How to: Tow hook installation procedure. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How to: Tow hook installation procedure.

Curtis

Explorer Addict
Joined
November 15, 2001
Messages
1,685
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City, State
Orlando, FL
Year, Model & Trim Level
04 XLT 4x4
I've been wanting tow hooks for a while now to my 04' and the recent thread on the board got me in action.
This procedure should be the same for all 3rd gens.

I purchased a set of hooks from an 03 F-150 on eBay for $20 shipped
That body style went from 97 - 03 so there should be plenty of hooks out there.
These things are huge. Much bigger than I had pictured. They must weigh 5 lbs each.
They were in excellent shape but I sprayed them with some gloss black I had kicking around.
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The hardware I got at Lowes for $10
The bolts 1/2" grade 5 and are 2" long
The serrated bolts work great because you cannot get a wrench up into the chassis unless you plan to loosen the bumper and I didn't want to do that.
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Total - $30

The first thing you need to do is remove the tow hook covers in your lower bumper.

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Look up under the bumper and you'll see the 2 clips that hold in each cover.
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Use a small screw driver or something similar to push the pin up through the middle. It might pop out. Once pushed up the rest of the clip can be pushed up through the hole. Once they are out you can remove the cover from behind the bumper. It just pulls out.
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Put a nut up through the elongated hole and using the small screw driver again position it over the rear hole in the chassis.
Put your finger up in the elongated hole to hold the nut and thread the bold in a few turns.
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Slide the tow hook in from the front and loop it over that bolt. If you put downward pressure on the bolt as you turn it in by hand the nut on top wont move.
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Now you can put the other nut up though the elongated hole and position it using a small screwdriver and with your finger up though again you can thread the second bolt.

Us a 3/4 socket to tighten each bolt and you're done. Repeat on the other side. The whole process took me less than 30 minutes including putting away the tools and washing the truck after.
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Looks great! Now you have me interested.
 






AAARRRGGG:mad::mad: WHY is it that ford had to change the frame so much between the 3rd gen and the 4th gens????? I really want tow hooks:(
there isn't room or a place for them on the 06-08
 












AAARRRGGG:mad::mad: WHY is it that ford had to change the frame so much between the 3rd gen and the 4th gens????? I really want tow hooks:(
there isn't room or a place for them on the 06-08

The 06 frame is much better it has 63 percent more resistance to bending and 55 percent more resistance to twisting then the 05.
 






I have just remove mine to put in my new fog lights.
 






Why didn't you use grade 8 hardware?

Good question.
I did some research on the sheer strength of 1/2" bolts.
Found http://www.rockcrawler.com/

Grade 5 is 14730 lbs
Grade 8 is 17870 lbs

So while grade 8 is stronger... Lowes never had any and I sincerely doubt I will ever help pull a 17,000 lb vehicle. I will never pull a 14,000 lb vehicle.
My explorer never sees dirt (with the exception of Daytona beach). Grade 5 should cover anything above and beyond my needs.
 






Funny that you call them F-150 hooks, they look the same as mine and they came standard on my (export) 04 Explorer XLT.
 






Funny that you call them F-150 hooks, they look the same as mine and they came standard on my (export) 04 Explorer XLT.

Who knew!?
Now I have to change my signature
 






Funny that you call them F-150 hooks, they look the same as mine and they came standard on my (export) 04 Explorer XLT.

the beefy ones are not standard for the US version. The hooks the US version got are substantially smaller and I believe a bent piece of iron as opposed to cast.


By your picture I am guessing you did not use the tow hook bracket that is mounted inside the frame?

I thought about just using nuts and bolts like your setup but I felt the bracket spread pressure out over more area than just a standard nut location.

The whole process took me less than 30 minutes including putting away the tools and washing the truck after.
Good stuff I can't even wash my ex in under an hour.

Only problem is one has to loosen the bumper so you can slide the bracket inside the frame.
 






By your picture I am guessing you did not use the tow hook bracket that is mounted inside the frame?

I thought about just using nuts and bolts like your setup but I felt the bracket spread pressure out over more area than just a standard nut location.

Only problem is one has to loosen the bumper so you can slide the bracket inside the frame.

There's not doubt a bracket in the frame may add strength.
But I wanted these for looks. Although who knows I may have to use them one of these days.

I thought of fabricating up a plate for inside the frame... I had some 1/8 steel plate in the garage but I wasn't prepared for that. If you bought aftermarket hooks I don't think they come with a plate.
Thinking back, if I made one, I may have been able to slip it up through the elongated hole in the frame.
 






Hi there, just wanted to follow up on my experience with this.

I purchased a set of tow hooks from an F150 (2001) off ebay for $25. They included the bolts and plate.

It turns out there's no way to get the plate inside the mounting area. I suppose you could take off the bumper but I wasn't prepared to do that and just found some quality bolts to use instead.

Note: Getting your finger (I have big hands) up in the tubing to hold the nut, is not that easy, but can certainly be done if you take your time.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the tow hooks and if I ever need them in an emergency, I am confident they will yank me out of anything I could get in.

Hope that helps!
 






Hi there, just wanted to follow up on my experience with this.

I purchased a set of tow hooks from an F150 (2001) off ebay for $25. They included the bolts and plate.

It turns out there's no way to get the plate inside the mounting area. I suppose you could take off the bumper but I wasn't prepared to do that and just found some quality bolts to use instead.

Note: Getting your finger (I have big hands) up in the tubing to hold the nut, is not that easy, but can certainly be done if you take your time.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the tow hooks and if I ever need them in an emergency, I am confident they will yank me out of anything I could get in.

Hope that helps!

It is no problem unbolting the front bumper to get enough room to use the "nut plate". I think it added 10 minutes to my install.
 






Are you actually gaining anything by using this mounting plate other than "ease" of install?
 






Are you actually gaining anything by using this mounting plate other than "ease" of install?

I don't really think so.. Actually, the plate is really just a connector piece between the two nuts for spacing.
 






Do you think these would mount under grill guard brackets?
 






Would you possibly know the approximate width of these tow hooks?
 






Would you possibly know the approximate width of these tow hooks?

They are about as wide as the little cutout in the plastic bar. I have mine mounted under the nudge bar mounts - actually, my nudge bar mounts use the same bolts as the tow hooks; I just needed a 6mm (1/4") spacer plate between the bottom of the nudge bar bracket and the tow hook.
 









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I put them on too, $25 on fleabay, trip to hardware store.
Get the Grade8 bolts and the washer should be enough. Thats all i did and the tow truck driver had no problem hoisting the Ex on a flatbed using only one hook. IMHO the plate is to aid in installation. Its not like the heeps with stamped steel where you have to add a backing plate, the Ex frame seems a lot thicker to begin with.

How thick are these? Any Pic's of one?
 

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