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Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Installation - 2014 Dodge Journey

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How to Install a Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch on a 2014 Dodge Journey

Ryan: Hey everybody, Ryan here at etrailer. Today on our 2014 Dodge Journey, we're going to be taking a look at it, and showing you how to install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame trailer hitch receiver. So my first impression of the hitch is that it's going to look really good. It's going to be pretty much completely hidden for the most part, the only thing you're going to be able to see here is the receiver tube opening. And that has a big appearance advantage over some of the other hitches, which are completely visible. The other ones will hang down, and you're really going to be able to see all that.

The hitch is also going to give us some better ground clearance. So since it sits up nice and tight, it's going to be a little bit higher off the ground, which will work out good for not only accessories, but also towing.Since the journey doesn't have a really high ride height, we can use all the clearance we can get. It's also going to work out well for those folding accessories. And that's because the end of the receiver tube opening here is going to sit pretty much flush with the back of our bumper. So whenever we go to flip them into that upright position, we shouldn't have to worry too much about them contacting the back of our Journey.

Since this is a Class 3 hitch, it's going to give us that two inch by two inch receiver tube opening. That's an extremely common size, and you shouldn't have any issues finding whatever it is you want to use with the hitch. It's going to have a reinforced collar for extra strength, and it's also going to have that standard 5/8" pin hole. Now keep in mind a pin and clip does not come included, but if you need one you can pick it up here at etrailer.We're going to have loop style safety chain openings, which do sit a little bit back behind our pin and clips so we shouldn't have too many interference issues. And we have quite a bit of space here to use just about any size hook that we might have.

Now, as far as the hitch's weight capacities go, it's going to have a 525 pound maximum gross tongue weight rating. So that's going to be the amount of weight that's pushing down on the hitch. That's a pretty high number, so you should be able to use just about any size cargo carrier or bike rack that you'd want to for example. As far as the hitches maximum gross trailer weight rating goes, it's going to be 3,500 pounds, and that's going to be the amount of weight that's pulling on the hitch. So it is a weight of your trailer plus anything that you might have on it.Now I do always suggest it's never a bad idea just to check in your Journeys owner's manual, to make sure your Dodge can pull that much weight safely.

Now I'm going to give you a couple of measurements, and you're going to use these to help figure out which hitch mounted accessories to get from the ground to the top inside edge of the receiver tube opening. That's going to be about 17 inches. So chances are pretty good if you do plan on doing a little bit of towing you may need to get a ball mount with a very slight rise. From the center of the hitch pin hole to the edge of the rear bumper, that's going to be about two inches, and you're going to use that measurement to help figure out that if any folding accessories you might have to be stored in that upright position without contacting the bumper.And if you do plan on doing a little bit of towing, I would suggest picking up some trailer wiring. That way the lights on your trailer will sync up with the lights in your Journey, and you'll be safe and legal. What at the end of the day, a really good looking hitch. And it's really just going to depend on your application. And if looks really aren't your primary concern, makes a really nice hitch that's much easier to install. But if you want this clean, hidden look, it is going to require a little bit more work to get everything in place. You're going to have to remove your bumper and your bumper beam to get the hitch in where it needs to go. But speaking of that, let's go ahead and install the hitch together now.To begin our install, we're going to be working here at the back of our Journey on the passenger side. And what we're going to need to do is remove our fascia because our hitch will be hidden behind it. So to start that, we're going to have a handful of fasteners here along this edge of our wheel well. So along this edge, we're going to have three plastic rivets. We need to drill out one here, here, and right here. Let's take a small drill bit and run it through the center.If the rivet doesn't come out with the drill bit, you can take a trim tool or a flathead screwdriver and pry it out that way. And then if you look right here in this corner where our fascia attaches to our quarter panel, it's going to be a seven millimeter screw, we're going to go ahead and pull out. And then if we open up our rear hatch, we're going to have two more plastic rivets. One right here, and one right there. Again, I'll take my drill, and drill them out. This one here can be a little tricky with this in the way. So if it's getting in your way, there's a small Allen head bolt in there. You can just remove that, gives you a little more room. However, I think I'll be able to just kind of work around it.Now that we have that one out, the other side of our Journey set up the same way. So we're just going to repeat that whole process over there. Now, if we kind of look in the center of our bumper along this bottom edge, we're going to have four pushpin style fasteners that we need to pull out. So again, you can either use a trim tool like this, or even a flat head screwdriver will do the trick. You try underneath the head of it. It'll pull that piece out. If the center comes out and the base doesn't, no big deal. You're just going to have to kind of get behind the base and pull that out as well.I use this same technique here to get our remaining fasteners out. Now what we can do, is actually remove our fascia. So I do suggest having an extra set of hands while you're doing this so you can work one side, and your friend can do the other side. The way this works if you just pull out on the corner here, there's going to be some clips that's kind of holding the station in place. So he can just kind of carefully work it towards the center.It will release and once you have each side, you can pull it back. Now, sometimes you may have some wiring or something in here, so don't pull back too hard. In our case, we do have a connector over there on the driver's side that we're going to have to undo. So here's a connector we have to unplug. There's going to be a tab right here in the center. You push down on that and you're able to pull them apart. Now with that disconnected, we can completely remove our fascia.Now the bottom of our bumper, we are going to have some wiring that's attached. And since we're removing our bumper, we need to free this. So pretty straight forward, get your trim tool or Flathead screwdriver, and just pry those fasteners free. So now we can remove our actual bumper beam, and on each side are going to have three 13 millimeter fasteners. We'll have one here through this pocket. You can see it goes deep back to the body of our vehicle. One below it, and then on the very edge on the bottom is the other one. So I'll grab my 13 and then extension and remove those fasteners on each side of our bumper beam.So with all the fasteners removed, we can pull back on our bumper beam and set it to the side. Now where we're able to do is lower our exhaust down a little bit. That way we have some extra room to work. And before we do that, I like to take a strap and just kind of run it from side to side. That way we can kind of control how fast and how far we let our exhaust down. Did our exhaust down back here by the tailpipe. You may have a little ground strap like this here, and you can get that off kind of this high. We're kind of just popping it off.And we're going to have a rubber isolator hanger on each side of our muffler. So what you can do is spray it down with some penetrating oil, some soapy water or something like that. Take a big pry bar or screwdriver, and work that rubber portion off of the metal hanger. Then on the backside of her muffler, we're going to have one more of those hangers. So same deal with this one, you can spray it down, get your pry bar and work it off. It doesn't really matter which side of the hanger you remove, just kind of whichever one's easier to get to. So if one end is kind of fighting me a little bit, you can always just try the other side and see if that comes off easier.Now, before we slide our hitch into position, the way the hitch is going to work is this portion here. So you go into our frame rail. And I'd like to just point out our attachment points. It's going to be three, and they're going to be the same on each side. So these two holes here in the bottom of our hitch, I'm going to line up with that hole in that hole there. And the bottom of our frame rail. And the hole in the side of our hitch is going to line up with the hole right here, and the side of our framework. Well with that being said, I can just take our hitch and slide it into position.To get our hardware in the attachment points, what you're going to do is take a pull wire here at the coiled end. You're going to take a spacer block, slide that over. We're going to take a carriage bolt and thread that on support. We have it set up like this, here to take the other end of the pull wire and run it through the bumper opening where it hitches, and you're going to drop it down through those attachment points that we talked about earlier. And once you get it lined up, see then into the pull wire coming down.You have to kind of move the hitch around a little bit. You have to kind of pry on it to get everything lined up, but bolt will drop down through. Once you have it through, you can remove the pull wire. What we're going to do is take a conical tooth washer, make sure the teeth are facing up towards the hitch. Then we're going to take a hex nut, just get that started hand tight, some use that same hardware combination and technique to get our other two attachment points filled. So this is what our hardware is going to look like once we have it all in place. And once we do, you can take a three quarter inch socket, and snug it all back. With all of our hardware snug, now we can come back with a torque wrench and tighten it all down to the amount specified in our instructions.So what I did now is, I just went ahead and used the included zip tie, just to help secure our wiring to the hitch here. Next, we're going to move over to our fascia and we actually need to trim a small portion of it out. That way it'll fit around our hitch. So I marked a little diagram here and to get exact measurements, you can just see your instructions, it'll tell you where and how to measure. But now that I have it marked, I'm just going to trim that out. I'm going to use a Dremel tool. However, this is somewhat thin plastic so you could probably use a sharp utility knife or something like that as well.With our Fascia trimmed, we can re-install it the opposite way that we removed it. If you unplugged any electrical connectors, don't forget to plug them back in. What we're able to do is just slide this fascia back into position. We'll get it lined up and just snap it back into place. So these corners, this edge rather, you simply just push it right back in. On this vehicle, I like to re-install our pushpin fasteners here in the center first. That way we can ensure the bumper will kind of stay where it needs to whenever we're working on the rest of the fasteners.Now be sure before you re-secure your wheel well liners, you want to be sure and re-install that seven millimeter screw. So once we have that tightened down, we can work on our wheel aligners. So the way we're going to do these, is use the included rivets to hook them back into place. Now, I will say you are going to need a rivet gun like this, it isn't included. You may be able to rent one at your local auto parts store, just pick one up from them. What you're going to do, slide the rivet in, line it back up. I like to apply a little bit of pressure on it.I'm going to squeeze it until it breaks off. Now, if you have a little tail on the end of it like that, you can't always come back with a pair of snips. Trim it and just kind of clean it up. Some will use that same technique to get all of our rivets reinstalled. And at this point, we can go ahead and rehang our exhaust. So again, it helps to spray the hangers down and this time we're just going to kind of line it up by hand and push them into place. Once we have that last hanger secured, we can go ahead and remove our strap. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the Draw-Tite Max-Frame trailer hitch receiver on our 2014 Dodge Journey..

Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
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Joshua S
Employee Jacob T
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Jacob T
Employee Chris R
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Chris R
Employee David F
Test Fit:
David F
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G

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