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Has anyone here installed a trailer hitch on an Alfa? I have a '74 Spider and would like to be able to attach a low, very light duty motorcycle trailer for Vespa and Lambretta scooters. Any thoughts or recommendations?
 

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Good question. I might like one to tow a lightweight runabout boat. Would like to hear if others have done the same.
 

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There's not much underneath a '74 to bolt a hitch onto. How about removing the bumper and using its mounting points for a custom-made hitch? Ideally, you'd be able to swap the bumper for the hitch in a reasonable amount of time. I actually thought about this a few years ago, to tow a kayak or rowing-skull on a lightweight trailer, but never pursued it past the the idea stage.
 

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There's not much underneath a '74 to bolt a hitch onto. How about removing the bumper and using its mounting points for a custom-made hitch?
I think the weight towed would be limited by the shock absorber bumper mounts and why would you want to go to the trouble of removing a bumper every tow? I've towed a complete Alfa behind a truck using a tow bar attached to front bumper shocks, but I was nervous all the way. For extremely light towing, they use to make a tow hitch (ball) that clamped on most chrome bumpers of the 60's and 70's, so why not to a 74 spider and leave the bumper on too? Not a lot of engineering involved to adapt one to a older spider bumper. A Series 3 or 4 rubber bumper is another story.
 

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Pre-'75 Spider's don't have any bumper shocks. There is a rigid tubular mount coming out of the body (one each side), and on the '73 and '74 cars rubber blocks space the bumpers out farther from the body than on the '71 and '72 cars. In fact, I trimmed those rubber blocks (using a hacksaw) to bring the bumpers in closer to the body on my car. I could probably pull the rear bumper off in just a few minutes, using only a 13mm box or open-end wrench. As thin as the stainless steel is, I'd be afraid of bolting or clamping any kind of hitch directly to the bumper, but I guess that is one of the limited options available.
 

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A Spider can certainly be fitted with a trailer hitch. I had one installed in my '84, and a friend followed my example and made one for his '74 Spider. We both drove to the Detroit convention, with our wives (plus their luggage :D), and the trailers hauling the race wheels/tires, tools, ramps, and legal roll bar.

Here are a couple of pictures.

2007 AROC Convention Detroit 039 (compressed).jpg

2007 AROC Convention Detroit 040 (compresed 1).jpg

Best regards,
 

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Zunige - looks great! Where did you have it installed (I'm in Jersey too) and how did it mount, and what brand is it? Cost? Details please! :)

Great pics. I wonder how it would mount on my S4? With the rubber bumped shroud in the way.
 

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Pre-'75 Spider's don't have any bumper shocks. There is a rigid tubular mount coming out of the body (one each side), and on the '73 and '74 cars rubber blocks space the bumpers out farther from the body than on the '71 and '72 cars.
By golly, you're right. I never had the back bumpers off the 72, 73 or 74 and just assumed they were collapsible like the front mounts are. Maybe I should have towed the things backwards (not). I'd still use a clamp on ball hitch on the steel bumper, perhaps using a dinged up spare bumper.
 

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Zunige - looks great! Where did you have it installed (I'm in Jersey too) and how did it mount, and what brand is it? Cost? Details please! :)

Great pics. I wonder how it would mount on my S4? With the rubber bumped shroud in the way.
My hitch was custom made by a shop in Lexington, KY. (It's about 2 hours away from my wife's hometown in OH. The Spider is with us in NJ right now, but it will spend the winter in OH.) The fellow who did it specializes in fabrication for performance and race cars. I observed that many of the SCCA racers would haul their tires to the autocross in little trailers, so that's what I did. The fabricator had done this many times for a variety of small cars, but not on an Alfa Spider, although he was certainly familiar with our Spiders.

The whole assembly is custom made, and took pretty much all day to complete (thinking time included :)). The assembly that fits the hitch receiver to the car is a "T". The single arm is fitted to a bracket that was welded to the underside of the car, right behind the differential. There is a very sturdy piece there that is part of the Spider's body. (Another option could have been the metal piece that runs along the side of the wheel well.) The cross arm of the "T" attaches to brackets that were fitted in the bumper support area, but the arm does not attach to the bolts that support the bumper. The fabricator didn't like the 6 mm size of the bumper bolts. (The '74 bolts are sturdier.) The hitch receiver itself is welded (all TIG) to the underside of the cross arm hitch assembly and the single arm is welded to the underside of the hitch receiver. I'm sorry that I'm not close to the receiver hitch assembly to take pictures (it's off the car). Nonetheless here are couple of pictures of the bracket that is used to attach the single arm of the "T" to the car. (It's close to the differential.) All three ends of the "T" slide into a bracket and a pin and clip are used to secure it in place. The custom job is not easy, and you may have to adjust (and bend) the arm that runs back. The fabricator did a superb job and I think his experience really made a difference. The assembly is very easy to remove, and the brackets are fully hidden when the assembly is off the car, plus it does not rattle at all when it is on the car.

Undercarriage Sep 5 2007 014 (compressed).jpg

Undercarriage Sep 5 2007 015 (compressed).jpg

The receiver is 1 1/14 inches, and the ball mount is for a 1 7/8 inch ball. All components came from the U-haul store, and are rated at 2000 lbs. However, I must strongly emphasize that the custom towing assembly is not rated in any way, and certainly was not made for towing anything more than an absolute maximum of 500 lbs., including the weight of the trailer. In fact, the fabricator quizzed me about what I wanted to tow before taking on the job, and told me that he will not work on a performance car if he gets any vibes that the owner may decide to tow something heavier.

With a car that has a spoiler covering the underside of the bumper, you would have to cut an opening in the spoiler to access the receiver hitch.

Best regards,
 

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Also, how did you get the wiring installed?
That was pretty easy, although it did take me some time to do it, but that's probably because I'm beyond meticulous and anal about how things look in the car. If you lift the trunk carpet off the rear driver side area, right in front of the rear light, you can access all the wires. The brake light wire from the driver side of the car feeds the passenger side break light, so there is no need to do anything on the passenger side. The passenger turn signal lead is separate from the driver lead, and it was little trickier to identify, but it also comes from the driver's side of the car, so again no need to do anything on the passenger side. Note that that you do need to use a kit for cars with separate lights for turn signals and brakes. (Inexpensive, even if bought separately and there are versions that have a test module built in.)

Best regards,
 

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Has anyone here installed a trailer hitch on an Alfa? I have a '74 Spider and would like to be able to attach a low, very light duty motorcycle trailer for Vespa and Lambretta scooters. Any thoughts or recommendations?
Given the nature of the Spider body, and the hitch that could be installed, I think that not exceeding a total towing weight of 500 lbs. is a key decision making factor. Hence, you need to determine accurately the weight of the scooter and the trailer. My trailer, which is an inexpensive utility version, with a piece of plywood fitted on top, plus the hooks that I added, weighs 173 lbs.

Keep in mind as well, that you cannot go in reverse with the typical small trailer, since it just won't steer. In order to back up, you need a trailer that has the triangle frame type attachment in the front, and the longer the trailer, the better it steers. There are a variety of trailers, including some very light aluminum ones, that you can find with a google search. I don't see why you wouldn't be able to find one that suits your needs, provided the combined weight of the trailer and scooter are not excessive. It is also equally important to make sure that the weight is properly distributed. The rule of thumb is to keep about 10% of the weight on the tongue, so that the trailer stays level and doesn't have a tendency to pull up or push down.

Last, but not least, get an oil cooler fitted to your Spider. The engine will generate a lot more heat when pulling 500 lbs., and the temperature will rise when going uphill, so it's a good idea to follow the factory recommendation to fit an oil cooler for towing. And a final word, the oil cooler versions that are available from some of the aftermarket Alfa suppliers are small. (I haven't counted lately, but the one that I use has at least eight rows, and it is wider and taller than the one from IAP, for example...)

Best regards,
 
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