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Old 07-22-2020, 02:19 PM   #1
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Shorten the shank?

So Iím removing the Execuhitch/Stelth hitch on my X5 and replacing it with a Draw Tight so I can use the Husky weight distribution hitch that came with my used 19í Bambi. Just looking at the setup it looks like the ball will be farther out than my current setup. Just by eyeballing it itís almost a 5 inch difference. I currently have the shortest shank. It looks to me that I should be able to remove 2Ē from the shank and redrill the pin hole. That would be an improvement.

Is this a typical practice?
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Old 07-22-2020, 02:41 PM   #2
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Can-Am sells one, for the X5, that's much shorter. I have one which I can measure it for you when I wrap up at the office.
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Old 07-22-2020, 03:22 PM   #3
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I don't have that particular hitch but on mine the drawbar shank is about 3 inches longer than I would like so I am going to cut it and re-drill. This will reduce the twisting effect on the bumper. Like most manufacturers, they try and make a one-size-fits-all product.

Just see where the little gusset runs into your receiver. That would be as far as you can move it and then re-drill the hole. Try to use a drill press so get precise alignment of the new hole.

Like any modification, you should consult the hitch manufacturer to get their blessing before modifying anything.
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Old 07-22-2020, 04:24 PM   #4
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Before drilling, check the "gusset" under the shank. (That part that braces the horizontal and vertical parts.) It may not allow you to go as far as you'd like. You can grind the gusset a little, but everything weakens it.
A machine shop should be able to easily drill another hole.
I have an extra shank I'm going to drill myself. My concerns are getting the hole centered perfectly, and the shank perpendicular to the drill bit. Then what size is the hole? It's easy to say 5/8" but that's the pin diameter. I suspect the hole will be a bit larger, like 11/16" or 21/32".
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Old 07-22-2020, 05:19 PM   #5
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Before drilling, check the "gusset" under the shank. (That part that braces the horizontal and vertical parts.) It may not allow you to go as far as you'd like. You can grind the gusset a little, but everything weakens it.
A machine shop should be able to easily drill another hole.
I have an extra shank I'm going to drill myself. My concerns are getting the hole centered perfectly, and the shank perpendicular to the drill bit. Then what size is the hole? It's easy to say 5/8" but that's the pin diameter. I suspect the hole will be a bit larger, like 11/16" or 21/32".
Probably the 21/32" It should be close to the pin diameter to avoid slop. Drilling this hole with a drill press is really beneficial to a straight hole in the end. If a shop is doing it, they can match the holes.

I would be careful cutting anything out of the gusset.
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Old 07-22-2020, 06:23 PM   #6
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Probably the 21/32" It should be close to the pin diameter to avoid slop. Drilling this hole with a drill press is really beneficial to a straight hole in the end. If a shop is doing it, they can match the holes.



I would be careful cutting anything out of the gusset.


I would drill it ⅝Ē. Twist drills that large wander a bit and the hole will be slightly oversize. Resharpening can also contribute to this if one lip is a tiny bit longer than the other. If a machinist wanted a hole that was precisely 0.625Ē, heíd drill one size under and finish with a reamer.

You will need to lay out and centre punch the hole carefully, and drill a pilot hole to guide the 5/8Ē drill. A drill press is essential.

Is redrilling normal? Iíd say yes. And donít worry about the manufacturer. Itís ordinary mild steel and strength is not affected by things like welding and drilling. Also, shortening the shank reduces leverage and reduces the forces on the shank and the receiver.
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Old 07-22-2020, 07:34 PM   #7
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There is a tool that fits the hole. It has a punch in the middle to locate the start of the new hole correctly. These punches come in a set with a punch for each normally used bolt size. A machine shop will have a set. Slide the shank in as far as it will go. Put the transfer punch into the pin hole and punch the starting point into the shank.

https://www.harborfreight.com/28-pie...-set-3577.html

Note - if the shank and receiver are not close to the same size, you could shim the shank to be in the middle of the receiver. I would not. I would let it rest on the bottom of the receiver to establish the hole position.

Note, if the shank does not go all the way into the receiver and bottom against the gusset, it may need to be shortened for clearance. But do not if you do not have to shorten the shank.

The hole should be drilled on a substantial mill or drill press. It really needs to be square. Also it would be wise to verify that the sides of the shank are square to the bottom. Everything you can do to make the shank true and square is to your advantage.

Note - it may be a good idea to leave at least one extra hole above and below the hitch head position to allow adjustment if it is required at a later time. Change in tire size, lift, suspension mod on TV ..... things do change.

Good luck on the project - Yes, I would ream the hole. Pat
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Old 07-22-2020, 11:11 PM   #8
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When I changed from a 2" to 2.5" shank, I had a second hole drilled to bring the ball as close as I could and still drop the tailgate with AS coupled. Still have about 1/4" between gusset and receiver. I had a welding/fab shop drill it.
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Old 07-23-2020, 08:36 AM   #9
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Thanks For all the good advice. I do have a drill press (1950ís Craftsman) I also have access to a machine shop. Looks like 2Ē to the gusset.

@matthewk thanks for that info. Iíd love to know the dimensions of that shorter one. Hmm. Maybe Iíll call CanAm and see if they have one.

John
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Old 07-25-2020, 08:50 PM   #10
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Any excess is counterproductive. Hav it as short as possible.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:51 PM   #11
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Suggest buying a new shank. Machine shop costs will approach the cost of a new shank. Even if you have a drill press with the proper drill bit...it took me quite a while to drill the new cross hole.
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Old 08-06-2020, 04:37 PM   #12
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Suggest buying a new shank. Machine shop costs will approach the cost of a new shank. Even if you have a drill press with the proper drill bit...it took me quite a while to drill the new cross hole.
Iíve drilled a new hole in my shank on a bench top drill press using a new 5/8 in. drill bit from Home Depot. Gained 2 inches and helped a bit with slop. A new shank will still have to be shortened.
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Caution! Most advice given here is nothing more than a subjective opinion. Please reference the vehicles owner manual for instruction on towing and hitch use which is based on physics, facts, and research.
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Old 08-06-2020, 04:59 PM   #13
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Very nice, looks like 5/8 was the way to go. I shortened mine a few weeks ago also using a 5/8 bit on a press, brought the gusset to within 1/8 inch clearance. I use a 3/16" shim for slop.
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:18 PM   #14
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Out of curiosity, why are you going to a WD with that trailer. Did you try towing with the execuhitch? I have an x5 and a 20Ft caravel on order and I'm trying to decide hitches now. But like you, these hitches do not allow a WD.
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Old 08-10-2020, 04:19 PM   #15
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The safe stability limits for handling and sway at US highway speeds with no WD and passive sway control is closer to 5000 lbs for an X5 and similar vehicles. Towing over that would have you dropping your speed to 55 or addition of a hitch with modest WD and good to excellent sway control. It will be more comfortable, handle and corner better and will be much more stable and safe while driving at typical towing speed limits.
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Old 08-10-2020, 05:01 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mefly2 View Post
Suggest buying a new shank. Machine shop costs will approach the cost of a new shank. Even if you have a drill press with the proper drill bit...it took me quite a while to drill the new cross hole.
I could be wrong here, But, I think the point is that the "off the shelf" shanks are still to long to "fit" many installs and the OP is trying to get the hitch as close to his bumper to Reduce the Overhang from the rear axle
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:32 AM   #17
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Out of curiosity, why are you going to a WD with that trailer. Did you try towing with the execuhitch? I have an x5 and a 20Ft caravel on order and I'm trying to decide hitches now. But like you, these hitches do not allow a WD.
Yea I thought it would be ok without it. I tow cars on car trailers occasionally and all I can say is that campers donít tow like a car on even a uHaul trailer. The first few trips I still wasnít concerned but the trip to Colorado and back (Cleveland Ohio) changed my mind. So I installed a Drawtight and am now using the Husky hitch. Itís a HUGE difference in stability. Just got back from a trip around Michigan and Iím pretty happy with it. Iím still playing with the set up as my X5 has the rear air suspension.

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Old 08-11-2020, 02:28 PM   #18
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-- snip -- Iím still playing with the set up as my X5 has the rear air suspension. John
John - use the CAT scale weights to tune the lashup. That Air Suspension is a non-issue. Just let it do it's thing. Match the tire pressure to the axle load.
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Old 08-11-2020, 02:42 PM   #19
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I could be wrong here, But, I think the point is that the "off the shelf" shanks are still to long to "fit" many installs and the OP is trying to get the hitch as close to his bumper to Reduce the Overhang from the rear axle
Ultra - I was simply responding to the previously posted ideas of going to a machine shop to get the hole drilled ... very $$ - almost the cost of a new shank around here.
I bought the proper drill bit and did it myself ... lots of cutting oil and about 45 minutes with slow cutting pressure on the drill press ... even after drilling a pilot hole. Watch that you don't overheat the bit or the shank.
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Old 08-11-2020, 02:57 PM   #20
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Ultra - I was simply responding to the previously posted ideas of going to a machine shop to get the hole drilled ... very $$ - almost the cost of a new shank around here.
I bought the proper drill bit and did it myself ... lots of cutting oil and about 45 minutes with slow cutting pressure on the drill press ... even after drilling a pilot hole. Watch that you don't overheat the bit or the shank.
Mefky2 I agree with you 100% drill it yourself and buy/borrow/ rent a drill press.
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