How to Build a Trailer Hitch

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Last Updated on July 4, 2022

It’s not a bad idea completely if you decide to try building trailer hitch together yourself. Sure, it won’t be professionally designed and systematic to function as a store-bought version. But a fraction of the cost can be saved this way. And you can try it!

And to help you with that, let’s talk about how to build a trailer hitch. We will walk you through the steps in a brief explanation, hope it helps.

Here’s How to Build a Trailer Hitch 

Before we start talking about the process to build a travel trailer hitch, one thing that could be in your mind is, whether making your trailer hitch sounds logical. If it even would work for the job. 

For the most part, it will work and give good service. However, for professional usage, this might not be the best idea.

How to build a trailer hitch

1. Work With a Design in Mind

You also have to be particular about the trailer design, so make sure you create one before the hitch part. Anything without a roof will work best for such a project. Also with a full enclosing trailer, there might be a rectangular or circular one. 

Perhaps something between both. Having the measurements included in the design is important for the guide. So that choice of material is easier to conduct.

The part that plays the role of connecting mechanism for the trailer and vehicle is a hitch. And you need to include it for the design in the mind.

2. Taking Measurements, Selecting Axle Set & Wheel, and Design Tracing

Now you have the design details ready on your hand, right? It’s time to measure the materials based on this information. And then buy those materials for basically starting with the creation phase of this tutorial.

It’s always suggested to buy slightly more than what you are required. Just for safety. You don’t want to be left on a tight material resource. In case you make an error in the way. Also, making slight mistakes is pretty normal for someone who doesn’t have very much experience in DYing stuff like these.

You also at this point want to select the wheel as well as the axle set. Something strong and well-made enough to handle the trailer bulk.

Use metal sheets for having the design of the trailer body traced on it. Next, you want to simply cut and separate the outline. Then comes the part welding step. You get the parts together making sure there’s no gap between them.

3. Wheel & Axle Placement & Tongue Weight

Right in between the wheels, a rod stays and that’s called an axle. Now for anyone who wishes to have their trailer slightly tilting backward without the need of accelerating to the vehicle, placing the axle on the very center of the trailer body sounds just right.

Don’t forget to check if it’s also in the center when you consider the body width wise. That’s also important.

The force that gets exerted on the hitch by the trailer is the tongue weight. You will need to do two things to acquire this tongue weight. 

First, find the full-frame weight. And then calculate 5% of this total. You want to ensure the tongue is capable of handling this weight.

4. Proper Placement of Tongue

At this point, you need to turn the frame over. And then place the tongue. It should extend from the frame. 

And also, it needs to let connection to a vehicle seamlessly. There should be three things included here, the coupler, latch as well as the handwheel. Having the tongue ahead of the axle works ideally.

Also, two steel pieces with holes are what form the standard style of the tongue. There should be a bar, round in shape, holding the two pieces together and it stays on the hole for the joining to happen.

Understanding the bolting on a trailer coupler is required by the user. You also want to have an adequate amount of knowledge on how to install a trailer coupler, as some find it slightly tricky. Anyways, moving on.

5. Attach Latch & Fenders to Frame

You need to connect the latch with the frame first. And this is to make sure there’s enough balance on the trailer for it to work accurately. It also plays the role of making the hitching to the trailer work right.

After this, you want to also connect the fenders to the frame. This shall help in securing the wheel part. 

Apply very little heat for this purpose, and be careful as you weld the pieces together. It’s fine to use tiny metal rods for this. To make the fenders have enough support, try connecting an angle riot.

The frame back can be easily reinforced using the angle iron welding trick. In the case of an open trailer building, you might need something to spurt the gate, and this helps then. 

And finally, now that all parts are connected well, you can choose a color and paint the trailer to use the whole thing right after.

Frequently Asked Question

Can you make your trailer hitch?

If you have the right tools for the job, then yes you can do that. Hitch installation is fairly simple and also it does not need a lot of resources.

Is it cheaper to build your trailer?

Yes actually. The labor you put in building a trailer on your own helps in cutting down the overall cost. However, having the right trailer hitch fabrication parts is often tricky and barely something customizing can give you.

Wrapping Up

Woah, we are done talking about how to build a trailer hitch finally! It’s not that hard, right? We hope you are nodding your head in yes and planning already to try things out. However please do keep in mind, this cannot replace the professionally made versions. 

And that’s quite true for almost all DIYing plans out there. There will be slightly off performance as it’s not made with as expertise as the store-bought versions are. So do consider and be okay with that before having high hopes.

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About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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