DIY Heim Joint Swiveling hitch coupler. (NO welding!)



DIY Heim Joint Swiveling hitch coupler. (NO welding!)

I ride a Honda ST1300 and pull a Harbor Freight Tag-along trailer. I’ve ran into some cornering issues because I’m a more aggressive rider and I like to really lean into the curves, and on more than one occasion, I’ve reached that point where my ball coupler will not let me lean any further causing safety concerns.

A swiveling hitch seemed necessary. I investigated all of them I could find, and liked the design and action of Bushtec couplers, so I set out to create my own. I didn’t want to weld, because that could make later repairs hard and if I wanted to revert to the ball, it would be easy to do so.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a Bushtec coupler, and may not be D.O.T. approved. I accept no responsibility for any accidents, injuries, etc. This is not an instruction for you to build one, but only documenting how I built mine.?

First, I removed the original ball and coupler, saving the hardware. I purchased all of my new parts at Tractor Supply, total cost: ~$30. List:
1. Cat. 1 Top Link.1 1/8″ thread, 16″ Length, 3/4″ ball eye.
2. Grade 5 3/4″ x 5″ bolt, plus 2 grade 5 nuts, and two washers. (I bought two bolts just in case I messed it up somehow)
3. Assorted bolts, nuts, and washers, description later.
Remove one end of the top link. Only one is needed. Slide top link into trailer tongue channel, slide a bolt through the tongue and the existing hole in the top link. Mark the spot where another hole will need to be drilled. I drilled a small pilot hole then used a step bit.
I needed some spacers to fill the gaps and center the top link, so I used washers tacked in place with a drop of super glue. Slide it all together and bolt together with grade 5 or 8 bolts with washers and nylon kepnuts. Don’t forget the safety chain. Unscrew heim joint about 1″. This will give swiveling action. No, it won’t come unscrewed. I put some grease on the threads, but don’t have grease exposed. It will collect grit.
Next, I took the 3/4″ x 5″ bolt, and drilled a 1/4″ hole near the head end, then cut the head off the bolt. I used a metal cutting wheel on my cordless circular saw. I ground off the rough edges and tapered the end on a bench grinder.
I bolted it on my hitch incl. the safety chain hanger with a split washer and blue loctite. I added 2 flat washers and a rubber washer, then secured with a 1/4″ pin.

3000 mile Test ride: Success.
Any questions, please ask.
Post Owner: Frank Wells
Thank you Frank! 🙂

Connor 6 years 16 Answers 7042 views 0

Answers ( 16 )

  1. Very nicely done.

  2. I like it. I did the exact same thing last month with a Tractor Supply top link for the hitch on my FJR. Works awesome.

  3. Have used 3/4 hemi hitch for 26 years ben n 41 states and CAN 3 times on a home build trailer no problems.

  4. HUMMMMM Ii thought they made a pivoting ball assy for bikes

  5. Good loking setup, pics are a real plus.

  6. Mike Chapman Kimchris Miller

  7. That’s awesome, you should get it patented !

  8. Can’t patent that. Been in common use for a hundred years.

  9. I was just thing about this today but I was thinking welding, didn’t think about bolting, I’m doing this asap. Thanks for the photos and explanation.

  10. Looks good


    I so appreciate you posting this. I used a class 2 link and welded a shim to make a tight fit, and cut mine to the length to match to original coupling. Otherwise it was as yours. YOU SAVED ME $160.00!!!! THANKS

  11. Couldn’t you just use a 3″x 3/4 inch top Link pin instead of a bolt?

  12. Couldn’t you just use a 3″x 3/4″ inch top link pin instead of a bolt and nuts?

  13. great write up! only thing I can think of doing different is to shorten the pin bolt to reduce up/down play of the joint on the pin.

  14. Great instructional! I generally followed your design and I am 1000 miles into a 2400 mile trip with the trailer in tow using this. No problems whatsoever.

    I mounted a hard shell roof top tent on a motorcycle trailer frame to get a lightweight pop up motorcycle camper trailer light enough to pull with my Silverwing. It’s 240 pounds.


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