What is the deal with my rear bumper cover?

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parker_lansing

Member
Supporting Member
1st Gen Owner
V6 Engine
4 wheel drive
Joined
Oct 15, 2023
Messages
50
Reaction score
17
Location
Lansing, Michigan
What engine do you have?
V6 engine
What year is your Sport Trac?
2003
What Generation is your Sport Trac?
1st Gen Owner
This rear bumper cover was cracked when I bought the vehicle (03 Sport Trac XLT).

I have had this question turning around in my head for months: What went wrong here?

I mean, clearly, the bumper cover isn't supported by anything, someone stepped on it or dropped a hitch on it, and it cracked because it's just a piece of plastic.

Is this an aftermarket towing package or is it factory?
Is this a common problem? A design flaw?
Is there supposed to be something else supporting the plastic?
What were the options back here that resulted in this mess?
What is the best way forward to replace/repair this?
 

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My guess would be that flat bar for the ball is rusting out. A person stepped on it and crack the cover. #8 below.

48a2b79ac630f7fdb718eae58a962c62.png
 
years of sun on it, plastic degrades, Its that simple.
 
I posted some new photos from underneath the bumper. There is literally nothing supporting the cover in that area.

Am I missing a part under there?

Also, just to note: the 01-03 model year rear bumpers are incompatible with parts from 04-05.



My guess would be that flat bar for the ball is rusting out. A person stepped on it and crack the cover. #8 below.

48a2b79ac630f7fdb718eae58a962c62.png
 
In this image of yours, you're missing the flat bar for sure.

PXL_20240210_154051041.jpg
 
In this image of yours, you're missing the flat bar for sure.
Thanks for confirming that. I poked through the manual, and found that it is called the "rear bumper hitch plate."
I tracked down the part number:

Ford 1L5Z-17D826-AA Kit - Stabilizer - Trailer Hitch
2001-2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Criminy. $400 - $500. This just turned into a $1,000 problem, but there is no way I'm letting this go.

I can't imagine why someone would have removed something like that.
My current theories are:
- they overloaded it, and it bent the bar / cracked the plastic
- the previous owner backed into something that damaged the bar
- they removed it because it was in the way of the towing package

Does this look like a stock towing package, or is this aftermarket?
 
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I would search the local wrecking yards and craigslist for parting out STs. If you have the outer brackets, it could be as simple as going to the local steel yard and getting a1/4" plate and fabbing it.
 
My guess it was bent from trying to tow over the limit, the bumpers are not meant for a load, where a class 2 or 3 hitch to frame can handle load on tongue, looks like a newer hitch and i have not seen a trac with a factory class 2 or 3 hitch. i added mine. do not remember any of my rangers having one either. my gen 2 with v8 had one in 07.
 
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