Self-latching ball clamp coupler

  • US 7,690,673 B1
  • Filed: 12/01/2005
  • Issued: 04/06/2010
  • Est. Priority Date: 12/01/2005
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A self-latching coupling mechanism for coupling a towed vehicle to a ball hitch, the coupling mechanism comprising:

  • a housing having a generally downwardly facing socket for receiving the ball hitch, said housing further including an upper wall located generally above said socket, said upper wall having an opening formed therethrough;

    a clamp rod slidably extending through said opening, said clamp rod including a bottom portion below said upper wall and an upper portion above said upper wall;

    a clamp member operably associated with said bottom portion of said clamp rod and movable between a locked position wherein said clamp member is extended downwardly into said socket to retain the ball hitch within the socket and an open position wherein said clamp member is positioned to permit movement of the ball hitch out of said socket;

    a lever pivotally connected to said upper portion of said clamp rod such that said lever is selectively adjustable to move said clamp member between said locked position and said open position;

    a biasing mechanism for biasing the clamp member toward the locked position the biasing mechanism permitting the clamp member to move upwardly upon relative movement of the ball hitch from below the socket towards the upper wall to permit the ball hitch to be inserted into the socket, the biasing mechanism further automatically moving the clamp member to the lower locking position upon complete insertion of the ball hitch into the socket, whereby the self-latching coupling mechanism is formed;

    further comprising a rear wall mounted within said housing, said clamp member being in a bearing sliding relation with said rear wall; and

    further comprising a bottom wall, said bottom wall supporting said clamp member against downward movement when said clamp member is in said locked position.

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