Harbor Freight Cargo Carrier Project

This project converts an inexpensive Harbor Freight cargo carrier to fit either a 2-inch receiver or a 1-1/4-inch receiver.

My old Miata (and now my 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible) is equipped with a 1-1/4″ Class 2 receiver but all the cargo carriers that I found that would fit my reciever were over $125, so I decided to modify a cargo carrier that I bought at Harbor Freight to be interchangeable and fit either a 2″ or a 1-1/4″ receiver.  Since I had a 25% off coupon, the Harbor Freight cargo carrier (Item 69858) was only $34.49.

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Harbor Freight Model 69858 Cargo Carrier

 

The Harbor Freight Model #69858 Cargo Carrier I purchased in Pensacola, Florida has a 500 pound capacity but the same model number is also available with a 300 lb. capacity.  Either would work for me since the Miata hitch is only rated for 200 lb.

See the slide show below to see how I made the 1-1/4″ hitch.

Harbor Freight Model 69858 Cargo Carrier
I purchased the Harbor Freight Model #69858 Cargo Carrier in Pensacola, Florida. It has a 500 pound capacity but the same model number is also available with a 300 lb. capacity. Either would work for me since the Miata hitch is only rated for 200 lb.
The unboxing of the Harbor Freight cargo carrier.
The unboxing of the Harbor Freight cargo carrier.
The cargo carrier's is designed for a 2" receiver.
The cargo carrier's is designed for a 2" receiver.
Layout to add a 1-1/4" hitch to cargo carrier.
Layout to add a 1-1/4" hitch to cargo carrier.
sketch on the cargo carrier box to showing original layo
I traced the cargo carrier on the box to show the original layout to get the angles correct
sketch with cargo carrier structure
The layout sketch with the cargo carrier structur
sketch with cargo carrier structure and hitch
The layout sketch with the cargo carrier and 1-1/4" hitch shows the angles needed to ensure the cargo carrier is level behind the car.
Sketch with side piece template
A template for the side pieces was made.
Angle of hitch corrected
The angle of the hitch was not quite correct, so a piece of 3/16" scrap steel was cut to make a good fit. Note that a notch was cut in the hitch.
original with bolts
The original with bolts inserted. Note that the layout sketch is now on a piece of plywood. Note my Muckerman Racing iPhone case.
first welds completed
The first welds completed - now the cargo carrier and 1-1/4" hitch will fit together at the correct angle.
layout of side panels
The widest scrap I had was 3" wide, so I welded two pieces together and traced the side template on them. Two side pieces are needed.
One side piece in place
One side piece is in place on the bottom. It has not been welded.
Drill the sides
The next step is to mark the sides for the holes for the connecting bolts, then drill the four holes. Then bolt the sides to the cargo carrier and clamp to the 1-1/4" hitch and weld the sides to the hitch.
Sides welded to the hitch
The sides have been tack welded to the hitch
sides welded to the hitch 2
Another view of the sides tack welded to the hitch.
Spay painted black
Spray paint with a flat black to match the rest of the cargo carrier. Now I have an interchangeable piece so I now have a cargo carrier that fits either a 2" receiver or a 1-1/4" receiver.
Cargo carrier on the Mazda Miata MX-
The finished cargo carrier on my 2008 Mazda Miata (MX-5).
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The modified cargo carrier works great with my 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible
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The modified cargo carrier looks like it was custom built for my 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible

If you find this project is useful to you, please consider making a small donation to help contribute to my time invested and to further development of projects. Thanks for your kind support!
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