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Towing with the step bumper?

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Old 09-02-2009, 01:06 PM   #1
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Towing with the step bumper?

I had been thinking about getting myself a trailer hitch. But recently I drilled out my 3/4" hole in my bumper out to a full inch and put on a 2" ball with a 1" shank, 3" long with a 6,000 lb. load capacity. I do not intend to exceed 3500 lbs and I have the plug and play wiring harness. My main interest is to tow a pair of jet skis. Does anyone think I'll be better off with a hitch, or will this modification be suffice for towing? The hitch and the bumper mount to the same location on the frame.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:40 PM   #2
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Honestly if you drilled out the hole I would be really careful, I'm not under my truck at the moment but the material there was engineered for a reason. If you do just pull the trailer around for a while and check EVERYTHING on the bumper and hitch mount area. Jet skis aren't all that heavy, but if you plan on pulling anything larger then I would worry about that. My 2c, an aftermarket hitch is a really easy thing to do on our trucks. I put one on mine in an hour or two. etrailer or ehitch.com something like that. The bolt on hitches are stout,...just went out and looked at my bumper on a 1999 there is plenty of metal to drill out the hole for a larger ball BUT, I wouldn't feel safe. A hitch can set you back $150.00 with shipping(that's 3 years ago pricing) if you install yourself. For what it's worth, my hitch is a Curt brand, I pull boats, other vehicles, trailers and even a palm tree out of the ground, never had an issue.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:45 PM   #3
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There is a reason aftermarket hitches are sold. It does bolt to the frame in the bumper locations but the box tube, gussets seem to be a better, more secure way to tow.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:49 PM   #4
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in all honesty, i feel safe towing an open trailer with this. the drill bit alone was $28 and even with the huge industrial drill i have, it took me a full hour to drill through all that metal. its a task i would never attempt again but the results were worth it!

that ball isn't going anywhere either
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:43 PM   #5
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You spent $28 for a drill bit, an hour of your time, and whatever you paid for the ball...

You could have spent about $120 and had a Class IV hitch, bolted in place, with no question about whether it is adequate for the job.
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheInvisibleMan View Post
in all honesty, i feel safe towing an open trailer with this. the drill bit alone was $28 and even with the huge industrial drill i have, it took me a full hour to drill through all that metal. its a task i would never attempt again but the results were worth it!

that ball isn't going anywhere either
What's the bumper rated to tow?

Everything might feel well & dandy to you after putting it all together, but when you're out on the street towing and putting major stresses on your bumper - it's a different story.

Especially, if you plan on towing with the bumper on a regular basis, I'm sure it wasn't designed to handle the stresses regularly.

The question here is .... do you wanna take the chance of ruining your bumper and possibly loosing your load ($$$$) on trying to skimp on safety?

Get a hitch...and rest assured.
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:54 AM   #7
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the bumper is rated for 3500 lbs. it says right on it... i don't plan on pulling anywhere near that much weight though. a jet ski is only 800-950 lbs and the trailer is about 200 or so. on a bumper rated at 3500 from the factory i'd be pulling at most 2100 lbs with nothing in the bed except for some life jackets and towels

i don't plan on towing daily, this is only for towing a jet ski or two to the lake or the ocean on nice weekend days
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Old 09-03-2009, 08:11 AM   #8
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From the back bumper:



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Old 09-03-2009, 09:01 AM   #9
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You'll be fine, towed 2500lb boat and a 1500 snowmobile set up on my older tacos from the bumper.

The drilling part is what we're concerned about, you could have just put a smaller shank on there and been ok, but now you comprimised a very small percentage of the strenght of the bumper by reducing it...which to me doesn't mean squat..put it this way I'd tow 3200lbs all day with your rig, but the motor and tranny would hate me.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiscdave View Post
You'll be fine, towed 2500lb boat and a 1500 snowmobile set up on my older tacos from the bumper.

The drilling part is what we're concerned about, you could have just put a smaller shank on there and been ok, but now you comprimised a very small percentage of the strenght of the bumper by reducing it...which to me doesn't mean squat..put it this way I'd tow 3200lbs all day with your rig, but the motor and tranny would hate me.

X 2. Turning is not near as good using your bumper. Be careful backing down with it. Sooner or later, you will kiss your bumper with the trailer. I did many times....
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:20 AM   #11
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i couldn't find a 2" ball with a 3/4" shank. at least not long enough to go through a step bumper

thanks for all the input guys
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:29 PM   #12
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I would have said you'd be good with just a ball, but who drills a bumper? You should have found a ball with the correct shank, what you did is potentially very unsafe. How do you know you didn't drill away a hardened area designed to accomodate the stresses of towing? The bumper was rated for 3500#, until you drilled it.
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheInvisibleMan View Post
i couldn't find a 2" ball with a 3/4" shank. at least not long enough to go through a step bumper

thanks for all the input guys

No problem, we just want you to be safe, and be safe enough to want to drive behind you
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:59 AM   #14
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You'll be fine. If it took an hour to drill through the bumper it has high strength steel and the bumper will not deform or sag with the loads you are pulling.
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:48 PM   #15
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Had......
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:53 AM   #16
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No worries. I tow a 19 ft. aluminum Bass boat with a 150 hp motor. Total weight of boat, motor and trailer is just over 2000 lbs. My bumper looks just like yours. The truck came already set up with the bumper hitch and wiring. It works just fine. FWIW, this is my second Toyota truck. My first one was a 1987 that towed the same boat from a bumper hitch with no troubles at all. As you point out, the weight limits are stamped right into the bumper at 350 tongue and 3500 tow weight. Your rig (and mine) are nowhere near the limit.
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:03 AM   #17
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Something I taught the kids to do when hooking up a trailer that has a winch and a wheel on the jack stand.

Back up fairly close to the trailer and then use the winch on the trailer to pull it on up to the ball.

You can play with angles and positions of the winch strap like wrapping it under the trailer frame, to where you can get the trailer coupling right over the ball.

Sure saves banging your truck into the trailer.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:15 AM   #18
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I can understand the entire, "Why risk it" argument being put forth here, and I do understand that purchasing a separate hitch is not very expensive at all and really easy to do, but I only understand it to a point. The OP posts that he has very specific plans for light towing duty, and knows for a fact he won't even smell the 3500 tow rating.

Quote:
Especially, if you plan on towing with the bumper on a regular basis, I'm sure it wasn't designed to handle the stresses regularly.
What the hell? The bumper has a tow rating on it, it has the punch holes in it for a trailer ball. You're not even saying that his extra drilling for a bigger ball may be the reason for a weaker bumper (which i don't specifically buy, either). You're sure it wasn't designed to handle the stresses regularly? Really? Is that why stock Tacos have a tongue weight of 350 lbs? Tongue weight where, on the hitch that isn't even an option (talking I4 here). Come on man, you're just making up reasons to buy a hitch.

I'm in the same spot here, I have a small two-person flat bottomed aluminum fishing boat with the trailer to match, and I don't even think it grosses more than 500lbs itself, let alone the tongue weight. I could probably more easily find three passengers to ride with me that weigh more than that damn boat and trailer.

Is a $175 hitch more secure? Sure. WHEN you're towing more than 1000-2000 pounds. Pure overkill and uninformed alarmism, methinks.
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