hitch & spare tire problems - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-18-2007, 06:26 PM   #1
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When we hitch the trailer to our Jeep we have to remove the spare tire because its mounted in the center of the back door right over the hitch. We can hitch on the ball but can't lock it down, because it hits the bottom of the tire. We're thinking about extenting the hitch. Will this change the way its towed
safely
Ted & Vera
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Old 09-18-2007, 06:31 PM   #2
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I know of a few folks who have made some extentions on there hitch.They had no problems.I beleive our web master was one of them.
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:59 PM   #3
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I'm one too. The drawbar on my truck is about a foot longer than normal, I need it that way, so I can open the back door on my canopy. A short drawbar caused the door to hit the tongue jack. Now, no more problems! AND, it hasn't caused any problems. Win-win.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:02 PM   #4
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When we hitch the trailer to our Jeep we have to remove the spare tire because its mounted in the center of the back door right over the hitch. We can hitch on the ball but can't lock it down, because it hits the bottom of the tire.
This has been seen before, and affects at least one current FiberglassRV member with a Jeep Liberty.

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We're thinking about extenting the hitch. Will this change the way its towed safely?
Yes, extending the hitch will adversely affect towing characteristics, but perhaps acceptably. The further the ball is placed behind the rear axle, the greater leverage the trailer has to affect the tow vehicle. More leverage means, for instance, that more load is transferred from the Jeep's front axle to its rear axle.

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I know of a few folks who have made some extentions on there hitch.They had no problems.I beleive our web master was one of them.
Chester, maybe you're thinking of extensions of the trailer tongue, rather than the vehicle's hitch. Mike (the Webguy) has an extended tongue on his Casita; Gina has a custom-extended shank for the weight-distributing hitch head in her Liberty hitch. A tongue extension is good - or at least harmless - for towing stability and control, while a hitch extension is undesirable.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:04 PM   #5
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The drawbar on my truck is about a foot longer than normal, I need it that way, so I can open the back door on my canopy.
... it hasn't caused any problems.
What size of truck is this, Donna? The Liberty is a short-wheelbase SUV, which would be affected more by an increase in hitch length than a vehicle with a longer wheelbase, such as a typical pickup truck.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:05 PM   #6
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Yup---Your right Brian.My screw up
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:07 PM   #7
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What size of truck is this, Donna? The Liberty is a short-wheelbase SUV, which would be affected more by an increase in hitch length than a vehicle with a longer wheelbase, such as a typical pickup truck.
2000 Ford F-150 Extended Cab, standard box.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:26 PM   #8
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Ted,

If it is indeed a Jeep Liberty you are dealing with, there is a possible solution.

Remove the tire and then remove the tire carrier, rotate it 180 degrees and re-mount it (upside down).

This moves the tire up slightly giving you more clearance below, as well as canting the tire slightly rearwards at the top.

I have larger than stock tires, so I also had to add a couple of washers behind the top bolts to allow the window to clear the tire, but a stock size tire should be OK.

I now have a weight distribution / anti-sway setup which moves the hitch ball further from the Jeep, so I no longer have this problem, but I had it this way for a while.

Incidentally for Liberty owners, there are some great forums out there - I am a member at http://www.jeepkj.com and http://www.lostkj.com , one of which this information probably came from originally :-)

Hope that helps,

Dave
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:29 PM   #9
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When we hitch the trailer to our Jeep we have to remove the spare tire because its mounted in the center of the back door right over the hitch. We can hitch on the ball but can't lock it down, because it hits the bottom of the tire. We're thinking about extenting the hitch. Will this change the way its towed
safely
Ted & Vera
I too own a Jeep Liberty (06 patriot blue ) All Liberty models with rear mounted spare tire and a receiver hitch require an extended length drawbar, If the person who sold you the hitch didn't mention this when they sold you the drawbar, take it back and ask for an exchange. Any [b]good parts store, or installer should have no problem doing this.

I couldn't tell you if this would change the tow characteristics because I've never towed with a short drawbar.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:30 PM   #10
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2000 Ford F-150 Extended Cab, standard box.
A current F-150 with SuperCab and 8' box has a wheelbase of 163"; the previous-generation 2000 model would presumably be similar. In contrast, the Liberty has a 104" wheelbase. I believe that this difference is quite significant when considering the effect of extending the hitch.

P.S. Donna... ya got enough truck?
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:33 PM   #11
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I like Dave's approach, which addresses the root problem. I've seen the bracket construction, and wondered if something could be done, but didn't have the solution... great tip, Dave!
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:51 PM   #12
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I have a Jeep Liberty and I have a "funky hitching routine" that I go through, but it works. You leave the coupler locked while you back into position and get the height right to hook-up, then you swing the rear door open until it hits the propane bottle and this allows the space to unlock the coupler. You have to remember before you start this to turn the tongue jack handle upside down so you can lower the coupler down on the ball otherwise, the tongue jack handle won't go around. Once on the ball and the coupler locked down you can shut the door. Sounds complicated, but really isn't once ya got the steps down.

Didn't know there was a longer bar option, but I may look at that to eliminate the Jeep Liberty Hitch Dance.
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Old 09-19-2007, 05:53 PM   #13
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My old Dodge D150 (114" W handling was significantly improved when I *shortened* the rear overhang by about 3-4" by moving the receiver bar up and forward and by shortening the ball mount by drilling a new pin hole. I highly recommend AGAINST lengthening the overhang, esp on the shorter WB.

BTW, I had been towing for many tens of thousands of miles before I got into a major sway condition on a wet, banked gravel road in BC at less than the posted speed limit, so "so far, so good" might not be good enough.

I also moved the spare tire to the front bumper, thus taking weight off the rear and adding it to the front end.

Even a WDH will still feel some sway effects of longer overhang, but this would be a good application for a WDH with dual-cam or Equalizer (not friction sway control).
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:32 PM   #14
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My ford f-150 is a 4x4 with the pretty typical 2" receiver. When I hook up a standard FG RV, the tongue is way up because of the height of the truck and the rear bumper of the trailer is almost dragging. I solved this by getting a hitch with an 8" drop. Now the trailer is level when towing and the trailer tongue is 8" lower. Drop hitches come in 2", 4", 6", 8" and 10" drop heights. This might lower the trailer tongue enough to clear the rear spare tire issues if the vehicle has enough height to handle the drop.

Would a drop hitch solve the SUV towing problems you have?
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