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Mopar reciever hitch problems


NAXJA Forum User
Spent yesterday removing rear bumper, installing driver's side nutplate in frame rail. While attempting to bolt reciever hitch on, the exhaust hanger bracket had to come off-- this left the two hanger bolts still in the way. These have 2-way threads, shoulda come off, but I rounded the ends off. Short of grabbing them with vise-grips-- how can I get these suckers out? Seemed as if they would line up w/ hitch, but of course they were off justa bit preventing an easy bolt-on. What am I doing wrong? Any suggestions would be appreciated... Thanks DC!
What did you remove? IIRC there is a flat plate that bolts to the passenger side nut rail, and the rubber exhaust hanger bolts to that plate. The hitch should be notched to fit around the rubber hanger. You should be removing the two bolts that are at the ends of the trapezoidal plate, putting the hitch in place, and reinserting the bolts through the hitch and the plate into the nutstrip. You should not need to remove the rubber strap from the mounting plate.

NOTE: I just did this on an '88, which is slightly different, so what I wrote should be accurate but may not be 100% on the money.
It's the 2 bolts that I need to remove from the frame rail-- the ones that secure the exhaust hanger bracket (I believe 97+ XJ's hanger does differ from the earlier models) But I've pretty much rounded out the bolt ends (I swear they were coming!) So any tip to remove them? Grab 'em by the theads w/ pliers & twist? Also, the Mopar kit comes with another replacement hanger (which I don't know how that'll work!) Anyway, thanks for the reply.
This doesn't exactly answer the question, but '97's have unique tailpipe hangers (rod welded to pipe sits in rubber block.) Prior years have the flexible rubber tube-type hanger, which they switched back to in '98. They should be interchangeable on the frame mount, but the attachment to the tail pipe would be different.

Not sure which fasteners you are referring to, but try some PB blaster & vice grips.
lawn- I think that the hanger youre talking about is closer to the cat, the one townie is talking about is the one next to the gas tank.

let me look at mine at lunch to see if I can remember....
Well, considering that I have a '97 and a '01 and have removed & installed hitches on these and earlier models, I'm fairly sure I know what I'm talking about. There is a rubber block style mount at the cross member for all years, but back by the fuel tank (where one would tend to experience hitch interference) the '97 has a similar rubber block style mount with a rigid rod welded to the tailpipe (as I stated earlier.) Later and earlier years have the floppy (for lack of a better word) hanger that gets u-bolted to the tailpipe.

Regardless, the hanger should have been held to the frame with 2 bolts that thread into the nutrail... are these the ones that won't come out? Or does yours have studs that won't come out after removing the nuts and hanger? If that is the case, you could thread a nut onto the stud, weld it in place, and then try turning them out with a socket wrench. Or, if you don't have a welder, you could thread two nuts onto the studs and jam them together, turning the stud out with an open ended wrench.

If you have bolts that won't come out, you could cut the heads off, remove the nut rail from the frame and then drill out the remaining bolt and chase the threads in the nut rail. Far less labor would be to replace the passenger side nut rail entirely.
Wow-- great responses. The 2 bolts in question are indeed the two which secure the hanger bracket. I removed the two nuts, & removed the bracket. The double-threaded bolts started rounding out after I attemped to grab 'em by the 6 pt. ends w/ socket wrench. PB Blaster is all over the place...

Assuming I get those two out do I bolt hitch on & somehow get the 2 bolts back in the frame rail to re-attach hanger bracket? or do I seek a 98-00 bracket? Mopar included a additional plate w/ 2 small threaded bolts welded on. Can't see how my '97 bracket could attach to that.

This close to takin' it to the shop so they can play w/ it!
That plate is intended to accept the pre-97 (and I guess the post-97) hanger, with is a strip of heavy rubber almost like something cut out of the sidewall of a tire. The rubber strap loops around and then has a Z-shaped metal bracket that bolts to the bottom of it. One leg of the Z get clamped to the top of the tail pipe with a muffler clamp.

Oh for a digicam :(
Okay, I can picture it now... the 6-pointed description was the clue. These studs "should" spin out if you can grip them... try either of the two methods I described above (welded nut or jam nuts.)

If you decide to use the included parts with the hitch, it sounds like you'd be better off converting the tailpipe hanger to the non-'97 style... cut off the rod and use the u-bolt style hanger instead. Another option... see if your stock hanger lines up with holes in the hitch; if it does, then you can just bolt it up with the hitch and leave the pipe hanger alone.