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Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:48 pm    Post subject: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Built this hitch to be able to carry a motorcycle. I've been using a similar setup for many years. It was adapted from a '72 loaf, then to my '85 Westy, then to the current Syncro. I decided to change it over to a standard 2" receiver attachment and clean things up a little.

I cut off/re-used the original mounts to the towstrap loops but the rest is new. The supports are welded at top, and the torque of the receiver goes forward (bolted) to the Syncro underbars. It's ideal for a Syncro. On a 2wd the moustache bar can take some of the load, but it's not ideal. To add bracing to the moustache bar on a 2wd is feasible.

Here's pics, hope it helps others if planning to build a hitch.

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pedrokrusher
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:08 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

NICE!!!!
I really like the dual purpose hitch support brace/muffler protective bars!
... And you finished off the protective syncro rails all the way to the back!
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1991 vanagon westfalia conversion TDI ALH Silverfox
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http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=598791&highlight=
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=493964&highlight=speed+aap+trans
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=496589&highlight=carrier+bars
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:47 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

eh...might work! Laughing

I just have the standard bolt on hitch, but found the flat stock surfaces under the bumper a perfect fit for a good quality reflective tape.

Nice job.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:49 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:

Here's pics, hope it helps others if planning to build a hitch.


nah...their going to ask you to build them!
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:29 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Awesome job! 👍

Make me one? Wink

Dave
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:33 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Looks good! I've always been intrigued by your moto rack. Does this new hitch accommodate the old rack or do you have something new in mind to carry dirt bikes?
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:29 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

pedrokrusher wrote:
NICE!!!!
I really like the dual purpose hitch support brace/muffler protective bars!


Pedro it sounds like you have dragged a few mufflers. Seeing how the paint wears off the angled portion of the supports..... they are definitely helpful as protection bars.

Steve M. wrote:
nah...their going to ask you to build them!


GoWesty's hitch looks pretty good at $179 but I don't know about a motorcycle, 300 lbs hanging off 16 inches behind the bumper.....sketchy? Confused The Gowesty unit gets you pretty far along, would be easy to beef it up for a Syncro (for those who have a welder). I've built enough stuff to see that Burley's is clearly strong enough right out of the box. Significant structure is hidden behind the bumper, but you have to cut the bumper to fit it.

IMHO anyone with Syncro underbars should employ the bars to resist some of the 'hangin' out torque. The cause of the "body crease issue" is still an unknown but weight (and a torque) on the bumper are candidates. I have a hard time believing spare tires & fuel cans (above the bumper) can crease the body, when there are vanagons out there with a 300lb motorcycle hanging 16 inches farther back ---- not creasing. It's puzzling.

I don't know what to suggest - to beef up a 2wd hitch - I'd have to see one.

Jim I'll move all the mounting monkeybusiness over to the motorcycle carrier, and find another way to steady the rocking. Was tired of looking at the "rack receptacles" on the van. I had several needs piling up:

    - wanted the van to look clean
    - want to use a "receiver-hitch cargo shelf" to get some stuff OUT of the van when travelling
    - we have a bicycle carrier that uses a 2" receiver
    - other projects

Such as this trials bike carrier design I've been goofing around with lately. A "trials motorcycle" weighs only 160 lbs, 80lbs per wheel. This lightweight carrier collapses into a fabric bag. I had a 'zinc plating project' a few months ago and getting this plated was sorta "free" so I included it. Problem is I can't make any more modifications dangit.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Currently I wrap a towel around that vertical bar and the bike ties to that, it's very secure. But that part needs further developement because it looks like a towel wrapped around a bar.

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Three of the parts fit in this nylon bag. Need a slightly larger bag.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Why not add two more 2" reciever tubes onto the support bar?

Make your rack to utilize the two outer tubes which will eliminate any side to side rocking. Two pieces not joined would make installation easy.

You still have the center one for a bicycle rack alone.

Dave
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
Why not add two more 2" reciever tubes onto the support bar?

Make your rack to utilize the two outer tubes which will eliminate any side to side rocking. Two pieces not joined would make installation easy.

You still have the center one for a bicycle rack alone.

Dave


I use a similar motorcycle lift - MotoJackRack.
by using buckle tie-down straps on the center, left and right, it stops any rocking from side to side and up and down.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Nice job on your hitch! I especially like it tying back into the Syncro rails
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

The last example of the hitch receiver is without a doubt beefier than the others.

It's welded to a steel channel bumper.
No waving at traffic behind you.

The first example on the syncro is well thought out, and executed really nice, two "buts"

It's too close to the muffler, it's gotta hit as the engine rocks on the mounts, ya need some more gapation there, that 1.5" or 1.25" ( just eye balling it ) tubing is pretty thin walled to be doing any serious towing hooked to the drawbar.
I see it's bolted to the bottom of the bumper for less chance of rolling on the bottom mounts, perhaps heavier wall tubing would take a beating better.

I have a South African trailer hitch on my westfalia, I think a frame mounted setup doesn't allow much flex, regardless what you stuff into and on the receiver.
Even though a small notch has to be cut into the bottom of the bumper to accept the hitch assembly.
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
Why not add two more 2" reciever tubes onto the support bar?
Make your rack to utilize the two outer tubes which will eliminate any side to side rocking. Two pieces not joined would make installation easy.
You still have the center one for a bicycle rack alone.
Dave


Dave you are thinking of this? (BenPlace)

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I will have to do something to prevent the rocking. Not sure yet what to do but will figure something out. Maybe a chain at an angle from that vertical support. I want the whole thing to be compact, packable. I also have a webbing loop tied around the hinge, it comes out of the rear hatch upper gap.

Terry Kay wrote:
It's too close to the muffler, it's gotta hit as the engine rocks on the mounts, ya need some more gapation there, that 1.5" or 1.25" ( just eye balling it ) tubing is pretty thin walled to be doing any serious towing hooked to the drawbar.


Terry you've forgotten there is no torque between a VW engine and the rear end. It's bolted solid, zero motion (a transaxle). The whole thing shakes maybe 1/4" max, maybe 1/8". And no "serious towing" is allowed, this is for a little trailer, or sports eqpt (....wicked sprts eqpt).
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Last edited by Sodo on Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:57 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

I was pleasantly surprised how little flex there was with a Burley Heavy Duty high hitch and a cheapo HF m/c carrier (much modified for a Vespa, total weight of hitch+carrier+scooter ~ 420lb)):

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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Yea, I'd be suprised too if the platform was pre-twisted on the hitch.

It's a twisted sister with the weight of the back-end of the Vespa already !
Or did you make the right side of the carrier pre-twisted & lower on that side?

I can see the need for two outboard supports on this setup.

Sodo,
The muffer rocks along with the engine.
The brackets on the engine skid setup look close to the muffler.
That steel tubing doesn't rock with the engine--I understand that.

While a couple of these hitches look to be well thought out, and mounted nice, I thing a guy should do all he can do to get to the frame rails, and tag any hitch to them--
Other that the Syncro--most all of them are using the tow loops as the primary platform,the main mounting point for the class 2 hitch receiver.
The receiver is stout--the mounting hanging point isn't so stout.
The primary load bearing point is the tow loops, along with engine carrier.

That's all I'm saying about that right now.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
pedrokrusher wrote:
NICE!!!!
I really like the dual purpose hitch support brace/muffler protective bars!


Pedro it sounds like you have dragged a few mufflers. Seeing how the paint wears off the angled portion of the supports..... they are definitely helpful as protection bars.
Even if we never met, Its like if you knew me for a long time!
Shocked Shocked Shocked

Yes i did some damage to my syncro... I bought my rusty syncro for trail riding, and did "test" the machine... I bought it without the engine protective bars, and i've bottomed out on some trails and ended up with the moustache bar pushed forward about an inch, destroying the engine support bushing. That syncro mustache bar had a hole from rust! Thats thick metal! So the integrity of it was bad. The muffler had some bruises from me but still working perfectly.

If I had the engine protective bars, this would have never happened. And now with your new design trailer hitch with protective rails, now the muffler too has protection as a bonus, and solidifying all the way back to front this system.
Applause Applause Applause
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1989 vanagon Karmann Gipsy #652, TDI AFN
1991 vanagon westfalia conversion TDI ALH Silverfox
ex-1989 vanagon syncro passenger Syncrofox (Sold)
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=598791&highlight=
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=493964&highlight=speed+aap+trans
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=496589&highlight=carrier+bars
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=506025
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:47 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
Yea, I'd be suprised too if the platform was pre-twisted on the hitch.

It's a twisted sister with the weight of the back-end of the Vespa already !
Or did you make the right side of the carrier pre-twisted & lower on that side?

I can see the need for two outboard supports on this setup.


The bend in the m/c carrier was all down to a brain-fart while tightening the straps on the Vespa for the first time. Sad

I also thought it'd need outboard supports - it doesn't, as there's a very solid clamp in the centre that seems to absolutely stop any sideways sway. When it's all buttoned up, if I try to sway the rack it's rock solid, and it tries to move the van. Wink

I don't have a picture of the clamp in place, but this shows it hanging loose while I was modifying the rack:

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Nice picture.

Of what?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:51 am    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
Nice picture. Of what?


Folks are discussing ways to lessen the twisting of the carrier in the 2" receiver which has some slop for ease of insertion.

This is a pic the clamp arrangement on the HarborFreight motorcycle carrier. You insert into the receiver, then that clamp grips the outside square of the receiver and reduces the rocking significantly.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Here's my 1.25" hitch that I made from a tow ball type bar. I plan on emulating your forward stabilizing arms that will tie in with the engine crossbar, but just set a few inches more forward on the van for my TDI install. These stabilizers will also serve as bridge pieces for a steel skid plate to protect the fragile aluminum Passat pan.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
Here's my 1.25" hitch that I made from a tow ball type bar. I plan on emulating your forward stabilizing arms that will tie in with the engine crossbar, but just set a few inches more forward on the van for my TDI install. These stabilizers will also serve as bridge pieces for a steel skid plate to protect the fragile aluminum Passat pan.


Casey that's nice. I don't like the way my hitch hides a painted body panel when there's empty space above behind the bumper. hmmmmmm. That method could almost be a bolt-on unit, just drilling some holes in the bumper bracket, and clamp to the moustache bar. But moustache bars are all over the place, with various engines, so in general it's still a custom unit for each van.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Built a 2" receiver trailer hitch Reply with quote

Those older tow ball type bars were indeed designed to bolt between the bumper mounts, and I think it'd be pretty easy to modify your hitch to tuck up there in a similar manner. It has threaded inserts at the end of the bar, and is through-bolted on the flange. I welded that one up about a decade ago. It's been great, but it did allow a lot of sway when loaded up with four bikes. I've always wanted to add some bracing to help eliminate that issue. I intend to make the braces a bolt-on thing, so I can remove them should I need to service a muffler or access the timing belt from below.
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