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Check your hitches!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by eslawns, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 712

    Make sure you check your hitches. Today on the way to mow, my trailer started scraping when I stopped at a light. I got out to check and found the hitch had broken through the frame at the rear mounting bolts, and was hanging down from the front 2.

    The bad news is that it tore through the frame where the hole was, so I have some welding to do. The good news is that since the front bolts stayed, the trailer didn't come completely loose from the truck, which could really have been bad.

    I have a '97 GMC, with a Class III 2" receiver. It's supposed to be rated for 7500 lbs. I have a 6'6" x 12' trailer with a 36 wb, a 48" rider, 2 trimmers, and a BP blower and sprayer, all in Trimmer Trap racks. I haven't figured up the weight, but I can't imagine it being over 3,000 lbs.

    I have used this truck to haul my sister's Geo, and my Suzuki, as well as 6 yards of mulch, none of which should have exceeded the towing capability of the truck, trailer, or hitch.

    I just finished putting on a Class III step bumper hitch. Anybody here have any experience with one of these?
  2. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Sounds like the problem is with the Chevy?
    My uncle used to take me to a Chevy lot at night, turn off the truck (Dodge) and say "what do you hear?"
    I was trained to say "Chevy's rusting!"
  3. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    no kiddin. aint no fun to see the trailer go past u on the rd. hasnt happened to me but did to a friend.
  4. greenflag

    greenflag LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    I have a little experience with hitches. I have Installed a couple thousand. I used to own a Truck Accessory Store.

    If you are using what I call a step bumper hitch. One that bolts to the bottom of your bumper. You may be in worse shape than you started.

    These hitches have a rating on them, but they are no stronger than the bumper. In fact they actually cut the bumper's towing capacity in half because of the leverage.

    Also look at the way the two hitches are designed. The load on the reciever hitch pulls down on the back of the hitch, at the same time it pushes up at the front(in relation to the truck). This spreads out the load on the rear of the truck.

    The step bumper hitch pulls down on the bumper causing the bumper brackets to start a shearing action on the bumper bolts.


    I only type with a couple of fingers.

    Im sorry to go on like this, but your safety is important.

    Did the truck frame crack, or the hitch?

    I have seen some of the oem hitches crack under normal loads.

    A good Draw Tite or Reese hitch won't let you down. It is a good idea to check your fateners every so often just for good measure.

  5. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 712


    Thanks for your input, but the hitch I'm using on the bumper is a short term solution. Since the frame tore where the other hitch was mounted, putting it back wasn't an option until I have some time to do some heavy welding. IOW, not until the fall. Also, the bumper I have is attached to the frame in 6 places, with 1/2" bolts on the bottom AND sides of the frame, so it will be close to as strong as the other hitch. As far as what the problem is, it is a design item. The C1500 series is not engineered for towing the way I have used it. I have added a 3/4 ton Chevy to my Christmas list. They run about $21k or so for a work truck.
  6. Grass_Slayer

    Grass_Slayer LawnSite Member
    Posts: 173

    dont knock chevys now!!!! i have had two of them they were both great trucks.

    if u put the hitch on urself u may have over/under torqued the bolts. the intsructions say how much to torque them to. i followed all the guidlines so i can blame it on the hitch maker not the installer (me).
  7. yardboyltd

    yardboyltd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 323

    The stock bumper on my 96 dodge 1/2 has pulled down with the weight of my gravely 260z on a 12' single axle trailer. It's suppose to have a Class III rating. I need to get a receiver hitch to take the weight off the bumper and level the trailer out...
  8. greenflag

    greenflag LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    This is not to start a Chevy vs Ford vs Dodge discussion

    the frame thickness on trucks vary greatly.

    Dodge has the thickest frame, then Ford, then General Motors.

    This is not to say one is better than the other. The difference holds true in the 3/4 & 1 ton trucks as well.

    I had a Chevy as my last truck, & had no problems.

    ESlawns you are right on not trying to use the frame of the truck with it damaged. Just be sure to check the mounting bolts frequently.

    Good luck on your Christmas list!

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