Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
I<3myEscaper

1987 Toyota Escaper Frame Reinforcement For Motorcycle Hauler. (Lots Of Pics)

Recommended Posts

I am about to be living in my Toyota full time while traveling across the country until further notice. I am bringing along with me my motorcycle for exploring towns and off-road areas and camping that the Toyota is not capable of reaching. My bike is a 2008 Yamaha WR250X weighing in right at 300 pounds. My motorcycle hitch hauler weighs in at about another 90 pounds.

I hooked the hitch hauler in, loaded the motorcycle, and gave it a weight test with ~600 pounds to see how the Toyota would react. The suspension barely squatted and the airbags are at 65 pounds (max air pressure is 100 psi). With the weight test I saw that the hitch began to bend downward, uh oh!

blogger-image-313966725.jpg

So the next step was to figure out what to do to reinforce the frame and hitch.

Taking a look at the hitch you can see only small portions of the hitch were welded together and this weight started to split those welds.

blogger-image-1787819625.jpg

So upon taking a look at the truck we worked on figuring out what to do. It appears the frame extensions for the camper weld right onto the existing frame from the truck. This would work perfect. We would strengthen the entire rear of the truck by sliding heavy duty rails into the existing frame and bolting those to the trucks original frame to add all the extra strength the truck would need in the back. We would then build a new trailer hitch onto the heavy duty frame rails we added.

We start with the stock rear end.

blogger-image-613852907.jpg

Drill out the rivets and remove the bumper cover.

blogger-image--198315561.jpg

We then cut into the rear bumper to give access to the frame extensions.

blogger-image--1514423856.jpg

Here you can see the frame rails from the extension and the thickness of the metal used.

blogger-image-1804470547.jpg

This rail goes all the way to the actual frame of the truck and welds onto it with a few spots.

So the plan is to slide a heavy duty rail into the frame extension , all the way in and into the existing frame of the truck. We used a bar from a local metal shop ($50 for 11 feet). The bar is a 1.5" x 2.5" x .250" wall thickness.

The bar fit PERFECTLY into the frame extension and into the frame. We were able to get this bar easily over a foot into the truck frame. This will give the truck a massive increase in support all the way to the rear of the camper.

We drove it in as far as it was able to go, it took a sledge hammer to drive it all the way to where we wanted it. We then evened it out with the rear bumper.

blogger-image--210941525.jpg

Notice the metal thickness difference from the old frame extension to the bar we are now using for support.

We then repeated the process on the other side.

Then we ran out of metal and time!

Tomorrow we will be adding a cross support bar between the two new rails, and then welding the trailer hitch onto that structure. After that we will jack the new rear frame up to take the weight load of the truck, and then put heavy duty bolts through the frame extension into the trucks existing frame. This will put the load of the rear of the truck onto the new frame rails making it plenty strong and easily able to support the motorcycle. The hitch will also be over 5" taller than the old hitch to ensure that going up a hill will not drag the motorcycle hauler.

To be continued...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya know your just the right age for me to adopt. Young enough to be feasible but old enough to fix my Toyota's. How about it. LOL. You do the cleanest nicest fixes on your rig and always have great explanations . We really appreciate it

Linda S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How thick is the new metal you are using for the frame. I am going to have to replace my frame extentions this year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Linda, I think we can work something out for the right price! You may want to look into adopting my dad as well, the pair of us can fix just about anything :sarcasm:

The metal used was a 1.5" X 2.5" .250 thick beam.

So to pick up where I left off...

We started with cutting the old hitch off and cleaning it for reuse to save $30 bucks.

Mock up hitch...

blogger-image-1658966512.jpg

blogger-image--2112602315.jpg

blogger-image--1236458537.jpg

We first welded the cross bar closest to the truck to each side of the new frame rails. We then welded the hitch centered onto that bar, and then the second bar back for ultimate strength.

blogger-image-1105981554.jpg

blogger-image--323685319.jpg

Strongest Toyota motorhome hitch ever??

Clean the welds up before paint

blogger-image-2042447083.jpg

Primer and then paint...

blogger-image--942756440.jpg

Cut to fit and reinstall bumper cover, and motorcycle hauler now installed.

blogger-image-1465614201.jpg

blogger-image-1339350592.jpg

We raised the hitch quite a bit to keep the hauler from dragging the ground when going uphills into parking lots and what not.

blogger-image-1800392728.jpg

Sitting nice and high.

First test drive showed that the hauler is VERY strong and rides great. Easily viewable from my back up camera that I installed last week.

blogger-image--1425548263.jpg

It turns out great and I fully trust it in safely towing and the truck still drives like a charm.

Today I will be rigging up LED taillights and a license plate mount on the hitch hauler.

Pics will be posted!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pics of where the new frame rail was bolted through with the trucks frame rail with heavy duty grade 8 bolts. Two were used on each side along with some self tapping screws near the back.

blogger-image--757060435.jpg

In this picture you can see what's going on with the work...

The blue circle is the original Toyota truck frame.

The green circle shows my new heavy duty rail slid through the rv frame extension rail and going into the original Toyota frame.

The red circle shows the RV frame extension and the weld work.

LTvqrZf.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update, you and your dad did a wonderful job on the trailer hitch metal work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was a first class job of documentation. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an awesome write up. My wife and I are going to be on the road all summer and I want to take my yamaha tw200 on a hitch hauler for the same reasons you expressed above. I was feeling doubtful about making it work until I read this thread. Awesome job!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool, I see you the same logic I used on my hitch. You just built yours to raise your hitch for your motorcycle, I had to match the hitch of my trailer. After 4 years mine is still working with out any problems

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the compliments, I feel much better about the strength of the truck with this new hitch and reinforced frame extension. Also there is no way the hauler will scrape going up onto hills which was a worry before with how low it sat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update: about 1000 miles from home and have had zero problems, including hitting some serious road bumps somewhere in Louisiana.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The spray on foam is factory and it is flame resistant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm about to do this to my 83 sunrader to haul my DRZ-400, with a couple light modifications. Do recall how many feet into the frame you were able to drive the support steel? Or about how many feet it took total? And lastly, what the sizing is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm about to do this to my 83 sunrader to haul my DRZ-400, with a couple light modifications. Do recall how many feet into the frame you were able to drive the support steel? Or about how many feet it took total? And lastly, what the sizing is?

The metal used was a 1.5" X 2.5" .250 thick beam. It was 11 feet in total length and I cut it in half. I do not recall how many feet of rail it took from the old frame all the way to the back bumper. I can tell you though that it was about 12" into the original truck frame, possibly more. When you gain access to be able to look into the frame extension rail, take a look straight into the rail with a flashlight and see what, if any, obstructions may be in the way of the new frame rail going in. I had to remove a few screws that were being used for grounds. A drz400 was my second bike choice next to my wr250x by the way! Cool bikes for sure. I just put knobby tires on my wr before I left on my trip to be able to get into the woods and play where I prefer.

8Zbxm4K.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What you're going to find for frame extensions is going to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and maybe from year to year. Don't expect a Sunrader to be done the same way as an Explorer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've already cut away the fiberglass, removed the aluminum bumper cover, removed the screws for the grounds, and checked it all out with a flashlight. Mine looks pretty similar to his, but I'll make sure to measure what I can before buying the steel I mostly wanted to give myself an estimate in cost for the job, and figure out what the wall thickness on his was. WR looks good with knobbies!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one here removed your pictures. I have no idea what happened to them. Did you remove your pictures from the imgur photo sharing website?

Linda S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

no, no, it wasn't anything to do with the Toyota forum. It was my photo hosting website.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I would love it if you could figure out how to get them back. I know they are on your blog but many people won't look at it because they have no idea how brilliant your fix was. Innovative and something I have never seen done before. Get them back and I think I will pin this one

Linda S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fixed everything I could. I do not have a few of the pictures due to them being on my other hard drive back in Florida. I copied what I could from the blog and everything should be easy to understand and see here once again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metal work looks great. What are you going to do with the obscured license plate and taillights? Here in NY - you'd get a ticket fast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×