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Old 05-21-2011, 10:11 PM   #15
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step one complete - pictures

Took a day off work last week and went to a local welder to get the this stage of the new hitch complete. It's not rocket science or as complex as a PSD transplant but the process is certainly a personal lesson

While the three pieces were still bolted in place a couple of spot welds were done to keep things true when we removed it from the main chassis.














The welder at his press







Looks a bit blobby but I'm sure it's a good weld











Painted with rubberize underside paint. May buy some more and do the whole rear underside. You never know when someone will look

I reckon it'll hold for a 5-6000 lb tow with 500-600 lb of tongue weight. Good for a car on a trailer, a small to medium size boat or a couple of horses in a trailer.

I intend to add heavy duty hooks to hang trailer chains and add a 7 pin plug holder too.
Then on to wiring a new brake controller. Looks like electric is the way to go.
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:06 AM   #16
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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Well I tore into the back of my moho today to take a look at the hitch. You guys got it easy compared to my 280.

The hitch cross member hangs from the ends of the frame rails held by three 1/2" bolts on each side. It was a real joy getting to those six bolts. The hangers and end fittings are formed from 1/4" mild steel. The rest of the cross member is formed from 3/16" mild steel with lots of 2" lightening holes. The receiver itself looks fine, it's just hanging from a lot of nothing.

The real fun part is the tanks hang below and around the frame rails. If I pull the tanks I can beef up the frame rails but I can't really tie the hitch to anything forward because of the tanks. In the pictures you can see the bottom end of the rails where the tank hangers are attached. You can also see the connector they put in for the trailer light plug which is mounted under the spare tire mount. Unfortunately the connector won't fit through the hole in the rear panel so you have to cut the wires anyway.

For now I've got some 1/4" flat stock so I'll weld in doubler plates on the horizontal and vertical part of the cross member and then weld in a plate across the front side to form a triangular box. Should be a lot stronger than the existing but still limited by the tanks in the middle of everything.

I'm open to suggestions if anybody has any ideas.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 05-29-2011, 02:08 AM   #17
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Hi Dan. I'm very interested in what you do. I would like to do same to my 280. I would like to pull an ATV trailer.
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:37 AM   #18
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Interesting to see the differences Dan.
I see no reason why that bar can't be plated with the 1/4", as you planned and then add additional gussets to cross stiffen the receiver to the bar.
Its tricky to imagine how the gas tank/tanks are compared to the longer tailed 345's etc, but could you lengthen the side plates all the way forward, to double the chassis rails and bolt thru. Then maybe put a crossmember in fwd of the tanks, so creating a boxed stiffening?
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:21 PM   #19
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Interesting to see the differences Dan.
I see no reason why that bar can't be plated with the 1/4", as you planned and then add additional gussets to cross stiffen the receiver to the bar.
Its tricky to imagine how the gas tank/tanks are compared to the longer tailed 345's etc, but could you lengthen the side plates all the way forward, to double the chassis rails and bolt thru. Then maybe put a crossmember in fwd of the tanks, so creating a boxed stiffening?
Keyair I took another picture today to try to show the problems.

First the cross member is hung on the end of the frame rails. There is only 3" of rail extending past the black tank. The three bolts on each side form a triangle about 2" on a side. The crossmember hangs from a formed 3"x1"x1/4" thick angle. From the center of these bolts, the center of the receiver is down about 10". The lever arm formed by a ball mount that far from the three bolts on the end of the frame rails is tremendous.

Beefing up the frame rails might aid in carrying more tongue weight vertically but won't relieve any of the twisting on the crossmember. It really needs to be boxed in with some bracing from the bottom of the receiver forward on the chassis. But then you come back to the tanks. The bottom of the tanks is nearly at the center of the receiver. Any brace would have to extend about 34" forward to clear the tanks and would hang low enough to drag everywhere.

If you look closely in the other pictures you will see two tabs under the receiver that held a 3" drag roller. There was also two large casters mounted on the bottom of the crossmember. Over the years dragging these wheels has twisted the crossmember enough to crease the rear panel with the top of the spare tire mount. I'm removing all of these wheels to gain about 3 1/2". Maybe I can eliminate most of the dragging and if not a steel plate on the bottom of the receiver will last a long time. I even thought about cutting off the receiver and moving it up a couple of inches closer to the bumper but that would really put the tanks in harms way.

I don't expect to tow a 10,000lb trailer but the way it is now it worries me to even pull my 1600lb smart.

Dadstoy I hope this answeres some of your questions.

I'll post some more pictures when I finish beefing up the crossmember.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:53 PM   #20
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thought

Dan

Take a look at these two pictures and see if using braces on the two end pieces to the main chassis could be fabricated and then replace your swiss cheese cross member with something sturdier that will hold the receiver tube higher up


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Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
Well I tore into the back of my moho today to take a look at the hitch. You guys got it easy compared to my 280.

The hitch cross member hangs from the ends of the frame rails held by three 1/2" bolts on each side. It was a real joy getting to those six bolts. The hangers and end fittings are formed from 1/4" mild steel. The rest of the cross member is formed from 3/16" mild steel with lots of 2" lightening holes. The receiver itself looks fine, it's just hanging from a lot of nothing.

The real fun part is the tanks hang below and around the frame rails. If I pull the tanks I can beef up the frame rails but I can't really tie the hitch to anything forward because of the tanks. In the pictures you can see the bottom end of the rails where the tank hangers are attached. You can also see the connector they put in for the trailer light plug which is mounted under the spare tire mount. Unfortunately the connector won't fit through the hole in the rear panel so you have to cut the wires anyway.

For now I've got some 1/4" flat stock so I'll weld in doubler plates on the horizontal and vertical part of the cross member and then weld in a plate across the front side to form a triangular box. Should be a lot stronger than the existing but still limited by the tanks in the middle of everything.

I'm open to suggestions if anybody has any ideas.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 06-03-2011, 12:04 AM   #21
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Dan

Take a look at these two pictures and see if using braces on the two end pieces to the main chassis could be fabricated and then replace your swiss cheese cross member with something sturdier that will hold the receiver tube higher up
Funny you should post this Andy, I was just about to post an update but my computer is being really obnoxious tonight.

I believe those brackets mount to the bottom of the frame rails which is where my holding tanks live. I am thinking along the same lines almost.

This is what I've done so far. There are eleven 1/4" plates welded in to double and box in the cross member and if you look closely I added plates on the end bracket/hangers. You don't want to know how many lineal feet of welding that is. I also welded around all the lightening holes. I removed the drag wheel and bent the chain hole bracket up to horizontal. I gained almost 4" doing this. I also welded heavy nuts inside for the spare tire mount as there is no longer access. I then painted the whole thing with rubberized undercoat. I don't know yet if that was a mistake or not.

I also mounted a trailer 7 pin socket in the rear panel. Now I can use another socket with a short pig tail to the spare tire mount. Makes removal much easier. I also soldered and used heat shrink tube on the connections near the left frame rail. Airstream used wire nuts and I just don't like them.

Now the fun part. As I tried to install the monster, it is much heaver than it used to be, the bottom horizontal edge of the frame rail hits the diagonal plate on the upper front of the crossmember. The bolt holes miss lining up by about 1/8". I don't know if I will grind a chamfer on the bottom edge of the frame rails or do it correctly and cut and weld in a relief in the diagonal plate. I'll have to see how I feel in the morning.

I thought about cutting off the receiver mount and shortening it a few inches but to do so would make the black tank the lowest point. I don't really want to do that. If this doesn't make everything nice I may try to slide a 36" long channel stock inside the frame rails to double the thickness at the crossmember attachment point at the rear and secure them with a couple of bolts forward of the tanks. I don't know if that would really do much or just be a feel good exercise.

Anyway I am gaining on it.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:46 PM   #22
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I then painted the whole thing with rubberized undercoat.
I may not do all the undersides of mine, especially in places where you could easily rub up against it. It's a bit like anti-climb paint or old electric tape glue.

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The bolt holes miss lining up by about 1/8".
That sucks.


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Anyway I am gaining on it.
Cheers, Dan
I hear you. Wiring is next for mine.
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:03 PM   #23
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Some more ground

Drilling the holes for the hooks with a 5/8th bit through the metal was a pain. Not sure the shackles are strong enough and may have to weld a proper safety chain loop like I should've done in the first place.


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Old 06-03-2011, 09:47 PM   #24
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Well I was feeling a little ambitious today so cut a notch in each corner and welded in a short piece of angle iron to form a recess for the corner of the frame rail. Kind of a pain in the rear but it's done. I ran out of the undercoat so Rustoleum it was.

I went ahead and stuffed it in the hole and had half of the bolts in before I realized I had the wiring on the wrong side. Now I got some practice removing and reinstalling it again. Anyway it's in and all the bolts properly torqued and I have to admit so far it looks pretty stout.

I also took a worms eye view picture so you can see how low the tanks hang. I could raise the receiver an inch or two but I don't think it would be prudent to leave the tanks too exposed. You can't see it but the bottom of the tank slopes down to the left so the low side and the valves are pretty low.

Andy I was just looking at your pictures and noticed your frame rails are reversed. The flat side of the channel is usually on the outside. They must have extended the frame and reversed the channel for some reason.

OK I just went back and saw the picture where the extensions were added. I guess I'm just a bit worn out today. Tomorrow wll be better.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:40 AM   #25
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Well we just did 650 miles with the fanny pack mounted on the hitch and it was rock stable. We had the box loaded with junk and I can jump up and down on the box and nothing moves. We had friends following us and the said the box never moved at all. For now I'm happy with the fix.

Cheers, Dan
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