Gen 4 2016 Trailer Hitch

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by guammax, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. Geo13647

    Geo13647 Junior Member

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  2. priusdonkey

    priusdonkey Member

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  3. ATHiker

    ATHiker Senior Member

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  4. bhtooefr

    bhtooefr Senior Member

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    Looks like Curt's hitch just replaces the bumper beam and uses the bumper beam attachment points, whereas Toyota's is actually attaching to the frame rails. That gives me considerable concerns with the Curt approach, as those points aren't necessarily designed to have the tensile load of a trailer attached, they're designed to take a compressive load in a crash. (That said, using them IN ADDITION to the Toyota-style brackets may be a decent idea (which Toyota isn't using - I suspect part of Toyota's design here is to absorb some crash loads by having the mounting brackets fail in a certain way, too).)

    And, European hitches often don't use the square receiver that American hitches use, so that part doesn't surprise me.

    I'm inclined to say that copying the Toyota hitch's design, but going to a square receiver, would be the ideal option for the US market.
     
  5. ATHiker

    ATHiker Senior Member

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    I am not 100% sure of the correct terminology, but I don't think the Curt hitch replaces the bumper beam (or anything other than some bolts).

    Rather, it is sandwiched in between Toyota's existing components.

    Perhaps that was meant to be understood in your post, which had some interesting points to ponder.
     
  6. bhtooefr

    bhtooefr Senior Member

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    Ah, you're correct: https://www.curtmfg.com/masterlibrary/11426/installsheet/CM_11426_INS.PDF

    Per the installation instructions for the Toyota towbar, the Toyota bumper beam is being depicted as being dropped in the trash can.

    It'd be possible to design a hitch to leave the Toyota bumper beam in place, while still mounting to the unibody more optimally, though, I believe...

    And, for a bike rack, yeah, I wouldn't be worried about that. It's actually towing where I'd want to use the Toyota towbar attachment points.
     
  7. priusdonkey

    priusdonkey Member

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    I think that the stock Toyota bumper is designed to absorb the initial impact on a rear crash. That would mitigate extensive damage. Of course if they miss the rear bumper and hit the rear quarter panel, then the car is totaled?

    The unibody construction is not forgiving and is expensive to work on. I got rear ended by a unlicensed driver on my gen3 Prius so I know first hand how the crumple zones work on the rear of the car. The car was consequently totaled and the insurance company reimbursed me at full retail pricing. The accident was only a 25 mph rear hit. Surprisingly, it totaled the car, due to the fact that the salvage value is so high on the Prius. Think Los Angeles (Prius) taxi driver, shuttling back and forth to LAX.

    So I would prefer to keep the stock bumper in place. If Toyota has a rear receiver hitch I would use that? However, the above comments makes reference that you can't put a bike rack onto the rear hitch. So that's a deal breaker. I have a Kuat bike rack that's wonderful, although on the gen3 it did block the rear camera.
     
  8. bhtooefr

    bhtooefr Senior Member

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    What I'd say is, if you're planning on putting a bike rack on, the Curt hitch is a perfectly fine design.

    If you're actually towing with it, it'll be inadequate in my opinion - also consider that the trailer loads will be against the bolt heads, rather than perpendicular to the bolts as in the Toyota European towbar.

    It is worth noting that Toyota's European market rear bike holder actually attaches to their towbar's ball, though (but then you'd also need European 13-pin wiring, which affects usability with American trailers): https://www.toyota-tech.eu/aimuploads/f30fae94-e2ef-49c5-a212-b71b0430d3c8/Bike%20holder_PZ41B-00500_2-00_AIM%20002%20530-1.pdf
     
  9. priusdonkey

    priusdonkey Member

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    We don't have the Toyota euro spec hitch in the USA. Local dealer said no hitch option from Toyota on the new gen 4 in their catalogue.
    I just got off the phone with Curt manufacturing and as of 4/4/2016 they are drop shipping the bumper. Plan on ordering the bumper tomorrow after I get the car. I'm calling around to body shops to see what the cost of the install is? They also mentioned that I use a support strap, part#18050, on the bike rack so it doesn't stress the car or hitch if going over a bump which adds stress. This also the case on the previous gen 3 hitches. So I'm thinking that there might be some issues regarding added weight and leverage on the mounting points on the car if going over bumps. However, I can't imagine the car being damaged with 100 pounds of tongue weight from a bike rack without the support straps. the hitch is probably attached by 8 bolts total, four per side so that would spread the load and force across 8 attachment points. The rear bumper I'm assuming attaches to the same mounting plates so it's got to be hefty enough to handle the weight. Plus Toyota sells a European hitch? So the car would need to be designed to handle the weight and stress of 100 pounds of bicycles and rack.
     
    #29 priusdonkey, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  10. bhtooefr

    bhtooefr Senior Member

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    Right, I'm well aware we don't have the European spec hitch, and it removes the rear crash protection anyway. I'm saying that parts of its design look to be far, far better than the Curt hitch for actual towing loads. In any case, the Toyota European hitch mounts completely differently from the rear bumper bar or the Curt hitch - it mounts to the frame rails, instead of the bumper bar mounting location.

    For bicycles, the Curt hitch will be perfectly fine, and it looks to be a much easier install.
     
  11. priusdonkey

    priusdonkey Member

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    Just ordered the curt hitch from e-hitch. It was $136 no shipping and no tax. Ships out of Phoenix AZ. My auto body shop friend says he can do the install. I'll report back on cost of install and any comments.

    I think it's a moot point as to how the hitch attaches and wether it's adequate to tow. When your towing about 10-15 % of the weight is on the tongue. So a 1000 lb trailer would have ably 120 lbs of tongue weight? I wouldn't want to tow more than that on the front wheel drive Prius without installing air bag suspension. The weak link of the Prius is the unibody construction not the attachment point. In the past I've had to do emergency maneuvers towing a trailer with my ford pickup. If I need to do some serious towing I would use my f-150 ford pickup, for carrying around two carbon fiber mtbs the curt hitch and my Kuat rack is perfect for the Prius. If I ever get around to building a landscape trailer or a harbor freight trailer then you're really limited to how much you can tow with the Prius. I would definitely hesitate running to the local dump with a Prius in tow. Plus you need to store the trailer when it's not in use? I was at the dump today with a light load of branches and the guy next to me started cleaning out the bed of his truck and literally shoveled dirt in my face. The wind blew the dirt all over me and I've punctured brand new tires at the dump from nails.

    I already have a 12' Featherlite enclosed trailer (motorcycle) that weighs 1,500 lbs empty so the Prius couldn't even pull the empty trailer. So not sure why the Prius needs to pretend to be a utility truck. I've tried to drive my truck like a Prius and I've only been able to get 22mpg doing 48mph on the freeway. I also got pulled over by the highway patrol for that and let go. I just explained to the officer that I was driving 53 mph and he paced me at 48. I finally told him that had he caught me on the Motircycle this would be an entirely different conversation and I would be sitting in the back of the patrol car. I guess he thought that was funny and told me to stay at the speed limit.
    So each vehicle does one thing well.

    Prius - comfort and Fuel economy, extended road trips and carrying bicycles around or a longboard surfboard with the rear seat folded. Actually with the back seat down there's enough space to carry my tools for construction. About equal or greater to the interior of my ford pickup truck not including the bed

    Ford truck - towing, hauling and driving crazy in the desert on dirt roads. Large enough to stick two dirt bikes in the back or a street bike. Really pathetic gas mileage 12-15mpg.

    Motorcycle - good gas mileage, about 60mpg at 55mph or 43mpg at 95mph, the Prius actually does better. Avoiding the police, splitting lanes and driving fast. Living on the edge.
     
  12. William Redoubt

    William Redoubt Senior Member

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    Instructions to Installing the Gen 4 Curt Hitch Are Here.

    The bumper is removed and the hitch is sandwiched between it and the uni-body. I am not an engineer, but there seems to be plenty of attachment for pulling tension and for vertical loads to the recommended limits.

    The major consideration for bike racks, in my opinion, is the distance from the hitch attachment points created by the length of bicycle support arms. If your rack creates a long lever, the force becomes large very quickly, and a even a light bicycle can put hundreds of pounds of downforce on the hitch attachment scheme.

    The biggest danger would be damage to the uni-body vertical surfaces from the resultant twisting force. The forces differ from tongue weight as the axle of the trailer mitigates lever action.
     
  13. Sergiospl

    Sergiospl Senior Member

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  14. priusdonkey

    priusdonkey Member

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    Good article. So I'm pretty sure Curt manufacturing did their homework on the hitch prior to manufacturing. I'm getting my hitch on Wednesday and installing it on Friday. I'll take pictures of the car with the hitch and two bicycles on it.

    Just got the hitched installed for $75 super happy. Cheap price and professionally installed. The second closest price I got was $150.
     
  15. veganist

    veganist New Member

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    Just wanted to update this thread to let everyone know that U-Haul is also now offering hitch installs at their service centers for the Gen 4 Prius. Seem reasonably priced as well, just over $200 for the hitch and install.
     
  16. Danny Troy

    Danny Troy Member

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    I just ordered one off eBay, and I hope it's easier to install than the hidden hitch I installed on my Chevy Volt. That was a real PITA. Taking off the panels was tricky. Since the rear is slightly higher than the front end on the Prius, the ground clearance in the rear with the hitch installed probably won't be any worse than the front-end clearance.
     
  17. William Redoubt

    William Redoubt Senior Member

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    The Curt hitch is easy to install and does not reduce ground clearance.
     
  18. Danny Troy

    Danny Troy Member

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    Funny, I just printed out the installation instructions, and it shows the highest degree of installation difficulty, which is "challenging". I'm up to the challenge!
     
  19. William Redoubt

    William Redoubt Senior Member

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    Very low challenge. Follow directions. Remove a few clips and release panels, unscrew some bolts, bolt on hitch, do minimal cutting of very soft plastic pieces. I've done hitches that require an air chisel and drilling. Those were challenging.
     
  20. Danny Troy

    Danny Troy Member

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    Good to hear. I've done some extensive repairs, and I have a slew of hand and power tools, including air tools. Should be a fun job! BTW, I read somewhere that the tow capacity was upgraded from 1000 lbs. on the Gen 3, to 1600 lbs. on the Gen 4. 200 lb. tongue weight max.
     
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