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Bumpers Were Made For Hitches...


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#1 Nathan Johnson

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 04:26 PM

So I know there have been discussions of putting a trailer hitch on the back of the Casita, but I want to take it to the absurd (I guess that'd be par for the course, considering it's me askin' the question!). But see, I really just gotta know if this would work in my situation. The other people had their situation, I want mine!! biggrin.gif

Ok, I'll start from the beginning so feel free to go pop the popcorn and get a soda...

A long time ago (March 2010) we sold our beloved ("beloved" is such a strong word, how about the more accurate "tolerated"?) but grown too tiny Jeep Cherokee Sport, and bought a Chevy Astro van. All the tiny problems of the Jeep magically disappeared...well, except for one. Where in the world would we put our 4 bikes? See, we used to put them on the roof of the Jeep, but I just did not fancy hauling around a 62 foot extension ladder that we would need to put the bikes on top van.

Not to mention that when we "upgraded" the van we "downgraded" the gas mileage. We are now getting 10.5 average miles per gallon, and if we put the bikes on top, we might as well hire a tanker truck to follow along behind us to refuel us every 20 or so miles, because I'm sure we'd get a whopping 1 mile per gallon (give or take 9 but who's counting when the main intent is drama/humor?).

So the bike on the roof thing is well, like, not interesting to us.

I have pondered this from all angles and have come up empty. Fortunately, my wife, being of greater intellect and logic than I, said "why not put a bike rack on the back of the Casita? I then dutifully recited how some of the folks here say its not a good idea, and some do. I just love the duality here-it can be SO confusing!! unsure.gif However, she insisted there must be a way, and so I thought I'd give the topic one more go-around.

Here are the facts: We have a Saris trailer hitch 4 bike carrier. I couldn't get a weight from anyone who should know. One guy just said "I'd say around 50 lb." So we'll say that. Then we'll use a high estimate for the weight of the bikes at 50 lb. So that would be conservatively 250 lb. When I was at LL Beans today, the guy said "just count on 300 lb. on the back hitch" OK, they are smart people, so 300 lb. it is.

Now here are the questions that will blow my mind if I think about them too long:

1. Is that too much weight, even if I had the hitch welded to the actual frame of the Casita?
2. If its not, would it be also advisable to weld the actual hitch to the bumper? Or would that somehow be bad for the bumper?
3. Here's where it gets really phrew-phrew; would that weight on the back of the trailer raise the hitch up in front to the point that there would be a catastrophe which would befall us because of that?
4. If that was the case, would NOT using a weight distribution help put more weight on the hitch instead of the tow vehicle?

You see, without your kind and knowledgable help, we just might not be able to solve this riddle, and well, that just would not be fun for us. We like to bike. So thank ye kindly in advance and solve away!! biggrin.gif
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#2 Dutchman

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 04:44 PM

Couple of thoughts:

Think of the single axle Casita as a whipsaw. Add 300 lbs in the back lightens the front end. Unbalanced trailer, too much weight in the back, becomes unstable - WDH would be a band-aid fix.

300lbs on a stationary platform is one thing - 300 lbs on a 'platform' that hangs about seven or eight feet or so behind the axle is quite another thing, i.e. the 300 lbs multiplies. Known as "moment arm" in aviation, where the weight is multiplied by the arm (length). Quick example : hold your arm out straight and put, say, 30lbs on your arm near the shoulder. Bearable, right? Now put the 30lbs at the end of your outstretched hand - see how 30lbs becomes a lot heavier? Now flap your arm up and down with the 30lbs on your finger tips. Likewise, start pulling your Casita on a bit of a rough road and guess what is going to happen to that 300 lbs bouncing up and down.Get the picture?

If you do go that route, you'll need to reinforce the rear bumper, which is quite thin and not made for such stress. Then get extra insurance for when the Lexus behind you asks you to pull your four bicycles out of his windshield sad.gif

Not the solution, just food for thought. My 0.02c worth.

Edouard Trautwein, #1372  

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#3 Chris C

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 05:03 PM

Personally, I'd make a rack that attaches to the back bumper of your van..........not connected to the trailer in any way. That way it would still be protected from the bug juice, but wouldn't be a burden on your Casita. Just a thought.
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#4 Us burros

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 05:29 PM

QUOTE (Dutchman @ Sep 6 2010, 05:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
. . . thoughts:

Think of the single axle Casita as a whipsaw. Add 300 lbs in the back lightens the front end. Unbalanced trailer, too much weight in the back, becomes unstable - WDH would be a band-aid fix.


Ed, are you saying my travel trailer to hauler trailer conversion may not work?

Rear_Storage_copy.jpg

Harold

#5 Don

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 05:30 PM

That Astro van is truck based and has a short overhang. It ought to make a good tow vehicle - except for that gas mileage thing. sad.gif

Placing your bicycles on the back bumper of your van is a good spot. But, it does interfere with things you might want to do around the rear of the vehicle. Like open the van rear doors, hitching the trailer - you get the picture. Should you choose to carry them there, remember to include their weight just as if it were tongue weight in your calculations.

An alternate location - I have seen some who mount their bikes on the front bumper of the tow vehicle. Of course that would interfere with access to the under hood stuff. You would also be concerned at exceeding the front axle rating of your tow vehicle. How about inside the trailer in the forward area? Or maybe two in the front of the van and two on the back of the trailer? I donno - take up hiking?

BTW, other than the weight of the device itself, a weight distribution hitch does not increase your tongue weight. It moves (distributes) some of that weight forward onto the front axle of the tow vehicle and backward onto the trailer axle.

Don


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#6 Dutchman

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 05:37 PM

Ed, are you saying my travel trailer to hauler trailer conversion may not work?

Rear_Storage_copy.jpg

Harold
[/quote]

LOL anim_rofl2.gif

It'll work very well if you keep the U-haul attachment airtight and full of hot air or helium laugh.gif

Don't forget to add the sign: "This U-sita makes wide right turns"

Edited by Dutchman, 06 September 2010 - 05:40 PM.

Edouard Trautwein, #1372  

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'99 Toyota 4Runner, 3.4L V6 -

 

Casita living - Luxury on two wheels.

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#7 DesertHawk

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 06:22 PM

People with Casita have bike racks mods:

http://www.casitaclu...l=bicycle racks Camp Nagle has a neat set up on his Casita.

http://www.casitaclu...l=bicycle racks

http://www.casitaclu...l=bicycle racks

http://www.casitaclu...l=bicycle racks

http://www.casitaclu...l=bicycle racks

http://www.casitaclu...l=bicycle racks

http://www.casitaclu...l=bicycle racks

http://www.casitaclu...l=bicycle racks

We had Scamp put their rear hitch made for a bike rack on ours when we order it. We have uses two different bike racks on it, one being a Modified Rear Carrier into a Bike & Misc. Carrier. The Scamp does want to sway a little more when it has bikes hanging on, but not too much. And Casitas seem to have axles set a little more to the rear of center than the Scamps. BUT this is with one or two bikes only. blink.gif Not sure of four back there, maybe two in back, two on the front would even them out. Yep, maybe so! ph34r.gif http://www.casitaclu...p;hl=bike racks But this one was on rear of tow. I remember seeing some racks on the tongue of the trailer as well.

We used to carry two on the rear of a Komfort Lite and two on the front bumper of the tow vehicle back in the olden times. One of the ones up front was a Trek Tandem Bike (bike for two).

Hope something will be of help.

Another photo of our rear hitch in use: http://i286.photobuc...ls/EggCrew2.jpg

some more links
http://www.casitaclu...p;hl=bike racks

http://www.casitaclu...p;hl=bike racks

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Edited by DesertHawk, 06 September 2010 - 08:08 PM.


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#8 CC-John

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 06:29 PM

Nathan,

Instead of guessing at the weight of the rack and bikes, get the bathroom scale and weigh them.. Stand each bike and the rack individually on a scale and get the exact weight of what your dealing with, it may not be as much as you think..

Personally, I would have a 2" receiver hitch welded to the frame on the rear of the Casita.. The bumper is no where near strong enough..
CC-John

#9 Don in OKC

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 06:48 PM

When you've just gotta take it all with ya, where's it all gonna go?
====
Anybody remember the '3 door' Chevy Suburban?

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#10 BobinAZ

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 07:16 PM

I had a class 3 hitch added to the casita to put my 4400 watt generator on (to run the a/c). The hitch guy (an expert, according to him) said it would be OK because the hitch was attached to the casita frame. The bumber is not strong enough to handle anything but the dump hose. I just have to make certain that when I load the casita for travel I don't put to much in the aft end. I now put a lot of stuff in the Explorer that I used to put in the casita.

#11 cdsmith

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 07:36 PM

I find this thread interesting because there are those that say, "You can't do that!" and others that say, "Its OK!" without any real understanding of the problem. They are just going by 'gut feel'.

Below is both the design/implemintation and analysis of the addition of a cargo box on the rear of our 1999 Casita 17' SD.

Attached File  1999_Casita_Cargo_Box.pdf   446.99KB   382 downloads

Attached File  Cargobox_mount_analysis_Rev_A.pdf   27.27KB   256 downloads

For wgat its worth/

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#12 Badger99

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 09:12 PM

I'm with CC-John on this one. Weigh the bikes. They are probably significantly lighter than 50lbs a piece.

#13 Chris Z

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 04:59 AM

QUOTE (Don in OKC @ Sep 6 2010, 10:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When you've just gotta take it all with ya, where's it all gonna go?
====
Anybody remember the '3 door' Chevy Suburban?

Our 72 had 3 doors. Our 79,94 and 06 have 4. Guess we're kinda stuck on them. The 72 didn't like the car coming around the turn in the snow straight at my wife. After that, she said she'd never have a van. Never understood the 3 door thing.

Edited by Chris Z, 07 September 2010 - 05:02 AM.

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#14 Nathan Johnson

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 07:37 AM

Ok, I realize that I am a little confusing, and I apologize. I knew the bumper can't bear the weight of the rack, so if a rack could be installed, I'd have the hitch welded to the frame as well as the bumper. And yes, 300 lb. is probably overkill, but thats what the dude said to use the estimate, so I did. I actually think that it would be closer to 175 lb.

Humor me for a moment, though...why would the rack be a problem (i.e. Dutchman's very logical theory) if it were welded to the frame? Wouldn't that act as one unit? Not saying of course that the theory is wrong in any part, just that if its rigid do to the welding, why would it flap about?

We'd like to take the bikes along, but having them in the Casita or attached to the van are probably not going to happen, as my wife refuses to have the bikes inside the Casita, and I am worried that I would bend the tires of the bikes in two while backing up and turning. So the hitch would be the most workable place, if again, it can be done.

Thanks for all the info though, it is much appreciated!!

Edited by Nathan Johnson, 07 September 2010 - 07:44 AM.

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#15 CC-John

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 11:56 AM

Nathan,

What you want to do is doable, but you need to get some real world weight numbers on what's gonna be hanging on the back of the trailer, along with some weights of the trailer as currently loaded.. Before the smoke of welding the hitch on clears, you may end up having to rearrange the trailer's loading to maintain an acceptable tongue weight..

Once you know the exact weight of the stuff you plan on hanging on the back of the trailer, it's gonna be time to head for a truck scale.. You need to find out the trailer's current tongue & axle weights, then "sandbag" the rear of the trailer with the same amount of weight you're gonna be adding with the bikes & rack.. Reweigh the trailer a see how much you've affected the tongue and axle weights.. You MUST keep at least 10% of the trailer's gross weight on the hitch for stable towing..


CC-John