When we purchased our Lifestyle Reconn R2 Hybrid Camper, it came with a number of products that we’d never used before. Of course, I’d seen the DO35 hitch around many times, but until you actually own one, its funny how you really don’t think much about it.
Our soft floor camper trailer ran a Treg hitch, and the off-road boat trailer that we also tow has one too.
Asides from this, we’d had some experience with the McHitches, and that was it. I hate the Treg hitch, and would not recommend it to anyone after owning a DO35 Hitch.
In this post, we take a look at what the DO35 Hitch is, how it performs, how its been for us over the last 4 years, and whether we’d recommend you get one.
What is a DO35 hitch?
There are lots of ways to couple a trailer to a vehicle, and there are at least 8 different tow hitch types that I can think of off the top of my head.
The DO35 is a Cruisemaster hitch, and they are now onto their V3, or third version. 35 stands for 3.5 tonnes, and you can get a DO45, which is rated for 4.5 tonnes.
The DO35 is a fully articulating, off road rated hitch that is easy to use, and Cruisemaster are a very reputable caravan and camper trailer suspension/off road coupling business.
Do they perform well?
Coming from the Treg hitch, I was absolutely gobsmacked at how much easier the DO35 hitch is to use. They are simple to take on and off, lock in easily, are completely silent and articulate exactly as you need them to.
They come with a neat little dust cover that clips into place, and if its locked down you know the pin has been hit and the hitch is actually secure, which double checks your hitch up process and keeps the dust out of the hitch.
The fact that these are the standard hitch on most high end off road caravans and trailers speaks volumes. They are a great hitch, and have the reputation to match it.
DO35 Hitch problems
In over more than 4 years of use (and nearly a full year full time on our Big Lap of Australia), we have had ours stick a couple of times, and in every case it was due to the 4WD applying too much tension either forwards, or backwards.
If this happens, you can feel the hitch isn’t releasing when you are trying to wind the jockey wheel up, and it generally lifts the tow attachment up in the tow bar.
Just jump in the car and let it roll forwards or backwards the few millimetres that it needs to, in order to relieve the pressure. Of course, make sure you don’t have too much pressure on the jockey wheel when you move the vehicle (and that its nice and clear) or it can pop up and damage something.
More often than not, this happens if we use the wheel chocks and don’t allow the trailer to roll into position before trying to lift the hitch off.
If you don’t relieve the sideward pressure, you apply a huge amount of stress to your jockey wheel, and risk it coming off with a bang, and damaging something. I actually bent our Ark Jockey Wheel slightly because of this, but now know when its not coming off like it should be.
This is most common when you park on a slope, and the van wants to go a different direction to the car.
Our primary way of doing it today is to park on the ramps to level the van, and put the chocks in place, then release the handbrake and put the vehicle in neutral and it pulls apart enough to relieve all pressure and the hitch comes off easily.
DO35 Hitch Lock
Cruisemaster make DO35 hitch locks, which is what we use. This simply prevents someone from hooking up. It’s only a preventative measure, as anyone can still hook the chains up and drive off, or simply unbolt the hitch and replace it with something else in a matter of minutes.
If you want a cheaper DO35 lock, you can use the hitch pin locks that you secure your tow bar hitch to the vehicle with.
They don’t fit as well, and would be much easier to cut off with a battery grinder, but they do the trick too.
How much is a DO35?
The DO35 hitch is about $430, and comes with the male and female pieces that you need to make it work, along with a spanner to tighten the male piece onto your tow hitch, a dust cover and the hitch itself.
You can fit them yourself pretty easily, but make sure the bolts are done up correctly.
Asides from pumping a few pumps of grease in from time to time, there’s very little maintenance required.
I do make a habit of checking the bolts are tight from time to time, and I bought a dust cap for the male part of the hitch that stays on our 4WD to protect it from dust and grime, and smear a bit of grease on it from time to time. These are very trouble free, and require very little effort on your part to make them worth.
Would I get another DO35?
In a heartbeat. I’ve seen a few other hitches on the market, and even the auto hitch ones, and I reckon for the strength, quality and design you still can’t go passed a DO35.
The Hitch Ezy probably is another step up in quality, but its also substantially more expensive, and you’d have to weigh it up. Lovells have their Haul Ace Coupling which is starting to become popular, but the DO35 and DO45 have cemented their reputation well and truly by now.
When you look at the major off road caravan manufacturers, along with the hybrids and camper trailers, the DO35 or DO45 is probably the most common by a long shot, and that speaks volumes in itself.
Please note this opinion is completely unbiased too, as we received the product as part of our hybrid camper trailer that we purchased second hand, with our own cash.
If you are looking for a hitch upgrade, you can’t go past the DO35. It’s amazing, and we’re really happy with it. Our Cruisemaster DO35 Hitch review is another great big tick.