Skip to content
How to Install Bumper Hitches

How to Install Bumper Hitches

Commercial and agricultural trailers are usually preferred when the towing process includes a noisy operation and the land is not stable. But for the issues that these factors are of concern, semi-trucks are sufficient to tow small-sized vehicles, with an installation of a simple but useful device, the bumper hitch.For a similar use, but located on the trailer of the truck bed, the fifth wheel hitch is designed for such particular towing operation. You would see a horseshoe-shaped hitch on the back of a semi-truck. Similar to this device, the fifth wheel is situated on the truck’s bed floor. It can be installed onto the bumper manually with easy steps. For this, it contains a special plate for the trailer tongue to be stabilized on the truck. The hitch’s jaws grasp the trailer-tongue kingpin, which is a diagonal metal beam. At the bottom, a big pin is located to provide the attachment.

Unlike the gooseneck hitch, the fifth wheel hitch enables a quieter, steady, and smooth operation. Tall trailers can easily falter especially by the crosswinds and on a rough terrain. Therefore, it bears the risk of control losses and overturns that can be extremely dangerous as the semi-trucks feature in the urban settings. However, there are some disadvantages also. The fifth wheel may occupy a considerable space that narrows tour tuck bed. Therefore, if you are going to work in stable conditions with light duty, bumper hitches is the most practical and economical way.


Why to Prefer a Bumper Hitch?

A bumper hitch is an external space provider for your vehicle as a practical solution to carry light duties. It mounts onto your vehicle’s bumper via a receiver, rather than the frame. Another alternative to serve for the same purpose is the bumper mount, a hole in the vehicle’s bumper that enables installing a trailer ball. However, a bumper hitch allows also for adjustment and flexibility in towing. Besides, it does not require a permanent installation. Therefore, you may detach the device easily and manually according to your use preferences.

Most commonly used, a receiver-style bumper hitch manages to tow up to 4000 lbs. of gross trailer. This strength makes the bumper hitch a perfect choice for carrying usually small types of trailers, boats, popup campers, bikes, ATVs, and for cargo transportation. However, remember that there is always a carrying capacity for all bumper hitches dependent on the bumper’s weight capacity rating.

Yet there are differences between a step bumper or bumper hitch concerning their primary purpose. A step bumper can be used in towing processes. But note that this is not the main purpose of the device. A receiver hitch, on the other hand, is particularly designed for towing purposes. So, if you are planning on doing heavy towing, the second bumper would be a better choice.

The advantageous bumper hitch can be found on large RV campers and they are particularly installed onto tall and commercial trailers. The extra cargo space that the bumper hitch provides you accommodates small-sized yet heavy loads such as boats. Therefore, they are commonly used as small utility trailers behind your RV. Besides, they are designed to tow other vehicles and allow to bring your ATVs, personal watercraft.

And not only does a bumper hitch allow you to haul trailers and heavy loads, it can be used for bike rack or a cargo carrier for extra space on road trips.


Before Installing Bumper Hitches…

 If you have a big and heavy trailer to tow, you definitely need an additional device or vehicle that is capable of handling the weight. Therefore, a bumper hitch will help to relocate the hitch from below the bumper to the truck bed. However, it’ important to note that every hitch installation in that some or none of the following steps will be necessary depending on your vehicle.

The bumper hitches are commonly used to provide an external space for the vehicle to carry extra loads, which do not exceed the limits of the bumper type. And the hitch you choose will have a towing class that corresponds with the capabilities of your vehicle. So, what type of bumper you have is the most important thing to know before deciding on the trailer hitch. This is because the features of the bumper affect the type of the trailer hitch that will fit. Beware that you should never haul anything that exceeds the towing capacity of your hitch or your vehicle. Now, let us go over the five common bumper types given below:


Deep Drop Bumper: This type of bumper is usually found in the older trucks. They feature a chrome plate with a lower ball height than a step bumper. Also known as the Cowboy Bumper, the Deep Drop Bumper’s height from the bottom of the frame between 10-12 inches.

Regular Bumper: A typical vehicle shall usually have a standard or regular bumper. The licence plate has no steps below.

Tube Bumper: Commonly found on Jeeps, the tube bumpers’ rear opening enables to use of oversized tires on the factory spare tire.

Roll Pan Bumper: A roll pan provides a replacement for a bumper to hide it. Thus, the front part of the vehicle looks like a rounded bottom. Behind the bumper, the trailer hitch is situated in the middle.

Step Bumper: If you have a truck, semi-truck or a SUV, you will typically have a step bumper with holes on it. These holes are for hitch balls then towing lightweight trailers. The name of this bumper type comes from the cut out licence plate that acts like a step.


A Few Easy Steps to Install Your Bumper Hitch

Depending on your bumper type and vehicle, choose the appropriate receiver first. Just in a few easy steps, you can manually install your bumper hitch with less effort. Let’s roll up our sleeves now!

Yet before the whole process, you should get familiar with the equipment and the necessary extra devices that your vehicle may require. TULGA offers all the best quality parts necessary for a bumper hitch installation. Visit our website before the first step


1. Examine your bumpers first

Take a look under the vehicle to detect the mounting points in the frame. A lot of vehicles have provisions for a hitch installation or tow package when they leave the factory. So in most cases, modifying the vehicle or drilling holes won’t be necessary. In some cases, there may already be bolts in place. But if your hitch includes new bolts, it’s best to use them. Because they are designed as the most proper grade bolts for the weight rating of your hitch.


The usage conditions of the vehicle may lead a bit of wear or rust on the nuts making it impossible to thread the supplied bolts into the frame or attach the bumper hitch receiver. In such cases, we suggest using a wire brush to clean the surface of the underbody coating. In some extreme cases, light scrubbing won’t do this trick, though. So you may use a thread tap instead. Choose the correct tap by using a hardware specification chart.  

Fishwiring Technique

 When there aren’t enough accessible nuts to support a trailer hitch, it is necessary to pull the hardware inside and through the vehicle’s frame rail to the correct attachment point. When applicable, a fish wire tool is an easy solution in doing this task. During the standard fish-wire technique, insert the coiled end of the fishwire up through the mounting hole and out through the axis hole in the frame. Place the square hole spacer over the coiled end and insert it into the axis. Turn the bolt into the coiled end and push it into the axis hole. Pull on the opposing side of the wire and the bolt will pass through the space in the frame providing you a solid attachment point.

 After examining your bumper, and having the attachment points, the first step is to remove the bumper bracket bolts and set aside them for later installation directions. Position the end plate between bumper bracket and frame. Then, align the holes of the bumper bracket with the holes of the hitch. You do not need to harden it now, loosely reinstall the factory bolts. 

For installing bumper hitch to the early models, use 1/2’’ carriage bolts and square hole spacers provided. Pass one of each through the large hole in frame under the bumper bracket into the hole in the end plate.

In the installation for the early models, locate and mark the center of the vehicle bumper beam. Position the hitch over bumper beam on center mark. Then, secure with ½-13’’ carriage bolts and flange nuts. Lastly, torque all ½’’ fasteners. The required torque amount changes according to the various sizes of the bolts.

 The late models, however, require 10 mm bolt with 7/16’’ lockwasher and flatwasher to install.

Position the receiver cross-tube assembly between the end plates. Then install 7/16’’ bolts in end plates and tighten them with 7/16’’ hex flange nuts again, and torque the fasteners. Make sure that you properly secured the bolts with the appropriate torque.


Facia Trimming Technique


There are few instances in installing a hitch where facia trimming is necessary to obtain proper ground clearance or to conceal the main body of the hitch. The most difficult part of facia trimming is working off the section of facia that needs to be removed. In such operation, masking tapes would clearly define the cut lines. By this, you will get the best visual representation of the area that needs to be removed. Then, with a razor knife, carefully cut around the tape with delicate small maneuvers.  


2. Test instructions


Even the best quality material can be worn out depending on the use in terms of frequency, purpose, or conditions. So, it is suggested that no later than every 50.000 km or every six months at least the mechanism should be checked. Do this control regularly and test the condition of the bumper receiver, the trailer, and most importantly, the bumper itself.  

 After all, whether you are using a bumper hitch or a fifth wheel coupling, these devices serve in harsh conditions and they are forced to lift heavy weights. Because of this use in this towing process, these materials are subject to more or less wear. The play towards the front of the vehicle is one noticeable signal of this wear. When this play becomes excessive, however, instability on the road may occur. Such a condition damages your bumper as well as the fifth wheel coupling, mounting plate, and vehicle chassis. If you require a much more durable and strong device for towing, TULGA fifth wheel couplings offer you a 5-years warranty with extra sturdy material. With the improved quality for utmost performance, the fifth wheel minimizes the risk of dislocations and wear.

 Now that you have installed your bumper hitch, it’s time to choose where to head! If you need any help in choosing the most appropriate device for your vehicle, please visit our blog or contact us. 

Previous article What is a Fifth Wheel? | Part One
Next article Why we need Fifth Wheel Plate?

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

Collection list

View All