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Building a Hitch and Trailer for my 280

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Since a mod ninja edited my title. It USED TO READ:


If your car doesn't have a hitch, it's a .................................Race car.



Thought I'd start my own thread about this "hitch" subject.  As some of you know, I'm building a hitch for my car, and a datsun pickup bed trailer to pull behind it.


This is yesterday, after I spent the last week finishing the walls, re-wiring the ceiling, and putting up lights





I bought a flip-down license plate cover, so none of this will ever be seen unless I'm hooked up to a trailer.


These aren't exactly in the correct order, but it makes more sense this way.


Here is the hitch, as it sits in the hatch. The cross brace is 2" Square tubing, 3/16" wall. The angle iron on the ends is 2" x 2" x 1/4". The hitch is a cheapo universal receiver from Harbor Freight.


I'm going to be adding more material to this, so I have at least 3 bolts per side holding it through the frame.




After I had it where I wanted it, I measured (like 6 times haha) and got everything where I wanted it.  Then I made a cut from the inside, and drew the box on the outside.




Here it is, all tacked up and ready to weld.




That's all i got done in the 3 hours i worked on it last night. Hope to get it welded today, and install tonight!


PS, i'll be running like a 10" drop hitch to make it the right height.

Edited by SUNNY Z
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Finished the hitch tonight. Just need to take it out, clean, and paint it.






I ended up with 6 Grade 8 1/2" bolts holding it in. Definitely overkill. I put 2 of them in (the back ones even, so the "weakest" ones) and jumped on the hitch. the car just squatted a little. I'm 110% confident it will do WAY more than I ever need it to.




I'd guess it weighs about 25 to 30 pounds. At least its in a good spot (for traction in a straight line).


Thats all. Hope to start on the trailer tomorrow!

Edited by SUNNY Z
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So did you just drill a hole and put a nut on the other side?


You should make these and sell them.  I would probably interested if you wanted to


Yes. I thought about making a plate for the bottom side, but I think it will be more than substantial with the large washers i used. The problem with this is, IDK how many people are OK taking a cutoff wheel to the body of their car. Granted you won't be able to see any of it unless I have a hitch in. Another thing, It wasn't just a slap together and weld project. The rear of my car is raked up about 5" (on the frame rails at least). So I made it tilt slightly down to achieve 0 degrees (level). Kinda makes it tedious, and setup-dependant.


Now if someone brought me their car, that might be a different story.

Edited by SUNNY Z
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Uninstalled the hitch, and prepped/ painted it.


Trimmed the plastic to fit around it




Also started doing work on my trailer to be.


Picked up this gem a while back.




And tonight after I started tearing it down




Big things for this trailer -  I hope.

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I built a carrier to go in the receiver hitch as well. Its just a very temporary solution for cargo space.


I'm getting a little flex out of the board thats bolted to the insert, but most of that is just rotation of the insert in the hitch.....if that makes sense. Its not that bad in real life.



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I like the carrier. Where will you put the license plate?




Thanks! The carrier was a last minute fix. I intended to make one out of steel, but the shop closed before I could go pick it up yesterday. I'm going to the track tonight, so I had to have it!


License plate is on the car. I don't know exactly if its legal- not being able to see it that is. Its on a flip up. I'll post a picture once I remove the carrier. You can't even tell there's a hitch!

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  • 1 month later...

I have to ask:

With that hole back there...how did you seal it from fume intrusion?


LOL! It probably lets more fumes out than in.  Not somethiing I've been worried about, and I haven't noticed any change in the amount of fumes (I've always had a lot).


Now, after thinking about it, It wouldn't be hard.  I'd just put some weather stripping on the back of the license plate to seal around the hole.  There is plenty of tension applied by the flip down plate springs.

Edited by SUNNY Z
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That's what I was thinking as well, a strong spring on the plate and something like door weatherstripping should seal well enough....


Why don't you use a CL3 Plate mount? You can install the drop hitch with a 2" Receiver to stick it into.


As probably the only other guy in the world with a CLIII 2" Receiver we are equally diseased...


My dually has a similar hidden hitch receiver behind the plate, but it's CLIV and the CHP didn't like the 'plate thrown in the bed' so I ended up having one of those Vinyl Sticker Places replicate my truck's plate in Vinyl and I applied it to my trailer above the Trailer Plate. I have been stopped several times by the CHP to see HOW I attached my plate (and they saw the license plate tossed in the bed...) and then wanted to know how I got the vinyl sticker made as they thought it was a great idea. "Never can read a tow vehicle plate when I drive by anyway, but I could see you didn't have one!"

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I used mine to tow Z's, I may do this setup for the fat-bumper turbo 260 2/2...


I towed my Corvair with it, he'll I used it for pulling fence posts and dragging downed trees.


Never underestimate the use of a Z-Car with a trailer hitch as the TRUE original SUV!!!


Most any car I'll flat-tow another of same configuration. I've been doing that with VW's and Corvairs since the tail end of the 70's! Z's ate no different, you just have to be reasonable. You start cooking at 80mph across the deserts because it's flat, and you can.... That R180 is gonna get REAL hot! Frankly, the differential is the suckiest point on the car...put a cooler on it, and you're set!


Oh, and run real, full synthetic!

Edited by Tony D
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