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I am looking into adding Class 1 trailer hitch to 1999 Ford Escort wagon (NA 3rd generation (1997–1999)). I had checked several NA manufacturers (such as Curt, U-Haul etc.), none of them offer a hitch for that generation of Escort wagons (but do offer ones for sedans and ZX2).

At the same time, there are hitches for 2nd generation (1991–1996) Escort wagons (same as those for sedans and hatchbacks). And it looks like rear parts of 2nd and 3rd gen. wagons are nigh identical (one can search for more images to compare):

Second generation Escort Wagon Third generation Escort Wagon

Wikipedia article does not explicitly confirms that, but states:

The Escort wagon largely retained the same body style, gaining only the new interior, front end & fascia, side-view mirrors, door handles, badging, and slightly restyled taillamps & reflectors.

Is there any confirmation that I can use hitches for older Escort on a new wagon (that is, if body panel stamping remained the same)? Or what and how do I measure under the car to see what exact dimensions I need to confirm to see what hitch I can use? Also, where do I find what type of wiring harness connections Ford used in both generations to see if I can use older T-harnesses as well?

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3  
AZ claims to have a hitch that will fit: 1999 Ford Escort click on 'check the fit'. –  Tim May 22 '12 at 19:51
    
Ha-ha, that is quite strange. Reese Towpower brand is owned by Cequent Mfg. (the same manufacturer as Draw-Tite, Hidden Hitch etc.). If you find this on their website (via selector), it lists part number of identical Draw-Tite hitch (#24669). I contacted them yesterday about hitch for the Escort sedan (#24668), and they said, quote: “24668 will not fit the wagon. We have nothing for the wagon either.” Talk about knowing your product. –  theUg May 22 '12 at 22:01
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This page also has 2 other hitches which claim to fit the 1997 Escort Wagon: hitches –  M. Cooper May 25 '12 at 12:10

2 Answers 2

I just installed a hitch from from Reese-hitches.com on my 1999 escort wagon this week.

(1) Class I, 1-1/4 inch Receiver Hitch Part No: RT-443

(1) T-One Connector Wiring Light Kit Part No: 118344

The hitch worked out fine, but the wiring harness is not right, and apparently they do not make one for the escort wagon (we have a 5 plug harness going to the tail light--the item they list is a 3 prong, and will not fit)

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Did you adapt the wiring harness or did you do without? It's not clear from the answer. –  Bob Cross Jul 12 '12 at 19:06

Answer in progress. So far concerns hitches that has been found to be specifically manufactured for 3rd generation Escort wagon. Kudos to commenters.

  • Cequent Mfg. produces Reese Towpower #77078 (also Draw-Tite #24669 and Hidden Hitch #60914) for 1998–1999 wagon. Reese Hitch Application Guide (PDF) lists different hitch (#77018) for 1997 wagon (and sedan) — same hitch that is used for all 1991–1996 Escorts (which probably means that they used up remaining body parts for the new design, then used an updated one from 1998 on). Only difference is that 1997 on uses different wiring kit (Reese #78013 for 1997–1999 wagon, #78058 (standard) or #74665 (t-connector) for sedan and ZX2, #78104 for 2nd generation all models).

  • Curt Manufacturing produces #11105 (also U-Haul #24668) that fits only first year (1997) of 3rd generation wagons (they do not seem to offer a hitch for 1998–1999 wagon, however). Curt Application Guide (ZIP) is unclear on which wiring kit to use.

    They seem to do it differently than Cequent, because this hitch works for both 2nd and 3rd generation sedan (1991–2001, up to 2000 for Mercury Tracer), and for ZX2, in addition to wagon from 1991 to 1997. Whereas Cequent have different hitches for 3rd generation sedan/ZX2, and wagon.

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