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Old 08-24-2015, 01:47 AM   #1
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Default FM lightweight tow hitch...

My ride height is around 4.2 inches at the rear pinch weld...

Does anyone have ground clearance issues with the fm hitch mount?

Also, I emailed FM about their tow hitch, and they recommended the hard dog one instead, they said their lightweight one wasn't strong enough for towing a small tool trailer or a bike rack???

I mean, what are people supposed to use the hitch for? It says on the FM website you can HANG THE MIATA from the lw hitch, but you cant actually tow anything? Something doesn't make sense...
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:21 AM   #2
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Their description on the site says:
Quote:
A trailer hitch with a difference. There are a few hitches out there, but how many of them add only eight pounds to your car? And have been run through FEA (Finite Element Analysis) software to ensure the design is strong enough? Ours has!

Made of laser cut pieces that are bent, welded and powdercoated, this is the only hitch available that's designed with weight and intended use as the major design goals. You can tow a small trailer (say, tires and tools) to the track. Once you're there, pull out the ball mount and the parts left on your car weigh only 8 lbs. This is dramatically lighter than other hitches on the market.

If you already have a ball mount or have accessories you want to use with the hitch, it's also available with a 1.25" receiver attachment instead of the ball mount for the same price - shown at left. As an extra bonus, the receiver incorporates an SCCA-spec tow hook just in case things go a bit wrong on the track. Both the ball mount or the receiver attachment can be quickly and easily removed from the hitch, leaving no visible sign and minimal weight gain.

It's rated for a 1000 lb trailer and 100 lb tongue weight - which is more than you should ever tow with a Miata. Our FEA testing ensures the light weight doesn't affect strength. In fact, it's strong enough to hang your Miata from - although we do ask that if you try this, please send us a picture. We can't figure out how to pick up the car without damaging the nose.

Fits 1999-05 models only. Includes a hitch pin, but not a ball. If you choose the receiver option, you will need to supply a 1.25" ball mount. The ball mount option uses a ball with a 3/4" shank. The ball mount is not compatible with the Mazdaspeed MX-5 rear bumper, while the receiver will fit but makes contact with the bumper. The hitch clears both stock and FM exhausts just fine as well as most aftermarket parts, but if you have a custom setup with a particularly large or rearward muffler there may be clearance problems. Please check the pictures in the instructions to get an idea if it will fit your car.
Seems to me like it shouldn't have a problem towing a tire trailer w/ a tool box on it. I don't know why they'd tell you it wouldn't. And you're right; why sell a hitch for towing if you can't tow with it?
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:44 PM   #3
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Yeah, I got an email back this morning, saying how on a bike rack, the load bounces around and puts alot of strain on the tongue, ballistically

Also, if it helps anyone, at my ride hight, 4.2 in rear pinch welds, the hitch will be around 6.5 inches off the ground.
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:52 PM   #4
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I can't remember my exact pinch weld measurements, but this one is at probably 4.5, no issues.

This one I was scrounging for camber and slammed the car. I have the numbers at home somewhere, but probably 4.0" height. No issues here with hitch ground clearance except at steep drive way entrances, some speed bumps.

Note, I have since realized my stupidity and use the lowest hole on the hitch to have it raised up the highest, so the trailer is more level.

Nonetheless, never any issues towing what you see here. 949 wheels with Hoosiers, the box filled with camping stuff, tools or both, depending on trip. Probably about 350-450 lbs of total weight sometimes. Pulls at 85mph no problem.

I've been very happy with this hitch.
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FM lightweight tow hitch...-qcxez5c.jpg   FM lightweight tow hitch...-wkzrz6y.jpg  
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:09 PM   #5
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I think the issue is the 100lbs tongue weight, not the max towing weight. With a tire trailer you can probably load it to pretty close to 0 tongue weight. But with a bike rack or tool box on a hitch mount (not a trailer) your tongue weight will be at a minimum 100% of the weight attached. In that situation you might exceed that 100lbs. If things start bouncing around (and they do on bike racks), I can easily see exceeding those limits.
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Old 08-25-2015, 12:24 AM   #6
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Will, thanks for the response and pictures... is that trailer the harbor freight model? If so, did you square it, or modify it in any way? What about repacking the wheel bearings on it?

Patrick, that makes sense... I just hope a 18 pound bike and a 25 pound rack won't stress the hitch too much... I have 450in/lb rear springs, and somewhat stiff dampening...
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Old 08-25-2015, 02:04 PM   #7
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I ran around 4" pinch welds and never had an issue with it scraping (exhaust scraped long before the hitch ever would). The only time it scraped was driving the car onto the trailer. I've since removed it so that's no longer an issue.

I have 500lb rear springs, for what it's worth. 4ft HF trailer with 4 wheels.
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Old 08-25-2015, 03:33 PM   #8
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I believe it's a harbor friend model. I bought I it second hand already setup though, so not sure if it had to be squared up. I do replace the bearings from time to time. They're the larger wheels, so they do pretty well. Do recommend.

I have 375ish rear Springs. They're right, the hitch does move a bit in the receiver because it's meant to slide in and down pretty far. You could probably shove some wood shims in or something to stop that. (or something else creative).
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Old 08-25-2015, 05:40 PM   #9
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FWIW I weighed the hard dog hitch when I pulled it off my car and it wasn't much heavier than the FM version (13lb).
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Old 08-25-2015, 05:46 PM   #10
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<p>I need to find a hitch that works with my ginormous muffler... :/</p>
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:26 PM   #11
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All the hitch manufactures are concerned about liablility when the car is not rated for towing by the car maker.
I designed and made a removable hitch for the S2000 back when they came out and my attorney convinced me to stop selling them because of the liability.
The thing you want to keep in mind is that the trailer must be stable at speed without swaying left and right, this is dangerous and is caused by a loose receiver connection loose or bad triler wheel bearings, bent axle or a trailer with a very short tongue.
For the most part the Miata will tow a 600lb trailer without problems as long as you keep in mind the added brake distance required to stop.
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Old 08-25-2015, 11:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHammerly View Post
For the most part the Miata will tow a 600lb trailer without problems as long as you keep in mind the added brake distance required to stop.
I think my 11.75" 949 front brakes and 11" rear brakes, all with DTC-60s, can handle it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schuyler View Post
<p>I need to find a hitch that works with my ginormous muffler... :/</p>
What muffler? It works fine with my lame, and large, dual tipped Borla (craigslist find).
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasting View Post
I think my 11.75" 949 front brakes and 11" rear brakes, all with DTC-60s, can handle it



What muffler? It works fine with my lame, and large, dual tipped Borla (craigslist find).
if you think about it race cars are totally built to tow. hahah.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
<br />What muffler? It works fine with my lame, and large, dual tipped Borla (craigslist find).
<br />
<br /><br />
<br />Magnaflow. The big one. Mounted horizontally.
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Old 08-27-2015, 07:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asmasm View Post
FWIW I weighed the hard dog hitch when I pulled it off my car and it wasn't much heavier than the FM version (13lb).
Was that with the receiver? FM claims that without receiver its only five pounds.

I bought one for my car a couple years back and can't be happier. My set-up is just like Dasting's down to the way the trailer is organized. Ride height is 4" or so at rear without the trailer attached and obviously it goes down some after that. rear springs are 400lbs. Getting the receiver in just barely makes it at static height. My exhaust ends before axle.

HTH
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Old 08-28-2015, 12:55 AM   #16
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^ thanks for the info

I'll be updating this thread in a week or two, after I install the FM hitch. I also got a really sweet bike rack from 1UPUSA.com it's this one...

https://www.1upusa.com/product-quikracksilver.html

Says it only weighs 23 pounds, and has an adjuster to reduce hitch play, so hopefully it won't bounce around as much as a regular one, and put less stress on the tongue
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Old 08-28-2015, 06:49 AM   #17
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I don't know if that will work. The receiver in the FM hitch is vertical.

Edit: Ah, I see now. They have a receiver that makes it vertical to horizontal. I just got the ball mount that comes with it.
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:15 AM   #18
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Keep in mind, the secondary insert from FM mount (the receiver) that slides up into bolted member on the car is what has a decent amount of movement, regardless of whether you have a bike rack or trailer attached. If you inserted a wood shim up the front side of the vertical piece, and then secured the shim with a tie wrap or something, that's what would do away with the lash. You'd then also have to get rid of any excessive movement from the bike rack mounting to the receiver.

Does that make sense?
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Old 08-28-2015, 08:32 PM   #19
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^yes, thanks, Ill shim it for sure
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Old 08-28-2015, 09:57 PM   #20
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Keep in mind also that the further you move weight from the hitch the more force it has. 50 pounds twice as far as the hitch ball is the same as 100 pounds of tongue weight.

Think of a cheater bar. Same thing is going on here.
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