by the Type2 Mailing List
Paul Doubek wrote:
My experience is that the stock bumper brackets won't stand much towing with a hitch welded to the bumper (the bolts hold up, the brackets fail around the bumper bolt holes). I've used hitches like this for light towing after making stronger brackets, but I'd still shy away from this for anything but the lightest loads (If you make brackets, they should be beefier than stock but still fail in a rear-ender. I bought a parts bus once that the guy made such beefy brackets that the frame buckled when rear ended!)
The previous owner of the '65 that I retired to the scrap yard last summer (yes, I saved all the straight metal) had an interesting fix to prolong the bumper bracket's life with a hitch welded to the bumper. He drilled 3/8" holes through the body near the top of the engine compartment, installed eye bolts, and suspended the bumper with turnbuckles & chain! Creative way to take some of the load off the brackets, but I'd only do it to a junker! I did find the eye bolts handy for tying off canoes, sailboards, and the like, though ;)
My opinion, for what it's worth, is to cut the hitch off the bumper and buy/build something that attaches to the bracket mounts on the frame (as has been described recently) or build a Westy style hitch, which should be described in the archives.
Fred Stoermer wrote:
The original owner of our 1970 Campmobile towed a small travel trailer all the way from Bend, OR to Fairbanks, AK and back over the course of a Summer. He carried everything he could inside the bus, to minimize the weight of the towed load.
Immediately upon his return the engine and transaxle gave up the ghost.
A couple of years later, after we bought the van, I removed the coil-over shocks he'd had installed on the rear. Before I could install new gas shocks I had to have the shock towers completely rebuilt. They'd been literally torn apart by the stresses imposed by the coil-over shocks.
We also had to completely rebuild the rear hubs, replacing the severely damaged axle bearings, and replace all the CV joints.
Would I consider towing a boat or trailer with our Campmobile? Yes, but only lightweight tows and only for relatively short distances. I've seen (and am still paying for) the long-term effects...
Joel Walker wrote:
My 71 bus weighed a tad over 3000 lbs, pretty much empty. The Book says:
|station wagon||kombi||campmobile||delivery van|
|gross vehicle weight||4961||5072||4961||5072|
|gross axle weight:
|permissible roof weight||220*||220*||220||220*|
|permissible trailer without trailer brakes||1100||1100||1100||1100|
|permissible trailer tongue load||110||110||110||110|
*applies only to roof rack mounted to rain gutters. Distribute load evenly.
All weights in american pounds (lbs). from the 1973 bus Owner's Manual.
Interestingly enough, my 88 bus weighs in at 3640 lbs (no people, no gas, but with a box of tools and other junk) and maxes out at 5200 lbs (i think that's right).
A neat thing to do is to find a truck stop (for the 18-wheelers) with a truck scale, and pay them (usually about $5-10) to weigh the bus. They have three "pads" (front axle, drive axle, and trailer axle) ... and you can split the bus across the front and drive pads to get an idea of how much you weigh front and back. They give you a printout as a momento. :)
Steve Elms wrote:
GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating. That means the maximum weight that the vehicle is designed to support while driving. Many things determine this rating, like capacity of the tires, suspension, frame, the ability of the brakes to stop a given mass, etc. The rating includes everything in and on the vehicle including people, fuel, cargo, and everything! It does not include the total weight of a trailer, just the tongue weight. The rating that includes all of the trailer is the GCVWR, or gross combined vehicle weight rating. I don't know when this rating, GCVWR, came into use. I've never seen it on an older vehicle, just newer ones.
Does anybody know what amount of weight a 1600 Bus will easily tow?
George Lyle wrote:
You have to have a hitch capable of handing the trailer, and the
trailer has to have brakes if it grosses over 1000 pounds in most
Don't expect terrific performance from your bus either loaded or with
An early baywindow bus (non-camper) has a cargo capacity of 2000
pounds, including the driver and passengers. It doesn't particularly
care whether this load is inside or on a trailer. If you have a 500
pound trailer loaded with 1000 pounds of load and you weigh 200 pounds
the total load is 1700 pounds, so you will be within the load limit of
You have to have a hitch capable of handing the trailer, and the trailer has to have brakes if it grosses over 1000 pounds in most states.
Don't expect terrific performance from your bus either loaded or with a trailer!
Kevin Field responds:
I don't think that logic works in this situation. I'm no engineer, but it seems to me that cargo capacity and towing capacity do not translate directly. Cargo capacity has a lot to do with suspension components, frame strength, tire load rating, etc. Towing capacity would be more concerned with HP and torque, and secondarily with tongue weight, which would depend as much on hitch design as on cargo capacity.
George Lyle responds:
My estimate was a worst-case one, as it is very difficult to install a
load-carrying hitch on a bus. The best you can get is about 200
pounds tongue weight which will allow a 2000 pound trailer to be
towed. Having loaded my bus to capacity, I wouldn't want to travel
too far fully loaded. It'll do it, but the performance was, well,
You are correct. A vehicle with a properly installed hitch should be
able to tow more weight than the same vehicle can itself carry.
My estimate was a worst-case one, as it is very difficult to install a load-carrying hitch on a bus. The best you can get is about 200 pounds tongue weight which will allow a 2000 pound trailer to be towed. Having loaded my bus to capacity, I wouldn't want to travel too far fully loaded. It'll do it, but the performance was, well, uninspiring.