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Hitch mounted carrier - weight limits

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I do think the downward force is what we need to know, but it's not the tongue weight. It's the tongue weight plus the torque created by the beam lever, applied at the rear attachment of the hitch receiver. In this case you would assume the bolts toward the front of the vehicle are pins, then add the tongue weight plus torque created between the front and rear bolts. Add that up and get the total force trying to pull the rear hitch bolts out of the frame of the vehicle. Those bolts are pretty strong, so I'm thinking that is why hitch carrier manufacturers use the lesser of tongue weight and hitch capacity as their load limit.
In the below examples the up arrows show how much force the rear bolts have to support with the bike centered at 20" and 30". You can see how that force goes up as the load moves further behind the hitch receiver supports. And maybe that is what you meant by the hitch receiver only has to worry about one force. Bending the hitch receiver is not much of a concern, as these are really overbuilt. It's the attachment points to the vehicle that determine tongue weight.
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5b061ac119f75_BeamMoment30.png.8e0892bf6284b7b8194e09d02b53e727.png


Yes. Way better said than I did.
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On 5/22/2018 at 9:30 PM, Torchsport said:

I like mine. It's rated for 660 lbs or something like that.

Hauled my Triumph Daytona 675R all over the place. No issues besides making the steering a little light on the 4Runner. 

 

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There is one thing i didnt see anyone mentioning: the tongue capacity of the vehicle itself. It does not matter that the carrier is rated for 900 Lbs, if your car has a tongue capacity limit of 150 lbs, that’s your limit. 

This is a weak-link theory type thing. Your maximum weight is the max of your weakest point in the whole combination. 

This is what TorchSport briefly touches on in his post up above. 

Same goes for Tahoe Gator, I know that the Honda Element doesnt have a lot of tongue capacity. 

Normally the formula is your tongue max capacity is 10% to 15% of your maximum hauling capacity. 

carrier capacity is never an issue, you ll always find the strongest whatever, but it would be of no use if your vehicle cant stand it...i once bought a heavy duty Versa Haul rated for 600 lbs or something above. It was for sport bikes. 

At that time i had a first generation honda crv, max tongue capacity was about 150 0r 170 lbs or something like that. Because the  carrier was heavy duty, it weighed about half that just by itself. So...

i used it briefly to transport a ducati monster for about a mile just for a quick test. It didnt look good. I was driving very slowly. Sold the carrier after that. 

I would like to hear other opinions on this specific point of vehicle tongue capacity.

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10 hours ago, Tahoe Gator said:

I echo the suggestion to secure the bike to the vehicle to help stabilize. Not sure if you can tell in the picture below, but there is a pipe that runs from the roof rack to the bike and is secured at each end. If any of the straps fail, it will keep the bike vertical. It’s also handy when unloading as I can undo all the straps and detach the bar last just before wheeling the bike off.

I took a mental inventory if at anytime in my past I’ve had straps fail and the answer was “yes” and thus I wanted a backup in case (when) that happens so my YZ didn’t do a dozen cartwheels down the freeway or get dragged on its side for a mile.

Note: the bar does not provide any weight bearing support whatsoever, so it will not increase carrying capacity.

P.S. the Element pictured sagged 1” with the bike on the trailer so I put those rubber things in the coils to stiffen the rear. Reduced the sag to half an inch.


IMG_8618.JPG

Do you know what the tongue capacity of the element is? I’m curious. It cant that much more than a honda crv.

see my previous above

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13 minutes ago, Adv Biker said:

There is one thing i didnt see anyone mentioning: the tongue capacity of the vehicle itself. It does not matter that the carrier is rated for 900 Lbs, if your car has a tongue capacity limit of 150 lbs, that’s your limit. 

This is a weak-link theory type thing. Your maximum weight is the max of your weakest point in the whole combination. 

This is what TorchSport briefly touches on in his post up above. 

Same goes for Tahoe Gator, I know that the Honda Element doesnt have a lot of tongue capacity. 

Normally the formula is your tongue max capacity is 10% to 15% of your maximum hauling capacity. 

carrier capacity is never an issue, you ll always find the strongest whatever, but it would be of no use if your vehicle cant stand it...i once bought a heavy duty Versa Haul rated for 600 lbs or something above. It was for sport bikes. 

At that time i had a first generation honda crv, max tongue capacity was about 150 0r 170 lbs or something like that. Because the  carrier was heavy duty, it weighed about half that just by itself. So...

i used it briefly to transport a ducati monster for about a mile just for a quick test. It didnt look good. I was driving very slowly. Sold the carrier after that. 

I would like to hear other opinions on this specific point of vehicle tongue capacity.

You're right. The Toyota 4Runner has a 5,000 lb towing capacity and a 500 lb tongue weight. 

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26 minutes ago, Torchsport said:

You're right. The Toyota 4Runner has a 5,000 lb towing capacity and a 500 lb tongue weight. 

Thanks man! 

Not feeling reassured at the moment :p

That makes me worry even more. Cause if your 4Runner has 500Lbs and you felt like you lost some stability, how would it be for  somoene with a crv that has much less tongue weight capacity? 

My gut feel is the carrier thing is fine for a dirtbike (not dualsport). Always wonder when i see dual-carriers that are supposed to carry two bikes....*_* 

another tip: you always see them on sale on craigslist with a description along these lines: “only used it once” “only used to briefly transport bike home” etc. 

Feels like people think it is a viable option but change their mind after a use or two

i still like carriers, i have an aluminum one for my dirt bikes but i also have a trailer for dual sport and other bikes

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Honda Element uses the CRV frame so must be the same or very close.

 

I put the beefiest 2” Element-specific hitch I could find and torqued all the bolts nice and tight. When hitting rough pavement I look back and the YZ isn’t moving an inch. It does scrape on steeper elevation changes. I have to enter my driveway at an angle with no one in the car. The coil inserts help. Also load heaviest gear toward front.

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Do you know what the tongue capacity of the element is? I’m curious. It cant that much more than a honda crv.



see my previous above


sorry didn’t use “reply”...this is so you get the notification for my post above

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7 hours ago, Adv Biker said:

Do you know what the tongue capacity of the element is? I’m curious. It cant that much more than a honda crv.

see my previous above

Draw-Tite hitch #75659 tongue weight is 350 pounds when installed on a Honda Element. 

Edited by LSHD

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Another point often debated is the fact that most every state has some law about obscuring a license plate, and most racks do just that.  Seems it is practically never enforced, although there are a few stories where people were pulled over for it.  Guess I've been lucky, have gone thousands of miles with a motorcycle or pedal bike rack on the back without a problem, but I do make sure at least my tail-lights are visible, the majority of stories about being pulled over are due to the taillights being obsucred.   Read one post from a guy on an ADV forum about getting pulled over in the rain, bike on the rack, couldn't see the plate, 1 tail light was partially obscured, officer made the guy unload his bike, wife drove the car, and he had to ride in the rain without gear(packed under stuff in the back, were headed to vacation), got followed all the way to the state line.  I have added reflectors to the back of the rack, but probably wouldn't be hard to add a pair of small adhesive trailer tail lights.

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Another point often debated is the fact that most every state has some law about obscuring a license plate, and most racks do just that.  Seems it is practically never enforced, although there are a few stories where people were pulled over for it.  Guess I've been lucky, have gone thousands of miles with a motorcycle or pedal bike rack on the back without a problem, but I do make sure at least my tail-lights are visible, the majority of stories about being pulled over are due to the taillights being obsucred.   Read one post from a guy on an ADV forum about getting pulled over in the rain, bike on the rack, couldn't see the plate, 1 tail light was partially obscured, officer made the guy unload his bike, wife drove the car, and he had to ride in the rain without gear(packed under stuff in the back, were headed to vacation), got followed all the way to the state line.  I have added reflectors to the back of the rack, but probably wouldn't be hard to add a pair of small adhesive trailer tail lights.


Putting trailer lights on your hitch carrier is a good (and cheap) idea. Might help mitigate the license plate risk.
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37 minutes ago, alucard0822 said:

Another point often debated is the fact that most every state has some law about obscuring a license plate, and most racks do just that.  Seems it is practically never enforced, although there are a few stories where people were pulled over for it.  Guess I've been lucky, have gone thousands of miles with a motorcycle or pedal bike rack on the back without a problem, but I do make sure at least my tail-lights are visible, the majority of stories about being pulled over are due to the taillights being obsucred.   Read one post from a guy on an ADV forum about getting pulled over in the rain, bike on the rack, couldn't see the plate, 1 tail light was partially obscured, officer made the guy unload his bike, wife drove the car, and he had to ride in the rain without gear(packed under stuff in the back, were headed to vacation), got followed all the way to the state line.  I have added reflectors to the back of the rack, but probably wouldn't be hard to add a pair of small adhesive trailer tail lights.

Yes agreed. Very obscure area. Based on readings i did of various state laws, it is not ok. But i see them around all the time.

Harbor freight usually has a set of magnet lights intended for use when towing a car. They are always on sale for $9.99. Otherwise some Versa-Haul carriers come with lights built-in.

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1 hour ago, LSHD said:

Draw-Tite hitch #75659 tongue weight is 350 pounds when installed on a Honda Element. 

Yes, draw-tite is 350 lbs, the issue is not Draw-Tite, the issue is that Honda Element (as stated above by Tahoe Gator) has CRV frame. Which only has a max tongue weight capacity of 150 Lbs or so...

It is no good that the hitch receiver is 350 lbs 

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2 hours ago, Tahoe Gator said:

Honda Element uses the CRV frame so must be the same or very close.

 

I put the beefiest 2” Element-specific hitch I could find and torqued all the bolts nice and tight. When hitting rough pavement I look back and the YZ isn’t moving an inch. It does scrape on steeper elevation changes. I have to enter my driveway at an angle with no one in the car. The coil inserts help. Also load heaviest gear toward front.

I see

your reply and TorchSport ‘s reply gives me pause. The fact that you have the beefiest hitch is not going to fix car frame issues. Because you loose steering traction in the front and also you get braking issues. On the crv i sold, it felt unstable. 

I was hoping someone would have some good news for me because i like the idea of the carrier just because it’s so easy and practical.

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I did lots of research on a Honda Element Owners forum (easy to find online). Quite a few people with pics of hitch trailers with bikes a lot heavier than my YZ driving much further than I do and no mention of problems. The sag being one issue that, while not too bad with a YZ, is worth installing coil spring helpers which cost like $20.

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46 minutes ago, Adv Biker said:

Yes, draw-tite is 350 lbs, the issue is not Draw-Tite, the issue is that Honda Element (as stated above by Tahoe Gator) has CRV frame. Which only has a max tongue weight capacity of 150 Lbs or so...

It is no good that the hitch receiver is 350 lbs 

At work today(in automotive field), factory spec with the FACTORY HONDA CLASS 1 accessory hitch is 150TW/1500GTW, looks like this https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Draw-Tite/24720.html

Other companies make a class 3 hitch that mounts to the frame in a much more conventional way, it's not a genuine Honda accessory, so Honda does not confirm the rating for it, but the 350TW/3500GTW rating is from the hitch manufacturer given for this application, and the frame / hitch could probably take it.  The potential issue is the RGVW, with people and-or cargo in the back, you could potentially overload the rear suspension, in the same way towing over 1500lbs could overload the brakes/drivetrain even if the frame / hitch could take it.  It will probably work, if the suspension isn't sagging too low, or bottoming out, but it's sketchy.

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Honda/Element/2010/75659.html?vehicleid=2010202681

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ignoring all the high tech physics commotion people are going into.....

if it's one of the aluminum haulers, be aware that the part that actually holds the bike to the center beam that goes into the hitch is also aluminum. and it will likely, eventually, tear.

had my bike ALMOST fall off the back of the truck (thankfully hadn't gotten on the highway yet) when the aluminum tabs that hold the ladder part that the bike sits on shear off of the center steel beam. bike tilted all the way forward and was dragging the ladder part on the road up into the nearest parking spot. got two pieces of 4 inch or so steel angle, drilled the appropriate holes, and re-bolted the ladder part back to the center part. added bonus, the  steel angle reduces the flop on the hauler as a whole since it's a more solid connection.

assuming you've got at least a class 3 hitch (which is fairly required as far as I know...I think all the haulers are for 2" receivers) I wouldn't actually worry about the torque force on the hitch receiver.

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ignoring all the high tech physics commotion people are going into.....
if it's one of the aluminum haulers, be aware that the part that actually holds the bike to the center beam that goes into the hitch is also aluminum. and it will likely, eventually, tear.
had my bike ALMOST fall off the back of the truck (thankfully hadn't gotten on the highway yet) when the aluminum tabs that hold the ladder part that the bike sits on shear off of the center steel beam. bike tilted all the way forward and was dragging the ladder part on the road up into the nearest parking spot. got two pieces of 4 inch or so steel angle, drilled the appropriate holes, and re-bolted the ladder part back to the center part. added bonus, the  steel angle reduces the flop on the hauler as a whole since it's a more solid connection.
assuming you've got at least a class 3 hitch (which is fairly required as far as I know...I think all the haulers are for 2" receivers) I wouldn't actually worry about the torque force on the hitch receiver.


mine is class III hitch

carrier connecting tabs are steel (not aluminum)

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1 hour ago, Crapflinger said:

ignoring all the high tech physics commotion people are going into.....

if it's one of the aluminum haulers, be aware that the part that actually holds the bike to the center beam that goes into the hitch is also aluminum. and it will likely, eventually, tear.

had my bike ALMOST fall off the back of the truck (thankfully hadn't gotten on the highway yet) when the aluminum tabs that hold the ladder part that the bike sits on shear off of the center steel beam. bike tilted all the way forward and was dragging the ladder part on the road up into the nearest parking spot. got two pieces of 4 inch or so steel angle, drilled the appropriate holes, and re-bolted the ladder part back to the center part. added bonus, the  steel angle reduces the flop on the hauler as a whole since it's a more solid connection.

assuming you've got at least a class 3 hitch (which is fairly required as far as I know...I think all the haulers are for 2" receivers) I wouldn't actually worry about the torque force on the hitch receiver.

Being one of the physics nerds here is why I chose the aluminum hitch I use. Like every one of the ones pictured in this thread so far, it has a steel channel that attaches to the steel receiver extender. It has two steel straps connected to the motorcycle track and receiver extender with 5 steel bolts each attaching it to the steel channel plate connected to the steel receiver extender. 

Not sure where you found a hitch carrier that connects to the aluminum track with aluminum. I'm sure they are out there, but they are not the norm. All the Northern Tool, ETrailer, Discount Ramps, etc., aluminum hitch carriers that I have seen connect to the extender with steel channel and hardware.

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2 hours ago, Adv Biker said:

Yes, draw-tite is 350 lbs, the issue is not Draw-Tite, the issue is that Honda Element (as stated above by Tahoe Gator) has CRV frame. Which only has a max tongue weight capacity of 150 Lbs or so...

It is no good that the hitch receiver is 350 lbs 

The hitch manufacturer tests their hitches for the actual vehicles they build for. So tongue weight will be as rated. As alucard0822 posted, the big thing will be to not exceed rear axle weight rating by filling the vehicle with passengers or gear. My bet is that with nobody in the back seats and a 300 pound bike/carrier combo, the Element will do fine. Put all your gear in the front or just behind front seats to improve handling. The Element forums seem to back this up.

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3 hours ago, Tahoe Gator said:

Putting trailer lights on your hitch carrier is a good (and cheap) idea. Might help mitigate the license plate risk.

I am more worried about getting the blame if I am rear ended by another vehicle. Putting lights on my hitch hauler is cheap insurance.

HitchHauler.jpg

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