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Old 03-18-2012, 01:28 PM   #1
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Finally built my bike rack

I have had an old flat receiver mount steel mesh cargo carrier in the garage for a long time and have been thinking about how to build or transform it in to more storage and a slide-out bike rack. I borrowed a few ideas I've seen here and finally got it done. The problem I have with most I've seen is the inability to open the rear doors, so I thought out how to build a slide out one similar to TmTm's rack, but with a bulletproof 3 point mount I could add a lot of weight to. The stock 1 tube rack is rated for 500 lbs but I wanted a wobble free rack I could really weigh down if needed. My van's receiver hitch is a 1000/10,000 model so no worries there.
I started by adding a box of made of angle iron to my present hitch rack



Then i bought 2 5' receiver tubes and 2 15"ish larger tubes to weld on the outside of my van's receiver hitch. I wanted to make it lockable so I figured the easiest thing to do would be to weld the side tubes on flush with the center tube and just use the original pin/lock setup I've always used. It's a little tight to get to, but works great, without having to crawl under van. Also, I can take the rack off completely by removing the pin and sliding it out with a second set of hands.



Next I added my bike racks to the top and finished out the rear with a flat piece of angle across. Plenty strong



Photo above is locked to vehicle and below rack slid all the way out with clearance for doors



Surprisingly it doesn't sag the van even fully loaded. It doesn't drive like it has a lot of weight on it, and it doesn't rattle at all

I road tested it and took the first trip out this Spring up to Big South Fork NRRA, a beautiful place. Got rained on the entire trip but still had a good time. I loaded the rack down about as heavy as I ever will with firewood and bikes and had no problems. I still plan to add a trailer light set/tag holder to the rear since I designed the rack to just be left there. I'm also going to add a backup camera soon so I don't back it into things. I'm pretty long now with this rack on the extended van. If it looks like the rack sags a bit, remember it uses the factory center tube with 2 added on the outside, so that's just the way my hitch is built. It's almost like the angle is designed for the van to sit up higher in the back, which would make the receiver more level, but my van doesn't sag, not really even with this rack on and loaded. Not sure why the factory hitch isn't more level, but of course I never noticed it until I built this huge rack.


Big South Fork at the Twin Arches (nothing to do with the rack, but a great first trip out this Spring)




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Old 03-18-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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Re: Finally built my bike rack

A welding buddy of mine had a real simple effective way to keep anyting in a receiver hitch from rattling back and forth. He would drill a hole in the side of the hitch and weld a nut over the hole. Then take a bolt with a nut already threaded onto it and wrench it into the whatever you have in the hitch. Once the bolt has wedged your bike rack or ball hitch tight into the receiver use the second nut to double nut the bolt in the hitch so it doesn't back out.

Just make sure you locate the locking bolt in a position that doesn't conflict with whatever type of keeper pin you use to secure the bike rack or ball hitch to the frame mounted receiver.

Your bike rack firewood storage setup is bomber. Very impressive work. The three point system is STOUT.

I'd probably want to add tail lights to your setup. That thing does hang out there a ways.
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:08 PM   #3
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Re: Finally built my bike rack

yep, that's what I should be doing right now (tail lights). I'm familiar with that anti-rattle idea and thought I would need it but so far it doesn't shake, rattle or roll a bit. I forgot to add also that I put extra bars on the sides and back so no one could lift anything big (like a cooler or medium/large generator or the like) from it without sliding it out first. You can only access anything big by sliding it out and getting it from the front towards the bumper.
Thanks for the compliments!
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:58 AM   #4
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Re: Finally built my bike rack

I like!
Want to build me one?
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:25 AM   #5
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Finally built my bike rack

Thanks but I don't have the time. It took me a year to get around to building mine.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:25 PM   #6
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Re: Finally built my bike rack

Good work. I like the triple tube setup.

I keep thinking of making a swingaway. Using the idea of a second or third tube might help. It would be like yours, but I'd have to make it higher since I need clearance. It would hinge on the left, and swing into a tube on the right.

The nice thing about those side tubes is that for offroading they'd be handy lift points since they're low, sturdy and more stable for a hi lift jack.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:02 AM   #7
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Re: Finally built my bike rack

Yeah, I know my setup wouldn't work for a lot of offroad folks since it's so long (and thus so low at the rear). I'm curious how it would work on a regular length and/or lifted van.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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Re: Finally built my bike rack

Ya know, I could use a few more pictures!! (BTW, less is better).

Glad to see you fabbed some additional mounts. When I see this type of tack just on the hitch mount, I shudder....
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:08 PM   #9
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Finally built my bike rack

Less is better, what? I like pictures! Lots and lots o pictures!
Btw, check out WVvans build if you think I'm bad!
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