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hey there. First post here!

I want to buy a hitch for my 2003 Element. What class should I buy. I def. want to hitch a bike rack to start, and maybe in a month or so, a small camper. Any suggestions? I may be able to buy a 1.5" for $25 from someone on craigslist, but I doubt this would pull a camper right?

thanks!
 

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There are several threads on this. Do a search.

Most popular choice seems to be the UHaul/Valley 82580, 2" which is variously described as a Class 2 or 3. The class doesn't matter, you are still limited to 1500#/150 tongue, 2" is for wider compatibility with hardware.
 

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so, If i were to buy a 1 1/2", Id be able to purchase a ball with which I could pull a camper?
If you were able to buy a hitch with a 1-1/2" receiver, I'd be surprised, but if you could buy a ball for it that fit a camper, and the camper were under 1500#, then yes.
 

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The factory hitch is the 1.5" class I hitch and you can tow up to 1500# with that. If you opt for the class II or III hitch with the 2" receiver you are still limited to the 1500# but you will have a more solid hitch and more options for hitch mounted attachments such as bike racks and storage boxes.

I had the class I and after a year I replaced it with the U-Haul class III and I am much happier with it. It is very hard if not impossible to find a 4 bike carrier for a 1.5" receiver.

I have still have the class I hitch and it is free to anyone who would like to come and pick it up.
 

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The factory hitch is the 1.5" class I hitch
I've never seen an automotive hitch with a 1-1/2" receiver, but I'll take your word for it that you have. What brand brand/model was it?

The specs I've seen all say the Honda Element factory hitch is a class one hitch with a 1-1/4" receiver. The receiver size is the size of draw bar that fits inside it.

I've seen some bike carriers that work with a 1-1/4" receiver, some for a 2" receiver, none for a 1-1/2" receiver.
 

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For a trailer within the recommended specs (1500/150 lb), any of the hitches should work, whether the Honda one, Hidden, or 2" Valley/Uhaul. Just stay away from the style that bolts to the underside of the spare tire well. Usually a tow bar (that fits into the receiver) (and may be the ball) come with a 1 1/4" size, but they can also be bought separately.

But for bike racks and cargo platforms, the larger 2" size is better. These accessories can put a greater load on the hitch than a tailer. It's not just the weight, but the twisting and bending loads that matter.
 

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Go with a 2"
That dinky 1.25" thing just looks....well, dinky.
There are also way more accessories out there that will work with a 2" receiver than there are 1.25" ones.
Go with the 2" just for compatibility reasons. You can always get an adapter to hook up 1.25" stuff if you really have to.
 

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What class hitch should I buy?

Go with a 2"
Good advice, unless you already have a lot of 1 1/4" stuff. I made the opposite error, I had 2" on my F-250 (now E-150) but installed the recommended 1 1/4" Hidden Hitch. Hitch is fine, but I now have two adapters (1 1/4" to 2" and 2" to 1 1/4") as well as several duplicate accessories.
 

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Think i would be wasting any significantly larger amount of gas by using a hitch bike rack rather than a strap on. Tne strap on-s just seem so flimsy. what do you think???
If you install a tray/platform type hitch rack (e.g.Thule 916 / 917 T2) rather than a hanging rack, you will minimize the MPG penalty. IMO, I have little if any penalty because the fairing on the TPS Lizard rack diverts the airflow above the rear of the E (provided I don't have bikes / kayak / canoe or duffels on the rack).
 

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Hi All. I ended up on this forum looking for a hitch.

I bought a 2" Class III Hitch from etrailer.com. The hitch installed like a breeze. The wiring however was not nearly as easy and I ended up just getting my local repair shop to install it. The Honda accessory plug in the spare tire well had no power to it and it just got complicated.

None the less. I'm pulling a 16' jet boat which is slightly over the 1500lb but seems to do great. It's only about 15 miles to the lake and there's no need for speed on that trip but I haven't had a problem yet.

The short story is, I've had a lot of SUV's, this being my first element. I think that the element was just not made to be a towing vehicle makes getting an aftermarket hitch and lighting kit a lot more ambiguous. And as you'll see if you search around here, Honda Dealers want your first child to install a hitch and lighting harness. My dealer in NC gave me a quote of $970 for a Class I hitch and lighting. Eeeek. Ending up doing the project without them for about $200.
 

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Think i would be wasting any significantly larger amount of gas by using a hitch bike rack rather than a strap on. Tne strap on-s just seem so flimsy.

what do you think???
Gas mileage should be the least of your worries with anything you're getting for the E. After all, you're driving a brick.

That being said, unless you're towing a big ass parachute on it, mileage isn't going to be affected by a bike rack.
 

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I pull a 2200 lb tent trailer throughout the northeast, and have seen a minimal difference in the mileage... - made the trip many times, with and without the trailer, and I can't say where it's been more than a dollar or 2 difference for a 2000 mile trip....
 
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