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Towing a Trailer and Carrying Bikes at the Same Time with a 2018 Nissan Pathfinder  


Most mid size suvs have low clearance to the ground. I am wondering if I can use a hitch adapter to get higher clearance by about 8-10 inches. As I would like to use a dual extension hitch into the hitch adapter so I am still able to use my bike carrier for 3 bikes - that is hitch mounted and tow a small boat which weighs about 2000 lbs. The pathfinder has a tow capacity of 6000 lbs and would use a class 3 hitch with 2 inch receiver. I see that you have some hitch adapters than can raise the clearance by 8 -10 inches and have a capacity of up to 10000 lbs. The bike rack and bikes would weigh about 200 lbs and the tongue weight of the boat would be about 200 lbs, total weight 400 lbs. Would this be too much leverage for the vehicle hitch, adapter, or dual extension hitch? I would use a ball mount hitch for the boat that would go into the dual extension hitch, which would go into the adapter. Would this set up work? Or can you recommend something that would work? Thanks


Expert Reply:

There are ways to accomplish what you want but there are some other things to think about first. The most important thing to consider for your situation is how much rise or drop you need to tow the trailer level. Because if an adapter is used (or even if it isn't) then the ball mount has to have the right amount of rise or drop to tow the trailer level.

So if we look at the available hitches the one that will provide the most ground clearance is # C13309 (excludes platinum models). Once installed the receiver will be directly below the rear fascia, see picture. If you measure from the ground to the bottom of that rear fascia that is approximately where the top of the receiver opening will be for the hitch.

Then you would use the trailer's jack to make it level and measure from the ground to the bottom of the trailer coupler. If the vehicle is higher then the difference is the amount of drop you will need. If the trailer is higher the difference is the amount of rise you will need.

The use of an adapter will reduce the tongue weight capacity of the trailer hitch by 50 percent. The hitch listed above, # C13309, has a tongue weight capacity of 900 pounds so even reduced it will have 450 pounds of capacity so no worries there.

If it so happens that you need roughly a 2-1/4 inch drop then I have the perfect solution for you. You could use ball mount # D210. This ball mount has a receiver welded to it so you can use your bike rack while towing the trailer. And as a bonus, since the D210 is a ball mount the capacity of the hitch is not reduced!

The adapters that you mention cannot be used to tow a trailer. They are not rated or tested for that application so even though they may have enough capacity they can't be used. Basically if you can tell me the rise or drop you need to tow the trailer level I can determine the best option for you.

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