Hitch Pin shear strength specifications

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Norm Parkhurst

New member
Oct 7, 2005
+I have a situation where I can not put a normal 5/8 inch hitch pin through the hitch receiver and the inserted 2 inch shank because they do not exactly line up.  I can not get a drill into position to enlarge the hole to accept the 5/8 inch pin because of the under carrage metal around the bumper and the hitch receiver.  I can insert a 9/16 inch bolt ok.  The question I have, is a 9/16 bolt either grade 5 or grade 8 as strong (shear strength) as a normal 5/8 inch hitch pin you purchase from commercial suppliers.  I have been unable to find any information on regular 5/8 inch hitch pin shear strength.  I can find shear strength info on different grade and diameter bolts.  Somewhere there must be an person that is knowledgeable of hitch pin specifications.  I have a trailer that has about 1000 lbs. hitch weight and a GVWR of 10,500 lbs. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Feb 2, 2005
West Palm Beach, FL
If you cannot drill out the receiver, can't you drill the matching hole in the ball mount (the part that slips into the receiver)? That would accomplish the same thing.

But I would worry about WHY it does not align properly.  To me it indicates something is wrong and I would want to be sure what the problem is before I corrected it by brute force.  Try another ball mount in your receiver to see if it aligns. Then try your ball mount in someone else's receiver to see if it alighs there.  That way you can figure out which part might have its pin hole in the wrong place. Or maybe you will find that both are OK and something else is wrong???  Don't know what it could be, though.  Maybe just dirt and debris in the receiver tube?

As for shear strength, I just don't know. I would worry that a Grade 8 bolt might be more brittle thn a hitch pin.  You can probably find shear ratings for Grade 8, but don't know where to find data on hitch pins.  Maybe the receiver manufacturer has a spec on minimum shear strengths?  Try calling Drawtite, Reese, etc. and ask for tech support.


Well-known member
Mar 31, 2005
Northern Kentucky
I'm with Gary on this one. Before I exercise the irreversible option, I'd try to find out why this doesn't line up. I've never seen one that wouldn't. Look in the tube as suggested and compare your insert to a known good one to see if there is extra weld material or other material not allowing it to fully slide in. Have you added anything to the hitch like a bike tube or backup lights mounted to the tube?

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Mar 14, 2005
west Los Angeles
Don't cobble the hitch pin holes on the receiver.  That is what holds your trailer to your tow vehicle.  Do not substitute high SAE bolts for the pin, they are intended for different services. 

Look for misalignment of the holes in the reciever or a hole out of perpendicular in the ball mount shank.  Have the faulty one replaced.

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