welding hitch on rear of 84 Bigfoot - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-29-2020, 11:01 AM   #1
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Name: Michael
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welding hitch on rear of 84 Bigfoot

Hi. I am looking to increase the storage capacity for my 18' trailer. I was thinking of welding a hitch onto the rear of the trailer for a hitch basket. It would carry a max of 500 lbs. I am aware this would change the trailer balance, but I'm not sure how much it would matter. Its mainly for a cooler, extra gas cans and large but light items that are better somewhere else than in the trailer. Thoughts?
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Old 05-29-2020, 11:59 AM   #2
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A few hundred pounds does matter, but I'll let people with experience speak up. Especially with a 17' trailer, 3-500lbs could significantly offset the tongue weight.

I agree though, having some storage back there is a great idea and people definitely do it.
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:09 PM   #3
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Look through the information on this page, especially the video on trailer stability. You may rethink adding storage to the rear of your trailer:

https://practicalmotoring.com.au/car...eavy-trailers/
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:15 PM   #4
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Thanks all for the quick responses! Will do.
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Old 05-30-2020, 10:48 AM   #5
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if the skids at the rear of the trailer drag going thru gutters etc. ( like mine does ) think about adding 18 inches or more.
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Old 05-30-2020, 10:57 AM   #6
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Have someone knowledgeable check the frame. Most of the vintage FG trailer frames are on the wimpy side and not designed to handle 500 pounds, or even a fraction of it.

+10 tongue weight matters a lot! Until you have experienced severe trailer sway, it may be under appreciated how serious sway can be.
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Old 05-30-2020, 11:07 AM   #7
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Lots to consider, stability is first and foremost, you can add the correct weight forward to recover lost tongue weight, then there is a issue with possible sway if you dont get it correct.
Ground clearance also if you have a low trailer,
But that rear square tube bumper was designed to carry the sewer hose, mine had a lot of rust inside, and the bumper is pretty thin metal too
If you decide to go forward I would probably replace the bumper with something stronger, that will also add some extra pounds too.
I did replace the bumper when I set up my BF 5th wheel to carry a small motorbike back there, and added weight forward to compensate.
I've had no issues at all for years so it can be done if approached correctly.
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:53 PM   #8
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500 Lbs. is over the top! No way that the frame would support that much weight back there. And as to the "tin foil" sewer bumper, I wouldn't trust it to hold a bag of dog food. If you want a real receiver hitch, then plan on cutting the sewer hose bumper off and replacing it with a section of heavy-walled channel and add an extra brace underneath a couple of feet forward of it, mounted crosswise between the main frame rails. Then attach a length of receiver tubing under that, all welded up of course. Not really a hard project and it only requires 3 pieces of metal to fabricate it. This is one I fabricated for my Casita about a dozen years ago for hauling my Stow-Away cargo carrier. The bumper is 3" X 3/16" square channel. The forward cross brace is 1.5" X 1/8" square channel, and the receiver tube is a 2 1/2' chunk welded under both of them. Be sure to specify receiver channel and not regular 2" channel because they are different. Most square channel is measured by its O.D. but receiver tube is measured by its I.D.
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ReceiverTubeandCrossmember.JPG   small_IMG_0004.jpg  

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Old 05-31-2020, 08:36 AM   #9
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My Bigfoot rear bumper is more similar to your upgrade, Greg, than the "tin foil" you reference. Not quite as thick but still substantial. Bigfoot trailers are a bit of an anomaly in the fiberglass world. Much of their design and construction isn't easily compared most other fiberglass trailers.

Still, I wouldn't put 500lbs on mine. But it carries the spare tire no problem.

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Old 05-31-2020, 03:28 PM   #10
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Tongue weight

I added a utility box to the rear of our trailer plus extra fresh water capacity just behind the axle. At the same time I added 4 lead acid batteries to the front plus reinforcing the frame and installing a larger axle. After doing all this I put a scale under the hitch to measure the tongue weight. Then moving the spare tire to the front gave it the correct tongue weight.

Good luck
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Old 06-02-2020, 05:07 AM   #11
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I redid my Bigfoot bumper last year. The one there was rotted through. I used a heavier piece of tubing. My trailer has a 2" receiver bolted on instead of welded which I would recommend considering. When you weld the receiver on you have a heat affected zone next to the welds which weaken the bumper. Better to buy or weld up a receiver using heavy plate then bolt it on with no weakening of the bumper.
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Old 06-02-2020, 05:11 AM   #12
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Here is what my 1989 bumper looked like. It was actually not tubing but flatstock formed and partially welded into a square. Previous owner had a receiver bolted to this. Scary that someone could have put a platform on it and loaded it up.
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Old 06-07-2020, 05:09 AM   #13
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Calculate first!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Groomez View Post
Hi. I am looking to increase the storage capacity for my 18' trailer. I was thinking of welding a hitch onto the rear of the trailer for a hitch basket. It would carry a max of 500 lbs. I am aware this would change the trailer balance, but I'm not sure how much it would matter. Its mainly for a cooler, extra gas cans and large but light items that are better somewhere else than in the trailer. Thoughts?
I have a Casita 17SD with notoriously heavy tongue weight. You really want to maintain 12-14% tongue weight when loaded so check to see where you are first to verify how much, if any, you can lighten the tongue weight. I added framing for a dual hitch receiver and often use a cargo tray in the rear. Because of axle placement (fulcrum point), there's roughly 1 lb taken off the tongue for every 2 lbs added to the rear. I doubt the steel frame, receiver, and cargo tray weigh over 80 lbs and my cargo box another 25 lbs. I really do carry only light items and love the storage space. Propane stove, gear bag with hatchet, ropes, and I doubt that I have more than 35-40 lbs of bulky gear in the box. With a tongue weight in excess of 400 lbs., the Casita could easily stand to have 50-80- lbs. removed from the tongue. I only carry one propane bottle instead of two. Know your starting point before you begin to subtract tongue weight - sway is a mother you don't want to meet.
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Old 06-07-2020, 04:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groomez View Post
Hi. I am looking to increase the storage capacity for my 18' trailer. I was thinking of welding a hitch onto the rear of the trailer for a hitch basket. It would carry a max of 500 lbs. I am aware this would change the trailer balance, but I'm not sure how much it would matter. Its mainly for a cooler, extra gas cans and large but light items that are better somewhere else than in the trailer. Thoughts?
We want to weld one on to put the bike rack on better then having them inside the boler. the bikes only weigh in at under 40 lbs but will not damage the inside of trailer while we travel. The trailer is set at 18" to top of hitch ball so do not think it will bottom out but will maybe do a mock-up and test clearance.
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