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  1. #1
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    Threaded Hitch Pin with Knob

    I have a Kuat Transfer 1 rack. It's a good, solid, functional rack.

    But, and this isn't the rack's fault, it uses a hex-headed 1/2" threaded hitch pin. Because my car is low and the configuration of the hitch (there are ears on the hitch box), it is a beast to unscrew.

    Is there a 1/2" hitch pin with a knob or lever to make it easier to unscrew? Or some other solution to this problem?

  2. #2
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    Not sure if a different kind of pin will improve things much since you still need to get into that tight space.

    If it were me, I'd try adding a short extension to the hitch. You would only need to bolt it on once, and leave it on the car. The extension would allow easier access to the pin's new location.

    Something like this...
    Name:  hitchextender.jpg
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  3. #3
    since 4/10/2009
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    Some other brands have threaded hitch pins with a knob. But IIRC, that doesn't mean they'll work with what you've got. I think that different rack brands sometimes use different thread pitches. So you'll want to verify that.

    As for the extension, the general rule is that an extension reduces the tongue weight capacity of the vehicle's hitch by 50% because of the increased leverage of the load it's supporting. For most cars and light duty SUV's, this can be a problem with bike racks. For one bike, probably not a big deal. But 2 bikes plus the rack could top things out, and if your rack commonly carries more than that, you can be above capacity pretty quickly.

    You might be well-served to use a ratcheting hex wrench setup with your existing hardware. Would probably be the least fuss way to deal with it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    You might be well-served to use a ratcheting hex wrench setup with your existing hardware. Would probably be the least fuss way to deal with it.
    Without seeing it, I was going to suggest similar... a ratchet with a socket and extension. I like wobble extensions for odd angles.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  5. #5
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    Thanks all. Yes, a socket or ratchet wrench of some type is really the ultimate solution, but running back and forth to the toolbox to fetch it and return it is kind of a pain. I'd kind of like to have a dedicated wrench to keep in the trunk. Weirdly enough, the rack came with an box/end wrench, but it's the dumb kind.

    Maybe one of those ratcheting box wrenches in the right diameter is the solution. If it will fit in the space.

    Also, the bolt has a hex receptacle, which I didn't think of as an alternative.

    Looking around, the ratcheting hex set is probably the solution, and cheap enough to just keep the whole thing in the trunk and possibly useful on/off the trail. Not sure I would have thought of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Thanks all. Yes, a socket or ratchet wrench of some type is really the ultimate solution, but running back and forth to the toolbox to fetch it and return it is kind of a pain.
    I hear ya - I'm in the same boat as my wife doesn't want the bike rack on the back of her car full time, so I'm taking it on/off quite a bit. I just use a ratchet and big socket. Takes 3 minutes.

    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Also, the bolt has a hex receptacle, which I didn't think of as an alternative.
    Meaning you can use a male allen hex socket? Those are cheap at any auto parts store. Buy an inexpensive Harbor Freight 3/8" drive ratchet and a socket and just keep it in your trunk? Would cost all of $10-15.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  7. #7
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    I have the same rack (but not the same issue) I'd just get a dedicated 19mm box end ratcheting wrench, toss it in the trunk. 10 bucks or so should do it.
    https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-WRN531...9112549&sr=8-6

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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    I have the same rack (but not the same issue) I'd just get a dedicated 19mm box end ratcheting wrench, toss it in the trunk. 10 bucks or so should do it.
    https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-WRN531...9112549&sr=8-6
    Muchas gracias. Do you have another issue with the rack that I can look forward to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    I hear ya - I'm in the same boat as my wife doesn't want the bike rack on the back of her car full time, so I'm taking it on/off quite a bit. I just use a ratchet and big socket. Takes 3 minutes.



    Meaning you can use a male allen hex socket? Those are cheap at any auto parts store. Buy an inexpensive Harbor Freight 3/8" drive ratchet and a socket and just keep it in your trunk? Would cost all of $10-15.
    Yep yep. I don't know another term for "hex receptacle" other than SHCS, which it isn't exactly.

    And yeah, it's absurd, but my Dad made me compulsive about putting tools back, so until I get a dedicated wrench, it's run to the toolbox, open it up, get the socket set, grab the socket and wrench, go back to the car, remove the rack, and reverse. Or drive myself bonkers with the regular end wrench and 60 degrees of rotation.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Not sure I would have thought of that.
    For real?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Muchas gracias. Do you have another issue with the rack that I can look forward to?
    No issues at all. I just meant that even though mine is low (Honda Accord) I don't have any problem with the hitch pin..or any other problems.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    For real?
    When I think of hex, I think of allen wrenches, t-handled things, screwdrivers with hex bits,and multi-tools, not ratchet wrenches. Most of the SHCS I encounter are small and low-torque, like guns and bikes and small, precision things.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    When I think of hex, I think of allen wrenches, t-handled things, screwdrivers with hex bits,and multi-tools, not ratchet wrenches. Most of the SHCS I encounter are small and low-torque, like guns and bikes and small, precision things.
    Without seeing what you have, I assumed when you said "hex head" I thought you meant an allen-head bolt. I guess it doesn't really matter in the end. My recommendation is to buy a ratcheting tool to fit that bolt and keep it in the car.

    My fatbike has a bolt-on thru axle and I keep an appropriate allen wrench in the back of my car so I can deal with the fork mount when I want to carry the bike inside the car. I have a toolbox dedicated to my little teardrop camper with a couple choice tools specifically for camper stuff. I'm definitely no stranger to keeping a small toolkit in my vehicles specifically for use in the vehicles. I also have a travel toolbox for bike tools, but so far don't have tools that live in it permanently. I will eventually.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Without seeing what you have, I assumed when you said "hex head" I thought you meant an allen-head bolt. .
    This particular hitch pin bolt uses either. It will accept an 8 or 9 mm hex (Allen) wrench in the center or you can use a 19 mm standard wrench around the outside. I think this is where the confusion is coming from

    I was suggesting a ratcheting box end wrench because of the slimmer profile versus an allen wrench. It seems his space is limited.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    When I think of hex, I think of allen wrenches...
    Whatever you want to call it, I was just surprised that the idea of buying a proper tool and keeping in the car didn't occur to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    Whatever you want to call it, I was just surprised that the idea of buying a proper tool and keeping in the car didn't occur to you.
    It did. But it was mostly a socket wrench that I was thinking of, which has some drawbacks (expense, whole socket set, duplication of tools I already own). The box ratchet wrench is a good idea, and the hex ratchet also. The hex mostly does not duplicate something I already own.

    Ideally, though, I was looking for a tool-less solution. I think the Kuat Sherpa and the upper-end Thule hitch racks have some kind of knob arrangement that is tool-less. I can't tell, even from their literature, what it is, though.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    This particular hitch pin bolt uses either. It will accept an 8 or 9 mm hex (Allen) wrench in the center or you can use a 19 mm standard wrench around the outside. I think this is where the confusion is coming from

    I was suggesting a ratcheting box end wrench because of the slimmer profile versus an allen wrench. It seems his space is limited.
    Which now begs the academic question, which is better for this application?

    I think the box wrench is going to be easier to get over the head and I also have a feeling that the hex socket might be easier to strip out.

    I think in small applications like most of our bike parts and the gun parts that I seem to fiddle with most, the socket head cap screw (hex) is used to avoid stripping a flat or phillips slot. But in larger applications, the hex socket is actually more likely to strip or round out.

  18. #18
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    I think you're going to be hard-pressed to find toolless solution. There are solutions but they have their drawbacks. Threaded rod or in this case a bolt with a plastic knob on the end often fails. I work with them from time to time. Typically it's a plastic knob with a metal pressfit insert wedged into a hexagon hole.. the problem with this is that your hitch pin requires a fair amount of torque to get it nice and tight. The inserts in these plastic off-the-shelf knobs typically fail (specifically the plastic fails and the insert spins on the inside of the hole rounding it out) which just leaves the knob spinning or falling off altogether. Just get a $10 tool and be done with it. Hex, Allen, dedicated hex socket with a single dedicated ratchet? Ratcheting box end wrench. 19mm standard socket. The choices aren't endless but but there's plenty of them.

    If I was determined to make this happen I would simply cut the head off the bolt and weld on a metal knob of my choosing. Five minutes and you're done. if you don't have a welder you can stop by a small welding shop or muffler shop and pay some Joe 5 or 10 bucks to do it for you. Just take himthe parts. But honestly it sounds like you're making a mountain out of a molehill at this point.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    I think you're going to be hard-pressed to find toolless solution. There are solutions but they have their drawbacks. Threaded rod or in this case a bolt with a plastic knob on the end often fails. I work with them from time to time. Typically it's a plastic knob with a metal pressfit insert wedged into a hexagon hole.. the problem with this is that your hitch pin requires a fair amount of torque to get it nice and tight. The inserts in these plastic off-the-shelf knobs typically fail (specifically the plastic fails and the insert spins on the inside of the hole rounding it out) which just leaves the knob spinning or falling off altogether. Just get a $10 tool and be done with it. Hex, Allen, dedicated hex socket with a single dedicated ratchet? Ratcheting box end wrench. 19mm standard socket. The choices aren't endless but but there's plenty of them.

    If I was determined to make this happen I would simply cut the head off the bolt and weld on a metal knob of my choosing. Five minutes and you're done. if you don't have a welder stoped by a small welding shop or muffler shop and pay some Joe 5 or 10 bucks to do it for you. Just take himthe parts. But honestly it sounds like you're making a mountain out of a molehill at this point.
    Good points. I'm not sure there's room to turn a "bent" pin that makes a lever. Tool-less was probably fantasy land, but it was the original idea.

    In my limited imagination, I was seeing only buying another socket set that duplicates the one I have and I didn't relish the idea of it knocking around in my trunk. For some reason, buying a whole other "set" of tools irked me as did keeping my existing socket set or the wrench and 19mm in the trunk.

    I'll probably buy that single 19mm you suggested off Amazon. Hope it's decent and doesn't wind up having a monstrous head.

  20. #20
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    ^^^
    Maybe you could post a picture of your receiver with the hitch pin in it. I guess I'm having a bit of a hard time finding where the obstruction actually is. it seems to me that if you have enough space to get your hand in there and turn the knob you should be able to use the big allen wrench no problem. Idk

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    ^^^
    Maybe you could post a picture of your receiver with the hitch pin in it. I guess I'm having a bit of a hard time finding where the obstruction actually is. it seems to me that if you have enough space to get your hand in there and turn the knob you should be able to use the big allen wrench no problem. Idk
    That's a fair point. I actually put all the allen wrenches away after assembly and forgot about that one as well as the socket in the pin.

    I have been using the end wrench that came with it. Between the bumper on the top and the "ears" on the receiver on the bottom, there's not much room to turn it. The pin is still pretty new and relatively easy to turn, but with the weight of the rack, I guess, it doesn't get finger-tight/loose easily and it has a pretty long thread, as you have no doubt noted, so you need to spin it for a while. But using the long end of that allen wrench after loosening it would probably do the trick.

    Went and dug it out and the long end even has the "ball end" so I don't have to worry about getting it straight in. Best of all, it's short enough that it fits in this little tray in the trunk so it won't slide around.

    You're handy as a pocket on a shirt! Out of rep for you, thanks!

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    Yep tried it out and that big allen wrench works just fine. It's really spinning the bolt/pin out that takes the time/effort and the allen wrench is best for that. It's just a skosh more than finger-tight/loose. I assume it will just get worse over time.

    Also, looking at the clearance from the bolt head to the "ear" on the receiver, there may not be room for a ratcheting box wrench.

  23. #23
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    I have always just used the long 8 mm allen wrench that was provided with the hitch. Never even bothered with the open-end wrench. Like you said you spin it in with the long end and then just finish it with the short end to get it tight. it helps if you jiggle the rack around a little bit while spinning it in or out. It can make it dramatically easier once you hit the sweet spot.

    The more I think about it a hand knob would be a real pain in the butt. you'd have to spin that thing about 40 times with your fingers. And getting it tight would never happen.

    I have to admit though, I have had a good laugh at how complicated a discussion has been made of such a simple (non) issue.

  24. #24
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    Part of the problem was that I got the hitch and put it together a couple of weeks before I got a hitch put on my car. I had stowed all the assembly materials and tools, except the big wrench, not anticipating any sort of problems. I viewed the allen wrenches as assembly tools only, wrongly in retrospect. I even forgot about the hex socket in the end of the pin.

    Thus, when I put it on the car, the wrench was the tool of choice. Then started using the socket wrench. Then started wishing for a knob or lever to enhance the spinning. I still think some sort of knob might be easier to spin than the allen wrench, but that makes it a lot easier than the end wrench. And you raise a valid point about snugging it up. And, I probably couldnt fit a knob big enough to make it any easier.

    To complicate it to the nth degree, a steel knob, fitted by splines onto the pin, with about a 2.5" shank and about 3" in diameter with finger notches and a folding "lever" and a bushed sleeve to hold while spinning would be perfect. All at a cost of more than the rack and hitch combined. Lol.

  25. #25
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    Alright well enjoy the rack. I bought my transfer 2 from Jensen with a 20% off coupon. I think it was like $238. At that price it is a screaming deal.
    Cheers

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