View Full Version : Trailer Hitch?

06-26-2001, 06:31 PM
I know some of you have mentioned towing with your earlies.
I'm hoping you can help me out. I'd like to get a hitch for my 69 GMC, but when I ask about them I just get the now-familiar blank looks.
Does anyone know where hitches for the earlies are available, or is a custom-built situation?
Any help would greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

por-15 van
06-26-2001, 07:34 PM
I custom built mine on a home made ship channel bumper , the reciever type welded to the bottom of the bumper. works good, wouldn't want to pull a car with it but for a tent trailer it is fine.


06-26-2001, 07:42 PM
Unfortunately I think I'm going to need something heavier than a bumper hitch. I always seem to be dragging some kind of parts car or project around, and I'd like to get a camper at some point.
The van would be the ideal tow vehicle. The 350 would have plenty of power, especially with the low-geared rearend the van has.
I've seen people tow some big loads with nothing more than a step bumper, but I'm really looking for something I don't have to worry with.

06-26-2001, 08:04 PM
It can be done. I have a photo of Taz's early towing a full-size and SolidSide's early being towed by another early here:
I don't know what they're using though.

06-26-2001, 08:17 PM
Yeah! That's what I want to be able to do!

06-27-2001, 08:37 AM
Try This: measure the distance center to center on your frame rails, and how much drop you need to get below the bumper, and match up something close. Reese also makes a "Universal" hitch that is adjustable and bolts together, it would be plenty strong if welded. Or you could just fabricate one.

06-29-2001, 04:46 PM
Good ideas. I'll check on that Reese thing.
I'm not big on using "close". If I'm going to buy a new hitch and have somebody modify it, I think I'd rather just get one built from scratch. But if the Reese hitch could be lined up for an exact fit and then just welded to lock in place, that might work slick.

06-29-2001, 10:48 PM
My 65 has a great custom built. I'd bet that if you look in the yellow pages you can find a custom bumper shop that will make you one. Mine was made by Runell. I'll post a photo tomarrow, too dark now.

06-30-2001, 12:12 AM
I made my own hitch. I replaced the bumper with a 1" X 3" bar of steel, bolted on a 5/8 thk drop to get below the gas tank and ran to the front of the tank bolted to the floor. All gusseted with 1/2" steel. I used to haul around a Fordson crawler to antique engine and tractor shows on a tandem axle trailer. The rig was over 5000 lbs hooked to a 90" 64 Chevy van sometimes the tail wagged the dog. I never had problems with the hitch just the trailer lights. Dan


06-30-2001, 11:25 AM
Hi All,
Here is a link http://www.gogopher.com/page_2.htm to a page on my web site with my 66 (250ci) van shown. It has a channel iron bumper that has hauled this back hoe and many other things over the years. She has the channel bolted to the bumper brackets without any other support. If you go this way just make sure that you use grade 8 bolts (fine thread) to hold it in place. Also make sure that you torque it properly and use locktite.


06-30-2001, 01:24 PM
So here are the photos of my bumper. http://y42.photos.yahoo.com/bc/ahighdiver/lst?&.dir=/Lazy+Reincarnate&.src=ph&.view=t&.last=1
If you want dimensions let me know.

07-21-2001, 08:33 PM
i just got one put on my '67 108 (actually, I just got the van too! AT LAST!!!) I went to a custom welding shop that does trailer hitches.

basically, they don't make "kits" for them anymore, hence the blank looks at non-custom places, but a heavy duty hitch for them isn't much different than those for, say an 70-80's van with rear mounted gas tank. They made what they call an H type hitch (cuz that's what I asked for--- who knows what they'dve done left to there own devices), the horizontal part of the "H" bisecting your gas tank and the four corners of the "H" bolting (or in my case welding) to the frame (well, they're unibody, but the thick metal channels underneath that the bumpers are hooked up to). Its the big deal which will handle 10,000lb loads, and looks a lot like what the "stock kits" were at the time (I know a guy that has a hitch that was put on his "back in the day" when these vans were new).

anyhow, look in the phone book under "hitches" and/or "trailers" etc, and you should see a couple of places that advertise "custom hitches". Ask around too, that's how I found the place I used, and they did a nice job on the van (you really can't see much of the hitch except the 2" receiver) and also did a nice job on my '53 chevy pickup.

I would NOT reccomend a U-haul place though, even though they do advertise custom hitches... try to find a place that's not a chain and does other welding work as well.

good luck

(if you are in the seattle area, the place I've used is Glen's Welding)

[This message has been edited by RAVEN (edited July 21, 2001).]

07-30-2001, 09:21 AM
When getting atrailer hitch put on, keep one thing in mind: you may have to drop the gas tank someday, so don't WELD something together that makes removing the tank impossible. If you need supports that run under the tank, bolt them on, don't weld them. I have already dropped the gastank out of my van once and I need to do it again, less than a year later. You don't want to have to torch off your hitch after you go thru all the trouble of installing it.

07-30-2001, 05:00 PM
Welding and torching next to the gas tank? ARE YOU INSANE?!?!?

07-31-2001, 04:56 PM
Why yes!
How kind of you to ask!
Seriously though, I would not event think about getting a welder near the trailer hitch mounting location before the tank was removed and located far far away.
I would hope that any welding shop working on that sort of thing would do the same.

07-31-2001, 07:23 PM
It's not the greates idea to weld on the hitch to the frame. The heat from welding weakens the frame and if it needs to be removed later it is even more of a problem.

bolting is the best solution.

07-31-2001, 11:15 PM
Well if you could have a frame welded around the gas tank(after it was removed of course)so the tank could clear the inside of it without touching the tank. And have the exhaust pipes exit the back and come around the outside of the hitch frame to straight out the back. That would be functional as well as stylish. COOL!


[This message has been edited by tonye66 (edited August 01, 2001).]

07-31-2001, 11:25 PM
Welding weakens the frame?
I have always heard that a weld if done properly is stronger than the original metal.
Even if not, drilling the frame to bolt on a hitch would probably weaken it a bit as well,(If not more so)and would also invite rust.
I don't know the best answer myself. I'll probably talk to some different places & see who makes the most sense.
It's something to give some thought to for certain.

08-02-2001, 09:12 PM
A properly thunk out hitch would use existing holes.....On Tractor trailer rigs the frames are sometimes stamped "Do Not Drill Or Weld", any change to the frame alters its strength, the trick is to make the hitch strong enough to make up for it. Anybody remember the old U-Haul rental hitches that clamped to the bumper? They've been illegal in Michigan for some years now.

08-11-2001, 01:57 AM
I would weld tabs to the "frame", then bolt the hitch to the tabs. As far as welding near the gas tank goes, muffler shops do it all the time. --- TV

08-12-2001, 02:39 PM
I know- the one across the street from my job burned to the ground last year.

08-15-2001, 09:06 AM
Agreed, as old vanners we're all at least a little crazy...but not suicidal. What you dont want an early invitation to that great partyvan convention in the sky, so please... DONT weld near the gas tank!