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Trailer Hitch

Old 05-23-05, 12:38 PM
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Trailer Hitch

Can a moron like me install a trailer hitch or should I have it done somewhere? My dealer said they don't do it - they COULD do it if they ordered the part, blah blah blah. The local auto place said they COULD do it if they ordered the part, etc.

I have a Mercury Mountaineer (Explorer clone). All I want it for is a lousy bike rack. Where the hell do people get this done?
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Old 05-23-05, 12:42 PM
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See this link.

Spoiler:
OK, I got nothing useful to contribute.
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Old 05-23-05, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Can a moron like me install a trailer hitch or should I have it done somewhere? My dealer said they don't do it - they COULD do it if they ordered the part, blah blah blah. The local auto place said they COULD do it if they ordered the part, etc.

I have a Mercury Mountaineer (Explorer clone). All I want it for is a lousy bike rack. Where the hell do people get this done?
I'm in the same boat with my 97 Explorer. They come standard now (I think). IIRC, it would have cost an extra $500 for the tow package. Aftermarket I think it cost about $200 for the hitch and the labor to weld it to the frame. I think you can buy ones that could be bolted/clamped on but I wouldn't tow anything with that set up. If it's just for a bike rack that should suffice. I think they run about $100 and as long as you have easy access to the undercarriage it shouldn't take a day to install.

See for your self at DIY: http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/ab_tra...271166,00.html
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Old 05-23-05, 12:53 PM
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I had mine done (for a bike rack) at U-Haul.
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Old 05-23-05, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by nevermind
I had mine done (for a bike rack) at U-Haul.
Price?
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Old 05-23-05, 12:55 PM
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Depends on how comfortable you are with tools, etc. It really isn't a big deal.....EXCEPT, some hitches and rigs have an additional cooling thingy that goes into the transmission. If it is just bikes, no biggie.
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Old 05-23-05, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by garolo
I'm in the same boat with my 97 Explorer. They come standard now (I think). IIRC, it would have cost an extra $500 for the tow package. Aftermarket I think it cost about $200 for the hitch and the labor to weld it to the frame. I think you can buy ones that could be bolted/clamped on but I wouldn't tow anything with that set up. If it's just for a bike rack that should suffice. I think they run about $100 and as long as you have easy access to the undercarriage it shouldn't take a day to install.

See for your self at DIY: http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/ab_tra...271166,00.html
It has to be welded? When I asked around, they told me there was a Class 1, 2, or 3. No one said anything about welding. Although I will only use it for a bike rack, I wouldn't mind it actually being useful for something else if the need arises.
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Old 05-23-05, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by nevermind
I had mine done (for a bike rack) at U-Haul.
Same here. I think it was around $230 for the hitch and install.
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Old 05-23-05, 01:10 PM
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http://www.uhaul.com/hitches/
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Old 05-23-05, 01:16 PM
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mine was about $160, but it was for a car, not a SUV. It has a 1.25" receiver, so that's probably why the price was less.
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Old 05-23-05, 01:21 PM
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So did you guys have it welded on? I can order a Class 1 hitch for $54. If it just bolts on, I don't get the $200+ price tag.

Do you use it for other things or just bike racks? What size connector thing should I get?
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Old 05-23-05, 01:28 PM
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You did not specify the model year so I can not say for sure, but looking at a couple post 2000 models, it seems they all just bolt right on.

I have had really good luck with this place

http://www.e-trailer.com/

The size connector will depend on your bike rack.

This hitch for the Mercury Mountaineer 4 Dr. has a difficulty level of 3 on a scale of 1 to 10
This equates to an amateur installation time of approximately 30 minutes
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Old 05-23-05, 01:30 PM
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I have a 1999.
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Old 05-23-05, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
It has to be welded? When I asked around, they told me there was a Class 1, 2, or 3. No one said anything about welding. Although I will only use it for a bike rack, I wouldn't mind it actually being useful for something else if the need arises.
This particular one was a class 4. But I think it was overkill. They are all bolted on now, for the most part. Some you need to drill into your frame in order to attach. Some you need to move crap, like wiring around.
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Old 05-23-05, 01:39 PM
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Mine was a class 3 or something like that. I just use it for a bike rack as well, but I figured I might as well get it done right in case I ever actually have to hook up something heavy to it.
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Old 05-23-05, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
I have a 1999.

e-trailer still says difficulty of 3 and no drilling required for their class II, so you can assume a class I is just as easy. Should take you 30 minutes or so if you have the correct size socket/rachet combo to tighten the bolts. You MIGHT need to buy a couple bolts if the hitch you buy does not come with them.
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Old 05-23-05, 01:51 PM
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In the same vein, what the hell are truck nuts for?
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Old 05-23-05, 01:59 PM
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I installed1 on my own on a 1992 bronco. I had to drill the frame which was the toughest part. I put 1 on a 1999 explorer for a friend and no drilling was needed, just bolt and go 30min. I have a factory unit on my 1997 expedition and it is bolted also.
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Old 05-23-05, 02:27 PM
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Basically there are two ways to attach a hitch:

1. Weld it to the Frame
2. Bolt it to the Frame

The bolted type is often easier to install, but usually requires the frame of the car to have predrilled (or cast) holes. Sometimes these holes are even threaded, rather than through-bolted.

As suggested here already, you should be able to go to a uhaul to have it done. I would suggest you go to a "towing shop", someone who does nothing but sell hitches and trailers. They will properly add any wiring that is needed and often have hitches that fit better (ever notice how some cars and trucks have a HUGE square universal type hitch and others seem to curl right under the bumper around the spare tire?).

Someone else also mentioned about towing packages. I am a huge fan of getting towing packages on my SUV at the dealer. If you price it out, you get about 5K worth of stuff for the $500-$1000 option. This includes the hitch, the wiring (often 6-prong and wired to control electric brakes through the cars braking system), a transmission oil cooler (really protects the transmission when towing and is nice to have for lots of 4wd or heavy hauling). Not so much anymore, but it used to be that the vehicles with towing packages came with beefed up brakes, tires, etc, but now that is all pretty standard or comes as part of another option.

For hauling a bike, you just need anything you can get your hands on. However, if you plan on selling the vehicle ever, I would consider getting one that fits the vehicle best, get it wired for lights even though you won't need it, and get a class 3 hitch (2 inch receiver) so someone could actually tow something good size with it. This stuff might be nice selling points.

My $.02
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Old 05-23-05, 02:32 PM
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thanks Jeeden. So, would U-Haul be consider a "towing shop?"
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Old 05-23-05, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeeden
For hauling a bike, you just need anything you can get your hands on. However, if you plan on selling the vehicle ever, I would consider getting one that fits the vehicle best, get it wired for lights even though you won't need it, and get a class 3 hitch (2 inch receiver) so someone could actually tow something good size with it. This stuff might be nice selling points.

My $.02

Honestly, I would take the hitch back off before selling. Everyone knows that towing puts a lot of stress on a vehicle and tends to wear it out faster. If I was buying a used SUV, one without a hitch would be worth more to me than one with, but agan IMO
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Old 05-23-05, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
thanks Jeeden. So, would U-Haul be consider a "towing shop?"
I'd suggest looking on one of the hitches website and looking for dealers. Avoide anybody that installs them as a side business.

Here is Reese Hitches there is also drawtite, hidden hitch, etc.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-23-05, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeeden
Someone else also mentioned about towing packages. I am a huge fan of getting towing packages on my SUV at the dealer. If you price it out, you get about 5K worth of stuff for the $500-$1000 option. This includes the hitch, the wiring (often 6-prong and wired to control electric brakes through the cars braking system), a transmission oil cooler (really protects the transmission when towing and is nice to have for lots of 4wd or heavy hauling). Not so much anymore, but it used to be that the vehicles with towing packages came with beefed up brakes, tires, etc, but now that is all pretty standard or comes as part of another option.
So am I. The towing package on my Nissan Titan was a factory-installed class IV hitch assembly, the wiring, larger and extendable towing mirrors (which are terrific), a heavy duty battery, lower final axle ratio, a transmission temperature gauge, and electronic "Vehicle Stabilization Control" which is enabled/disabled from a switch on the dash. All this for $850. Heck, at the time I bought the truck it had just come out and none of the trailer dealers even had a hitch in stock for the Titans yet and I'm sure that alone would have cost me $500 even if they did.
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