What is a Shocker Hitch?
A Shocker hitch is like a regular ball mount hitch but incorporates an airbag to act as a buffer. The Shocker’s airbag handles the stresses and pressures forced on a standard coupler and ball when the trailer is dragged over a bump in the road.
Anytime you pull a load with a trailer, there are a variety of forces working on the trailer. The weight of the load (horses, lumber, car, etc.) creates a downward pressupressure that the trailer's limited suspension helps handle. But in regular tongue and ball or gooseneck towing, there is nothing to cushion the ride up front. The ball will jerk against the coupler whenever the truck moves forward or be forced upward against the coupler when the rear wheels of the truck encounter a bump.
Now, the rear suspension of the towing truck is supposed to handle those kinds of cracks and dips but as anyone who has towed knows, the bounce can often be felt along the whole length of the vehicle. It is no fun towing if you have to worry every time you and the trailer go over a rough highway patch.
The air acts as a cushioning agent, absorbing the force and keeping the tongue and the trailer ball as much in line as possible.
Is the Shocker Hitch Easy To Use?
The Shocker hitch is easy to use. It fits into most receiver hitches allowing the airbag to be under the receiver. The specially designed trailer ball connects to the Shocker via a pin and cotter system.
The gooseneck version simply mounts where the hole for the trailer ball is. The unit has an airbag located directly behind the ball, which helps absorbs the impact the trailer’s coupler exerts when a bump in the road happens.
Are Shocker Hitches Any Good?
The overwhelming opinion is that this specially designed hitch does provide a smoother and safer towing experience. The online community is very enthusiastic about the hitch. Most owners have rated it five stars. (It has a 4.6 rating on Amazon). Almost every online review has mentioned how much smoother and less bouncy the towing experience has been.
If you tow a lot of horses, for example, you worried not just about the integrity of the trailer, but the ride for your animals, (the less bouncy, the more calm they are when they get to the fairgrounds).
For gooseneck haulers (or fifth wheelers with gooseneck adapters) the ride can be very jerky when pulling a large RV trailer. Since the RV is so big, there is a lot more force that gets exerted everytime the truck and the trailer go over the slightest bump in the road. (If you have even towed a fifth-wheel, then you know that every nuance in the road can make your teeth rattle).
One of the things I loved besides the smoothness of the ride was that the hitch was adjustable for different trailer heights. The tow ball can be raised or lowered depending on the need of the situation. It uses a specially designed ball, pin, and cotter system to hold everything into place.
There are eight adjustment holes from a ½ inch to 4 ½ inch drop. For heavier loads, additional air can be added to handle the additional weight.
What Does A Shocker Hitch Cost?
Shocker hitches are more expensive than standard ball-mount towing units. The prices vary, but you can expect to pay between $500 and $750 for a standard ball mount and $1000 to $1500 for a gooseneck version. There are many options that are available on the Shocker.com website.
The company offers free ground shipping within the continental US and can usually be shipped in 3 - 5 business days.
Shocker Hitch also provides a one-year limited warranty on all products, if the unit is purchased from Shocker, or an authorized dealer.
For more information about the Schocker Hitch, see the manufacturer’s website.
For pricing information, see Amazon to check out TODAY’S PRICE.
Who Invented the Shocker Hitch?
There is an old saying that says that necessity is the mother of invention, and in this case, it truly was. In 1990, Bob Sagen, the founder of Travelite, purchased a 1 ton truck with a service rear end. The only trouble was that the rear end kept breaking the welds of the tongues of the trailers he was using to haul race cars around the country. Bob developed a hitch with a coil spring to help absorb the bumps in the road, and found his hand-made solution quite effective. Eventually, the design became the Shocker hitch with an airbag replacing a coil spring.
The manufacturing plant is in Arthur, ND. and it generates about $5 million dollars in revenue a year. The company has been growing and expanding in the last few years. The company has been in business since the year 2000.
The website for the company is filled with lots of useful videos on everything hitch and trailer related. Most of the videos are short and sweet, feature Bob Sagen himself, and are very instructional.
How Much Air Does a Shocker Hitch Need?
The answer to this question depends on the hitch and the weight you are towing. The air valve is located on the left side of the hitch. Simply add air until the appropriate weight has been distributed. You can tell because front ball frame will move back to rest on the top airballm
When that happens the unit has enough air to handle the load.
How Do I know Which Shocker Hitch to Buy?
There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing a Shock Hitch.
The Type of Towing
The first thing to determine is the type of towing that you will be doing. If you are just going to tow a small lawn tractor, that is a completely different matter than towing a 15,000 lbs fifth-wheel. You will need to make sure that your towing vehicle can handle the weight so you don’t rip the rear bumper off your truck or even worse, damage the frame. The consultants at your local RV store or from Shocker Hitch can help.
If you are towing a flatbed trailer, remember the 60/40 rule where 60% of the weight is positioned over or in front of the axle. (be sure that this does not overload the appropriate tongue weight).
If you are towing a gooseneck or fifth wheel remember the 80/20 rule, which states that you should not load more than 80% of your max trailer’s weight capacity.
Most Shocker Hitches are more expensive to purchase. While most owners agree that the added expense is worth the money, only you can determine if you can swing the extra tug on your budget.
A Shocker Hitch is easy to install if you already have a hitch bolted to the frame of the truck. The Shocker simply slides into the receiver hitch and is held in place by a pin and cotter key. The special hitch ball is connected to the hitch via a pin and cotter system to side mounting brackets.
If you do not have a hitch already installed onto your truck, then you will need to determine whether you want to undertake that task or simply have a professional do the work. Many times it is safer and easier to have a technician install the hitch. Due to the fact that often exhaust equipment and other items have to be moved or taken off for the install to be done properly.
You should plan on a few extra hundred dollars for the hitch to be installed by a truck shop or at your local dealer.
About THE AUTHOR
My name is Matt and I've been around cars all my life! I have owned and worked on many different classic vehicles, so I started this site to share my experiences. If you're new to classic cars, then this website is for you.Read More About Matt Lane