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Old 08-13-2022, 05:14 PM   #1
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Anyone put a hitch on their Apex Nano 208BHS?

Has anyone here put a hitch on their 208BHS? I'd like to be able to haul some things on the back of the trailer (like bicycles) using a hitch since the bumper is a super-thin thing the metal will rip on even if the welds hold. I'm thinking something like this.

I'm not sure if there is room for a hitch to attach to the frame in front of the bumper. The stab jacks are almost certainly in the road and would need to be moved forward some amount; if they can be moved enough (would require grinding brackets off and rewelding). There are some screws poking out (tapping/threads side) about 8 & 10in from the rear bumper. I'm not sure what they're holding on the inside of the frame that might need moved.

Thought I'd check with others here before taking the (supposedly) insulating bottom cover off and seeing what all is up in there that might be in the road. If anyone has already take this off and has pictures they could share (or description), I'd really appreciate it!
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Old 08-13-2022, 06:29 PM   #2
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My question would be what about the increased force on the frame as the stuff on the hitch bounces down the road. Basically you are increasing the length of your trailer weight format without increasing the frame. If it's just a bike or two, I don't know if it will be an issue. But people tend to end up putting those platforms on rear hitches and next thing you know you have a generator or two and a yeti cooler full of ice and drinks and suddenly you have added 500 pounds at the end of a lever bolted to your frame. Just use common sense if you add one.
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Old 08-13-2022, 07:22 PM   #3
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The only way to safely carry bikes on the back of an ultralight trailer, is to have a 2" hitch receiver welded and braced to the frame and bumper. It might be cheaper and stronger, than installing what you linked from etrailer.
But doing this will void the frame warranty if damage results.
By the way, you're asking about a hitch RECEIVER. A hitch is for pulling something, that goes into the hitch receiver.
Can't you put the bikes in the truck bed. I refuse to risk my bikes on the back of my TT, where I can't see them. They aren't cheap bikes.
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Old 08-13-2022, 08:47 PM   #4
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Yeah, a 2in might be better. I liked the one I linked because it's made to put on an i-beam frame whereas a lot of them are really only intended for channel or square beam frames.

It would definitely void the frame warranty to do anything to it. Even putting another spare tire carrier on the bumper will void the frame warranty. I think I'm okay with that though. I'll still be well within the GVWR of the trailer and I never travel with the tanks back there having anything in them.

I would rather put the the (5) bicycles in the bed of the truck, but cannot since it's pulling a bit more payload than it should already. Together the bicycles weight 152lbs. I actually had nice carrier that goes on the tailgate I used the first time I pulled a TT with it, didn't realize at the time how little the payload was on my RAM 1500.
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Old 08-15-2022, 02:59 PM   #5
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Trailers, bikes and racks.

Hello, fellow 208 owner. I had a similar situation to you regarding how to carry bikes while towing a trailer. Iíll share some of my experience and post a few picks and hopefully this info can help you or someone else when facing these decisions.

The first pic is of my first RV. My wife and I picked it up after she became pregnant with our first child. We are avid cyclists and in theory the small hitch on the back of the R-pod would work well with my Yakama hitch rack that we already had. In reality, it was a pain. You canít see whatís going on back there. Even though it was ďRV ratedĒ and I used ratchet straps for extra security it still bounced and shook around on the back of the trailer to the point where a bike came loose once, and the straps would rub and damage the paint or rubbed the tire on the bike almost bare and shredding the strap. In addition, my worst sway experience came from this setup, however I will admit that the fresh tank on this model of R-pod (178) is behind the axle and was full at the time.

After one season of tweaking and wondering if the bikes where still on the back, I switched over to taking the front wheels off and loading over the tail gate. This worked ok but limited what I could carry in the truck bed, especially with the roll and lock cover. Also, other than locking the bikes together it wasnít a very secure method for opportunistic thieves. Another issue with both setups was putting the bikes back together and/or shuffling the rack from trailer to truck when we wanted to ride some specific trail in the area but still need a shuttle truck or was farther that a reasonable ride from the campground.

So, another kid, a bigger trailer that also means a bigger truck (sort of). That vicious circle, that is the topic of most of the posts on this forum in one way or another. Hereís what I landed on. A Retrax tonneau cover with T-slots, a set of 65Ē Rino Rack aero bars and Rocky Mounts Brassknuckles mounted on top. I have 4 of them but currently only mount two. As for my payload with everything added up it comes to 1503 lbs. (ppl, stuff, hitch weigh) On my previous truck that would have left little more than 50 lbs. from the max. It took some patience but other than the Retrax (70 lbs.) I was able to find everything on Kijiji or FB marketplace. There are ways to mount bars right to the frame rails and a set of 72Ē bars would fit 5 bikes for sure. The big bonus is that this setup keeps the tuck bed open for more stuff as well as being assembled, loaded and ready to take to the trail head as well as being lockable.

You did state that you are weight sensitive, but I would advise you check your axel weight rating at the scale to see how much weight you have there to play with and maybe try this set up first, (buy used, sell used if it doesnít work for you) Maybe investigate adding a helper spring or air bags. Explore a few other alternatives before cutting into your trailer, voiding your warranty, and adding an irreversible modification that has the potential to be more hassle than its worth. Personally, Iíd rather be over on truck payload (yet under axle weight ratings) than have an unbalanced trailer. Even if you went with a stout bike rack like a North Shore Rack thatís 200 plus pounds of force 4 to 5 feet out from the trailer acting as negative leverage on your hitch.
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Old 08-15-2022, 08:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for the thoughtful response B.Boudens.

The trouble is that I'm already 200+ pounds over the cargo carrying capacity of my truck with my family of five loaded up. And that's with my tailgate off and rubber bed mat out to save 108lbs. My RAM 1500 has an absurdly low CCC of 1140 (measured, full tank, no driver) before removing those.

The 208BHS is so tongue heavy, I kind of like the idea of more weight on the back and less up front, lol. Without WDH, and moving everything even remotely heavy to the bunks or under them, fully loaded, I'm seeing 920lbs of hitch weight. That is 19.9% of the trailer weight on the hitch. With WDH, it's 15.6%. Actually slightly less because I added a couple washers, but haven't remeasured yet. Not sure why the axles aren't a little closer to the front of this thing.

Anyway, I'm already over the payload limit. I am 520lbs under the rear GAWR, but I don't want to push the payload any more than I have to already. Being able to load bicycles on the rear of the trailer would help with its weight distribution some and keep me from increasing payload on my truck.

Here is the tailgate bike thing I used last year (with a rented 16BHS) before I realized the CCC of my truck is so ridiculously low.
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Old 08-16-2022, 12:01 AM   #7
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Something is not adding up.

Well, I'm a little curious now. Two things stand out to me other than the low payload. Let's set that aside for a moment tho.

1. Your tongue weight seems excessive to me compared to my results.

2. For being maxed out on payload you have a rather large amount of spare axle weight rating.

This leads me to ask; how are you measuring your tongue weight? The way I've been taught involves 2-3 passes over the CAT scales to figure out and goes as follows:

1st pass is fully loaded with the WDH hooked up, everything that you would normally take camping loaded. take the steer axel and drive axle (the truck) and add them together.

2nd pass is only the truck. 1st pass minus 2nd pass = tongue weight.

3rd pass is truck plus trailer with out the WHD hook up and the difference between 1st pass is what weight gets transferred to the axles by the weight distribution hitch.

I've weighted my set up with this method both with an empty fresh water tank and a full tank of water (50 gal) and got a little under 700 lbs. empty and a little over 800lbs. full of water, something like 809lbs. Understandable, when adding 415 pounds of water. I also have two 6 volt golf cart batteries and only one 30 pound propane tank. Now I have not weighted the new trucks set up and probably should now that we are leaning into this topic.

But please share your how you got that 920 lbs. unless you are a full timer it seems high to me. and if you were so weighted down I would have expected to see a smaller number of leftover axel weight. Let's figure this out.

The reason why the trailer tires are set where they are (roughly 2/3 the trailer length) is because that area between the trailer axles and the truck axles is supposed to carry most of the load and sharing the weight between the truck and trailer is the most stable place to carry weight. Excessive loading to rear of the trailer is how you introduce sway, the longer the trailer the easier it is for rear weight to act as a leaver and cause "the tail to wag the dog" as the saying goes. Check out this link.



Chat with ya soon.
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Old 08-16-2022, 07:29 PM   #8
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I've done the 3-pass thing on the CAT scales to arrive at the 920 tongue weight.

I need to do it again with everyone loaded up now that I've put a couple more washers in the WDH to see current weight shifted to front axles and trailer, but this was the last one I did



Regardless of the extra washers, the actual tongue weight (no WDH) is the same.

Oh, I did move a 28lb collapsible ladder and the electrical cord from the pass through to under the bunks after that. So there's probably close to 40lb less weight on the tongue.

I'm really surprised to hear you have less than 700lb with a full tank of water.

Here are the weight specs on my truck (2013 RAM 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab 4x4 5.7L)



So the 7020 (front and rear axles combined) is more than 200lb over the payload of it.

The fish-tailing things makes sense to me. I've watched that exact video when I was trying to figure out which trailers my truck could tow. Avoiding that is where the 10%-15% (of GTW) hitch weight comes from. My trailer seems to be more like 20% of it though; even though I don't have anything heavy loaded up front.
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Old 08-17-2022, 12:24 AM   #9
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weight slips

Well, this is getting interesting and I’m kind excited to have a chance to compare notes with someone. I really like the spread sheet. Looks way better than my chicken scratch notes. I think we are just having a little miscommunication on some different synonyms in our terms and writing styles.

First, I’m always referring to the fully hooked up with WHD tongue weight. When I got those numbers 700 pounds ish with empty tanks and 800 lbs. loaded with water. That was 3 summers ago now when the trailer was new. Pretty much as you are now just trying to figure out what you got to work with, and "am I within all my limits". 720 pounds, hitched up, seems about right.

I did hit the weigh scale today but was in a rush, with the kids, and of course screwed it up. I’ll hit it again next week when I take the trailer back to storage as the scale is not to far out of the way. I will share what I have so far tho. It will give us a few things to compare against and my rear axel weight rating today was actually similar to yours, heaver, yet my trailer axels were lighter and my gross weight quite similar.

I’ll post the pics below, but they are in Kg’s, and I’ll convert them to pounds here. This is first pass with WDH on, (Anderson Hitch) empty tanks, bedding. No food or clothing.

Front Axel: 1310 Kg / 2,888 lbs. Truck axles loaded + trailer weight: 3040 kg/ 6,702 lbs.
Rear Axle: 1730 kg/ 3,813 lbs.
Trailer Axles: 1930 kg/ 4255 lbs.
Total Gross: 4970 kg/ 10,957 lbs.

A couple key take a way's for me today is that 3,813 lbs. would be just a hair over the GAWR of 3,800 lbs. of my old 2011 truck (the black one) Second, I’m pretty light on the front axle, much more than I thought I would be. Third if I subtract the dry weight of the truck 5,197 lbs. from the loaded 6,702 lbs. I get 1505 lbs. of payload (minus the wife who wasn’t here today, and we all know not to count that weight!) I can account for about 722 lbs. of that. the remainder is 783 lbs. Still rather subjective, I know, but makes me wonder…

Anyway; you can see that I wholly screwed up my second pass by not parking on the platforms correctly. I didn't even notice until this evening when I got the chance to finally sit down with a pint and type this out. We should get back to your bike carrying issue. tho I didn't know that Ram's could have a such low numbers. And I get where your coming from not wanting to push the limits of the truck anymore than necessary or load bikes inside the trailer. My experience with loading bikes on to the back of the trailer wasn't the greatest and I'm just honestly nervous for you in that regard and it's still a terrible time to consider switching out the truck. I feel for ya.
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Old 08-17-2022, 06:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.Boudens View Post
Well, this is getting interesting and Iím kind excited to have a chance to compare notes with someone. I really like the spread sheet. Looks way better than my chicken scratch notes. I think we are just having a little miscommunication on some different synonyms in our terms and writing styles.
I like the spreadsheet method because I just copy/paste it into another sheet and update the numbers when I weigh again. I just took my trailer to storage (for the first time ) this last weekend, so it'll probably be a few weeks before I can measure again.

Quote:
First, Iím always referring to the fully hooked up with WHD tongue weight. When I got those numbers 700 pounds ish with empty tanks and 800 lbs. loaded with water.
Okay, this is making more sense now. My tongue weight taking into account the WDH is reasonably close to what you're seeing then. I mostly been using the not-WDH value for comparison with my CCC (max payload) since it seemed like people generally recommend that as a worst case since WDH setup can vary a lot, and only about half the redistributed weight from the WDH goes back to the trailer. Either way, my 1/2 ton truck is unfortunately past the manufacturer spec'd limit. Using the WDH is should be closer to my payload since I stuck a couple more washer in the WDH since that last measurement (but I really need to remeasure).

Quote:
I did hit the weigh scale today but was in a rush, with the kids, and of course screwed it up. Iíll hit it again next week when I take the trailer back to storage as the scale is not to far out of the way.
]

Wow, thanks! No need to go out of your way for me though!

Quote:
Anyway; you can see that I wholly screwed up my second pass by not parking on the platforms correctly. I didn't even notice until this evening when I got the chance to finally sit down with a pint and type this out.
Lol, that sounds like something I would do.

I think the GTW I measured was with several days food, clothing, bedding, two full propane tanks, etc. ready to go on a trip. So the difference there (4620-4255=365) probably makes sense.

Your front axle is definitely lighter than mine. Do you have the 5.3L engine in your Silverado? When I looked at trucks earlier this summer (and decided not to buy right, because, sheesh - bad timing), and the payload stickers inside the drivers doors, Silverados seemed to be higher than the other brands in general. The latest generation upped the payload by a decent chunk too.

Quote:
We should get back to your bike carrying issue. tho I didn't know that Ram's could have a such low numbers. And I get where your coming from not wanting to push the limits of the truck anymore than necessary or load bikes inside the trailer. My experience with loading bikes on to the back of the trailer wasn't the greatest and I'm just honestly nervous for you in that regard and it's still a terrible time to consider switching out the truck. I feel for ya.
Yeah, I was pretty disappointed when I started getting into the specific numbers and saw the CCC rating. To make it worse, I had just had a Line-X spray in put in last winter not realizing I was wasting ~75lbs of payload there. There still some mystery weight between what's on the door and what I measure on the scale, but its mysterious enough I'm not going to be able to get it back anyhow. Hah.

I really appreciate the feedback. Losing bikes off the back or even just damaging them or the trailer would be a real frustrating experience. I'll have to give it some more thought if I really want to do that...if I can figure out whether or not I can even get a receiver on the trailer.
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Old 08-24-2022, 03:37 PM   #11
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Truck talk

G'day op. Sorry for the late reply I was gone camping! I'm glad we got things straightened out in our technical lingo. My current truck is a 6.2 with Chevy's max tow package that adds a 3:42 rear end ratio, a 3/4 ton rear axle, extra springs and few extra cooling features. The truck is 50/50 work, personal and I do tow other trailers pretty much daily. The black truck had the 5.3 with a 6 speed and dealt with the 208 Nano just fine. Is the 6.2 better? Yes. But if I didn't have to factor in my work trailers I would probably go with the 3.0 diesel. My boss has one and gets fantastic fuel mileage compared to mine. Roughly the same price as a build option and diesel and premium gas prices are pretty similar as well. I was strongly considering an XLT Sport F-150 with the 5.0 when shopping around. It also had 1800+ lbs. of payload but we got a better deal with Chevy. (fleet programs) Plus I felt the beefier rear end of the Chevy would hold up better in the long run.

Good luck with your bike rack/ hitch addition. If you do decide to go through with it or decide to go with a different option please continue to share your experience here or in the 208 thread. It's great to see how other people modify to suite their needs and share solutions that you can reference later. These forums are great!

Cheers and Happy Camping Everyone!
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Old 08-31-2022, 02:53 PM   #12
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First post here but have been watching the 208BHS thread as I made a purchase at the end of 2021. Been working through a few modifications but I had spent time looking around on the receiver question as I was looking for a way to haul 4 bicycles, and with a Sequoia putting these in the bed wasn't an option. Lots of good points mentioned already with regard to weight distribution, stress to the frame, bounce of trailer and anything mounted to the receiver, etc. You need to evaluate your situation and determine what is safe and within your capabilities to implement and utilize.

Sharing the solution I came up with to meet my needs as I looked for an off the shelf bolt on solution, however with the tanks and plumbing in the rear of the camper it looked more difficult to install then building it from scratch.

I settled on cutting off the stock rear bumper and utilizing a piece of 3" x 4" x 3/16" steel tube and 2"x 2" x 1/8" angles to fabricate a new bumper that I attached with 4 grade 8 7/16" bolts to the rear frame member. You will find the frame is fairly thin web (.120"). I felt more confident to bench weld the bumper and make a bolted connection to the frame than welding it. I also felt sandwiching the frame rails with the bolted joint distributed the load across the frame web better. Your mileage may vary.

So far it seems to be holding up with about 1000 miles, but time will tell. However I will attest the bike rack does have more rotation than I would like and no anti-rattle device has been able to completely eliminate it but it is dampened it a bit. Before the next trip I plan to add a threaded turnbuckle to triangulate the hitch and the bike rack and make it a solid connection. I do have a camera to monitor while driving, and add a locking cable through the bikes and racks in case the unfortunate situation arises the load doesn't become an uncontained failure on the highway.

Let me know if you have questions and I will do my best to answer. As for the weights the new bumper is ~60 lbs, the bike rack is ~ 70 lbs and 4 bikes at 30 lbs each, is around 250 lbs. My bike rack is also home grown, but consider the moment of whatever is mounted to the hitch. I did scale it on our last trip and was under the trailer gross weight, and with 1/2 tank of fresh water still had 17% tongue weight from memory (so still need to shift some weight back/decrease weight in the front)
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Old 08-31-2022, 09:02 PM   #13
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Thanks for sharing your solution browne962. That looks nice!

It's been a couple decades since I've done much welding, I don't think I'd trust it at this point for something like this. However, I was also considering replacing the bumper with something like this, if I can't figure out installation of a hitch receiver. I'd probably use a bolt on bike rack, or bolt on receiver with it then.
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