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View Full Version : install receiver hitch onto camper


nakman
08-26-2009, 09:21 PM
I want a receiver hitch on our camper.. main use would be a bike rack or one of those tray things.. both of which I have, so figure couple hundred pounds tops. So I bought a bolt-on receiver from HF, which would work except that the rear bumper of the camper is maybe 10ga steel at best. Any weight at all would likely just twist the bumper down, then my stuff would be draggin'.....


So I need some reinforcements. I have close to 0 metal fab skills. Looking for suggestions, offers, asinine comments, etc. thanks! :beer:

nakman
08-26-2009, 09:24 PM
I've got a few sticks of this angle stuff with a bunch of holes in it... if you have ever helped me move you probably recognize it :o. Anyway I could run a couple sticks under the camper between the bumper and the frame pieces, they're long enough to tie the bumper, rear frame, and center frame over the axle together. Would that even buy me anything? Not sure then if I'd try to then sandwich that angle between the receiver and bumper, or just run that angle stuff outboard of the receiver and bolt the receiver flush with the bumper.. :confused:

corsair23
08-26-2009, 09:26 PM
Bolt the Yakima rack you have to the top of the popup??

I gots no fab skillz, let alone metal fab skillz, so that's all I got. I can drill holes though :D

I'm betting one our mad welder members could weld something up, you'd just want to be careful not to cover up your lifting mechanism stuff so you can still get to it to service it.

nakman
08-26-2009, 09:35 PM
Bolt the Yakima rack you have to the top of the popup??



I've already got that... what I don't like is the added weight and wind drag of all that junk up there, mostly the weight. The box only has light stuff like a grill, potty, buckets, tarp, etc. so I don't have to unload it before raising the popup, but any more weight and I'd worry about stressing all of those pulleys & cables.

And it's not so much the bikes, I'm wanting to load up a big Action Packer with camping stuff and just strap it down low to the back, figure I'll lower the center of gravity and reduce tongue weight while I'm at it.

corsair23
08-26-2009, 09:41 PM
Ahhh...roger

On a total side note, have you tried to level out the camper more with the truck when towing? Looks like it is sitting awfully nose low (maybe an old pic?). I know with mine that if it isn't darn near perfectly level with the tow vehicle it can induce some nasty oscillations...I ended up having to go to an 8" drop hitch but it looks like with your spring over setup on the trailer that you need flat or even a couple inch rise on the hitch...

nakman
08-26-2009, 09:59 PM
Yes, old pic, that picture above is a 6" drop, the 4" drop seems to do much better and that's what's on the 80 now.

Beater
08-26-2009, 10:16 PM
you know where I live.

nakman
08-26-2009, 10:29 PM
you know where I live.

hey now we're talkin... :D :beer2:

Air Randy
08-27-2009, 09:28 AM
I've added a number of receiver hitches to camper and boat trailers I owned in the past. I would always buy a piece of heavy wall seamless tube with the same size ID of the HF hitch you bought. This way you could extend it back under the trailer as far as you needed to go to secure it properly, usually 2' to 4'. It would probably be more than strong enough if you run 2 heavy wall pieces of angle between the frame rails and either bolt or weld everything in place. Of course I was building hitches that could pull a twin jet ski trailer, maybe thats a lot stronger than what you need.

Rezarf
08-27-2009, 10:31 AM
Box that bumper in Nak and you'd be all set! I could help you on a weekend afternoon. If you run a plate along the backside of that thing say 12-18" wide, you'd have all the strength you need to carry several hundred pounds. I am always impressed with the amount of strength a small tube has.

Feel free to come by and we can knock it out... I am free sunday afternoon.

Beater
08-27-2009, 11:19 AM
tim, it may be easier/faster to go with rezarf.. looks like I am getting drug out to a team event with the rapids

Uncle Ben
08-27-2009, 11:41 AM
Box that bumper in Nak and you'd be all set! I could help you on a weekend afternoon. If you run a plate along the backside of that thing say 12-18" wide, you'd have all the strength you need to carry several hundred pounds. I am always impressed with the amount of strength a small tube has.

Feel free to come by and we can knock it out... I am free sunday afternoon.

I would have to agree with Randy on this one! The cross supports just are not that strong in a camper so I would catch at least two of them and box the rear along with vertical bracing to support vertical weight and lateral pull. It doesn't have to be heavy but it does have to be designed to be a trailer hitch if thats what you are going to put there! Think ahead not just now!

nakman
08-27-2009, 11:52 AM
I would have to agree with Randy on this one! The cross supports just are not that strong in a camper so I would catch at least two of them and box the rear along with vertical bracing to support vertical weight and lateral pull. It doesn't have to be heavy but it does have to be designed to be a trailer hitch if thats what you are going to put there! Think ahead not just now!

Are you agreeing with Randy or Drew? Though they both seem to be saying the same... so hey Drew how about Sunday afternoon then? You haven't moved have you?

Tch2fly
08-27-2009, 12:56 PM
I want a receiver hitch on our camper.. main use would be a bike rack or one of those tray things.. both of which I have, so figure couple hundred pounds tops.

"...couple hundred pounds ..." remember that's more than your trailer tongue weight ...make sure you unload it before you unhook from the tow rig ;)

Uncle Ben
08-27-2009, 01:05 PM
Are you agreeing with Randy or Drew? Though they both seem to be saying the same... so hey Drew how about Sunday afternoon then? You haven't moved have you?

Drew recommended boxing the frame member so it can handle weight and Randy recommended extending the receiver to the next cross brace forward so it can pull a trailer.... So yes, I am and no they were not saying the same.... ;)

Uncle Ben
08-27-2009, 01:06 PM
"...couple hundred pounds ..." remember that's more than your trailer tongue weight ...make sure you unload it before you unhook from the tow rig ;)

Another consideration is that a trailer without tongue weight looks like a happy dog waging his tail on the highway! :eek:

Beater
08-27-2009, 03:10 PM
my 2 cents.

If you are only going to ever carry bikes there, (which I think would be all that a pop-up frame should support in addition to the pop-up) you could easily get away with welding the receiver to the crossbar, providing it is 10ga or so, with rod or tube triangulating to the sides and triangle gussets on the back side of the hitch up to the cross bar.

that's the most I would do. The bracing is only for the harmonic stress of 75lbs on the end of a 4 foot lever bouncing down the highway at 75mph. That's much more stress than you think.

nakman
08-27-2009, 03:41 PM
Interesting thought on the tongue weight... the axle is back of center of the camper, and I'm going to guess 65-70% of the camper weight forward of the axle, including the fridge, furnace, and anything I've stuffed inside (mostly chairs). The Thule box is also pretty far forward...

I can just barely lift the tongue by myself- and it hurts. I've done it a couple times, neither by choice but for some reason I had to, and usually my hands hurt pretty good afterwards. With two guys it's doable... it's worse when I've got the battery on there, and a second propane tank.

So I'm going to guess an extra 100 pounds on the end of the bumper means 35 fewer pounds on the tongue? tell me if you disagree...

Uncle Ben
08-27-2009, 05:04 PM
my 2 cents.

If you are only going to ever carry bikes there, (which I think would be all that a pop-up frame should support in addition to the pop-up) you could easily get away with welding the receiver to the crossbar, providing it is 10ga or so, with rod or tube triangulating to the sides and triangle gussets on the back side of the hitch up to the cross bar.

that's the most I would do. The bracing is only for the harmonic stress of 75lbs on the end of a 4 foot lever bouncing down the highway at 75mph. That's much more stress than you think.


I bet you have pulled more than 500 lbs with a stock bumper once you put a ball on it! Fact is if you are going to install a "trailer hitch," more specifically a 2" class C receiver, then it needs to be able to be used as rated because sooner or later it will be! Pretty simple to make something carry some bikes or light stuff!

Beater
08-27-2009, 06:36 PM
I bet you have pulled more than 500 lbs with a stock bumper once you put a ball on it!

nope.

never.

ever.

I have always used dedicated hitch points.

Uncle Ben
08-27-2009, 06:58 PM
nope.

never.

ever.

I have always used dedicated hitch points.

Something tells me that sometimes you might stretch the truth a tad! :rolleyes: :lmao:

Beater
08-28-2009, 06:18 AM
Something tells me that sometimes you might stretch the truth a tad! :rolleyes: :lmao:

nope.

having been in the military, and having to see first hand what happens when you don't use things as designed, when rigging or recovering, unh uh. They converted me at a very early age.

The only time I have used a bumper ball is on my b130 service truck. but it was a 1/4" steel purpose built bumper and made an arb look like it was made from a tuna can.

Uncle Ben
08-28-2009, 06:56 AM
nope.

having been in the military, and having to see first hand what happens when you don't use things as designed, when rigging or recovering, unh uh. They converted me at a very early age.

The only time I have used a bumper ball is on my b130 service truck. but it was a 1/4" steel purpose built bumper and made an arb look like it was made from a tuna can.

So then you see my point!

DaveInDenver
08-28-2009, 07:57 AM
you could easily get away with welding the receiver to the crossbar, providing it is 10ga or so, with rod or tube triangulating to the sides and triangle gussets on the back side of the hitch up to the cross bar
This is what popped into my noggin. Weld receiver to the 'C'-channel and run two braces from the plate to the outer frame members in a 'V'. This is how the Smittybilt bumper that I had braced the receiver. Attached a photo of the Smitty for a 4Runner, just flip it in your head. This was rated by Smitty for 3,500 lbs towed, 350 lbs tongue on my truck. Notice the round tubes and triangle braces, just like John mentions.

DaveInDenver
08-28-2009, 08:02 AM
more specifically a 2" class C receiver, then it needs to be able to be used as rated because sooner or later it will be
Good point. Marlin's bumpers have a 2" receiver that he specifically says are not rated for towing and he does not provide connections for safety chains on the bumper. I don't doubt it would work, other than needing a huge dropped draw bar, for towing. But someone sees a 2" square tube and immediately a second trailer with 4 ATVs on it springs to mind. So I would personally weld a plate with holes matching the hitch and bolt the receiver on so that if I was to sell it I could take it off. Also would be nice to be able to repaint or replace it easily after it gets scraped and dragged all over and ends up all rusty.

nakman
08-28-2009, 08:21 AM
Well the added cost of bolts & plate exceeds the cost of just buy another one if I get a different trailer some day.. I do like the bars headed out towards the outer frame rails though, will do that.

The most weight I could see on this thing would be one of those motorcycle things... where the bike rides in one of those troughs? Not that I currently own either, but stranger things have been known to happen. At that point I should just get a different trailer, one that's not made out of steel you can bend with pliers, and plywood.