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Old 07-11-2013, 11:46 PM   #1
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welding a trailer receiver hitch

I bought a 1987 21' Terry 5th wheel trailer. Some prior owner cobbled a trailer hitch on the back by welding a 3/16"x 2" x 16" plate on the bumper and welded it to 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 3/16" angle iron that is welded to the frame around 16" in from the bumper. I got 2 different opinions from people who work on trailers: one gave me the thumbs up, the other thumbs down. I am going with the thumbs down. So, I want to weld a trailer hitch to tow my 4,000# boat/trailer.

I am planning on cutting the thin walled bumper off, welding a 2"x4"x 3/16"x8' rectangular piece of steel in it's place and then welding a receiver to the angle iron and then to the 2"x4"x8' bumper. I am then going to take a piece of 2"x 3/16" x 8' flat steel, weld it to the bottom of the receiver and then bend the ends to weld it to the bottom of the 2"x4"x8' bumper. The ends will be welded around the area that the bumper attaches to the frame (which is 2"x4"x3/16" channel steel). I will do the same around 16" in from the bumper on the 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 3/16" angle iron. Will this setup be able to tow my 4,000# boat with tandem axle trailer?
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radnur22 View Post
Will this setup be able to tow my 4,000# boat with tandem axle trailer?
A lot of states out West won't allow that setup on the road. Plus there's always the problem of getting it insured.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:56 PM   #3
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A lot of states out West won't allow that setup on the road. Plus there's always the problem of getting it insured.
Montana allows to tow tandem as long as the total length is less than 75' and the tow vehicle is rated 3/4 ton or larger.
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:05 AM   #4
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Only issue I can see is by having the 2x4 tube steel on edge vertically you're not getting the full benefit from it. If it was on the flat you could get the full 4" for horizontal pull. Obviously that won't work, so I would run some diagonal bracing from near where the receiver is welded on to the 2x4 tube, to the TT frame. That way you're pulling on the frame as well a the bumper.
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:32 AM   #5
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Personally I would not do it. You'll have all the tongue wt. from the boat trailer on the rear frame of the 5th wheel. That's a HUGE leverage force being exerted onto the frame of your 5th wheel frame. You have an older 5-er, and if you are lucky, it's got a heavier frame than what's on them nowadays.

Go do some googling on travel or 5th wheel trailer "frame cracks". You'll find a ton of owners with frame cracks and failed welds on them even without overloading the rear.

Some owners have ended up with serious frame cracks just from carrying bikes and generators on the back. If it's already had a hitch on it, I'd start out by inspecting the frame very carefully before you take another step. I know some "triple tow" but unless your trailer is designed for it or properly re-inforced, don't take the risk. Perhaps you'd be wise to take it to a reputable certified frame shop for an opinion.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:50 AM   #6
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Will this setup be able to tow my 4,000# boat with tandem axle trailer?
Yes, it will work. If you can trust a semi-anonymous blogger to tell you so.
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:12 PM   #7
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Yes, it will work. If you can trust a semi-anonymous blogger to tell you so.
menoble, I love it, x2! Something about unsolicited or anonymous opinions, "everybody has one".

Let's see now. 5,725 pound trailer pulling 4,000 pound boat, I would say the proportions are about like this.

But it's obviously working in this picture, neither the scooter or the guy keeled over, yet!
I would also check how the bumper is attached to the frame, I had one spot welded on a 36 footer.

How do you like them welds!? It fell off on the highway had to go back several miles to retrieve it.

The only thing that was attached to it was a spare tire on the rim, probably weighed 70 pounds.

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Old 07-12-2013, 01:25 PM   #8
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Just came across this on from Reese hitch setup instructions:

DO NOT TOW MULTIPLE TRAILERS: Do not attempt to tow any type of trailer behind another trailer. Towing multiple trailers may cause severe instability, loss of control and/or structural failure, and may result in vehicle accident, property damage and personal injury. Towing multiple trailers is illegal in many jurisdictions.

Hadn't thought of this. If for some reason you just have to tow a second trailer despite all sane reasons not to, what would you do about the WDH?
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:55 PM   #9
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You've throw a lot of structure sizes around. Not having seen a drawing I'm not guessing one way or the other.

I've had custom welded receiver hitches welded to the back of my last three 5th wheel trailers. I had a pro weld shop do the welding and structure work per my design.
Even my GN flatbed trailer have a ball or pintle setup. Never know when I may have to double tow another piece of equipment home.

I do agree with one poster about using a full 4"x 4" steel tubing only I would go with a 1/4" wall tubing. I also would use another cross member 2'-3' in front of the 4x4 tubing and lots diagonal bracing between the new cross member and the trailers main frame rails and the new 4x4 bumper. This makes a good braced box that can carry load.

The back of a trailer is hell on anything back there with lots of sharp ups and downs so don't scrimp on steel structure size and bracing.
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by myredracer View Post
Just came across this on from Reese hitch setup instructions:

DO NOT TOW MULTIPLE TRAILERS: Do not attempt to tow any type of trailer behind another trailer. Towing multiple trailers may cause severe instability, loss of control and/or structural failure, and may result in vehicle accident, property damage and personal injury. Towing multiple trailers is illegal in many jurisdictions.

Hadn't thought of this. If for some reason you just have to tow a second trailer despite all sane reasons not to, what would you do about the WDH?
See, there's the beauty of it, with enough weight pushing down on the back of the trailer, and the tires of acting as a fulcrum, it offsets the tongue weight of the front of the trailer and you no longer need a WDH, right?








Sorry, I'm being a smarta**, but that is often the trail of logic.
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:01 PM   #11
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Go to bottom of this page and click-on: Length Limit for Vehicles and Vehicle Combinations for Texas...as the olde adage says: A picture is worth a thousand words...
TxDMV - Texas Size/Weight Limits
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JIMNLIN View Post
You've throw a lot of structure sizes around. Not having seen a drawing I'm not guessing one way or the other.

I've had custom welded receiver hitches welded to the back of my last three 5th wheel trailers. I had a pro weld shop do the welding and structure work per my design.
Even my GN flatbed trailer have a ball or pintle setup. Never know when I may have to double tow another piece of equipment home.

I do agree with one poster about using a full 4"x 4" steel tubing only I would go with a 1/4" wall tubing. I also would use another cross member 2'-3' in front of the 4x4 tubing and lots diagonal bracing between the new cross member and the trailers main frame rails and the new 4x4 bumper. This makes a good braced box that can carry load.

The back of a trailer is hell on anything back there with lots of sharp ups and downs so don't scrimp on steel structure size and bracing.
Jimlin, we had a client who wanted to tow EVERYTHING starting with his 47 foot SpaceCraft. He also had a goose neck flat bed trailer and his buddies had various "assortments" to go into back country with rock crawlers and means of fixing those when they broke. So he said, "a pintle would be nice as well as a class V receiver". So we fixed him up.








That's structural design and structural welding, when I see the stuff I see on RVs I want to puke!

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Old 07-12-2013, 03:09 PM   #13
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That's structural design and structural welding, when I see the stuff I see on RVs I want to puke!
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:11 PM   #14
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Go to bottom of this page and click-on: Length Limit for Vehicles and Vehicle Combinations for Texas...as the olde adage says: A picture is worth a thousand words...
TxDMV - Texas Size/Weight Limits
Yes I see, the boat looks like it weighs much less than 4,000 lbs.
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