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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello fellow 'stangers! saluting-us-flag.gif Today I embarked upon a journey...to install a draw-tite trailer hitch on my '05 GT.

Now, before I go any further, please don't trash this thread with comments a la, "why would you do that to a mustang?!". let me remind you that its nothing more than a high volume production car. if you don't think these ponies should be work horses, don't waste your time reading this, cuz you won't like what you see. cool now lets begin.


i went to a couple places were all familiar with and got quotes between 230-250 for a complete hitch installation, including wiring. me, being a diy-er to the max, decided id save some money and get one for 119.99 online. so, a couple days ago, I ordered "Draw-Tite 24747 Class I SportFrame Hitch" from a reputable online website that has free 2 day shipping with membership.

i also bought a 4pole flat trailer plug from my local auto store and wired it in today. i didn't even splice into the tail light wires, all i did was push the stripped trailer plug wires into the appropriate wire channel in the plastic harness thats in the trunk, just before the wires go through the metal into the lights. the car's colors are as follows: red/white: left turn signal, blue/yellow: running lights (only on when headlights are on), and red/white again on the passenger side for the right signal.

the hitch arrived today and i finally got around to install about 9 o'clock this evening. what i thought was going to be a fairly simple bolt in install kept me working until almost 2am. The main problem? well, where do i begin...crap-hitting-the-fan

the hitch kit comes with 4 wires that are coiled at one end in which your carriage bolts thread into, they call them bolt leaders. i call them extremely ghetto. the frame rails directly above the mufflers are closed off (no interior access), save for a couple holes barely big enough for a finger to slip in. to get the bolts through to the inside of the the frame rails and then through the hitch mounting plate to allow the nut to be fastened, you must feed the non coiled end of this wire through a 3/4 inch hole in the bottom of the frame rail directly above the muffler, towards the front side of it, and somehow with luck, beer, and patience, feed it all the way "(over a foot) back through the frame rail and out the tiny little hole on the side near the bumper. trainwreck.gif This is nearly impossible. what i ended up having to do was use a completely different wire and once it was fed through, i taped a string to it and pulled it through. then, i taped this string to the non coiled side of the special wire with the carriage bolt threaded into it and pulled it through. the real problem is that theres only about an inch clearance between the muffler and the frame rail, and boy does it take forever to get those wires pulled through.

then, if you have a gt like mine, you go over to the passenger side and realize that you have to dremel the horizontal muffler bracket bolt hole 1/4" to accommodate for the 1/4" steel plate that is the hitch mounting plate. no big deal compared to all that fishing for bolts. in fact after spending 2 hours trying to get 2 bolts in place, it felt great to do some grinding.

With all 4 (2 on each side) trailer hitch mounting bolts and all 4 (2 on each side) muffler brackets finger tightened, i realized that there was no room for a socket. well, there was. but due to the tight fit of the bumper, muffler, brackets, and spare tire well, i was able to rotate my socket 1 click at a time. not sure how many clicks make one revolution, but its a lot. not hard, just time consuming. drivers side goes pretty smoothly as the muffler bracket is on the outside of the frame rail and the nuts were tightening are on the inside. passenger side is not so easy. ford save probably a penny per car by using the exact same muffler bracket on the passenger side, which means that it bolts to the inside of the frame rail, and that muffler bracket is completely in the way of the trailer hitch bolts. the top bolt was a click at a time, but doable. the bottom one? well, i stared and stared but for the life of me cannot find a way to rotate my socket to tighten the nut. confused013.gif

so, i currently have 3 of 4 hitch mounting bolts torqued down to 50 lb-ft, with no ideas for how I'm gonna tighten that last, lower passenger side carriage bolt. hopefully some sleep will make a solution obvious to me tomorrow.

conclusion: what a nightmare, lucky i enjoy staying up all night! my total cost was a buck short of 130 (excluding all the beer i had to drink to make it through rant.gif), exactly 100 less than the lowest quote. like i said I'm diy and never take my cars to anyone for anything because i truly enjoy working on them and it is rewarding to me, but this job is the first i can honestly say that would have been worth every penny of that 100 to just take it in and pay someone else to do it. but, was it worth it? ill let you know after i get back from pismo dunes :D

Thanks for the read, i hope it was informative and it helps at least 1 person out amer.gif ill post pics if anyones interested. updates to come
 

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I'd like to see some pics.
I've entertained the idea of a little trailer to haul track wheels around. Harbor Freight has them pretty cheap but if the hitch install is a bear, I'll see what else is available.
 

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I've been thinking of installing a hitch for a small trailer myself. Found a small trailer frame (wood had been removed) which is all I really need... I just want a something that I can use to move my kayak and friend's rowboat around (plus carry some gear if I go camping or whatever).

Still regret not picking up the U-haul trailer hitch kit a guy was selling on craigslist last year. Was dirt cheap. Apparently he installed & used it for one trip when he moved up to MA and then took it off and put it up for sale to recoup some of his cost. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.
 

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interesting. My first thought was; why in the world? then after reading a couple other threads here, seems like there could be some practical light duty use for this setup....would not mind seeing some pic's of the finished product as well.
 

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Wow. Took shop maybe 30 min. to install the one I had put on years ago. Initially it was to tow a small trailer for wheels and secondly house the tow ring. I never got a trailer, but it comes in real handy for the tow ring.
 

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I can appreciate your ambition and cost saving methods, but I'd be afraid to tow anything if I wasn't 100% certain it was hooked up properly.

Just my .02

Nick C.
 

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When I installed a hitch on my Jeep Cherokee I gave up on the stupid nuts and just bought the OEM nut strip. Too bad there is no such thing for the Mustang.

There had to be an easier way. The e36 BMW has aftermarket hitches that bolt to the outside of the spare tire well.

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Installing the hitch can be a pain, but it's worth it. I have the hidden hitch on on mine; it let me hook up a uhaul trailor and move across country for a fraction of the cost that renting a truck would have been. and when not in use you hardly even notice the receiver poking out from under the bumper.

The hardest part for me were the carriage bolt wire leads that you mentioned. I ended up buying an extra package of them because I had a couple of them stretch out and shear off while trying to pull the bolts through. I didn't have any trouble tightening them once they were through though. I just ended up leaving off one of the passenger side muffler mounts. One is enough to hold it in place and I haven't had any problems with it so far.
 

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two words..... "torque wrench".......If memory serves me correctly most carriage bolts are normally pretty soft and won't take the torque of a grade 5 cap screw/nut. I think the carriage bolts are in the neighborhood of a grade 2. Since the torque applied to them would be lower, self locking nut (ny-lock type) might not be bad idea...
 

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I installed a trailer hitch on mine and used the 'bolt leaders' that were supplied with the hitch. They worked great but it was a bit tricky to get the wire from the hole in the frame towards the front to the correct hole where the bolt had to come through - you know what I mean. The biggest problem I had was to fit the hitch into the frame while trying not to mangle the bolt leader wire. Fortunately my daughter was there to help (gotta train them young to appreciate the car she will get LOL). Once pushed into place, the bolt leader did come through. And yes - you do have to grind the 1 passenger side hole larger. I have to do a bit more to mod something as the muffler didn't go back quite straight.
Wiring - I did splice into the appropriate wires but also added a 3 amp fuse to each of the 3 wires. I find trailer wiring notorious for shorting on the trailer and I didn't want a short on the trailer to take out the car wiring or fuse somewhere - and the fuses have blown so I'm happy I put them in.
I like having the hitch and isn't really noticeable unless you really look. Yes I admit it looks kind of silly pulling a trailer with the Stang but when you need it - you need it and it certainly is handy.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Update

Hey all, sorry I totally forgot about this thread for a very long time. As an update, all bolts are installed and properly torqued. Had to use a dremel to elongate the hole in the muffler hanging bracket on pass side. That is the ONLY mod to the car that is required for this to work. Install was easy just time consuming and frustrating and I reiterate you should have uhaul install it unless you're like me and just don't want others working on your car. Towed a big 'ol trailer with my banshee on it from idaho back home to cali. taken it to pismo a few times with success. seems solid. If you are a track frequenter and need to pull extra tires, fancy gas, coolers etc... i HIGHLY recommend buying this. it sits very flush with the bottom of the factory gt bumper cover so you can't see the main bar at all, just the square tube where the tow bar goes in. The added weight of 40 lbs is easily accounted for by just pulling out the spare tire and jack. also if you're like me and only have 1 car, you now don't have to ask friends with trucks to help you move. very empowering rasta.gif. Let me know if i left something out!

-Scott
 

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The instructions I got with my hitch said to file out that hole so the hitch and bolts would fit. They passenger side muffler is still a bit off because of the hitch. Gotta look into that sometime.
 
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