Harbor Freight Cargo Carrier - 92655 - Experience?

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willshak wrote:

I haven't seen any of this type of cargo carrier come with safety chains. The center tube on the AL carrier is in fact a heavy wall steel tube that fits within an aluminum extrusion. The steel tube is secured in the vehicle's receiver with a standard 5/8" pin which is plenty strong. The steel tube is secured in the aluminum extrusion by several decent sized bolts. There is little chance of any sort of catastrophic failure without a lot of advance warning.
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wrote:

No, but this is not like a trailer that can come off the hitch. This goes into the hitch receiver, like a big drawbar. If you put the pin in the receiver hole and the clip through the end of the pin, it's not going to fall off unless the whole hitch does.
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wrote:

On second thought, a weak point might be the aquare center pipe. Someone might violate the 500? pound weight limit, especially he might put the extra weight at the rear of the carrier, where it would have more leverage on the center pipe at the front where it enters the receiver. Or he might load it to capacity and then lean on it while tying a rope. Or he might think it's a chair. Or it might be defective. I can see it bending, so far that the rear of the carrier drags on the ground. I guess after writing this, I still can't see it breaking there, so still no need for safety chains. I drive a convertible, but surely even with a closed car and the radio playing, one could hear the carrier dragging on the ground before it broke off, which I think would take hundreds of miles.
I had a pair of cast safety stands, from Western Auto, but sold elsewhere too, rated at 6000 pounds a pair I think. All that was on them was a compact car, about 2000 pounds, when one of them collapsd, sort of slowly but nowhere near slow enough to get out if someone were under the car. Things don't always meet spec.
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You brought up a number of good points - standing on it, using it as a chair, etc. but you left off one of the items mentioned in the instructions:
"14. Be aware of dynamic loading! Suddenly dropping or bouncing a load on the Cargo Carrier may create, for a brief instant, an excess load, which may result in damage to the product and/or personal injury. Additionally, if the vehicle hits a bump, a slight play in the receiving hitch or a movement in the load could result in a momentary dynamic loading effect that could dramatically increase the actual weight load. Check the hitch-to-Carrier connection for any looseness. This momentary dynamic loading effect could result in damage to the Cargo Carrier, the load and possible personal injury."
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On Thu, 29 Jul 2010 12:06:09 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

A well written warning.
Yes I left them out but fwiw, I do know about them.
I lay the sod down gently on the rack or the previous piece of sod. I lay the file cabinet on the rack gently.
When driving I took smooth streets.
And I didn't call it dymanmic loading but I know about bumps: About 30 years ago, I moved, in two consecutive weeks, two spinet pianos on the back of my car, a full-size Pontica Catalina convertible. I only drove about 10 MPH then, except when I saw a bump or hole coming, when I slowed to 3 or 4 (they were small bumps), and except on smooth streets when i got up to 20 or 25, and kept my eye peeled for holes in the pavement. I put a full-size mattress on the trunk and lay the spinet piano on that, with part of the piano overhanging where the top folds into storage. Then tied it in with 100 feet of cotton clothesline, knotted frequently. One isn't supposed to move an upright (including a spinet) on its back or front, and isn't supposed to move a grand in normal position, anyhow, because it's dangerous to the sound board, which if broken ruins the piano. Pianos should always be moved with the sound board vertical.
I moved one half-way across Brooklyn, and the other from the middle of Brooklyn to West 85th St. in NYC, 15 miles of city streets, with no damage.
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re: "A well written warning"
...and pretty surprising for a Harbor Freight manual!
My favorites are the "standard disclaimers" sometimes included with products - not just HF products, but they do it too.
Do I really need to wear ANSI approved impact safety googles while loading and unloading the Cargo Carrier?
The instructions say I do.
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On Thu, 29 Jul 2010 12:06:09 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

I read the reviews on your link. One guy put a 302 V8 engine on the carrier, which caused the frame to bend. Well duh!
I'm sure the engine exceeded to stated capacity.
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Safety chain? Why would I want that?
If this thing falls off and all my stuff goes tumbling down the highway, I don't want the evidence still attached to my car. ;-)
On a related note...
My buddy had his motor home hit by a drunk driver - a hit and run while he was parked and sleeping. He woke up when the guy hit the camper head on and watched as the driver backed up, turned the wheel slightly and then drove down the side of the motor home, wiping out his awning, grill, tables and chairs.
He climbed out of the motor home, surveyed the damage and called 911.
Buddy: "A guy just crashed into my parked motor home and took off. I have his license plate. 911 operator: "You were able to get his license plate number? That's good." Buddy: "I said...I have his *license plate*. He left his bumper lying in front of my motor home."
The drunk's insurance company didn't put up much of a fight.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Good one! Caught me off guard too.
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No sense of humor and not very quick witted.
"I didn't do anything wrong. It was poor judgment on the deer's part."
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That's funny. Thanks for sharing.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
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On Thu, 29 Jul 2010 06:47:20 -0700 (PDT), RicodJour

I agree.

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Jumping in a little late, eh?
I already addressed that point.
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On Thu, 29 Jul 2010 05:58:16 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

I have a steel one, and I'm sorry I bought it. It's too heavy to carry back and forth to the car. If I could store it right where I parked the car, that wouldn't really be a problem.
So I'm planning on selling it, and I've already bought one that only has the spine and two ribs, and you make your own floor from a piece of wood. (It came in a ruptured box and I didn't notice for months. I was able to make the parts that were missing. I thought that was easier than making the vendor, probably JCWhitney, run through hoops trying to get the parts from the maker, plus I had waited months.)
As to you, since it's aluminum, weight won't be a problem.
You probably also don't have a convertible. When I put 15 pieces of damp sod on the carrier, with my car door open, the car bent and I couldn't shut the door. I ended up putting half of them in the back seat and then the front door shut.
I also carried a 2-drawrer file cabinet on it, along with another one in the back seat. I think it could have handled 4-drawer just as well.
I didn't see any change in handling, but I probably only went 60 with the sod, 40 with the file cabinet.
I put additional pinch point tape on it, striped reflective tape on the sides and corners.
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Drilled...Tapped...Done.
Works like a charm, at least in the driveway. Moving the carrier moves the whole van now.
The only pain is having to get down on the ground to secure the bolt and jam nut, but hey, I'll feel much better without the carrier flopping around behind me.
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An update:
I've used the carrier for an 800 mile round trip and I'll give the carrier 4.5 out 5 hitch pins.
As noted in an earlier post, there was a fair amount of movement with the carrier installed in the receiver. Almost 2.5" up and down and side to side. I was not comfortable with that.
Following a suggestion found on the webernet, I drilled and tapped the receiver for a 5/16 bolt and jam nut. At first I tapped the receiver rear of the pin (towards the rear of van) so that the bolt lifted the bar and the weight was sitting actually sitting on the bolt. This method prevented all movement - the carrier was rock solid in the receiver.
I test this method by towing my trailer for a few hundred miles and I was impressed by the lack of movement and noise. I should have done this years ago! However, when I tried to remove the bolt, I found that it was slightly bent and hard to get out. Assuming it was bent from the weight of the tongue, I drilled and tapped the receiver forward of the pin so the bar would rest on the bottom of the receiver and then tested the carrier. Regardless of how much I tightened the bolt, there was still movement of the bar in the receiver.
The final solution: I upgraded the bolt to a Grade 8 and used the original hole which was rear of the pin. Even with the bolt basically supporting the fully loaded carrier, there was no deformation, even after 800 miles.
I also purchased the Harbor Freight Cargo Carrier Cover:
http://www.harborfreight.com/54-1-2-half-inch-long-expandable-nylon-cargo-carrier-cover-95165.html
They must have been thinking when the designed both of these items because they made them just wide enough to hold those blue bins you can buy at the home centers for under $10. I was able to fit 2 of them in the carrier and then place some boxes on top, some more stuff in between them and still comfortably zip the bag closed.
Eventhough the bag is lined with what appears to be a waterproof material, I spray the bag with Camp-Dry silicon sealer for extra waterproofing. It didn't rain while I was driving, but the carrier bag was left out in the rain at the place I was staying and the inside stayed completely dry.
The only con I will mention is that with bag loaded and strapped in, I can't open or close the hatch of my mini-van. If I unstrap the bag and, with a helper, tilt the bag and contents up about a foot, I can use the hatch. Not a big deal, you just have to make sure you load things in the right order - and not need anything big from the back of the van.
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