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Old 05-03-2016, 06:58 AM   #29
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My husband would have a cow if he saw that GearSpace. It's a lot of weight on a very small support structure with a very long moment arm. A lot could go wrong with that.

Sigh... I thought I might gain some simplification to our process by switching my thinking to a less-theft-prone cooler. But that still leaves us with the issue of what to mount it on, whether a hitch box or a simpler tray is used.

The group that has this rear exterior mount predicament figured out the best is the off-road group, especially the Jeepers. The pic I'm attaching shows an aftermarket bumper that reminds me of the old Crocodile Dundee line, "Now THAT's a knife!" Picture this general type of support structure pivoting a tray or a box instead of a spare tire.

To my knowledge, there isn't squat in the way of a cohesive Class B community in this part of Texas, but oh, do we have Jeepers and their upfitters in abundance. My next step is to make inquiries into what might be possible to fabricate for the Interstate. My husband took our hitch assembly off on Sunday so that he could measure and trace the components, in case we decide to order something.

The inquiry continues. I wish it could be simpler, but it's really not. I don't want to end up like Wendland, buying from a poorly-served off-the-shelf market selection and later wishing I had been able to order something that actually fit my needs.
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Old 05-03-2016, 08:04 AM   #30
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The group that has this rear exterior mount predicament figured out the best is the off-road group, especially the Jeepers. The pic I'm attaching shows an aftermarket bumper that reminds me of the old Crocodile Dundee line, "Now THAT's a knife!" Picture this general type of support structure pivoting a tray or a box instead of a spare tire.
Pickups are also a big market for aftermarket bumpers. Used to be, when I was just learning to drive, pickups didn't even come from the factory with rear bumpers in Southwest Oklahoma (pickups were exempt from FNVSS rear collision standards) and every pickup had an aftermarket rear bumper installed by the dealer or a third party.
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My next step is to make inquiries into what might be possible to fabricate for the Interstate. My husband took our hitch assembly off on Sunday so that he could measure and trace the components, in case we decide to order something.
If you're willing to replace bumper as well as hitch, you could end up with something incredibly sturdy.

This company makes aftermarket bumpers for Sprinters. I don't know if they have a rear bumper for 2006 models, but I do know they have them for 2007 and later.
http://www.aluminess.com/mercedes/sp...3/rear-bumper/
There must be other companies that can do the same thing.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:14 AM   #31
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InterBlog, I didn't realize someone on the forum had reviewed the hitch configuration, design analysis, and components of the GearSpace34. If you can share your analysis it would be much appreciated as I haven't taken delivery of the unit yet. Thank you.


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Old 05-03-2016, 11:23 AM   #32
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I don't think the "moment arm" in the picture would be a problem when the box is slid forward in the normal stowed position.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:32 PM   #33
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Yes, a picture is with a thousand words. I had the GearSpace for 3 years on my Roadtrek and it was great. Hauled everything I needed. But, when it was loaded, it was very difficult to extend backwards when camping, even with the slide rails greased well. When empty it would slide out easily thus giving access to the rear doors. But because it was difficult to slide out on a trip, I found myself leaving it in place overnight. This was not good in case I had to exit the RV in the middle of the night out the back doors. Safety concern.

Then I got my 2014 Interstate Ext, which had an extra foot of storage space in the rear and I didn't need all that space in the GearSpace box anymore. So I sold it and bought the StowAway. The space is smaller but much more convenient. Now at the campsite I swing the box away, open the main door, then open the second door, and have great access. Probably what is best about this new arrangement is the walk in space that is gained. (There are no greasy slide rails to bang my legs against.) The walk in space is important to me because thats where I store my stabilizers and extra A/C unit which are a little heavier than I would put out in the box.

Both units are great. I guess it depends on each persons individual needs. Good Luck.
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:33 PM   #34
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If you're willing to replace bumper as well as hitch, you could end up with something incredibly sturdy.

This company makes aftermarket bumpers for Sprinters. I don't know if they have a rear bumper for 2006 models, but I do know they have them for 2007 and later.
http://www.aluminess.com/mercedes/sp...3/rear-bumper/
There must be other companies that can do the same thing.
I called Aluminess last week and they don't have a 2006 version and are too busy for custom work. I'm not opposed to replacing the bumper but going from a cheap hitch basket to a custom bumper replacement is a tough sell with Interblog and would require several months and a considerable investment in new tools if I were to try it myself.
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Old 05-03-2016, 05:20 PM   #35
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How about this?

http://wellscargo.com/wellscargo-tra...ilers/gallery/
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:31 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by LB_3 View Post
I called Aluminess last week and they don't have a 2006 version and are too busy for custom work. I'm not opposed to replacing the bumper but going from a cheap hitch basket to a custom bumper replacement is a tough sell with Interblog and would require several months and a considerable investment in new tools if I were to try it myself.

Rather than try to replace the bumper it might be easier to adapt one of the swing away carriers. The Rola swing away is sold as a separate part at etrailer. And you could attach your own platform if you don't like the Rola storage box.
http://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-...ola/10421.html

The installation manual shows a lot of detailed drawings. You can get is here.
http://www.rolaproducts.com/support/...ion/N59109.pdf

Another possibility is the swing-away arm for a scooter/wheel chair made by Harmar. Here are links to the swing arm and hitch adapter.
http://www.discountramps.com/dockingdevice/p/AL105/

http://www.discountramps.com/al123-h...apter/p/AL123/

Discount Ramps also has other Harmar hitch adapters in various sizes, that can be found by searching the site.

The Harmar items look very sturdy and again you would likely have to build your own platform. If you didn't want it to swing to the passenger side it looks like it could be modified to swing the other way.

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Old 05-04-2016, 07:12 AM   #37
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Elaborating on what LB_3 said, Aluminess's bumpers for NCV3's are three thousand bucks. And apparently that's just for the bumper - not what mounts on it. For God's sake, I just want to be able to carry a cooler and maybe an inflatable boat. We don't need something capable of surviving a launch to lower Earth orbit. We haven't ruled that kind of approach out entirely, but yes, it's a tough sell. I'd have to see major extra benefits to the expenditure that I'm not seeing at this moment.

We are trying to find a sweet spot on sturdiness and functionality vs. price. LB_3 is not impressed by the gizmos that hold a few hundred pounds at a single point (the hitch receiver) and really aren't engineered optimally in terms of either durability or operation.

There are many variables to this puzzle. When we did our solar project, there really weren't that many variables - if we wanted three to four solar panels on a 22 foot Interstate, we had exactly one choice of how to configure them unless we started de-installing much of what was already on the roof (which didn't seem productive). Therefore we HAD to go high-end on that project.

The same is not necessarily true here. There may be a simpler solution. For instance we are also evaluating the possibility of welding additional receivers on the existing hitch assembly. It's well-made and in good shape; it would be nice to retain it if it could be improved via adaptation. Here's what it looks like de-installed, with one of its pesky skid plates still on it and the other one propping it up for the Kodak moment.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:33 PM   #38
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Thanks for posting this picture! My skid plate on the right has been bent up by the hose carrier. Good to know that i should be able to get it off and figure out what to do from there. Thanks! Bugs
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:38 PM   #39
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Have you by chance seen the VersaHitch on the Quadratec.com website? I have used that site to purchase things for my Jeep Wrangler as well as 4WD hardware jeep site. Both are good to deal with.

Katy
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Old 05-05-2016, 06:53 AM   #40
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Have you by chance seen the VersaHitch on the Quadratec.com website? I have used that site to purchase things for my Jeep Wrangler as well as 4WD hardware jeep site. Both are good to deal with.

Katy
Oh, wow, look at that! That's very close to what my husband had been talking about the other night, wondering if we could flesh out the hitch apparatus that we've already got! And it doesn't cost anywhere near to three thousand bucks!


"Dual ultra-stable accessory receivers" would provide what we need, and I like the fact that there are voids cut in that because that's where the chains could be run. The other issue with the existing hitch apparatus is that there's nowhere to run a chain. Hitch locks (the device that secures the hitch tray or box to the receiver) can be disabled by a single blow with a mini-sledgehammer, which is a thief's standard tool of the trade. So ultimately the thing has to be reinforced with chains, lest the entire assemblage be stolen FROM the hitch receiver (not just a cooler or inflatable kayak stolen OUT of a hitch tray or box).

Anyway, with the present apparatus, I was looking at potentially having to run a safety chain from the hitch tray to secure points under the chassis. Do-able as there are existing unused attachment points in the chassis, but what a pain in the rear end to have to crawl under there. Better to have a secure point on the hitch apparatus itself.

This design gives us more to think about. It's for a Jeep obviously but it's headed in a potentially promising direction. Thanks!
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:26 AM   #41
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There’s an additional hitch box / tray design consideration that hasn’t been mentioned here yet, that my husband has discussed with me and that was also raised independently by a 2016 GT EXT Twin owner who contacted me off-forum.

The current Twin Interstate is the closest design to our 2007 T1N Interstate twin jack-knife couch configuration. Owners of both designs use their back doors for ingress-egress. We would both use the back doors as the emergency exit in the event that we had to get out during the night. I myself am claustrophobic if anything interferes with those doors. I use them more than I use the sliding door. Plus, it’s the rear doors that provide our million-dollar views from the bed(s) – example attached (Palo Duro Canyon). Nothing can interfere with our ability to open the doors for that floor-to-ceiling view.

Therefore, in many circumstances, when we stop for the night, we are going to have the hitch box swung away on general principle. It’s going to stay that way all night and all the next day if we’re staying over.

For that reason, we need some kind of a support leg(s) that flips down to bear the weight while it is extended. Otherwise, the entire load is just hanging way out there on that moment arm, for a long time. What happens if some fellow camper comes along to socialize and makes the mistake of putting an elbow down to lean on it, or if we’re in a public campground and we’re off on an hours-long hike, and some little children see this fascinating apparatus and decide they want to climb on it when nobody is watching? Big problems.

Anyway, I wanted to mention that we had already thought of this. It’s a downstream, finishing consideration to the issue of what are we going to build or adapt to start with, so I hadn’t mentioned it yet, but there it is.
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:00 AM   #42
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For that reason, we need some kind of a support leg(s) that flips down to bear the weight while it is extended.
The quick and easy answer to your dilemma— if your box is made of sturdy metal— is to mount a trailer tongue jack to the end of the box farthest away from the pivot. A trailer tongue jack should have enough lift height to accommodate you, should already have plenty of load-bearing capacity without redesign, and could be either a hand-cranked or 12v electric model (for a semi-permanent box, you'd want to relocate your lighted license plate bracket anyway, so you'd have 12v power to the cargo box). You could either get a tongue jack with a foot on it or one with a caster wheel for when you park on pavement and want to put the jack down before swinging the box.
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