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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1995 wrangler and have had some trouble finding a hitch to suit me. So I decided to make one. problem is attaching to the frame. I have seen several reciever style hitches that attach whear the 8 bolts for the bumpperets attach. My question is: is the metal in that area of sufficent strenth to hold the hitch,, and if so,, does it need to be tied in to the "frame" bolt holes underneath. This is my first wrangler,, and I am used to haveing 3 feet of frame hanging over the back wheels to build a hitch on,,,, any ideas ????

 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
On my 92 YJ I installed a two tube aftermarket rear bumper (can't recall the mfgr) that incorporated a 2" hitch receiver. It just bolted into the holes left when I took the bumperettes off and it worked fine, at least up to the towing limits for a YJ.

Bone stock rigs: '81 CJ7, '96 ZJ. Moab every summer!
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
NOT a good idea. The rear cross member is notoriously weak. Make attachments to the frame or replace rear cross member with something more substantial, or both. Infrequent use and/or light weight use will probably be ok, but it only takes once snatching another veh out of the mud or pulling something a bit too heavy, and you can pull the hitch off. Bolts usually get pulled through the cross member or the cross member twists and bends or both.

Doug '97 TJ
My Web Site
 

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Curries sells a set of rear bumper brackets. They tie into the frame above the rear spring hangers. They are drilled to allow the use of the holes on the rear crossmember.

 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep, been there done that. Before I dismantled my '84 CJ7, my wife wanted a "small" tree extricated from the fencerow behind the house -- I think she knows I like yanking on stuff. Anyway, I first tried to pull it out with my '96 4x4 Ram (5.2L, NV3500, 3.90 ratios). No dice. Chained up the '84 & got a running start & it followed me to the woods. When I unhooked the chain I noticed the original hitch was pointed at the sky. Hitch was fine, crossmember bent, most bolts pulled through, tearing steel on the crossmember.

That crossmember is WEAK. I plan to fix mine by basically rebuilding it heavier.

John

'80 CJ7
'84 CJ7
'76 Scout
NRA Life
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I bought my Wrangle Sahara just over a year ago now. It supposedly came with the hitch and all as a factory option. It is amazingly strong! I have snatched the hell out of all sorts of things in every concievabe direction with this and it shows no sign of stress whatsoever. I will take a picture and scan it in and see what you all think of it. BTW I use those 20' 20k lbs straps from Walmart... we lose more of those to morons on the other end TIEING it to thier truck and having to cut it off (and pay $25 to replace it.) I'm so sick of hooking up to things with no tow points. The first thing I did to my Jeep was buy a set of hooks and they have served me extremely well. The only downside are those calls from your friends at 2am: "I'm stuck in a pond/swamp/sandpit could you pull me out before my parents find out I'm not home/the cops arrive/a gator eats me/the mosquitos eat me."

While scrounching in a junkyard its not uncommon to come across tow hooks. My friends 2WD Ranger with 3" suspension and 3" body lift had two tow hooks welded to the frame rails just over the front bumper and a rear Tube bumber with a D-ring welded to it. He got stuck ALL OVER THE PLACE put at least it was easy to get him out.

 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
how do i contact Curries? also, after starting the assembly of the hitch, if i can find someone with a metal break that will bend 1/4 in. stock, i will be able to tie into the rear cross member and have a plate running to the frame on each side, kinda tricky,, but I think it might just work... thanks for the post's also looking forward to seeing the photo of the sahara hitch...

 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have an 89 wrangler. Same issue. I had a bumper/hitch built that bolts to the bumperette holes. I need to make a small mount under the bumper that will go to the frame. I have a ski boat that I sometimes pull. (not to far though).
Let me know how you do yours.

 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have a 94 Wrangler that I installed the Curries hitch. It was not heavy enough for normal use. I installed a 3"x3"x1/4" angle iron across the back tieing the hitch to the frame. I use it to tow my 29', 6,000lb self contained trailer behind my 4 cyl Wrangler. It has handled it with no problem. The angle iron reinforces the crossmember of the frame and provides the rotational strength for both the equalizer portion of the hitch and any yanking.

 

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I looked on the online catalog and noticed that the bumper braces are for CJs. Will they still work on wranglers too?

87 wrangler

 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Tonight I pulled the bumperetts off to start my Erector Set version of building. one of the bumperetts was bent a little from pulling a toyota mini truck out of the snow, and now I see just how weak the rear crossmember is. with no visibal damage to the cross member with the bumper on,, with it off the bottom bolt had pulled deep into the metal and it took about a hour of dolly work to straighten it out. I think i have a solution,, but it involves taking down the gas tank. So I am still looking for annother answer.

 

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I don't know enough about a YJ frame to answer know the answer. But, considering that the rear shackle mounts to the frame and not a hanger like a CJ, they may not. I had not thought about that problem.

 

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Sounds like it is time for a new bumper. Find a good-sized piece of square tubing and cut a hole in it to fit a Reese hitch into. Weld the Reese hitch into place and weld the whole assembly to the frame. Obviously this means you can't replace it later....

 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OK, time for the physics lesson. Draw a line - mentally - from the bottom bolt holes on the left to the bottom bolt holes on the right. Now, mentally again, position a receiver in relation to those holes. You will notice that the receiver is a few inches below the line of the bottom bolt holes. When you pull on the hitch, the bottom bolt holes act as a fulcrum. The hitch system pulls on the bottom bolts and pushes on the top ones...ie a twisting motion on the cross member. If the cross member was strong enough, it could withstand this twisting pull. It isn't. In addition it is also not strong enough to keep the bolt heads from pulling through the metal.

Solutions:
1) an 18 wheeler - had to throw that in. Hope you don't mind.
2) Heavier cross member
3) Attach hitch to frame and cross member.
4) reinforce cross member.

1) Macks are good.
2) Lots of work. Still have to form a good attachment to the frame rails, and the twisting motion still has to be delt with.
3) There are two threaded (about 1/2") bolt holes on the bottom rear of the frame on each side. Assume these holes are on most Jeeps. The few that I have seen have them. If you attach a good heavy piece of steel to the bottom of the bumper and into those holes, the pull exerted on the receiver is directly against this new connection because it is lower than the bottom bolt holes in the cross member. It is a strong connection, cheap and easy to do.
4) The cross member can be reinforced in several ways.
a) bolt a heavier piece of steel to the inside or outside of the cross member itself.
b) weld it instead of bolting it.
c) sandwich the cross member between two pieces of flat steel.
d) heavy angle iron instead of flat steel
All thse solutions DO NOT include attaching the reinforcing steel to the frame. Reason I mention this is that once you put heavier steel behind, in front of or sandwiched around the cross member AND attach the reinforcement to the frame, what you have done in effect IS NOT reinforce the cross member. You have instead built a new cross member. Splitting hairs, maybe, but just trying to cover all the bases.
Personally, I have seen the steel strap connected to the two bolt holes do some amazing pulling with no twisting, no damage, no breakage. My first choice. Cheap & easy & strong. I think that most of the commercial bumpers sold for real pulling make this attachment. On my TJ with the TomKen the piece of metal is about an inch or so wide and two or three inches long with a half inch or so hole in each end. That's all it takes - well with the bolts, of course.

Doug '97 TJ
My Web Site
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
unfortunatly the shakels are too far to the rear to reinforce the hitch with the brackets, but looking at the brackets gave me an idea for connecting the hitch to the frame,,,

 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've been looking into a bumper/carrier combo... I wanted to make sure I got a strong bumper as well as a tire carrier...

This looks like a pretty strong design, the bumper is from J&L 4WD http://www.jl4wd.com If anyone has one of these bumpers, I would be really interested to see how they have performed because I'm probably buying one next month, the hitch isn't rated on the site, and I just put an e-mail in to them to find out if it is.. I need to be able to tow a small boat with it.... Would I be better off with a Draw-Tite or Uhaul hitch (I would hate to give up the ground clearance)...

Steve

1994 YJ Sahara
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Steve I don't know if you'll find anybody that will rate the receiver on a bumper/receiver combination. I don't think Currie rates theirs and I know that Cross Enterprises isn't rated. Consider though that the Wrangler (and CJ) are already not rated very high for towing loads. I would think that it's safe to say that those bumpers are strong enough to carry what your Jeep is rated to tow and then some.

 
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