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Old 02-27-2011, 07:46 PM   #1
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I Don't Like To See Anything Go To Waste

So rather than spend $380. on a base plate for my 98 Explorer Sport I bought a new base plate for a Windstar for $90 including freight from E bay because I could not buy new metal locally for that amount.

I cut up the bar and reconfigured it to fit the Explorer through the bottom fog light valance, it's been dry fitted to verify that it does fit and I'll post a picture of that when it's finally mounted.

It seems I did not take a full frontal picture of it

Link to original configuration

reconfigured to
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:22 PM   #2
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This is great, because I am looking for a solution to tow my Jeep Grand Cherokee that has a front hitch. Your pictures show that the entire thing is nothing more than a front hitch with those tow eyes welded to it. Am I correct with that assumption?

This means, I could just weld the eyes to my existing hitch and should be running.

I just love this forum, because solutions are presented when one expects them the least!
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:37 PM   #3
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As long as the front hitch as mounted is strong enough to carry the weight I don't see why not.

I'm guessing it was a custom made hitch set up being on the front. Can you post any pictures of it or measure the thickness of some of the metal? Depending on what someone was thinking when they made it they might have cut corners thinking it'll never tow any weight on the road and only be used for spotting a trailer somewhere.

Having installed many hitches for customers over the years the Blue Ox I cut up was very capable for being used as a 3500lb trailer hitch. I'm also thinking it will take more weight with the tow points at the outer edges where it's stronger than in the middle of the cross bar plus there is no tongue weight on it either.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:49 PM   #4
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As long as the front hitch as mounted is strong enough to carry the weight I don't see why not.

I'm guessing it was a custom made hitch set up being on the front. Can you post any pictures of it or measure the thickness of some of the metal? Depending on what someone was thinking when they made it they might have cut corners thinking it'll never tow any weight on the road and only be used for spotting a trailer somewhere.

Having installed many hitches for customers over the years the Blue Ox I cut up was very capable for being used as a 3500lb trailer hitch. I'm also thinking it will take more weight with the tow points at the outer edges where it's stronger than in the middle of the cross bar plus there is no tongue weight on it either.
No, it is just an off the shelf Draw Tite hitch with a 5000 lbs tow rating (made for the Jeep). I use it to attach my winch to it to drag the Jeep out off the mud (in case I get stuck) during my off-roading trips. My hitch has already recovery loops welded on from the factory. If I would weld the draw points at the same locations it should work. The hitch itself is attached at the same points that are the attachment points for a Blue Ox base plate.
I could weld some extra corners between the cross bar and the attachment brackets to give it some more torsion strength.

My problem was that I had never seen a base plate before, and had no idea what one looks like. I don't even have to make any openings for the tow points since my bumper is also modified and the hitch is totally free and not covered.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:57 PM   #5
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Being as it's made by Draw Tite (Ridgid Hitch) out of Minneapolis I have no doubt it'll work for your needs.

Do you by any chance have a part number for it and I can get an idea at work tomorrow what it looks like from the catalog.

If you look up base plates at the blue ox site for your make and model it'll give you the distance between the cleats, most of them seem to be 24-26".
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:12 PM   #6
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It is this hitch.
http://www.hitchpro.com/application/...ons/N65008.pdf
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:37 PM   #7
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If it were me I'd tackle it by drilling a hole through the front of the cross bar at a point where I was going to weld the tow eyes on. I'd want the hole drilled so I could measure the side wall thickness of the tube because of the 300 weight limitation they put on it. There is more concern about towed weight than winch weight because winch weight is a more evenly applied pressure when winching as compared to driving down the road with bouncing weight and that weight acting like a impact wrench multiplying the weight with a striking force. I'm not sure if they would have used a thinner sidewall because of the lessor amount of towed weight.

I'm sure the sidewall thickness would be more than adequate but I'd still want to be sure. If it was thin sidewall I'd consider using a L angle bracket with the eyes welded to that and then putting the angle over the top of the cross tube facing front then welded in place. Like I said I'm willing to bet the sidewall is thick enough but I don't have any experience with front trailer hitches. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:02 PM   #8
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If it were me I'd tackle it by drilling a hole through the front of the cross bar at a point where I was going to weld the tow eyes on. I'd want the hole drilled so I could measure the side wall thickness of the tube because of the 300 weight limitation they put on it. There is more concern about towed weight than winch weight because winch weight is a more evenly applied pressure when winching as compared to driving down the road with bouncing weight and that weight acting like a impact wrench multiplying the weight with a striking force. I'm not sure if they would have used a thinner sidewall because of the lessor amount of towed weight.

I'm sure the sidewall thickness would be more than adequate but I'd still want to be sure. If it was thin sidewall I'd consider using a L angle bracket with the eyes welded to that and then putting the angle over the top of the cross tube facing front then welded in place. Like I said I'm willing to bet the sidewall is thick enough but I don't have any experience with front trailer hitches. Better safe than sorry.
I had the same idea with the angle iron. I wanted to weld a piece across the entire cross bar, and strengthen the attachment to the frame plate in addition. Some extra iron is rather cheap and welding is no problem for me. I don't care if I will do a little overkill, as long as I am sure that it will hold up to the task.

Thank you very much, this thread helped me to find a solution to my tow problem!
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:13 PM   #9
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I like the idea of the extra angle as it allows for welding the eyelets on in a position that I am physically comfortable with.

Just a thought for you when I do truck frame extensions I seal the openings with 3M seam sealer it keeps the salty water out so there is no rusting between the metal surfaces causing distortion over the years. Then you can just use some substantial "Tack" welding about an inch wide every foot or so rather than welding the whole area.

The little metal tabs I was welding on the top (at vise grip) was because I cut them overly wide so I had wiggle room when aligning all three pieces up while it was bolted to the chassis. They were welded back in place to keep weather out of the inside of the tubing since I drive this Explorer as a service vehicle during the winter.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:09 AM   #10
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Finished now except for brake selection and installation.
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