Advice for a newbie with zero van experience - bicycle hitch

Advice for a newbie with zero van experience - bicycle hitch

Postby Fenster [OP] » March 9th 2018, 7:22pm

Hi All,

I've just picked up a 97 Safari. I'm planning on taking it around North America and would really like to bring my bike. I was wondering what the best trailer hitch would be for it? Are they easy to install? I'm pretty slight even for a lady. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Advice for a newbie with zero van experience - bicycle h

Postby AstroWill » March 9th 2018, 8:25pm

Welcome to the site!

If you are going to install a hitch, I recommend getting a hitch rated as high as the van can go, that way you never have to worry about upgrading in the future. Something like http://amzn.to/2oXco7d will work for you and it's a simple bolt on solution. Would be handy to have a jack or a Jack handy, either one or both can help you hold the hitch into place while you get the bolts started. I highly recommend chasing the threads with a tap before trying to install the hitch. Also, bolts should be torqued, you can borrow or buy a cheap torque wrench that will do the job.
You might also read through https://sites.google.com/site/astrosafariinfo/towing

As far as the actual bike carrier, I bought a great used one really cheap on craigslist, the only downside is that it's not foldable but that may lend to it being more durable. Nice thing is that it's the perfect height as it allows the rear hatch to be opened without messing with the carrier(an Astro van was used in it's promotional material).

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Re: Advice for a newbie with zero van experience - bicycle h

Postby jimi_lee » March 9th 2018, 8:40pm

Just want to throw out another possibility. How well this works probably depends on how you plan to travel.

If you can spare the room, bikes fit really well inside the van. Keeping the bike inside the car made me feel a lot better about it not getting stolen. You can either keep both wheels on and roll it in lengthwise and have it lean against the side wall OR take the front wheel off and a bike will fit cross-wise.

The disadvantage is that it takes up floor space, but I have carried 2 bikes in the van and still had room for 2 people to sleep on the floor of the van. Building a sleeping platform really helps with storage. The first iteration of my bed was real simple. I took a circular saw and cut a pallet in half. Then, cut eight 12" long pieces of 2x4 from another pallet to use as legs for the two halves of the pallet. It was a super easy (under 45 minutes) and effective solution.

87106

(edited to add image of sleeping platform)
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Re: Advice for a newbie with zero van experience - bicycle h

Postby WimpTech » March 9th 2018, 9:18pm

Hey Fenster, welcome to he big show!

Cheapest and easiest way I know to add a hitch is to get one off a junk van at your local salvage yard. They go for about $40 on average and will bolt right up to your van, which already has the hardware and required mounting points waiting for you. Just keep all the nuts n bolts you take off the donor.
Few hand tools and about 1 hour (novice/ noob skill level) for the take down, and another hour for the install.

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Re: Advice for a newbie with zero van experience - bicycle h

Postby TurnNburn » March 9th 2018, 9:38pm

Wimpazz wrote:
Cheapest and easiest way I know to add a hitch is to get one off a junk van at your local salvage yard. They go for about $40 on average and will bolt right up to your van, which already has the hardware and required mounting points waiting for you. Just keep all the nuts n bolts you take off the donor.
Few hand tools and about 1 hour (novice/ noob skill level) for the take down, and another hour for the install.

That^^^^ assuming the threaded holes in your frame aren't to rusted out...
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Re: Advice for a newbie with zero van experience - bicycle h

Postby Fenster [OP] » March 10th 2018, 9:04pm

Thanks so much for all the advice folks. I really really appreciate it!!! This site seems like a great place for advice
Original Poster [OP]
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Van Make/Model: GMC Safari
Extra Info: 2WD


 
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