Project Isuzu VehiCross Part 7: Getting Hitched With Curt Manufacturing

Project Isuzu VehiCross Part 7: Getting Hitched With Curt Manufacturing

by David Zipf

One of the reasons we bought a VehiCross, on top of its coolness, was the ability to tow another car. See, the VehiCross is not my only car.  I have two others that are both in various states of disrepair and both are in Delaware, where I was born and raised.  Currently, my two real projects are 650 miles from where I make my home in Kentucky and if I ever intend to drive these toys again I will need to get them here and get to wrenching.  Now, we could hire a delivery service to pick up the cars and drag them down here, but that’s a) very expensive, and b) difficult since, while both cars start, they barely run.  Plus, I prefer to be self-sufficient where possible and it is definitely possible we will have to move these cars again once they are here.  So we decided to do the towing ourselves.  This requires us to install a tow hitch, since Isuzu never offered one for the VX.  

For VX’s, there are two hitch options.  One is the Tone hitch, which was made by a former member of a VehiCross forum.  Sadly, that member has since passed away and while a few people make them on occasion, they are fairly rare.  The Tone hitch bolts directly into the rear frame crossmember.  The advantage is it is very simple to install and hides in the bumper making it a discreet and light towing solution.  The downside is there is no warranty and little engineering.  We are planning to max out the VX’s 3,500 lb towing capacity and a hitch snapping off on the highway is about as dangerous a situation as one can encounter.  There is no weight rating associated with the Tone hitch, so we decided to go with the uglier, but safer option from Curt.

 

The Tone hitch installs in the rear crossmember thusly.  A handful of bolts attach a piece of angle iron welded to a hitch receiver.  It is a simple and elegant solution and for light towing, is perfectly acceptable.  But with the amount of weight we are pulling, we wanted to be absolutely sure we would have no hitch problems. Source
That said, the Tone hitch is pretty: when installed properly, it looks just like an Isuzu factory option.  A small amount of the rear bumper cover has to be trimmed away to fit it, but the end result is very discreet.  The appeal is easy to see, but since we want to tow long distance over mountains, we will pick function over form.  Source
Curt’s Class III hitch is rated for 3,500 lbs, which is exactly what the truck itself is rated for.  The Curt hitch attaches to the two frame rails, so it requires long brackets to clear the bumper cover.  
Those mounting brackets are beefy ?” thick steel.  The hitch mounts using two existing bolt holes, plus four more the installer has to drill  into the frame rails.

4 comments

  1. Have you installed auxiliary transmission cooler? I’m going to install trailer hitch in my VX to tow my small boat (2000lbs with trailer). I’m not sure if the factory coller will be enough.

    1. We used the factory trans cooler. If you’re towing over steep grades or in high heat then it would be a good idea to do so. It’s not difficult if you want to, there’s a nice spot opposite the A/C fan behind the grille. You can fit a 17″ wide cooler in there with some basic brackets and splicing into the soft lines that go from the trans to the OEM cooler is easy in that area. Should take a couple hours to install.

      The transmission really isn’t the weak point. This exact same drivetrain is rated to 5,000 lbs in the Trooper. The Trooper’s longer wheelbase gives it a higher towing capacity. That being said there are a LOT of horror stories online about the 4L30E and its reliability, so it would be a wise investment to put together and install a trans cooler kit if you’re going to do a lot of towing.

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