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Trailer Hitch Installation - 1997 Pontiac Tran Sport Van

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How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a 1997 Pontiac Tran Sport


Today on this 1997 Pontiac Tran Sport short wheel base, we are going to be installing Hidden Hitch part number 87410. This installation will also apply to Draw-Tite hitch part number 75278. We are underneath the vehicle and for clarity purposes I am going to go ahead and lower the spare tire to get it out of the way. Taking a look at the passenger side frame rail, we are going to go ahead and point out the mounting locations for the trailer hitch. As you can see, we have the exhaust over here on the passenger side. And the bracket is held to the frame with two bolts. We are going to be removing these bolts and using those two weld nuts in the frame as our two middle attaching points for the trailer hitch. If you look forward on the vehicle, we have a large access hole here and then an oblong hole. The oblong hole is only going to be on short wheel based models. We are going to be using this as the forward attaching point for out trailer hitch. We are going to be taking a carriage bolt and block and feeding it through that hole. And then also here, at the rear section of the frame, we have a nice flat surface. Once we get the hitch up into position, we are going to be using the hitch as a template and we are going to be drilling 1/2 inch holes here at the end of the frame. 1:00

And that is essentially going to be the same on driver and passenger sides. However, on the driver side frame rail we do have a load leveling compressor with bracket that is attached to the frame. We are using the same bolt that we did on the passenger side here, but the second bolt hole is actually covered by the bracket. So again, on this side we are actually going to need to use the hitch as a template once again to mark and drill out our hole in the bracket, as well as the hole at the end of the frame rail. So, to get started, what we are going to do is go ahead and remove this bolt on the driver side and the two on the passenger side. And go ahead and put the hitch up into position temporarily so we can mark the hole in the bracket that we need to drill. And now that I have the hitch up in place, I am just going to take a marker and go ahead and mark in not only the holes here in the end of the frame but also the hole here in the bracket that needs to be drilled. Go ahead and bring the hitch back down and go ahead and drill our holes out. 1:57

To drill the holes, I am going to go ahead and start with a 1/4 inch drill bit as a pilot hole and then go ahead and enlarge them to 1/2 inch once I am finished. Again, we are going to be drilling a hole through this bracket of the compressor. But there is a weld nut in the frame behind it. So, if you leaver the compressor bracket in place and drill your hole, you definitely want to make sure you do not penetrate that weld nut in the frame in doing so. If you do not feel comfortable in doing that, you can go ahead and lower the bracket down, off the vehicle, and go ahead and drill the hole. And to do that you just need to move the bracket down not only from this screw here, but also the two screws at the outboard side. With all of our holes drilled, we can go ahead and put the hitch up and back up into position. I want to note that at the forward attaching point over here on the passenger side, we need to start by putting a U-shaped spacer in over the oblong hole that we are going to be attaching to. And the reason for this is because this attaching point actually has a rolled up lip inside the frame. And this U-shaped spacer, when set over the top of it, will provide a flat surface for the carrier bolt and block to sit on. OK, with that into position, we are going to go ahead and take the bolt leader that is provided with the installation kit. 3:22

We are going to go ahead and start by fishing it through the bottom of our attaching hole and back out our access hole here. We will next take the 1-1/2 by 2 inch block here with the square hole and go ahead and feed it onto the bolt leader, followed by the carriage bolt. And we are going to take it and actually wrap the threads of the bolt leader around the threads of the carriage bolt. Then we will go ahead and feed the block inside the frame, followed by the carriage bolt. And go ahead and pull the two down into position. You want to make sure that when we pull it into place that we do not move the U-shaped spacer out of the way. And then moving on to the rear attaching points, where we had drilled the holes, we are going to be using the handle nuts, which are provided with the installation kit. And we are going to be feeding these through the hole here in the side of the frame. These handle nuts we are actually going to take and manipulate them so that we can feed them inside the frame, over the hole that we had drilled previously. And moving on over to the driver side, we are going to be using the same handle nut at the rear most attaching point inside the frame. And I do want to note that, on this side as well, we are going to be sandwiching the hitch in between the load leveling compressor bracket and the frame of the vehicle. 4:28

When putting the hitch up into position, over at the forward attaching point on the passenger side, we are going to need to put two of the 1-1/2 by 2 inch spacers with the round hole in between the frame and the trailer hitch. Alright, now that we have all of the fasteners in place, we are just going to go ahead and start torquing our bolts down. You want to verify with the directions the specific torque rating for each of the bolts. Now that we have our hitch installed, we are going to go ahead and give you a couple of dimensions that will help make choosing your hitch accessories a little bit easier. From the ground to the top of the receiver tube opening is going to measure 12-1/2 inches. And from the center of the pin hole, to clear the rear edge of the bumper is going to measure approximately 5-1/2 inches. That will conclude the install of Hidden Hitch part number 87410 on a 1997 Pontiac Tran Sport.


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