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Old 02-04-2011, 10:12 AM   #1
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Question Neutral Tow Kit for 2003 Ford Explorer 4x4

I am trying to find a Neutral Tow Kit (part no. 1L2J7H332-AA) for a 2003 Ford Explorer 4x4 4Door V8. My local Ford dealer is telling me Ford does not make such a kit now nor have they ever made such a kit for any V8s, only have kits for V6s. I even showed him the 2003 Ford Towing Guide that specifically shows that my vehicle works with that install. I also did a check for this part on the Ford Parts website and no such part number is found there. Do any of you know anyone that has a new or used kit for sale or any mechanic that can do the install? I have seen messages on this board dated back in 2006 though 2008 that says this kit can be built yourself with about $12 worth of easy to find over-the-counter parts. Perhaps someone has this type of build plan that I can get a copy of?

I also checked out the REMCO website. They do not build a Driveshaft Release Kit for my truck and that website states that the Ford Neutral Tow Kit will not work with my make/model of truck. I have read numerous posts on this website as well as several others that specifically do say the kit will work and are actually using it on their Ford Explorers.

My 2003 Ford Explorer XLT is a 4 door with auto transmission and a V8. My 4x4 system has 3 buttons on the dash labeled 4x4 Auto, 4x4 High, and 4x4 Low. I have only used my 4x4 system a few times, but it was a lifesaver when I did need it.

I am retired and currently live in So. CA, but am willing to drive just about anywhere at this point to have a Neutral Tow Kit system made and installed, rather than buy a trailer to tow my Ford Explorer on. Any additional info is greatly appreciated; especially a person or place that sells and installs these kits.
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:24 PM   #2
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Thumbs up

Finally we have found some luck with this one. Nick Russell of The Gypsy Journal is sending me the wiring diagram. The cost to make the truck towable is a $2 LED light/wire harness and about $25 labor to flash a particular code into the computer that can be done at any modern day mechanic's shop. Looking at a total cost of about $30 to $35.

Before Nick called me, this is the info I had found on the subject:

It appears the part is no longer made, but did find an out-of-state Ford dealer that has them available. They quit making the part in Nov. 2009. At the time the part was still being made, it cost $30, but now the part is no longer in production, so it costs $350. The kit consists of a wiring diagram, a diode, and a wire with an LED light on the end. Takes Ford less than one hour to download some info into the computer and make the install. Looking at about $400 to $500 total cost (parts and labor) plus travel expenses.

I want to say thank you very much Nick Russell.
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:01 PM   #3
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He's exactly right. Just an LED light that hooks into a loose green plug connection that is tied off up under the steering column and a flash that enables neutral tow and that's it. No Diode.

You don't need a wiring diagram. Just get a 12 volt LED from radio shack and tie it into the plug.
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:14 PM   #4
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Other than the simple wire/LED splice, I still need to find a mechanic with the diagnostic machine to plug into the computer. I have contacted several Ford Service Departments and Independent mechanics in So. CA and have not found any mechanic willing to program the code. Here is the simple code that needs to be added using any one of three types of diagnostic machines.

USING NGS SERVICE (GREEN) CARD
CONNECT TO VEHICLE VIA THE DIAGNOSTIC CONNECTOR
SELECT “SERVICE BAY FUNCTIONS”
SELECT “4X4 CONTROL MODULE”
SELECT “NEUTRAL TOW FUNCTION”
SELECT “EXPLORER”
PRESS TRIGGER AND SCROLL TO ENABLE OR DISABLE
PRESS TRIGGER AGAIN AFTER HIGHLIGHTING THE DESIRED STATE
PRESS “DONE”

USING NGS+
SELECT PROPER VEHICLE AND MODEL YEAR
SELECT DIAGNOSTIC DATA LINK
SELECT 4X4 MODULE
SELECT FUNCTION TESTS
SELECT NEUTRAL TOW ENABLE
SCROLL TO ENABLE OR DISABLE NTF AND PRESS TRIGGER

USING WDS
CONNECT TO VEHICLE VIA THE DIAGNOSTIC CONNECTOR
FOLLOW HOOK UP SCREEN
AFTER WDS DISPLAYS VEHICLE INFO, SELECT TOOL BOX ON TOP OF SCREEN
FROM ON SCREEN MENU SELECT “MODULE PROGRAMMING”
SELECT “PROGRAMMABLE PARAMETTERS”
SELECT “NEUTRAL TOW FUNCTION”
FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS ON THE WDS TO COMPLETE OPERATION
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:32 PM   #5
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Be sure yours is not one of the Explorers that needs a trans neutral switch installed, I know that some have to have it added also, but don't know which.
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:28 AM   #6
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Wizard;

Believe it or not, this is what makes up the Neutral Tow Kit that is no longer manufactured by Ford for my make/model. The Neutral Tow Kit was nothing more than an LED light connected to a pigtail that was plugged into the green wire under the steering column. Then the computer was flashed to allow the transfer case to be placed into neutral.
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Old 02-05-2011, 02:35 AM   #7
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My local Ford dealer did it for $100

Guess I got out lucky
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:13 PM   #8
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Roy Jameson, owner of Freedom Automotive of Hesperia, CA, did the homemade Ford Neutral Kit for my vehicle. Cost was $50 labor for 45 minutes of work and $5 for a 12 volt LED light. This is an extremely easy fix to allow my 2003 Ford Explorer 4x4 with V8 to be a Dinghy vehicle. The work consisted of cutting off the Green Plug (with two wires) under the right side of the steering column, completing the circuit with two short wires and an LED light, and then plugging in the computer and clicking on the option to allow Neutral Towing.

I did not have to purchase the $350 Neutral Tow Kits plus $30 shipping costs from a Ford dealer in WA. Also, please note that REMCO puts out bad info on their website and by phone stating that the 2003 Ford Explorers with V8s and 4x4 can not be used as Dinghy vehicles. Even most Ford Service Centers put out bad info as well by stating my vehicle can not be towed four wheels down, even though their 2003 Ford Dinghy Guide states my vehicle can be used as a Dinghy. Once the work was completed, the vehicle was tested by towing it several miles and it tows just fine now.

Once again, thanks to Nick Russell, of Gypsy Journal for telling me exactly how to make the homemade Ford Neutral Tow Kit for a total cost of $55 installed vs $380 plus labor.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:25 AM   #9
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Someone asked me what are the steps to place the vehicle's transfer case into neutral for towing now that the homemade neutral tow kit is in place, so here you go.

Once the 12V LED was in place, I had the mechanic confirm that following the sequence of steps below that the transfer case was in neutral. Make sure the vehicle is secured (won't roll away)

1. have the engine running
2. put the shift level into neutral
3. turn the key back two positions (off but not locked)
4. indicator light will come on and then turn off
5. press the brake and the 4X4 auto button for about 5 seconds
6. the indicator light will flash 4 times and then stay on
7. release the brake and the 4X4 button
8. transfer case is in neutral
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