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Old 01-08-2005, 01:53 PM   #1
gwelling
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Default New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

Just got an 05 VUE AWD to keep our 98 SC2 company. We plan to take the VUE on the beach occasionally at the Assateague National Seashore. The Park Service requires, among other things, that we carry a tow/recovery rope (optimists that they are), but there doesn't seem to be anywhere to attach one (even our Ford Contour has tow rings under the rear bumper)...so I'm looking at installing the factory trailer hitch, which would provide an attachment point (and would be handy for a bike rack). I can get the factory hitch online, but I'm wondering if it is something I can install myself, or should I just let the dealer do it? Does anyone know whether it can be installed without drilling (just a 'bolt-on'), whether the wiring harness is a pain, and whether it comes with instructions? Or is there another way to pull the thing out if we get stuck in the sand? Thanks in advance....

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Old 01-08-2005, 03:02 PM   #2
PCF
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2004 VUE 2.2L
2005 VUE 2.2L
Thumbs Up Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

I installed a Class II hitch from Hidden Hitch, ordered from JC Whitney online. It was less than the Saturn hitch. Very easy installation, it just bolts on. Two bolts on each side and two bolts in the center, 6 total. The only difficulty you might encounter is fishing the two center bolts and support plates. If you remove the plastic clips that hold the bottom of the bumper to the frame rail, it is much easier.

Search some other posts to see pictures on trailer wiring. Your owner's manual also has a section that shows where the wire loop is for the trailer feed, driver's side rear under the milk jug pocket. You will also need a wire converter to change from the 5 wire (running, left turn, right turn, brake, and ground) on the Vue to the 4 wire (running, left turn/brake, right turn/brake, and ground) trailer standard. Any auto parts place like Auto Zone will have these.

Drill a hole in one of the knockouts by the spare tire stamping, install a rubber grommet (Radio Shack) to protect the wire insulation to prevent shorts, and feed the wires through to get them to the outside of the vehicle. Seal it with some silicone to prevent water intrusion.

Good luck, and congratulations on the new Vue

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Old 01-08-2005, 03:07 PM   #3
abbear
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

Do a search for "trailer hitch" and you should come up with a bunch. I believe we not only have installs with pictures, we have wiring setups with pictures.

...
Allen Barrett

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Old 01-08-2005, 11:30 PM   #4
bower100
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2004 VUE 3.5L
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

Hi gwelling,
I put a Class III Hidden Hitch on my '04. It normally would'nt be too hard, but I wanted something extra strong because I carry my dirtbike on a M/C bumper carrier and the whole thing weights close to the rated tongue weight. I removed the bumper skin, and the styrofoam bumper "filler" to acess the hollow frame tubes on the Vue where I slid thick backer plates in to reinforce the bolt holes.
The hitch is a good idea for *pulling* from the rear...don't know about up front.

Anyway, I Am not so far from you! I had my new Vue on the beach down at Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewis, De, last weekend, ( first time). I've never done this before...want to do some surf fishing and Lynne can sun worship and keep me company. Bought the annual surf tag, must carry a towrope, jack base board and air guage.
My experience with the Vue in the soft sand was definetely a concern , ( unfamiliar and new to this), and I avoided stopping in the loose stuff or where the ruts were deep from other traffic while crossing over the dunes to acess the beach. Did'nt stop until I got on damp sand closer to the waters edge. You know the rear wheels don't drive until the fronts are spinning and from a standstill in sand, the spinning fronts bury quickly before the rears start to push. I hope I'll be ok with the Vue.
Have you been on the beach with an AWD vehicle? Your opinion? Dave.

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Old 01-08-2005, 11:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

Generally when driving in sand, owners will release some of the air in the tires so that a wider contact patch and traction area is created. (Street Bicycle vs. Mountain Bicycle) Unfortunately, some of the owners forget to put the air back in and suffer tire failure when back on the road. So add an a portable air compressor to the list.

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Old 01-09-2005, 01:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

The Saturn hitch is a bolt-on item that is easy to install. The wiring harness is easy, also, and the VUE already has a wiring drop for it under the jack area.
~D.J.~

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Old 01-09-2005, 05:25 PM   #7
bower100
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

Quote:
Unfortunately, some of the owners forget to put the air back in and suffer tire failure when back on the road. So add an a portable air compressor to the list.
Actually, each access road over the dunes to the beach have one or two air stations to re-fill your tires. Nice of the Delaware park officials to put them in place. dave.
Anyone else have soft beach sand driving experience with the Vue. Ever get stuck? Dave.

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Old 01-09-2005, 07:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

I had a u-haul class III installed and it took the poor guy 4 hours to get it on. I definately got my $21.00 worth for the install.
I'd be concerned with pulling very hard on the factory hitch. Theyre not really designed for recovery and depending on how badly you stick the VUE you may damage the hitch. I've seen ppl bend various parts of smaller hitches. I went with a class III because of the greater availability of accessories and added strength.
Does anyone know if the recovery hooks can be installed on the newer VUEs, or if they're even available as an acccessory?

DJ

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Old 01-09-2005, 08:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

In 2002, VUEs came with rear recovery hooks. They mount to the passenger side frame point where the trailer hitch would hook up.
~D.J.~

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Old 01-11-2005, 10:13 PM   #10
Dante
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioVueBoy
In 2002, VUEs came with rear recovery hooks. They mount to the passenger side frame point where the trailer hitch would hook up.
~D.J.~
Can someone buy a hook to install on a later model? What about front recovery points? Not that I ever plan on taking my Vue into dunes, but I can see my dumb self sliding way off into a snowy ditch some day and needing to be drug out by my friendly neighborhood Jeep.

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Old 01-11-2005, 10:20 PM   #11
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante
Can someone buy a hook to install on a later model? What about front recovery points? Not that I ever plan on taking my Vue into dunes, but I can see my dumb self sliding way off into a snowy ditch some day and needing to be drug out by my friendly neighborhood Jeep.
corympak had a great pic of his VUE pulling a jeep outta a mud hole.
Saturn Accessories used to offer the hook but it'a no longer listed.

DJ

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Old 01-12-2005, 11:02 AM   #12
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

Add Class III instead of Class II.

I installed a Class II hitch, the installation was easy, no drilling. I wish I would have installed a Class III because it seems there are more racks (lower priced) for Class III hitches.

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Old 01-12-2005, 01:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

Installing a hitch on my VUE was a piece of cake. Just follow some of the well-described installation instructions posted on Saturnfans and you'll do fine. And don't lose those bolts in the frame rails!

I went with Class III simply because there seemed to be more available accessories. I don't know if I'll ever tow with it but bike racks were easy to find.

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Old 01-12-2005, 04:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: New VUE owner, trailer hitch question

I used a class II but don't use it much. I preferred it over class III because it is stealthy and for what I use it, it is good enough. There may be a pic in my gallery if you care to see it.

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