Old forum Archive
This is where all the topics from the old forum that was shutdown are saved in a read-only forum. You can refer to it on this forum by using a link or copying the data over.
http://archive.aluminiumcamperforum.com/

Author Topic: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?  (Read 759 times)

canyonsmitty

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • TV and RV:
      Dodge Durango (Hemi)

    • VRV 8.5x18
    • View Profile
Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« on: July 27, 2021, 07:41:35 PM »
Hi, just purchased a 2013 VRV 8.5x18 Toy Hauler. It currently has a robust RAM Class IV, 2-5/16, rated gross 14,000 and tongue 2100. Have used Bulldog hitches for years and always enjoyed their ease of use. So, was considering a swap. The downside of this idea is that the Bulldog is a weld-on unit and mods are not recommended. I can live with the ACE although it hung while unhitching. (needs  lubrication). I already have an Andersen WD that I plan to mount on the trailer. The ACE is mounted with 4, 1/2" bolts in the vertical position. I can't reinforce the coupler as recommended elsewhere on this site but have worked out a way to reinforce the coupler in a different manner. There doesn't appear to be any distortion in the coupler at present but am considering the reinforcement in order to carry the additional load imposed by the Andersen. I suspect that the ACE hitch is an after market but can't find what was used on the original VRV's. Anybody have an opinion or observation along these lines? Thanks.

Merlin

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1310
  • Karma: +23/-0
    • TV and RV:
      2017 Land Cruiser

    • 2015 Camplite 16TBS
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2021, 08:12:55 PM »
I’d keep what’s on there and reinforce with your idea. Steel can’t be welded to aluminum, so a weld-on Bulldog wouldn’t work. Nice to have you on the forum!
Michigan

canyonsmitty

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • TV and RV:
      Dodge Durango (Hemi)

    • VRV 8.5x18
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2021, 08:35:55 PM »
I suspect this ACE is also a weld-on. I've pretty well exhausted the internet and found no couplers that mount with 4 vertical bolts. I am going to apply two short pieces of angle iron, one on top and one under the tongue just forward of the jack and lock in with a bolt between on each side of the coupler as close to the coupler as I can manage. This will sandwich the very end of the tongue and the coupler. I am unable to bolt it up like the recommended system as my tongue is a two core extrusion as shown in the picture and the side pieces do not come down low enough to to allow clearance fore the nuts below that center web.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2021, 07:50:01 PM by Merlin »

charliem

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 290
  • Karma: +6/-0
  • Hello from Beautiful Colorado
    • TV and RV:
      Tacoma, E2 WDH, P3

    • 2014 21RBS
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2021, 11:41:14 AM »
Your ACE coupler looks like a knockoff of the original #5000 coupler that gave many of us grief. Not exactly sure what your configuration is but I suspect the posted sketch of the extrusion is rotated 90 degrees and the middle web is actually horizontal. If so, is there enough vertical room to drill a 1/2" hole all the way through for a single long bolt? Washers and a nut on the outside?
« Last Edit: July 28, 2021, 11:44:41 AM by charliem »
Any 20 minute job can be stretched to a week with proper planning

Charlie
Northern Colorado
2014 21RBS
2013 Tacoma supercharged 4.0L V6
E2 WDH, P3 controller

canyonsmitty

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • TV and RV:
      Dodge Durango (Hemi)

    • VRV 8.5x18
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2021, 11:35:06 AM »
Unfortunately, the photo got rotated when downloaded. I thought about a bolt through and through but decided torquing it against the angle was a bad idea. Here is the concept shown in the attached sketch. Hope to fabricate more elegantly. Thanks for the input.

DavidM

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Karma: +22/-1
    • TV and RV:
      2013 Nissan Pathfind

    • Camplite 16TBS- sold
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2021, 12:32:38 PM »
I still don't see why a horizontal bolt through the coupler and aluminum frame won't do the trick.

David

LoneWolf04

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • TV and RV:
      S10

    • 16DB
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2021, 03:25:00 PM »
I still don't see why a horizontal bolt through the coupler and aluminum frame won't do the trick.

David

Unsure what the inside of this A frame looks like. The one on my 2013 16DB does not have any room to put horizontal bolts through the coupler. Been reviewing mine after trips because I am using the Anderson hitch with it.

DavidM

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Karma: +22/-1
    • TV and RV:
      2013 Nissan Pathfind

    • Camplite 16TBS- sold
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2021, 03:42:40 PM »
I still don't see why a horizontal bolt through the coupler and aluminum frame won't do the trick.

David

Unsure what the inside of this A frame looks like. The one on my 2013 16DB does not have any room to put horizontal bolts through the coupler. Been reviewing mine after trips because I am using the Anderson hitch with it.

Go to https://mailchi.mp/03023e6b11ed/repairing-or-preventing-a-bent-coupler and scroll down to the bottom for some pics of CharlieM's coupler and the bolts through the frame.

David

canyonsmitty

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • TV and RV:
      Dodge Durango (Hemi)

    • VRV 8.5x18
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2021, 10:32:38 AM »
The problem with through bolting is the middle web of the aluminum extrusion. there is insufficient room between the web and the bottom edge of the coupler and going above the web appears to me to potentially weaken the tongue because it is too close to the top of the extrusion. Whereas my solution, while aesthetically inelegant, does not compromise the integrity of the extrusion but accomplishes the exact same result as the through bolt. I go with fundamental engineering over aesthetics in such a vulnerable and critical area.

canyonsmitty

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • TV and RV:
      Dodge Durango (Hemi)

    • VRV 8.5x18
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2021, 10:35:27 AM »
The only safe place to drill through the tongue is at or near the neutral axis of the extrusion, where, unfortunately, I have a web. :)

charliem

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 290
  • Karma: +6/-0
  • Hello from Beautiful Colorado
    • TV and RV:
      Tacoma, E2 WDH, P3

    • 2014 21RBS
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2021, 10:50:27 AM »
Any chance you have enough access and the right tools to grind off the web an inch or so back? That might give you room for a through bolt. There should be no sideways compression load on the frame at that point and the coupler would take any added by the bolt. I'm thinking you need a giant Dremel tool  :)
Any 20 minute job can be stretched to a week with proper planning

Charlie
Northern Colorado
2014 21RBS
2013 Tacoma supercharged 4.0L V6
E2 WDH, P3 controller

canyonsmitty

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • TV and RV:
      Dodge Durango (Hemi)

    • VRV 8.5x18
    • View Profile
Re: Replace existing ACE hitch with Bulldog?
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2021, 01:03:01 PM »
Nobody has suggested why through bolting is superior to my sandwich solution? Through bolting places both the bolt and the coupler in shear. The sandwich method places the bolt in tension and the angle iron in bending, and maybe shear and requires no drilling, web cutting or compromise of the tongue extrusion.