Smart Car Hitch?
Totally Irresponsible Smart Car Owner puts lives behind him at risk.  The Insurance company's are also culpable because they are turning a blind eye to this growing concern.

They should do this...They rate you for Collision Damage, Glass Coverage, Comprehensive and Med Pay...but nothing on towing.

Ask should a person who tow's pay the same rate as you a person who never tows?  Then the solution is to not cover a towing trailer unless they pay a premium and get these trailers covered.

This way our insurance rates will not go up to cover careless people like this person.
    http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f19/new-idea-trailer-hitch-30787/index2.html


    04-04-2010, 09:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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    Wdhitch's Avatar
     
    Location: Ruskin, FL (near Tampa)
    New idea for a trailer hitch

    I wanted something that was removable... the idea came from me... thanks to BBB for the technical knowledge and Barney for the fabrication.

    So far so good... trailer will be here next week.

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    04-04-2010, 10:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
     
    donnyonee's Avatar
     
    Location: $unny calif
    doesnt look like a good idea to me, the 2 acme nuts wont take the abuse of a trailer bouncing up and down (its been proven already) and especially if the receiver is only welded to "your" bumper. imo.

    edited
    weather its the bolts that break (doubtful) or the surrounding steel around the attached nuts flexing (probable) , even a little bit, causing fatigue and eventually getting real bad.
    if you boxed the rear bumper and re-enforced the nut area?, but still the nuts are for a emergency type use not a constant pulling, pushing, jerking, yanking. towing on for miles.
    300-400 static lbs isnt much but youll be at speed not stopped. my trailer weighs 345 empty, when im loaded for camping id guess 500 -600 lbs.
    you should have a approved hitch or something very very dependable.
    imo
    have fun with this one.

    Last edited by donnyonee; 04-05-2010 at 03:59 AM..

     
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    Location: Great State of Texas
    Better have some safety chains WHEN it comes off



    04-04-2010, 02:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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    Hmm. I would want to know the shear force required to break the bolts. And the trailer tongue weight and the "drag" weight. I'm afraid unless the trailer is very light weight, you'll have a problem.



    Old 04-04-2010, 02:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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    Location: Ruskin, FL (near Tampa)
    The trailer is as bare bones as I can find... very light and basic. The way the bumper/receiver is constructed, the bolts can't back out all the way so unless the threads completely fail it should stay solid. There'll be alot of testing before OTD in September. Time will tell. I can tell you that a person weighing 150lbs stood on it for about 5 minutes and jumped up and down and it stayed solid to the frame.



    04-04-2010, 02:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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    I don't mean to rain on this parade!

    My problem with this idea is the metal fatigue of the bolts. Eventually, after repeated sheer force, I'm afraid the bolt will just break off.

    Now, if the bolts themselves are of proper strength, this could work. I beleive you should be sure that the bolts are of sufficient grade.

    Good luck!

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    Old 04-04-2010, 03:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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    Location: in the garage
    ...my car was picked up by the bumper...
    ...if you have ever seen the hardware used to secure the bumper to the car or the way it is secured you will have a better understanding as to why wdhitch decided to go this route...in other words...this set up is NOT the kind of $#!t you buy at Lowes..

    jetfuel....under stress do to BS...

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    Old 04-04-2010, 03:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
     
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    Location: Cypress, TX
    I'm not concerned about the strength of the bolts; the user can always adjust for that. I'm concerned about the smart itself. You know the intention of the eye bolt holes was for a quick drag onto a tow truck bed. I don't think the threaded holes were designed or hardened to the strength that you intend to apply.

    Bouncing up and down on the bumper just tested the quality of the bolts. Vertical strength is not the issue. Horizontal strength is at question. Every time you hit the gas or apply the brakes, you are stressing those threads.

    I'm sure you heard the old adage, "Just because something could be done, doesn't mean it should be done."

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    Old 04-04-2010, 03:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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    Location: Ruskin, FL (near Tampa)
    Originally Posted by mrc59 View Post
    I don't mean to rain on this parade!

    My problem with this idea is the metal fatigue of the bolts. Eventually, after repeated sheer force, I'm afraid the bolt will just break off.

    Now, if the bolts themselves are of proper strength, this could work. I beleive you should be sure that the bolts are of sufficient grade.

    Good luck!
    No worries... I understand it's an unproven method. It's going to get alot of testing before heading to OTD. If it works great... if not... I tried... already paid to have it built... might as well see what I got.


    And Jet's right... we did pickup a smart by the bumper... the bolts held.

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    Old 04-04-2010, 04:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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    Location: South Central WI
    I just had my tires changed Via jack on my Hitch welded to the Bumper, BUT, I was not using the tow bolts. I think that is the weak part, and something you can keep your eye on. Check those threads once in a while and make sure everything is still absolutely snug.

    But those Bolts are each designed to drag a 2000 pound car out of a bad situation, and you at most going to be pulling 300-400 pound trailer via 2 bolts. That's not a bad factor of safety.


    Disclaimer, I am not an engineer, just a Guy who put a hitch on his smart that attaches to the bumper another way.

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    Old 04-04-2010, 04:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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    Location: NW Florida
    Not an engineer, but just like jet said, I "think" it'll hold since it has been proven before.

    Shoot me some closeup pics of the receiver. PM me or send them to my email addy. Obviously you're still lacking the safety chain eyelets but I'm sure you were going to add those next. I plan on doing my hitch next weekend after I check my schedule to see if I am free, I'll be doing one like ExonicJay's hitch except I'll be going slightly different with a 1 1/4



    Old 04-04-2010, 04:52 PM   #12 (permalink)
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    Location: Ruskin, FL (near Tampa)
    It has chain eyelets as part of the receiver. I'll email you the pics.

    Last edited by Wdhitch; 04-04-2010 at 05:22 PM..



    Old 04-04-2010, 05:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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    Location: Ruskin, FL (near Tampa)
    Here are the closeups

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    Old 04-04-2010, 05:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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    Location: NW Florida
    Ahhh, OK! I think it'll work. The tongue weight will most likely be a whooping 25 pounds in an absolute worst case scenario. More likely 15 pounds tops. You should be able to see any stress cracks if it is ready to break anyhow.

    Now for the big question, is that bumper going to go black? Are you going for a road trip?

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    Old 04-04-2010, 05:54 PM   #15 (permalink)
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    Location: Ohio
    It looks good. I hope it works for you. I do remember some time back someone mounted something useing the tow hook bolts. For some reason I thought it keep working loose. I would say for light loads and easy on the rough roads and you will be fine. What is the bar that the hitch is welded on to made of?

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    Old 04-04-2010, 06:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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    Location: SHELBYVILLE ILL.
    For what it's worth the weakest link in this puzzle is not the bumper that I built for Bill but the actual crossmember that it is bolted to. The hardware supplied is all high strength alloy.
    As for push pull on the factory crossmember there are no issues as it is designed to put an eyelet in it for pulling. Bill is purchasing a very light trailer with minimal tongue weight. With that in mind the vertical forces will not be enough to fatigue threaded bosses in factory crossmember.
    The hitch and bumper are very close coupled to keep twisting forces to a minimum also.
    I'm sure Bill will check fasteners and condition periodically to make sure everything is satisfactory.Which is a good idea before and during towing of any kind.
    If Bill would have told me he was going to carry a couple of Harley's or pull a 15' flatbead I wouldn't of recommended it.
    Bill, I thought you were going to powdercoat the bumper first?

    Barney O "BMS"

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    Old 04-04-2010, 06:03 PM   #17 (permalink)
     
    donnyonee's Avatar
     
    Location: $unny calif
    your wormanship looks excellent, imo id never trust the flimsy rear crossmember/bumper that your bolting to. please reconsider what your doing. unless your boxing in the bumper there isnt enough strength there. imo. and somewhere ive heard of the nuts breaking out of the bumper, i think it was cisco and his first bike racks. and a bike only weighs about 25-30 lbs.

    Last edited by donnyonee; 04-05-2010 at 04:01 AM..

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    Old 04-04-2010, 06:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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    Steel if I remember correctly... it's quite heavy.

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    Old 04-04-2010, 06:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
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    Location: Ruskin, FL (near Tampa)
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BARNEY O View Post
    For what it's worth the weakest link in this puzzle is not the bumper that I built for Bill but the actual crossmember that it is bolted to. The hardware supplied is all high strength alloy.
    As for push pull on the factory crossmember there are no issues as it is designed to put an eyelet in it for pulling. Bill is purchasing a very light trailer with minimal tongue weight. With that in mind the vertical forces will not be enough to fatigue threaded bosses in factory crossmember.
    The hitch and bumper are very close coupled to keep twisting forces to a minimum also.
    I'm sure Bill will check fasteners and condition periodically to make sure everything is satisfactory.Which is a good idea before and during towing of any kind.
    If Bill would have told me he was going to carry a couple of Harley's or pull a 15' flatbead I wouldn't of recommended it.
    Bill, I thought you were going to powdercoat the bumper first?

    Barney O "BMS"
    I wanted to see it on the car first... I'm going to test it with the trailer before I have it painted....

    Yes... BBB... there will be a roadtrip for coloring.


    The trailer empty weight is 145lbs... loaded I can't see it much over 200lbs.

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    Old 04-04-2010, 06:38 PM   #20 (permalink)
     
    Location: Marion Oaks
    Worse than having your trailer fall off...!!!...<:-((


    Last edited by Brabus007; 04-04-2010 at 06:41 PM..

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    Old 04-04-2010, 06:42 PM   #21 (permalink)
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    If he hits a telephone pole first, I think he won't worry about the trailer hitch.

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    Old 04-04-2010, 11:07 PM   #22 (permalink)
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    Location: Pittsburgh
    I think Wdhitch's hitch will work fine.

    I installed a hitch by removing the inter bumper and stiffed it with welded steel plate and gussets.

    My 2 " recever is welded to the center of the inter bumper using a steel angle as a mounting plate.
    Reinforcement of the inter bumper was needed because my center mount hitch would cause a twisting force over about 18" before reaching the mounting flanges that fixes the inter bumper to the Smart Car.

    Wdhitch's hitch uses the two acme threaded holes for mounting the hitch.
    Both acme threaded holes are located right behind the inter bumper mounting plates flanges.
    Thus little or no twisting force will be applied to the Smarts inter bumper and reinforcement shouldn't be required.
    The external cross bar (torsion bar if you will) on Wdhitch's hitch will deal with the twisting force and it looks plenty husky.

    Whether you use Wdhitch's or my hitch design, there is still the issue of the 6 bolts (3 on each inter bumper mounting plate) strength and durability.
    I have checked the 6 mounting bolts regularly to assure they are up to the task.
    I have checked the tightness with a torque wrench and noticed no changes over 7,000 miles of use.
    Having said all this,
    I can't attest to the bolt ratings but they appear to be of high quality and very hard.
    Heat treated for sure.
    I will see if I can determine the fastener rating for the bolts and pass it along.

    I carry about 50 lbs of tongue weight on my Smart Hitch 24/7.
    That includes the weight of the swing down spare tire rack and the spare tire and stock rim.
    It's been over bumps and pot holes, through the snow, bumped by parked cars.
    So far so good.

    I have read somewhere on this forum the German government had rated tongue weight rating at 70 Lbs for the Smart 2 for 2 in Germany.

    So, 50 lbs looks OK.

    The hitch design I used has the loading point of the hitch very close to the vertical plane of the inter bumper. It sticks about 3 1/2" aft of the vertical plane of the inter bumper. Not sure how one could get it much closer.
    The key is to get the tongue weight as close to the rear axial so the front end doesn't become so light that it effects steering of the Smart.

    Below is a picture of the inter bumper.
    Notice the location of the acme threaded holes.
    No twisting of the inter bumper should be realized with Wdhitche's design.
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    Looking at the back side of the inter bumper shows the acme threaded holes directly in the center of the 3 bolt mounting plate flange.
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    Inter bumper clamped up and ready for welding.
    Notice gusset plates inside inter bumper required for my hitch design.
    Picture shows two but there are 4 gussets in total
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    Inter bumper boxed in totally.
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    Finished hitch
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    Swing Down Spare Tire Rack installed.
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    Spare Tire mounted to Hitch.
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    Spare Tire in Swing Down mode.
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    Picture of Swing Down Spare Tire Rack un-mounted.
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    Hitch labeling is to piss off my buddies.
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    In summary, Hwhitch's hitch looks easer to install and manufacture with no need to remove the inter bumper and Smart plastic work.
    However, the hitch loading point is a little further aft.
    Thus causing a larger moment arm when considering hitch tongue weight.
    Also, an acme thread is not a locking kind of thread and the hitch is a little further back from the inter bumper.
    Perhaps, de-rating the 70 lbs tongue weight rating a little and adding a locking acme nut might be considered.

    Wdhitch's hitch looks great!!
    I can tell you a Smart Hitch makes the Smart a different car.
    I haul my bikes, trailer and spare tire.

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    Old 04-05-2010, 03:39 AM   #23 (permalink)
     
    donnyonee's Avatar
     
    Location: $unny calif
    oh yes go ahead, dont believe me about the bike rack breaking the acme nuts loose inside the bumper, it didnt happen, i dreameed it all up, and everyone else will gladly bet on your application at your exspense.
    jays hitch boxes in the crossmember and does NOT use the acme bolts at all, good idea.
    im not saying a hitch doesnt work or your idea wont work but...

    whatever, follow the masses.
    you cant beat a dead horse.

    Last edited by donnyonee; 04-05-2010 at 03:49 AM..

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    Old 04-05-2010, 04:44 AM   #24 (permalink)
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    Location: Roanoke, VA
    While I am an engineer, I tend to keep more toward electrons than materials.

    If the ACME bolts fail, the safety chains will do very little to keep the bumper from twisting off the remaining bolt leaving the car and trailer going different directions. While these are designed for a pull up onto a flatbed for towing, the pressure is constant and unidirectional.

    I'd suggest you have somewhere on the frame where a second set of safety chains are used and plan on how the trailer arrangement will encounter the back of the car upon failure in order to figure out how to mitigate the damage.

    Insurance coverage may be something else to check since there's a possibility your carrier would refuse not only to pay claims to repair the back end of your car but may also refuse to pay claims for the BMW 7-series that was in the lane next to you before it ended up in the ditch with your bumper and trailer.

    I'm hoping the "gut feel" concerns from more than one SCOA member are complete overreaction and that you get many, many fun miles out of the combination!

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    Old 04-05-2010, 05:56 AM   #25 (permalink)
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    Im not sure why anyone would put a hitch on a smart anyway it has just enough power pull itself let alone a trailer, :P unless the trailer was a keg-O-rater, then by all means add that hitch!

    I'd for one move the safety chain location to the cars chassis rather than the receiver like it is now. If it does happen to fail it's a lawsuit waiting to happen IMO!

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    Old 04-05-2010, 06:00 AM   #26 (permalink)
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    Location: NW Florida
    I definitely think a bike rack (with bikes) in those tow bolt holes isn't too great of an idea - HEAVY. The weight of the rack and bikes is definitely multiplied over every single bump in the road. The tongue weight of that trailer isn't too bad. Most of the motion is going to be forward and aft with a little going vertical.

    Hey Wdhitch. How about a poll?

    - Crash and die
    - It'll work fine
    - It'll work but slowly become unusable


    Add me to the "It'll work fine" category. Exonic Jay did make a good point about the moment arm. Question Wdhitch or BarneyO - there is a lock nut on the mounting bolts right? Jay mentioned it not being a locking thread but I have seen some applications where a lock nut was added to completely secure the assembly.

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    Old 04-05-2010, 06:50 AM   #27 (permalink)
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    Location: in the garage
    ..the support base of the bumper...is stepped drilled to secure it to the car's tow bosses...the bolt is shouldered to torque down the base...and I mean torque down ..there is no free/end play whatsoever...the base is not going anywhere

    jetfuel...BTDTFT

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    Old 04-05-2010, 06:58 AM   #28 (permalink)
     
    Location: Pearland TX
    What I want out of all of this is one of those tire mounts for a 1.25" hitch receiver, or (failing that) a diagram of what was done to make it. That's what I want...

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    Old 04-05-2010, 07:00 AM   #29 (permalink)
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    Location: in the garage
    ...check post 22..

    jetfuel...thanks Jay

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    Old 04-05-2010, 07:14 AM   #30 (permalink)
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    Location: Piedmont , OK
    I think it was "smartieparts" that used the same concept.

    The bolts go into a nut that is welded inside a sheet metal housing. Flex will fatigue the sheet metal over time , the end result is not good....



    Old 04-05-2010, 06:24 AM   #31 (permalink)
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    forestacademy's Avatar
     
    Location: South Central WI
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Terry Stibal View Post
    What I want out of all of this is one of those tire mounts for a 1.25" hitch receiver, or (failing that) a diagram of what was done to make it. That's what I want...
    More details on that here
    Advantages of having a Smart Hitch

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    Old 04-05-2010, 08:37 AM   #32 (permalink)
     
    Location: Glen Allen
    You Know that a SMART car is not rated to tow anything

    When you get a moment please go to DangerousTrailers place the .org and note what is going on with "Passenger Cars That Tow Trailers" Please understand that you are risking the lives of everyone behind you!!!

    I called SMART Car coporation and have e mailed this info...YOU KNOW that in your manual it clearly states that this car is not rated to tow.

    You know that in your state no inspections, no standards are in place...I have even taken the liberty to e mail this to your Governor.

    At the risk of being being taken of this forum....I FEEL THAT I MUST educate you on the total disregard for safety.

    Do you relize the LIABILITY you are imposing on yourself? You don't have enough insurance to cover the loss of what you are doing.

    Go to the web site and mouse over FLORIDA and see the mother who was cut in half...when she saw a trailer come loose...she pushed her children away from her before she died....

    Then see what happend last summer when a 18 year old towing a trailer came loose and killed a women in TAMPA..

    I have used every credit card...my home equity....my vacation funds....and yes I have a daughter..and a son...who will never get to see Disney...because I used my funds to educate people like yourself...in towing dangers...

    But you...have a total lack of safety for you...for the people who are behind you....and for anything....

    You know you are doing someting you should not be doing....shame on you.

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    Old 04-05-2010, 09:15 AM   #33 (permalink)
     
    Location: Dallas, TX
    ?????

    Jeeeze, who let Mr. Doom and Gloom in here?

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    Old 04-05-2010, 09:18 AM   #34 (permalink)
     
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    Location: $unny calif
    have you seen debbie downer on snl?

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    Old 04-05-2010, 09:25 AM   #35 (permalink)
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    Location: NW Florida
    Holy Snikes. How can someone get out of bed in the morning with an attitude like that? One word - beanie baby collecting. Try it, you might like it.

    EDIT: JohnH is right in his post below. We shouldn't berate someone that comes on this site and knows everything about towing and belittles us, we shouldn't fight fire with fire. I'm sure he is REALLY blasting those guys over at the Honda Goldwing site telling them how dumb they are and how he is emailing the Governor etc. Since JohnH is right, I changed my very offensive word to Beanie Baby Collecting.

    I agree to respectfully disagree. It isn't like we're towing 6,000 pound travel trailers. 250-400 pound trailer with a whooping tongue weight of 15-25 pounds. I would fully agree it was shoddy workmanship or subpar welding, but it isn't.

    Last edited by Bum-bling-B; 04-05-2010 at 10:06 AM.. Reason: JohnH is right.

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    Old 04-05-2010, 09:41 AM   #36 (permalink)
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    Because someone has an extreme passion about caution in the face of lives lost, please don't berate them.

    It's harsh words because the penalties for having things wrong are harsh. Not jail time... weight on ones soul.

    That said and the accidents aside, the smart is rated for towing in other countries but not by SmartUSA.

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    Old 04-05-2010, 10:10 AM   #37 (permalink)
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    Location: in the garage
    ..totally agree with John H..he is very passioned about his cause...
    ..but..after reading some of the cases from his web site dangeroustrailers.org you can see that it was not the design of the trailer in question but the failure to comply with simple rules of towing that created the mess...

    jetfuel...just me...

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    Old 04-05-2010, 10:34 AM   #38 (permalink)
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    Jet - I finally just went over to RonMelancon's website - DangerousTrailers.org and I have to agree. Just from skimming I didn't see too much about 250 pound trailers suddenly snapping off the back of smarts veering out of control and splitting tractor trailers in two as they careen wildly across the freeway.

    Ron - I do commend you about being passionate about something, most of us here are the same way and I have to tell you that when we come across the way you have, people sort of take us as a nut case. Our credibility is out the window. Sooo, I do agree with your cause, but not for the smart towing VERY lightweight trailers. I think you have a vision of someone trying to do some sort of 4,000 pound fifth wheel camping trailer. While I agree with some (if not most) of your cause - your approach is ALL WRONG! I think safety should always be priority #1.

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    Old 04-05-2010, 11:12 AM   #39 (permalink)
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    Just talked to Wdhitch a few minutes ago and he'll get his chance to post later on this evening, he's having internet problems and can only view but cannot post.

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    Old 04-05-2010, 11:15 AM   #40 (permalink)
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    RonMelancon, we are not talking about towing boats or jets here.....
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    .

    It more like something like this. :-)
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    Old 04-05-2010, 12:25 PM   #41 (permalink)
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    Location: South Central WI
    Lets not confuse this thread with the previous one with a similar name
    Alternative towing method for trailer

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RonMelancon View Post

    At the risk of being being taken of this forum....I FEEL THAT I MUST educate you on the total disregard for safety.
    Ill just blame U-Haul
    They said I could do it


    BTW, My state doesn not require me to register my trailers. Not even my 2 Horse trailer
    Attached Thumbnails
    uhaul.jpg  

    Last edited by forestacademy; 04-05-2010 at 12:34 PM..

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    Old 04-05-2010, 03:05 PM   #42 (permalink)
     
    Godfather's Avatar
     
    Location: huber heights
    Wowee..... I guess that means the hitch on the rear of my Vstar is really really taboo. Seeing as how it hauls the same trailer the smart does, I'm terribly dangerous twice.

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    Old 04-05-2010, 03:37 PM   #43 (permalink)
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Godfather View Post
    Wowee..... I guess that means the hitch on the rear of my Vstar is really really taboo. Seeing as how it hauls the same trailer the smart does, I'm terribly dangerous twice.

    AND you've been in law enforcement so "shame on you TWICE"!

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    Old 04-05-2010, 03:40 PM   #44 (permalink)
     
    Godfather's Avatar
     
    Location: huber heights
    Yea, I've REALLY gotta try the 4X7 utility trailer behind the bike...........

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    Old 04-05-2010, 03:42 PM   #45 (permalink)
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Godfather View Post
    Yea, I've REALLY gotta try the 4X7 utility trailer behind the bike...........

    With a statement like that someone is emailing the president as we speak!

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    Old 04-05-2010, 03:58 PM   #46 (permalink)
     
    donnyonee's Avatar
     
    Location: $unny calif
    oh crap!
    my tent trailer is actually made to tow with a motorcycle, what a fine fix im in now.

    and why is that big govt sedan parked across the street?

    Last edited by donnyonee; 04-05-2010 at 05:32 PM..

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    Old 04-05-2010, 04:43 PM   #47 (permalink)
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    Location: Ruskin, FL (near Tampa)
    Wow... did I open a can of worms...

    I'm going to generalize here... please don't be offended... there's alot to address here....

    1. If I didn't think it would work I wouldn't have asked for it to be built.

    2. I ran the design past 5 or 6 people who are much smarter than I when it comes to the design of things such as these before I asked for it to be built.

    3. The trailer I'll be using weighs 145 pounds... it's either identical or very close to the one Godfather has in his avatar pic. loaded I don't see it weighing much over 200lbs. I plan to attach a spare tire to it somewhere but other than that it will just be clothing... I still plan to let Jenn ride in the passenger seat.

    4. I don't see an issue with the bolts... or holes... they're designed to support a 2000lb car and the bumper is VERY close to the rear of the car so there shouldn't be much twist.

    5. This setup will go thru ALOT of realworld testing before any long trips... I'm probably going to chain it to the frame... We'll see once I get it setup.

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    Old 04-05-2010, 06:45 PM   #48 (permalink)
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    When was Ralph Nader , allowed to join?

    Remember "unsafe at any speed"...

    Just another Corvair killer?

    I do not mean to offend.

    The person who fails to use a properly secured saftey chain should face the DEATH penelty! Saves on room and board costs....

    Last edited by tabevan2052; 04-05-2010 at 07:18 PM.. Reason: disclaimer

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    Old 04-06-2010, 04:15 AM   #49 (permalink)
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    Location: ORLANDO FL.
    I was thinking of also mounting a hitch to the tow eye bolts. One of our vendors sells correct eye bolts with a long shank so you can fab your own rack or hitch or what ever you wish. Also the smart rack system uses tow eyes. But once I pulled the panels off and looked at how the threaded sleeves are atached to the bumper reinforcement I am not sure now , I think it will need some reinforcement to be strong enough for me. But I do hope this hitch works because I would like to make one that I can remove easy when it is not needed. I guess I will see how yours works and decide. Bob.

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    Old 04-06-2010, 04:38 AM   #50 (permalink)
     
    donnyonee's Avatar
     
    Location: $unny calif
    what!? you mean theres another thought about the silly nuts in the bumper? :-)



    Old 04-06-2010, 05:54 AM   #51 (permalink)
     
    Godfather's Avatar
     
    Location: huber heights
    Two thoughts........ 1. This'll work fine for a real lightweight trailer without a lot of tongue weight. Won't work for squat with a bike rack. 2. Those tow hook holes are not meant to support the weight of a 2000 lb car. Get a look at the paper thin bumper they are welded to. It's a flexible flyer. The torsional differences between pulling on the tow hook hole, and pulling DOWN on the tow hook hole, are two entirely different things. Think metal fatigue.

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    Old 04-06-2010, 01:44 PM   #52 (permalink)
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    Location: Riverside
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by donnyonee View Post
    oh yes go ahead, dont believe me about the bike rack breaking the acme nuts loose inside the bumper, it didnt happen, i dreameed it all up, and everyone else will gladly bet on your application at your exspense.
    jays hitch boxes in the crossmember and does NOT use the acme bolts at all, good idea.
    im not saying a hitch doesnt work or your idea wont work but...

    whatever, follow the masses.
    you cant beat a dead horse.
    I believe you need to do your research more on Bike Racks before you start talking about them. You are way off.

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    Old 04-06-2010, 01:49 PM   #53 (permalink)
     
    Location: Maryland
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SmartCarPerformance View Post
    I believe you need to do your research more on Bike Racks before you start talking about them. You are way off.
    Well, I'm looking for a bike rack solution, and I'm doing my research...

    Cisco, since you sell the tow hook support rods, can you tell me what the maximum (vertical) load that can be placed on these with out causing any damage to the vehicle? (Long term load, not just for occasional, short trips.)

    Thanks...

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    Old 04-06-2010, 04:09 PM   #54 (permalink)
     
    donnyonee's Avatar
     
    Location: $unny calif
    the rods screw in the stupid cheesy nuts, dont you understand, i really cant believe the mentality of you guys wanting to mount a hitch on those nuts/bumper. come on purchase a proper hitch and dont risk everything you have on 2 cheesy nuts in the friggin cheap sheet metal bumper. think flexin bending and fatigue. or box it all in as exonicjay and mount your receiver directly to it.
    and the silly rods are a afterthought to sell them, what else is he suppoosed to do with his stock that wont sell for anything.
    obviously you can screw in a rod and stand on it all day, but it wont be the same as a trailer with weight bouncing, tugging and pulling on it while your towing. the nuts are for a emergency pull situation to pull it up a flatbed or similar. even smartmadness and breathless has nice looking tow hooks to be used for that but i dont think boris will back his product and your car for any lengthy pulls, maybe a 10LB trailer but your bound to exceed that.
    this vendor did tell me directly that the nuts broke out while supporting his bike rack with his inferior mount, and most likely will twist his way out of that. thats why in the end he supplied a neat-o strap to secure it around the back door. yes i even bought that mistake. id return it if i could but guess what? i think it was about $300 he got me for, id have to check the receipt.
    now he wants to claim a high shipping cost prohibiting sales of his bike rack but the problem is really a poor design distroying the bumper/nuts that hes not backing anymore. mine came in a nice pkg with 2 or 3 boxes. anything can ship ups but in the end it has to be worthy.
    imo jay has the strongest looking hitch and that should hold a receiver bike rack proper. i have the curt hitch and id question its reliability with a rack on it.

    go ahead and do it and become a statistic for debbie downer.

    Last edited by donnyonee; 04-06-2010 at 05:32 PM..

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    Old 04-06-2010, 05:27 PM   #55 (permalink)
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    Location: Ruskin, FL (near Tampa)
    Don... I'm going to say this once and I'm truly trying to be nice here.


    stop it


    I'm not going to delete your posts... ban or suspend you as you like to think sometimes but your coming very close to the line.

    You've made your point... it differs from mine and it's obvious that neither of us are going to change.

    You have no proof it will fail just like I have no proof it will work... just your opinion.

    There are quite a few people on here that are smarter than both of us... I ran the design by them before it was built and not taking away from you but I'll take their opinion over yours.

    Move on.




    Edit... after re-reading your diatribe....

    This isn't being marketed... I had it custom designed and built. From what I've seen with my own 2 eyes Paul is having no problem selling the bumpers for their original use. You don't own one... probably haven't seen one in person and I'll make a pretty good assumption that you probably jacked your bike rack and this is your way of covering your ass... you over sold your concern... especially after you flipped out on me less than two weeks ago.... BTW... I thought you were out of here?? What happened?

    Last edited by Wdhitch; 04-06-2010 at 05:32 PM.. Reason: feeling a bit frisky tonight....

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    Old 04-06-2010, 06:58 PM   #57 (permalink)
     
    silverbrabus's Avatar
     
    Location: Bay Area
    Really hate to come to donny's defense, but he's right. Found this post searching for bike rack info:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dingos View Post
    Once you reweld the tow bolt boss to the reinforcement that ain't gonna be your problem. trust me. The top of the brace is only held in with one bolt and two on the bottom. The upper part of mine broke off in to 6 different piece's. Noth sides. I have a pic on my phone, I forgot to take my camera with me today, when we finished putting it back together. The support itself is your weak link. The threaded part of the tow bolt's need to be reinforced with a stronger weld all the way around it. than you need to reinforce and add a bolt to the upper part of the brace.

    It still is not the ideal situation, but if you need to use the tow bolts like I do plan on some good old homemade red-neck engin'ear'n
    From this thread: Rear Cargo Deck Platform using Tow Hook Holes?

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    Old 04-06-2010, 07:29 PM   #58 (permalink)
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    SmartCarPerformance's Avatar
     
    Location: Riverside
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fredthe View Post
    Well, I'm looking for a bike rack solution, and I'm doing my research...

    Cisco, since you sell the tow hook support rods, can you tell me what the maximum (vertical) load that can be placed on these with out causing any damage to the vehicle? (Long term load, not just for occasional, short trips.)

    Thanks...

    Good question.

    Of course probably the #1 choice would be to install a trailer hitch so you can install a standard bike rack. But then that's what everyone else would say.

    So using the tow hook threaded holes is definitely a possibility but you do need some kind of mandatory strap. We used a strap used to hold down motorcycles which had a breaking strength over 1,000 lbs. Here was our setup:

    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2.


    Another idea is to strengthen the bumper itself. That is also what we did. It is super strong now and can probably hold a motorcycle with no problem. We used an 1/8" plate and welded it over the threaded hole. It was super easy and it took longer to take the car apart than to actually weld it. Here are a few pictures of what we did. The first picture doesn't have any welds on it (notice how much thicker our plate is than the bumper):

    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2.


    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2.


    This is my current setup. I basically use the strap so the bike rack doesn't move around but my bumper is also reinforced, so there is really no chance of anything breaking. I've been using my bike rack for well over 6 months trouble free.

    NOW to answer your question. With the stock setup, without reinforcing the bumper or using a strap, I don't suggest putting any load on it. The threads are only design for pulling forces for short/temporary towing not moment/turning forces.

    If you use the strap I don't suggest putting more than 100 lbs on the bike rack. With a reinforced bumper and the strap, I would say about the same because you have to take into consideration, the bumps you run into while driving. When you start moving, you never know what bump you will hit and that will make a big impact on your setup.

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    Old 04-06-2010, 07:38 PM   #59 (permalink)
     
    Location: Maryland
    Cisco,
    Thank you. That was exactly the sort of comprehensive answer I was looking for.

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    Old 04-06-2010, 08:34 PM   #60 (permalink)
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    BARNEY O's Avatar
     
    Location: SHELBYVILLE ILL.
    Totally wrong

    Cisco, whoever designed that stud is totally wrong
    the stud will bend or break right in the bottom of the last thread before the taper starts up. If that were to thread in and shoulder against the face of the threaded boss like a bolt would do it would be so much stronger.

    Barney O. "BMS"
    Old 04-06-2010, 09:10 PM   #61 (permalink)
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    ExonicJay's Avatar
     
    Location: Pittsburgh
    Wow! What a thread... (Pun intended)

    I couldn't sleep very well thinking I was endangering all of you out there when my spare tire falls off my Smart's 2" receiver hitch.

    So, I did some investigation and here is how I did it.

    I jacked the whole car up by the hitch and also loaded it with 200 lbs of tongue weight.
    Not at the same time of course.
    Then I inspected the inter bumper for cracks in any welds and mounting flange integrity while jacked and loaded.

    I also checked the 6 Torx mounting bolts for tightness.
    All was found A OK after about 8,000 miles of spare tire and tire rack causing about 50 Lbs of tongue weight.

    To let me sleep better, I removed one of the 6 Torx mounting bolts and found it is a metric M8-1.25 x 15 mm long.

    This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized %1%2.


    The bolt's head is stamped with 8.8 and A
    I checked the bolt with a magnet and it seems to be stainless steel or some alloy that is not quite as magnetic as a normal steel bolt.

    After, snooping around on the web, I found this bolt meets DIN 8.8 Property Class Designation.
    This is a pretty good bolt and, without getting technical, well exceeds Yield Strength or Stress loads the hitch would ever see for my type of use.

    So, I am sleeping much better since you all are safe out there from my spare tire, bike rack or trailer falling off my Smart.

    I will always try to default to beg forgiveness than ask for permission.
    Kind of like what Congress has been doing... I guess.

    Last edited by ExonicJay; 04-06-2010 at 09:20 PM..

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    Old 04-07-2010, 04:13 AM   #62 (permalink)
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    forestacademy's Avatar
     
    Location: South Central WI
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by silverbrabus View Post
    Really hate to come to donny's defense, but he's right. Found this post searching for bike rack info:
    From this thread: Rear Cargo Deck Platform using Tow Hook Holes?
    You forgot to show his Avatar

    Looks about like what Godfather is towing

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    Old 04-07-2010, 04:59 AM   #63 (permalink)
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    Location: SHELBYVILLE ILL.
    A 8.8 metric bolt is similar to a grade 5 bolt for yield strength.
    While beefing up the factory crossmember is a good thing the weak link is still in the actual mounting flange of the factory crossmember. It is the same thickness as the rest of the member and only 1 M8 bolt on side and 2 on the other of each mount.The flange face does not have gussets to minimize rocking or twisting.
    However, are we going to redesign the whole car. The factory crossmember was probably designed as a crush element, IMO.
    A little common sense will go a long way here to having success and safety.

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    Old 04-07-2010, 05:42 AM   #64 (permalink)
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    Yes, it does appear we have redesigned the whole rear bumper system.
    I added gussets to the inside of square flange tube to improve lateral stiffness as well.
    However, my pictures don't show throes gussets.

    No doubt, I have modified the crumble zone design (increased stiffness) of the internal-bumper.
    But, I am OK with that since I have increased utility of the Smart with the addition of the hitch.

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    Old 04-07-2010, 06:12 AM   #65 (permalink)
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    Location: southern Minnesota
    Just my thoughts here but it didn't seem like the design was to handle towing on a daily basis,since it is removable, or is it designed for towing a full blown 4,000 lb trailer, (lightest bare bones trailer he could find) Seems to me he has done a good job of checking into bolt strength, and mount testing. I would guess (an uneducated term here) that it would handle the task better than some of the old rusted out vehicles I have seen pulling oversized trailers down the road. I doubt that it would have a catastrophic failure, but more likely you would see cracking or fatigue over time.

    Personally, I use my smart for a people mover (ok so maybe just 2 people) and if it doesn't fit inside, I use a bigger vehicle. Trailer towing and long trips with more cargo, I'll stick to the gas guzzling SUV. If you want to learn how to pack a lot in a small space, try a trip on a motorcycle. You learn to evaluate if you really need all the stuff you take with.

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    Old 04-07-2010, 06:20 AM   #66 (permalink)
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    Location: Riverside
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BARNEY O View Post
    Cisco, whoever designed that stud is totally wrong
    the stud will bend or break right in the bottom of the last thread before the taper starts up. If that were to thread in and shoulder against the face of the threaded boss like a bolt would do it would be so much stronger.

    Barney O. "BMS"
    I completely agree.

    The only problem with having shoulder against the face is that it would be resting on the body panel and ruin the body panel. Using the strap prevents the rod from bending at the threads. If the strap was not used the rod would be bent by now from all the bumps I run into.

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    Old 04-07-2010, 06:43 AM   #67 (permalink)
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    Location: Roanoke, VA
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jimvw57 View Post
    I doubt that it would have a catastrophic failure, but more likely you would see cracking or fatigue over time.
    When is cracking and fatigue typically discovered? In the post-mortem after catastrophic failure.

    As smart owners there are probably few of us with the equipment and training to use ultrasonic inspection methods to determine fatigue cracking like that used in aircraft inspections. The only way Joe Engineer (like me) will discover something like this is "bad" is either through an incredible stroke of luck or catastrophic failure. My Strength of Materials classes taught me that even the "obvious" stuff is sometimes subject to reevaluation.

    By attaching the safety chain to the frame, our intrepid hitch mod (note double meaning) will hopefully mitigate any possible damage from a failure to the smart and hopefully have no problems with insurance.


    Not opinion: the tow holes were not designed for continuous use in load-bearing situations. There have been failures in the field. I found out about failures early on from my smart center's service/customization guy who also happens to have strong structural aftermarket augmentation background as well (welding, 4WD) and have seen independent evidence (like the thread pointed out earlier) as well.


    As Americans, we're giving certain latitude to screw up. Often we don't, thankfully. I have strong hopes we won't see any problems with this particular situation.

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    Old 04-07-2010, 07:21 AM   #68 (permalink)
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SmartCarPerformance View Post
    I completely agree.

    The only problem with having shoulder against the face is that it would be resting on the body panel and ruin the body panel. Using the strap prevents the rod from bending at the threads. If the strap was not used the rod would be bent by now from all the bumps I run into.
    Cisco, I believe the holes thru the body panels are approx. 1 1/8" dia.
    The thread dia. is 16 mm or approx. 5/8". I use 1" as a shoulder dia. and leaves a small gap around body panel.

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    Old 04-07-2010, 07:36 AM   #69 (permalink)
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    I've owned my smart for some time now and have been watching this forum for some time.
    Donnyonee has a valid point about the nuts in the flimsy sheet metal and the fatigue factor. He seems to be very consious about the safety factor and what does he get in return?
    Wdhitch wants to chastise him for it and even with a threat of suspension or termination. It sounds to me like he is the one that owes donnyonee a apoligy and not the other way around.
    Is this more of the "new" hope and change method our society is falling to?

    edited- Its already been proven the nuts alone are NOT a good enough mount. Maybe if there was more support such as suggested. In the original post there is NO mention, pics, or thoughts of more support.
    Do you think really MB will back you when you cause a fatal accident using only the 2 nuts?
    Do you remember the Edsel? Corvair? Chrysler Turbine? Ford Pinto? These were also mistakes made by large manufactures that just dissappeared, afterwards we all learned more but they were mistakes.

    Last edited by v3walt; 04-07-2010 at 09:02 AM..

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    Old 04-07-2010, 07:45 AM   #70 (permalink)
     
    Smart Enuf's Avatar
     
    Location: Sacramento, CA
    Let's keep in mind that smartusa itself sells a bike rack that is designed to be mounted using the two bolt holes. I'm fairly certain the weight of the rack and the two mountain bikes shown in smart's brochures has to exceed 60-70 pounds. I think smart addresses the moment of inertia issue by designing the rack with two additional vertical mounts that go through the engine grill.



    I know the current version is slightly slimmer than shown, but it's still quite a load on those tow bolt holes. Apparently, smart's not that concerned with the rotational stress on those areas.

    Last edited by Smart Enuf; 04-07-2010 at 07:53 AM.. Reason: added pic and comment
    Old 04-07-2010, 08:04 AM   #71 (permalink)
     
    silverbrabus's Avatar
     
    Location: Bay Area
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smart Enuf View Post
    smart addresses the moment of inertia issue by designing the rack with two additional vertical mounts that go through the engine grill.
    Enuf said.

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    Old 04-07-2010, 08:16 AM   #72 (permalink)
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    Location: Ruskin, FL (near Tampa)
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by v3walt View Post
    I've owned my smart for some time now and have been watching this forum for some time.
    Donnyonee has a valid point about the nuts in the flimsy sheet metal and the fatigue factor. He seems to be very consious about the safety factor and what does he get in return?
    Wdhitch wants to chastise him for it and even with a threat of suspension or termination. It sounds to me like he is the one that owes donnyonee a apoligy and not the other way around.
    Is this more of the "new" hope and change method our society is falling to?
    Quite the contrary... If you read my post, I actually told him that I specifically wasn't going to do any of that. The purpose of the statement stems from the fact that he's accused me of that before... Don has his own reasons for his objections.... My point was only that he had effectivly communicated and the repeated message was getting old... Keep in mind that you don't see pm's and such.

    We moved on... Feel free to do the same.



    Hitch... Not bad for lunch hour on the iPhone...

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    Old 04-07-2010, 08:17 AM   #73 (permalink)
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    Location: Riverside
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by v3walt View Post
    I've owned my smart for some time now and have been watching this forum for some time.
    Donnyonee has a valid point about the nuts in the flimsy sheet metal and the fatigue factor. He seems to be very consious about the safety factor and what does he get in return?
    Wdhitch wants to chastise him for it and even with a threat of suspension or termination. It sounds to me like he is the one that owes donnyonee a apoligy and not the other way around.
    Is this more of the "new" hope and change method our society is falling to?
    I believe Wdhitch had to address Donnyonee's comments because he was not only talking bad information about my company but FALSE information about my company. Wdhitch, correct me if I am wrong.

    Here is Donnyonee's quote:

    "this vendor did tell me directly that the nuts broke out while supporting his bike rack with his inferior mount, and most likely will twist his way out of that. thats why in the end he supplied a neat-o strap to secure it around the back door. yes i even bought that mistake. id return it if i could but guess what? i think it was about $300 he got me for, id have to check the receipt."

    First of all, we do our R&D rather diligently and our results can either be kept private or public depending on my decision.

    The so called "neat-o-strap" is used to hold motorcycles down and has a breaking strength of over 1,000 lbs. Yes it is neat, because it's one tough strap!

    $300? Not even close. Well, you forgot about the BARTER factor. And Donny, you are correct, you cannnot return something that was partially bartered. You got a great deal for such a great bike rack.

    Last edited by SmartCarPerformance; 04-07-2010 at 08:20 AM..

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    Old 04-07-2010, 08:55 AM   #74 (permalink)
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    I dont have any knowledge of his purchase from you, but your R/D must really suck if your rack mount system ruins the back of the car, which seems to be proven and you even pulled that off the market.
    And what about all the R/D you did on your famous turbo system. And now its gone too?
    And again Donnyonee was trying to point out a weak link in the nuts and your more interested in defending yourself than common sense.

    Last edited by v3walt; 04-07-2010 at 09:00 AM..

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    Old 04-07-2010, 09:03 AM   #75 (permalink)
     
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    Location: FL, Venice
    Could this thread be closed now? There is too much axe grinding going on and very little that is additive about the issue, IMO.

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    Old 04-07-2010, 09:09 AM   #76 (permalink)
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    The mount system does not ruin the back of the car. If you use the strap which we make mandatory, there will be no damage. We pulled off the bike rack because of the cost of making it. We are thinking about making a bike rack that is easier to use but again that is just a thought at this point.

    Turbo system is another story. My manufacturer did not have any Dyno sheets, and did not want to make new Dyno sheets, therefore, no one was interested. Who would want to spend $2,000 without any proof of power gain.

    Yes, I am defending myself with facts. Donny tends to twist the facts around with his very limited knowledge.

    SmartCarPerformance is offline Report Post  
    Old 04-07-2010, 09:09 AM   #77 (permalink)
     
    donnyonee's Avatar
     
    Location: $unny calif
    i had no idea i was so popular.
    wdhitch and i have gone over this and i think that we have agreed on our own thoughts? :-)
    yes please close this, enough is definetly enough.
    not twisting just stating facts
    also imo

    Last edited by donnyonee; 04-07-2010 at 09:18 AM..
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