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Hello! After some searching and with my 20% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket, I'm going to give the Haul Master 400lb hitch carrier at Harbor Freight a try. There are plenty of threads on this hitch and a few related to the tw specifically but most talk about the importance of strapping the rear wheel directly to the the frame of the carrier since the real wheel doesn't sit below the hole that the wheel locking pins go through, it only sits on top of those pins since the tire is so wide. But as far as I could tell, no one mentions the front tire. My question, the only thing I couldn't find an answer to; does the front wheel sit low enough to utilize the locking pin on this particular hitch with oe tires? I know that quality straps, used correctly, should be all that's necessary to keep the bike happy back there, assuming the platform it's on is solid, but I would enjoy having at least one of those pins in for the sake of unlikely catastrophe. This will be my first venture with the TW behind my 93 wrangler. Experience on the subject is appreciated!

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I'm not familiar with the Haul Master 400 lb however I bought an aluminium carrier at Princess Auto which is similar to Harbor Freight that is rated for 400 lbs and to make sure the bike is secure I strap both wheels to the carrier and then use two tie-down straps to the handlebars. Works like a charm and only takes a couple of minutes to put the bike on or off the carrier. Here are some pics for you.

TW_Rack_2.jpg TW_Rack_4.jpg TW_Rack_5.jpg TW_Rack_6.jpg
 

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I had one of these carriers for a while, but never trusted it for anything other than very short, local trips. I remember mine only having the wheel clamp feature on one end of the carrier, not both. Cycle Gear offers similar rail type carriers for not much more that are constructed out of steel instead of aluminum - I am sure it is heavier, but probably also more reliable. This is an area where you get what you pay for, and I never liked constantly checking my mirrors and worrying about my bike/carrier falling off.

Oh, and welcome to the forum!

Brian

100_3413.JPG
 

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I have one of these Harbor Freight models pictured above. I needed it to get my friends TW200 from NJ back to CO with me. It worked, but I was nervous the whole time. Still use it for shorter trips but always check every part of it before leaving. Also, the ramp is super short and I have trouble loading the bike without a running start. Get something else!
 

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A TW on the back of a Wrangler is kind of scary as the front end becomes light and requires constant attention......If you are flat towing the Jeep you won't notice it but if you are driving the Jeep you will.....now having said that, my Wranglers were always the short wheelbase two doors....no doubt the 4 door model would be more stable..

If a trailer is a option....the trailer can be used for a variety of things...
 

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I have one of these Harbor Freight models pictured above but no longer use it. Never understood the obsession some have with tire contact, carrier & ramp width, length and securement front and rear as long as bike has tie-downs properly attached elsewhere. I hauled my TW over many a bumpy secondary dirt road and bike never wanted to leap off, tires never shifted, arrived as secure as at beginning. Carried TW with stock TrailWings as well as with IRC Trials and Duro ATV tires equally well. Carrier itself wobbled a lot and the included anti-wobble device seemed inadequate. 2" tube had quite a bit of flex due to thin mild steel construction, however there are thicker walled square tubing available for a home up-grade.
Before abandonment I stabilized carrier with rigid struts to an overhead rack on the haul vehicle. This not only mostly eliminated destructive wobble but also held bike upright handsfree while I made tie-down secure since this was always a solo operation. Allowed bike to be loaded on slopes and sidehills since level parking was not always available.
Terrible picture, but wooden rack struts holding TW just visible here after more than forty miles of desert travel. While secure I have since moved on to a hydraulic lifting platform for the TW, a MotoJack
van rackJPG.JPG
 

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I hung a 320# bike off my CJ7 and you can see the front wheels still touch the ground. I drove this way to
arrowhead a couple times a month for the season. The Jeep handles like a forklift w/out the bike, so it didn’t seem much worse with the anchor on back.
2B01372A-14FA-4132-93C3-8F536F603419.jpeg
 

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A TW on the back of a Wrangler is kind of scary as the front end becomes light and requires constant attention......If you are flat towing the Jeep you won't notice it but if you are driving the Jeep you will.....now having said that, my Wranglers were always the short wheelbase two doors....no doubt the 4 door model would be more stable..

If a trailer is a option....the trailer can be used for a variety of things...
I can't speak for a CJ7 as mentioned above but I tried putting my TW/hitch carrier on the back of our 2010 Jeep Wrangler (2 door) and it was very unstable and the rear end sagged a lot. I will never do that again. Funny thing was, I was able to put the same setup on our Jeep Liberty and it wasn't a problem at all. I know the Liberty has a different suspension than the Wrangler and also there's big differences between years of wranglers.

One has to experiment and see what works and what one feels comfortable with because some Jeeps can and some Jeeps can't (same with other SUV's).
 

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There has been a lot of discussion on this board about the various forms of hitch carriers over the years. I have yet to see someone on this board or any other (correct me if i'm wrong-and send pix) of one that failed catastrophically-be it Harbor Freight or any other. Yes-I agree-it doesn't look like it should work! 300+ pounds all hanging off of a 2" piece of steel tube? But it does. I use the hitch clamp to take out the wobble and I have insurance!! I have the WalMart Version and it is identical to the Harbor Freight Version that my friend has. I have several hundred miles of use with my and it's worked out great. Having said that-I recommend a thorough inspection of the hardware and welds on a regular basis just to be sure. And-to each his own-if I could afford one of the nicer carriers-I would buy it!
 

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Years past someone posted a photo here of a fracture on the bottom of a Harbor Freight Aluminum carrier. The aluminum saddle that mates the 2" steel tube to the aluminum carrier proper had a stress fracture running for most of it's length. However no details were given as to adequate assembly, bike restraints, anti-wobble effectiveness, road and use conditions, etc. Thing just may have been abused so I somewhat discounted the post without any further details being given. As long as aluminum alloys are not subjected to repeated flexing they can give a long trouble free service life
 

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A TW is not a light bike at 270+. As far as my own back-and-forth debates with myself one thing was sure, I did not need the extra worry about cracks or stability but also could justify something I could use for my larger motorcycles too if needed in an emergency.

I have 2 friends that have aluminum ramps and happy with them. One (he has one of those dual-bike versions) uses it for dirt bikes much lighter than a TW. The other actually does have a HF model and is happy with it. But he is also an expert welder and beefed it up structurally. Just use common-sense knowing that the mantra "you get what you pay for" really rings true.

I mostly trailer a dual Kendon behind a standard regular Jeep Wrangler (2 doors/stick-shift/soft top). It came with a tow package so when I do use my carrier it handles fine even with the TW on it. Oh yeah... I do know it's there but have never experienced any control or weird handling problems. With the 230lb. Honda XR I don't know it's there. Same with my friends XT225, like carrying a ghost.

One Little Piggy Goes To Market...
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One thing I would add and this is specific to a Versahaul (not sure about other brands) you can slide the main carrier forward or backwards to match the specifics of the bike you are hauling. That in itself adds versatility for folks like me with a small platform vehicle like a Jeep. If I wanted or needed to carry something closer to 300lbs I could remove my rear tire and push the carrier right up to the frame. Again, use common sense.
IMG_0904.jpg
 

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From Harbor Freight's website:



Those are indeed scary pictures but to be honest I have never seen that configuration for a carrier, not that I'm an expert but between on-line and in person I've just never seen one with that type of mounting system.

Perhaps this was a earlier generation model that was (appropriately) discontinued?
 

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Those depicted TWs on a carrier sure weigh a lot more than 270 lbs!
Even brand new without handguards, fuel, oil, cyclerack, tool tubes, aftermarket tires, etc these things weigh more than 270 lbs. Maybe dry with helium in the gas tank these things can get down below 285 lbs, maybe not. Ignore the marketing claimed weights if you disagree and just go weigh your bike.
With all the common bells and whistles for a long day adventure my Betty Boop has tipped the scales a bit over 330lbs. Loaded Cyclerack and full 2.3 gallon XT225 gas tank add a good 30 lbs and the extended swingarm and ATV tire don't help for the weight conscious.
 

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Agreeing with Miagui-I don't recognize that design. It is not even close to the one I own. It appears to have been modified/drilled and assembled by a hack. Washers are missing, bolts over tightened. The backstory would be interesting for sure. If catastrophic failure were prevalent-I'm sure their be a thread about it somewhere, perhaps we just haven't found it.
 

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Im currently using the one miaugi has pictured above in post #2. It's ok on road but literally falls apart on unimproved dirt roads or washes.
This past weekend I had to constantly tighten the bolts that hold the aluminum to the steel. The bolts weren't coming loose, the aluminum was giving way. Ended up riding the bike to save the carrier for the trip home.
 

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Should have added specific to the Versahaul the 75-85lbs it weighs by itself. It's a strong sucker but heavy as hell too.
Constant vibrations and road-shock is what'll get yet with a poorly designed aluminum carrier. Same with a crapy welded steel one.

As I said "you get what you pay for". I have no worries in this area and have hauled my 1969 BMW r69/2 to the shop for service no problem. At 430lbs. dry obviously not with the Wrangler.
The carrier is rated for 500lbs. (there is a single 600lb. too) but the Wrangler sure ain't.
 

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I believe I have the "new model" as I purchased it in June of last year. The bottom joint is steel and re-enforced. Also has steel "bands" on the topside to disperse stress. The front tire clamps, but the rear does not. Instead, remove two rear wheel "bars" and the rear wheel fits snug between the side rails. As I said before, I purchased it to transport a bike a bought across country and it worked great. I only use it now for on-road trips that are too high speed for the TW. I WOULD NEVER TRUST IT OFF-ROAD!!! See pics below. IMG_20190321_093345.jpg IMG_20190321_093423_2.jpg
 

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FWIW, decided to use a HF Haul Master as a low cost "proof of concept" option. Not using the trailer hitch bar though, instead, mounting the carrier rack onto the trailer tongue of my Aluma 638 trailer. More details and pics in the blog but basically two square bend U-Bolts securing the rack's steel panel (which mates to the tow hitch bar if used as designed) and brackets securing the ends of the rack to prevent up/down flex when loading/unloading.

Still need to buy some short straps to secure the wheels to the rack, and still experimenting with how to attach the ratchet straps on both sides of the T-Dub.

more in the blog: https://redlegsrides.blogspot.com/2019/07/installing-hf-moto-carrier-onto-aluma.html



Note, above image is early attempts at figuring out best anchor points. No longer using the strap going forward towards the RV. Straps are now anchored on the wheel clamps for the front wheel, over the lower triple tree and back towards rear of rear tire....both sides.

The wheel clamps sort of work to hold the front tire from moving sideways, but will be using a short strap to ensure it's secure.
 
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