ARK TRAILER COUPLING
This coupling uses a 50mm ball, but has full off-road articulation.
The ARK coupling fills a gap left by the demise of the Hyland Hitch that used a standard towball, yet had full articulation. The ARK unit takes the solution even further, with a safe, simple locking mechanism.
There are several off-road coupling designs that do an excellent job, but all have a common problem: they have unique pins and receivers, so before a normal ball receiver trailer can be connected the vehicle's connector must be swapped for a ball one. This is an irritation for people who have a camper trailer with a unique coupling and a box or boat trailer with a normal ball.
That's where the ARK XO coupling comes into its own.
This Australian standards AS4177.3 compliant coupling connects to a standard round-base 50mm ball, but not to one with flat flange faces. A cast steel yoke holds a cast steel ball receiver on a 360-degree swivel mount and the yoke itself can rotate 360 degrees, so the assembly has full off road articulation.
The yoke shaft can be an override type, with a locking collar to prevent trailer brake application when reversing, or a fixed length shaft that works with electric or hydraulic trailer brakes. ARK also makes a purpose-designed base plate and handbrake lever to allow full articulation.
Australian law requires that the override type is rated at two tonnes and the electric or hydraulic brake unit up to 3.5 tonnes.
ARK's locking system is very easy to use and, dare we say, foolproof. When the receiver drops over the towball the locking lever is lifted and a ball locking collar slides into place. A green tab indicates that the collar is in the 'lock' position and a red tab shows if it isn't.
We checked out an ARK 3.5-tonnes coupling between an Isuzu D-Max ute and a Cub Frontier camper trailer and found that it worked beautifully, on and off road. There was no shock transmitted to the tow vehicle at any time and the coupling coped with radical approach, departure and side-slope angles.
Coupling and uncoupling single-handedly was also a breeze.
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