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Tow hitch info



Graham wrote...
Is the standard rear bumper ( mine has 4 holes in it) strong enough to
use for towing a trailer? My trailer has a Tare of 380kg and a GVM of
1500kg, however I can never imagine how I could get this huge weight on
it. Use will include off-road, possibly some severe off-road use.
I am planning on getting a tow ball and simply bolting it through a pair
of these holes with high tensile bolts.... is this a cheap and quick way
to problems?
Graham welcome.
A good debating point this one, the opinion that a towbar with side
members clamped to the chassis side rails is no doubt right - for
maximum towing capacity.
My 80 was supplied in military spec with a NATO hitch as standard,
bolted direct to those 4 holes. I saw others in service with the UN
being used to tow all manner of trailers and bowsers. It is
interesting to note that the UN 4Runners supplied at the same time as
the 80's always had a hitch fabricated from huge lumps of channel
section alongside the chassis rails and across the rear, that may
have been due to the 4Runner not having such a robust rear
crossmember as the 80 has. But that frame always seemed rather low to
the ground.
My 80 was used in convoy escort when first deployed on mission and
towed a diesel bowser with no additional support to the hitch bolted
to the rear crossmember. I have since towed an unbraked 750kg trailer
across Europe with a ball hitch fitted. One day when Julian examined
my hitch he noted that the rear member appeared to be bowed out
slightly, maybe by a couple of millimetres max, but I put that down
to the hard work that the truck had in its earlier life. So for me -
with my trailer at least - I am happy using the 4 hole mounting only.
Anything heavier, especially unbraked, then yes, perhaps support
between the side members and rear crossmember would be appropriate.
If you want to mount a standard ballhitch on the 4 holes you will
find it very high, certainly higher than the 'standard' height that
most car manufacturers have agreed upon. My swan necked hitch is
slightly lower but still measures about 52cm to the top of the ball
from the ground - I have sent you a picture off-list.
Now to be a tad contentious. You will have read recently a
recommendation for the Dixon Bate style of adjustable hitch, which is
very good but has one serious drawback if you want to go offroading
with it attached. It puts a large flat plate below the chassis line
of the truck, and even though it may not be below the axle when
standing on the flat, it severely reduces your exit angle, and if in
mud it acts like a plough. Similarly if you go on a quarry play day
and encounter rock roads you will find it scoops up rock if you do
not take care with your driving line. The hitch I prefer is the type
often in use by those who have to go offroad with the hitch attached,
probably because it is part of the working day. I once even read the
revered Vince Cobley also praise the swan neck style of ball hitch
which is much better at sliding through mud and over rocks. I have
even seen one made with a height adjustable mounting which makes it
competitive with others of more conventional design. Hope I have
helped rather than confused you !
Tring, Herts
'92 HZJ80 ex UN Bosnia surplus


Hi Reno
I would like to see a picture of your hitch if possible.
The garage I use here has its HQ in Germany so may be able to order one
through them if they have a picture.
Reno Lamb wrote: