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Bumper, Hitch & Tire/Fuel swing away build
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: Bumper, Hitch & Tire/Fuel swing away build Reply with quote

The time has come to replace my lovely crack fiberglass bumpers and add some more functionality. My tow hook mounted hitch served me well but its for that to go. I am looking to gain the follow with the new configuration:
-A bumper that won't get damaged if I back into a stump or rock in a dark campground
-A 2" receiver for towing less than 1,000 pounds
-A swing out for a second spare tire for trips where a second spare is prudent. Primary spare will be in the clamshell up front.
-A swing out for 3 NATO fuel cans for remote trips or firewood for local trips.

The design path I went down is a hitch with a skin around it. If the corner of the bumper or some other part gets messed up I should be able to just replace the skin.
Here is what I have so far.
-Frame mounts are 3/8 x 2 flat bar and they use the forward hole for a total of 3 bolts per side.
-Cross member for receiver is 1.5 by 2 tubing with a 1/8 wall thickness
-Receiver is a Harbor Freight class III step bumper mount welded to cross member
-Skin is 6 x 1/8 on the vertical face with a 3 x 1/8 on the top horizontal face

On the ends Ill probably just use some 5 x 1/8 so I can get some taper going on the ends. Wherever it looks like something will flex too much Ill just add more metal. Once I get happy with the skin Ill start on the swing outs.

The skin sits about a 1/2" away from the crossmember. If I get rearended I want the skin to have some give to absorb some crash energy.
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The skin so far, you can see the receiver sticks out and will create a nice step after I put a plate on top of it. It should also start to crunch the plastic on a car getting to close in parking lots or street parking. It's not going to be pretty for folks parallel parking by feel.
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Last edited by SSWesty on Sat May 19, 2012 3:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The end caps come forward 10". Not sure I like the look or the amount they flex so I think I'll whack off a couple inches.
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Picture of mounting brackets that use 3 attachment points per side. I got slowed down with my build. Waiting for more time to weld the bumper skin to the hitch.
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canasync
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lookin good, who needs GoWesty Smile

Make sure to add some gussets to the receiver where its welded to the tube to increase the strength.
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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I would add two recovery loops.. or something to hang recovery shackles from.. Possibly hidden behind/under the bumper cover.

My Burley hitch (very similar design to yours) does not have them.. its one improvement/option Burley has made since mine. One I'd like to have.
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice simple and clean design. Personally I like the length of the side pieces already, maybe adding a gusset to each side at the bottom would increase their strength and reduce flex? If not, then maybe a bolt through and large washer in behind the wheel well?
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just love seeing/watching people build their own stuff! It's so cool!
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hans j
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any testing yet? I am planning my bumper build next week and interested in the strength of your hitch.
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I've got about 500 miles of towing the boat in on two different trips. Here is what the boat looks like(old bumper) and I figure it weighs about 700 pounds with the trailer and gear.
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So far no problems, the welds look great and no hints of anything being deformed. I haven't attached the bumper skin yet because I wanted to really look it over good after towing. What I have noticed if I(240lbs) jump up and down the tongue of the boat trailer when it's hooked up I can get the hitch to flex a little. There seems to be a SLIGHT bit of twist or flex in the rectangle tube that the receiver is welded to. However this is much much less flex than the bumper mounted hitch I was running that attached to the tow hooks. That thing would really flex if I jumped on it. So if you wanted to avoid any flex Id say thicker walled tubing or larger tubing like 2 square or 1.5 x 3 rectangle. Also the mounts going to the frame could be bumped up to 2.25 or 2.5 and/or moving up to 7/16 thick flat bar if you could find it. Given that Ive towed thousands of trouble free miles with the Class 1 tow hook mounted hitch I really dont have any concerns with this new setup as I consider it much stronger.
This weekend I hope to get time to build the swing away arms and the tray for the gas cans. The following weekend Ill road test the setup going between Seattle and Portland. Stay tuned.
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More progress this weekend. Finished up the corners of the bumper and started on the swing way bracket and arm. At the moment the arm is about 3' too long and will get cut down when I figure out the fuel can tray.

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


Added a triangle gusset to firm up the end caps.
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Bracket for the swing away arm, 3/16" plate on top and 3/16" angle iron below. All the corners will get tapered or rounded off once I get happy with the bracket fit.
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Next comes the tray...
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very nice, i like the look of that
the arm that pivots out, i'd box it in {for strength} and aesthetics, also weld a sleeve into it, for the bolt, making it effectively solid
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hans j
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking good! No bushings in the hinge? I started my build yesterday and should be done this week. Check these bushings out http://www.tomken.com/detail.php?id=247. I am actually going to use some 3/4" ones but basically the same thing.

I like the end caps too! I haven't decided what to do with mine yet.
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I am couple weeks behind schedule but I am picking away at it. Here is a view of the gas can tray that will hold 3 nato style cans. I thought about doing 4 so I could get a water can back there but I was concerned about all the weight back there. These cans with gas come in around 42 pounds each. I really only need a couple cans of fuel so the 3rd is truly a reserve and the water can will go in the luggage rack. The tray needs some gussets then I should be ready to move onto the tire carrier. I'll get some better pictures when the tray is done. Thanks for chiming in with some tips.
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ending up going with 1" square tubing to brace the tray. The wall thickness is probably about 1/16", it's pretty light. That sucker is rock solid now with no flex. I am happy about that so I can move on the the tire carrier.
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some pictures of the final product after a worthy road test to north of the Artic Circle. We drove up to Deadhorse Alaska this summer and explored for a month+, things worked better than I expected.

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In full open mode they clear the sides of the van, I didn't measure for this to happen when I made the tray and I got lucky that it cleared. When I made the tire swing away I measured so the tire would clear the side of the van.
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If needed I use a pin to hold them open, rarely needed and the hole is not threaded I just drop in the pins. When closed the pins just ride in the holes.
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To provide additional support I can add a bolt through the upright and bumper however I found I didn't need them. Then Dalton highway has about 600 miles of gravel so it gave me plenty of miles to validate. I ran about 450 miles without the bolts in and figured I better put them in on the last 150 to test.
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Tire rack is made for 27x8.50 tires, they work for me.
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One strap and a cable lock seems to work fine for holding things in place
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Made a nylon cover to for the cans, I didn't want 3 bright red gas cans to stand out saying take me.
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The recovery hook has only been used once and that was on the Alaska ferry. On some routes cars get tied down with 4 straps.
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I have about 6,000 miles on this configuration and really like the options for the swing aways. I'll probably make a another swing out for 1 gas can so I can use the tray for firewood or other camping stuff. It's not often that you need to 2 spares so I see the tire swing away collecting dust in the garage.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like it, thanks a lot for posting and adding comment to let us know how it performed.
I was a little surprised about those bolts that hold both swings in place. You said there is no really need for it.
I'll be afraid of those swing opening going up on a steep hill. Was it an issue?

Anyway, good job.
Thanks
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for documenting your build and the real life use narrative, it looks like an excellent design for the person with welding skills to utilize!

Thanks for freely sharing your ideas and solutions with us all!

Bravo! Applause

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Old post, revived, but...
It's not clear to me what sort of latch mech. you used to hold the swingers closed?
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westylife
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is awesome! I wish I saw this before I bought the GW bumper set. They want another $350.00 for their swing away that attaches to their bumper.

As far as securing the swing away to the bumper: How about using a high tension quick release pin? People in the military will recognize these with the "Remove before flight" streamer attached to them Smile
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http://www.avibank.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.prods&product_id=16

Great Job! Looks fantastic!

Westylife.
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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shoot I missed a couple questions here about how the swing outs lock. Hopefully this will help, I put a piece of angle iron on the backside of the uprights for the tray and spare tire. Then just drilled a hole and used a simple pin to hold them shut. So far so good and the holes haven't hogged out or anything. The angle iron holds some of the weight so it's not all on the swinging hinge. Here is a close up
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Something is whacky with the picture upload function. I can't seem to get a picture that was taken vertically to stay upright. On my computer it's upright then once it's upload to theSamba it flops over. So tilt your head to the right since some of the pics are sideways.
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Last year I did a trip to Moab and drove a chunk of the White Rim Trail on the east side. There are some rough sections that give you a good shake. That was the first time I felt that I had to use the extra bolts on the bottom of the swing out uprights. A rougher road will sometimes get the uprights to sway fore and aft 1/4-1/2" measured at say the top of the tire. However on the White Rim Trail they were swaying more than not so I put in the bolts to hold them steady. Originally I thought I would have to use the bolts more however it's pretty dang steady without them. This is a pic with no bolt, just the open hole on the bottom of the spare tire upright.
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One more data point. I decided to weigh the tire swing out the other day and as pictured it comes in at 16.5 pounds.
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As you can see I have a few spots of rust here and there that could use a touch up. I used rust-oleum truck bed liner from a spray can, it's not that tough. It has chipped off in a couple places but in general has probably been better than just straight spray paint out of a can.
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