2006 Land Rover LR3 with Curt Hitch

Our 2006 LR3 was not equipped for towing when it was purchased. We remedied this situation by installing a Curt trailer hitch along with an Atlantic British trailer wiring kit. The primary reason we opted for the Curt hitch was price. Since the LR3 was not wired for towing, the total cost of an OEM hitch and the wiring kit would have been around $530.00. By purchasing the aftermarket hitch, our total cost to install was about $320.00. However, there are some downsides involved with opting for the aftermarket Class III hitch.

Click here to see Land Rover towing capacities.

OEM Land Rover Hitch

When researching hitch options, the first and most obvious choice was the proprietary OEM receiver that plugs into a ready-made socket on the LR3. This quick-connect receiver allows the LR3 to tow up to 7,700 pounds with up to 550 pounds of tongue weight. Unfortunately, these OEM receivers are not inexpensive. They typically go for $380.00+ on eBay or Craigslist and to buy one new you will pay upwards of $500.00. An additional drawback of the OEM receiver is that is can be lost, stolen, or forgotten in a dusty corner of the garage if not kept with the vehicle (even though there is a storage area on the vehicle, but we digress). Another potential issue is that the hitch hangs down quite a bit when installed. The current generation OEM hitches are shorter, but the older style has earned its “plow” nickname.

Curt Manufacturing Hitch

The second option was an aftermarket hitch from Curt Manufacturing. The Curt product is a typical Class III hitch with a 2-inch receiver tube opening. The main benefit of the Curt hitch is that it is relatively inexpensive. The street price on this unit is about $160.00 to $180.00. Curt’s product number for this hitch is #13456.

This low price comes with some potential downsides:

Semi-Permanent Installation – The quick-connect OEM hitch can be installed or removed within seconds with only a key, which make it ideal if you do a lot of off-road driving or just don’t want the hitch exposed. The Curt hitch is a semi-permanent installation, meaning you can remove it if you need to, but it’s no easy task. Installing the hitch takes about an hour and requires some common tools. Having a set of helping hands makes it go much easier. On the upside, nobody is going to steal your Curt hitch and you can never leave it at home.

Low Clearance for Full-Size Spare – You can’t really tell from our photos, but the 19-inch full-size spare on our LR3 has virtually no tread left. We had a better tire we could have used, but there were some serious doubts about it clearing the hitch. There is only about 1/4″ of clearance with the current tire in place. We had to lube up the heat shield in front of the tire with WD-40 to get the tire to slide up past the shield, which was necessary even after tipping the tire up into the space above the hitch receiver tube. We do not think a 255/55R19 spare tire with full tread would clear the hitch without modification. You should have no problems at all if you have a space-saver spare tire.

Reduced Towing Capacity – The Curt hitch lowers the LR3’s towing capacity from 7,700 pounds to 6,000 pounds. This is a significant reduction in capacity and should be considered carefully before going with the aftermarket hitch. For our purposes, 6,000 pounds was more than enough capacity.

Reduced Departure Angle – A potential deal breaker for frequent off-roaders is that you will also lose a few degrees of departure angle and it could offer one more thing to get hung up on while out on the trail.

Atlantic British Wiring Kit

The wiring kit from Atlantic British is a plug-and-play wiring harness that duplicates OEM functionality, complete with working dash light indicators for the trailer lights. The cost of the wiring kit was $120.00 plus shipping and takes about 45 minute to install. It requires the removal of the driver’s side tail light housing, but is an easier install than the hitch itself. The item number for this kit is YWJ500220ABP.

2006 Land Rover LR3 with Curt Hitch

2006 Land Rover LR3 with Curt Hitch

2006 Land Rover LR3 Curt Hitch Clearance



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August 23, 2011

RoverGuide

Articles, Comparisons, Land Rover Models, LR3 (Discovery 3)

Aftermarket, LR3 (Discovery 3), Towing

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