NATO Hitch Rear Recovery

For a rear recovery point (well all recovery points really) you want a very strong mount, as the pulling forces when you’re in thick mud up to the axles can be rather hefty, and chunks of metal flying at high velocity are never a good thing. The NATO hitch is a good idea for use as a recovery point for a number of reasons, the primary one being that it’s bloody strong. Defenders also handily have the correct bolt pattern in the rear cross-member already, making mounting very easy.

Unfortunately one cannot just bolt the hitch onto the crossmember and be done with it. It would probably be okay for on-road towing, but off-road recovery can generate high shock forces which will simply rip the bolts through your chassis. The answer is a spreader plate in front and behind like this:

Hitch on rear crossmember, with external spreader plate shown.

Hitch on rear crossmember, with external spreader plate shown

Spreader plate behind the crossmember

Spreader plate behind the crossmember

Why another spreader plate on the outside I hear you ask? Well it’s purpose is to spread any sideways forces generated by anything other than a perfectly straight pull. Without it you would find the hitch would distort the relatively thin material of the crossmember’s outer face.

For reference, the plate dimensions are as follows:

  • Outer plate is 195mm x 120mm x 8mm
  • Inner plate is 195mm x 85mm x 12mm