At times you’ll already find a tow hitch on a Ford F-150 work truck, but it’s not a standard feature—despite that fact that we think it should be. After all, what’s a truck without the ability to tow a boat or trailer when you need to? You’ll find that ordering a tow package from Ford can be very expensive on its own depending upon how it’s configured, so third party solutions are more common than you think—especially when you buy your vehicles used (as I tend to do). As an alternative to a factory or OEM hitch, I went with the Draw-Tite Round Tube Max-Frame receiver. This is a round tube trailer hitch that’s built to OEM Class IV standards, but at less cost to the consumer than getting an OEM part installed at a dealer.
I wanted a Class IV tow hitch so that my 2015 Ford F-150 Super Crew XLT could handle hauling a boat or dual axel trailer—even if I had it loaded up with construction debris, heavy tool boxes, or a pallet of masonry blocks. If you want more hauling capability for your truck (and with a short bed you’re going to run into the need for trailers more often than you think), this is a great aftermarket upgrade. The only question is whether it’s built well and easy enough to install without paying a professional.
Draw-Tite Round Tube Max-Frame Receiver Features
After doing some research into which receiver would be best for my Ford F-150 Super Crew work truck, I selected the Draw-Tite Round Tube Max-Frame receiver (part #75910). Other options included a Class V Service body receiver, but that was a bit more than I’d ever need with this vehicle. Anything lower than Class III/IV was either incompatible or just less than the capacity I wanted for my truck. The Draw-Tite Round Tube Max-Frame receiver hitch is nice in that it has a black powder coated tubular frame that bolts directly onto the frame and can (according to the manufacturer) support up to 6,000 lbs. of gross trailer weight (GTW) carrying and up to 12,000 lbs. weight distributing. It comes with the expected 2-inch square receiver, so it fits all your standard 2″ ball mounts.
The Draw-Tite Max-Frame receiver has a solid all-welded construction, and it’s built specifically to match my truck. Draw-Tite specs each product to the model and year of the vehicle. The Draw-Tite website is impressive as it lets you select your specific vehicle and then lists the compatible products. This type of system lets you know that you’re ordering a product that will actually fit and be safe to use. Believe me, you don’t want to tow something heavy with the wrong hitch installed on your truck!
I wanted the full experience of the Draw-Tite Round Tube Max-Frame receiver, and the only way I was going to get it was to install it on my truck…with a friend, of course (the receiver weighs 42 pounds). I found the instructions to be pretty clear, though at one point I followed them blindly, trusting they would continue to lead me through. That part had to do with feeding the included coiled pull wires through the forward frame access hole and attaching the carriage bolts and spacers to the pull wire. The idea is that you are essentially using the pull wires to get the fasteners into location through the forward hole where your fingers can’t possibly reach. It just worked…like magic…so I didn’t complain. The process for installation was fairly simple and can be summed up by the following:
- Loosen the spare tire to gain better access underneath the rear end of your truck.
- Use the coiled wire pulls to get your carriage bolt and spacer in place on both the forward and rearward holes.
- Loosen and remove existing flange nuts (2 per side) holding the bumper to the frame—while supporting the bumper so it doesn’t fall off. We used a pair of Jack Clamps for this.
- Install the hitch onto the exposed bumper bolts and feed the pull wires through the holes on the hitch.
- Reattach the flange nuts.
- Pull the fasteners through the hitch side brackets, and use the pull wire to hold the bolt in place to get it started. Remove the pull wires and attach the hex nuts.
- Torque all fasteners to specs, and re-install the spare tire.
The instructions and steps were easy to follow except for the aforementioned pull coils, which simply took some trial and error (and trust) to understand how they worked to get everything in place. I also found that there were extra access holes on the 2015 Ford F-150 that helped me get my fingers into the frame to help things along.
One thing we did discover was that the rectangular steel washers were just a tad too big to fit into the frame. I actually needed to slap them in my vise and grind them down about 1/16-inch using a Makita XAG03M 18V brushless grinder. It took about a minute per washer. Other than that, the entire installation process took me and my buddy about an hour—and it will take more experienced DIY mechanics far less time than that. One last thing to note is that there are very specific torque specs for how the receiver should be fastened to both the underside of the frame and the number bolts—if you don’t have access to a torque wrench you’ll want to borrow one to ensure you have it properly attached.
Draw-Tite Round Tube Max-Frame Receiver Specs
- Finish: Black powder coat
- Class rating: CLASS III/IV
- Weight carrying (WC): Up to 900/6,000 lbs. (TW/GTW)
- Weight distributing (WD): Up to 1,200/12,000 lbs. (TW/GTW)
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 44.75 x 31 x 14.125 in.
- Weight: 42 lbs.
- Limited lifetime warranty