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Front Mount Receiver/Tow Point


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September 25, 2015
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Ford Explorer XLT
I have a 1999 Ford Explorer XLT, and I want to add a Front Mount Receiver for use as a winch mount and tow point. Curt Mfg. used to make one for the Explorer, the part number was 31500. For some reason, the discontinued this one and replaced it part number 31051. The 31500 receiver hitch came through the valance below the license plate for a neat, clean installation, whereas the 31051 receiver hitch hangs below the front bumper, which is not only unsightly, but also causes a potential drag hazard.
The 31500 receiver hitch is impossible to find, even as new old stock, so here are some questions about the front receiver hitch. Is there another hitch mfg company out there that makes them? Has anybody fabricated one, or know someone who can fabricate one? Will a Front Mount Receiver designed for a 1999 Ford Ranger work on a 1999 Ford Explorer without major modifications?
I live in the Portland Oregon area.
Thanks in advance.

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I have a Draw-Tite on mine. Here's the best pictures I have at the moment off my phone. One during install and the second to see where it comes through my bumper (sorry it's so far away). I had to cut off the cross brace for my brush guard and also hack up my plastics a little bit to make it fit nice in my bumper, but overall it came out good and I'm happy with it.



What is the distance between the frame rails, because I found that the Reese/Drawtite hitch #65030 will fit a 2001 Ford Explorer, so would it not fit a 1999 Ford Explorer as well, since the body did not change until 2002 Was removing the bumper/lower valance necessary to install the hitch?

Far as I know all 95-01's should fit that draw-tite.

Sounds great. But is the removal for the bumper/valance necessary for the install?

Sounds great. But is the removal for the bumper/valance necessary for the install?

I'm going to say yes. You might be able to do it with the bumper on but considering the bumper is 2 fog light connections and 4 bolts away from being out of your way I'd just pull it off. It made install of my hitch and brush guard much much easier. Also makes it easier to cut up your plastics as needed to make it all fit right. Here's a couple closeups I just took out in my work parting lot for you so you can get a better idea.



Oh and one other note. In my first picture a few posts ago notice the wires sticking out of my frame. Attached to the other end of those wires are nuts that have to be fished through the frame to bolt the hitch on. It will be a SOB to do with the bumper on because you probably can't get to that frame opening, so you would have to fish it through somewhere else.

Thank you for the info. I noticed that the Drawtite 65030 that I looked at does not have the tow hook 'eyes' on it.

Another question, how was the fit of this receiver between the frame rails? Did the frame have to be drilled to make the holes line up?

Hmmm that's weird, guess I got a nicer one than I thought. I did try looking for a part number for you when I took the pics but I didn't see one printed on mine. I'll have to crawl under the truck and see if there's one on the bottom or back of the hitch.

As far as drilling holes in the frame it's been a while and I honestly don't remember. But if I had to guess I would say that no I did not have to.

Finally got a chance to crawl under my truck and dig around. My bumper plastics were covering the number from the bottom. Anyway I got it for you, it's part number Draw-Tite 65002.