JamesFoster
(Infamous BMX Master)
08/07/12 04:32 PM
How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

So I've been wanting to make a hitch for my VR4 (852/2000) for a while now to tow my dirt bike trailer. After looking into it a bit, I realized that there are a few ways of doing it, but I decided to start from scratch and do it the way that made the most sense to me. And I figured that I should take pictures of how I did it, along with detailed instructions on how to duplicate the hitch I made.
Keep in mind, I do not have the inner steel bumper, and I removed my tow hooks to make this hitch. You can probably retain your inner steel bumper, but you may need to modify it.

I also have a wiring tutorial at the bottom of the page, wire colors, where to find them hand how to properly hook up and wire your hitch wiring on the VR4.

Materials needed:
3/16" thick 2x2 square tubing, cut it to 39 3/8"
1/4" thick angle iron, with 1.5" wide flanges, you'll need two pieces cut to 7"
9" trailer ball mount receiver. You can find one at any trailer supply place. You will cut one inch off of it to make it's total length 8"
Four grade 10.9 metric bolts I believe they are M10x1.25
220V Mig Welder, assorted metal cutting and grinding tools.


You will need to drill two 7/16" holes in each piece of angle iron for the bolts to go where the tow hooks would go. The center of top hole should be 1/2" from the top of the angle iron. The center of the bottom hole will need to be 1 5/8" from the center of the top hole. You may need to notch the corner of the top of the angle iron on the driver side slightly to clear the bolt holes. Once done drilling the holes in the angle iron, bolt them to your car, They should hang down like in the picture.





And here's a preview of basically what we will be doing.


The next step, is to clamp the 2x2" tubing to the angle iron that is bolted to your car. I used locking pliers and a C-Clamp. If you cut it to 39 3/8" it should be just the right length and be flush with the sides of the angle iron. You are going to want the bottom of that 2x2" tubing to be flush with the bottom of the angle iron.



Now that the 2x2" tubing is clamped, go ahead and tack weld it together. I recommend putting two tack welds on opposite sides of each piece of angle iron, so it doesn't move when you un-clamp it. Also, mark the center of the 2x2" tubing so you know where to weld the ball mount reciever. You will have cut the reciever to 8" and line up the rear of it flush with the rear of the 2x2" tubing. Make sure it's in the center of the car!

Once your tack welds are in place, take off the clamps, and unbolt the hitch. Now weld every together and you should end up with something like this:
(This is my first time MIG welding, I looked up "MIG welding techniques on youtube, watched some videos and took some practice passes on some scrap metal before welding on the actual hitch. I'm pretty happy with how it came out. I was using a Lincoln 180T 220V welder with Argon/c02 gas mixture.)





This is the rear of the actual receiver, flush with the back of the 2x2 tubing




Once it's welded up, this is what it will look like when bolted to the car.




I then removed the hitch, and welded up some gussets to support the receiver, I drilled holes in the gussets to hook my towing chains to.









Now that your new hitch is completed, paint it with whatever paint you choose. I went with Rustoleum protective enamel.



I mounted these little tabs to keep my rear bumper cover from sagging.


And this is what your completed hitch will look like when mounted!




Here's the tabs I put on there to keep from sagging







Now that your new hitch is attached, all you have to do is wire your trailer lights and you're ready to start pulling stuff!

You will need:
wire strippers
wire crimpers
electrical tape
small zip ties
big zip ties
4 prong trailer harness
converter for 4 prong trailer wiring to cars that have separate brake lights and turn signals. It essentially converts a 4 prong trailer plug to a 5 wire on for our cars. You can get one at autozone for 15 bucks.

all the wires you need to tap into are located in the harness below your driver side rear tail light.

Take a razor blade and cut off the tape that's wrapping the wire loom around the harness, where the wires from the left rear taillight go into it.
Now you will connect the wires from your 4 to 5 wire converter like this:
Wire color codes:
Left signal: Green w/ yellow stripe - connect to yellow wire
Right signal: Green w/ blue stripe - connect to green wire
Running lights: Green w/ white stripe - connect to brown wire
Brake lights: Green - connect to red wire (the stop light wire on my converter is red, yours may be different)
White: ground to vehicle chassis.

The CORRECT way to attach wires to existing ones is as follows:
Strip back about 3/8" of insulation of the wire you want to tap into, DO NOT CUT IT!
Strip off about 1" of insulation off end of the wire you are going to attach
wrap the bare wire around the bare wire
take 1" of electrical tape and wrap over the connection tightly
then take a small zip tie and tie it over the electrical tape
voila, you have a long lasting connection, soldering is overkill for a situation like this.


I just dropped my wire through the existing bolt hole of where the steel bumper would go since I don't have one.


You are now ready to start towing!





Any questions feel free to ask away!


transparentdsm
(I have to say something dumb Member)
08/07/12 06:34 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

this is absolutely amazing i love the way it came out.. looks so so perfect. i have a question... you wanna make me one?? haha.. i will def. be getting me some metal pieces very very soon and i like how you used the hitch to bring the rear bumper up and straighten it all out. A+++ 100% also for your first time welding thats amazingly done as well.

citymunky
(Fake Title)
08/07/12 06:52 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

I really need to learn how to weld.

EMX5636
(Carbon Fiber Cage)
08/07/12 07:15 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Looks great! I wonder if some upper bumper cover supports could be fabbed into the hitch. Almost to replace the crash beam without any sagging like I built for my front one. I guess I'll have to add this to my list of stuff to do after my trans/clutch stuff is done. Thanks!

JNR
(5 star (English Professor) member Has extensive pop up picture book collection)
08/07/12 07:29 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Nice writeup and good job on the hitch! Not my thing on the car (have a truck for towing), but it's good to see it done. Is that a class III receiver?

QnzMostWanted
(Shifter Mercenary)
08/07/12 09:15 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

wow impressive...looks really good and a nice clean install

JamesFoster
(Infamous BMX Master)
08/08/12 11:33 AM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Quoting EMX5636:

Looks great! I wonder if some upper bumper cover supports could be fabbed into the hitch. Almost to replace the crash beam without any sagging like I built for my front one. I guess I'll have to add this to my list of stuff to do after my trans/clutch stuff is done. Thanks!




You definitely could fab some upper bumper cover supports into it, It's something I'd love to do down the line.

Quoting JNR:

Nice writeup and good job on the hitch! Not my thing on the car (have a truck for towing), but it's good to see it done. Is that a class III receiver?




Thanks! I think that yes it's technically a class III receiver, however the rest of the hitch may not be... We should test it!

Quoting citymunky:

I really need to learn how to weld.




It's pretty easy to MIG weld, this hitch is the first thing I've made. Just look up MIG techniques online, and take your time. Do lots of practice passes on scrap metal. For me it was all about taking my time and learning as much about how to do it by watching videos before diving into it.

Quoting QnzMostWanted:

wow impressive...looks really good and a nice clean install



Quoting transparentdsm:

this is absolutely amazing i love the way it came out.. looks so so perfect. i have a question... you wanna make me one?? haha.. i will def. be getting me some metal pieces very very soon and i like how you used the hitch to bring the rear bumper up and straighten it all out. A+++ 100% also for your first time welding thats amazingly done as well.




Thanks so much!


alansupra94
(Excuse the retarded question.)
08/09/12 01:54 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Wow, that looks amazing.

I guess my question now stands, what kind of class do you think that hitch is?


JamesFoster
(Infamous BMX Master)
08/09/12 02:11 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Quoting alansupra94:

Wow, that looks amazing.

I guess my question now stands, what kind of class do you think that hitch is?




I would say class I, mainly because it's only using 4 of the available 8 mounting bolt holes. There are two more bolt holes on each side where the tow hooks would mount.
I would say that class II would be fine, if you use the additional 4 bolt holes that are underneath. The only reason I didn't, is because it would take a little more fabricating as the bolt holes are located perpendicular and higher up than the ones I used, making it a little more difficult to build. However I think down the road I might go ahead and do it, just to do it.


alansupra94
(Excuse the retarded question.)
08/09/12 03:02 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Awesome dude. I definitely think I will try and use the 8 holes to get a class II. I would like to use this hitch to tow supplies for the race track and possibly my Supra (not on all 4 wheels, on just two).

JamesFoster
(Infamous BMX Master)
08/09/12 09:22 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

I think for towing supplies it would probably be good. Class I is up to 2000 pounds, so I'd assume you'd be alright. But yeah if you're planning on towing a car you should definitely use all the mounting points.

89Mirageman
(Senior Member)
08/11/12 10:06 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Very nice, looking to do something similar on my Summit wagon in the near future.

VR_IV_MR
(Used To Have A Pussy)
08/15/12 08:18 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

I will do this one day! Nice job

Chicago1
(Junior Member)
08/22/12 09:35 AM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

I been dying to get a hitch so I can tow little things. I have made a few threads and even tried to get the lazy folks in AZ to get a FREE one but noone has stepped up. What is the possibility of you making me one? No bs pm me a price. Tired of searching and hoping.

jepherz
(Too Clean)
08/22/12 07:22 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Only thing that scares me a bit is the 2 mounting points on the car. Seems like there's going to be a lot of torque on those areas. Maybe you can also come up with a way to attach a torsion/compression rod just forward of the hitch location? This would reduce the torque on those mounting bolts.

iceman69510
(Turn Right Racing)
08/22/12 09:51 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Agreed. Needs some kind of triangulation. But I like the concept. I may have to do this to haul Sprees to the race track.

alansupra94
(Excuse the retarded question.)
09/19/12 12:48 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Quoting jepherz:

Only thing that scares me a bit is the 2 mounting points on the car. Seems like there's going to be a lot of torque on those areas. Maybe you can also come up with a way to attach a torsion/compression rod just forward of the hitch location? This would reduce the torque on those mounting bolts.




What do you have in mind? I can't seem to visual what you are saying.

Also, would it be good or stupid idea to possibly run bolts/nuts to help hold the welds in place like at the two corners and on the reciever?


DR1665
(Kill him in the face with Wilson Phillips)
09/19/12 03:36 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Kudos for the effort, the documentation, the fit, finish, and attention to detail. TOP SCORE.

Now make a small trailer to haul tires/spares to the race track.


JamesFoster
(Infamous BMX Master)
09/23/12 02:35 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Just wanted to post a quick update on this thread, the hitch has been working perfectly!

I've been towing this all around Southern California, and have not has a single issue or problem at all. I've probably put close to 1000 miles towing already. with that said, I still plan to add some triangulation to the mounting points, just for fun, which I will document in this thread when I do it.




JamesFoster
(Infamous BMX Master)
09/23/12 02:37 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Quoting alansupra94:

Quoting jepherz:

Only thing that scares me a bit is the 2 mounting points on the car. Seems like there's going to be a lot of torque on those areas. Maybe you can also come up with a way to attach a torsion/compression rod just forward of the hitch location? This would reduce the torque on those mounting bolts.




What do you have in mind? I can't seem to visual what you are saying.

Also, would it be good or stupid idea to possibly run bolts/nuts to help hold the welds in place like at the two corners and on the reciever?




That would be unnecessary. If it's welded properly you wouldn't need any additional bolts. And if it wasn't welded properly I wouldn't trust it at all.


feil8409
(Junior Member)
10/01/12 12:25 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

I love it. Did you wore up a electronic brake controller?

G
(JDM Unit)
10/27/12 10:14 AM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

For the awd eclipse curt makes one that mounts to the crossmember and bumper, not sure if it would work with the vr4 but it might be close >> click >> click

EMX5636
(Carbon Fiber Cage)
10/28/12 11:25 AM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

That looks similar to the one that used to be offered for the Galant. But it would probably require the rear bumper cover to be cut. That and James' setup should work with a JDM bumper, or for people who have removed the rear crash beam.

JamesFoster
(Infamous BMX Master)
12/17/12 10:57 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Just a quick update to this thread, I have been towing my motorcycle trailer around loaded up with stuff in the toolbox and with my dirtbike and it's been working great! So I can safely say up to 1000lb is safe without any extra mounting points other than what I did on my hitch.

MellowVR4
(5" too short)
01/22/13 11:47 AM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Can this thread be switched to the HOW TO section??

JamesFoster
(Infamous BMX Master)
02/27/13 11:09 AM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Quoting MellowVR4:

Can this thread be switched to the HOW TO section??




EMX5636
(Carbon Fiber Cage)
03/03/13 09:22 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Just my .02 since I started mock-up of mine today. I will be using the stock tow hook brackets and fabbing up a hitch between them. I have them tacked. I'll probably start a thread so I don't clutter up James'. It will look/function almost the same as his, but uses all 8 of the mounting holes. I also need my tow hooks for dyno tie-downs. My bike trailer is 2k max, so I will be only using a class 1&2 1.25" receiver instead of the 2" square that James did. It'll be plenty for the 2-300lb tongue weight of that class.

I will also either tie it into a light weight crash beam/bumper support, or just support the lower edge of the bumper like the factory crash beam does.


JamesFoster
(Infamous BMX Master)
03/03/13 10:42 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

the only reason I used 2" square tubing for mine is because it was more easily available when I was making the hitch, also good idea using the stock tow hooks. I probably would have tried that, but mine were rusted to shit.

EMX5636
(Carbon Fiber Cage)
03/10/13 10:19 AM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

Thanks James for the inspiration! I have no doubt that the 4 holes would be plenty for what James and I are pulling, but I still needed tow hooks and this was easier than building those as well.

I finished mine yesterday. It can be removed/installed with the exhaust in place with some creative positioning. James does win for no-cut though... I had to trim a little corner on the drivers side. I guess in hindsight, I could have tapered the hitch to clear fine. Maybe if I ever have to pull it off I'll cut it and re-plate the end.

I'll only post the one pic here, the rest of them are in my build thread.



transparentdsm
(I have to say something dumb Member)
03/10/13 07:39 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

^ how much would you charge me if i asked you to duplicate that for me, without the paint.

alansupra94
(Excuse the retarded question.)
03/10/13 10:18 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

^^^^

Ditto. Let me know if you are willing to do that.


transparentdsm
(I have to say something dumb Member)
12/19/13 08:15 PM
Re: How to: Make a Tow Hitch, (Detailed Step by Step instructions).

so i was going to make a hitch to tow my sled, but i ended up getting a jeep. this is what i came up with as add-ons to james already good idea. there just some support extras to prevent it from bending, folding or shifting in any way ever.




the two extra square tubes and a flat bar that gets bolted to an already existing bolt hole. easy add-ons if you have already made one. in my opinion james made a great hitch, but i was nervous with it just the way it was. now james had over 1000 miles of proven use on the hitch, but for me this put my mind at ease as all i could think was what happens if it fold.



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