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Beefing up trailer hitch?


MaddieCycle

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Hello. I got one of those truck bed extenders that mounts in a receiver hitch, for carrying 16ft lumber etc....  Bolted on a receiver hitch to the step bumper and realized why these trucks have a 150lb tongue wt limit.  With the extender more than a foot out, I can see the bumper bending if I put just some mild weight on it.  Looking under the truck, I see several ways that I could beef things up by somehow tying into the frame one way or another, by bolting-on or welding-on some additional supports or brackets. This won't be for towing, just occasional hauling of long boards, pipes, roof panels etc....  Has anyone done such a thing?

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I haven't on a Datsun, but this comes up from time to time here in my shop.

 

I would get a dedicated class 3 receiver hitch that mounts to the frame, not the bumper. Most class 3 hitches spread the load over 8, 10 or even 12 inches front to back, meaning there's a solid piece of steel running forward by that much on both frame rails. Bolting it up needs special hardware too. Gotta use grade 8 and 1/2" is ideal, but 7/16 would probably do fine too. The washers used are large and sometimes even punched out of 3/16" or 1/4" plate, which means you won't simply pull the bolts through the frame.

 

Once you have the receiver firmly bolted (or welded) up, then you may also want to think about tying the extender to the bumper with a piece of 2x1/4 plate steel, as a sort of strut, to keep the extender from bending. I did this when I had a camper insert in my Dodge and still wanted to pull a trailer. Otherwise the extender would simply bend.

 

See the pic below to get an idea of how far forward on the frame the receiver mounting needs to go.

 

 

Amazon.com: CURT 13332 Class 3 Trailer Hitch, 2-Inch Receiver, Square Tube  Frame, Compatible with Select Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 :  Automotive

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2 hours ago, MaddieCycle said:

Hello. I got one of those truck bed extenders that mounts in a receiver hitch, for carrying 16ft lumber etc....  Bolted on a receiver hitch to the step bumper and realized why these trucks have a 150lb tongue wt limit.  With the extender more than a foot out, I can see the bumper bending if I put just some mild weight on it.  Looking under the truck, I see several ways that I could beef things up by somehow tying into the frame one way or another, by bolting-on or welding-on some additional supports or brackets. This won't be for towing, just occasional hauling of long boards, pipes, roof panels etc....  Has anyone done such a thing?

I have had up to 20 2x12x16" on my hitch extender with no problems, just welded in a hitch and boxed in the bumper. Shackles for trailer chains or pulling someone out of the mud, or getting myself pulled out. Yellow block is my parking brake for steep hills; yellow pipe wrench is bolted to the rear bumper, it is my anti tailgating device.

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Now I just have to build an anti rattle device that bolts on and stops that annoying rattle of the ball hitch into the receiver when towing a trailer. Get to know a welder!

 

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11 minutes ago, weldingrod said:

Now I just have to build an anti rattle device that bolts on and stops that annoying rattle of the ball hitch into the receiver when towing a trailer. Get to know a welder!

 

Boxing in the bumper looks like it is the exact fix, what a great idea.  That's exactly where all of the flex is on mine.  And nice idea with the pipe wrench!  Now to decide if my home Lincoln Electric welder is the right tool to do this right or bring it to a pro for this thick steel.

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23 hours ago, MaddieCycle said:

Boxing in the bumper looks like it is the exact fix, what a great idea.  That's exactly where all of the flex is on mine.  And nice idea with the pipe wrench!  Now to decide if my home Lincoln Electric welder is the right tool to do this right or bring it to a pro for this thick steel.

I only used a 1/8" piece of plate, cut a hole in the back plate to run the hitch through and welded the hitch in, the hitch supplies most of the stiffening. Top plate looks thick because I tacked a piece of 1/4" round stock to it so there wasn't an edge to cut myself on. Easy-peasy, you should be able to do it yourself. Weld the hitch in first, then the plate welds in right where it sits on the hitch. Weld the hitch all the way around and it will be the strongest part of your whole truck. Easier if you take the bumper off to work on it. This would also be the best time to make sure your bumper is straight before you reinforce it.

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Up here all new trailer hitches have to be bolted onto the frame. Might allow retro ball ones on the bumper. (again bolted to a frame) No welding allowed unless professional.

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5 hours ago, datzenmike said:

Up here all new trailer hitches have to be bolted onto the frame. Might allow retro ball ones on the bumper. (again bolted to a frame) No welding allowed unless professional.

I don't know exactly what's legal but I've seen every kinda thing on the road down here. It seems people only get in trouble if it fails. Personally I always go the professional route

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34 minutes ago, datzenmike said:

 That's it. I don't want some trailer coming at me because JB 'Weld' was used. 

Honestly wouldn't be surprised if that did happen, I seen the weirdest stuff 

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On 10/15/2021 at 12:37 PM, datzenmike said:

Up here all new trailer hitches have to be bolted onto the frame. Might allow retro ball ones on the bumper. (again bolted to a frame) No welding allowed unless professional.

Certified, so no problem.

 

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