Weekend Outtake: A Front Hitch and Parading About

I decided a front hitch on the View RV might be a worthwhile addition. You can carry a bike rack up there, or a smallish cargo tray or cargo box. Most of them required drilling of the frame though, and were pretty light duty to boot (200 pounds vertical load or so).

The upper rad unit is the AC condenser. The lower rad unit is the turbo intercooler. The single silver pipe going across and back, is the power steering fluid cooler. There is a large, 13-quart oil pan covered with deep fins for cooling. The transmission fluid cooler is integrated into the radiator.

I then found this beefy front hitch from Van Compass. It’s rated as a heavy Class III / light Class IV hitch, up to 8000 pounds pulling load and 800 pounds vertical load (tongue weight). Their website shows a Sprinter van being lifted by a forklift just by their hitch.

You can also see here some of the roughly 150 pounds of sound deadening I have added to the View, on the underside of the hood. Most of it is on the underside, which is comprised of aluminum plates the width of the RV box, sitting across the frame rails. It all made a huge difference going down the road. At interstate speeds, my wife can sit beside me in the cab and we can speak in a normal volume.

Unlike the lighter duty front hitches that mount under the factory bumper, this monster replaces the whole factory bumper, seen below as the white metal piece.

Removing the grille and painted plastic bumper were pretty easy. The Van Compass instructions were super clear, and they have a video on their website as well.

I actually had all the tools I needed. You do need an assortment of Torx drivers, so I had to double check on that. You need to grind off a metal corner of the frame rail, so I bought a fresh metal grinding/cutting wheel for my angle grinder.

The black plastic tank below the passenger side headlight is the Diesel Exhaust Fluid tank, which has a filling neck in the engine bay.

The factory bumper is attached with 9 13mm bolts, and then you need to whack it with a sledgehammer from the backside to break it free from the factory paint and undercoating.

So unlike the lighter duty hitches that require drilling new holes, this hitch mounts using the same nine factory bolts, no drilling needed.

And yes, I actually got it all back together with no problems! You do need to cut a hole in the painted plastic bumper cover, and I was happy enough with how that went. You can barely make out the new front receiver tube here. The opening I cut is underneath the bumper to the casual observer, so a perfect cut is not absolutely required.

Just after getting the View put back together, we made a last minute appearance with the Jag at the high school homecoming parade. The Queen’s borrowed convertible arrangement fell through at the last minute, so we got a call from a friend of a friend and rushed down!

Hope everyone is having a great Fall so far!