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Old 07-25-2021, 08:42 AM   #1
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Adding trailer hitch to back of Airstream to hold bike rack

I have wanted to put hitch to back Airstream for bike rack. Airstream solution is expensive and not flexible. Plus I have heard that some people had it ripe off that Aluminum skin.
I purchased a hitch from https://www.torklift.com/
I was concerned that it maybe to low by mounting it as per instructions.
So once I received unit I was convinced that this wonít work. Unit would hang down below skid plates.
So with a small amount of modification I gave up my rear storage compartment and put hitch in there.
See below pictures.

Any question please let me know.
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:49 AM   #2
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Receiver Hitch on back of AS

Uhhh...Well....That looks like it took quite a bit of work to install. AS frames are not designed to take the loads imposed by sticking a bike carrier into that receiver then hanging 40/50/60/70/80 LBS of bikes on it.

Not a good idea in my book. But, everybody is able to do there own thing. Please keep the forum posted on how this works out after first long trip with couple of bikes hanging on there.
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:58 AM   #3
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One word

DONíT!
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butch7 View Post
I have wanted to put hitch to back Airstream for bike rack. Airstream solution is expensive and not flexible. Plus I have heard that some people had it ripe off that Aluminum skin.
I purchased a hitch from https://www.torklift.com/
I was concerned that it maybe to low by mounting it as per instructions.
So once I received unit I was convinced that this wonít work. Unit would hang down below skid plates.
So with a small amount of modification I gave up my rear storage compartment and put hitch in there.
See below pictures.

Any question please let me know.
Hi

You might want to update your info under the user profile section. That way folks will be able to easily see which trailer you have. It will save a lot of time answering the question: "what trailer is this on?" again and again.

So:

What trailer is that on?

Bob
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:13 AM   #5
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Welcome Aboard 👍

Hello from the Southtowns.

No questions but I wouldn't chance it.
The AS uses a semi-monocoque design in which the trailer frame & skin contribute to overall stiffness.
It's not like you have the rear axle with a hitch attached 3ft behind it, the leverage arm is just too long IMHO.

Sweet Streams...

Bob
🇺🇸
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:32 AM   #6
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For the safety of yourself and others, I suggest you include a cable running from the bikes/carrier to the main frame incase the carrier or hitch fails.
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:50 AM   #7
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Other than the loss of the bumper storage, it looks beautiful and outside the box thinking.
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:53 AM   #8
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I store stuff in my rear bumper: sewer hose adapters, blocks, etc., I can't imagine giving up the storage area, there's not a lot to begin with, every bit of available storage is very useful. Hope you don't miss the storage space.....
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:04 AM   #9
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I canít comment on the structural strength, but I will say the craftsmanship of your work looks superb!
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:17 AM   #10
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I am in process of developing a bike rack using my 30ft classic as the design mule. The design bolts to the side members beneath the frame . the aluminum tube will be close to the rear skin but respectfully distanced hence minimal torque on the frame . With bikes off, full access to the rear locker exists and tag plate / lights remains visible.

Once done i plan on offering it for same...let me know if of interest
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:18 AM   #11
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Receiver hitch

Iíve installed receiver hitches on two airstreams - 22í sport and 25í FC. Iíve not only towed my drift boat but also used it for a bike rack without any issues. However, I avoid bumpy and non-paved roads.
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:26 AM   #12
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If I'm not mistaken, Airstream Nuts and Bolts in Alabama posted pics of damage done by this type of rear mounted hitch on his Instagram page. Like the others have said, it's a bad idea.
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Hello from the Southtowns.

No questions but I wouldn't chance it.
The AS uses a semi-monocoque design in which the trailer frame & skin contribute to overall stiffness.
It's not like you have the rear axle with a hitch attached 3ft behind it, the leverage arm is just too long IMHO.

Sweet Streams...

Bob
🇺🇸
Exactly, we have lived with front-end shell separation, if you put significant "swing weight" on the frame's rear-end we will see the same with back-end shell separation! It is the shell ribs behind the wheels that are stiffening or holding up the frame in that zone.
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Old 07-26-2021, 10:43 AM   #14
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I see a lot of negative comments on attaching a hitch to the frame. Isnít that the same frame that the a-frame in the front is attached to, that has 700 plus pounds of upward force and yanked on by 250hp trucks for 100s of thousands of miles. Just keep the bikes low and close to the trailer.
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Old 07-26-2021, 11:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Exactly, we have lived with front-end shell separation, if you put significant "swing weight" on the frame's rear-end we will see the same with back-end shell separation! It is the shell ribs behind the wheels that are stiffening or holding up the frame in that zone.
Nonsense.
I have fabricated a receiver that bolts to the skid u channels welded to the frame .
It fits nice and snug under the rear bumper keeping the bike handlebars a couple of inches from the rear window.
The entire setup bikes and all weigh in at 130 lbs.
Had it on our 2013 30' International and moved it to the 2017 30' Classic.
Been all over the country on some if the worst pavements imaginable and guess what no problems whatsoever.
The frame and the body continue arriving at the same place together everytime.
Thats 7 years of bouncing around with no issues on two different trailers.
And the beuty part is I can use the bike rack on the truck as well which came in handy on many trips.
The main raeson I did not want the Fiama.
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Old 07-26-2021, 11:14 AM   #16
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We are planning to have Torklift in Seattle install a rear hitch on our 2013 23 FB. I've talked with Torklift about the shell separation issue. They have done these installations for some time. I asked if any customers had experienced this problem. They said they haven't had any reports of it and suggested we contact the local Airstream dealer, which is where we purchased our rig. I called them and they said they had referred customers to Torklift for this work and recommended them, and had received no reports of this problem.
While I appreciate the theoretical possibility of this being an issue and favor caution in making modifications in general, has *anyone* experienced this problem or had first hand verified knowledge of someone having this problem? I've asked this question in several threads and so far have seen no responses. Thanks for any info.
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Old 07-26-2021, 11:21 AM   #17
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I have a receiver hitch attached to my 2016 FC 30' for carrying a bike rack and two bikes. The total weight is about 85#. The hitch is bolted to and between the skid plates so it is not the low point--skid plates still do their job. We have traveled about 20K miles with this configuration with absolutely no problem. The welds attaching the skid plates to the frame are like new and there is no sign of bending or excessive stress on the frame.
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Old 07-26-2021, 03:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

You might want to update your info under the user profile section. That way folks will be able to easily see which trailer you have. It will save a lot of time answering the question: "what trailer is this on?" again and again.

So:

What trailer is that on?

Bob
It's an Airstream, silly :-)
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Old 07-26-2021, 07:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPW View Post
I have a receiver hitch attached to my 2016 FC 30' for carrying a bike rack and two bikes. The total weight is about 85#. The hitch is bolted to and between the skid plates so it is not the low point--skid plates still do their job. We have traveled about 20K miles with this configuration with absolutely no problem. The welds attaching the skid plates to the frame are like new and there is no sign of bending or excessive stress on the frame.
That looks really nice - what bike rack have you chosen to plug into that?
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Old 07-26-2021, 08:55 PM   #20
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Go to a welding shop and have them put a hitch receiver tube on the front of your TV. Will just need to wash the bugs off your bikes more often.
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