I posted this over on the Sandpiper forum, and since so many people are perplexed about hanging stuff off the back of their FWs & TTs, I thought I'd post it here in hopes of sharing what I feel is some pretty good information.
Been doing some serious research and hope this helps everyone.
1. Lippert manufactures the frames for the Sandpipers (and many others). I discovered that Lippert (Lippert Components, Inc
) has an online store and they have bike racks and receiver hitches designed
for our FWs and TTs. (Lippert Component's RV Parts & Accessories / Storage, Towing, and Convenience / Bike Racks & Receivers
) The rated weight is still very limited (for the most part 250lb max). I talked with the Customer Service folks at Lippert and their products were their only recommendation. The racks and reciever are pretty pricey and I would advise you to call Lippert and ask them to tell you exactly which rack or receiver you need for your particular FW/TT.
2. Curt mfg also makes an "adjustable width trailer hitch reciever" specifically for RV FWs and/or TTs. It expands out to 72" wide (my Sandpiper measures 60+" at the frame extensions that connect to the bumper). This hitch is pricey to and is $322 on etrailer.com (Adjustable Width Trailer Hitch Receiver for RVs, 22" to 72" Wide Curt Specialty Trailer Hitches 13703
) I found it for $250 at my local Leonard store (Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories
3. If you look at your FW or TT frame, the frame rails are not really heavy gauge steel. So, even if you get the Lippert products or Curt products, I would caution you to put anything much over 200lbs on either of them. And don't forget (as many of our fellow FRF friends have said on many posts on this subject) if you have a bike rack that sticks out of the receiver hitch 3-4 feet with 4 bikes hanging on it, the law of physics takes over and the leverage of the rack sticking our 3-4 feet will definitely really increase the "weight and torque" that is applied to the frame rails. So, just because you mount a big honking receiver hitch back there, you still better be very conservative on what you hang on it. And NEVER underestimate the forces that effect anything on the back of your FW or TT. It's like riding in the very back seat of a school bus.
So, after all that, here's where I'm at with hanging stuff off the back of my 2010 Sandpiper 345RET.
1. I feel very comfortable that either of these hitches will carry the load of our 2 very light frame mountain bikes.
2. My plan to mount 2 eu2000i Honda gens on the back of my Sandpiper is tentatively looking like this. I will probably pick up the Curt hitch for $250. Next, I will have a local fabricator build an aluminum carrier 65-70" wide and deep enough for the gens to just sit in the carrier. Next, I'll have a 2x2" tube fabricated that comes out of the receiver and turns up and sits right on top of the back bumper (no weight on the bumper). I will also fabricate something (let's call them spacers...maybe 2" pieces of rubber) to put between the carrier and frame extensions (bumper is welded to this) to just keep the carrier from rocking from side to side. Very minimal weight will be on these "spacers".
3. I will never carry both the gens or bikes. I will carry one or the other.
4. And no, while it's great for some of you, I just don't like hanging bikes off the pin box. My kids call me "Mr Anal"....for me, I don't like the way it looks.
What do you guys think about my tentative plans?