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Author Topic: Advice on Front Trailer hitch?  (Read 893 times)
wagwar
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« on: August 18, 2012, 10:22:10 AM »

I hope this won't open the same can of worms that a previous post did and so I don't hijack a current related posting...  (BTW, I've read that previous posting that caused such a ruckus and it doesn't address my question IMHO -http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=18363)

However, I have a slightly different idea. I want to install a trailer hitch on the FRONT of my MC 9 that will be used for one small scooter (< 300 lbs) and two bicycles. That's all it will ever be used for! I don't want to hang this off the back of the bus (and I will not be towing anything nor will I have any additional weight hanging off the back of the bus) because everything will end up covered in a fine layer of oil and dust. I also don't need a lift or winch mechanism. The scooter will ride up a tilted ramp so the weight of the mechanism will be minimal (google Tilt A Rack).  I also don't want to remove the front bumper.

So my questions:  Can the front of an MCI handle the weight (<= 400 lbs)?  Can this be done w/o blocking access to the spare tire compartment? Has anyone done something similar? Where would be the best part of the frame to tie into?  What (if any) affect might this have on steering and front axle weight? etc. etc.

TIA.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2012, 10:39:59 AM »

I see racks for bikes on the front I don't know if a MCI would handle a extra 400 lbs on the front or not the bays would be the best I believe 

There is no frame on a MCI unless yours is a D series and newer
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Lin
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2012, 11:06:21 AM »

You could not just mount such a thing on my 5a.  Yours may be different.  I think that the thing to do is take the bus to a competent welder who has experience building hitches, tell her what you want, and see what she says.  I would guess that whatever you put on the front would obstruct the spare tire compartment but not necessarily permanently.
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bevans6
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2012, 03:45:31 PM »

The front structure of the MC-9 is probably very close to what I have in my 5C.  It's kind of a space frame of small structure reinforced by the skins into a monocoque type structure.  There is no frame to speak of, in other words, but there is a dispersed quite strong structure. (if nothing else, it holds up the driver and the spare tire!)  You could bolt a frame to hold bicycles to it, and you could probably construct ( I know that I could, fwiw, no question in my mind)) a structure to hold a scooter up to 300 lbs, but it would not resemble or have anything like a front hitch receiver.  It would be attached at multiple points distributed around the front of the bus, tying into structure.  You could start with the two tow hooks as strong points, and tie back up under the dash, for example, or at the floor structure.  But I wouldn't design it from a "front hitch" point of view.  It would become part of the vehicle and have issues with length and lighting requirements, I do believe.  You could make it removable with pip pins.  If the front substructure of your bus is rusty, this will find that out in a hurry...

Brian
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1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
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Iceni John
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2012, 03:52:50 PM »

I have a 2" receiver hitch at the front of my bus, and I hinged the front license plate to access it through the front bumper.

How about attaching a hitch to the spare wheel/tire itself inside its compartment, securing the wheel "robustly" inside its compartment, and running the hitch forward through the bumper like on my bus?   Just an idea.

Lin, I'm sure a good female welder could easily do something like this!

John 
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bevans6
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2012, 04:31:34 AM »

John, the MCI front is pretty different to your Crown.  The license plate is on a rack above the bumper, and the whole bumper is on a hinge   Grin  The spare tire is sitting on a thin aluminum sheet floor, about 12 Ga Alum. sheet riveted to some small steel structure.  The structure is wrapped in riveted 16 Ga stainless steel sheet.

Brian
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1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device
Vintage race cars -
1978 Lola T440 Formula Ford
1972 NTM MK-4 B/SR
luvrbus
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2012, 06:24:12 AM »

MCI's are thin in front even the hangers and brackets for suspension parts
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Iceni John
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2012, 10:38:24 AM »

Wow!   I didn't realize MCIs were made like that.   It seems that any front hitch will be a major engineering and fabricating challenge.

John
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1990 Crown 2R-40N-552:  6V92TAC, DDEC II, HT740, Jake.      Hecho en Chino.     
Behind the Orange Curtain, SoCal.
bevans6
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2012, 01:51:25 PM »

Actually I spent some time designing this today, fwiw.  I looked at the front of my MC-5C.  There is a welded stainless steel beam across the front of the bus at passenger floor level, very strong.  There are the two tow hooks, very strong, placed very low and inset at the bottom.  I would build a frame based on two forward facing beams angled up, then level at about 1.5 feet above ground level, 2" square mild steel, .080" wall.  I would place the tray for the scooter on those two beams.  They would fit over the tow hooks with a simple wrap-around bracket.  I would place (weld or bolt) three clevis' across the front - left side, center, right side, into that welded stainless beam that goes across the front of the bus.  I would build a triangulated structure out of probably 1" .080 wall steel tube that would support the load from the beams - tied into the beams and the clevis points with adjustable 1/2" rod end joints.  One from each beam back to the center, then one straight up from each beam.  They would carry most of the vertical load, and the beams would carry the weight cantilevered out in front, and leaning back against the tow eyes.  Probably good for 500 lbs.  You could clip it all in with pip pins, or bolts.  It would weigh maybe 60 - 75 lbs all in.

Funny what you think of when you are bored...   

Brian

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1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device
Vintage race cars -
1978 Lola T440 Formula Ford
1972 NTM MK-4 B/SR
luvrbus
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2012, 02:07:03 PM »

Those are not tow hooks Brian the hooks are for tie down only, a big discussion back a few years and somebody posted a letter from MCI stating the hooks where for tie down only fwiw
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bevans6
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2012, 03:00:02 PM »

Hey Clifford.  My design only puts around 150 lbs on each hook, so they are strong enough for that.  I know they aren't for towing, they really aren't tied into main structure, but I didn't know what else to call them!   Wink.  The design of the MCI is more like an aircraft than a truck, the load flow is pretty sophisticated - but not a lot of extra structure!  I really worry about people who have plated over the air bags because of rotted air beams - the air beams carry 100% of the load of the bus, and if they are rotted what the heck is carrying the bus?  As you know I work on race cars a lot, and I think a lot about load vectors, how things tie together.  You have to build both strong and light, no extra parts, everything does two or three things at once.

Speaking of aircraft, did you ever do anything with that helicopter kit you bought last year?

Brian
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1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device
Vintage race cars -
1978 Lola T440 Formula Ford
1972 NTM MK-4 B/SR
luvrbus
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« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2012, 03:10:35 PM »

Never did anything with the helicopter except have the frame welded and powder coated , the grandsons ( 17 year olds a matched set) lost interest and found girls to be more fun lol so I sold it to a woman in San Diego in July for her husbands birthday present a pricy present 

I sure hated to part with it but the wife thought it would be best if I died of natural causes like old age 

good luck 
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bevans6
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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2012, 06:31:10 PM »

Girls might be more fun, but helicopters are probably  cheaper in the long run!

Brian
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1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device
Vintage race cars -
1978 Lola T440 Formula Ford
1972 NTM MK-4 B/SR
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