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FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:05 am    Post subject: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

I was recently given a front 2" Reciever Hitch which I'll use forbikes or a carry basket.

I was asked if I'd measure it up before I mount it so others can duplicate it.

It's easy enough to make, especially if you start with a Reciever off of almost any car out there.
As a matter of fact mine looks "home made" from a hitch that was cut and the mounting bits welded onto the cut ends of the used hitch.

My builder used 3/16 diamond plate but I'd prefer 1/4" steel plate if I were to do the same task.

Anyway......
The Hitch!

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


This photo has the overall length of 27 1/2" from end to end, outside of the support plates.
I also noted the sizes of the hitch itself if you were to manufacture your own entirely........
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mounting arms are 11 5/8" x 3 5/8" you'll need two of these......
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The mounting arms are modified to fit around body bits.

The top drops down an inch (1") to clear,
The rear shoots up 1 1/2" not to clear but to remove a jagged point that woud seriously hurt your head! ........
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


On top of the mounting arm at the rear is a flat piece of steel welded on at a 90* angle. This is the mounting plate to the body.
The steel is 4 1/2" x 2" x 1/4" again you'll need two of these.
The LF mounting plate has no modifications except for bolt holes,
The RF mounting plate is cut to fit around the tie down loop welded onto the chassis....... Dimensions are noted for this cut out......
3/4" deep,
5/8" from the back end and
2 7/8" long cutout....

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


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



Where are the mounting holes?

Easy!

Center line is 3/4" from the inner side of the mounting plate,
1" back from the front of the mounting plate
And are spaced
2 3/4" on center

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


Easy!
Now get busy!!

Dave
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where does it mount?

While I haven't yet mounted mine it goes where I put the green tape in this photo.
Just drill through the inner flanges and pop it on with some bolts.

Mine has the rear of the 2" Reciever cut off at an angle, I'm presuming to clear the spare tire carrier when you lower it.

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


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could just put your bikes in a basket?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
Where does it mount?


cool, on the flanges, cool. didn't think of that. I've always envisioned ini teh channel and figuring out how to put the bolts or nuts on the inside. flanges should work for bikes, etc. Don't know yet how I'd feel about towing the van off that point. Probably ok though.

Really awesome of you to post this up.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vanis13 wrote:
djkeev wrote:
Where does it mount?


cool, on the flanges, cool. didn't think of that. I've always envisioned ini teh channel and figuring out how to put the bolts or nuts on the inside. flanges should work for bikes, etc. Don't know yet how I'd feel about towing the van off that point. Probably ok though.

Really awesome of you to post this up.


I enjoy documenting things!
That's why I have so many posts! Embarassed

Anyway,
Easy to make stronger!

I would first increase the width to 30 1/2" wide, this puts the ends of the hitch centered on each beam.

I'd make the mounting plate 4 1/2" X 4". This extra width covers the entire bottom of the beam and you can bolt in both flanges on a beam.

By making the hitch wider you now weld the end plates centered on the mounting plates.

To mount this hitch you now need to hack off the tie down loop...... No biggie!

Doing this would make it plenty strong.
IF I were making one or having one made, I for sure would do what I've just suggested.

A rough sketch of what I mean.......
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinking about you wanting to tow your Van using the 2" reciever hitch, I'm not sure that I would do so.

I'd much prefer making stout tow bar fastening points on the outer edge of the 30 1/2" length, right at the forward frame rails.

There is a lot of stress on the tow bar mounting points when towing a vehicle, personally I'd want two mounting points.

Something like this.........
http://www.etrailer.com/Base-Plates/Volkswagen/Vanagon/1986/1208-1.html?vehicleid=19861006947
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hitch Mounted......

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:22 pm    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

Resurrecting this thread for a minute. I did my due diligence and did a search before starting a front bumper, how to build one thread. Good for me!

I talked to Dave about the capacity of this front hitch design, and he tends to think it would handle a small motorcycle just fine. My bike weighs about 300lb wet, so it's not exactly a "small" motorcycle, but it's not large either.

This got me to thinking...how could this hitch design be strengthened even more? I'm not an engineer, but I have some mechanical know how. So I drew up a revised plan. Wondering if anybody wants to chime in?

Essentially it would be a triple hitch mount for a custom made motorcycle tray.

The advantages I see are:

1. 3 x 2" mounting points (3 is better than 1, right?)
2. Better balance left to right (no twisting on the single hitch mount)

Concerns:

1. Can the frame mounting points withstand this kind of weight? (300lb)
2. Can two pieces of 1/4" steel handle this kind of weight?
3. I know these vans don't handle well as is, but will my handling go to hell with an extra 300lb on the front of the van? Considering the majority of the vans weight is in the back, it seams like adding 300lb to the front would be better than adding 300lb to the back, but I could be wrong.

Van is a 1987 Tin Top 2.1 liter.

Second picture is a rough version of the motorcycle tray template.

Alternate option would be Dave's design with a single hitch tray (images 3 and 4).

Note - some of my measurements may be off. This is all preliminary/brain storming.

I also know that single hitch mounted motorcycle carriers are super common, so maybe I'm overthinking this and the single mount with Dave's design will do justice. In which case, all of my rambling can be ignored.

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


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


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


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

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:31 pm    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

FWIW, I've recently created a front hitch direct-bolt-on prototype with multiple secure points. Has these three receiver mounting points per idea above specifically for motorcycle rack or brush guard install. Stout. Am considering a production run. If anyone interested send me a PM or email [email protected] and I'll keep you posted how it goes along.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:44 pm    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

I built this one 6 years ago. It never once had the impression it wasn't up to the job of carrying a 160lb motorcycle (80 lbs per wheel). If I stand on just one of the mounts (165 lbs) and bounce up and down there is zero movement, zero flex. It would not be difficult to use a compact mounting design similar to this and double the strength, for a higher level of safety.

Point being, if that's just to carry a front basket with less than 200 lbs, the structure does not require a 5,000lb hitch up front (& hanging down).

I've since removed the carrier (so I could do some 4WD stuff) but intend to build a new one out of Aluminum someday....
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:57 am    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
I built this one 6 years ago. It never once had the impression it wasn't up to the job of carrying a 160lb motorcycle (80 lbs per wheel). If I stand on just one of the mounts (165 lbs) and bounce up and down there is zero movement, zero flex. It would not be difficult to use a compact mounting design similar to this and double the strength, for a higher level of safety.

Point being, if that's just to carry a front basket with less than 200 lbs, the structure does not require a 5,000lb hitch up front (& hanging down).

I've since removed the carrier (so I could do some 4WD stuff) but intend to build a new one out of Aluminum someday....


Interesting. I did consider that if I am going to build the motorcycle rack anyway, why not just make it bolt directly to the van and forget the hitches? But I figured having at least one hitch up front would allow for more opportunities in the future. Bike rack, cargo rack, etc.

At any rate, this is a nice simple design that could be considered if I decide against the hitch or hitches.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:56 pm    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

h00drat wrote:
Interesting. I did consider that if I am going to build the motorcycle rack anyway, why not just make it bolt directly to the van and forget the hitches?


My plan is to put a "socket" on each side, and then build two "wheel shelves" that plug into these sockets. Knowing how easy it is to support 165 lbs per side, it's not hard to increase that capacity. I don't need to (for a 160lb trials bike) but you might.

You want it "in tight," consequently not allowing much triangulation of your tie-down straps. Then you need an "upright" to hold the bike up, and a strong mounting for that too. It can be done but think about it.

A word of caution. I wish I had a photo of what the driver seat visibility looks like with a trials bike on the front. Its bothersome, and look how sparse a trials bike is, (no seat). The visibility loss with an enduro bike on the front will be significant. You should drive up to a bumper-high retaining wall or something..... And park an enduro bike on that wall, in front, as if it's sitting on the shelf. And decide from that if you want to proceed, or what height your shelf will be.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:13 pm    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:

My plan is to put a "socket" on each side, and then build two "wheel shelves" that plug into these sockets. Knowing how easy it is to support 165 lbs per side, it's not hard to increase that capacity. I don't need to (for a 160lb trials bike) but you might.


Smart! Although the weight of my bike would make it hard to get one wheel up at a time on said "wheel shelves". This is a good simplistic approach though!

Sodo wrote:

A word of caution. I wish I had a photo of what the driver seat visibility looks like with a trials bike on the front. Its bothersome, and look how sparse a trials bike is, (no seat). The visibility loss with an enduro bike on the front will be significant. You should drive up to a bumper-high retaining wall or something..... And park an enduro bike on that wall, in front, as if it's sitting on the shelf. And decide from that if you want to proceed, or what height your shelf will be.


Very good point! I will have to take some measurements. The size of my bike is attached. Definitely might have some issues...

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:30 pm    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

Here is the route I'm going.

Moto-mules website is down.

http://dualsport-sd.com/forums/index.php?/topic/11963-moto-mule-hitch-carrier/
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

rmcd wrote:
Here is the route I'm going.

Moto-mules website is down.

http://dualsport-sd.com/forums/index.php?/topic/11963-moto-mule-hitch-carrier/


Yeah, those lifts are awesome. I actually borrowed one from a friend to get my motorcycle home. However on the front of the van, I'm pretty sure it would put the motorcycle right in your line of vision.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:33 am    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

for handling and general drivability you want that added weight as close to the vehicle and as low as possible.. inches WILL effect handling in serious ways.
prepare to upgrade the van suspension to suit the increased cantilevered working load of a motorcycle.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

Would be useful to hang 300 lbs up front with a quickie test rig somehow & see how it drives. Whenever I was "forced" to use the front rack its cuz I had a bike on the rear. And my 160lbs up front was "in tight". Sorry I can't offer any guidance.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:27 pm    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

h00drat wrote:
rmcd wrote:
Here is the route I'm going.

Moto-mules website is down.

http://dualsport-sd.com/forums/index.php?/topic/11963-moto-mule-hitch-carrier/


Yeah, those lifts are awesome. I actually borrowed one from a friend to get my motorcycle home. However on the front of the van, I'm pretty sure it would put the motorcycle right in your line of vision.


I have one of these but use it on the rear of the van. I've seen them used on the front, but yes, with a full size bike, it was right in the field of view.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I've driven all over the Sierras with my bike. Love this rack.
(note that the one strap up and two straps down on each side are not supporting the bike, but keeping it from wobbling side to side)
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:35 pm    Post subject: Re: FRONT Trailer Hitch, how to make one Reply with quote

Yeah that is a great rack. For the front it is counterproductive since it has to deal with full extension of the shocks. It would almost be beneficial for the front to compress the shocks to improve clearance below and view above.
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