A Three-Way Hitch Adapter Saves Time & Effort

A three-way hitch adapter saves time and effort by accommodating several types of attachments for machines and implements, no switching required.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson

Sometimes, the key to solving a problem is learning that a solution exists. If you’re not aware there’s a solution, it’s easy to waste time and effort with workarounds that don’t address the root problem.

Let me give you an example. Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, you can find me driving around my farm on a garden tractor, towing carts and wagons of various sizes. The largest one (which I affectionately call my “red wagon” even though it’s technically a cart) mounts to my tractor with a 1 7/8-inch hitch ball. The others attach with clevis fasteners.

Read more: Check out our simple guide to yard carts.

The Problem

The hitch ball installs at the back of my tractor in the hole used by clevis fasteners for the clevis pin. This means that when the hitch ball is installed, I can’t attach carts with clevis fasteners. And when the hitch ball is removed, I can’t use my red wagon.

The Workaround

I spend a surprising amount of time removing and installing the hitch ball from my garden tractor to accommodate different carts. It’s not a big deal, but it does require that I fetch a wrench and wrestle off the nut holding the hitch ball in place. I’ve lost nuts off hitch balls in the past, so I try to install them tightly.

Removing or installing a hitch ball can take several minutes, and when performed repeatedly over the summer, it adds up to a fair amount of lost time and productivity.

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Read more: Tiny time savings really do add up around the farm.

The Solution

A three-way hitch adapter that allows me to install a hitch ball while still leaving an open hole for clevis fasteners solves this problem. I wasn’t specifically searching for this solution, but a relative of mine came across one of these hitch adapters and brought it to me, wondering if I would find it useful.

When I realized what it was, a lightbulb went on in my head. I couldn’t believe I had never thought to shop for one before.

The three-way hitch adapter is basically a metal plate that installs between the ball of the hitch ball and the frame of the tractor. The plate extends a short distance away from the back of the tractor so that the hole for the clevis pin rides behind the hitch ball, safe from interference. For good measure, the hitch adapter features two other openings perfect for connecting chains and tow ropes.

After conducting a bit of research, it seems that many variations of this concept exist. They aren’t all metal plates for small machines like my garden tractor. There are larger two-way and three-way hitch adapters designed for use with the receiver hitch on an ATV, UTV or truck.

I’ve already installed the three-way hitch adapter on my garden tractor and am delighted at the time and effort it will save. No longer will I have to stop in the middle of a project because I forgot my hitch ball, or because I need to return to the garage and find a wrench for removing the hitch ball.

Now all my hitch needs are simultaneously accommodated thanks to a simple solution I wish I’d discovered sooner.

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