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Bosal Hitch Adapter Loosening

Discussion in 'Model X' started by ohmman, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    As some may know, I'm in the middle of a ~3500 mile trip towing my Airstream with the X. Within about 5 days, I started to notice that there was a little play in my receiver. I could wiggle it ever so slightly back and forth, where it was perfectly tight beforehand. I'd estimate about 1/16th of an inch in each direction at most. However, as time went on, the play began to develop more and more and eventually I was concerned enough to reach out to Tesla and @JimVandegriff, who has been towing with an identical rig.

    Tesla put me in touch with a ranger in Spokane, who met me right off of the highway and took a look. His main concern was if the adapter would "fall out" of the Bosal socket. There was little chance of that, as it was becoming harder and harder to remove even intentionally. Additionally, since I use weight distribution, there's at least some upward force into the hitch adapter that will push it into place. Still, he agreed that I should try a new adapter, and arranged for one to be overnighted to my campsite in West Glacier.

    It was raining upon arrival so I didn't get around to trying the adapter until yesterday. I had a heck of a time removing the old adapter, and found it impossible to manually insert the new one. I was able to put the old one back in, but my determination got the best of me and I removed it again. I used a hydraulic bottle jack to aid in inserting the new hitch adapter, and with some effort eventually got it to snap into place. It's very snug. No play. And I'm quite certain it's never coming out. :)

    I am keeping the old adapter throughout the trip but will be sending it to Tesla's engineering for analysis once I return. I just want a second adapter for backup purposes. When I return home, I believe I am going to do what @jason1466 is doing and install the Draw-Tite fixed receiver on my X.

    My takeaway from this is that both the Bosal hardware in the bumper and the Bosal hitch adapter must be getting out of shape. I cannot come up with another good explanation for why it's difficult to remove the old adapter and why the new one barely fits. Additionally, the fact that the new one is snug means that there is some malformation in the receiving section of the Bosal package.

    It's possible that weight distribution is causing this issue, but it's hard to point that finger at this point. I believe it's more likely that, because the Bosal hitch has very stringent requirements on ball height, it's not a great fit for most travel trailer applications.

    @JimVandegriff can chime in here but has confirmed at least similar results to what I've seen.

    Here is a video of the play, before I replaced the adapter.
     
    • Informative x 11
  2. vandacca

    vandacca ReActive Member

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    When you get home, if at some point you have both adapters removed from the hitch at the same time, I think it would be interesting to see them side-by-side in various orientations. I wonder if you'll be able to visually detect any deformation?
     
    • Like x 1
  3. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Wow, interesting report, and kind of unnerving. A good heads up for anyone towing with an X to check their hitch receiver for excessive play.

    What are the allowed hitch height parameters for the Bosal?
     
  4. JimVandegriff

    JimVandegriff Member

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    When Ohmman pointed out his problem, Jim and I checked our hitch receiver and discovered both a wobble of about 1/8 inch and that the locking nob was not in the correct position as depicted on the decal on the receiver. This in spite of the fact that the receiver locking nob snapped back as it is supposed to, and we were able to remove the key. The receiver seems appropriately placed in the sleeve, as there are metal vanes it sits up against, and it can't go any higher. We tried a bit of pounding with a rubber mallet to see if we could get it higher, and that didn't change anything. Our receiver is not difficult to get in or out.

    In addition, there is a discrepancy between the manual and the decal. The X manual says that if you can get the key out, the receiver is in the correct position. The manual also says that in the locked position, the green area on the inner edge of the locking nob should sit across from the white dot on the receiver. That is where it is when our receiver is locked, but wobbles. If the locking nob was in the position indicated on the decal, the green area below the arrow would be opposite the white dot.

    I called the Rocklin Service center, and e-mailed pictures and a wobble video. After some internal consulting, they replied that the receiver should not wobble. They are ordering a new receiver for us, and are going to send it up to us with a ranger to install it and check out the issue. Illijana
     
    • Informative x 3
  5. araxara

    araxara S-P85#3,218 X-90D#3,299

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    Just an aside: I hadn't received a carrying case with my adapter and the service center ordered one for me. The new carrying case arrived complete with an adapter. Now I have 2 adapters. I'm still using the old adapter because I had such a hard time getting it to release (and now it's fine), that I didn't want to hassle with the new adapter. But it's nice to have a backup in case the old one starts wobbling (which is probably pretty unlikely, since I only have used it for a bicycle rack).
     
  6. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    Update: after a couple of hours of driving on quite bumpy roads, my new adapter is wiggling. :(
     
    • Informative x 1
  7. idoco

    idoco Member

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    I realize that the GVWR for the Sport22 is 4500 lbs and the tongue weight is ~400 lbs (both less than the MX rating). But is it possible you have more weight in the trailer than rated? Curious if you have had a chance to actually weigh the loaded trailer and check the tongue weight.
     
  8. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    I have checked the tongue weight at most stops and we are under 500lbs consistently. I have not weighed the trailer but it is pretty lightly loaded so I feel quite confident we are under 4500 lbs, let alone 5000. We travel dry except for about 3-5 gallons of fresh water for on the road use.

    I don't think it's weight related.
     
    • Like x 1
  9. JimVandegriff

    JimVandegriff Member

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    We have weighed our 2016 Airstream Bambi Sport (same type as ohmman, different year) on our last trip. It weighed in at about 4150 lbs. I don't believe this is weight related either.
     
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  10. goneskiian

    goneskiian Active Member

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    Oh boy.

    Thanks for the reporting @ohmman and @JimVandegriff!

    I've only got a bike rack on mine too but I'll definitely being following this one!
     
  11. Got-EMF

    Got-EMF Member

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    I've thoroughly enjoyed everyones posts on their trailering experiences. My further comments are not intended to be in any way counter to any ones thoughts or problems, just my additional thoughts on the matter. Most new hitch parts will have some amount of break in - paint wears off - high points on surfaces will wear down - etc. Some tolerances are acceptable and designed in. Perhaps this is what is happening but, no harm in having it further scrutinized by Tesla. Most hitch parts I have had experience with always have some amount of play once they wear in. Looking forward to trailering this summer - I will have to leave the P85 at home while we take Ford F450 and the 42 foot fifth wheel out for a spin. Thanks everyone for their comments here!
     
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  12. systemcrashed

    systemcrashed Please Reboot

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    Take a close look at the new adapter to see where paint may have been worn off. This would be most obvious on the new adapter, Then check the old one to see if it has the wear in the same spots. This might explain why new one had a hard time fitting, then developed some play over time. I would also check it theres movement in the ball bearing that locks adapter in place. You may be below the weight limit, but the closer you are the more friction between the parts, the quicker the coating is getting worn off and creating that gap you feel. Tesla should analyze both adapter and receiver to identify it there has been any malformation. Please keep us posted, I have been towing a 6x10 enclosed trailer for a couple months now, not nearly as much weight as your Airstream, have not noticed any loosening yet, under 2000lbs. Safe travels, enjoy your trip!
     
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  13. JimVandegriff

    JimVandegriff Member

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    Today a team of technicians brought us a new hitch receiver as they drove from Rocklin to Portland. We are not on the usual drive path between those two points, and it is Sunday, so we appreciate the delivery. One of them looked carefully at the old receiver, agreed that it wiggled more than it should, and installed the new receiver. It also wiggles slightly, but considerably less than the old one. They took our old receiver to allow other techs to try and figure out what is causing the extra side to side movement. Illijana
     
    • Informative x 5
    • Helpful x 2
  14. polymathic

    polymathic Member

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    Thanks for keeping us informed, @ohmman. This would indicate that the weak point is the removable aspect of the hitch, and it is likely the fail point to anticipate when using more than two bikes.

    This removable hitch seems like a stupid move. I foresee a recall where they are all changed to non-removable.
     
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  15. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    I am home. The second adapter got even worse than the first. I'm removing this setup and installing the Draw-Tite next week.

     
    • Informative x 3
  16. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Glad to see you made it back and with the trailer too. I suspect Tesla/Bosnel as some 'splainin' to do.
     
  17. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    Another view. My thoughts on this to come.

     
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  18. systemcrashed

    systemcrashed Please Reboot

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    That is a lot more play than what I was imagining. Metal deformation is at play here. Very interested to see how this gets resolved. Possibly a limitation on tongue weight.
     
  19. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    @ohmman thanks for those videos, helps me visualize the issue. Looks serious to my non-expert eyes.

    Perhaps Tesla's specified towing weight limit for the Bonsal is optimistic. I am confident that your report will get escalated up the Tesla chain-of-command and that you will be persistent in following up.

    I wonder if @jackbowers has noticed this issue.
     
  20. bikeandsail

    bikeandsail Member

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    I just traded in my 2016 X for a 2017 X both with towing options. I primarily use my hitch for bikes but tow and launch a sailboat a couple of times a week. Load about 1400 lbs. I leave hitch in most of the time but have changed it out on the old car several times. I leave it off all winter. It is too big a pain to install and remove multiple times per week.

    I could not remove the hitch on the old car so traded it in at the SC with hitch in place. It did not seem loose but the mechanism seem to be frozen and would not release!
     
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