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Old 02-23-2013, 09:43 AM   #1
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Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hitch?

I have a 2008 stock front end except for 2"-3" of lift with heavier duty coil springs than stock. The Van is also 2WD that probably increases the possibility of needed to be pulled out of trouble. I have the stock class IV/V rear trailer hitch, so no problem there. But what about getting pulled out of trouble from the front? I checked with Ford, and no recovery eyes are available as a dealer option. An appropriate "macho" bumper cost $2000 or more, and may block cooling air.

I have been told by Nelson Truck in Seattle that pulling and E-350 from the frame is not advised as there is not enough structure connecting the frame rails together (even though I was once pulled onto a flatbed that way by a Ford approved roadside service while on warranty).

I was wondering if putting a front hitch would do the trick. Curt Manufacturing front class III hitch 31053 has a 5000 lb (500 lb vertical) and 9000 lb straight line pull capability and bolts onto both frame rails http://www.curtmfg.com/part/31053. The installation manual (online) clearly specs out limits of vertical and horizontal pull angles. This hitch also does not decrease the entry angle because a piece of the plastic air dam has to be removed during installation. This hitch seems to have more load capability than the impression I have gotten from Aluminess for their aluminum bumpers or even a steel Buckstop after calling these companies. Has anyone gone the front hitch route or have any other ideas?
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:13 AM   #2
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Re: Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hi

I was searching on SuperDuty tow hooks, since my F-series had them and my Excursion has them, and I was wondering if them couldn't be adapted to the E series.

Came across this very interesting item, not that it solves your issue. A work step that hooks onto your tow hooks.


http://www.bulletproofdiesel.com/product_p/techstep.htm


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Old 02-23-2013, 10:22 AM   #3
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Re: Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hi

Look at U-Joint Offroad. Chris offers some front frame support and front hitch that could interest you...
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:14 PM   #4
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Re: Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hi

This member, http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/mem...ewprofile&u=34, has the front hitch, although I'm not sure if he ever used it for recovery purposes.

I'm in the same boat in that I've never addressed this problem on our 2007 SMB. I wonder if that hitch would fit my van? I'll have to look into it some more. Definitely post again if you go this route.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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Re: Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hi

I also have a front tow hitch. Several members do. The greatest thing for backing a trailer. I imagine it would work to pull the van out from the front.

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Old 02-23-2013, 04:08 PM   #6
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Re: Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hi

Would the Curt front hitch mentioned above be compatible with SMB West's 4-wheel drive?
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:32 PM   #7
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Re: Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hi

Quote:
Originally Posted by bratworst
Would the Curt front hitch mentioned above be compatible with SMB West's 4-wheel drive?
I think there's one on the Badger's Van. If so, yes.

I don't think it'll work with the Ujoint conversion.

I've measured mine (reverse trailing arm), and it would interfere with the sway bar mounts.

I've looked into this previously. I'm currently considering just having a thick plate with some big eyelets made that can bold between the bumper and the frame, and drilling access holes in the
bumper. I'd expect most custom hitch shops to be able to put something like this together for not much more that 2x the cost of an off-the-shelf hitch. You'd then also know that what you have
really is good for how you're trying to use it.

This would be a small step up from the Ujoint plate. If I ever did decide to get a winch
though, going directly to something like the Ujoint bumper makes more sense.

You could also just use the ujoint plate and add some standard recovery hooks, though keep in mind that they are usually rated at 10k lbs. Probably OK if always used as pairs (someone please school me if I'm suggesting something dangerous, I am not an expert rigger) with a bridle.

I ordered some of those hooks before I figured out that the front of the frame needs to be tied together, and have not mounted them.

BTW, what's up with Ford not sorting this? This is the only vehicle I've ever owned that didn't have provisions for a recovery from either end. I'm not talking purely about trail or track bound vehicles either.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:52 PM   #8
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Re: Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hi

Jwinterstellar (door talon guy) installed some shackles to the bumper/frame. Looked like a very solid solution.

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Old 02-23-2013, 10:15 PM   #9
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Re: Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapatio
Jwinterstellar (door talon guy) installed some shackles to the bumper/frame. Looked like a very solid solution.

Is there any more detail on that? This looks a lot how I would envision a plate with two thick pieces welded to to look.

Does his solution tie the two frame points together somehow or did he solve that problem some other way? It looks like there might be a hitch below the bumper as well.

Edit: I went searching through their photos with no luck. Lots of other nice work though. Certainly an eye for simple solutions. Well implemented as well.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:24 PM   #10
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Re: Pulling (Recovering) an E-350 by frame, bumper, front hi

Sorry; should have chimed in earlier.

I have a Salem Kroger front end with leaf springs. They welded and braced in a square tube that parallels the front bumper. It has two beefy tow hooks. In addition, there's a standard 2" receiver tube; I currently have my jack in it but carry a shackle that can be inserted for towing. Or whatever else. The tube is welded on, and braced.

The front chassis is often a pain to work with cuz they have a crumple zone there, and the guy was right that said sometimes there isn't much cross brace (if you've got a nice straight pull out of something you're probably not really stuck ).

A good 4x4 or truck shop that does fab could probably make something for you. I'd try someone besides your generic tow hitch shop; they'll probably grumble about liability and wanna do a bolt on, etc. There's generally room there, and easy to cut through the plastic or metal up front. I would think it could be done if SK did it for me.

And overbuild it. Generally you'd want a winch with 1.5x your vehicle's weight, if not more. 9K is sorta iffy. If your van is stuck, it's the weight and resistance due to being crowned out or whatever. The Curt hitch is fine, but the fab work to make it fit probably means it would be easier for your builder to just use their own metal (although I have made stuff out of HF's towing parts cuz the steel was cheaper than I could buy from my metal supplier...darn Chinese!).

Here's a pic:

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