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Replace rusty trailer hitch?

1996ex

Active Member
Joined
August 9, 2010
Messages
73
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City, State
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Explorer 4.0 XLT 4WD
The trailer hitch on my 2003 Explorer is pretty rusty and I'd like to remove it and install a better one from the parts yard.

I live in the rusty north, so I'm sure everything down there is pretty bad.

Has anyone in the same position ever swapped theirs with another? Will this be too much of a PITA or should I bring it somewhere to do it?
 



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I replaced mine last year even though it only had 100k.
Do not risk rust, it can only end badly.
My Trac is basically a second generation Explorer, so not the same as your 3rd. But still your expirence will be similar.
I did mine on my own, but let me tell you it was part Twister, part gymnastics, and part break dancing.
If you can schedule a friend to help up under there it will be 3x easlier and use the cash you save to buy a new one.
 






I replaced mine last year even though it only had 100k.
Do not risk rust, it can only end badly.
My Trac is basically a second generation Explorer, so not the same as your 3rd. But still your expirence will be similar.
I did mine on my own, but let me tell you it was part Twister, part gymnastics, and part break dancing.
If you can schedule a friend to help up under there it will be 3x easlier and use the cash you save to buy a new one.
It honestly looks impossible -- removing my rusty hitch, finding a *less* rusty hitch and removing that, and then installing it.

How many bolts hold them on? Are they threaded into the frame?
 






No it is a nut and bolt
Please don't put on a used hitch. To much can go sideways(literally) on the road. Plus it's nice to use fresh hardware, but sure to do a nut and bolt check after a couple weeks, and your 1st pull.
You can do it!
 












Why not keep the one you have now, remove the rust, and then repaint it.
 






No it is a nut and bolt
Please don't put on a used hitch. To much can go sideways(literally) on the road. Plus it's nice to use fresh hardware, but sure to do a nut and bolt check after a couple weeks, and your 1st pull.
You can do it!
Ok I'm glad it's nut and bolt, because yes I'd only use new, quality hardware.

The u pull yard near me has tons of Explorers/Mountaineers, and if I can find a clean one, I'd use that. But no I'm not going to replace it with another POS.
 






A couple days before you swap it out hit all the fastners w/ PB Blaster.
Life will be easier
 


















Hi. I just did this same thing to replace the inch and a quarter hitch with a two inch hitch for a bicycle rack. The connectors for the two different types of wiring harnesses are the same. Here is that thread.


There are instructions on how to remove the bumper which is just 4 screws, six bolts and 11 body clips somewhere on this site. The hitch itself is held to the frame by six bolts (get a breaker bar to remove these).

Chris
 






Hi. I just did this same thing to replace the inch and a quarter hitch with a two inch hitch for a bicycle rack. The connectors for the two different types of wiring harnesses are the same. Here is that thread.


There are instructions on how to remove the bumper which is just 4 screws, six bolts and 11 body clips somewhere on this site. The hitch itself is held to the frame by six bolts (get a breaker bar to remove these).

Chris
Thanks, a breaker bar is a great idea. I have to remove the bumper cover? That would mean two bumper covers then — one from the junkyard and one from my Explorer :/
 












The hitch I got is from Curt Mfg. and after the install went to put the slug in and holes in the reciever were not drilled square, so hitch pin couldn't go through.
Etrailer offered to take back, but wasn't about to remove, box up and wrestle a new one in again.
Welded a plate the side and re drilled new hole.
Lesson learned is to check it before the install
 






The hitch I got is from Curt Mfg. and after the install went to put the slug in and holes in the reciever were not drilled square, so hitch pin couldn't go through.
Etrailer offered to take back, but wasn't about to remove, box up and wrestle a new one in again.
Welded a plate the side and re drilled new hole.
Lesson learned is to check it before the install

That's quite a odd defect. I would contact Curt directly about it.
 






That's quite a odd defect. I would contact Curt directly about it.
Yeah certainly odd. The folks at ETrailer were gonna get in touch, so I went my way.
Just gotta wonder how many were drilled like that.
 






Thanks, a breaker bar is a great idea. I have to remove the bumper cover? That would mean two bumper covers then — one from the junkyard and one from my Explorer :/
Yes, but it is literally a five minute job to remove the bumper.
 






So the underside around my current hitch is really rusty. Are the bolts for the factory hitch screwed into threads on the frame rails? Will I be able to reuse those threads after I remove the old hitch, or is it open so I can use new nuts and other hardware?
 






So the underside around my current hitch is really rusty. Are the bolts for the factory hitch screwed into threads on the frame rails? Will I be able to reuse those threads after I remove the old hitch, or is it open so I can use new nuts and other hardware?
Sorry for the late reply. Yes, the bolt screw into threads on the frame. I reused my original bolts although you could purchase new ones. I am only hauling bicycles so I was not worried about reusing hardware.
 



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