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Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Installation - 2018 Dodge Durango

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How to Install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch on a 2018 Dodge Durango

Hey everybody, Ryan here at etrailer. Today on our 2018 Dodge Durango, we're gonna be showing you how to install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame trailer hitch receiver. But before we do that, why don't we check it out and make sure that this is the hitch for you. When it comes to the Durango, you know, having a hitch on the back of it makes sense. These are really capable SUVs, you know, and a lot of people use them not only to do some towing, but also for some hitch-mounted accessories. Maybe, you're going on a bike ride, throw a bike ride back here, taking your family on a trip, you can use a cargo carrier.

So, having a hitch is really gonna, kind of, open up your opportunities on what you can actually use your Durango for. With that said, you know, these are really sporty looking SUV's, especially like this one here today, we've got the GT model. They look good. And even, kind of, just the standard models, all kind of share those same lines. And so if it we're me, I would want a hitch on there that really wouldn't affect the appearance of it whenever I wasn't using it.

And with this setup here, you're not even gonna know it's there, whenever you're not using the hitch. And that's because the panel here can snap back into place and keep it completely hidden. Unfortunately, I can't actually show you guys that today. I talked to our customer and he said that he was at the grocery store and someone needed his panel, a little bit more than he did, so he don't have the panel. But I do know from past experience and seeing these Durango's here at etrailer that when the hitch is on, you can take that panel and put it back into place and completely hide everything.

This is actually a class four hitch. And so it's gonna be really strong and it's gonna have that two inch by two inch receiver tube opening. Really common size and a ton of different accessories that work with it. In there, there's a reinforced collar for a little bit of extra strength and it is going to use just that standard 5/8's size pin and clip. Keep in mind though, a pin and clip do not come included.

If you need one, though, not a big deal. You can grab it here at etrailer. The safety chain openings are pretty interesting. They actually sit tucked a little further back and kind of angled down. And so they're out of the way and do a good job of blending in, but there's still gonna be big enough and give us enough room to use just about any size hook, that we might have. As far as hitches weight capacities go, it's gonna have some really high numbers, and the maximum gross tongue weight rating is gonna be, 900 pounds. That's gonna be the amount of weight that is pushing down on the hitch. So like I said, really high number and you'll be able to use any size bike rack or cargo carrier that you'd want to for example. As far as the maximum gross trailer weight rating goes, that's gonna be 7,500 pounds. And that's gonna be the amount of weight that is pulling on the hitch. So that is the weight of the trailer, plus anything that you might have on it. This hitch can be used with the weight distribution system. Which is a separate component. And what happens is whenever you use that, it's gonna help keep your trailer and your Dodge, nice and level, whenever you're pulling it down the road. If you do use that component, the maximum gross tongue weight rating increases to a 1,125 pounds. But the maximum gross trailer weight rating still remains the same at 7,500. But with all that said, you know, it's never a bad idea just to grab your dodge's owner's manual. That way you can make sure your Durango can pull that much weight safely. Which leads me to my next point. If your gonna be pulling a trailer, you want the lights to work on it. You know, that way people around you know what's going on, and you'll be safe and legal. And to accomplish that, you can always set up your Durango with some trailer wiring. Now let's just go ahead and grab a couple of measurements. That way we could try to figure out which hitch mounting accessories will work out best. If we go from the ground to the top inside edge of the receiver tube opening. On our Durango here, it's about 20 1/2 inches. So if you're planning on pulling a trailer, chances are pretty good you can get a ball mount that has a slight drop in the shank. If you go from the center of the hitch pin hole to the edge of the rear bumper. It's gonna be right at about three inches and you can use that measurement to figure out exactly, if any of those folding accessories you might have can be stored in that upright position without hitting the back of your SUV. But other than that, any hitch you really can't go wrong with. Not only is it really heavy duty, but it's gonna look good too. Now, as far as the installation goes, it's not too bad. I know a lot of people are a little hesitant, because you do have to take the rear fascia off. And honestly, that's really not too bad. I mean, there's a, a handful of fasteners, they're all pretty easy to get to, and this essentially just pops off. There's a few more steps after that, and I will say nothing's really super complicated about it, just a little time consuming. So be prepared to set a little bit of time aside that way you can focus and get this job done. So as long as you follow along with me, I'll give you some pointers and tips along the way on how I did it. Hopefully it'll help you out with your install. But speaking of that, why don't we go ahead and put the hitch on together now. To begin our installation, we're gonna be here at the back of our Durango and we're going to need to remove the fascia. And in order to do that, we're gonna have to come to our wheel well here, on the edge of it, and get some fasteners removed. So if you look here at the edge of our wheel well, at the very bottom, we're gonna have an eight millimeter screw. Grab our socket and pull that out. I want to mention from this point on, anything we do to this side of the vehicle, we're also gonna do to the other side, cause it'll be set up the same way. And then if you look up, we're gonna have two plastic rivets, we need to drill those out. So, use your drill bit, just a little bit bigger than the center of that rivet. It's kind of tricky to get in here with the tire being there. You can drill that out and just push it free. Same deal with this one up here. Now, if you look up there, in the top edge of the wheel well liner, you're gonna have a 10 millimeter bolt. Pull that on out. And we can grab our trim here, get that pulled out some, and then if you look behind it, there's gonna be seven millimeter head bolt. So, go ahead and remove that as well. Now if we move underneath our vehicle on this bottom edge of our bumper, if we look we're gonna have some plastic tabs that run up along each side, and we're gonna loosen or remove the bolts here, using a 10 millimeter socket. Now, if you open up your rear hatch and look, this top corner here, on each side, we're gonna have a T30 head Torx bit screw that we'll need to pull out. Now with an extra set of hands, we can remove our fascia. So I put some painter's tape here along the seams. That way we don't accidentally scratch anything. But what you're gonna do is kind of pull out on this corner, and start to just kind of work the fascia off. You may have some electrical wiring. Looks like over there on the driver's side there was. To disconnect it, you just push down on that connector there and separate the two wires. But with this free, we'll go ahead and set it off to the side, somewhere safe. Now we can temporarily lower our spare tire. That way, it's just gonna give us a lot more room to work. So, if you're not familiar how to do that, you open up your hatch. There's an opening down here. You can get out your tire tools, and we'll just get this lowered down. That way we can get it out of the way for the time being. Now what we're gonna need to do is lower our exhaust down some. Before we do that, I like to take a strap, and just run it from side to side here. That way we can kind of control how fast, and how far we let the exhaust come down. To lower the exhaust, on each side we're gonna have two isolator hangers, and you can spray these down with some soapy water, or some type of lubricant and make it easier, and just take a pry bar, and pry one end off. It doesn't really matter which end, which one's easier. Like that. The other one's gonna be in here. Sometimes this thing will be attached to this. Just pop it off. All right, with those loose, I already did the other side. I should be able to loosen up our strap, and let that exhaust come down a little ways. Now we can remove our bumper beam. So we're gonna have two bolts here on the side, and then one on the bottom. We're gonna use a 21 millimeter socket to get these out. With all those bolts removed, we can grab our bumper beam, work this out and set it to the side, as we will not be reinstalling it, cause the hitch is gonna take place of it. Now we can go ahead and grab our hitch, slide it into position. So this is just gonna go into the frame rails. Once you have it like this, we can start to get our hardware in place. To get our hardware in place, we're gonna have three attachment points, these two holes, and then, the one on the bottom here. So, originally where all of our factory bolts were. This time though, we're gonna use a fish wire to get our hardware inside. So let's start with this, take the coiled end, push it through and you're gonna push it towards the back of your vehicle. And we're trying to get it to come out of that opening there. Once you have the wire through, we're gonna take a spacer block and a carriage bolt, thread that carriage bolt on, and feed that hardware into the tram rail. And then if we pull on it, we'll get that bolt to come out, can remove that fish wire. I like to kind of hold that bolt so it don't fall back in. But from there we're gonna take a conical tooth washer, make sure the teeth on the washer are gonna face this way. Slide that on. We'll just take a hex nut, just get a few threads started on it, that way it'll stay in place. And I'm just gonna do that same thing for this attachment point, as well as the one on the bottom here. With all of your hardware in place and hand tight, you can now come back with a 3/4 inch socket and snug everything down. Now we need to make sure, come back with a torque wrench and tighten all the hardware down to the amount specified in the instructions. If you don't have a torque wrench, you can pick one up here at etrailer, or a lot of times, if you go to your local auto parts store, they usually have one there available to rent. Now, we can go ahead and raise our exhaust back up, re-lubricate the hangers, and slide them back into position. I already got the other side done. And now with the exhaust re-supporting itself, we can go ahead and get rid of our strap. This point, we'll go ahead and reinstall our spare tire. So this goes up the same way that we removed it. Uh, just wanted to show you guys that, you know, the hitch doesn't interfere with it or anything like that. Once it's tightened up, you can see it goes right back up into position. This point we come back to our fascia and we need to trim a little area of it out. Of course, these do have these removable doors here, this little panel. Our customer, theirs is missing already. But if yours is here, you obviously just undo the little hand nuts there, remove this, and the area that we have to cut out is this section here. There's also a diagram in instructions you can follow. But that said, though, I'm gonna use a little saw like this, little jig saw more or less. You can also use a Dremel tool, pair of snips, kind of whatever you got laying around. It's relatively thin plastic but from my experience in the past, these seem to give us nice clean lines. So that's what I'm gonna try here. Now with this trimmed out, we can re-install it the opposite way that we removed it. Don't forget to plug in any electrical connectors that you may have disconnected. And we're just gonna carefully, snapping it, this into place. Make sure everything lines up and get it re-secured. So once you get the fascia all secured, the last thing you want to do, is come back here where we drilled those plastic rivets out, the hitch comes some new ones. And so we got to get these hucked into position. So you will need a plastic rivet gun. You know, you can either pick this up or like the torque wrench, some auto parts stores may have something like this to rent, I'm sure. So you could always check there, but the way this works, take the rivet and put it into the gun. You're just gonna apply slight pressure to keep it flat and squeeze it. And that will huck the rivet and keep it secure. So, go ahead and do the same thing for the rest of them Underneath of our vehicle, we have these tabs that we're originally connected to our bumper beam. Obviously, since our bumper beam is no longer there, you can't use the hardware to re-secure them. So, it comes with a couple of zip ties. You can kind of just push these up towards the hitch and zip tie them and they actually do a pretty good job. They just help kind of support the bumper here and prevent it from bouncing around too much. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the Draw-Tite Max-Frame trailer hitch receiver on our 2018 Dodge Durango..

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