I found an old hitch extension in my garage. This part is a steel, square tube 2-inchs by 2-inchs
that slides into my receiver with a thick steel tab for the tow ball. This would be the base for
my homemade unit. Next, I found a local welder and over the phone I stressed to him that I did not
want to spend a lot on this. He had some 2-inch by 1/8-inch angle iron and suggested we could use
it. My design called for two 10 inch pieces to be welded side by side to the top of the tab of the
hitch base extending straight out beyond the back of the car. Then a 20-inch piece of angle iron
was to be welded crosswise at the ends of the two pieces of angle iron we had welded to the base.
This longer piece would be the support under the outside edge of the step. All these pieces of
angle iron were welded in place at the same plane on top of the tab of the base. A little grinding
of the welds and any sharp edges and the framework was smooth and ready for the wooden step.
Finally, I brought the unit home and drilled about eight holes in the angle iron for screws that would affix a piece of 5/8 inch thick plywood to the base. I made the plywood piece about an inch larger than the base so it hung out over the metal frame by an inch on the front and two sides. I used some large self-tapping sheet metal screws through the holes in the angle iron to hold the wood step in place and I was done. I slid it into the receiver on the back of the car and it looked great. I could even stand on it to assist in loading and tying off loads on my roof racks or sit on it to change into my running shoes in the summer. I'm planning to put a piece of rug on the step to provide a little traction for my dog. When not in use, this step will live in the back of my jeep, ready to use on a moments notice. My total cost, $25 for the welder and the angle iron. The rest was stuff I already had laying around my garage. I did have to cut the wood and drill the holes in the angle iron. The welder could have drilled the holes and not charged me any more. A lumberyard would be happy to cut down a larger piece of plywood for you. Plywood comes in four by eight foot sheets so ask if they have some smaller cut-offs you could use. I used 5/8 thick plywood but two pieces of ½ inch plywood would also work. They would need to be glued together with construction adhesive like Liquid Nails. Flat head countersunk bolts through both pieces of ½ inch plywood and the angle iron would make a stronger bond if the thinner plywood were used. If bolts are used, lock washers are a good idea under the nuts.
A hitch receiver step serves many purposes. Use it as a dog step, a convenient platform or a place to sit. If you have a large dog and an SUV, then you need a safe, convenient way to allow him to enter and exit the vehicle. With a hitch step, your dog can now easily step up into the back of your SUV. No more heavy lifting. Think of the benefits the step provides by reducing the chance of injury to your pet as he jumps down to exit your SUV. Simply insert the step into any 2 inch trailer hitch receiver and you have a platform that is perfect for reaching the top of your vehicle and helping to take your pet for a ride.
Be sure to visit my website at www.lyt.com to see my inventive
photo framing and display products.
David B Lytle