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EcoHitch Hidden Trailer Hitch Receiver Installation - 2021 Toyota RAV4

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How to Install the EcoHitch Hidden Trailer Hitch Receiver on a 2021 Toyota RAV4


Hey, everybody. Ryan here at etrailer. Today on our 2021 Toyota RAV4, we're gonna be showing you how to install the EcoHitch trailer hitch receiver. But before we do that, why don't we check it out and make sure that this is something that's gonna work for you. Right off the bat, one of the big questions a lot of people are wondering is if the hands-free lift gate assist is still going to work once you put the hitch on. And I've been playing with it a little bit, and I have got it to work.

It's gonna take you a little bit of practice, so, you know, you're gonna have to kind of find that sweet spot when you kick your foot under there. So it seems like in my case, to the right, maybe about 10 inches to the right of the hitch, it seems to work kinda best. It kinda just picks my foot up the best there. But you know, it is going to work. And like I said, you might have to kinda play with it a little bit just to get everything to function.

And once you kinda find that, I feel like muscle memory will be able to open it up every single time. When it comes to putting a hitch on the RAV4, honestly, probably the first thing I would think of is how's it going to look. 'Cause once I saw these new ones come out, I thought to myself, that's a pretty good-looking car. You know, the RAV4 has come a long way in terms of styling, at least in my opinion. And they're really sporty looking and, you know, they look good to me.

And so, you know, I wouldn't want a hitch that would hang way down and take up a bunch of space and be super noticeable. And that's not the case at all with the EcoHitch here. For the most part, it's gonna be completely hidden. So really, the only thing you're gonna be able to see is the receiver tube opening here, and that's gonna really help give it a factory-type appearance. The hitch is gonna have a two-inch-by-two-inch receiver tube opening, so a really common size and a lot of different accessories will work with it.

At the end there, there's a reinforced collar for a little bit of extra support. And the hitch is going to utilize that 5/8 pin and clip. It doesn't come with one, but if you don't have one, not a huge deal. You can grab it right here at etrailer. And the safety chain openings are gonna be a plate style and they're relatively decent in size. And it'll give us more than enough room to use just about any sized hook that we might have. The hitch is gonna give us some really high weight capacities. As far as the maximum gross tongue weight rating goes, that's gonna be 750 pounds. And that's gonna be the amount of weight that's pushing down on the hitch. So a pretty high number, and you should be able to use just about any sized 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 5,000 pounds. And that's gonna be the amount of weight that is pulling on the hitch. So that's the weight of the trailer plus anything that you might put on it. I do always like to suggest that it's never a bad idea just to grab your Toyota's owner's manual. That way, you can make sure your RAV4 can pull that much weight safely. With all that said, if you're gonna be pulling a trailer, you are gonna want the lights to work. 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 grab some trailer wiring. It does seem like a lot of people like to use folding-type accessories on the back of their RAV4s. And so having that clearance is gonna be important. And just from taking a quick look at the hitch, the end of the receiver tube sits just behind our bumper a little bit. So we really shouldn't run into any issues there. But just to be on the safe side, we can take a measurement and you can use this to figure out exactly if you can fold that upright without it hitting your bumper. So from the center of the hitch pin hole to the edge of our bumper, that's gonna be only about four inches. So like I said, you'll probably be in pretty good shape. And while we're at it, we'll go ahead and measure from the ground to the top inside edge of the receiver tube opening, and that's gonna be at about 14 inches. So if you plan on pulling a trailer, chances are pretty good you're gonna need to get a ball mount that has a slight rise in the shank. So at the end of the day, a pretty nice hitch. You really can't go wrong with it. You know, not only is it gonna look good, but it's gonna get the job done as well. And now, we know that and indeed it's going to work with the hands-free lift gate assist, at least in our case it does. Now, as far as the installation goes, really not too bad, only a handful of steps. Everything's relatively easy to get to. There is a time on the passenger side where it's a little tight and kinda hard to get a tool in there to tighten up the bolts. But I'll show you what I used and kinda how I did it, so hopefully that'll help you out along the way. But speaking of the installation, why don't we go ahead, pull into the garage, and I'll put it on together now. To begin our installation, we're gonna be underneath the back of our RAV4. And over on the passenger side, we're going to have a factory tow hook and we're gonna need to remove it. So here's the tow hook. We're gonna have two bolts holding it in place, and we're gonna pull those out using a 17-millimeter socket. Now, we can lower our exhaust some to give us some extra room to work. Before we do that, what I like to do is take a strap and just run it from side to side. That way, we can kinda control how fast and how far you let the exhaust come down. To get our exhaust lowered, we're gonna have some rubber isolator hangers. You can spray these down with soapy water or some type of lubricant and take a pry bar and work it off. You're gonna have one like this on each side of the vehicle. I already got the other side removed. Once you have that one off, you can come here to the center and get this one off. And so when it's popped off, we can loosen up our strap some, let the exhaust come down a little bit. So now, what I've done is reference the instructions. They give you a diagram on where you need to trim. So I taped it, marked everything out. Before we cut this though, if your vehicle has the hands-free lift gate assist, we wanna make sure that, that sensor is clear. That way, we don't chop it up. And I think we can probably get away with just pulling out these two pushpin fasteners. So take a screwdriver flathead like this, pop these out, and hopefully, okay, so there's a sensor behind here. I feel like if you kinda hold that up out of the way, maybe even tape it up out of the way, it'll give us the room we need without having to worry about cutting into it. So here's that sensor. And what I did is just kinda pushed it on up like this, and I feel like as long as we're careful, that'll give us enough space here to trim our bumper and not have to worry about hitting it. So now, we can go ahead and cut this. I'm gonna use a Dremel tool like this to probably cut up here. And then, I'm probably gonna use a pair of snips like this to finish it off. You can use tools similar to that or kinda whatever you got laying around the house. It's pretty thin plastic. So up here, I'll be very deliberate. Make sure we don't punch all the way through. So that sensor is somewhat close there. Now, if you look on the sides of our frame rails, we're gonna have our attachment points. So two on each side. You may have some stickers over 'em like we do here. If you do, just take a razor edge or something flat and pull 'em off. I wanna mention anything we do to one side of the vehicle, we're also gonna do to the other side. So it'll be set up the same way. Now, if you have any of the sealer that's relatively close to your attachment points, it might not be a bad idea either just to kinda remove a little bit of it. That way, it doesn't interfere with the hitch and make it difficult to get off. So in our case, probably just take an inch or two of this off, just scrape it off, and hopefully it won't interfere with us when we're putting the hitch up. Now, with an extra set of hands, we can take our hitch and raise it into position. So you're gonna up and over the exhaust and the holes in the hitch are gonna line up with the holes in our frame. Then, you're gonna take a bolt, put on a split lock washer, and then a flat washer. Go ahead and get these started hand tight, at least one on each side. That way, the hitch will support itself while we work on the rest of the holes. All of the hardware that's gonna hold the hitch will be that same combination. And I'll get it lined up. Once we have everything in place and hand tight, we can come back with a 3/4-inch socket and snug everything down. Once everything's tightened down, we need to make sure to come back with a torque wrench and torque all of the hardware to the amount specified in the instructions. If you need a torque wrench, you can grab one here at etrailer. Or a lot of times, you go to your local auto parts store and they'll have one there available to rent. Over here on the passenger side, everything's pretty tight, just kind of the way the car's designed here. We don't have a ton of room to get your standard wrench, you know, and there's a socket in there. So what I advise doing is taking a box wrench like this. That gives you more than enough space to get everything snugged down. And then, to torque it, you can use a tool that's called a crow's foot. So it's real low profile. It'll fit on your torque wrench, and it'll give you the space that you need to get in there and get this hardware properly torque down. Now, what you can do is that sensor that we kinda pushed up, pull that back down flush to your fascia, and re-install the pushpin fasteners. And finally, we can come back and re-hang our exhaust. I feel like this one was kinda hanging me up a little bit here, so we'll just get that on first. And with these, putting 'em back up, you can just relocate 'em. And then, a lot of times you can just do it by hand. Well, now that the exhaust is supporting itself, we can come in and remove our strap. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the EcoHitch trailer hitch receiver on our 2021 Toyota RAV4..


Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G

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