Installing Valley Products 73640 Class III Hitch

Installing Valley Products 73640 Class III Hitch

Postby 2002_4L60E [OP] » August 9th 2013, 7:21pm

Instead of watching someone haul a 1,100 pound UTV on a 300-500 pound trailer behind a Jeep Compass (rated 1,000 pounds...), I searched for a no-drill CL III receiver for a 2002 standard body Astro. Found the Valley Products 73640 http://www.vtowing.com/ISHEETS/73640.pdf for about $192 (included shipping).
When it showed up on my porch, it was a bit disconcerting, as it appeared to be a return (also had a Ford bolt set in the box. After some happy thoughts, I assembled my tools (including Liquid Wrench, you may choose your own) and unrolled a few rugs on the ground underneath the back end.
Tools you will want: a 3/4 inch, a 15mm socket and 16mm socket. Don't know why the metric stock fasteners and the new hardware are different, but arguing with a van is a sign of advancing age... Possibly due to a higher grade of fasteners....
A 3/8 inch drive, with 3" and 6" extensions.
A 3/4 inch, 15mm, and a 16mm open end box wrenches.
A torque wrench, capable of 38 and 75 ft-pounds. A beam wrench will work, but it will demand a bit of repositioning. A click wrench would be good, except the arrangement of the bolt heads going into the bumper and the one that goes up under the rear door sill makes for a darned tight squeeze.
You may want to drop the spare, I didn't, a little cramped toward the driver's side, but not bad (I have the doughnut spare).

For extra credit - a 1/2 inch drive ratchet.
For extra credit - a 1/2 inch breaker bar to ease things free....

If you have somewhat rusted frame nuts on the forward frame, the new 10mm x 1.50 bolts will not even start (nor will the original bolts!). You could use a tap to gingerly clean the threads in the forward two frame nuts.

To make dropping the original bumper brackets easier, leave one loosened bolt at the front of each bumper bracket to hold the bracket while removing the last rear bolts from the bumper, otherwise it wants to twist on the bolt as you remove it...

Once you remove the bumper brackets, don't despair if the holes on the Valley end brackets appear not to align front to back. There is a single, 10mm bolt at either end of the bumper, loosen them so the bumper now pivots on that bolt. NOTE: Valley asks you NOT to put any load or weight on the bumper when it is loose like this...
Astro_Bumper_Side_Bracket.jpg


Grab each end bracket, and start the new 10mm bolts. The Valley pdf sorts disappoints, the correct assembly order for the frame bolts are bolt, split washer, then flat washer. The only place that does not use the flat washer is the 10mm bolt below the rear door sill (passes through the reinforced tab).

Now balance the tube on your stomach, line up one end, start a bolt, move to the other end, start a bolt. Now it's easy.... Once everything is snugged up, whip out the torque wrench and starting on one end of the bracket, start torquing all 10mm bolts to 38 ft-pounds. The bumper bolts are a little fiddley, but it is what it is. The Valley end brackets use a 3/4 inch bolt head on the 1/2 inch bolt, torque 1/2 inch bolts to 75 ft-lbs.

Note: I have seen where you would want to keep a torque wrench operation in roughly the middle of the range, so the maximum 75 ft-lb torque wrench really should have been 100-125 ft-lbs...

This is the old bracket snuggled up to the new Valley bracket. Note the arrangements of the yellow zinc chromate bolts.
Astro_Bumper_Bracket_New_Old.jpg


This shows how little of the 73640 receiver is visible after installation:
Astro_73640_Installed.jpg

:cheers:
Original Poster [OP]
2002_4L60E
Fueling (1/8 tank)
Fueling (1/8 tank)
Years of Membership: 2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years
Posts: 16
Topics: 9
Joined: August 2013
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA):
Van Model Year: 2002
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro

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Walk on the wild side (trailer connector)

Postby 2002_4L60E [OP] » August 12th 2013, 3:35am

After lots of trepidation and road rage, I got the 4 wire connector soldered onto the wires in the back of the van, next to the jack. Managed to reassemble the rear AC switch, felt that things were looking up. Until I looked at the connector on the trailer (one insulated conductor, three exposed conductors) and the newly installed one in the van. Some times, diversity is a good thing.

Tomorrow I will cut off the van 4 pin connector, strip the wires, and use butt connectors. And I am NOT going to disconnect my negative terminal.

:scared-shocked:
Original Poster [OP]
2002_4L60E
Fueling (1/8 tank)
Fueling (1/8 tank)
Years of Membership: 2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years
Posts: 16
Topics: 9
Joined: August 2013
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA):
Van Model Year: 2002
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro

Crimp connectors and 20 minutes....

Postby 2002_4L60E [OP] » August 12th 2013, 7:37pm

Having learned about the errors of removing the negative battery terminal, I snipped off the van side wiring and installed a butt connector one-by-one on all four wires. Then slid on the heat shrink tubing, then crimped the corresponding plug wire. A few passes of a match, followed by a nice wrap of electrical tape, done. Time to do it the manly man way, about 20 minutes. Not having to disconnect the battery, priceless.

:sci-fi-beamup:
Original Poster [OP]
2002_4L60E
Fueling (1/8 tank)
Fueling (1/8 tank)
Years of Membership: 2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years
Posts: 16
Topics: 9
Joined: August 2013
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA):
Van Model Year: 2002
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro

Menards has a Trailer connector LED tester

Postby 2002_4L60E [OP] » August 16th 2013, 3:40am

Picked up a little 4-Way Trailer Light Tester Sku: 2615921 at Menards. This is a cheap test for a 4 connector trailer plug. With the trailer wiring extended to the front, I was able to see the LEDs and confirm proper operation of the wiring. FWIW, the tester was about 1 foot from the base of the front passenger seat...

Trailer_Light_Tester.jpg


:obscene-drinkingchug:
Original Poster [OP]
2002_4L60E
Fueling (1/8 tank)
Fueling (1/8 tank)
Years of Membership: 2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years2002_4L60E has been a member for 7 full years
Posts: 16
Topics: 9
Joined: August 2013
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA):
Van Model Year: 2002
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro

Re: Installing Valley Products 73640 Class III Hitch

Postby thegreenmachine » August 17th 2013, 3:20am

Good write up.

I put my plug in the Dutch door


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