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Hitch Carrier and a Mini-Van

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Can anyone tell me how a hitch carrier handles on the back of a mini-van? We are planning to take a road trip up to Oregon and I want to bring my 450X. We have an '07 Kia Sedona. The way I figure it is that the bike weighs less than my mother and father-in-law in the back with a couple hundred pounds of luggage. The van has handled great in that situation. I understand the concept of the weight being centered 3-4' behind the axle which may handle different than my inlaws sitting on the axle. Just curious about other mini-van owners experience. Thanks guys!

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I think it's something like this:

Don%27t-overload-your-trailer.jpg

Not exactly what I was hoping for.

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I would like to know if anyone has used one with a minivan also, as I am thinking of getting one. Anyone have any experience at all with using a hitch mounted carrier and a minivan? Serious replies appreciated.

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I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it.

The "main" difference between a truck and a mini van is how they're built. Now not every truck and not every minivan follows this rule, but in general, trucks are built on frames, minivans are unibody.

Sticking a class one hitch receiver on either isn't a problem.

As soon as you go to a class III (what you'll need for this application) you're looking at a whole new ball game of stress.

Your mom and pop in the back seat are between the axles where the weight was designed to be put, sticking a bike on the back is weight behind the axle and a lot of it, where it wasn't designed to go.

And it's a Kia, I highly doubt they build their minivan on a truck frame.

Buy a class I receiver for $150 and a single bike trailer (or rent one) for a few hundred.

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I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it.

The "main" difference between a truck and a mini van is how they're built. Now not every truck and not every minivan follows this rule, but in general, trucks are built on frames, minivans are unibody.

Sticking a class one hitch receiver on either isn't a problem.

As soon as you go to a class III (what you'll need for this application) you're looking at a whole new ball game of stress.

Your mom and pop in the back seat are between the axles where the weight was designed to be put, sticking a bike on the back is weight behind the axle and a lot of it, where it wasn't designed to go.

And it's a Kia, I highly doubt they build their minivan on a truck frame.

Buy a class I receiver for $150 and a single bike trailer (or rent one) for a few hundred.

This serious reply is what I was getting at with my first post. It's just a bad idea. You'll really be taxing your van and it won't be too safe. If you want to haul a bike with the van, look into a class one hitch and small trailer.

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I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it.

The "main" difference between a truck and a mini van is how they're built. Now not every truck and not every minivan follows this rule, but in general, trucks are built on frames, minivans are unibody.

Sticking a class one hitch receiver on either isn't a problem.

As soon as you go to a class III (what you'll need for this application) you're looking at a whole new ball game of stress.

Your mom and pop in the back seat are between the axles where the weight was designed to be put, sticking a bike on the back is weight behind the axle and a lot of it, where it wasn't designed to go.

And it's a Kia, I highly doubt they build their minivan on a truck frame.

Buy a class I receiver for $150 and a single bike trailer (or rent one) for a few hundred.

So the manufacture (KIA) will install a class III hitch on the van which will allow me to tow up to 3500 lbs but I shouldn't put a class III on it and haul a 275 lb bike?? I understand there is more tongue weight involved with the hitch carrier, but I can't imagine its going to exceed the manufactures ratings.

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Class 2 is actually 3,500lbs towing, 350 tongue

Class 3 is is 5,000 and 500 tongue

You probably can do it, I just wouldn't.

There's much more to this than even I understand. So I'll go over what I understand. I am not an engineer. I have worked on projects involving really large stresses in various directions and I've seen what happens when things go wrong. It's not pretty and it's not cheap.

The good part in what I saw go wrong is that while it may be $30,000 worth of garbage, nobody will be following the disaster at 60 mph and die.

Three areas of concern:

You have the initial static load, it's not moving, it's just sitting there.

It's approximately four feet behind the rear axle and acts just like a fat kid on the see saw. There's a fatter kid on the other side of the see saw and he's farther away from the axis, but none the less there's two fat kids on the see saw flexing the see saw.

You have the load also on another see-saw but this one the axis is the hitch-receiver. This is pushing and pulling the frame, actually it's twisting the frame right and left each time you go over a bump. That's assuming you have it loaded perfectly even, otherwise it will cause greater twisting force in one direction most of the time and then an extreme reverse some of the time.

The hitch, hitch receiver are built for this, your van however is not. Since the two strong points are behind the weak one, guess which is going to wear the most and fail soonest? Your van.

Finally, you have the dynamic load which looks a lot like the fat kids on the see saw again, except one of them is bouncing while the other sits on the ground laughing at him stuck up in the air. The bouncing one is trying to get down, but all he's really doing is stressing the crap out of the board on his side, eventually it will break.

When any one of the three above mentioned points of failure fail, guess what's going to happen? Your bike will come flying off the van, go hurtling down the highway at some poor unsuspecting sap, slam into his windshield and if he's lucky, cause a really bad stain in his shorts. My guess is he's not going to be lucky, so instead, the really bad stain will be in the driver's seat and then his family sues the crap out of you, meanwhile your bike is trash, your van is trash.

Just don't do it.

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We considered this for our Mazda Mini. A few things raised the red flag:

1.The tongue weight for most class III hitches is 500lb; BUT, mounted on the minivan-bolted to unibody sheet metal, instead of a steel frame-the reccomended safe tongue load drops about 50% to 250-300lb.

2. The handlebar width for a full size bike require carrier placement further to the rear, so your rear window doesnt get bumped as the bike is in transit. The bike is a little "floppy" on these style of carriers, regardless of vehicle type.

3. Extending the distance of the load from the hitch also further reduces capacity of the hitch and mounting. It is hard to quote exact figures on this, the hitch mfgrs. don't encourage this kind of use. The bike carrier makers usually state the carrier is safe on any ClassIII hitch; BUT, see#1.

Asked a local shop that specializes in RV work, they stated that "safe tongue load is reduced about 100lbs per foot of extension from standard trailer ball mounting".

Try to ask bike owners that are using these, and consider the type of vehicle as well. I've seen the hitch carriers on pickup trucks, and two things were obvious. The vehicle "feels" the load alot more, from being behind he axle so far. The bike seems to move alot for-aft.

We opted for the small trailer, much less of an inconvenience than hitch failure/bike/vehicle damage.

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I tried using one of those Hitch carriers on my Saturn Vue and let me tell you DON'T do it. Kid you not that thing was dragging when I came out of my driveway and if you hit a bump it would hit. However when I sold the Vue and bought a Jeep it worked great then again the Jeep sits alot higher. I think it would drag behind the van but thats just my 2 cents. Good luck.

I'd rent a trailer

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Have done this on and off for years with one of the original moto-x bike caddies. This unit has more flex then the newer designs.

I have an olds silouhette mini van (same chasis/etc. as chevy venture). No problems but you do have to be careful backing up ... as you would have to be with a trailer any way. I do have the stock automatic air shocks in the back that keep the van level. I carry a WR450.

Do wrap the handlebar end that faces the back glass in a towel or the like. My bike sways a bit on large bumps and can tap the back glass. Wrapping prevents the handlebar from coming through the glass. I tend to drive pretty leisurly so have not noticed any adverse handling, even when fully loaded down with bike/people/gear/fuel.

My philosophy is that you can't have too many straps on the bike so I block the front suspension and apply 2 tie downs to each end and also tie down the foot pegs and wrap each wheel to the ramp. I'm sure I could role the van and the bike would still be attached. I also run a heave chain/lock from the bike frame to the hitch cross bar for security.

Do need the class III / 2" hitch. I can see where the Mazda mini van would be pretty overwhelmed as the Mazda is a little smaller than a 'full size' mini van.

Not as useful as a trailer but easier to store and maintain in my opinion.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

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So I called the dealership and asked them the max tongue weight I can put on the van and told him what my plans are. He said the van will take whatever tongue weight a class III offers or they would not put it on the van. He said he has seen a few people do this with no problems.

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So I called the dealership and asked them the max tongue weight I can put on the van and told him what my plans are. He said the van will take whatever tongue weight a class III offers or they would not put it on the van. He said he has seen a few people do this with no problems.

Tongue weight is weight on tongue.

Hitch carriers extend the free weight beyond where the hitch ball would otherwise be. This leverage acts as a force multiplier.

Think of the hitch carrier as a cheater bar torquing your rear axle and hitch frame support points.

Go with a small trailer instead.

You will most certainly regret using a hitch carrier with this van.

BB

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All right, so I checked the owners manual of my van when I got home. It states that a maximum vertical static load of 350 lbs at the point of coupling, i.e the hitch. Thus, since it says static load means they've accounted for the dynamic load.

Also, I called my brother-in-law who is a licensed structural engineer to see what he thought. I gave him some weights, dimensions etc so he could do some calculations. He called me back and told me that with the weight I gave him, (320 lbs = bike + carrier), located 2 feet back of the hitch adds 37.4 lbs to the vertical load at the tongue. So with my estimated 320 lbs plus 37.4 lbs I'm at around 360 lbs. I'm going to go for it:thumbsup: Of course if the tires are rubbing the inside of the fenderwells when I get it on there I'm not.

I'm being a little conservative in estimating the weight of the bike, 275 lbs dry. Honda claims 259 lbs dry.

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So I called the dealership and asked them the max tongue weight I can put on the van and told him what my plans are. He said the van will take whatever tongue weight a class III offers or they would not put it on the van. He said he has seen a few people do this with no problems.

I think this is where you'll find it's a no-go...figure out where the hitch tube would protrude, now mock up what a hitch hauler would extend from that (24" or more) straight back, and then examine the angle from the rear wheels to the end of the hauler. This is your maximum departure angle.....and it's going to be REALLY low, since the hitch sits so low to begin with.

If you do decide to do this, before you leave on your trip, when the van is fully loaded, readjust your headlights....they're going to be a bit off.

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All right, so I checked the owners manual of my van when I got home. It states that a maximum vertical static load of 350 lbs at the point of coupling, i.e the hitch. Thus, since it says static load means they've accounted for the dynamic load.

Also, I called my brother-in-law who is a licensed structural engineer to see what he thought. I gave him some weights, dimensions etc so he could do some calculations. He called me back and told me that with the weight I gave him, (320 lbs = bike + carrier), located 2 feet back of the hitch adds 37.4 lbs to the vertical load at the tongue. So with my estimated 320 lbs plus 37.4 lbs I'm at around 360 lbs. I'm going to go for it:thumbsup: Of course if the tires are rubbing the inside of the fenderwells when I get it on there I'm not.

I'm being a little conservative in estimating the weight of the bike, 275 lbs dry. Honda claims 259 lbs dry.

This is good .... you are sincerely trying to get to the right answer.

But your engineer is wrong.

Here is the correct analysis: Force at the rear axle is one way to see the problem, as in too much weight in the wrong place. Your hitch ball at 3ft beyond rear axle (loaded to 350 pounds) applies a torque of 350lb x 3ft = 1050ftlb to that rear axle. Now you increase the leverage an extra 2 feet and this is what you get ...... 350 lb x 5ft = 1750 ftld force on rear axle.

This is a 66% increase - very dramatic and you will feel it as will your vehicle hardware!

Heres a more intuitive analogy: What you are about to do is put a cheater bar on the wrench. For the same hand force you mutiply the applied torque at the nut you are turning (rear axle).

Now for the homework assignment class: What theoretical extended hitch carrier length would it take to pull the front wheels of said van off the ground for a 300 pound motorcycle on hitch carrier? (think teeter totter)

BB

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This is good .... you are sincerely trying to get to the right answer.

But your engineer is wrong.

Here is the correct analysis: Force at the rear axle is one way to see the problem, as in too much weight in the wrong place. Your hitch ball at 3ft beyond rear axle (loaded to 350 pounds) applies a torque of 350lb x 3ft = 1050ftlb to that rear axle. Now you increase the leverage an extra 2 feet and this is what you get ...... 350 lb x 5ft = 1750 ftld force on rear axle.

This is a 66% increase - very dramatic and you will feel it as will your vehicle hardware!

Heres a more intuitive analogy: What you are about to do is put a cheater bar on the wrench. For the same hand force you mutiply the applied torque at the nut you are turning (rear axle).

Now for the homework assignment class: What theoretical extended hitch carrier length would it take to pull the front wheels of said van off the ground for a 300 pound motorcycle on hitch carrier? (think teeter totter)

BB

ding ding ding, we have a winner. spot on. don't run a hitch carrier on this rig.

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This is good .... you are sincerely trying to get to the right answer.

But your engineer is wrong.

Here is the correct analysis: Force at the rear axle is one way to see the problem, as in too much weight in the wrong place. Your hitch ball at 3ft beyond rear axle (loaded to 350 pounds) applies a torque of 350lb x 3ft = 1050ftlb to that rear axle. Now you increase the leverage an extra 2 feet and this is what you get ...... 350 lb x 5ft = 1750 ftld force on rear axle.

This is a 66% increase - very dramatic and you will feel it as will your vehicle hardware!

Heres a more intuitive analogy: What you are about to do is put a cheater bar on the wrench. For the same hand force you mutiply the applied torque at the nut you are turning (rear axle).

Now for the homework assignment class: What theoretical extended hitch carrier length would it take to pull the front wheels of said van off the ground for a 300 pound motorcycle on hitch carrier? (think teeter totter)

BB

You haven't prooved my engineer is wrong. Tongue weight is tongue weight. He has shown through his calculations that regardless of the weight being centered 2' back of the hitch, I still am only puting 360 lbs of force on the tongue which according to the manufacture is the limiting factor.

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