who stole caravans without removing hitch locks. Aparently they used two thick steel plates with lots of holes in them and some studding(threaded rod) and a ball hitch attached. They sandwitched the hitch with the plates and tightened the studs and hitched up and drove off.
just shows how prepaired ,determined and ingenious some thieves can be.
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Old 09 August 2008, 06:21   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
when my boat was stolen recently it had a hitch lock (slide over the hitch type) and a wheel clamp fitted. no sign of either post theft, insurance man said this is usual they remove all evidence and take it with them.

i can only assume they changed the wheel and the hitch on site, which must have taken a good half hour i would imagine before towing it away. considering this happened from a friends front drive, i am stunned (and waiting for a cheque!!)

so my advise, is get something that prevents this. my new wheel clamp will be the type that covers the wheel bots not just a C shaped clamp, and i will be looking for a hitch cover than covers the hitch mounting bolts.

PS: it was not the rib that was stolen... thats a seperate story, and in any case they just cut the outboard off the transom of that one...
i suppose its like everything else know matter how many locks that you use the determined thief will have it if they want it ,we had a couple of outboards nicked a few years ago all the best outboard locks and all they did was chainsaw the transom out with engines.
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Old 09 August 2008, 06:26   #13
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Just make sure that it's insured and that you lock the boat in accordance to the policy.
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Old 09 August 2008, 12:20   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggypaddle View Post
Aparently they used two thick steel plates with lots of holes in them and some studding(threaded rod) and a ball hitch attached.
Yeah, a builder friend of mine confirmed that this is rife, thieving bu99ers! A local locksmith reckons the Bradley doublelocks are tough to drill out, but obviously if you want a trailer, it's just a matters of having the balls to nick it. Unfortunately it's a matter of trying to turn a thing that was designed to be easily towed into something that isn't. I use a length of 10mm chain to secure the trailer to the chassis of the landrover when parked up at dodgy waterfronts, but it's really only for the insurance man*. The guys at the hardware cut the chain for me with a BFO boltcutter, so anyone else can too......

* the same bloke that wants my 90's secured to the transom.... to ensure that the pikey who robs them has to saw my transom out, two minute job with a battery saw, causing an even bigger loss to the insurers!!!
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Old 10 August 2008, 04:11   #15
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http://www.bikesecure.co.uk/pages/alarm_mine.html

alarm mines so noisy when i forget to disengege it , when of at 5.00am in morning
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Old 10 August 2008, 09:31   #16
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Oh they'll go to any lengths.

I can remember a long time back, someone tried to nick the 30hp 2/s off the back of our old searider. The only thing that stopped it actually being nicked was that they couldnt get through the anti-kick strap on the engine. We found the engine just hanging off the back of the boat because they'd given up.

You just need to balance security with ease of use/suitability, thus why our trailer has the bradley lock, and will also have a full cover wheel clamp (once I get round to picking one up)
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Old 10 August 2008, 10:00   #17
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Thieves certainly don't want to be banging about with lump hammers while their white Transit is double-parked.

As suggested by other members, thieves (aka Pikers) can overcome the hitchlock by effectively adding another hitch, purely to tow it away. Once they have it under cover (I'm thinking of a scrapyard not unlike a scene from Minder), then they will set about removing the hitch.

I've fitted an Indespension Triplelock. One of the securing bolts has a metal bung inserted over the top of it - so it can't be tampered with. You would need drill, angle-grind or use an oxy-acetalene gas torch to remove.

In addition it has a wheel lock (covering wheel bolts), Yamaha outboard lock and is garaged with Yale intruder security alarm. Call me paranoid!
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Old 10 August 2008, 15:12   #18
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Quote:
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i will be looking for a hitch cover than covers the hitch mounting bolts.
Still got this for sale if anyone wants to make me an offer.
Quite heavy though so shipping would probably be 10 in itself.

http://rib.net/forum/showthread.php?t=24737

Orve.
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Old 16 August 2008, 06:54   #19
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Thanks for all your opinions guys. It seems that the integral locks (like the indespension triple lock) seem to be a bit of a favourite. I'll have a look in that direction - cheers
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Old 17 August 2008, 15:46   #20
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I've got a Bradley integral lock and a Bulldog lock over the top of it.
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