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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:46 pm 
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Location: Chesterland, OH
I purchased a new to me truck for towing. It is a 1994 Ford F-150 4x4 with a 5.0 liter automatic.
I have been debating the strength of this towing setup.
It has an aftermarket bumper that says it is rated for 10,000 lbs.

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It has a step bumper receiver which is attached to the bumper with two 5/8" bolts. One of the bolts has 9 slashes on it. I know 3 slashes=grade 5 and 5 slashes=grade 8. Never heard of 9 slashes does that make it a grade 12, if there is such a thing? I have never liked these step bumper hitches held to the bumper with just two bolts. Should I be concerned about this?

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The part of the bumper which holds the receiver is strong 1/2" thick steel. So I don't doubt this part of the bumper is rated for 10,000 lbs.
This part of the bumper is attached to the truck frame by two 1/2" brackets (one on each side) mounted with two 1/2 bolts and two 1/2" bolts connect the bracket to the side of the truck frame. These bolts in the truck frame 3 1/4" away from each other.
All of my past trucks have had regular hitches that bolt to the bottom of the truck frame with three bolts on each side spread over about a 15" span. Which to me seems stronger and they were only rated for 5,000 lbs.

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The heaviest trailer I tow is a 1500 lb. car trailer with a car. Usually my Tracker which puts the total weight around 4000 pounds. Not often but once in a while I may put a larger truck or suv on the trailer.
The truck has a brake controller and wiring for trailer brakes on it. So im guessing someone has pulled some heavy loads with it in the past.

What are your opinions on the strength of this aftermarket bumper setup?
Should I get a regular class III hitch bolted directly to the frame instead?
Or am I good to go with what I have?

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97 Geo Tracker: 3" Calmini Suspension lift/31" Dunlop Mud Rovers
96 Suzuki King Quad 300
94 Ford F150 (towing vehicle)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:16 pm 
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I have a class iv on my van and it only has 4 bolts but they are on bottom not on the side.

I'm not sure which way is stronger though.

Based on the rusty look of it I would put new bolts in if you use the bumper. I will say I don't like the 2 bolt, bolt on receiver. Id say bumper rating is with ball bolted to bumper not that reciever.

I would personally put a new hitch on simply becuase the 2 bolt Reciever doesnt seem strong to me and I woukd want the quick adjustability of a reciever.


But I do think the bumper part would do fine. My dad tows an 8500 pound dozer on a factory bumper on an identical truck.. not that it's ideal or necessarily safe

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:01 pm 
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My brothers got a decent hitch that will bolt right on ur truck, i can see what he wants for it


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:41 pm 
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I agree that 4x 1/2" bolts holding the hitch to the bumper doesn't seem to be enough, but how many 10k or 12k (or bigger) winches are mounted with similar sized bolts to 3/16" sheet metal bumpers that are no where near 1/2" thick at the mounting plate that this hitch is mounted to?

In my opinion, based on what you listed as your common towing needs, it is probably OK.

9 Hash marks on the bolt head is not common, but most likely they are stronger than grade 8. Probably specially made for the bumper manufacturer.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:53 pm 
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Donnie, I think I agree with your thoughts. I can't believe your dad tows like that.

Zjman, If I decide to buy a hitch I will let you know,
However looking under my truck. It doesn't look like the frame has any holes for a hitch to bolt up to. It looks like I would have to drill all the holes.
Since I dont like drilling I am considering using the current setup for my regular towing up to 4000 lbs. In the rare instance where I might want to tow something heavier I would remove the step bumper hitch and bolt a ball directly to the bumper.

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97 Geo Tracker: 3" Calmini Suspension lift/31" Dunlop Mud Rovers
96 Suzuki King Quad 300
94 Ford F150 (towing vehicle)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:11 pm 
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Im pretty sure all ford frames are drilled for a reese style hitch, i believe u use bumper holes in frame for two of the mounts


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:33 pm 
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I have never seen a ford not have the needed holes.

Most hitches are built to use existing holes.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:49 pm 
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It's a Ford, I wouldn't even pull 40lbs with it

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2016 2:17 am 
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I couldn't believe this truck doesn't have existing holes, either.
On the bottom of the frame at the rear end (where a hitch is normally attached) the only existing holes are a couple of small 1/4 holes.
I found some video's online showing how to install a hitch to this truck and they all show the need to drill the holes into this part of the frame.
Here is a picture:
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f150 rear frame.jpg
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97 Geo Tracker: 3" Calmini Suspension lift/31" Dunlop Mud Rovers
96 Suzuki King Quad 300
94 Ford F150 (towing vehicle)


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