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Road trip | Inner Mongolia 2021 | Our towing hitch support has bent and needed urgent repair | Day 14

Car repair shop in Manzhouli
Car is in repair and our towing hitch was bent and needed to be replaced in Manzhouli urgently. Found a good repair shop for fast fixing.

I have noticed the tow bar is laying lower and lower and found out the problem!!

After the exit from the ferry in Dalian with a big bang as the trailer hit the metal ramp, I frequently followed the tow bar getting lower and lower.

Now thinking afterward, this design is not good as there will be great forces to the support. There are additional supports underneath but where the hitch failed was on the top part by bending the hook down.

The support must be some shitty wrought iron or similar. I measured the thickness of the support plate, and it was around 5mm. And thinking it should be OK. I was so wrong in this.

Finding a repair shop urgently in Manzhouli was no issue with the correct app.

We urgently needed to fix the issue as there was a risk of the spare tire and the hook getting lower; Friends took the kids for some sightseeing, and the wife started to check on the mobile suitable repair shops. After some surfing on the net and checking for recommendations, we ended up at the below repair shop. The personnel was very professional, and we found the issue immediately after removing the plastic bumper. It has been bent quite a lot, and after some consultation, the hook was removed and taken to some metal workshop.

Only the hook part is now original; the bent part and the supports were replaced by much stronger steel plates, and also added some additional supports according to the original hook.

The total cost of removal, cutting, re-welding and installation was 1200CNY, so the cost was quite reasonable. The problem is the time wasted one day on this activity.

Now the towing hitch is much more robust, and the height is correctly positioned compared to earlier.

I will just put the maps link here in case someone requires a repair shop in Manzhouli. The name is Jiling Auto Maintenance Center.

One strange thing came up while discussing with the owner. He was wondering how this car could pull the trailer as per his experience, this small car should not pull any.

I needed to explain that KIA Sorento 2.2CRDi can pull easily 2000kg legally. Then made a counter-question by asking him why several of the SUVs in Manzhouli have towing hitch and what are they pulling.

The answer was: It is for fashion, they don’t pull anything, just for looks…..!

So what did we learn here? Buy an original or well-known brand, and you will, in the end, save time, money, and mental health

I am not experienced with caravans; learning is a long way. Ball weight of the caravan is essential, and several persons have recommended around 80kg. We had 130kg and no name towing hitch. Caravan also had the water tank in the front (145L) and no storage space in the rear except for a small cabinet. Very difficult to balance the caravan. We usually had the milk and drinking water there but the space was so limited that it was not enough.

Ensure your tow ball limit is within the car manufacturer’s recommendation. Quick check-in Taobao, China’s biggest online retailer, shows it can be found in China. Tow ball scale.

Tow ball scale from Taobao
Selling in Taobao by search word 拖球秤 (Tow ball scale)

After the towing hitch was fixed, we still had some time for Manzhouli

Went to the nearby border Manzhouli Sino-Russian Inter-Trade Tourist Area, to pay a visit Russian border. Unfortunately, only Chinese with local ID card was allowed to visit. I and children with Finnish passports were not allowed, so I killed some time visiting the shops in the area and having a break at Mc Donalds. Don’t bother to go if you don’t have a local ID card.

Afternoon, for dinner headed for Lubuli restaurant. According to the internet, this is the best and most famous in the city. I can underline this. That is true. Delicious and Russian-style Šašlik skewers and borscht soup with rye bread. Thou have to wait outside for a while, about 30 minutes.

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