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Old 05-15-2010, 09:14 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 4
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Ward
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Chevy 350
Rated Cap: 8
Wanting to put a hitch on my bus

Hello everyone . We want to put a hitch on our GMC Vandura Shortie bus. Does anyone have any knowledge about what might work for this?
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:37 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 23
Year: 95
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: GMC 3500
Engine: 6.5 diesel
Rated Cap: 14
Re: Wanting to put a hitch on my bus

Smitty, your setup looks great.

I just finished this process on my 95' 3500 vandura with a 16 passenger thomas body.

After I started I noticed at the local farm and barn store a generic Reese class III hitch with adjustable supports to match up to different frame widths. Something like this might work and be more of a bolt on. I guess another question maybe to ask is how heavy a load you want to tow? Would Class III be enough?

Being cheap, I decided to use a Class V take off from a Ford super duty that I bought at an auction for a couple of bucks. The support measurements were the right width but the brackets folded in instead of out. Also the mounting height would put the reciever below the bumper which I didn't want. I wanted the hitch to come through the bumper.

So with a handful of metal cutoff wheels and a 4 1/2" angle grinder I cut up the support brackets to work. It was alot of trial and error but eventully I was able to get everything where I wanted. My original plan was to also weld the reciever to the bumper where it came through. But after I finished welding and installing the hitch, I felt it would be strong enough as is. I plan on caulking around the top of the opening and repainting to make it look a little better.

Here are some pics:

If you are going to run a electric brake controller I would recommend a pendilum or inertia style. The Tekonsha voyager I put in is much nicer to pull with than the old one I was using in my Suburban.

Pic of it mounted on dash:

One thing I didn't think of until I started wiring was the difference between a 2 wire brake light system (like on a trailer) and a 3 wire ( like the bus has when the brake lights are seperate from the turn signals.) So, I also needed to add a Turn signal convertor. I used a hoppy powered unit. It was real easy to install. That I mounted in the flasher cabinet above the driver. This spot worked the best since it had a power supply for the convertor and the wiring for all of the rear lights goes through as well. I ran the standard trailer 4 wires to this cabinet and made my splices there.

For the power and blue brake wire to the rear, I found dead wires for the flasher system going from the front to the back of the bus and used that instead of running new. The flashers had 12 ga wire feeding them.

I have pulled the trailer a couple of times since I finished and it has worked well so far. Much nicer than the pulling with my old suburban.

Good luck with your project.
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