What is a Pintle Hitch & How to Use a Pintle Hitch

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Last Updated on May 18, 2022

Pintle Hitch
Pintle Hitch

The task of hauling your trailer will familiarize you with more than just one option. And this includes ball hitches, combination pintle-ball hitches as well as the one we are particularly going to talk about today, the pintle hitches.

Being aware of what is a pintle hitch, how to use a pintle hitch are all necessary pieces of information that you need. So figure out whether this works for the task you need for. Let’s get finding out started!

What Is a Pintle Hitch?

When the situation demands heavy-duty towing on off-road terrain, something pretty rough, that’s where a pintle hitch becomes a primary option coming to one’s mind.

Another object rotates around a pivot point that the pintle provides. And there are several mechanical uses for this thing. For example, in-door hinges and even boat rudders.

With towing, the pintle hook gives a point that allows a lunette ring to pivot. So that a better range of motion is allowed for the ball coupler.

Understand The Working Mechanism of Pintle Hitch

One should first take note of the concept of a pintle and gudgeon joint. The construction of the stationary pin aka pintle has to be thick enough. So that it can support the substantial weight right. It needs to fit a gudgeon correctly, a typical cylinder shape assembly rotating part.

And that is basically how a pintle hitch works. In fact, in any application that requires a joint that must rotate a great number of times, pintle suits the best.

The pintle hitch part stays attached to the tow vehicle. For the trailer or another vehicle that needs to be pulled, there’s a lunette ring to connect.

There’s horizontal as well as vertical twist and turn with the pintle trailer setup. And this is because of the room available for lunette rings to move around the hook. This also allows for a certain extent skew relative benefit between tow vehicle and trailer.

There are also locking jaws most commonly seen with the pintle hitch setup. And it allows for a much more secure coupling. So that even in rough road conditions, there’s no way it would come off.

How to Use a Pintle Hitch

Make sure you go through all the safety checks before making any connection between the trailer lunette and pintle hitch.

You want to detach the safety locking pin next.

  • Bring the latch up and keep it out of way by realizing it carefully.
  • You want to hold the lunette and then onto the pintle hitch’s hook, lay it gradually.
  • Next, you need to release the attachment and lower it.
  • Get the safety locking pin back and you are done!

There’s a vast usage of pintle hitch for semi-tractors so that one can enjoy doubles or triples towing. 

This is why the hitch is made very robust and comes with air cushions, springs, or a mechanism that can alleviate shock loading due to heavy road application-related stress.

That’s why you must always inspect the pintle hitch before each application!

Using Different Types of Pintle Hitch

There are several different categories of pintle hitches and usage could vary in those here and there. So, let’s have a look at how you can use a pintle hitch based on the most common types.

Rigid Pintle Hitches

The most budget-friendly option is this one. And you need to bolt it with keeping in mind the manufacturer’s provided specification for the hardware. 

Having enough strength for resting the force from towing, is what the user must ensure when mounting this hitch. You can use it for most types of mobilizing equipment, dump trucks, burden carriers, tow tractors, and fork trucks.

Swivel Pintle Hitches

This is a heavy-duty pintle hitch category, which is quite similar to the rigid ones. However, the exemption characteristic would be that here the hitch uses more swivel rotation. For off-road usage, swivel pintle hitches are the way to go. There’s hardly any binding issue with the coupler connection here.

Cushioned Pintle Hitches

Another rough terrain-friendly category of pintle hitch. You need to use this whenever there are more chances of facing shock loading with a back-and-forth direction.

Receiver Mounted Pintle Hitch

The vehicles that require multiple trailer type suiting couplers are perfect for receiver mounted pintle hitch. The vehicle will have a permanent recovery tube. And it lets the user install without couplers. You can also entirely get rid of the coupler.

Adjustable Pintle Hitch

To allow users to adjust the height of the coupler, this type of pintle hitch comes with a receiver tube and works conjunctionally. Someone who needs to tow a utility trailer, camper, and boat trailer with the same vehicle would find this type of pintle hitch very usable.

Combination Pintle Hitch

This is the category that comes with the flexibility of using tow trailers with both socket and loop type couplers. And there’s no need for the user to do any alteration to the pintle hitch.

A combination pintle hitch/ball lets the user tow trailers with socket couplers and loop couplers without any changes to the hitch.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it! We’ve talked through what is a pintle hitch and how to use a pintle hitch in the simplest way possible. 

There were also notes on different categories of pintle hitch to keep the concept broad enough for you. Hope now you have a better perspective of the whole thing. We’ll be back with another similar topic soon, till then take care!

What is a pintle hitch

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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