Testing: Class Five?
We can build a bad-ass hitch, there’s no question about it. With the interest we received from all of you, we wanted to back our confidence with legit testing. For this, we contacted Element Materials Technology in Des Moines, IA. Our request was to test the hitch to 12,000lbs figuring this is where a 2″ receiver would likely top-out in a bumper-pull style trailer. Once Element got their hands on the hitch, they took the initiative to bump it. I Quote:
Come to find out, Class 5 doesn’t exist; 4 is really the highest rated hitch “class”. Anything tested over 4 goes into the 4+ category often referred to as 5. We wanted to test this hitch to SAE standards; their recommendation “SAE J684 2014 to Class 4+ 16,000lbs GCVWR”.
The result, per Element: “The Class 4+ (16,000 lbs GVWR) Weight Carrying hitch component described herein complies with all appropriate portions of the SAE J684-2014.”
It was requested that we send 2 identical hitches for testing – one would be tested to the standard (originally 12K, bumped to a staggering 16K once received and analyzed by test facility) and the second would be tested to failure at their max 20,000lbs. As our hitch passed 16,000lbs with no deflection; as such, they bypassed the 20,000lb “failure” test as they determined this test to be insufficient to cause any sort of failure.
The following tests (and results) were performed in accordance with the standard:
In short, the hitched passed all tests in accordance to the existing SAE standard with flying colors and the people in business to test the hitch to failure couldn’t break it. I guess we’ll throw that one in the win column!
If you’re interested in the Full Final Test Report, you can view it HERE.
2020 hit us like a ton of bricks; we’re left counting our blessings as we see local service-oriented small business closing their doors while we’re experiencing unprecedented order volume. With our extensive backorders, it’s unlikely that we’ll see this going into production within the first half of this year.
We’re taking HUGE leaps forward to increase our production capacity and combat the long-lead times but these measures are in-process. Most notably, we purchased a second shop in Perris, CA about 20 minutes away from our headquarters in Lake Elsinore, CA.
This building will house our welding/fabrication department allowing us to double our existing output. Further, we’ll now double the size of our assembly team into the soon-to-be vacant area our welders inhabited in our HQ. At the time of this update (February 1st, 2021), the new building is approximately 3 weeks away from melting metal and we’re giddy.
Once we’re up and running in the new facility, it’s game on to see how quickly we can ramp up and, first product on the list once we’re caught up… yup, it’ll be trophy-hitch time!
It all started with the purchase of our 2017 F250 Super Duty… Our previous 2011 had no issue with a full size (I’m talking OUR full-size – 37×13.5″) tire fitting in the factory location. This was new territory for us as the RAM platform with which we’re so familiar wouldn’t even allow a 35 in the factory location without contacting the axle center-section to the tire sidewall on full compression of the rear suspension. In short, the 2011-16 Fords spoiled us. Once we got through the R&D on our 2.5″ Lift Ford Systems for the 17+ “Alumiduty” platform, we went to throw in a full size spare to match our 37×13.5″ Toyo R/T and, much to our surprise, it took a floor jack to wedge it into the factory location. This wasn’t even an aggressive mud terrain, what gives, Ford??
It may not have been easy to get in and required deflation to remove (and carrying a compressor to inflate) but it was doable. Fast forward to the 4.5″ System Development and the monstrous Super Duty Wheel Wells exhibited by our customers posting pictures of their 40″ meats on our production 4.5″ systems and we knew something had to be done. These customers claimed only “minor trimming” to fit the 40’s so we stepped up to 38″ x 13.5″ M/T knowing full well that, unlike most, we’d be cycling the FULL length of travel and doing it often so it was best to err on the side of caution when stuffing bigger tires. They were a success – very minimal trimming tucked the 38″ without issue but the spare was ratchet strapped in the bed as there was no way to fit it under the bed. Not sure you’d want to crank it into the factory hitch even if it would fit – we saw video evidence of two of our customers running whoop sections dropping their oversized spare tires from the bottom of the bed thanks to a broken factory winch cable. The factory winch cable is far from party-rated!
Sage Carli is an avid camper and hunter; most trips, these activities are in extremely remote locations and the pickup bed becomes both his hotel room and supply house. We experimented with several options, back bumper with a swing out? Naw, who the hell wants to lift a 38″ mounted spare if they don’t have to; also, how do you build it strong enough to withstand movement when abusing it as hard as we do? For fun, he started looking to the factory hitch and found that there was sufficient room between the frame rails to mount the tire but the factory hitch would have to go. This allowed him to solve several issues – the factory safety chain mechanism is a nightmare. Sage kept the factory design but eased installation of the chain to the hitch. the construction of the hitch is massively strong, boxed 1/4″ cold-rolled steel where it matters and powder-coated for corrosion resistance. It maintains the factory spare tire winch to raise and lower the tire but includes a custom Mac’s 3-Way Ratchet strap and 3 Heavy Duty D Rings to secure the tire in place once the winch gets it into position and unload the weight from the factory cable. It will be a 2.5″ receiver – there are no current plans for a 3″.
A 37″ tire cranks right into position – a 38″ does the same but will require reworking of the factory (and aftermarket) exhaust to clear the massive tire. We were never planning to make this as a production item. It will be expensive to purchase and ship – once we posted a teaser of this project Sage undertook to solve an issue he faced, it came as no surprise our Ford customers wanted in! We’re in talks on how we’re going to produce them and the timeline respective to our current production capabilities. Early, ROUGH estimates are $2,000.00 for the hitch and early 2020 availability if the project moves forward. Comment below with any questions – to get ahead of the comments: