In September I bought my first new truck from a dealership – a 2021 RAM 2500 with the 6.4L Hemi engine. It was a Tradesman with a crew cab and the 2GA customer package group – meaning it had the Snow Chief, Chrome Appearance, Tradesman Level 2, Shift on the Fly transfer case, Power Black Trailer Mirrors, LED bed lighting, and Trailer controller. What it didn’t have was front tow hooks — seriously. I was actually surprised by this. I’ve used front hooks so many times over the years that to not have them wasn’t an option but I figured I could add them later and bought the truck.
Wow – Have You Seen The Price To Add Hooks?
Well, this surprised me. I shouldn’t have assumed the cost wouldn’t be bad. Let me itemize this for you real quick:
- Tow Hook – Mopar 68349551AD List $132 Online around $93.36 each – you need two
- 4 hex flange mounting screws / bolts – Mopar 6512808AA. List $5.10/ea and online they are around $3.84/ea. Again, you need four of them – two for each hook
- 4 hex flange lock nuts – Mopar 6512809AA. List is $5.10 each and online is about $3.84/ea. Thread is M16x1.50mm. Again, you need four of them – two for each tow hook.
- That adds up fast. The list total is $304.80 and online is $217.44 – a savings of $87.36 but that does not include shipping or taxes
- This does not include the bezels / changes to the bumper if you do it by the book
- This does not reflect labor of maybe 2-3 hours or the shop supply charge either.
Also, confirm with the supplier if they have something before you buy it. When I was looking, hooks were hard to find in stock at any kind of discount plus some dealers say they have things but they do not.
So, this definitely wasn’t looking cheap either in terms of parts or labor if I had a dealer do it or even if I went will all new Mopar parts.
How to save money and not sacrifice quality?
What is quality? Quality means meeting my requirements and what did I require? I cared about brute strength. I talked to some guys and they all told me to go with the Ram hooks but to get them off eBay because salvage yards put them up for sale at a huge savings. Wow, they were right. You can get both hooks off eBay that look like new for less than half the price but usually with no fasteners included.
Search on eBay for 68349551ac or 68349551ad tow hooks. The letter designators (aa, ab, ac, and ad) tells us there have been minor changes and the most current version as of my writing this is the “ad” release. I can’t speak to all of the versions but I can tell you I am using the “ac” hooks, no problem. You could search for an earlier release such as “aa” or “ab” if you wanted – I’m just telling you what I did. If you can get a great deal on the newest version, go for it.
When I looked at the Mopar site, it seems to be the hook for all of the trim styles (Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie, Limited, Limited Longhorn, Lone Star and Power Wagon) of both the 2500 and 3500 series trucks for 2019-2021.
Note: some eBay sellers list two hooks (meaning the pair) in an eBay listing and some just list one so pay attention.
I also always look at how many sales they have done and their rating as well. I’ll pay more for an established seller vs. gambling on a seeming deal from a relatively unknown seller.
I also noticed some sellers put all of the part numbers in their description so searches pull them up so read the listing carefully.
Click on the following to search for:
- The 68349551ac hooks (this is what I bought and installed on my 2021 Ram 2500 Tradesman)
- The current 68349551ad hooks
By the way, the RAM 1500 hook is not the same so make sure you get a 2500 hook for your model year truck.
Okay, for the bolts and nuts, I did actually go with Mopar and bought them online. I have read posts of fellows going to the hardware store and buying Grade 8 – 5/8″ x 4-1/2″ long bolts, washers, lock washers and nuts. It’s an option but I didn’t want to gamble with the metallurgy so I bought the bolts and washers from https://store.mopar.com/ and there are other online sellers you could go to as well.
As far as the bezels and stuff go, honestly, just cut the fake plastic grill out of the way. Yeah, you could spend the time and money to make it look factory but this is a work truck and the tow hooks are near the bottom of the bumper so nobody is going to be looking for the bezel behind realistically.
As for labor, you can totally do this yourself in less than an hour. I think it took me about 30 minutes.
Installing The Hooks
You can totally do this if you are comfortable with cutting on your truck (some guys aren’t and that is okay – find a buddy who is and bribe him/her with beer, BBQ or whatever) and can turn a wrench. I kid you not, you only need a 15/16″ socket, 2-4″ extension and a big ratchet wrench to do this after your cut the little grills out of the way. A torque wrench capable of 80-90 foot pounds is handy but not essential.
Torque Down The Bolts
Some guys reported that their hooks rattled and I think they were not torquing them down enough. Yes, they will rattle when you insert them in the frame but not once you tighten them down. Thanks to the WWW, I could not find an absolute “here’s what RAM said for the 2500 tow hook” torque spec. I saw numbers all over the board.
I took a different tact, Mopar says the nut is a M16x1.5 on their website so when I look that up, a class 8.8 bolt has a 245 Nm spec and a class 10.9 has a 335 Nm spec. Converting 245 Nm to ft lbs gives us 180.7 ft lbs. Wow. I divided that by half and took the nuts to 90 ft lbs and called it even. No rattling and the hooks feel solid as a rock. If they loosen up, which I highly doubt, I’ll search around again for the torque spec and/or apply Loc-Tite. Given the design of the locking nuts, I really do not think this is going to happen.
If you don’t believe in torque wrenches, do whatever works for you. Due to a variety of nerve factors, I can’t feel how much pressure I am applying any longer so I torque stuff down to spec.
If you do know a definitive value, please email me and I’ll adjust accordingly.
They are rock solid. I haven’t used them yet but am ready for winter.
One last comment, I did go in a week or two later and spray painted all of the exposed bolts and nuts with black paint to slow up the rust on the fasteners. In Michigan, fighting rust is an art form and also a losing battle – that salt that gets put on the roads gets everywhere and eventually takes its toll but I sure do try to delay that 🙂
You can definitely do the hooks yourself. Save some money and get them off eBay, do what you want with the bolts and then trim the front grills so the tow hooks can slide in. It looks pretty good and will do the job.
Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.
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