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Well, I did it!

Took me a couple of hours, including a few trips back into the apartment to find more tools. On the other hand, I'm doing a write-up, so it's that much more worth it!

-brendan
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Do's:
-----

-Do wear Safety Glasses (primarily for the reasons of: drilling metal & flinging around the sharp
end of the pull wire)

-DO PUT THE VEHICLE IN PARK & SET THE EMERGENCY/PARKING BRAKE.

-Do have necessary tools

-Do have patience, esp. when working the bolts into place and in the interim between removing the
pull wire and before getting the nuts on. You really don't want to drop the bolt/plate into
the frame. I can't see how you'd be able to recover them if you did... :shock:

Don'ts
------

-Don't Use a 12V Portable/Rechargeable Drill - not enough speed & torque.

-Don't move quickly: I bounced my head off the car and back onto the asphalt at least 3 times. GRR.

-Don't grip the bolts in the bolt holes using pliers on the threads, use your thumb and pointer
finger instead. I thought I was doing it lightly, but it appears I slightly damaged the
threads, making it more difficult to get the nut onto that first bolt.

-Don't Forget the sunblock. My legs, which were sticking out in the sun the whole time are now a bit
redder than they should be.

Tools used were:
-----------------
-Did I mention Safety Glasses?
-Razor blade scraper
-CORDED Drill
-Power source* for corded drill (important if you don't have a garage)
-Proper sized drill bit for notching (I believe I used 3/16"). Reasoning was: if too big, the
cut is spread out; if too small, chances of shattering the bit are high.
-Block of wood
-Rubber Mallet
-9/16 and 11/16 open/closed wrenches (since I don't have deep sockets)
-9/16 and 11/16 sized sockets for ratchet wrench
-Ratchet wrench
-Torque Wrench in foot-lbs

Parts that came from Valley / Sportsrack were:
---------------------------------------
-4 carriage bolts
-4 nuts for carriage bolts
-4 plates that will prevent the bolt from rotating when it is pulled all the way through
-Pull wire with spring at end that matches bolts' threading, an incredibly useful tool!
-U-bracket for center of hitch
-2 washers for U-bracket
-2 nuts for U-bracket
-Hitch itself
-Instructions

Included Instructions:
--------------------
(they were generally straightforward, but incomplete as usual).
A summary of them, basically:
1. Put notches in one hole on each side of the frame,
2. Put hitch in place and secure loosely using the U-bolt & associated washers and nuts.
3. Use pull wire to pull bolt & plate through from notched access hole to bolt hole.
4. Remove pull wire and secure in loosely place with nut.
5. Repeat steps 3&4 three more times for remaining bolts.
6. Tighten bolts/nuts to specified torque.
7. After some # of miles/days, re-torque bolts/nuts.

[continued...]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
[...continued]
Code:
My expanded summary of what I did, including tips & reasoning:
	0. Various preparatory actions

		a. Using block of wood and mallet, slightly widen the hitch to
		make it easier	to slide on.  I only banged on the passenger
		side a bit, figured I'd do it again if necessary, but it wasn't, it
		was very tight but movable w/ the mallet later.

		b. The passenger side frame had an inordinate amount of 
		undercoating sprayed onto the side where the hitch was to be
		bolted onto place. In my case I had to  Remove 1/8" of
		undercoating from the outside of the frame member the hitch is
		bolted on to using a razor blade scraper.  You may need to do
		this to one, both, or neither sides.

		c. Temporarily reposition the exhaust a bit lower by removing
		the upper connection of the rubber anchor that it hangs from. 
		The exhaust is held in place by a rubber support, I assume to
		allow for dissipation of vibration.  I was able to, by hand and with
		patience, remove the support from its top connection to give
		enough clearance to get the passenger side of the hitch in place.
		It was clear to me that without lower the exhaust pipe, the hitch
		wasn't going to go on.  Don't forget to push it back into place
		when you're done, though!

	1. Put notches in one hole on each side of the frame.

		a. You're wearing safety glasses, right?

		b. Don't try to notch the access holes in the frame using a
		portable drill, or at least, not with a low to medium range
		portable (such as my 12V).  It will take all day due to	lack of 
		speed & torque.

		c. I chose to widen the rearward holes.  Getting the pull wire from
		the rearward access hole to the rearward bolt hole will be easy.
		Getting the pull wire from the rearward access hole to the forward
		bolt hole is *IMPOSSIBLE*. There's a trick I'll explain later.

		d. Rather than "notch" I "semi-circled" a bump on the
		circumference of the access hole.  My reasoning was that to 
		notch it, I'd have to use a small drill bit.  It was pretty clear
		I had to provide a lot of sideways pressure to cut into the metal 
		using my drill bits (which are supposedly for all drilling, including
		metal drilling, but supposed to be used in-and-out,
		not from the side).  I figured a small bit was much more likely	to
		shatter, so I picked a larger bit and felt more comfortable
		applying strong lateral pressure.

		d. Use a *lot* of sideways pressure: I used the bottom of the
		spare tire well to give the drill leverage, and also moved the bit
		back and forth in a slow sawing motion. Took 2-3 minutes per
		side.

		e. Use the end of one of the plates to test your notch/semicircle,
		but don't push it in very far esp. if you are a potential klutz (like
		me).  Once it fits well, cut some more with the drill.  I think the
		carriage bolt heads which are as wide as the plates, are slightly
		more difficult to get through because they go in at an angle (as
		you'll find later), so you'll appreciate the extra clearance.

	2. Put hitch in place and secure loosely using the U-bolt, washers and
	nuts. Ha.  Positioning took a lot of patience.  And the mallet.  The 
	important things to note are:

		a. You did check for undercoating positioned in the way, right?
		See section 0 above.

		b. You can rotate it pretty easily, even when it's held in place
		pretty strongly by pressure.

		c. You'll need to mallet it into place on each side, noting that
		each adjustment	to one side will tend to mis-adjust the other.
		It's a back and forth process.

		d. Don't be like me and forget to put the U-bolt on until after
		you started with the frame bolts/nuts.  Doh.
[continued...]
 

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Discussion Starter #4
[...continued]
Code:
3. Use pull wire to pull bolt & plate through from notched access hole to bolt hole.

		If REAR (toward tailgate) BOLTS
		
		a. For the rear bolts, you can do it the obvious way: screw the
		spring end of the pull wire onto the bolt and thread the plate
		onto the line and voila!...you've got a fishing wire to pull the bolt
		through!  Very very cool.

		b. Getting the wire from the rearward access hole to the rearward
		bolt hole was frustrating but only took a few minutes, since
		they're just across from each other (well, close enough).

		c. Pull the bolt through.

		If FORWARD (toward engine) BOLTS (can be used for REAR too)

		a. However, for the frontward bolts, getting the wire from the
		rearward access hole to the forward bolt hole was *IMPOSSIBLE*.
		I almost gave up and drilled a notch into the rear ACCESS hole,
		but I didn't want to do more drilling than necessary, since I'd
		survived the earlier drilling with nothing broken (tools or car or
		me).

		b. Then in a moment of brilliance (mixed with a feeling of total
		dopiness), I figure out the trick! Remove the fishing wire from
		the bolt/plate.  Thread the *spring* end backward INTO the
		REAR BOLT hole & OUT the FORWARD ACCESS hole!  That was
		*way easier*, though you need to be more slow/careful as it's
		possible to snag the spring end of the wire in a bunch of places.
		Now put the plate onto the bolt and screw the spring end of the
		wire to the bolt.

		c. Pull the bolt through.

	4. Remove pull wire and secure in loosely place with nut.

		a. Hold the pulled bolt in place with thumb and forefinger (no
		pliers).

		b. Remove the pull wire	by slowly unthreading it.  Be careful,
		because if you let go now, you'll lose the bolt/plate inside the
		frame never to be found again (really).    Also, safety glasses
 		are useful here, as the pointy end tends to whip around a lot.

		c. Once you've unthreaded the wire, screw the nut on by hand
		loosely (perhaps halfway down the shaft of the bolt). 

	5. Repeat steps 3&4 three more times for remaining bolts.

	6. Tighten bolts/nuts to specified torque.

	7. Re-secure the exhaust.

	8. Put all your tools away, have some water, and brush all the grime
	and plant matter off of yourself.

	9. After some # of miles/days, re-torque bolts/nuts.

You're DONE!

* I keep a PowerPack 400 Plus in the car now:  http://www.xantrex.com/products/product.asp?did=737  I've had it for 2-3 weeks and already used it twice: once to give a fellow motorist a jump, and just now to power my corded drill.  I loved the feature set: battery, jump, tire pump, light, 12V socket, inverter w/ 2 AC sockets, percentage of available battery power left and a wattage in use display.  According to the powerpack, startup wattage of my drill is ~375W, but the drill runs at about 200W.  Yeah, it's an ancient sears drill, not too beefy.
THE END!

-brendan
 

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What a coincidence! I went to U-Haul yesterday to buy the 2" hitch with full intention to install it myself. However, the installer was so friendly in helping me pick out the electrical parts, including the 7-pin connector for my coming-soon trailer, that I decided to pay the $22 and let him install the hitch.

It took him about 35 minutes with some grinding of the holes and misc. hammering, but a clean, nice job and the hitch looks great, with only the receiver showing. I'll get a picture.

I decided to do the electrical myself as I need to run lines for the trailer brakes and charging system.

But that was the best $22 I've spent in a long time! :lol: But then I'm an old geezer and not a young whipper-snapper like our Mr. Brendan.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Heheheheheh.

That was my intention as well, but I was treated badly over the phone by the three local U-Hauls I called (granted they were busy) that I figured, "why not?". Also, I was concerned about the drilling: really wanted to see what was being drilled and hammered myself. Also, one of my hobbies now is writing HOW-TOs for this site... :)

And yeah, still gotta put the wiring in, but not for a while. The primary reason for the 2" hitch was for my tilting Softride four-bike carrier.

Now to convince Brian to help engineer a table/grill for the softride carrier (sans arms) that's way cheaper than the car-b-q ... :p

-brendan

PS - wish I were still a young whippersnapper! I'll be 50 in...16.5 years!!!
 

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For anybody that is now too intimidated to install a hitch, I just want to let you know that it is a lot easier than it sounds.

When I installed my U-Haul Hitch, it took me approximately 35 minutes.

I did not use any power tools and the install does NOT require any drilling. Each side of the car has one enlarged hole and one smaller hole (that you can't get a bolt through). However the bolt puller is quite long and it was very easy to feed both bolts through the enlarged hole (therefore....no drilling). If you're absolutely set on making your life harder by drilling, a 18volt cordless will do a good job so long as its a brand name drill (Milwaukee, DeWalt, etc). The fit is a little tight around the exhaust, but you do NOT have to move the exhaust.

Basicaly all you have to do is
1. Get the hitch into place (this will require a some hammering because of the tight fit)

2. feed the bolts through, put nuts on bolts, and tighten

3. you're done

Now dosen't that sound a lot easier?
 

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Now dosen't that sound a lot easier?
Vlad,

For the record, I *could not* get the carriage bolt plates inside the access holes without drilling...but I only tried the rearward access holes. If it was possible for you to do so, perhaps you used the forward access holes? They didn't seem any different in size, so I never bothered to check.

I spent about 15 minutes trying to get the hitch into place without moving the exhaust as well. Couldn't do it. Perhaps I didn't spend enough time thinking about the geometry? Perhaps hammering out the sides more would have made moving the exhaust unneccessary?

The install *was* actually *easy*. As I said (via an edit on the first post), it took me longer due to the back and forth to the apartment and the documentation of the steps.

My comments are there to cover 100% of what people might have questions about.

-brendan
 

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My U-Haul guy who had the benefit of a nifty lift to hold the hitch in place and a nifty recliner chair to roll around in, had to unhook the exhaust pipe, using some WD-40 to grease the way, to get the hitch in place.

Of course, this was not one of those whimpy 1.25" jobs.

Good write-up, btw, Brendan.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Vlad -

Bigfoot brought up a good point: was your install U-Haul's Class I hitch or their "Heavy Class II" (sometimes referred to as "Class III") hitch? They carry both and seems to market the Class I for 2WD E's and the Heavy Class II for AWD E's.

This install was the latter.

-brendan
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Heh. I positioned the E so that I had the benefit of a slight incline in the parking lot which made the contortions under the vehicle slightly less uncomfortable vs. the flat part of the lot. "No lift, no chair, no rolling board. Not a single luxury..."

WD-40 might have saved my fingertips from some pain in detaching the exhaust pipe. :)

Thanks, bigfoot.

-brendan
 

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You definitely have to drill out one of the holes bigger each side.
Personally, i had a rather easy time once holes were enlarged.
No need to unhook exhaust, and feeding the wire through rear hole to front wasn't a problem.
If you stick the end of your pinkie, you can feel the end of the wire and you can guide it out the front hole.

Brendan, I also had massive amount of undercoating in the same location as yours. That must be the point where they finish applying the coating, and do what we'd normally do with caulk. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #13
LMN_OP,

Were you using ramps and/or a lift? What was the trick to get the hitch around the exhaust pipe? I'm wondering if I was limited due to my lack of headroom w/o either ramps or a lift.

Good suggestions on the pull wires.

And yeah, the undercoating over there just seemed like a bunch of leftovers. :)

-brendan
 

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No special tricks were used, just in my driveway.
The exhaust hanger is rubber, so it moves sideways some, and that was enough to get the hitch up.
Make sure you touch up any spots with paint missing. I looked at it today, and rust have already started in some parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
[quote:7c62d1c854=" "]No special tricks were used, just in my driveway.
The exhaust hanger is rubber, so it moves sideways some, and that was enough to get the hitch up.
Make sure you touch up any spots with paint missing. I looked at it today, and rust have already started in some parts.[/quote:7c62d1c854]

Interesting...

Ok, I see what the difference was: I'd read about other folk's hitch attempts and they'd mentioned needing to paint with rustoleum the places where they'd scraped metal.

I was avoiding pushing the metal exhaust and the frame piece above it with the metal hitch for just that reason: not wanting to scrape it (plus also not knowing how much side-to-side play it can really take before it start pulling on the entire exhaust system too much).

Still I'm sure I left a couple of scrapes around. I've got a can of black rustoleum paint from way back when I was going to do the home depot guttar guard grille, so I can use that to touch up.

Hrm...probably need a mask to spraypaint under there w/o a lift...

-brendan
 

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I didn't want to do any grinding on the underside of the vehicle because it invites rust. I ground the hardware enough to fit through the holes and then primed and painted it. After the hitch was installed, i shot some undercoater through the holes onto the hardware. I'd rather have rust on the hardware than on the body.

Dave
 

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Take the right end of hitch and put it in sideways. It is at a right angle to rear of vehicle. If garage door is closed you will not think of this until I got tired of wrestling with that rubber hanger. Then you swing the hitch like a door until the left end comes under the car. The hitch swings over the exhaust pipe. Ta da :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Heh. Which side of the hitch is the right side???

-brendan
 

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[quote:1a14b70665=" "]The right side is the side that would be closest to tail pipe.[/quote:1a14b70665]

Oh!

Cool, thanks!

-brendan
 
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