How To: Build a custom hitch for the Evo X and RalliArt that is completely hidden - EvoXForums.com - Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Forums
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Evo X How-To Want to do something to your car? Here are step by step instructions on how to do it. Only moderators can start threads in this forum.

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Old 11-15-2009, 04:37 PM   #1
JWA
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How To: Build a custom hitch for the Evo X and RalliArt that is completely hidden

Hello All,

I've had a number of PMs from people asking for more detail on how I built the completely hidden hitch for my Evo X that I sold a few months ago, so I'm posting the steps that I followed to create it as best as I can remember now. Pictures of the finished product can be found here: http://gallery.me.com/jwa#100327

Below I have attached the initial bracket drawing that I did based on the final wood mock-up that I built. It should give you a rough idea on what you're looking at, but my final version ended up being a bit different as I was only able to find 2.5"x3.5" angle iron.

The parts list that I bought from the metal supply shop was:
  • One piece of 2.5"x3.5"x1/4" angle 9" long (for one of the brackets).
  • One piece of 2.5"x3.5"x1/4" angle 11" long(for the other bracket).
  • One piece of 1.5"x1.5" square tubing 38" long (the crossbar).
  • One piece of 2"x1.5"x3/16" angle 4" long (for the support bracket between the crossbar and receiver tube).
The total cost for these parts was $33.72 from my local metal shop. They will cut things to length, but that's it there. They sell all of the metal by the pound.

Additionally, I purchased this receiver tube: http://www.etrailer.com/pc-COMBO~E-912.htm, and this safety chain loop: http://www.etrailer.com/p-E950.htm.

The basic process to build this should be:
  1. Buy the above raw materials.
  2. Put rear of the car on jackstands or a lift, if possible.
  3. Remove muffler.
  4. Remove tow hooks on both sides.
  5. Determine which side the 9" and 11" brackets go on. (I believe the 9" is on the driver's side, where there are only 3 mounting holes.)
  6. Determine where in the rear edge of the vertical section of the brackets the crossbar will be positioned. The basic measurements from the CAD drawing should be correct. On one side there is a bracket that stays over the frame rail to support so other items, so on that side the hole must be raised in the bracket .125" to account for this and keep the bar even. I believe this is on the passenger's side. On the side with the bracket the hole will be positioned the .5" from the bottom in the 3.5" vertical section of the bracket, and the other side must be .375".
  7. Determine which cuts on the top and rear of the bracket are actually needed. If you look at my pictures, I determined that a lot of them weren't needed. The intention from the prototype was to leave room around the exhaust hangers on the one side, and the frame rails on the other.
  8. Cut out the holes for the crossbar. A mill is best, but worst case you could get it done with a Dremel with a cut-off wheel.
  9. Cut out the sections for clearing the areas mentioned in step 7.
  10. Determine where the mounting holes need to be. You should be able to use the stock tow hooks as a guide once you have determined the positioning of the first hole.
  11. Drill the mounting holes.
  12. Mount the brackets to the car.
  13. Insert the crossbar into the brackets and check positioning.
  14. Check the vertical positioning of the receiver tube based on where the crossbar is. It should be as shown in my pictures.
  15. Cut the center section of the bumper vent ribs out to make room for the receiver tube. I used an X-Acto knife for a nice clean cut.
  16. Determine how long the receiver tube needs to be. I seem to remember it being 7", accounting for 1/4" overhang on the rear to weld onto - but I could be wrong.
  17. If the crossbar position looks good, and that it will position the receiver tube properly, the easiest method is to tack weld the crossbar in place on the brackets and then the receiver tube to the crossbar. Then remove the assembly from the car and have it fully welded following the welds that you can see in my pictures. Be sure to weld in the support bracket at the front of the receiver tube and the loop for the safety chain.
  18. Test fit just to be sure everything is right.
  19. Prime and paint the hitch, or have it powder coated if possible.
  20. Mount the hitch on the car for the last time.
  21. Install the muffler.
  22. Enjoy!
That's just about everything that I can remember. It isn't exact, but should give you/a machinist enough to go on. It's a pretty simple design, with no bends or angles involved. It has been a while since I did it and I don't have the car any longer, so my memory is a bit rough on the fine details. Let me know if you have any questions, and of course be careful with everything. This obviously isn't a supported process and there are a number of ways that you could damage things if you don't proceed cautiously.





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Old 11-15-2009, 05:55 PM   #2
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That is a nice piece of work you got there! Props!
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:44 PM   #3
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:P this is my project for my break at x-mas...
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:29 AM   #4
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Here's more info that I wrote up on this when I was selling the one that I built, just so that it's all in one place for future reference:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA
As a lot of you know, no one makes a proper hitch for the Evo X. I wanted to be able to use a hitch-mounted bike rack and possibly tow a small tire trailer with my Evo X, so a few months ago I set out to design one. I have now sold my Evo X, so the hitch is available for sale. I'll describe how it was built.

First, I ordered the Hidden-hitch model that lists the new Ralliart as a fitment as they use the same exhaust and rear subframe, hopeful that it would work for the Evo as well. Unfortunately, it won't fit either the Evo or new Ralliart, and they obviously have mistaken the new Ralliart with the old version that shared the exhaust with the base Lancer. The crossbar wants to be right in the middle of the muffler canister, and the brackets come down right in the middle of where the exhaust tips go.

Since I had the exhaust off and a proper aftermarket hitch handy I took all of the measurements and began designing a hitch that would fit. I modeled it after the material usage and construction techniques of the Hidden Hitch/Draw-tite brand aftermarket hitches so that it would be reasonable to expect it to be at least as strong/capable as those.

The spacing is actually very nice and there is perfect room to mount the crossbar so that it goes behind the muffler, between it and the rear bumper cover. The bumper cover has cut outs on the bottom side where the brackets extend downward almost like it was made for it. It's an amazingly clean installation.

I used the same mounting points that the aftermarket hitch used, which are the points where the tow hooks are mounted on the Evo X. Thus, it mounts to known solid points using factory hardware. The aftermarket hitch used only two bolts per side, but I designed it to use all three on the left side and all four on the right for additional support. When I mounted it I left the tow hooks off under the theory that in a pinch the hitch itself would be a good place to strap onto, and that the tow hook brackets were pretty heavy, so leaving them off kept the weight pretty close. However, you should be able to mount them along with the hitch if desired.

I wanted the system to be easy to use but completely hidden in normal daily driving. Thus, I positioned the receiver tube so that it cam out right behind the license plate. When the plate is on the car you can not see the hitch at all. When using the hitch, I found it was easiest to unscrew the plate and mount it off to the side, only using one set of the mounting holes. You could put it in the window too. The stock rear valance has a nice "vented" section behind the plate. In the center of these vents there are two support ribs running conveniently on each side of the location for the receiver tube. This allows you to cut the vent ribs out between the supports. This is the only non-reversible modification that needs to be made to the car, but it is behind the license plate. I used a sharp X-Acto knife to cut mine.

As I mentioned, I had it built using the same material types, thicknesses, and support techniques as used by the aftermarket hitch companies. I used a Draw-tite brand receiver tube and safety chain ring. The brackets and crossbar were professionally milled to exacting tolerances and the entire unit was tacked in place on the car to ensure proper positioning before being finished welded by a professional welder. It was then primed and painted with rust-resistant primer and paint in satin black.

As I used the stock tow-hook mounts which are obviously intended to support stress from the factory, and the same materials and construction as aftermarket type-I hitches available for other cars, I think that it is reasonable to assume that it should meet the same capacity as those hitches. Thus, I would assume that it should be fine with up to 200lbs of tongue weight and pulling a maximum total trailer weight of 2,000lbs. However, obviously the lighter the better. Also, I must state that I don't warrant or guarantee anything other than that it will fit on a stock Evo X.

The installation takes roughly 20 minutes. You need a jack, two jack-stands, a ratchet and two sockets. I believe that they were 12mm and 14mm. You put the rear of the car on jack stands, unbolt the two bolts holding the muffler to the mid-pipe and slide the muffler off of the rubber hangers. You then remove the tow-hooks on each side of the car and retain their mounting bolts. Cut out the center section of the vent ribs on the bumper cover, and then simply bolt the hitch on using the bolts from the tow-hooks. Re-install the muffler and you are done. One tip - a little WD-40 or other spray lube on the rubber muffler hangers makes it easy to slip them off. The rest is easy.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:52 AM   #5
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Great work!
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:15 AM   #6
drag1320
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can this hitch hold a 600cc bike and whill it be bad for my stock cluch?
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drag1320 View Post
can this hitch hold a 600cc bike and whill it be bad for my stock cluch?
I am going to say yes...It would be the same as a Class I hitch. Here is what they are good for


CLASS I TRAILER HITCHES
  • Class I tow hitches are weight carrying (WC) hitches rated up to 2000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 200 lbs.
  • A Class I hitch usually has a 1-1/4" square receiver opening.
  • A higher class drawbar does not increase the towing capacity of the hitch.
  • Class I hitches usually attach to the bumper, truck pan or vehicle frame.
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Old Garage
- 2010 Audi R8 V10
- 2008 Volkswagen R32
- 2007 Z06 with Lingenfelter 800hp Twin Turbo kit
- 2002 WS6 Trans Am - bolt-ons, 400whp
- 2002 Sunfire - TwinCharged (turbo into roots supercharger) 420whp

New Garage
- 2011 GTR
- 2008 Evo MR -SOLD
- 2013 STi
- 1987 Buick GNX #200 600whp (Project Car)

"I live my life one snowy parking lot at a time, for those 15 minutes or till the cops show up...I'm free"
- AWD96
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:13 AM   #8
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great way to tow your own race wheels to track events
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