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Gen 4 hitch removal?

Discussion in 'Minivans · Pacifica' started by Stephen, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. Stephen

    Stephen Well-Known Member

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    Nothing is ever simple. Our '05 is about to be donated. It needs more work (and resulting cost) than we want to put into it. We'd rather put the money toward a lower-mile machine, either another Gen 4 or maybe a Gen 5. I'll need a hitch, so am considering yanking the Draw-Tite brand hitch off our '05 in case the (as-yet-unbought newer Gen 4) van I find does not have one and I can bolt this one on and save a few bucks but I'm hitting a snag: I can't figure out how they worked in the hitch mounting brackets past the rear leaf springs and rear spring mounts. It looks like unbolting the six bolts (three per side; two on the rear hitch bracket and one on the front hitch bracket) will allow the hitch to drop down slightly but not have room to be worked out past the obstacles. Has anyone done this, or bolted one up? Do the rear springs need to be unbolted? Any tips?

    Also, I have not looked under random vans to see if every van has the frame rails pre-drilled and threaded for a hitch install. Is this part of a towing package and therefore not to be found on every van or do they drill and tap them all?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Stephen

    Stephen Well-Known Member

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    I have found some videos of installs but they are on non-S&G vans so seem much simpler. Here's a net pic of a hitch for this van, which closely resembles the one I'm trying to remove. See how those uprights splay outwards? That's what traps the brackets between the springs and makes things complicated.
    [​IMG]

    Okay, I should have known YouTube would have something. Turns out there's an '05 install and it looks like I'll need a lift (I hope ramps will do) and a helper. It's just a matter of getting some vertical space under the van to maneuver the piece into position and swing one end forward in order to work the brackets into position, and this install does utilize existing holes and bolts.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gc2WdOdj7I
     
    #2 Stephen, Sep 9, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
    chuzz likes this.
  3. Stephen

    Stephen Well-Known Member

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    Time to get creative. While I have a garage and a floor jack I feel somewhat uncomfortable wrestling with the hitch thusly but I had a brainstorm involving a recently completed hardscape feature in the yard. Posting a photo now in case this approach bites me in the [I should have my mouth washed out with soap for using such terms].
    IMG_8070.JPG
     
  4. chuzz

    chuzz Well-Known Member

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    Splendid idea. Looks like something I'd do. Carry on and let us know how it works out.
     
  5. Stephen

    Stephen Well-Known Member

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    Got the thing off. Man, working with lumber and bicycles on other chores has spoiled me for having to deal with motor vehicles; BIG fasteners and HEAVY parts. Makes me wonder what working on the B350 will be like when I get around to it. That video I found was extremely helpful, showing that once loosened you need to swing one end of the hitch way forward in order to slip the front bracket past the leaf spring to drop it down, a very tight squeeze. They swung the right side forward but I did the left due to the placement of the block wall. A helper would have been handy but the bride had better (smarter) things to do elsewhere.
    IMG_8076.JPG

    You can see how I set up my "studio" for the job; chair on one side and boards to ease lying on the steps on the other.
    IMG_8078.JPG

    Two existing 15mm bolts at the back mount and one existing 18mm bolt at the front on each side. The mounts for the Stow 'N Go vans are entirely different and more challenging to reach than the non-SNG vans, at least from the way it looks on some of those videos.
    IMG_8079.JPG

    Now that I have the thing off it will guarantee one of two things, either the next van I buy will be another Gen 4 with a hitch already installed, or I'll find a Gen 5 that this hitch would not fit anyway but at least we can now proceed with the donation as planned and make some space in the driveway. I always overlapped vehicles when I replaced them before now, so this will be the first time since '95 that I haven't had a Mopar minivan.
     
  6. DC-93

    DC-93 Well-Known Member

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    Will it fit the newer van you'll be getting?
     
  7. Stephen

    Stephen Well-Known Member

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    If I get another Gen 4 with Stow 'N Go, yes. Newer gen van, probably not. When I got rid of the last '05 and got this one, both had hitches so I did not need to do this. Might not be so lucky next purchase.
    R&B.JPG
     
    #7 Stephen, Sep 11, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
  8. Stephen

    Stephen Well-Known Member

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    Well, we said goodbye today to our blue '05 Grand Caravan, donated to help support our local PBS station. It's been 25 years or more since we've had a Mopar minivan in the family. Might replace it with another but there's no rush; we'll just have to see how long we can live without one.

    Made it onto the rollback under its own power.
    IMG_8173.JPG

    Bye-bye, blue van.
    IMG_8182.JPG
     

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