Saturday, December 29, 2012


It's not what you are thinking.
I have been pondering this for a long while.  I need a way to add a receiver hitch to a 35-40 Ford frame.  It needs to be an integral part of the frame. 
 Something that is not an after thought.  Something that will work for pulling my vintage travel trailer or hooking on to my vintage drag car and not worrying if it will fail 180 miles from the nearest gas station.
The weak link in any 35-40 Ford frame is the rear c channel that finishes out the frame.  They are almost always tweaked or in this case, missing.  They are made out of a light weight sheet metal and usually don't weather the abuse seen by a lot of farm trucks.
I decided to sketch it out on paper first.  It saves money in the long run.  
The first thing I needed was tubing.  In order to help beef up the rear area, I decided to use a thick walled tubing to replace the original C channel.  I stopped by a local metal supplier and picked up a 4 ft. stick of 2"x 2"x1/4" wall. 
 I figured to minimize the driving back and forth, I would go ahead and get the receiver tubing as well.  Be ready to take it in the shorts when you buy that.  It is "special" tubing with no welds, made specifically for receiver hitches, therefore you pay for that.  It was $20 per foot.  Ouch.  So I opted for 2 feet.

I scrounged up a piece of 1/4" plate that I used to plate the lower area of the original crossmember.  This plate was approx. 10"x5".
I picked up the original holes that used to hold the leaf spring pack in place.  I drilled the plate to accept 1/2" bolts.  This will serve as the base for the receiver tube.
After I talked with my buddy after mocking everything up , we decided this would look better if it were cut on a 45 degree angle and then capped to look finished.  This will eventually be welded to the plate that is bolted to the crossmember.
Capped and finished.
 Once I found the centerline on the frame, I clamped the receiver tube in place and then tacked in place.  I then pulled it off and welded it on all four sides.

This is what it looks like with the rear crossmember temporarily installed.  The gap between the receiver tube and rear crossmember is going to have to be addressed. It is approx. 1.80"
 I figured I would build a gusset that would tie all the pieces together.  The hard part is not getting out of sequence.  In order to make it all go together correctly, I have to pay close attention to the order it gets welded up.  One thing out of sequence and I am screwed.
Here's a crude drawing of the gusset I am thinking of building.
Here are a few shots of the receiver tube, once it was welded and bolted back into place.

The 45 degree angle will help as a possum scraper.

The plates mounted to the ends of the rear cross member were fabricated out of 1/4" plate.  One of the built in safeties, is the fact that the frame is tapered and that prevents the cross member from sliding out.  This is a double edged sword.  It also prevents you from removing the cross member and building it on the bench. 

 The plan is to weld one side completely, then reinstall into the frame.  I left enough space when fitting the end plates, to allow the assembly to be pulled aft far enough to weld the remaining seams. This will then be bolted through the original frame rails. The problem with doing it this way, is that you lose the ability to run a rear bumper.  I was planning on running nerf bars anyway.
I fabbed the gusset out of 1/2" plate.  I know it's overkill, but I had a piece that was the right size, so overkill it is.  It's welded on both sides, so it's not going anywhere.
Sorry, I got rolling today and the pictures didn't happen.  I opted not to use the holes in the gusset, since this will be covered with a roll pan.  I'll have to fab some sort of safety chain attach points.  I'll do that after I have the roll pan installed.
I decided to clamp the frame rails down and weld the tabs to the cross member.  It's really not necessary, but it tidies things up a bit.

All that is really left is to drill the side plates and prime everything.  I know the question will come up about the fuel tank.  This clears the tank by over an inch, so that shouldn't be an issue.  

Actually, this sort of protects the tank a little more, in case some cell phone, texting, soccer mom in her H3 plows into the rear of me.  Think Ford Pinto.
All in all, this thing is probably the strongest part of the frame.  It's overkill, but I think it should be sufficient.

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