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Old 08-10-2003, 08:06 PM   #1
REHeck
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Angry Warning to Those With DrawTite Hitches

Warning to all of those who have installed DrawTite Hitches and carry bikes. I was carrying three bikes (2 road and 1 mountain) when I hit a bump and the hitch collasped. Luckly I was in a parking lot and going very slowly when this occured. I ended up with one slightly bent front rim on one bike.

The failure occured in the weld that holds the cross member to the bolt on bracket on the driver side.

The expensive part was having to buy a Thule roof top system in Vail to get three bikes back to Houston.

I have not done any searches to determine if this is a common occurance or not.
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Old 08-11-2003, 07:14 AM   #2
Abe Froman
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How much did your bike carrier weigh? Was it steel?

I have a drawtite and while I'm not carring bikes I'm a little concerned.
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Old 08-11-2003, 09:57 AM   #3
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Was it a Class 1 or a Class 2 hitch?

Because if it was a Class 1, which is only rated for 200lbs tongue weight, you could very easily generate much more than that, due to the leverage of the three bikes sticking out the back.

If it was a Class 2 that failed, hmmm. You really should get in touch with the manufacturer, or whatever shop/dealer did the install for you.

I just finished installing a Draw-Tite Class 2 hitch onto my Legacy. While the capacity of that hitch is more than the car is rated for, I wanted the security of having some overbuilt parts back there.

Glad to hear none of the bikes had any fatal damages.

-Brian
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Old 08-11-2003, 06:07 PM   #4
REHeck
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Angry Weight of Bikes

The weight that I was carrying at the time of failure was as follows:

Thule hitch carrier - 27.5 lbs
Bike 1 - 28.5 lbs
Bike 2 - 30.5 lbs
Bike 3 - 28.0 lbs

Total - 114.5 lbs

That seems well within the 200 lb limit of the hitch.

Rick
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Old 08-11-2003, 11:02 PM   #5
KD7000
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By simple addition, that would seem okay, but in reality, your math is way, way off.

You have all the leverage of the cantilevered arm of the rack, plus the force generated by all that weight when you went over the bumps...

Think about jumping on a scale- you might weigh 175 lbs, but just compress your knees and extend a little, and you can watch the number swing towards 400.

114 lbs of bikes could very easily generate 300+ lbs of force on that hitch. It likely would have held up fine to a static 200lb load.

-Brian

Edit: Don't most of those 3 bike hitch carriers specify using them only with a 2" receiver, or at least a class 2 hitch?

Last edited by KD7000; 08-11-2003 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:44 AM   #6
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and a trailer bouncing isn't going to generate interesting peak pressures.

You plain and simple had a bad hitch(weld), maybe you bought a Monday hitch.
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Old 08-12-2003, 09:58 AM   #7
KD7000
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Note that I said the hitch would handle a 200lb static load. Not a dynamic load. Would it have broken if you had put a 200lb tongue weight trailer on it? Probably.

In reality, you're unlikely to find a trailer that actually has a tongue weight of 200 lbs... Our 21' ski boat, which I think is about 3000lbs including trailer, has a tongue weight of about 75 lbs. I can lift it up and drop it onto a hitch easily.

I'm not saying that he didn't have a weld failure, or whatever. I am saying that I think he was pushing the limits of his hitch regardless.

My question still stands- don't the three-bike carriers require a 2" receiver or a class 2?

-Brian
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Old 08-12-2003, 10:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Warning to Those With DrawTite Hitches

Quote:
Originally posted by REHeck
I was carrying three bikes (2 road and 1 mountain) when I hit a bump and the hitch collasped. Luckly I was in a parking lot and going very slowly when this occured.
Note the "going very slowly." I can't imagine the dynamic load would have been that huge. Sounds like a defect to me. I would demand your money back from DrawTite, plus the cost of repairs to the bike rim. They won't pay for the new roof rack, but you are better off with that than a trailer hitch setup anyway.
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Old 08-12-2003, 11:23 AM   #9
WRX03
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Quote:
Originally posted by KD7000


In reality, you're unlikely to find a trailer that actually has a tongue weight of 200 lbs... Our 21' ski boat, which I think is about 3000lbs including trailer, has a tongue weight of about 75 lbs. I can lift it up and drop it onto a hitch easily.


-Brian
Then your tongue is too light. A good % is 10 up to 15. I had to move my boat forward on my trailer, it was squirrelly at high speeds and cross winds. My racing trailer dry weight was around 1000lbs, tongue was around 120lbs. Loaded 1500 to 1700, it was a two person lift.

It was just a hung over welder not getting good penetration , or something else along that line depending if the weld itself or the metal around the weld broke.
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Old 08-12-2003, 12:19 PM   #10
KD7000
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Eh, maybe it's more than 75 lbs. Whatever it is, I can lift it with moderate effort, and the boat trailers perfectly. The inboards have such a nice low center of gravity, and the motor / weight center is right over the axle.

Anyway, this has been an interesting discussion.

My words of advice? When Reheck replaces that busted hitch, he ought to put a Class 2 on there.

-Brian
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Old 08-12-2003, 12:21 PM   #11
Abe Froman
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The 200lbs limit is the static limit, the owners manual tells you to measure it with bathroom scale...doesn't get much more static than that.

The tongue weight is simply a function of how the load is balanced over the trailer axle(s). I could load a 1000lbs in a trailer and vary the tongue weight anywhere from 10lbs to 500lbs depending on how I distribute it.

I hope it's a bad weld. Sorry for your bad luck, definitely contact Drawtite.
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Abe Froman
I could load a 1000lbs in a trailer and vary the tongue weight anywhere from 10lbs to 500lbs depending on how I distribute it.
please elaborate further.
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Old 08-12-2003, 07:58 PM   #13
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Load the trailer with the stuff in the rear or in the front changes the tongue weight. A general rule is 10% of the total weight. So if you a 2000lbs trailer your tongue weight should be 200lbs.
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Old 08-12-2003, 09:47 PM   #14
REHeck
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Angry Info on the Hitch

For those who wanted more information below is the info from the DrawTite Web Site on the the Hitch that I had on my WRX Wagon (notice the past tense).


Sportframe Hitch PN 24710

Part Number: 24710
Description: Sportframe Hitch
Class Rating: CLASS I
WC: 2000
Box Size: 1" x 1"

Weight-Carrying Capacity

Tongue Weight - 200 lbs.
Gross Trailer Weight - 2000 lbs.

I do have some pictures but I do not know how to post them into this reply.

Rick
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Old 08-12-2003, 10:03 PM   #15
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It sounds to me like Brian has hit it on the head: you overloaded the hitch. The speed you were going when it broke is largely irrelevant, it had fatigued to the point of failure from all the driving you had done previously.

I imagine Draw Tite will recognize the failure almost immediatley.

Paul
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Old 08-13-2003, 07:11 AM   #16
Abe Froman
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What Vcarbs said...

If you load everything in front of the trailer axle the tongue load will be very large, if you put half the weight in front of the axle and the other half behind the axle the tongue weight should be zero but as pointed out earlier by WRX03 that's not good either. The load can become unstable and can see-saw and reverse from pushing down on the hitch to pulling up on it.

I think ~10%-15% of the total load is a good number, but it just depends on how you load the trailer. So what you want is slightly more weight in front of the trailer axle than behind.
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Old 08-13-2003, 09:44 AM   #17
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A big guestion is how much weight/twist is put on the point/distance of where the factory ball is. Does the 114lb bike mount being farther out exceded 200lbs at that point? The hitch is suppose to handle 200lbs at max of XX" from the hitch. Some reason I think it didn't. Plus I think the force placed on the hitch by the bikes bouncing up and down when moving wouldn't be as great as a 2000lb trailer with a 200lb tongue weight, like the max the hitch is design to handle. Sure sounds like a bad weld to me.
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Old 08-13-2003, 07:50 PM   #18
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Realize thet the bike rack is acting like a lever. All its force when in motion or bouncing is not affecting the hitch evenly like a trailer would. A trailer is going to have more front to back motion (<== ==>) than direct up and down motion or diagonal prying motion. The bike rack was in effect prying at the welds in the front and the back of the hitch like a crowbar when it bounced, you excellerated, stopped or just had wind resistance on the bikes on the highway. As was mentioned previously, the bike rack probably extends further out from the hitch than a trailer ball would making the leverage even more severe.

I too am curious to see what size hitch is reccomended for a 3 bike carrier. I'm seeming to think 2", but could be wrong.
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Old 08-13-2003, 08:42 PM   #19
Dick Fitzwell
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i use to work for uhaul and installed several drawtite hitches everyday. i have seen these hitches severelly overloaded. they can withstand quite a bit more than what their max load says. plain and simple, you got a hitch w/some bad welds

that being said, i would personally go w/a class 2 hitch at minimum for anything i plan on pulling/towing/etc...those bike hitches always look unstable to me, as do the hitches that hold the hover-rounds and stuff.
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