Tales about Aviation, Coaching, Farming, Software Development

Making our own trailer hitch

If you own a Jeep vehicle in Panama and need parts, it can be a bit of a challenge to find genuine parts. There is a Jeep dealer here but these guys want to sell you a new car and not parts. Their parts department has barely any merchandize and ordering something takes weeks or months. It gets clear very quickly that parts is not their business. Then there are many independent parts dealers who have a lot on stock. Unfortunately it is mostly for Japanese cars or for imports from other Asian countries. If these stores have parts for Jeep, then they are of Chinese origin and I can tell that I had to walk recently for about 10 km due to a broken piece in the steering mechanism that was of Chinese origin.

Until recently I was a bit desperate and even brought with me two sway bars from a recent trip to the US. But then I found a repair shop that works together with a Jeep dealer in Florida. These guys have a lot of Mopar parts on stock and can order anything else within three or four days.

So far so good. It has worked beautifully and that company helped me to replace a lot of important parts that simply need to be replaced at some time. My Jeep gets a lot of serious off-road use and I don’t want a mechanical problem somewhere in the wilderness.

Unfortunately my intent to order a towing hitch through them turned out to be a bad idea. In the US those hitches run below $200 and as I could see in other local stores that’s about the price to expect for a lot of other vehicles. The quote for the Mopar hitch came down to slightly more than $500. Sure that included air cargo and handling but there is still a huge difference. What happened? Well… A lot of Panamanian companies are not really an authorized dealer for something. They simply buy stuff elsewhere, ship it to Panama and put on top of the sales price elsewhere what they want to earn. That all adds up and gets quite expensive. I guess something like that happened and so I declined their offer. They do a good job for regular repair parts but some things are “special order” (it actually said so on the quote).

Luis and I then took a very close look at pictures of several hitches and we came up with this:

This is made of heavy steel and we used the highest grade materials we could find.

It fits and looks like the original Mopar towing hitch but is homemade.

This is to tow a special off-road trailer we were building in some spare time. The trailer has been painted yellow a few days back and hopefully over the next few days we can try it. It already caught the attention of a few people due to its 31” tires :-)

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