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Need ideas for mechanical problem
Old 08-30-2012, 05:53 PM   #1
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Need ideas for mechanical problem

Trying to install a tow hitch on my vehicle.

The hitch is designed to bolt onto the frame at six points, all of which are supposed to have factory-installed weld nuts - nuts welded to the inside of the frame members. Simple: get hitch in position and insert bolts into weld nuts. Supposed to take 15-30 minutes. (RIIIGGHHHT!!)

Problem is: two of the six fastening points do not have the alleged weld nuts - just holes, nothing for the bolts to thread into. A factory omission, I suppose.

There are access openings adjacent to the holes; would it make sense to maneuver nuts over the holes and use some adhesive to keep them in place well enough to thread the bolts?

That's the only thing I can think of. The vehicle is new & under warranty, but I doubt I'd get anywhere with a claim.

Any ideas?
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:55 PM   #2
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Depending on how much access you have, I've used a box end wrench with the nut wedged into it to position a nut temporarily. You can use a piece of paper to wedge the nut into the wrench. Or bubble gum.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:00 PM   #3
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Well, I'd be finding out why the weld nuts are missing. The vehicle is new and this woulld be a defect as the weld nuts were not installed. A trip to the dealer might lend some information. Maybe dealer can install the missing weld nuts.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:16 PM   #4
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I have installed hitches on cars with no built-in welded nuts on the frames. The installation kits included nuts that were welded onto the tip of iron rods of 1/16" diameter. The rods could be bent and used to maneuver the nuts and to position them in the right place for bolt tightening. The frames had larger access holes that were adjacent to the mounting holes for the hitch, just as the OP observed. The "nuts on a stick" were introduced via these access holes.

I don't know where one can buy such "nuts on a stick", but it can be DIY'ed if one has a welding torch.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:54 PM   #5
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Is it feasible to return the hitch and exchange it for one that is not defective?
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:09 PM   #6
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If you can get a nut on the bolts, an impact wrench will often tighten them without benefit of a wrench to hold the nut.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:33 PM   #7
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Here, I found a place that sells what is called "nut with fishwire", but only in 3/8"-16. The wire is 14" long, and is left in place after it is used to position and hold the nut while you tighten the bolt.

Blue Ox Replacement Nut With Fishwire - By Blue Ox
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:22 AM   #8
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Can you use a longer bolt to get the nut started and either leave it long or cut it off after the nut is tight?
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:05 PM   #9
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The nut on a stick is a great idea, never saw that.
I would use proper locknuts to insure continued tightness.

I would call the mfg as they certainly have been there before.

What is the tow vehicle ??

Good Luck,
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:12 PM   #10
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I think the OP's problem, and what some posters may miss, is that the missing welded nuts will have to be replaced by loose nuts, which he must find a way to place inside the hollow frame of the vehicle. If it is like mine, the frame is a hollow tube with some access holes. In my case, the nearest access hole is several inches away from the mounting hole. And that access hole is a mere 1" in diameter. The manufacturer obviously does not want to weaken that hollow frame.

On heavier vehicles like a pickup truck, a large van, or an RV, the frame is usually a big beam with a cross section like a C. Thus, one has access to both sides of the open beam. Not so for passenger vehicles, where it is a hollow tube!
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Here, I found a place that sells what is called "nut with fishwire", but only in 3/8"-16. The wire is 14" long, and is left in place after it is used to position and hold the nut while you tighten the bolt.

Blue Ox Replacement Nut With Fishwire - By Blue Ox
You could probably make your own nut-on-a-wire with some coat hanger and two part epoxy glue. Once you get the bolt started, hit it with an impact wrench.

Heaven help the guy that tries to remove it 10 years from now.
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Solution found
Old 08-31-2012, 03:33 PM   #12
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Solution found

Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
I think the OP's problem, and what some posters may miss, is that the missing welded nuts will have to be replaced by loose nuts, which he must find a way to place inside the hollow frame of the vehicle. If it is like mine, the frame is a hollow tube with some access holes. In my case, the nearest access hole is several inches away from the mounting hole. And that access hole is a mere 1" in diameter. The manufacturer obviously does not want to weaken that hollow frame.

On heavier vehicles like a pickup truck, a large van, or an RV, the frame is usually a big beam with a cross section like a C. Thus, one has access to both sides of the open beam. Not so for passenger vehicles, where it is a hollow tube!
NWB you are correct on all counts.
Turns out that the weldnuts are not factory installed this year (at just those 2 locations!! - WTF??). Instead the dealer kindly sold me 2 special nuts that have a clip thingy attached which clips into the access hole.
Eight bucks extra , but what the hell, they work.

Thanks to all who replied.
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:00 PM   #13
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I am glad that it worked out for you.

I think I know the clip nuts you talked about. I have seen them as attachments for the fenders of my car. They are not as strong as the real nuts, but these are only 2 out of 6 on your hitch, so might be OK.

At least you have 4 welded nuts. I do not have any when I installed the hitch on one of my cars. I got several of those nuts-with-fishwire included with the hitch, and it took me a bit of time to bend the wires just right for the nuts to be flat to the surface, and to wiggle them from the access holes until the bolts engaged the nuts, while holding the hitch up against the frame (my wife was called to help start the bolts while I was doing the hitch holding). This is the kind of work to test a man's patience.
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