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How do I adjust the height of a towball?

How do I adjust the height of a towball?

Hitchball too high or too low

Owners of vans, motorhomes or pick-ups will be particularly familiar with the problem of the towbar being too high or too low.

In most cases, the cause is the towing vehicle, less often the trailer itself. In most cases, the misalignment is due to the incorrect height of the towbar, which may have been changed by various adjustments, such as :

  • Changes to the wheels,
  • Chassis adjustments such as raising, lowering or air suspension,
  • Vehicle loading.

Particularly with commercial vehicles such as vans, the height at the rear can vary considerably depending on the load. For vehicles with a long overhang, such as the Iveco Daily, Fiat Ducato or Mercedes Sprinter, the rear height can vary by up to 20 cm as the tow ball is generally too high.

As for motorhomes, due to their long overhang and load, they often have problems with a towball that's too low.

The real problem is that the correct towball height is measured when the vehicle is fully laden. This height is mandatory and must be between 35 and 42 cm from the ground to the centre of the towball.

Correct towball height is essential for the safety and stability of the coupling. To avoid problems it is important to check this height regularly and adjust it if necessary, especially after modifications to the vehicle.

Problems associated with an incorrect hitch ball height

Incorrect positioning of the trailer causes a number of problems, not only in terms of increased wear and tear on the coupling or reduced manoeuvrability, but also in terms of safety:

  • Braking problems: Braking efficiency can be compromised because the trailer is not evenly loaded. In extreme cases this can lead to an increase in stopping distance or even the trailer stalling.
  • Instability: A leaning trailer can affect the stability of the coupling while driving, especially at high speeds, when cornering or in strong winds. This can lead to dangerous driving situations.
  • Other costly problems caused by incorrect ball adjustment include uneven tyre wear, increased fuel consumption, damage to the chassis or hitch, and breaking the law by driving with an incorrectly coupled or loaded trailer, which can lead to fines or other legal consequences.

Solutions for correct ball height adjustment

How to solve the problem of trailer tipping depends on a number of factors, such as

  • The type of towbar,
  • The construction of the vehicle.

Height of the swanneck towball

Unfortunately, this is the type of towbar where you can do the least. A swanneck towbar is very elegant because of its slim shape, but it also has a number of limitations. In most cases it is not possible to adjust the height.

However, this is not the case for all products and not all manufacturers. Some manufacturers provide several rows of fixing holes for height adjustment. Another option is to have the towball made to measure. There are companies that offer this service.


Height of the flange towball

Flanged hitchball with a plate are more flexible in terms of height adjustment. In Europe there are two standards for flanged balls: 2 holes with a 90mm hole spacing and 4 holes with a 56x83mm hole sapcing.

For 2-hole flanged towball, many manufacturers offer two or more rows of holes to adjust the height of the ball. For 4-hole hitchball the options are unfortunately more limited and often only one position is offered.


XIMPLIO offers a solution for towbars that do not have a height-adjustable hitchball: height-adjustment drop plates.

Height adjustment plates for flange towball

The towball height adjustment plate is a universal solution that can be used on any vehicle equipped with a flanged towball. At X-CAMPING you'll find a wide range of ball height adjustment products. 

Some products are universal and adapt to the two standards: Standard with two holes and Standard with four holes. These adjustment plates not only serve to adjust the towball up or down, but also act as a protective plate to prevent damage to the rear end in the event of a collision.


Towball height adjustment for motorhomes

On coachbuilt or A-class motorhomes, there are often additional options for adjusting the height of the towbar. Many manufacturers offer adjustable towbar systems.

If the towbar is already fitted, check that the position of the towball can still be adjusted. If the towbar is not fitted, there are several ways to adjust the height of the towball:

  • By adjusting the height of the towing device,
  • Using the side plates to adjust the height of the towbar.

X-camping has all the solutions you need!

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