Hitch Mod to tow and carry 2 bikes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-22-2013, 02:06 PM   #1
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Name: Walter
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 1300; Invertec Falcon 190 class b rv
Washington
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Hitch Mod to tow and carry 2 bikes

One of the problems that we just encountered when we got our '76 Trilly was how to carry 2 bikes and tow our Trilly at the same time. We already had a Swagman 2 bike 2" hitch bike rack and a single bike hitch rack. We didn't like the idea of trying to carry 2 bikes on rvs rear ladder because we were afraid we might bend the ladder with the wt of the bikes, nor did we want to carry the bikes inside the Trilly or on the rear of the Trilly.

Harbor Freight sells a dual 2" receiver that fits inside a 2" receiver which I purchased and tried out yesterday. With a 20% off coupon and buying it in OR where there is no sales tax made it a deal.

The only problem was the bike rack 2" receiver insert stuck out beyond the ball and had bolts underneath that blocked access to the ball. The fix was to push the bike rack receiver insert all the way in and drill a new 5/8" hole in the bike rack receiver insert to hold it in place. We tried it out with our 2 mountain bikes and it worked!

You will notice that we are also using a straight 2" ball receiver insert for towing in the lower half of the twin hitch receiver. We preferred this ball because there was no nut at the bottom of the ball to catch on the ground. The ball had to be filed down 1/16" to smoothly accommodate the Trilly's coupler.

Hope someone else can make use of something like this.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:24 PM   #2
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I would really recommend you get a different brand of that setup. I've bought plenty if things from Horrible Fright, but I wouldn't use that.

I buy the hitch extenders from there (same thing, without the top part), because its the cheapest way to make my own receiver hitches for whatever. HOWEVER, I always have to fully remove any old weld from the tube. I have never successfully welded into their welds. They are almost always very dirty, and very porous. I have no issues welding to the actual steel, but those welds are junk. I would never trust them to hold even a bouncing bike rack over time. That weld from the transition between what's in your receiver, and the tube the drawbar is in is very suspect.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:48 PM   #3
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Name: Walter
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 1300; Invertec Falcon 190 class b rv
Washington
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Harbor Freight dual receiver weld problems

Thank you for your feedback .

Given this worse case scenario, the good news is that we are only going to be using this dual set-up with a bike rack for 1 hr each time we make a trip to the WA coast because the trailer and bikes are being stored on the Coast and its a 30 minutes to our campsite each way on paved city streets.

For this light use, I think we will be ok, but I will inspect the welds on each trip. If a problem should develop, I would take the pieces to a local welder who recently did upgrades on the "76 Trilly frame.

Others planning to use a similar setup may want to consider other options for these components as you said.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:19 PM   #4
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I have been using HF inserts for years including the dual insert'
I picked up a Reese at a yard sale last year and it's identical to the HF draw bar.
A great deal of my towing is in unimproved roads and I have never had a problem,

I Imagine many American suppliers use Chinese products.

HF electrical products and things with many moving interior parts are not the greatest.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:25 PM   #5
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You might keep getting lucky. Some runs might be ok, too. Looking at a painted hitch isn't going to tell you the quality of it, or that they're the same.

With our light trailers, the flaw may never show up. Personally, I would rather spend the few extra $$$ on one from a reputable company, or have somebody grind out the old weld (completely, even a few remnants of old weld screwed up new ones), and redo it.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:14 AM   #6
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Harbor Freight dual receiver ? problem welds

Jared

Looking at the part again, I definitely see your point about the potential weakness of vertical connection of the 2 receivers. At least, the hitch ball is mounted to the lower receiver.

For extra security, one could try mounting a metal plate on both sides, using the top and bottom 5/8" bolts to secure the plate. That is something I could do myself.

Re-welding the unit would admittedly be the best option and the one you suggested.

If another welding project were to need attention, I would let them re-weld this part , too.

Thanks again for the heads-up.
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:18 AM   #7
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Harbor Freight Welds

Perry,

Thank you for sharing your experience with this particular HF product. It is reassuring to hear you haven't had any problems with it.
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:09 AM   #8
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George; heres my opinion. I have one of those dual receiver things but generally don't use it. Got mine from Northern Tool. One problem is that it moves the ball farther back and changes the tongue weight and stress on the car's hitch because of the leverage principal. It's not the same as having a longer tongue. I have the identical or very similar Swagman rack. You can eliminate those bottom bolts by welding a 5/8 nut on a flat piece of steel, insert it inside the rack tube, and use a 5/8 bolt instead of a pin to hold the rack tight to the receiver. I've adapted this rack to fit on the tongue of our teardrop, and use it on the rear of our Uhaul. If you go with a receiver on the rear of the trailer [many opinions on this] it has to be very sturdy because again of leverage of bikes bouncing back there. I've seen a couple racks break off, and had one of mine bend. Any rear receiver that I have built is attached to three points, usually the bumper and two cross members. I like the Swagman rack, but plan on modifying it some.
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:33 AM   #9
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From a mechanical/leverage point of view that is a very risky set up.

Sorry to be negative. Just thinking about safety.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:13 AM   #10
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What you have done is cut your towing capacity in half by extending it out that far. Saving a few $$ is not worth causing an accident. Your tongue weight is now doubled what it was with the shorter set up. Double duty hitches are for non towing uses.
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:27 PM   #11
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My post #8 has an error in it. I use a 5/8 bolt to hold the rack tight in the receiver, and a 1/2" bolt to hold the sliding wheel loop assembly tight to the 2" base tube. By doing this I can eliminate those two bottom stiffener bolts.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:36 PM   #12
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Trailer: 1976 Trillium 1300; Invertec Falcon 190 class b rv
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Thank you for all your advice and warnings. I have been listening and will be extremelyobservant and careful on the 30 min in town trip tomorrow. For the 2 hr + trip home at the end of the summer, I won't use this dual receiver setup for towing the Trilly.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:27 AM   #13
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Most accidents happen within 15 minutes of home, hope you beat that statistic!!
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:25 PM   #14
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I use a double receiver extension like that on our motorhome, to move the bike rack out (needed for the bike handlebars to clear the rear of the body) and up (for better clearance to slopes or in dips). I don't tow with it, and would not tow a trailer with it. I have considered flat-towing a car with it, but that would involve no vertical hitch load.

I assume the Harbor Freight unit is their Haul-Master Dual Hitch Extender - Item#69881.

Mine is from Princess Auto: Power Fist Class III/IV Dual Hitch Receiver Extension - SKU: 8353211. I have no opinion of the quality of mine, let alone the quality compared to the Harbor Freight unit, but I don't see any obvious visible problems. It could, of course, be junk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by georgewa View Post
You will notice that we are also using a straight 2" ball receiver insert for towing in the lower half of the twin hitch receiver.
...
The ball had to be filed down 1/16" to smoothly accommodate the Trilly's coupler.
I'm still not sure what this means. It looks like it might mean that the trailer has a 1-7/8" coupler, and that 1/16" was filed off of the surface of a 2" ball (reducing it by 1/8" in diameter) to the fit the coupler. I sincerely hope this is not what was done, but I can't think of a less disturbing but more likely explanation.

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Originally Posted by georgewa View Post
We preferred this ball because there was no nut at the bottom of the ball to catch on the ground.
If the ball is at the correct height for the trailer's coupler, and yet it is in danger of hitting the ground, the ball is much too far behind the tug's axle... not surprising, given the big extension beyond the receiver, which in turn is probably far behind the axle in what I understand to be a Class B motorhome (which likely has a long van body with lots of rear overhang).
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