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The Best Way to Connect to a Trailer Dolly: A Guide to Coupler Compatibility

Posted by Erin Allison on

The Best Way to Connect to a Trailer Dolly: A Guide to Coupler Compatibility

If you’re wondering, “How do I know if my hitch system will work with a trailer dolly?”, then you’ve come to the right place.

There are lots of different hitch types out there, many of which have special features to make your towing experience more secure and stable.

But not all of these couplers connect to a standard trailer dolly.

At Parkit360, we’ve done our best to create adapter options to suit as many of these hitch types as we can. These adapters are specially fitted to ensure the tightest connection possible between your trailer and the dolly, so you don’t have to worry about your trailer tipping, coming loose, or getting damaged.

Let’s dive in to explore a list of our available adapters, the types of couplers that are compatible with them, and what a proper connection should look like for each one.

Ball Mount

Our standard hitch balls come in 2” and 2-5/16” diameter, the most common hitch sizes. These will be compatible with most camping trailers with a rear receiver style of coupler.

Additional hitch balls can be ordered for 1-⅞” or 50 mm (UK standard size).

Weld spots keep the ball from spinning. They should always be turned to 10 o’clock, unless using a Bulldog Collar-Lok system (more details below)

What connection types work well with this adapter:

  • Rear receivers - Does your trailer have a standard ball-mounted rear receiver system? Then you will have no problem connecting your trailer to a dolly. These are the most common and versatile hitch types, and can easily be used on vehicles of all sizes. In fact, some trucks come with ball mounts already installed and ready for towing. The vehicle hitches themselves are sold in five classes, based on maximum weight capacity.
  • Demco EZ-Latch - These rear receiver latches have an auto-lock feature that lets you hook up a hitch ball while the latch is in a closed position. Their rather low profile and flat tongue shape make them durable and easy to connect to a hitch ball. Be sure to use your trailer’s latch pin if you have a Demco EZ-Latch.
  • Folding tongue coupler - A folding tongue coupler is essentially the same as any other rear receiver, but with one added feature: the tongue has a hinge where it fastens to the trailer frame so that it can be folded out of the way when in storage. This coupler type easily attaches to the trailer’s tubing to convert the tongue and save more space.

Note: All Ball Mount-compatible trailers can also be used with our EZ Connect Adapter if you have one of our Force units. The EZ Connect offers a simple drop-and-go connection for straightforward parking jobs.

Thrust Washer

Included with all ball-mounted dollies, our Thrust Washer helps to create a tighter connection between couplers and the ball mount. The removable puzzle piece allows for extra space in the case of an obstruction (step-down), or it can be inserted to provide a greater surface area when tightening the hitch, especially if there is a gap between the tongue and the ball mount.

Options for angled and straight Atwood attachments allow you to switch out the puzzle piece to suit these unusual hitches, commonly found on Jayco trailers

What connection types work well with this adapter:

  • Bulldog Collar-Lok - Designed for uses such as utility, livestock, cargo, and construction, these clamshell style hitches have a sliding ring for extra security for heavy-duty towing. These coupler types are not compatible with all trailer dollies, but they will work with Parkit360 trailer dollies as long as the hitch ball is set up with the spot welds facing 12 o’clock and a Thrust Washer is used to secure it tightly.
  • Atwood couplers - Atwood is a large “ranch and home” company, whose hitches are commonly found on Jayco trailers. These hitches work quite well with trailer dollies, as long as you have the appropriate Thrust Washer connection. We make two specialized adapters (one flat, one angled) for Atwood couplers to create a flush connection where the flange prevents this. Our adapters fit around the raised lip of the coupler and secure it to the dolly for the best connection.
  • Wallace Forge - Wallace Forge makes couplers for all manner of towing, from light jobs to heavy-duty trailers. Many of their coupler styles have a large step-down design (there is a sharp angle from the ball socket to the body of the coupler), so we are happy to provide custom Thrust Washer pieces to anyone with this type of connection. Contact our sales department (1-888-926-5517 ex.1, or sales@parkit360.com) to let us know what coupler you have and we will find a solution for you.

Pintle Hitch Adapter

If you have a Pintle hitch for your farm or industrial equipment, then the Pintle Hitch Adapter is the ideal way to connect to a trailer dolly. This adapter is made to suit the standard 3” diameter lunette ring, and is recommended for use with the Transformer 15K model. This extremely sturdy connection will allow you to tow farm equipment, generators, and dump trailers, to name a few.

What connection types work well with this adapter:

  • Pintle hitch/Lunette ring - A lunette ring coupler is simply a solid metal ring, into which a Pintle hitch can be fastened. These clasp or hook type hitches are most commonly used for big towing jobs in farm and industrial settings. They are built for a better range of motion, making them great for rough terrain, but less compatible with trailer dollies. Luckily, our adapter offers a very secure way to connect your lunette ring coupler to our trailer dollies.

Telescopic Frame Adapter

The Telescopic Frame Adapter is our most versatile connection method. Instead of mounting your trailer on the dolly using the coupler, attach the Telescopic Adapter to the frame of your trailer to create a sturdy alternative connection point. We especially recommend this adapter for trailers with lighter tongue weight, or boat trailers – although it is not limited to these uses. Simply bolt it to the Y section of your trailer frame, lower the pipe into the dolly’s receiver tube, then slide in the locking pin.

If you have a hitch type that is not compatible with our dollies’ other mounting systems, then this is a great option.

What connection types work well with this adapter:

  • Any, as long as the trailer has a y-shaped frame between these measurements: 2” x 4” and 4” x 6”. It is possible to use it on a smaller trailer frame if you add your own shims.

Gooseneck

With our Transformer 15K unit, we offer alternative connection methods that are common on larger trailers, one of those being the Gooseneck hitch. If you have a flatbed or transport trailer which uses a Gooseneck connection, we offer a specialized ball mount with stabilizer bars. These are custom items which require building specs such as the height of your trailer hitch from the ground, the hitch ball size, and the trailer leg style. Contact our sales department (1-888-926-5517 ex.1, or sales@parkit360.com) to order your custom Gooseneck adapter.

What connection types work well with this adapter:

  • Gooseneck trailers - Gooseneck trailers have a very distinct look, with a “neck” that sticks off the front of the trailer, then connects down into a pickup truck bed at a 90 degree angle, where the hitch is attached to the truck frame. Goosenecks are most often found on flatbeds, horse trailers, and transport trailers.

Kingpin Adapter

If your trailer has a kingpin instead of a Gooseneck ball connection, then you need the Fifth Wheel version of our Transformer 15K. This comes with a 50” Kingpin Adapter, as well as stabilizer arms. As long as your Kingpin Box sits 48” to 52” above the ground, this will work to tow your Fifth Wheel trailer. If your measurements exceed this, please contact us before ordering.

What connection types work well with this adapter:

  • Fifth wheel hitches/Kingpins - Fifth wheels are commonly used for industrial semi trailers and large camper trailers. The fifth wheel itself is a horseshoe-shaped hitch, installed in a pickup truck bed, in which the trailer’s kingpin sits. The kingpin is usually a 2” or 3.5” diameter steel pin that hangs vertically from a kingpin box under the front of the trailer. These heavy-duty connectors are only compatible with some trailer dollies.

Jack Post Connection

Did you know that you can connect your Parkit360 straight to the jack on your trailer? Instead of inserting a connector into the dolly’s receiver tube, you can simply drop your trailer jack post in, and move it that way.

This connection method works best for trailers with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 8,000-10,000 lbs or with more than 800 lbs tongue weight, but is an option for any trailer that does not have a compatible coupler.

What doesn't work?

  • Articulating hitches - We need a sturdy, constant connection in order to use the leverage from the dolly to move the trailer (without the trailer swaying, turning, or tipping).
  • Hitch adapters - Anti-sway (sway bar) systems and weight distribution hitches often have adapters that stay on the coupler to make the connection to the tow vehicle simpler, but these adapters have articulating parts or specialized hookups that do not allow for a good connection to the dolly.

Examples:

  • Hensley - These specialized anti-sway hitches use a linkage system to prevent side-to-side movement from the ball while still allowing a full range of motion in other directions. These hitches transfer weight to move the pivot point to the rear axle of the tow vehicle. Hensley hitches do not work well with trailer dollies at all due to their articulating motion. They must essentially be removed from a trailer in order to use the original coupler to connect to the dolly.
  • ProPride - This is another specialized anti-sway hitch that uses a coupler adapter featuring articulating parts. This may be the most advanced hitch of its kind, and perfect for heavyweight trailers, but it is not compatible with any trailer dolly at this time. This type of hitch would require a lockout to convert it to a hitch ball connection type, but we’ve yet to find a solution that eliminates the flex in the lockout plate.
  • Sway Bar Systems - In addition to Hensley and ProPride, there are a number of anti-sway hitch kits out there. A lot of sway bar systems use extra arms and adapters on the trailer to prevent too much side-to-side movement while driving, whether from wind, tight corners, or an imbalanced trailer load. These bars often interfere with dolly clearance, and the connection points are not often compatible. Other systems, like friction sway control bars, can be added to any hitch and are easy to remove for backing up or driving in slick conditions, meaning that these systems will not interfere with any trailer dolly connection as long as they are removed before connecting the trailer to the dolly.
  • Lock & Roll - These articulating hitches are designed for off-road use, allowing for 3 axes of movement. These hitches are not compatible with standard dollies because of their wide range of movement and unusual coupler shape, but most trailers that use a Lock & Roll coupler can be connected to a dolly via Jack Post connection or Telescopic Frame Adapter.
  • Andersen hitches - Andersen specializes in making high-quality gooseneck style hitches for fifth wheel trailers. They are some of the most innovative hitches available, making it possible to convert standard kingpin pegs to a gooseneck connection using a coupler block, but they have limited compatibility with specific trailer dollies.

Have a hitch type that’s not listed here, or want to ask further questions? Our sales team would be happy to talk to you about your trailer needs. Call 1-888-926-5517 ex.1, or email sales@parkit360.com.


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