While I am saving up money to buy some nice bumpers with the built-in hitch receiver, I decided to try my hand on a welding project. This hitch receiver is only intended to support a bike rack with up to 4 bikes, I do not intend to pull a trailer with it. I will do some testing though to see how strong it is.

IMG_0632

You can do ANYTHING with steel, an angle grinder and a wire feed welder. OK, probably not ‘anything’. I am still learning how my flux wire feed welder works, and this was a perfect project to get more familiar with it. I bought the 90 amp Chicago Electric model (http://www.harborfreight.com/welding/mig-flux-welders/90-amp-flux-wire-welder-68887-8494.html#.UysZ1V6O2ZM) and also picked up a step hitch receiver.

This bolts directly to the stock bumper support brackets using the holes that are already there. It can be removed easily if necessary. The only irreversible change is that I needed to cut away the actual rear bumper to allow the receiver to stick out.

4 Comments

  1. Randy
    June 14, 2014

    I have the same welder and a 1982 Vanagon Westy. Your project looks pretty great.
    Did you have any problems with the feed roller slipping with your welder, causing intermittent feed?

    Nice work!

    • Kenny
      July 10, 2014

      I did have feed roller issues with the wire slipping a bit. That was using the flux wire included with the welder, but I also bought the full wire spool at HF and that one seemed to not slip as much. I also get better and better at setting the tension needed to make it not slip.

  2. Bob Griner
    August 4, 2014

    I’m impressed with your photo documentation of the dash and heater work. My fan just stopped blowing in the spring…time to attack it before it begins to get colder here in Kansas City, MO.

    What things would you suggest I be prepared to tackle while the dash is out?
    – windshield rust
    – clutch pedal worn out clevis pin
    – replace foam pads which are rotted out of the vents
    – wires for the vent levers (did you do this…if so, what wire did you find to replace it with?)

    What else?

    Thanks,
    Bob

    • Kenny
      August 6, 2014

      Hey Bob! I did not replace the wires for the vent levers. The PO had purchased two new ones (each is a different size) but I did not need to replace them. The heat lever (blue/red dots) had a bent wire, but I just straightened it out and it works perfectly now. The thing I did with the core out was mark the sides with ‘open’ and ‘closed’ so I could easily tell if the levers were adjusted correctly. Now, with everything re-assembled it is easy to see if the vents are fully open or closed.

      What else to do? Clean up your wires with zip ties. There are a couple grounding ‘crowns’ on the left side above the fuse box, I just went through each wire connected to it and cleaned them individually to insure better ground. Seriously, anything I could see back there (and it is totally accessible with the dash out) I would remove and clean/paint to remove surface rust. I made sure my speaker wires going out to the doors were tied and not being pinched in the door tubes.

      I also took some time to address the under side of the dash as there was some rust there.