Miscellaneous Generator Mods





Introduction: Miscellaneous Generator Mods

I got a great deal on a like new 5500 watt generator to use with my new welder a couple of years back, and ever since I've been having fun making various modifications for it. Since they all relate to the same generator, I figured I would post the main three in a single instructable.

One of the problems I had from the start, having nothing but a Jeep Grand Cherokee with a cargo space that is usually full of camping supplies, was finding a way to haul it around if I wanted to use it away from home. One day when I was walking through the scraps area of one of the local metal supply shops, I saw a piece of square iron that suddenly reminded me of my hitch receiver and the first idea was born.

Another problem I had was that when I was storing the generator in the garage at home, the thing was big enough to take up a large chunk of floor space that quickly became unusable. I wanted to put a work-table out there somewhere but was running out of room to do so between the band saw, the vice, the welder and the generator. It was while wandering through the local Ace hardware that I saw some of those little metal clamp-on spring clips like the use on some lawn chair cup or ash-tray devices that I got the second idea to make a table top for the generator itself.

The tabletop worked so well, I decided to use the combination of the two projects to put an 'extension' out the end with some of the material that was left over from the first two projects.

Step 1: Making a Receiver Hitch Mount

The first project was to make the thing haul-able via the hitch receiver. I picked up the scrap pieces I saw as well as another piece that the first slid into. Tipping the generator on it's side (carefully as not to spill out oil or gas) I was able to see that there were two 'u' shaped bars across the bottom. Looking through my materials bucket, I found a couple of pieces of flat iron that fit nicely in there with just a small bit of grinding and built a second to work along with the front-end 'feet' but still hold the bar in place.
This was mostly just a matter of measuring the holes where the existing screws went through, bending the shape for the front and measuring the placement across the larger square tube that the smaller would slide into. (note the 'woops' - while I measured my holes twice and drilled once, I got confused by the upside-downside nature and accidentally welded the back bar on backwards the first time, had to grind it off with the angle grinder and re-weld it back on the correct way)
Once those pieces were set up correctly, I inserted the smaller bar and drilled horizontal holes through both pieces to put retaining bolts and/or clips through to hold the generator onto that bar. Next was to move it up to the back of my receiver, insert it, figure out a good length to extend beyond and drill horizontal holes for the hitch receiver pin. (the picture shown was before cutting the bar down. The end result is closer to the back of the jeep.

I tend to use straps also just for a little extra stability but the receiver mount works like a champ! I'm still learning my welding, so I haven't had the guts yet to take it on long trips, but it hasn't shown any signs of wearing or straining on multiple short trips around town including a few down rather bumpy dirt roads.

Step 2: Adding a Table Top

The second modification was a rather simple one. I wanted to try to mount a table top to the generator itself. You can pick up clips at just about any hardware store that are made more for connecting onto a lawn chair arm, but were the right diameter to fit on the frame bars across the top of my generator. This might not work on a generator with a raised gas cap, but this particular model has the tank just low enough that the cap sits just below the particle board when using the clips to attach it.
Three sets of the clips on each end hold the table top quite securely in place while still making it easy to remove. A simple curved piece of flat iron with a single screw is enough to hold it in place even more secure if needed.

Step 3: Using the Spare Pieces to Extend the Table Top.

When I was done putting the table top in place, the particle board I had picked up to make it was too large to go over the top of the generator. I ended up cutting off a piece just over a foot wide. I didn't want it sticking out like that all the time, but the extra piece got me to thinking I might be able to make a temporary extension. With a little welding and a few pieces of flat iron, some screws and a few sliding supports, I was able to make a piece that would use the existing hole in the extended receiver mount to hold the extension in place. While it's not secure enough to hold anything really heavy, it does give me a little extra room off the end when needed to hold up a piece of stock or rest some tools.



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10 Discussions

Is there some particular part you are unclear about? It's not like giving measurements or posting 3-view drafting sketches of these modifications would be useful as every generator is different. My primary focus was on the mount and the table top. I threw in the extension just because it was something else I added. It is the only one that really involved any additional steps beyond 'buy parts - weld/screw them together'
But if there is something you need more clarification upon specifically, please feel free to ask. (Or keep criticizing without being specific - that does seem to be what the internet is good at)

2 replies

I'm not dumping on it I just can't see how you built it. There is no real steps to build it there is no parts list there no sizes like 2" standard square tube for Reese hitch Assuming it is a Reese hitch.

oh ok, well I have a standard 2" heavy duty receiver. I wouldn't have considered suspending a generator on it if I hadn't. Those tend to be rather industry standard in one of two sizes so I assumed that would be a given for anyone looking to throw something in their hitch mount. If not, it's not a hard thing to determine. I actually wasn't aware of the exact size myself (although I was pretty sure it was 2" square), but either way I ended up asking the guys at alro if I could take the piece of scrap out to the truck and slid it into the hole to make sure it would be a good fit.
I pre-measured the size for the back bar, but that was based on the size of my particular generator's frame. So including the width (1 1/4") would be extraneous to anyone that didn't have a similarly framed generator. The spacing front to back was again based on the spacing of my specific generator. And I did mention that I made the 2" section extra long then cut it down as short as possible when finished to minimize the strain on it.

I should also add, I posted this one as more of an afterthought after posting a couple of step-by-step builds. It was more posted to show the kinds of modifications I've done rather than a more detailed step-by-step (in part because all generators are different). But I had never seen anyone build a mount directly to their hitch receiver and I only came up with it after considering a WHOLE lot of other alternatives that didn't work very well for my vehicle at all. I thought the idea itself might be worth showing for anyone else that had never considered doing it.
The table top thing with the spring clamps was literally buying a piece of fiberboard, I even had home depot cut it to size, buying 2 packages of the spring clamps and screwing them in. Hardly rocket science. But again, it was an idea that just came to me because of the need for a work surface in a cramped space that was being occupied by the generator in the garage. It seemed an easy win-win and thus I thought it too might be a useful idea someone could possibly use.
The extension was an afterthought because I needed more things to practice welding upon and had an extra piece of the fiberboard that was cut off when Home Depot did the original cut. It's not really that sturdy and thus not that practical. Thus I wasn't really too hell bent on going through a step by step on it since it was just a extraneous thing I don't even really use that often.

Great ideas! I understand the clips (in theory) but I would like to see a photo of the clips so I can visualize how the table top works a little better.

3 replies

Oh wait, nevermind, I do see a third there. It's been a while since I did the original table top. ;)

I wanted to add an image of the slide bar support anyway, so I added an image from underneath in the last steps about the table extension where you can see the clips on that end. I have one more in the middle on the far side, but only did two on this end since the table extension support also secures to the tongue.

I'll see if I can get something. I thought I'd taken a shot of the bottom of the thing when I started gathering the pics but didn't find one.

Pretty interesting ideas!

At first glance I was thinking this setup looked too precarious. But then considering how many times I've seen bikes, cargo racks, and motorized wheelchairs mounted directly into hitch receivers, I think otherwise. I like the fact that you moved it in closer too.

Any idea the direct load weight you can have for a receiver like yours?

1 reply

not entirely sure which is part of the reason I throw straps on the back. My main need was to get it around town and I've stuck to the back roads but it hasn't even shown a slight sign of stress. Mind you, it's a lot shorter than shown in the picture now and almost butts up against the bumper now when attached so there's a much smaller portion of the smaller bar that isn't 'doubled up' with the larger. The sturdiness of that bar is no different (and probably better, as it's thicker stock) than any trailer tongue would be, granted the trailers rest on back wheels, but the end result on this is a lot shorter and the weight of the generator total is still less than many trailer tongue weights.
My biggest worry was twisting from side to side, but it doesn't even seem to do that when driving, especially with the straps on each corner.