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Old 09-23-2003, 07:30 AM   #1
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Lengthening hitch

Ok I'm a glutton for punishment. I am about to be at a point where I could lengthen the hitch. Body is coming off next week to replace the floor.

Our vintage unit has a very short hitch. It's also very narrow. We have a nice set of dents where tow vehicle bumpers have hit the front of the coach. I also have a major issue of battery fitment.

Our unit orignally used a very narrow battery that was attached to the front of the body work. Not a easy to find size. Durring it's life one of the PO's. took the existing battery box and reshapped it to fit a current battery. Lid of course no longer fit so it was discarded. It looks like hell.

I want to move the battery down onto the A frame. I also wound't mind adding a second battery. Not enough room with the tanks there in current form. I really don't want the battery inside the coach and the only place I could fit it in the coach is well behind the axle. Trying to be carefull of the weight back there.

I also wouldn't mind getting the hitch up to a 2 5/16.

Does anybody have the measurment from a current unit from tip of hitch to front wall and width of the frame just before it goes under the body work?

I guess the best point to add onto the frame would actually be where the frame starts to tapper. weld on there and add some gusset plates that extend about 6 inches either side of the union. Cut off the outriggers and shorten them and make new cross members from that point to the front.

Yes I weld and have a pretty good 220v Mig welder. The fabrication is not a problem.

Anybody see any cons?
Any tips?

The current tube looks about 1/8 inch wall. I'm thinking about going to 3/16 in that section or is that over kill?
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Old 09-23-2003, 08:33 AM   #2
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Frame rework

Rather than rework the frame all the way back to the bend, why don't you "sister" on a pair of 2x4 rectangular tubes outside of the existing frame. You could start just behind where the frame comes out of the belly pan. That gives you at least 30" of weld length. This would give move the hitch point forward about 8 1/2".
More than that, I would think might raise your tongue weight too much?
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Old 09-23-2003, 08:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
The current tube looks about 1/8 inch wall.
How about 3/16" for the first crossmember? If you put tanks and a battery there it is getting pretty heavy, road shock and vibration will take a toll and 1/8" doesn't take a lot to rip. The metal is old and probably somewhat fatigued, reinforcing plates are OK but are just going to move the load.

I think the hitch would be OK out of 1/8" You are going to make supports for the battery and tanks, with a little engineering they can also be stiffeners. A triangle is about as strong as you can get anyway.

John
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Old 09-23-2003, 09:40 AM   #4
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Hitch move

The original frame tubing is 14 ga. I think 3/16 is way too heavy. Maybe compromise at 1/8th?
The crossmember are also 14 ga., but its different. Tubing is measured in Birmingham, sheet steel is MSG.
BWG 14 ga is .083
MS 14 ga is .0747
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Old 09-23-2003, 09:47 AM   #5
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Re: Frame rework

Quote:
Originally posted by markdoane
Rather than rework the frame all the way back to the bend, why don't you "sister" on a pair of 2x4 rectangular tubes outside of the existing frame. You could start just behind where the frame comes out of the belly pan. That gives you at least 30" of weld length. This would give move the hitch point forward about 8 1/2".
More than that, I would think might raise your tongue weight too much?

I thought about that as well but thought it might add a lot of weight.

So lets figure it out.

Using the really cool material weight calculator John posted yesterday I guestimated the weights adding 12 inches so I can squeeze 2 batteries in like the 03's have.


Doing it by cutting off flush to front wall using 3/16 wall guessing 8ft per side would add 115lb to the coach. Minus the weight of what I cut off of 20lb that would add 95lb. Let me also take off 5lb for the wedge to mate to the existing frame so 90lb

Using 1/8 box like factory cut off flush to the wall. I would add 78lb minus 20 for removed material. So 58lb minus the 4lb (lighter material) so 52lb.

If I cut back to the existing bend I would add 19lb if I went 1/8 wall

If I went up to 3/16 I would end up adding 61lb.

Plus what the weight of a shelf for the battery is going to be.


So 20lb extra weight if I go back all the way to the point where the frame tapers with 1/8 wall

61lb back to the frame with 3/16 seems to be the best two options.

I guess now the decision is if extra 40lb is worth it for the strength. Or if I should just leave it alone.


Anybody know what the wall thickness is on the new 22's and 24's and if its box? If they are getting away with double batteries on the tounge with 2x4 1/8 wall box I don't see why I can't unless their body is making the coach stronger then what I have.
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Old 09-23-2003, 10:33 AM   #6
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Are you going to put propane tanks there or just the battery?

John
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Old 09-23-2003, 10:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by 74Argosy24MH
Are you going to put propane tanks there or just the battery?

John
Both and might step up to 30lb tanks (aluminum) as well. So I may stick with a single battery to keep weight down.
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Old 09-23-2003, 11:38 AM   #8
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I really believe you are going to be ok with 1/8" tube. If you think about it there will be more stress from actually towing than the weight you are adding. When you make your gusset, drill a couple of 3/4" holes through the gusset behind where the hitch tube will mount and weld the gusset to the crossmember through the holes.

John
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Old 09-23-2003, 12:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by 74Argosy24MH
I really believe you are going to be ok with 1/8" tube. If you think about it there will be more stress from actually towing than the weight you are adding. When you make your gusset, drill a couple of 3/4" holes through the gusset behind where the hitch tube will mount and weld the gusset to the crossmember through the holes.

John
Not sure I follow you on that. Do you mean on the plate from the bottom where the jack will pass through?
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Old 09-23-2003, 01:42 PM   #10
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No the gusset that you are going to add to the front crossmember; a quick picture will be easier, side view of the gusset on top, top view of hitch/frame/gusset on bottom.

If you weld around the holes it will put the load on the original crossmember more evenly than if you just weld the outside.

John
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Old 09-23-2003, 04:14 PM   #11
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Hitchwork

Great idea '74Argosy. I just hope the front crossmember isn't rusted through like mine.
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Old 09-23-2003, 05:45 PM   #12
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Ok I see what your talking about. WOrrkes me since it's thin box.

Here is what I was thinking about. Cut off the fram flush with the wall. Make a new hitch frame and run it down the side of the existing frame. This would spread the connection out over a long area.

My Picture is not nearly as nice but I hope it makes sense.
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Old 09-23-2003, 05:55 PM   #13
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Stacking the deck...

Just a thought, since you have the stuff required to fab up a battery box, maybe you could build a battery box that would allow two batteries to be stacked one on top of the other, with, oh, say step grating on the bottom of the top battery compartment for ventilation? They wouldn't be as tall as the new propane tanks, and stacking them would take up a lot less real estate on the tongue.
Maybe you could mount the spare tire in the location you were going to put the second battery.
Does this sound doable, or should I stick to playing Solitaire on my computer?
Terry
(in Florida)
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Old 09-23-2003, 07:03 PM   #14
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How far will it be from the outside of the hitch A frame to the main rails doing that? I would run the gusset the width of them; that should really tie the whole front together.

John
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