Installing trailer hitch

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
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Mark
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My tercel:: 1984 Automatic, 1981 sedan
Location: Victoria, B.C.

Re: Installing trailer hitch

Post by Mark » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:14 pm

I removed the metal part out of the bumper today and I got a length of steel rectangular tubing (4"X 2") to try and replace it with. I also removed the parts of the bumper that bolt into the wagon body. I did a bit of cutting, but I mostly tore them off by hand by wiggling them back and forth. The new piece of steel is on the right:
IMG_5148.JPG
The steel rectangular tubing sits nicely in the rubber part of the old bumper:
IMG_5150.JPG
I'll cut/grind away the extra metal on the parts that bolt into the wagon and weld them onto the steel tubing:
IMG_5149.JPG
I'll have to find some way of attaching the rubber part to the new steel tubing, but I don't think it will be too hard.
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Mark
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My tercel:: 1984 Automatic, 1981 sedan
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Re: Installing trailer hitch

Post by Mark » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:28 pm

I was a bit worried about the extra weight of the new piece of steel, but I stood on a scale and weighed them and the new piece of tubular steel only weighs 11 lbs extra compared to the old metal part of the bumper that it is replacing. I guess an extra 10 lbs or so won't really make a difference.

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
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Re: Installing trailer hitch

Post by Petros » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:24 pm

Nice work. I think attaching a hitch to the stock bumper always seemed like a bad idea, not just because of the rust, but the thin sheet metal built up part is not suited for taking trailer loads like that.

I have always thought it would be fun to make all alumiumn rear bumper, and leave the heavy rubber cover off. though I would want to find a way to make it look finished, perhaps a thin fiberglass cover that looks like the rubber cover.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

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Mark
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Re: Installing trailer hitch

Post by Mark » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:40 pm

One thing I noticed that I never knew before is that behind the rubber cover, there's a thick block of some kind of foam or something. I'm guessing it's for absorbing the impact from a crash. I've been rear-ended a couple of times at low speeds while stopped at traffic lights. I wonder that if this foam block wasn't there to absorb the impact, the energy would have been transmitted to the bumper mounts and maybe cracked/bent the frame. When considering material to use for a new bumper this time, I thought of tubular aluminum since it's many times lighter than steel, but I don't think it would be strong enough for towing. If I wasn't towing, I probably would have gone for it. There would also be dissimilar metal considerations with the aluminum in contact with the steel mounting hardware. Aluminum would act like an anode and might corrode/crack where it was in contact with the steel. Realistically, I don't think that would be a concern either unless the aluminum was under strain (like when towing for example).

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Petros
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Re: Installing trailer hitch

Post by Petros » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:35 pm

use marine grade aluminum, and put sealant or non-metalic gaskets on the bolts, corrosion should not be a problem. With stainless steel bolts, it will never rust in place like the plain steel factory parts always do anyway.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

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Mark
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My tercel:: 1984 Automatic, 1981 sedan
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Re: Installing trailer hitch

Post by Mark » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:11 am

I finally finished the bumper. I cleaned up and painted the rear of the wagon with rubberized chip-guard paint. I actually kind of got used to how the wagon looked without the bumper, but since I've been gently rear-ended a couple of times while stopped at lights, the bumper has shown its usefulness.
IMG_0723.JPG
IMG_0724.JPG
The bumper welded together and bolted to the rubber cover with strips of steel:
IMG_0720.JPG
IMG_0718.JPG
I cleaned-up and painted it with that rubberized chip guard again, mostly to try and protect the welds from corrosion:
IMG_0721.JPG
Back on the wagon. When I put the bumper all together I didn't bother to properly measure anything. I just eyeballed it. In hindsight, this wasn't very bright since the rubber part doesn't really line up properly on the car body. I'll just live with it for now:
IMG_0729.JPG
IMG_0730.JPG
IMG_0731.JPG
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marlinh
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Re: Installing trailer hitch

Post by marlinh » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:50 am

Nice job. How is the clearance to the body at the center of the bumper? The original ones curve a bit to maintain a clearance.

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Mark
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Re: Installing trailer hitch

Post by Mark » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:13 am

I found that out. In some of the pictures above you can see steel plates welded under the arms that go into the car. These act as spacers holding the bumper out from the car body. I'd say, in the middle, there is about 1/8-1/4" of clearance.

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