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Hot Rods Adding a receiver to a 1962 Wagon

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by jhutch, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. jhutch
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 129

    jhutch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hi all -

    I'm looking for some pics/suggestion on adding a 2" receiver to the back my 1962 Chev Bel Air Wagon. Chevy made a ball hitch back in the day - been searching the Inet but haven't seen any recently.

    Ideally, I'd like a receiver so I can put bike rack back there and drive the old girl when I got mt biking!

    I don't think I can put a receiver below the bumper - if I put it behind the license plate and hid it when not in use, what do I do with the plate when I do use it?

    A friend suggesting finding the old ball hitch and welding a receiver to it which seems like an option - if I could find one.

    Thoughts? Comments? Ramblings?
     
  2. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,319

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    What I usually do in a case like that is to measure the distance between the frame rails and go junkyard shopping for a hitch that will fit. I can usually find a good quality hitch receiver that will fit with minimum modification.

    If I want it really strong I will take some 2" square tube or angle iron and make an H or K shape with braces a foot or so forward. One I tacked together with my cheapy welder and took it to a professional welder friend to finish. He said 'you could tow a dump truck up the Rocky Mountains with that' lol.
     
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  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,027

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    my brother put a receiver on his 58 wagon, one of the universal fit ones. Under the license plate, I believe. I don't know if I can find a picture of it...I'll see
     
  4. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,298

    jnaki




    Hey Jhutch,
    There is a place called Rack and Road in San Rafael. I called a great store in So Cal as we are also looking to get a complete hitch system installed on our car. Throwing the bikes inside is getting old. In the conversation, they referred me to Rack and Road for applications up in that part of the Bay Area. We have friends in the Larkspur area, also into biking. This So Cal store will not beat up the stock bumper, yet install a heavy duty system for bikes and trailer pulling.

    Give that San Rafael store a call or stop by to see what is available. We like the systems where the stock body and bumper are not cut or altered. Also, that the ball hitch component slides out when not in use.

    Jnaki

    In 1959, we had a custom, solid bar hitch, rack installed by a certified welder, trailer hitch specialist in Long Beach to the back of our 1958 Chevy Impala. It was made of a solid 2 x 3.5" bar and the ball was attached to it. The rest of the support system was underneath the gas tank and braced well. By today's standards, it was very old school. We needed the tow hitch so we could tow our 40 Willys to the drags at Lions. That ball and bracket saved our rear ends many times at sloped driveways and lots in the local drive ins.
     
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  5. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,559

    stuart in mn
    Member

    A lot of cars in the 1960s and 1970s had their gas cap behind the license plate, they had a spring loaded mounting bracket for the plate that would fold down for access. Find one of those and use it to hide the receiver.
     
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  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,027

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I put a quarter panel on the car, you can kind of see how the hitch attaches.... and it does go under the plate, not behind it. He did buy new rear springs to keep the car from sagging.

    58hitch.jpg
     
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  7. MercDeuceMan
    Joined: Jul 19, 2004
    Posts: 1,814

    MercDeuceMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Indiana
    1. Vintage Trailers

    We had Tom Culbertson fab up an old school frame bumper hitch for our 1959 Olds wagon.
    It came out perfect. All made from an original hitch head with heavy duty strap steel running back to 4 points on the frame.
    It will pull anything the wagon can handle and looks like it belongs there.
    I can get you some picks tomorrow night if you want.
    His idea for finding an original hitch was to look for an older welding shop and see if they still have any original hitches laying out back from customers that upgraded to a square receiver head style hitch

    Sent from my SM-G955U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  8. jhutch
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 129

    jhutch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks - I am familiar with them. I also know of 2-3 reputable hot rod shops that can do the job. I'm not sure that R&R would do the type of work I'm looking to do - I think they probably just deal with late model plug and play type of things. I could be wrong but I'm not sure I would trust a shop that is bolting racks onto new Toyota's and Volvo's to do something custom on my old wagon.

    I should clarify that I'm less concerned about the rack itself and a bit more concerned about the placement and function. I have 14" from the ground to the bottom of the bumper and 13.25" from ground to the bottom of the license plate. I think just welding it in would put the receiver too low to the ground - behind the plate would be slick because it could be hidden but what to do with the plate when hauling? If I hinge it, I'm ok with that, but think you're supposed to have the plate displayed at all times and I don't want to get pulled over some where because it's not displayed. I suppose it's a small risk, but, you get the idea.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  9. jhutch
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 129

    jhutch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'd love to see a pic!
     
  10. jhutch
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 129

    jhutch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hmm.. that's interesting. I have 14" of ground clearance to the bottom of the bumper - I'd like to do a 2"/Class 2 receiver so I can haul 4 bikes back there or hook up a trailer to towing my 31 around at some point. I'm 13.25" from the bottom the plate to the ground. I'm a bit concerned it will be too low - what's your thoughts there?
     
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,027

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    As long as you drive sanely and don't put way too much weight on it, it should be fine.
     
  12. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 1,563

    Kerrynzl
    Member

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  13. Terrible80
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 320

    Terrible80
    Member

    Think you need it behind the plate with some kind of quick disconnect to move the plate to the bicycle rack. Dunz fasteners? Magnets? Don't have a perfect solution in mind.

    Sent from my LG-TP450 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  14. spanners
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 532

    spanners
    Member

    Over here in the state of N.S.W. Australia we can get a small size licence plate to attach to your bike rack. It matches the car licence plate. Probably not much help to you. On my '39 Chev pick up I used a fold down Licence plate bracket off a '70s model Holden Torana which was similar to a '70s model Holden sedan. This bracket was pinched off the American '60s Chev I believe. My tow hitch is behind that. If towing, no one can see the 'plate anyway.
     
  15. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 9,001

    flatheadpete
    Member
    from Burton, MI

    My '91 Caprice has a flip down plate factory to access the gas filler. Maybe something like that could be worked into your idea?
     
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  16. jhutch
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 129

    jhutch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Seems like the flip down option is the way to go and I'll just roll the dice on the plate. I don't usually go too far but I do have to get on the highway so I'm a bit concerned about the CHP dinging me. If I'm going for a weekend or something maybe I can rig it up on the bike rack.
     
  17. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 39,027

    squirrel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I measured the receiver hitch on my 59 long bed truck, the bottom of it is 13.5" off the ground. But it's a stock height truck. It never has any issues at all with ground clearance.

    you'll be fine if you just tuck the receiver under the plate. It's not that complicated, really.
     
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  18. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 648

    gene-koning
    Member

    A receiver tube is about 2 1/2" square, so it will be 2 1/2" lower then your current lowest point, which would put you at 10 3/4" of ground clearance. Those cement parking blocks are suppose to be 8" high. Depending on tongue weight, the condition of your springs, or how far behind the rear axle the hitch hangs, you will probably scrape a little on steep driveways, but should be good otherwise. If your pulling a heavy trailer, you may want to add some kind of spring helpers.

    You may remove the L plate and gain additional clearance. You could mount the L plate on a short receiver and install it into the tube when you don't have the hitch in, then add a short receiver tube to the bike rack when its in place to add the L plate to the bike rack. Then moving the L plate would be a simple matter of pulling the hitch pin, and moving the L plate to where ever it needs to be and reinstalling the hitch pin.

    Everything sounds great on paper, but sometimes reality doesn't cooperate very well. Gene
     
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  19. abe lugo
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,959

    abe lugo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My daily has a hitch from Eckhart's in So-Cal http://eckharts.com/
    They have been around since 1944, so I'm sure at some point the made some of 50's-60's cars.
    They weld in the hitch to the rear frame of your car. One of those guaranteed for life type jobs.

    I've towed so much stuff with this hitch, it was well worth it.
     
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  20. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,215

    southcross2631
    Member

    I modified a receiver hitch from a Dodge pick up to work under a 64 Merc convertible. He pulls a 63 24 foot Airstream trailer no problem to vintage trailer shows.
     
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  22. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,278

    ROADSTER1927
    Member

    This is what I did on my Roadster. I put a receiver socket in my frame and the license plate fits in it. It pulls out and you put the receiver in. Then my trailer hitch has a socket in top of it the license goes it when you use the hitch. Maybe you can come up of some new version of this. scan0001.jpg scan0002.jpg scan0007.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  23. SBCWelder
    Joined: Jun 24, 2013
    Posts: 51

    SBCWelder
    Member

    I installed a hitch on my Imperial behind the license plate. Replaced the rear frame crossmember with a piece of box tube and made the plate flip up with a GM spring loaded plate bracket. The bike rack fits perfectly, and I can tow my small camper with a normal 2" drop hitch. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G930P using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  24. DAHEMIKOTA
    Joined: Aug 12, 2006
    Posts: 102

    DAHEMIKOTA
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Tenn

    I put a receiver on a S-10 behind the licence plate. Just made a licence plate frame with a couple of spring hinges I found at an Ace Hardware. When you put the hitch in the receiver just pull the licence plate down and let the hitch hold it there. When you are done towing just remove the hitch and the plate returns to it's normal position. Dan
     
  25. jhutch
    Joined: Jul 18, 2011
    Posts: 129

    jhutch
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I really like the hidden hitch idea with the plate spring mounted. That's the route I'll go! Thanks all. When I get it done I'll be sure to update with some pics.
     
  26. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 5,886

    flynbrian48
    Member

    I have my plate on a receiver plug (plastic), just throw it in the back when towing. IMG_1874.JPG
     
  27. SR100
    Joined: Nov 26, 2013
    Posts: 370

    SR100

    A little late to the party (as usual...) but if you are using a stock style hinged plate:
    [​IMG]
    you could put a second hinge on the top so that the plate hangs down below the hitch. You'd probably want a magnet at the bottom of the plate so you wouldn't hear it flapping when the hitch was not in use.
     
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  28. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 22,708

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I did a search and no class III hitch for a 61 wagon came up. It shouldn't be that hard to find a used hitch that is wide enough for the wagon frame rails that someone can modify the ends on to mount it to the frame. That would cut down on the fabricating.
     
  29. mattybear
    Joined: Nov 19, 2009
    Posts: 70

    mattybear
    Member

    what year dodge pickup?? I am looking to put a hitch on my 63 monterey
     

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