We have fitted towbars to Ford Explorers for many years, both New Zealand new and Japanese second hand imports; a nice straight forward job. No problem at all.
But over the last few years, many of the vehicles have been landing with a “towbar” already fitted. And the towball tongues are always missing. The “towbar” itself does not look very strong and the removable tongue only has a puny 25 mm receiver whereas our New Zealand made product is 50 mm. Why are the tongues always missing? They will have been removed by the vehicles importer to ease importation and ensure he has no legal liability for the towbar.
The construction and appearance of these towbars suggests they have been fitted in Japan for use as Bike rack carriers or for mounting advertising material like real estate agent signs etc. Its hard to imagine they were designed to be serious towbars.
I have seen an Explorer with a replacement tongue made locally out of 1 inch square hollow section; it would for light loads only. We always decline to make new tongues for these “towbars” and offer the owner a heavy duty removable tongue towbar rated to 1000 kgs unbraked and 2500 kgs braked. We remove the old towbar and fit ours. It is a very neat fitting towbar and is guaranteed to be suitable for New Zealand loads and uses.
Aside from European vehicles, I can not recall any other second hand Japanese imports that have been sold in New Zealand with overseas towbars fitted.
The removable tongue towbar featured in this post has now been replaced by a fixed tongue towbar.
Megatyre Towbars, Browns Bay, North Shore, Auckland www.megatyre.co.nz