dhaig Posted June 4, 2022 Share Posted June 4, 2022 Summary I have installed a rear mounted cargo carrier, with lights, to our 2022 Oliver Legacy Elite II (LEII) travel trailer. We recently completed a two week, ~2000 mile trip, using the cargo carrier, which performed flawlessly. Below are photos of the installed cargo carrier, which are followed by a detailed description of its installation. Storage Constraints Prior to ordering our Oliver Legacy Elite II (LEII) travel trailer I knew we would need additional storage space on the trailer. We are using a 2014 BMW X5 35d (diesel) as our tow vehicle, rather than a pickup truck. Thus, we could not plan to use the pickup bed for supplemental storage. We also needed to stay within the tow vehicle's cargo capacity of 1100 lbs and maximum tongue weight of 600 lbs.. Expecting a tongue weight of approximately 500 lbs. plus two occupants at approximately 300 lbs, we could only accommodate a maximum of 300 lbs. of other cargo. The available payload will be partially used by our camera gear, which must be protected from exposure to moisture. A tongue mounted cargo carrier was not viable, given the tongue weight limit for the tow vehicle. Storage Requirements I anticipated needing additional storage space for the following items: Champion Dual Fuel Generator- 2500 watt (~45 lbs.) (too large for basement storage) Napoleon TravelQ™ 285 Portable Propane Gas Grill and hose (~35 lbs.) (too large for basement storage) Anderson Ultimate Leveling kit (~25 lbs) Harbor Freight rubber chocks (4) (~20 lbs.) Camco Stabilizer Jack Supports (3) (~10 lbs.) Miscellaneous accessories All of these items can tolerate some exposure to moisture, which is likely when stored in any external cargo carrier. A closed and reasonably secure cargo carrier was needed. Searching the owners' forum, I found examples of rear cargo carriers/bike racks and found several examples, including: Oliver's original bike rack design using twin receivers and extending approximately 3 feet beyond the rear bumper; Various rear mounted metal cargo boxes, including custom designs; Rear mounting of an Oliver tongue cargo box by John E. Davies. I also looked extensively at aluminum cargo boxes from various manufacturers, trying to find options which could accommodate the cargo items listed above. I already owned a cargo carrier which we had used on the BMW X5 tow vehicle. This carrier has a heavy steel swing-away frame which mounts to a standard 2" receiver. Mounted on the steel frame are a polypropylene tray and an enclosed container with 13.5 cubic foot capacity. The tray and enclosed container interlock. This cargo carrier also is equipped with fully functional lights (running, brake, turn, flasher). Interlocking pins on the enclosed container mate with the tray. Locking latches secure the container to the tray. Solution Approach I decided to re-use the polypropylene tray and enclosed cargo container, but not the heavy steel frame. Instead, I would use a design similar to the original Oliver bike rack. I ordered the current optional Oliver bike rack when we placed our LEII order, planning to utilize some, but not all, of its components. The current Oliver rear hitch (photo below) utilizes twin receivers that are 11" long, constructed to receive 2" x 2" X 0.25" (wall thickness) T6061 aluminum square tube support arms, which are 17 inches long. The receivers are each mounted to the LEII frame by two long 0.5" diameter stainless steel bolts and nuts. The other components of the rack are a 2" x 5" x 0.25" T6061 aluminum cross-member, 51-1/8" long (with end caps), and a 1-1/4" receiver for connecting a bike rack. I planned to use the twin receivers, and the cross-member, but not the support arms, nor the 1-1/4" receiver. Instead, I would replace the 17" long original support arms with longer equivalents, whose length was to be determined. I would utilize the original 2" x 5" x 0.25" T6061 aluminum cross-member and add another cross member, this one 2" x 2" x 0.25" T6061 aluminum, also 51-1/8" inches long with end caps. The cross members would be bolted to the support arms, in the same manner as on the Oliver rear hitch. The tray and enclosed container from my existing cargo carrier would be mounted to the cross-members. Note the clevis pins circled in the photo below, there are two 0.50" diameter horizontal clevis pins securing the support arms in their receivers. Each clevis pin has a washer on either side of the receiver. Removing the clevis pins permits the support arms to be pulled to the rear, enabling removal of the spare tire cover and spare tire without dismount the support arms. Solution Model A critical dimension to be determined was the length of the 2" x 2" x 0.25" support arms. The new support arms need to be long enough to: Support the polypropylene tray and enclosed cargo box and attach using the molded mounting holes in the tray; Allow the lid of the enclosed cargo box to open without striking the spare tire cover; Permit removal of the spare tire cover and spare tire without removing the cargo carrier and support frame; Permit access to waste water hoses stored behind the bumper; Minimize the additional length of the cargo carrier and support frame to the LEII's length. I fabricated 2" x 2" wooden support arms, approximately 40" long. Using woodworking equipment, I cut slots into one end of each support arm to fit around the bolts holding the twin receivers to the frame. I also drilled horizontal holes for the clevis pins which retain the support arms in the receivers. Positioning the Cargo Carrier on the Cross-members The wooden support arms were inserted into the twin receivers and secured with the clevis pins. Then the 2" x 5" x 51.125" T6061 cross-member was placed across the support arms near the bumper. The additional 2" x 2" x 51.125" wooden cross-member, was also placed across the support arms, but further from the bumper. Clamps were used to hold the cross-members in place on the support arms. The polypropylene tray and enclosed container, latched together, were positioned on the cross-members, centering both to the trailer's width. I opened the lid of the enclosed container and adjusted the spacing (fore and aft) between the lid and the spare tire cover to ensure they did not contact each other. Once I had located the joined tray and enclosed container in what appeared to be a desirable position, I adjusted the positions of the cross-members fore and aft to establish alignment with the mounting holes in the tray. The 2" x 5" cross-member engages two mounting holes on each side of the tray. The 2" x 2" cross- member engages only one mounting hole on each side of the base of the tray. Six 5/16" carriage bolts will fasten the tray to the cross-members. Only four carriage bolts attached the tray to its original steel support frame. I used a mason's string stretched across the width of the tray with weights on either end to aid in aligning the mounting holes in the tray with the positions of the cross-members. I also used carpenter's squares to verify the cross-members were perpendicular to the support arms. Another check of squareness was made by measuring the distance from the trailer bumper to the cross-members. Once I was satisfied with the position of the tray and enclosed container on the support structure, I marked the locations for the holes to be drilled for the six mounting bolts to secure the tray to the cross-members. The tray overhangs the rear cross-member at the rear. With the cargo carrier tray and enclosed container in place on the clamped cross-members, I wanted to determine if the spare tire cover could be removed without removing the entire cargo carrier and support assembly. I found I could remove the clevis pins and pull the support arms aft approximately 7 inches out of the twin receivers and enable removal of the spare tire cover. With the tray and enclosed container positioned on the cross-members, I could now determine the required length of the support arms, which is 33.75 inches. The location of the rear cross-member determines the length of the support arms. After locating the mounting position of the tray and enclosed container I marked all key positions and hole locations on the wooden support arms and wooden rear cross-member. I cut the wooden support arms to the desired final length. Material Sourcing and Machining The required T6061 aluminum components required are: 2" x 2" x 0.25" x 33.75", square tube, quantity 2 (support arms), cost= $110.18 2" x 2" x 0.25" x 51.125", square tube, quantity 1 (cross-member), cost= to $99.08 2" x 12" x 0.125", flat bar, quantity 1 (to be cut into 2" squares for end caps on the support arms and rear cross-member), cost= $6.86 Sales tax= $17.83 No shipping charge. I picked up the materials at the local Metal Supermarkets warehouse Total cost= a $233.95 The above T6061 aluminum components, cut to specified length, were obtained from: Metal Supermarkets Dallas 1216 Dolton Dr, Suite 101 Dallas, TX 75207 Phone: 972-445-2008 Fax: 972-579-3346 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.metalsupermarkets.com Stainless steel bolts and nyloc nuts were obtained from: Crouch Sales, Inc. 2636 Irving Blvd Dallas TX 75207 (214) 637-6051 http://www.crouchsales.com Additional hardware required: 5" x 0.50" bolts, quantity 2 (to fasten 2" x 2" x 51.125" cross-member to support arms 0.50" nyloc nuts, quantity 2 0.50" x 1.00" flat washers, quantity 4 5/16" x 5" carriage bolts, quantity 6 5/16" flat washers, quantity 6 5/16" nuts, quantity 12 (double jam nuts used with carriage bolts, instead of nyloc nuts) Cost= approximately $20.00 I was referred by Metal Supermarkets to a local machine shop: Air & Earth, Gear & Machine Works 2325 Hinton Dr. Irving TX 75061 (972) 438-2277 https://aegmachine.com When I received the materials I took them and my wooden mockups of the support arms and cross-member to Air & Earth. I also took one of the original support arms. I discussed the machining needed: to cut the slots in one end of the support arms and to drill the needed 0.50 diameter holes for the clevis pins and mounting bolts. I also asked them to cut the 2" x 0.125" flat bar into 2" x 2" squares. I did not ask them to drill the smaller holes for mounting the cargo tray to the cross-members. I was quoted $220 and turnaround of the job within a week. They did an excellent job within the promised timeframe. Finishing and Assembly of the Support Structure After Air & Earth completed the requested machining, I performed the following finishing steps, which included: Rounding the edges of the 2" x 2" square tubing on the slotted end to be inserted into the receivers. I used a 3" wide belt sander with 100 grit sanding belts to round the corners of approximately 12" of the tube which would be inserted into the receivers . The original Oliver support arms also had the corners rounded to more easily slide within the receivers. Several trial fittings were required to verify smooth insertion and removal to/from the receivers. The support arms and the rear cross-member were sanded with an orbital sander using 200 grit disks. This sanding removed markings on the tubes and made the surface textured, similar to the Oliver rear hitch components. The support arms were inserted into their receivers and fastened with the clevis pins. The cross members were aligned with the mounting holes on the support arms and bolted into place. The cargo tray was positioned on the 2" x 5" cross-member at the previously determined mounting position and holes drilled to mount the cargo tray. Holes were then drilled in the 2" x 2" rear cross-member. Carriage bolts, flat washers and double jamb nuts were used to secure the cargo tray to the cross-members. Once all test fittings of the support assembly were completed, lithium grease was applied to the ends of the support arms which are inserted into the receivers. 2" x 2" x 0.125" caps were attached to the open ends of the support arms and the rear cross-member, similar to the end caps used by Oliver. These were attached to the square tubing using JB Weld epoxy. Cargo Carrier Lighting The cargo carrier partially blocks visibility to the taillights of the trailer, which is most noticeable when viewed from close behind the trailer. At a distance the taillights are largely visible. The cargo tray is fitted with two LED light fixtures and a wiring harness with a 4-pin flat connector. A corresponding 4-pin flat connector was installed on the LEII to integrate the lighting on the cargo carrier with the trailer lighting. Details of the installation of the 4-pin connector in the trailer are covered in a separate article. The lights on the cargo carrier ensure the trailer is quite visible from behind. A license plate mount was added to the cargo carrier tray, since the license plate mount on the spare tire cover is blocked by the cargo carrier. Lighting for the license plate mount is provided by adding a Y connector to the license plate light cable under the spare tire cover and adding an extension cable routed to the cargo tray mounted license plate mount. I also added reflective tape to the support frame members. I used the following reflective tape: https://www.amazon.com/gp/your-account/order-history/ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_search?opt=ab&search=reflective Conclusion This addition to our trailer provides significant benefits, with no significant disadvantages. It does add approximately two feet to the length of the trailer. Besides the additional storage space, the cargo carrier and its load slightly reduces the tongue weight. I measured the tongue weight, using a Sherline scale, at 450 lbs., with no water onboard. Tongue weight seems sufficient, as no swaying or other handling issues have been observed. This project had a successful outcome due largely to the information I was able to glean from the Oliver Owners Forum. I hope this information is useful to others on the forum. Comments and suggestions welcome. Regards, Don 2 9 1 2 North Texas | 2022 LEII, Hull #990, delivered 2/17/22 | 2014 BMW X5 35d Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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