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OEM Hitch upgrade from Class II to Class III/IV on Gen 4, 07 Explorer

Explorer_PL

Explorer Addict
Joined
November 16, 2007
Messages
2,914
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City, State
Rockland County, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
06EB V8
Hi everyone -
Since I got my second Explorer on my driveway, 07 v6 without the HD tow package, an idea was lurking in my head to replace that 1 1/4" hitch receiver with a factory 2" one. I am not planning to tow anything heavy with the 07. I use my 06 v8 with the tow package for towing and plowing, but the 07 may be used for some trips, and our bike rack or the cargo tray use 2" receivers. Also, it was just simply driving me nuts whenever I passed by the car and saw that small receiver.
Now, before everybody jumps on me :), I know I am still limited to 3500 lbs towing limit. I am planning to add the tranny cooler more to prolong its life, and as extra security. If one of the differentials goes bad, I'll get front and rear carriers with 3.73 gears, and swap them... maybe. It's not that complicated on those cars. You can get them for 250-300 each from junk yards. I thought about the aftermarket hitch going under the OEM receiver, but I like things looking OEM, that's just me. I know it works for thousand of owners out there using the aftermarket ones below OEM.
I searched Craig's list, car-parts.com, and ebay, and I could get an OEM 2" receiver from 02-05 model for 100-150 bucks and day. Then, last week when browsing CL, i came across an add for the receiver from an 04 for $ 50, and it was on my way to work - no brainer for me. The next morning, I had it in my car. And it came with the 7pin RV plug and the harness.
Now, what I did may not be comfortable for everyone, but once I get an idea in my head, I just go :)

Step 1 - taking off the tail lights and the bumper cover, about 10-15 minutes.
Step 2 - lower the spare tire.
Step 3 - start cutting of the old receiver :) I just used 4 1/2 angle grinder, took me about an hour.This may be hard for some, cutting up your own car
Step 4 - smooth out the welds with the grinder
Step 5 - prime and paint the exposed surfaces.
Step 6 - mount the "new" hitch onto the frame. The frame was about 1/8" wider than the hitch, so I had to hammer it a little, but it resulted in a very nice fit. The frame shape matched the old hitch perfectly.
Step 7 - I drilled 3 holes on each side and used 6 1/2 inch Grade 8 bolts with washers and nylon lock nuts (all grade 8 as well).

For now, I just bolted back the 4 flat connector, I see the blue trailer brake wire sticking out.
Interestingly, the old harness has a plug that would fit my existing harness under the right tail light, but it looks like that is used for something else on my model year.
Also, I read somewhere that collision shops use a bolt on hitch as a replacement when a car was rear ended. I am guessing, that they are just using the 02-05 bolt on part.

Before:
IMG_7162_zpsgychx52g.jpg


IMG_7173_zpsqglfd6xl.jpg


And the old one is out !!!!!
IMG_7174_zpsucqraiep.jpg


That's the plug that looks the same but serves different purpose
IMG_7175_zpsamg84dtq.jpg



Primed and painted it:
IMG_7178_zpswqdnx65y.jpg


Already bolted on:
IMG_7189_zpslzxai1pb.jpg

IMG_7191_zpsyyzp60b0.jpg

IMG_7192_zpshqklb8dm.jpg




The 4 flat is still there, the 7 pin will be another project
IMG_7196_zps77jxwoyo.jpg


Finished product
IMG_7197_zps0ybmh4cz.jpg
 



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Once again I am impressed with your work... And your confidence to show one of your vehicles who's the boss with power tools!
It really makes me wish I hadn't simply bolted on an aftermarket second hitch, but I was still making big monthly payments on it at the time, and it was the wife's daily driver.
 






Excellent job!...I love when mods look factory.

It seems the mounting hardware you used is sufficient to hold on to what the vehicle is rated to tow...good call on the 1/2" bolts.
 






Looks great! Welcome to the Class III/IV HD Club.
 






Thanks for the comments.

I thought about hardware to use. I calculated that a typical Grade 8 half inch bolt has a shear strength of about 14,000 lbs, there are 6 of them.

As a cross reference I also checked one of the aftermarket hitches and they are mounted with just 4 carriage type bolts also 1/2 inch but of unknown grade, probably 5, so if that's good, then my 6 should be better :)

This thing is not going anywhere, unless you hook up a train to it :)

In my "prior" life, I did engineering, and one of the cool things in the college is that you get in the lab with big machines and get to break all kind of stuff and calculate stresses and breaking points.. Very few people realize how strong steel is. You can suspend over 20k lbs on a 1/2 bolt (grade 8, or 10.9 metric 12 mm)
 






Hi everyone -
Since I got my second Explorer on my driveway, 07 v6 without the HD tow package, an idea was lurking in my head to replace that 1 1/4" hitch receiver with a factory 2" one. I am not planning to tow anything heavy with the 07. I use my 06 v8 with the tow package for towing and plowing, but the 07 may be used for some trips, and our bike rack or the cargo tray use 2" receivers. Also, it was just simply driving me nuts whenever I passed by the car and saw that small receiver.
Now, before everybody jumps on me :), I know I am still limited to 3500 lbs towing limit. I am planning to add the tranny cooler more to prolong its life, and as extra security. If one of the differentials goes bad, I'll get front and rear carriers with 3.73 gears, and swap them... maybe. It's not that complicated on those cars. You can get them for 250-300 each from junk yards. I thought about the aftermarket hitch going under the OEM receiver, but I like things looking OEM, that's just me. I know it works for thousand of owners out there using the aftermarket ones below OEM.
I searched Craig's list, car-parts.com, and ebay, and I could get an OEM 2" receiver from 02-05 model for 100-150 bucks and day. Then, last week when browsing CL, i came across an add for the receiver from an 04 for $ 50, and it was on my way to work - no brainer for me. The next morning, I had it in my car. And it came with the 7pin RV plug and the harness.
Now, what I did may not be comfortable for everyone, but once I get an idea in my head, I just go :)

Step 1 - taking off the tail lights and the bumper cover, about 10-15 minutes.
Step 2 - lower the spare tire.
Step 3 - start cutting of the old receiver :) I just used 4 1/2 angle grinder, took me about an hour.This may be hard for some, cutting up your own car
Step 4 - smooth out the welds with the grinder
Step 5 - prime and paint the exposed surfaces.
Step 6 - mount the "new" hitch onto the frame. The frame was about 1/8" wider than the hitch, so I had to hammer it a little, but it resulted in a very nice fit. The frame shape matched the old hitch perfectly.
Step 7 - I drilled 3 holes on each side and used 6 1/2 inch Grade 8 bolts with washers and nylon lock nuts (all grade 8 as well).

For now, I just bolted back the 4 flat connector, I see the blue trailer brake wire sticking out.
Interestingly, the old harness has a plug that would fit my existing harness under the right tail light, but it looks like that is used for something else on my model year.
Also, I read somewhere that collision shops use a bolt on hitch as a replacement when a car was rear ended. I am guessing, that they are just using the 02-05 bolt on part.

Before:
IMG_7162_zpsgychx52g.jpg


IMG_7173_zpsqglfd6xl.jpg


And the old one is out !!!!!
IMG_7174_zpsucqraiep.jpg


That's the plug that looks the same but serves different purpose
IMG_7175_zpsamg84dtq.jpg



Primed and painted it:
IMG_7178_zpswqdnx65y.jpg


Already bolted on:
IMG_7189_zpslzxai1pb.jpg

IMG_7191_zpsyyzp60b0.jpg

IMG_7192_zpshqklb8dm.jpg




The 4 flat is still there, the 7 pin will be another project
IMG_7196_zps77jxwoyo.jpg


Finished product
IMG_7197_zps0ybmh4cz.jpg
What would the affect be on the rear suspension? Should higher rated springs be researched? I'm curious about rear sag while towing a heavier haul.
 






From what I see, they all use same springs regardless of the towing package. I have towed some heavy trailers with my v8, in 5-6k range, and one had weight distribution bars, and one is just ball hitch. Without the bars you get sag, much less with WD bars.
 






From what I see, they all use same springs regardless of the towing package. I have towed some heavy trailers with my v8, in 5-6k range, and one had weight distribution bars, and one is just ball hitch. Without the bars you get sag, much less with WD bars.
I am thinking of getting an 07 Explorer Sport Trac that only has the class 2 hitch. Would this be the same procedure to upgrade to a class 3? Also, would I just source a previous generation class 3 hitch (02-07 Sport Trac) to do this swap or can I look at any previous generation explorer (non Sports Trac) to do this? Many thanks!
 












Nope, it's completely different. They are bolt ons which makes it easier.

This is what you need:
Part # 7A2Z-19D520-K


NEW OEM Ford Trailer Hitch Receiver 7A2Z-19D520-K Explorer Sport Trac 2007-2010 | eBay

or source it out of a junk yard.
Called a person from car-part.com which is actually a God Send of a website that connects all parts dealers and junkers nationwide. Searched for a frame and found one 50 miles from me for $150. It's a class 3 from the same year - 2007. I assume I have to do some cuts like yours and bolt that puppy on. I literally found it moments after I posted it. I should be a Samaritan and make a thread about putting it on (credit you of course).
 






You should not have to cut anything. With an impact gun and some PB spray, it may take you no more than 30 minutes, just remove the old, bolt on the new one. You may need to drop the spare. Electrical part is different. You may only have 4 flat.
 






You should not have to cut anything. With an impact gun and some PB spray, it may take you no more than 30 minutes, just remove the old, bolt on the new one. You may need to drop the spare. Electrical part is different. You may only have 4 flat.
Confirmed that the hitch removal will just require taking out the (8)bolts. For some reason I was so excited to use my power tools to cut the hitch.

Regardless, great job with this by the way! Now I have to buy the car, change the hitch, then change the spark plugs carefully and correctly. I hope it proves to be very satisfying at the end Thanks, mate!
 






Good luck, take some pix and post back.
 






Good luck, take some pix and post back.
I just test drove the 07 Explorer ST. I took pictures of the hitch. Does this seem right? It seems welded on. I don't see bolts that would remove it.
 

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Definitely looks like welded on design :(
The link to the part above may be for a "service part". They are used for collision repair work so it would probably work. I think there is a sport trac forum here as well ?
 






2007SP-1.jpg
 






That should help you see how it's attached.
 






Here's the shop manual instructions.
 

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Thanks L

So it's called service replacement, and the OP needs to cut and grind.
But it's not that big deal really.
 



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It helps having access to the parts and shop manuals.
 






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