Well I sorted out the hitch install, and finished the installation today. (1 week later..
) Had the tank on stand for a week while I waited for add'l parts. I opted to combine the RN hitch with the Dixon 5T jaw. The install was a little tricky,so I figured that I best post my installation process, in the hope that it will save others aggrevation, especially those who have the SlickRock tank guard. Finally, I like the RN Hitch Receiver, and like the simplicity of it's design. However a little trimming is involved and because of the differing tolerances of Rovers, the Hitch receiver mounting points may have to be drilled/adapted. My goal was to incorporate a recovery jaw, and a tow hitch, with limited impact to take off angle and clearance. I think I have achieved this, and the set up looks good to me. The total cost was not cheap, especially with the 5T dixon in the mix. I will start off with the list I ended up buying-or had already;
RN hitch receiver $200
5T dix bates $175
EE backing plate $15
For Hitch: 4 Hex bolts, Standard bolts, Steel grade 8, 1/2-20 x 4-1/2 Each
nuts, wash, lockwash $25 shipped. (4"-4.5" long for receiver/dixon/EE backing plate combo)
4" drop hitch, pin, converter plug, 2" X1" ball $110 (4" drop= 22" from ground to center of ball)
Hitch receiver lock $20
Hitch cover $7
For tank guard: 4 Hex bolts, Standard bolts, Steel grade 8, 5/16-24 x 1-1/4 Each-
nuts, wash, lockwash $20
Makita 4.5" grinder/steel cutting wheel
Makita Cordless drill/ti-bits
Jack & 2X4
Open end metric wrenches
Ratchet strap 2"
Graphite grease, anti-seize, and PB
Krylon semi flat fusion paint
Corrosion X-or similar
We all know that it can be a PIA to drop the tank, depending on the amount of rust and condition of the bolts.
I maintain the bolts, so removal was easy, while I supported the tank guard and tank with the jack and 2X4.
Removing the guard is necessary to get enough room to work behind the cross member.
Removing the tank guard (slickrock) alone can be tricky, because letting it all hang loose can rip the pump connections. So I cut a length of 2X4 long enough in vertical position to support the tank and guard from the ground,
and had it standing by. I left the fuel filler hose on for support on the right side of the tank. I crawled underneath
on the left side, unbolted the tank and guard while the whole assembly is supported by the jack. Then I let the jack
and guard down while supporting the tank by hand, and then slipped the stand-by 2X4 ,for left side support of the plastic tank.The guard was now on top of me, and I could slide it out of the way. I then re-positioned the jack to the center of the plastic tank, and jacked it back up. I then disconnected the fuel filler hoses, and the small fuel line behind it, and dropped the tank enough to work behind it.
As previously mentioned, the RN receiver is too long for the slickrock guard, and I cut off about 1.5" from the inside.
This still left more than enough length for hitches, as the length exactly matched the ball hitch length when inserted.
The mounting portion of the hitch (lower support bar) was now flush against the cross member, but the mounting holes did not line up with the cross member mounting points, by about 1/8". Using my drill, I lengthened the hole by over 1/8". I cleaned up the cut end, and mounting bar, rust treated them, and then painted it.
The Dixon Bates 5T does not give enough room to use the 1/2 bolt washers, so I used the 1/2 lock washers front and back. I coated the bolts and all the mounting surfaces of the hitch and Dixon with graphite grease, mounted the combo assembly, and pushed the bolts thru. Limited space behind the cross member makes it tricky to position the backing plate. The inside of the cross member has a lip, so I had to pull out the bolts so that only 1" of the ends stuck out
on the inside for the plate to fit over the bolts. Once on, I pushed the bolts all the way thru while holding the backing plate. Realizing that the two lower bolts were in the way now to install the nuts on the upper bolts, I removed the lower bolts. After a half an hour of putzin around trying to finger the lock washers and nuts thru the confined space, I got smart and used a closed end wrench with duct tape over the back. I stuck the washers and bolts to this, positioned the nuts over the bolt ends, while spinning the bolt from the outside with the other hand. Just enough to get the nuts started. The Dixon will not allow a socket or box wrench on it's face, as there is no room. So I used vice grips to clamp down on the bolt heads on the outside, while I box wrenched them from the inside. My ratchets of course would not fit. I tightened the whole assembly tight, maybe 100lbs +. I then bolted the lower support bar with a little persuation from my foot, pushing it into position as it was still off by 1/16th. The assembly was now bolted on.
The moment of truth for me was to see if the slickrock would now fit, without having to do a cut out for the hitch.
First I jacked the tank up, and strapped it with a ratchet strap. I then removed the jack. Crawling underneath with the slickrock on top of me, I positioned the lip end over the hitch end and pushed it as far as I could. I then rotated the guard up successfully. The mounting holes were now 1/8" off. Using a rubber hammer, I pounded the guard so it fit flush against the cross member mounting hole bases. 1/16" off center. Again using a drill, I slight lengthened the
holes on the guard, and the bolts fit. The other mounting points were a real tight fit, but they went in. Before bolting tight, I removed the ratchet strap and let the guard support the tank. I bolted up the tank and guard, and then reconnected the fuel filler hoses and line. Job done...
How many hours? forget about it. It was a PIA. A helping hand goes a long way, but if you do it alone, thats the way I did it. Next time I won't do it with a 1/2 tank of gas
It was dark when I was done, so I couldn't take pics. Will post them tomorrow. Sorry for the lengthy post, but I really needed to vent, and hope this helps someone.