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Hitch play with North Shore rack - this amount normal?

Sept. 6, 2018, 2:05 p.m.
Posts: 1467
Joined: July 11, 2014

This is my first hitch mount rack (first time using a hitch actually) so I'm wondering if the amount of play in the video below is normal. I've read that all hitch racks have play, I assume because of the difference in diameter of the hitch and the rack tube being inserted into it. I have the receiver pin torqued down pretty good with an adjustable wrench (and it has a lock nut). All bolts on the NS rack are tight as well. Looking in the rear view mirror the bikes are not swaying much while driving on the highway...

Rack is just over a year old and was stored inside in winter by previous owner who is a friend of mine, so it's mint. Hitch is brand new Curt professionally installed by Burnaby Hitch. Just checking to see if I am missing something or if this is normal. Sorry for vertical video, doh!

 Last edited by: grambo on Sept. 6, 2018, 2:06 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Sept. 6, 2018, 2:13 p.m.
Posts: 812
Joined: March 18, 2017

Landscape bro.

Get a 15/16th open end box wrench. Leave that in the vehicle with the hitch. 

Do the new versions still include the anti-sway device? 

I repainted and installed new SS hardware (minus hitch bolt and pins) on my old school NSR4 (No bracing on the fold down arms) and it doesn't sway as much as that.

Sept. 6, 2018, 2:23 p.m.
Posts: 1387
Joined: May 23, 2006

That's awful. Can't drive some shims in somewheres?

Sept. 6, 2018, 3:46 p.m.
Posts: 50
Joined: Oct. 10, 2017

Not sure if the new anti-sway bolt will fix the issue, but you can look into one of these.  Apparently it will remove all slop from bike rack to hitch play

I couldnt find them locally,  HD or Lowes but Blaine is so close

Sept. 6, 2018, 4:33 p.m.
Posts: 6
Joined: May 27, 2018

Have had a NSRack for years. As I take rack on & off quite frequently, rather than have to put on an anti-sway clamp every time I just taped a large metal washer as an shim on top of tongue of rack such that half goes into hitch and takes up some of the slop. Still a bit of a wobble but much less than in your video. If going on long road trip (Moab etc) I will also use anti-sway clamp.

Sept. 6, 2018, 6:55 p.m.
Posts: 10973
Joined: June 4, 2008

That’s nuts.

Sept. 7, 2018, 3:46 p.m.
Posts: 1151
Joined: June 20, 2010

My old one was like that. Tried shims but they would eventually slide around. Never shuttled with it so it was never a huge deal. If you're worried i would get some tie downs and tie it to lower bumper if it has hooks, then just loosen the tie downs a bit and and unhook it if you need to remove it.

 Last edited by: nortonwhis on Sept. 7, 2018, 3:46 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Sept. 7, 2018, 4:02 p.m.
Posts: 1467
Joined: July 11, 2014

Unfortunately I have to take it on/off a lot because we have tight street parking at home and the wife hates dealing with it, or else I'd slap on a U-bolt clamps (maybe I still will for longer drives). Going to play with it more this weekend and maybe try shims. 

Thanks for the suggestions.

Sept. 7, 2018, 5:37 p.m.
Posts: 544
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

considering the height of the thing and leverage, it doesn't surprise me. i'd try the big washer taped on top shim as the easiest idea, and do some sort of tie down thing as well if possible. looks like a modern car, probably not possible.

Sept. 10, 2018, 10:22 a.m.
Posts: 691
Joined: Nov. 18, 2015

Mine was like that until I stuffed some shims in there recently. Its better now but Im expecting it to deteriorate as the shims find their way to a less effective location.

I don't feel that its a real risk, but lots of sway like that doesn't inspire great confidence!

Sept. 11, 2018, 1:29 p.m.
Posts: 299
Joined: June 21, 2010

theres a lot to be said about the process of making beer can shims. and sometimes you need a number of shims.

Sept. 11, 2018, 10:43 p.m.
Posts: 936
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

Maybe random advice, but for my Thule rack that had a lot of play the final solution was to use a breaker bar to tighten that sucker down proper.

Sept. 30, 2018, 6:29 p.m.
Posts: 1467
Joined: July 11, 2014

Follow up as I finally had time to play with it some more. Although I didn't use a breaker bar, I'm confident the pin is fully tight, the lock washer is flat and there is zero side to side play which would indicate loose pin. I talked to NS Racks and they say vertical play is because of hitch to hitch variability (aka tolerance between the rack and hitch)... they said to try shimming with coin/washer as pointed out in this thread. I'll try that and check back down the road.

Oct. 18, 2018, 11:41 a.m.
Posts: 9
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I fixed the problem with a softride anti sway locking hitch pin , completely eliminates side to side sway.

Oct. 18, 2018, 2:07 p.m.
Posts: 1467
Joined: July 11, 2014

Posted by: gt-dad

I fixed the problem with a softride anti sway locking hitch pin , completely eliminates side to side sway.

My problem is vertical play, there's none side to side with the stock locking pin. Have been meaning to grab some washers to shim it but haven't had a chance... not overly concerned with it right now as my use of the rack is 1 ride on the shore a week max unfortunately.

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