(FIGURE A.1) INNOTECH’S ASSOCIATES PROUDLY INTRODUCE THE SIMPLE HITCH.
Figures A.2 and A.3 illustrate the ease of operation of the Simple Hitch.
(FIGURE A.2) HITCH AND UN-HITCH STANDING UP
(FIGURE A.3) HITCH AND UN-HITCH SITTING DOWN
FIGURES B.1 THROUGH B.5 ILLUSTRATE THE “FLOAT” DESIGN AND COMPONENTS OF THE SIMPLE HITCH.
It is obvious that one does not have to bend over to hitch or unhitch a trailer when using the Simple Hitch. This is a significant advantage for seniors who have difficulty bending down to the tow-bar level and/or getting back up when hitching is complete. Not as obvious is that the hitching operation can be done from the seat of most riding lawn- mowers. The importance of float will be illustrated later. But first, the simple hitch must be compatible with existing lawn and garden towed transports.
C. THE U-TONGUE HITCHING SYSTEM CONNECTED TO SIMPLE HITCH
(FIGURE C.1) WIDELY USED, STANDARD U-TONGUE HITCH
(FIGURE C.2) U-TONGUE HITCHED TO FLOATING SYSTEM
(FIGURE C.3) HITCHED AND READY TO WORK
The use of a U-hitch reduces the up and down movement, (i.e. the float), of the tongue to the width of the U. Consequentially, there is not enough float to attach a swivel caster to the tongue of the trailer without the caster being damaged in use or producing ruts in the lawn. As will be presented later, adapters have been developed to facilitate the floating hitch in overcoming this limitation.
The situation where the top hitching hole in the u-tongue is less than the diameter of the compression hitch pin needs to be addressed. This will be the situation for small transports such as fertilizer spreaders.
D. CONVERTING U-TONGUE WITH FLOATING TONGUE ADAPTER
(FIGURE D.1) TOP PLATE MOUNTED WITH BOLTS
(FIGURE D.2) REMOVE TOP PLATE
(FIGURE D.3) TYPICAL HOLE-PATTERN IN U CHANNEL
(FIGURE D.4) ADAPTER BOLTS TO TONGUE
(FIGURE D.5) CARRIAGE BOLT + SQUARE HOLE = ONE WRENCH
(FIGURE D.6) NO CHANGE IN HITCHING PROCEDURE
Note that in Figure D.6, the tongue adapter has been switched to the top of the tongue. This is an alternate way of mounting the adapter. Underneath is stronger, but on top is cleaner and looks better. Also note in Figure D.6 that there is a gap between the compression hitch pin and tongue adapter hole.This decoupling allows the trailer to follow the terrain on rough ground and not be controlled by the towing vehicle. The degree of decoupling can be quite important when an ATV is pulling a heavy trailer up a steep grade on uneven ground. Also note the presence of a second, smaller bolt which is necessary to keep the adapter from turning relative to the tongue. A 3/8″ bolt is used because this is the size of the hole in most trailers. If a 5/8″ hole is present, the owner must enlarge it or substitute a 5/8″ hex headed bolt and washers. Adapters are available in 5 sizes that increase in 1/4″ increments, starting at 3/4″ and ending at 1-3/4″. The bigger the hole, the easier the hitch.
From trigonometry, the equation for the diameter (D) of the tongue-hitching hole for a given number of degrees (ϴ) of decoupling between the towed transport and the towing vehicle is Equation D.1 below.
(FIGURE D.7) SHOWS THE 5 SIZES OF FLOATING TONGUE ADAPTERS. THE HOLE INTO WHICH THE SIMPLE HITCH COMPRESSION PIN IS INSERTED RANGES FROM 0.75″ TO 1.75″ IN 0.25″ INCREMENTS.
(FIGURE D.8.1) TWIST OF TRAILER RELATIVE TO TOW VEHICLE
(FIGURE D.8.2) TWIST OF TRAILER RELATIVE TO TOW VEHICLE AGAIN
The decoupling shown in Figure D.8.1 & .2 may only be needed for a big RTV that is pulling a heavy trailer up a very rough mountain. It does show what can be provided from using an XXL adapter. Floating tongue adapters in sizes of Small (D = .”), Medium (D =1”), Large (D = 1 & 1/4”), Extra Large (D = 1 & 1/2”) and Extra, Extra Large (D = 1 & 3/4”) are available. Medium and large should be best for the majority of applications. XXL is the favorite of the inventor (poor eyesight and coordination) due to it providing a large hole in the tongue when hitching up a trailer from the seat of the tow vehicle. This is especially useful on uneven ground.
E. TRAILER CASTER ADAPTERS
The trailer caster adapters, available in two styles, make attaching a swivel caster to the tongue of a trailer a quick and easy task. Figures E.1 and E.5 show the two styles of adapters. Figure E.2 shows the associated hardware and a typical swivel caster. Figures E.3, E.4 and E.6 illustrate the ease of assembly and installation.
(FIGURE E.6) INSTALLATION OF ADAPTER
(FIGURE E.7) HITCHING AND UNHITCHING FROM LAWNMOWER SEAT
Attaching a caster produces a trailer-cart transport combination which is much more useful than either one of these transports by themselves. A two wheel (single axle) trailer is virtually useless unless it is attached to the towing vehicle. Carts with four wheels are not designed for towing. One example of using this transport is to offload (It is functioning now as a cart.) into it the potting soil and plants that were bought Friday evening on the way home from work. Saturday morning, required tools are added to the cart before hitching it to a lawnmower and towing the transport (now functioning as a trailer and a mobile work station) to the spot for the new flower bed. It is the floating feature of the Simple Hitch that allows a caster to be put on a trailer and for the caster to not be damaged during normal use. The floating of the caster wheel is illustrated in Figures E.8 & E.9.
(FIGURE E.8) POSITION OF CASTER WHEEL BEING PULLED TOWARD SIDEWALK
A four inch wide caster wheel works well for this application. Also, it is important that the wheel does not leave the ground. If this is the case, the wheel could possibly rotate so that the side of the wheel is flat against the side of the walk way. The height of the obstacle must be less than 1/2 the diameter of the wheel.
The swivel caster equipped trailer-cart backs like a trailer and not like a wagon! The swivel caster responds to side forces. Note that the wheel reverses when the direction is changed. This is illustrated in Figures E.10 and E.11. Note that the swivel caster wheels switches around when changing from going forwards to going backwards.
(FIGURE E.10) TRAILER BEING PULLED FORWARD
(FIGURE E.11) TRAILER BEING BACKED UP
F. BALL HITCH ADAPTER
Often, one would like to relocate an empty, balanced trailer. (for example, from the front yard to the back of a lot). The Simple Hitch with an adapter on a riding lawnmower may complete this task when the road vehicle, such as a pickup is too large to do so. Figures F.1 to F.4 illustrate the use of the Simple Hitch to park a trailer. Only five minutes, one bolt and one wrench needed to attach/remove the ball hitch adapter. Caution: The rear end differential of most riding lawn mowers is very light. As a rule, trailers should be light enough to move manually when using a riding lawnmower.
(FIGURE F.1) MOUNTING BALL HITCH ADAPTER
(FIGURE F.3) TRAILER HITCHED
(FIGURE F.4) TRAILER PARKED
G. REVIEW OF SIMPLE HITCH & ADAPTERS
- Stand up hitching and unhitching
- Hitching and unhitching from lawnmower seat
- Designed in float protects front swivel casters of three or four wheel transports
- Transports with swivel casters back like a trailer; not like a wagon
- Hitching (from the seat) by backing the lawnmower, moving the trailer-cart or both
- Provides flexibility in work plans and increases productivity
- Makes lawn and garden work easier, especial for persons with physical impairments, limitedstrength, poor coordination, poor eye sight or limited mechanical experience and aptitude
WHY SIMPLE HITCH?
- Simple to mount
- Simple to operate
- Simple adapters for wide array of transports and equipment
- Simple transition to future, five-function lawn and garden transport, PT-5 (Figure G)