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Detecting wear on trailer couplings

Together with Walterscheid, we show what special attention needs to be paid to different systems.

Various locking systems of the Kugel-80 system from different manufacturers. Pictures: Walterscheid

As long as it is not yet possible to connect a slurry tanker to a tractor via Bluetooth, the most diverse connection devices will continue to accompany us in the age of Agriculture 4.0. Mechanical connecting devices are available in different systems. While the pin connection was still the "non plus ultra" a few years ago, it has been largely replaced by the ball-80 system. There are also the hitch system, the piton fix and the drawbar hitch as frequently used connections. All systems have their justification and are used to varying degrees in different European countries. However, accidents due to wear-related failures of connecting devices occur time and again. For workshops in particular, it is therefore important to know how to detect wear at an early stage using simple methods and thus ensure the safety of their customers.

Walterscheid system assembly - ball 80 with hold-down device

The downholder from Walterscheid - adjustable without tools and with wear indicator.

It's the hold-down that counts - A business card can help with the diagnosis!

In the following article we explain the meaning and importance of the correct adjustment of a hold-down device: For a safe and low-wear connection of a hitch system with the drawbar coupling 80, the correct adjustment of the hold-down device is of utmost importance to prevent unwanted play between the drawbar ball 80 and the calotte. The optimum value is 0.5 mm. In other words, a business card should just fit between the hold-down and the calotte. It is important that there is an almost form-fit and play-free connection, as the force exerted by the drawbar load, especially negative drawbar load, transfers an enormous load to the hold-down device. If the play is greater than 0.5 mm (manufacturer's specification), occurring negative drawbar loads can promote deformation of the hold-down and increase wear.

Depending on the manufacturer, there are different versions of hold-downs on the market. Usually, the hold-down can be adjusted to the optimum distance by means of a screw connection. The Walterscheid hold-down can be adjusted by hand without tools and with comparatively little time.

  • In addition to the calotte and the tension ball coupling 80, the hold-down itself should also be checked for wear. For example, deformations, bent-up hold-downs or worn-out bolt holes are the first indication that the hold-down is no longer functional. Make sure that the contact surface, which according to the manufacturer's specifications is at a distance of 0.5 mm from the calotte, is not already worn outside the permissible tolerance. For easy checking of the state of wear, there is a marking on the Walterscheid downholder that indicates the maximum degree of wear. In this area, you should also look at the wear on the top of the calotte.

  • For a simple check, Walterscheid offers a test calotte with which you can quickly and easily inspect the setting of the hold-down.

  • The basis for a "safe connection" is always the check before every journey. Furthermore, cleaning, care and maintenance are guarantors for safety in road traffic.


A common condition of a trailer hitch on the rear of a tractor.

Einstellung des Niederhalters

Correct setting of the hold-down - 0.5 mm corresponds to the thickness of a business card.

Incorrect setting of the hold-down.

The "play" between the hold-down and the calotte is much too large.

The Walterscheid test calotte makes it easy to check the hold-down device.


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