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Coupler and Tire Size on 50s Era Bantam Utility Trailer

Question:

Im inheriting a 50s era Bantam Utility Trailer. Its in California. I want to tow it to Colorado. It looks stock. A very small looking hitch. What size ball do I need?

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Expert Reply:

A trailer coupler will often be stamped to indicate the compatible ball size but on an older 50s-era trailer there's no guarantee this is there or that it is still visible after all those years.

Hitch balls offered nowadays include five different sizes but a small utility trailer such as a 50s Bantam is likely to use one of the smallest sizes, either a 1-7/8-inch like # 19256 or perhaps a 50mm size like # 63912.

Note that you also need to match the hitch ball shank size to the ball mount in which you'll install it.
1-7/8-inch balls can have a 5/8-inch, 3/4-inch or 1-inch diameter shank. This needs to match the hole size of the ball mount. Similarly the 50mm balls can have a 3/4-inch diameter shank as with # 63912 or a 1-inch diameter shank # EH53C-C. I included an article on ball mounts to help you with this aspect.

If there is any way to have someone check for you, I urge you to see if you can have them check the condition of the tires on the trailer. Normal safety practice is to replace a trailer tire no less than every 7 years regardless of mileage or tread condition. The rubber in tires will deteriorate from sun, temperature extremes and even just from age. I mention this since I'd hate for you to arrive to hitch up and tow the trailer only to find out the tires on it are dry-rotted and not roadworthy. Even very fine hairline cracks in the sidewalls can indicate potential safety concerns, especially if you're talking interstate highway travel.

My research shows that most older Bantams had 16 x 6-inch rims. A rim of this size is usually fitted with one of three tire sizes: 235/80-16, 235/85-16 or 7.50-16LT. We offer all of these tire sizes and I will be glad to help you select tires, if necessary, to make the trailer safe.

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