FAQs about Trailer Hitches

  • I recommend the Volvo trailer hitch.
  • I am pleased with a Draw-Tite hitch.
  • What is a good choice for a roof rack?

  • I recommend the Volvo trailer hitch.

    Date: Fri, 23 Apr 93 23:02:58 -0500
    From: haber@cs.wisc.edu (Eben Merriam Haber)
    To: lchang@cadence.com
    Subject: Re: trailer hitch ('92 245)
    Cc: swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu

    As far as towing goes, I pull an 1800lb horse trailer + 1200lb horse, a total of about 3000lbs (which is 90% of the recommended limit, a safe amount of leeway for me).

    Anyway, the best hitch available comes from Volvo. It bolts to the frame, has a removable hitch, and is exceptionally sturdy. It cost around $250, but is rated for any load the car is rated for.

    Other options you might want to pursue: I put in a set of Moog variable rate coils which help keep the back end from sagging and swaying. Since a big tall horse trailer is especially prone to sway, I also put in air bags inside the coil springs in back, which stiffen things up even more (and make everything ride very solidly - and reduce body roll in corners to boot!).

    I've also been thinking about heavier tires than the OEM Michelens, but haven't decided on anything yet...

    You probably don't need to go to the lengths that I did, but I do recommend the volvo hitch, at least...

    Eben M Haber & Rupert, the Red Volvo

    Date: Tue, 27 Apr 93 10:04:06 EDT
    From: 27-Apr-1993 0957 <corey@cthq.enet.dec.com>
    To: swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu
    Cc: corey@cthq.enet.dec.com
    Subject: Trailer Hitch

    Brian asked about the facia brackets with a draw-tite hitch. He was having problems putting them back after the installation.

    I had the same problem with the Volvo OEM hitch. I spent a lot of time trying to put these back and make them fit. I finally gave up and left them off. This has had no effect on the plastic facia and it is staying in place just fine. The instructions also indicate that you can put the muffler heat shield back exactly as it was after putting the hitch in but I was not able to do this either. Likewise for one or two other brackets.

    Finally a warning for anyone thinking of doing this job themselves: Try and get a helper. You can do it alone, but the hitch is very heavy and therefore difficult to line up. My sample also did not line up perfectly with the factory drilled and threaded holes in the frame. I had to file the holes a little in the hitch so everything would line up. The final point is that some of the bolts require (as per instruction sheet) several million ft/lbs of torque when tightening them. ;^) I was warned by several RV and hitch gurus that I'd better pay attention to these specs as a hitch is subjected to lots of stress and vibration and I wouldn't want my trailer to be passing me on the road!


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    I am pleased with a Draw-Tite hitch.

    Date: 19 May 93 13:22:00 EDT
    From: Bob Trammell <72050.3243@compuserve.com>
    To: Volvo <SwedishBricks@me.rochester.edu>
    Subject: RE: Hitches


    I have a Draw-tite hitch on my 244 and am very pleased with it. Depending on the year you may have some trouble getting the hitch around some of the plastic underneath the rear of the car. I had no such trouble on my 81 245, but the 244 is an 89 and either the year change or model change made it necessary to cut through the plastic to get the hitch on.

    I would strongly recommend you consider sway bars and the HD springs from IPD. I upgraded the springs (it's a real easy job) but haven't done the sway bars yet.

    The last consideration is lights. You can buy a universal adapter box and splice into the lights, or you can use Eric Friets plan to do it "right" (I plan to upgrade my wiring this summer - honest). Eric has some diagrams on how to hook up the lights using relays. The relays allow you to run your trailler lights without turning on the bulb warning light on the dash. I'm sure Eric will fill you in on the details (are you out there, Eric)? He sent me a real nice diagram of how to do the job and some E-Mail, too. He is at emf@coos.dartmouth.edu.

    The installation of the hitch shouldn't be too big a task. The place I bought mine offered to install it for an additional $25 so I had them do it. As I recall, it took about 20 minutes.


    From: nessa@mentor.cc.purdue.edu (Vanessa M. Cook)
    Subject: Re: Hitches
    To: swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu (Volvo-Net)
    Date: Wed, 19 May 93 13:29:41 EST

    Marvin Bausman writes...

    { I would like to install a trailer hitch on my 86 240GL
    { Wagon. I vaguely remember some talk about hitches some time
    { ago on the Net, but do not remember the suggestions made at
    { that time.
    { What are the options and approximate costs? I would like to
    { install it myself, as I see no reason to pay someone to put
    { in a few bolts and drill a few holes.

    Well if you go to U-Haul and get the 3500 lb capacity hitchthat has the removable drawbar and the 2 inch tow ball you will pay $120 to $130. Installation is very easy. You just need a 27mm socket and a torque wrench and a normal upper range set of sockets and some open-ended spanners. You remove the bumper retaining bolts and install the ones that come with the hitch. You will probably have to remove some trim or heat sheilds as well.

    I put one on my wagon so you will probably not do exactly the same as I did. But you will need the Torque Wrench and 27 mm socket for sure.

    The hitch went on very easily. Only a minimal amount of swearing. You do not get any wiring harness for your $130. You will have to either cobble some thing together or buy the OEM harness which will include a bunch of stuff to avoid the light out problem associated with other harnesses. This problem only happens when you are actually attached to the trailer you are towing. I lived with it. :)

    FWIW the frame hitch I have been talking about is made by Draw-Tite.


    Brian & 'Nessa and Herman (the ferret)

    "Maybe it's a gift, a special talent that I, alone, possess!" --Wembley
    "Maybe it's a curse, a special weirdness that only you are stuck with!" --Red

    Date: Fri, 28 May 93 21:05:17 CST
    From: "Marvin Bausman" <bausman@mcc.com>
    To: swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu
    Subject: Installation of Trailer Hitch


    Following some of the Net Wisdom, I purchased and installed a trailer hitch on my recently acquired 86 240GL Wagon. Just to let those interested in on the particulars:

    Purchased from the local U-Haul people. They had to order it, but it only took two days to get it in. It is a Class II (3500 lbs. max) receiver type hitch. Cost: $106 plus tax, including the draw bar. Manufactured by Drawtite. A perfect fit to the holes already in the Volvo, three bolts per side.

    U-Haul would have installed it for another $25, but I wanted to do this one myself. Had to cut rear portion of the plastic skirting off and modify it to allow it to fit around the hitch (I doubt if U-Haul would have modified it, probably just cut and throw away). Had to totally remove the rear tow hook (right side), as well as two bolts which hold the rear of the muffler heat shield. The hitch itself takes the place of the bolts by trapping the heat shield in place.

    Overall, I am very pleased with the finished product. Now on to the wiring and maybe some IPD heavy duty springs.




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    What is a good choice for a roof rack?

    From: JML12@psuvm.psu.edu
    Date: Mon, 25 Oct 93 16:16 EDT
    Subject: Re: roof racks
    To: tech@cs.athabascau.ca
    Cc: swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu

    I highly recommend not attaching a permanent rack to the top of your Volvo. The detachable racks made by Thule and Yakima are stronger and much more versatile than the typical junk bolted on the roof of most vehicles. Plus, many more useful accessories are available for carrying cargo, bikes, canoes, etc...

    I personally am partial to Thule products since they are made in Sweden but Yakima makes some good stuff too. A basic set of two cross bars runs around $125 (U.S.) and a set of locking knobs is about $25. Both companies make some neat looking (but expensive) aerodynamic "shells" for protecting cargo from the elements. The big one from Thule looks like you could put a child in it if he/she gets unruly in the car (just kidding folks!).

    Plus, with a detachable rack your not stuck with the drag when you don't need the additional capacity.


    Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1993 08:16:22 -0500 (EST)
    From: Clark <MERRILL@stsci.edu>
    Subject: Re: roof racks
    To: lpjs441@bongo.cc.utexas.edu
    Cc: swedishbricks@me.rochester.edu

    >(some stores carry both, some only one). The systems are similar, but
    >largely incompatible. Prices are more or less the same.

    I have a Thule rack with a Yakima Tandem carrier. I needed to buy some parts called mighty mounts from Yakima that cost about $20 for 4. I preferred the rectangular bars on the Thule and I also liked the Yakima Tandem carrier better. The Yakima Tandem carrier in addition to being easier to use, was $90 cheaper with a simpler design.

    By the way, Volvo is pushing Thule racks with the with Volvo name as an options on their cars. Now if they were selling the Air dam with Volvo on the nameplate instead of Thule, I might buy it. I am thinking of buying one from a bicycle mail order place.

    I also like the fact that there is NO play in the mounting mechanism of my Thule. I can push the rack and it is just like pushing the car directly. Incredibly solid. they are expensive, but you get what you pay for. My bikes are worth the investment in a good rack. Plus a tandem no longer fits on a trunk mounted rack.

    Sorry for the rambling.

    Clark B. Merrill
    Space Telescope Science Institute
    Baltimore, Maryland

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