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Old 03-08-2011, 07:54 PM   #271
Ran D. St. Clair
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 212
Default Tow Receiver Question

I'm looking for general advice and warnings about installing a trailer hitch receiver in the stealth camper. I don't have anything specific to tow at the moment but I am thinking that at some point I might want to tow a light weight trailer or a small car towed flat. I was just thinking that it might be better to set this up now before I go full time and have to deal with the logistics of working on my primary living quarters.

My first thought was to just buy a basic receiver and weld it to the bumper. By receiver I just mean the square metal tube that surrounds the square metal bar to which the ball is attached.

That brings up issues of structural integrity of the bumper. The bumper itself is made of steel diamond plate about 1/8" thick. It is folded into a partial box about 4.5" thick. It has internal ribs made out of c channel 4" x 1.5" x 1/8" thick. It connects to the ends of the frame rails via two heavy duty C channels 6" by 2" by 1/8" to in some places almost 1/4" thick with a but joint weld and an overlapping triangular gusset. There is also a 2nd connection to the longitudinal rails that sit on top of the truck frame rails. All of this implies that the bumper is fully integrated with the box, and that the box is permanently attached to the truck. I

I am thinking that this bumper is plenty strong to handle light towing without any additional reinforcement. Anyone care to disagree?

The bottom of the bumper is about 16" off the ground and the bumper overhangs the rear axel by about 6.5' for a clearance angle of 11.8 degrees. I could cut a square hole in the back of the bumper, insert the receiver, and weld it in place. That would place the receiver at about 18" off the ground. I could also weld the receiver to the center C rib so it would hang just below the bumper giving me a ground clearance of about 14" for a clearance angle of 10.3 degrees.

I know they make drop down hitches, even ones with adjustable drop down so I know the receiver height doesn't need to match the trailer or tow bar height on the toad. (I don't even know the tow bar height on the toad because I don't have a toad yet.)

Anyone care to comment on 18" being inconveniently high or the negative ramifications of using a drop down hitch that might have to drop 6" or more? On the other hand, anyone care to comment on the negative ramifications of 14" of ground clearance at the receiver and having the receiver be the first thing to bottom out when the rear wheels drop into a depression.

If I did cut a hole in the back of the bumper it would be alongside the central C rib. Can I safely assume that being an inch or two off of the truck centerline is no big deal?

You can assume that I would weld the receiver not only around the perimeter of the receiver where it sticks through the bumper, but also along its length to the C rib.

Since receivers have a hole through them for a large pin, I am assuming that the receiver would need to stick out of the back of the bumper far enough to get access to the hole for installation of the pin. This sounds like another reason to mount the receiver below the C rib underneath the bumper. That way it would only need to stick out past the end of the bumper by a fraction of an inch. I can see where that would reduce the chance of busting my shins into it which is all the more likely since entry to my truck is through the back.

So what do all you experienced toad pullers think?
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