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Fourspeedman 05-05-2021 03:58 PM

XJ front hitch receiver
I use a cramped sneak spot to launch a small boat. I really needed a front mounted hitch for maneuverability. I just ordered a CURT #31084 front mounted receiver. It uses the sway bar attachment bolts as well as drilling a couple more in the front frame. Does anyone have experience with this type of set up? Does it clear the front bumper or will I need a long ball mount? Will the lower air dam need removal or can I work around it? Any feedback is appreciated.

superj 05-06-2021 04:54 AM

i have wondered about front hitches but never looked. i have never seen someone with one on a stock front end

Fourspeedman 05-06-2021 10:17 AM

Way back when cars had huge chrome bumpers it was common to use a clamp-on hitch on the front. That way you could maneuver easier as well as use your headlights for a night time recovery. But now you need a frame mounted receiver. I found two models for the '00 XJ, one from CURT and another from DRAW-TIGHT. Both were hard to get right away and I finally settled on RockAuto who had a single CURT hitch available. I read that the air dam is in the way and you can either leave it off or cut it so the hitch protrudes through it. What I don't know is how far the receiver extends past the bumper and what length ball mount I will need to keep the trailer hitch safely away from the bumper. I also don't need a ball mount sticking so far out someone can get hurt on it. I tend to leave the ball mounts in place all the time.

PimaXJ 05-06-2021 06:16 PM

Evidently there are several offered. Here is a link. Done business with the company before & have been very pleased.

phantomrt 05-06-2021 10:00 PM

I installed a front hitch on my stock 1998 XJ.

Installation was typical of any hitch. I do not recall what brand it is, as it was a Craigslist special. It uses the mounts for the sway bar links in addition to a couple extra holes. I cannot remember if I had to drill new holes or not. I usually remember having to drill large holes when pushing a drill upwards.

I strategically cut the front air dam for the hooks and the receiver. At first glance it isn't noticeable at all and once you see it, it doesn't look out of place.

phantomrt 05-06-2021 10:05 PM

I got it for the recovery points and to help put my snowmobile trailer away. Backing up that trailer really sucks because of how wide it is and you can't see jack.

Fourspeedman 05-07-2021 06:08 AM

Thanx for the pics. I can see cutting the air dam is best since it is pop-riveted in place. Yes, the instructions say you must use the sway bar holes as well as drilling a couple more. Drilling up while on your back is not one of my favorite jobs. Probably not as aggravating as fishing the bolts up inside with those wire thingies. I also see that the end of the receiver is not even past the license plate. I will wait until I have it in place before I get a ball mount. It looks like I will need a long one. Years ago when I started boating I could take as many attempts as I needed to back a trailer into my driveway. Today- I can't even open my door to get out from all the inconsiderate rubberheads flying down my street. So with this front mount hitch I should be able to push it in with one attempt. We shall see.

phantomrt 05-09-2021 09:32 AM

I could take some measurements of my hitch, and although it is not much of a reference, I just stuffed in whatever hitch insert I had laying around and there's room. If it is a bit of a drop hitch, that adds some as well. I don't know if there is a standard length, but what I have used over the years was just what a person would expect to find at the nearest trailer supply store. I don't think that I actually ever bought a hitch insert. I just hoarded whatever I found from here and there and they work.

Fourspeedman 05-09-2021 09:42 AM

My 1983 Pontiac station wagon uses a 1-1/4" receiver. I have a large assortment of ball mounts for that. This XJ and my daughter's KK both use a 2" receiver on the rear. Both use a straight ball mount. I have only one spare 2" ball mount and it is the kind that can add a 3" drop or rise. The goal is to get the trailer level when towing, yet drop the boat transom lower when launching and recovering. So while the straight rear ball mount does that well, I may need a severe rise at the front to get the bow up and the transom down. FedUp says my hitch is arriving today so I will get it mounted as soon as I can and see what I need after that.

Fourspeedman 05-09-2021 11:59 AM

Well, it arrived. And was missing ALL hardware. Thanks, RockAuto, you are really something.

Fourspeedman 05-09-2021 02:46 PM

One of the return/problem options with RockAuto is buy the hardware locally and ask for a refund. I will probably do that and it will cost about $20 on Fleabay. But first I will see if CURT can supply the hardware bag. That would fix everything. Right now I removed the sway bar and had to cut the end links apart to get the rusty SOB's off. I bought new MEVOTEK end links long ago on a closeout sale and now I will get to use them. I also needed new sway bar bushings and no one had the right size locally. Oddly enough, Home Dupa had them by MOOG for $8.33 w/free shipping!?! Tell me that isn't beyond strange.

phantomrt 05-10-2021 09:57 AM

You can get some stuff at now that you wouldn't ever think Walmart would have. Walmart basically gets a cut of the sale for advertising "here it is" for someone else. So, it makes sense that Homless Despot would do something similar.

From what I was told years ago, Rock Auto is not much more than a bunch of computer nerds in the basement of a bank in Madison, WI. This is a 3rd hand story passed down from a product rep who went out looking for them so he could pedal some product. They basically direct ship from automotive parts warehouses around the country. They never laid a hand on the hitch, so the fault goes to Curt mfg instead. I'd try giving them a call and see if they will help you. Dorman does it this way. Dorman has good customer support, but it is unfortunate since their products suck balls. Returning stuff to Rock Auto takes a bite out of time and $$$$$, but even after I eat such products that aren't worth my time to return or pay to ship them back, I still come out ahead. And I still have the same problems with the crap out of the local parts stores. I usually look up the part numbers on Rock Auto, since it is faster, and then search for it at Napa or Oreilly, etc and ask for that particular part number so the kid behind the counter doesn't have the opportunity to forget to ask if the 2015 Sonata I am working on is a hybrid or gas.

222Doc 05-10-2021 10:41 AM

Dorman is hit or miss. China. But they have came up with repair stuff that well its better then were ever jeep has stuff made right now. Like say that issue with 3.6s that as well kinda became an orphan. 13 or so and older 3.6 the issue is the the spring built into the oil filter area that is kinda a anti back flow valve. Its part of the whole assembly, just like a new one right now. Those first design that sprig retains its self in the thinnest pastic one might create , they tended to fall apart when removing the oil cap the spring might fly out. Later designs the unit cracks< never addressed yet. Dorman makes a repair for the older design 3.6 that is low cost and snaps right where it breaks off what 20$ and easy pezzy or take the whole Intake off plenum to even get to it.

Dorman just came out with an Alloy version of the 3.6s coolant cross over pipe. Stock is plastic. Now if they would do the thermostats house that bolts to that in alloy? should wont cost much more and would be built proof where you need it like cooling. Now this stuff is made in China, but compared to stock. Yea so where is that something can made worse? Just so i know...

CJ7-Tim 05-10-2021 11:43 AM


Originally Posted by Fourspeedman (Post 41267383)
Well, it arrived. And was missing ALL hardware.

Have a U-Haul nearby ? They should have a big box of leftover hitch install hardware. All you really can't get at the hardware store is the inside the frame rail square plates.

Fourspeedman 05-10-2021 01:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Well, I called CURT and they gave me the part number for the bag of hardware. But they don't sell that to the public and I have to track it down myself. NO luck with that at all. They can't even sell me the whole hitch because they are out of stock. also third-party sells and I remember my rear mounted hitch came direct from CURT. Did I get the last 31084 on the planet? Lots of vendors are listing it as "discontinued". So has a "box of parts" and can whip up the parts bag - for $75. So I re-evaluated the situation and this is what I decided. I keep everything and I had a few of those square hole washers that go inside the frame left over from my rear hitch install. I did not have the 1/2" spacers that go between the hitch and the frame. I did have some 1/4" thick steel plates and I was able to drill some 1/2" holes in those. Two stacked up equal the 1/2" spacers. I had some 1/2" grade 8 carriage bolts but they were too short. The original M10 bolts were also too short. But I found both the right length 1/2" and M10 grade 8 bolts on Fleabay. I ordered those and asked RockAuto to re-imburse me for the hardware. They agreed. So now I have all the fasteners on the way. I have all the washer/spacers. I even have one of those "fishing" wires to get the bolts into the frame holes. That is when I realized there are NO holes in the frame big enough to get the square hole washers inside. I was not about to remove the front bumper only to find there is no access there either. OK, out comes the Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel. I enlarged the biggest holes I could find and now the washers will fit. Now I wait for the mailman to bring me the bolts.

The time now is 10:19 AM.

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