A Hitch Mounted Removable Wooden Bumper
This Instructable will show you how to build a wooden bumper with a custom retro look. It can be easily attached and removed by using the receiver on the back of your camper, trailer or truck. Pull the hitch pin and the draw bar slides in further, eliminating any chance of shin bang while working at the back of your camper or vehicle.
The instructable includes an introduction, suggested materials, pictures and step-by-step instructions for building the bumper I built for my teardrop trailer camper. I added the bumper to compliment the aesthetics of the teardrop design as well as providing it with some protection while in parking lots. The two bumper attached sleeves also act as upright supports for a tailgate umbrella. Very few small campers have a protective bumper and, if your trailer includes a draw bar receiver, here is an easy solution to building a custom and adaptable bumper.
Total out of pocket cost, approximately $60.
Step 1: Suggested Materials and Tools
- One length of Hardwood lumber (1 - 2” thickness and 4 – 6” in width.) I used 5/4 “ cherry, 4 1/2 “ wide and 44 “ in length.
- 8 Foot length of aluminum countertop edging
- ¾ “ stainless steel pan head screws
- 2” hitch drawbar with ball mount cut off
- 16” of ¼” plate steel 16” in length
- 2 LED tail lights or reflectors
- 4 2”stainless steel bolts with nylon lock nuts
- Licence plate frame (optional)
- Bench or machinists vise
- Hack saw
- Hand plane
- Drill or drill press with 5/16” bit
- Adjustable wrench or socket set
Step 2: Modified Draw Bar
Modified Draw Bar
The wooden bumper will be attached to a 2” modified draw bar. I used a 2” draw bar purchased at a yard sale for $10. A local machining shop cut the bar to remove the ball mount and then welded a 16” length of steel plate to the cut piece. Four 5/16” holes were then drilled to accept bolts that would be used to attach the wooden face of the bumper. Refer to the diagram for specs.
Step 3: Cut and Prepare the Wooden Bumper
I had a number of seasoned, hardwood lumber lengths in stock. Using a piece of 5/4" cherry hardwood, it was cut to 44" ( so as not to obscure the tail lights on the trailer). The top and bottom edges were rough sawn and so they were planed and sanded. The resulting sharp edges were relieved using a palm plane but sanding off the edge would work just as well.
Four coats of spar varnish were applied to seal all surfaces and give the board a high gloss finish.
Step 4: Attach Bumper to Steel Plate
Next step was to carefully centre and align the bumper on the steel plate before drilling 5/16" holes through the wood. The wooden bumper was secured to the steel frame using 5/16" S.S. bolts with nylon lock nuts or locking washers.
Step 5: Add Aluminum Edging
Two 44" lengths of bright aluminum edging were cut using a mitre box and a hack saw. File off any sharp edges at the cut ends. Next, attach the aluminum pieces to the top and bottom edges of the wooden bumper using 3/4" stainless steel pan head screws.
Step 6: Attach Lights or Reflectors
Two retro (LED) lights from Princess Auto were attached to either end of the bumper. They will be wired in next week using a harness. The holes were filled with an exterior caulking before attachment.
Step 7: Install and Secure Bumper
Slide the bumper into the receiver and secure using a hitch pin and clip. I plan to to wire my LED lights into the trailer tail lights using a 4 pin harness and will plug it in each time before hitting the road to the next campground.
As you can see in the first photo above, I added two 4" lengths of black drainage pipe (1.5") inside diameter to receive and support a standard umbrella pole that will shade the back of my teardrop hatch at the campsite.
Feel free to comment and have a great camping season.