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  #1  
Old September 2nd, 2016, 17:59
JeepNoob JeepNoob is offline
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Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

Hey guys, sorry if I didn't search for this ahead of time, posting from my phone and the search bar is being goofy. If there's already a thread on this and I did bad, please provide links.

Right now I'm looking at replacing the rear bumper on my '96 XJ which got crumpled up in an accident. I was thinking about just replacing it with a factory-original bumper from say, a junkyard. After doing a parts run to a Jeep-only junkyard near me and checking out some other XJ rear bumpers, wouldn't ya know, they're pretty much all crinkled up, at least a bit. Yeah, don't want that...

That got me thinking about adding a WIY, (weld it yourself) aftermarket rear bumper. I found one online I like, meaning it looks good, I can live with the price, and it's able to be customized (namely, D-ring shackles and a receiver hitch.) I have access to good welding rigs, can weld okay, but know folks who can weld even better who are willing to at least help. Here's my problem...

I would like to be able to tow with my rig at some point. Obviously I won't be won't be hauling 30,000 lbs frequently with it, maybe a few thousand pounds occasionaly at most. I'd also like to do off-roady Jeep things with it and am trying to get input from somebody's who done both, ideally with both a bumper and actual receiver hitch to figure out what's the best compromise. Here's the pro's and con's as I see them-

Bumper mounted hitch

-Cheaper
-Provides greater approach/break over/departure angles
-Provides an extra pulling point (kinda pointless due to having shackle mounts on the bumper whether or not I decide to run an actual receiver hitch or not)
-Not really the right way to tow
-No idea what the tow rating is.
-Ball receiver may intere with gas tank, thereby only allowing me to set it at a certain length.

Actual receiver hitch
-More money
-Will probably reduce my approach/break over/departure angles by dragging on ground.
-Provides an extra pulling point, just lower (see previous moot point)
-Should have attachment points for trailer chains
-Know what max tow rating is
-Ball receiver should not interfere with gas tank
-May serve as skidplate/additional rear-end protection/structural reinforcement (No joke, they put them on ZJ's, WK's, and KJ's as a safety recall for this reason.)

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old September 2nd, 2016, 19:25
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JohnX JohnX is offline
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

Only real downside to the bumper hitch is how it ties into the frame. Some only use the 8 factory bumper bolts, this is no good. If you get a good one with the 8 bolts, plus the other vertical bolts that would normally hold on the hitch....then the other issues shouldn't matter.

FYI. I have towed a few thousand pounds with mine a few times with no ill effects.
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 19:39
JeepNoob JeepNoob is offline
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

Good to know, thanks. This is the one I'm looking at, and yeah, it looks like it only ties in with the 8 bumper bolts, but there's some other holes in there, so maybe I'm wrong...http://www.jcroffroad.com/product/DIY-XJ-R.html

Out of curiosity, what are these 2 vertical bolts you're talking about? Could you give me some pics or links to your setup? Since this is a WIY bumper I'm looking at, I'm kinda curious if I could fit in some plates for those vertical bolts if this one does't have them... I should also mention that the "guy who is better at welding than me" is the school's machining/materials instructor. He's old-school, damn good at what he does, and just so happens to have a bunch of scrap steel laying around.

Last edited by JeepNoob; September 2nd, 2016 at 19:45.
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 19:44
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepNoob View Post

Bumper mounted hitch

-Cheaper Maybe
-Provides greater approach/break over/departure anglesYep
-Provides an extra pulling point (kinda pointless due to having shackle mounts on the bumper whether or not I decide to run an actual receiver hitch or not) mmhmm
-Not really the right way to tow Why not? Assuming it's built properly it's no different than any other hitch, you just need a taller ball mount.
-No idea what the tow rating is. If you build it with all the tie-in points that a normal bumper and hitch would have and build it like a hitch is built structurally it'll be stronger than the tow rating on your jeep
-Ball receiver may intere with gas tank, thereby only allowing me to set it at a certain length. Measure twice, weld once.

Actual receiver hitch
-More money maybe
-Will probably reduce my approach/break over/departure angles by dragging on ground. for sure
-Provides an extra pulling point, just lower (see previous moot point)
-Should have attachment points for trailer chains easy to weld to a bumper too
-Know what max tow rating is
-Ball receiver should not interfere with gas tank
-May serve as skidplate/additional rear-end protection/structural reinforcement (No joke, they put them on ZJ's, WK's, and KJ's as a safety recall for this reason.)

Thoughts?
No reason not to integrate a hitch into a real bumper. If you wanna be using it as a recovery point it should be built stronger than a hitch anyways. I've installed and removed a number of hitches for various vehicles over the years. There's nothing magical about them, and it'd be easy to build a hitch into a bumper with more strength.
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 20:06
JeepNoob JeepNoob is offline
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StinkyFab View Post
No reason not to integrate a hitch into a real bumper. If you wanna be using it as a recovery point it should be built stronger than a hitch anyways. I've installed and removed a number of hitches for various vehicles over the years. There's nothing magical about them, and it'd be easy to build a hitch into a bumper with more strength.
Feel like I need to clarify a few things here... the question is not whether I want to use ONLY the bumper or ONLY the trailer hitch. I've pretty much made up my mind on using the bumper (if I do pull the trigger), but it's customizable for a trailer "tube"/hitch/ball. It also has D-ring mounts, which I would plan on using either way. The question is, do I fab the bumper up WITH the "tube" for a trailer hitch and then fab up some chain eyelets myself or do I fab the bumper up WITHOUT the "tube" and just buy a regular, proper trailer hitch. Shop/labor rates would not be an issue in this case, since I plan I doing all the work myself and/or with the help of others, free of cost.
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 22:27
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

There's lots of thread on here about proper tie in points of a rear bumper. This thread clearly shows the vertical bolts thst I was mentioning in the first post.

http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=982065
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 22:46
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

By "integrate a hitch" I meant putting a receiver tube into the bumper just like you're describing. I see absolutely no reason to do a bumper AND a hitch. Just make them one.
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Old September 3rd, 2016, 00:47
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

IMO the best way to do a rear bumper on an XJ is to cut the opening of the rear frame rail open and slide in some 2x4 square tube mounts with nutstrips or welded nuts.

here's a great example from Eric (EricsXJ)

adding a hitch/safety chains to a bumper like this would be simple and probably stronger than even a true bolt-on reciever hitch.







Here is how I did mine. I used those mounts as the foundation for my hitch/bumper and as the main tie-in for my rear tube fenders/quarters.
not as clean as Eric's, but certainly more than strong enough for any kind of towing or recovery an XJ could ever do.






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Old September 3rd, 2016, 08:25
RCP Phx RCP Phx is offline
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

If you ever decide to wheel your Jeep, you would appreciate a full bumper that contains all the mounting points! You can jack or pull from any point and you'll be able to open your liftgate!
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Old September 4th, 2016, 17:36
anony_ anony_ is offline
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepNoob View Post
Feel like I need to clarify a few things here... the question is not whether I want to use ONLY the bumper or ONLY the trailer hitch. I've pretty much made up my mind on using the bumper (if I do pull the trigger), but it's customizable for a trailer "tube"/hitch/ball. It also has D-ring mounts, which I would plan on using either way. The question is, do I fab the bumper up WITH the "tube" for a trailer hitch and then fab up some chain eyelets myself or do I fab the bumper up WITHOUT the "tube" and just buy a regular, proper trailer hitch. Shop/labor rates would not be an issue in this case, since I plan I doing all the work myself and/or with the help of others, free of cost.
The rear bumper description shows "Includes receiver hitch tubing".

I would take a closer look at it's design, then beef up any potential weak areas with square bar and/or angle iron where needed.

An XJ OEM hitch is often rated to 2000 lbs and 5000 lbs with distribution gear.

The XJ tows over 2000 lbs but it starts to become a nightmare if your rear end is unable to accommodate the tongue weight. I've towed loaded 8 x 12 enclosed trailers where their tw is too much for an XJ with heavy duty rear springs and shocks. Would most likely require air bags to tow some loaded 8 x 12 trailers. Often it's dual axle trailers that create additional tw when loaded partially because their not balance the same as a single axle.

MJ rear springs are rated much higher than most if not all OE and aftermarket springs for the XJ. However their too long to install on an XJ.

When trailer weights start to become significantly over 2000 lbs your XJ starts to becomes approx the same significance limited in performance.

Last edited by anony_; September 4th, 2016 at 17:51.
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Old September 4th, 2016, 18:38
anony_ anony_ is offline
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

I'm unable to edit my last message because of NAxja's time limit. Just wanted to add if you plan on using the rear bumper for heavy duty short tows, such as stuck vehicles, etc.. The tie-in to the subframe is important. Rockclimber has the right idea you need to tie-in and re-strengthen the sub-frame.

I've towed stuck 1+ ton trucks with my XJ. Much if not most of the stress is applied to where the rear bumper (and hitch if installed), connects to the subframe. This is considered to be a weak area of a rear bumper and hitch, partially because the tie in is part of a unibody that works ok only if the entire uni-body comes into play. Which it really doesn't with OEM equipment. XJ's Oem rear hitch is an optional addon that uses a strip bar and some nuts and isn't satisfactory for some types of non-constant and constant uses.
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Old September 4th, 2016, 19:30
lawagoneer lawagoneer is offline
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

The JCR bumper/hitch has frame tie in brackets. It is plenty strong for towing or recovery. Full disclosure I have stock bumper with a V3 receiver hitch as part of the factory tow package (up to 5000 lbs with trailer brakes) The JCR bolts to the same location as the factory receiver hitch. JCR products are well designed but the DIY kit quality is up to you and your welding skills.
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Old September 4th, 2016, 20:53
VAhasnoWAVES VAhasnoWAVES is offline
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

for whats its worth... the JCR "tie in" kit simply uses a strap to tie the bumper into the nut strip. while it is probably fine to take a fore/aft pull, i dont see the design being intended for a lot of tongue weight. it does little if not nothing for a vertical load.

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Old September 5th, 2016, 06:09
lawagoneer lawagoneer is offline
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VAhasnoWAVES View Post
for whats its worth... the JCR "tie in" kit simply uses a strap to tie the bumper into the nut strip. while it is probably fine to take a fore/aft pull, i dont see the design being intended for a lot of tongue weight. it does little if not nothing for a vertical load.

Which is the same way a receive hitch bolts to the XJ and they are V3 rated, 5000 lb towing/500 lb tongue weight.
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Old September 5th, 2016, 09:06
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Re: Bumper receiver hitch vs. actual receiver hitch, thoughts?

Receiver hitch may use the same bolt locations but generally they have a vertical plate coming down off of that horizontal which makes the assembly MUCH more rigid. A flat plate has very little bending strength when loaded across its flat side. Fold that same plate into an L shape and it becomes very rigid in that direction.
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