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Stealth Hitches Hidden Rack Receiver Installation - 2022 Tesla Model 3

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How to Install the Stealth Hitches Hidden Rack Receiver on a 2022 Tesla Model 3

Hello, neighbors. It's Brad here at etrailer. And today, we're taking a look and installing the Stealth Hitch rack receiver on a 2022 Tesla Model 3. So it is installed on this vehicle, and you may say, "Where" Well, and that's kinda the beauty of the Stealth Hitch. It lives up through its name of being rather stealthy, and that is achieved by having a removable receiver tube opening. So in order to get your receiver tube open and put on your vehicle so that way you can actually have your accessories loaded up, on this 2022, there is an access panel here.

Now, there's gonna be two little flathead, little turn plastic screws here. Pretty easily just quarter turn these, and then our panel drops out. And then, from here, you kinda just slide these tabs out. Once this is out of the way, you can see the opening. Now, also, you'll be able to see there's a handle on our passenger side, and that's gonna be able to actually disengage this once it's in place.

And you have a lock here as well, so once it's in place, no one's gonna walk away with the receiver tube opening when it's in it's locked position. And when you're ready to go for a bike ride or load up your cargo carrier, it's pretty easy. You'll have this that comes with the actual receiver rack, and you're gonna see not for towing. Now, this one in particular is meant for just your accessories and has a tongue weight of 350 pounds. So you're able to load up a decent amount with bikes or a cargo carrier, but as far as towing, there is a tow package available.

So if that's something that you would like, by all means. Now, pretty easy here, just kinda give this a quick push up, and you should here a clunk. And now, we have this in place, so we can load up your accessories and be ready to go. It also has a nice opening here for your hitch pin and clip. This is gonna be a 5/8 standard size.

Now, it does not come with a hitch pin and clip. A lot of your accessories that you buy will generally have them, but if you need one or you want a locking one to keep your accessories locked onto this, we have a wide variety of those here available at etrailer. Now, one thing that you may notice is this does stick down a little bit past the car where the factory was before the tube was there. So you do have a ground clearance here of right at about eight inches. So it's relatively low and that's something you're gonna wanna keep in mind is your accessories loaded up tend to stick out a little bit. So some of 'em will have a raised shank, but if it is a flat one and you have things loaded up, when you're going up hills, you're gonna wanna make sure that, that doesn't bottom out. Or if you're going off some maybe not so smooth pavement or some paths or whatever it may be, keep that in mind. And also, you're gonna wanna keep in mind that you are adding length to the overall of the vehicle. Well, and also with this, we're gonna measure that just so you can kinda check your own accessories. Now, keep in mind, we're gonna measure here from the furthest point on our rear fascia to the receiver tube opening. You are gonna be adding some little bit of length to your vehicle and roughly about two inches from the furthest point on the rear fascia. So you're adding that little bit of extra, so just be aware of any curbs or anything like that. But you're also gonna be adding accessories to this, so overall length of the vehicle is gonna change. So just keep that in mind. That way, you're not making contact and damaging your accessories. Now, as far as the installation goes, I will admit it's not exactly the easiest installation because you are gonna have to remove the rear fascia and also the bumper support and some brackets there. Now, none of it's too terribly bad, but sometimes taking off the fascia can be a little bit scary. But I'm gonna walk you through every single step, and that way I'm there to walk you through it, and you can kinda get an understanding of what you're getting into. And really, this is a great option for a hitch because it is very clean-looking. So I would say that it's totally worth it to do the install. So let's take a look at that now. To begin our installation, we're gonna start by opening up the trunk as we're gonna need to gain access to the taillight area as well as some buttoned-up pieces in there, and because we are gonna have to remove the rear fascia in order to get this hitch on. So let's open up the trunk and get to work. So on the driver side, we're gonna find a plastic rivet. It's just a push button one. Now, it's kinda tucked up in there a little bit, so getting a flathead screwdriver might be a little bit tricky, so I'm using a pick here that has an angle to it. And to find it, just follow your plastic down here. And right above this light, you're gonna see it living up here. So we'll go ahead. Let's get this popped out. It's tucked in there pretty good so just peel that little top tab open, and the rest of it should come out pretty easy here. Now, all of your hardware that we're removing, you're gonna wanna have a nice place to keep these. That way, during the installation, you'll have everything ready, so I suggest having a good way to organize it. I use a muffin tin, a cup, whatever it may be. That way, you have all your pieces. Next, we're gonna take these taillight stops out, and that's just gonna be simply rotating these counterclockwise. We can go ahead and do this on both sides. So now, we're gonna gain access to the back of our taillights here. And we're just simply gonna kinda pull this inner liner out. Now, the plastic may come down with it, and that should be okay. Just be careful that we're not bending this or deforming it at all. Now, part of this is cut out here. There's a little vent, so if you lightly grab there, you're gonna be able to get this edge out from the weather stripping here. And we're just gonna pull just back a little bit. And what we're gaining is access to our plugs. There's also gonna be some eight-millimeter nuts here that we're gonna be taking off. So you can see this one here. There should be another one up top. We're gonna go ahead and loosen these up, and we're also gonna try to get the taillight to move a little bit, and that might gain us a little bit access to the actual plug itself. So first, I'm gonna go ahead and get these off. Now, be careful as these are pretty small. So if they come loose, you're gonna wanna make sure you don't drop these. So now, we can actually go ahead and unplug our taillight here. You can see this red tab, and that should pull that back and that'll unlock it. And then, you should be able to push on the actual tab here to get this undone. There we go. So now that we have that unplugged, let's see if we can move our taillight a little bit here. Now, your charge port may come up at this point. That's okay. We're gonna try to get this out, and what you're gonna want to use is a plastic trim removal tool. And that's gonna allow us to kinda pry this out as if you wobble it back and forth, it can actually damage the studs of the light. So you wanna make sure to prevent that, and that's gonna be just using this here. Kinda pry this straight out. So what I found is your pry point here, you're gonna see this kinda curvature. It dips in here, and you're able to kinda get your plastic pry tool just in this area. And it's gonna allow you to kinda wedge that. You're gonna have to pry it forward. And again, this is where the plastic trim removal tool really comes in play as it's not gonna scratch paint or anything like that. Now, you still wanna be careful obviously. But this should get us to be able to pry this a little bit. So take your time. And once you kinda get a small gap here, you can kinda work your way down, and this should pop off. And you're gonna see, these are the tabs here of those pins that we're in this point. So when you are prying it, you can kinda try to get the forked end of a plastic trim removal tool here. And this bottom one's gonna be a little bit tricky, but working your way down, you should be able to get there and kinda pry that and get your taillight out. So we're gonna go ahead, we're gonna do the same process on the passenger side now. Now, with our taillights out of the way, we're gonna see we have a 10-millimeter bolt on each side. We'll go ahead and get those removed. So now, we're gonna go to our wheel well liner here. And this is gonna allow us to separate it from the rear fascia as we're gonna be removing it. So you're gonna see there's gonna be some plastic pushpins. There's gonna be three of 'em. And it's gonna be hard to see, but they do follow this same kinda linear pattern. So just get those three off, and then work your way to where the fascia actually bolts onto the rear quarter panel. And you're gonna see there's gonna be a T25 that's facing up. So we'll go ahead and get all those removed. Now, that T25 can be a little bit tricky as it wants to catch on the fender liner. So I had to kinda push that fender liner back just to kinda get that bolt head out. But once you have that, we're gonna go ahead and repeat the same process on the other side of the vehicle. So now, we're gonna be removing the gravel guard from underneath the vehicle. And there's gonna be a few hardware bolts here that are all gonna be 10-millimeter. So the first thing we're gonna wanna do, there's gonna be these plastic covers. You're gonna go ahead, you're gonna see there's a slot. So it makes it pretty easy just to put a flathead screwdriver here, pry this open, and that's gonna gain us access to a 10-millimeter there. There's also one more on the other side. And then, moving forward, you're gonna see we're gonna have one there, one here, there's one here, one here, and on some models, it's gonna be a little bit different. There may be another one here. We'll have to check that once we actually kinda lower it down. But for now, I'm gonna grab my 10-millimeter socket and get these taken out. So the gravel guard, the hardware's off, and we're actually gonna be removing that with the fascia one go. So you don't actually have to remove that. We're just gonna be nice. Now, since we are getting ready to take the fascia off, a little precaution here. Just putting a little bit of painter's tape, just follow the edge here of the bumper. You're also gonna wanna run it up on the quarter panel as well. So we're gonna have two strips of tape, and that's just gonna help when we put this back that this paint can rub against each other and cause it to actually scuff it. So this painter's tape gives it just a extra layer of protection. So I highly, highly recommend doing this if you wanna protect those, you know, pieces here where you might get a little bit of chips putting this back or rocks, or not rocks, but little scratches. So this is just a easy way to prevent some of that. So now, you're gonna wanna grab an extra set of hands. And that way, you can get this fascia off. Now, this can get a little bit tricky. The main thing that you're gonna try to do is work from the outside in. Now, these clips here, it might be nice to have a plastic trim removal tool to kinda pry these, so have that handy. And something else is you're gonna wanna make sure that you have a place to store this when you actually take it off. We're using a big cardboard sheet just to kinda keep it protected. So make sure you have a safe spot to put this once it's off. And also, when taking this off, you don't want to pull out too quick as there is a plug that you'll need to unplug. So you don't wanna damage that as well. So take your time with this. We're gonna start just on these corners here, start prying back, and try to get this off. Now, when you hear a little clanging, that's gonna be from our T25 clip. So if that does fall out, make sure you put that back on when you reinstall, but keep this handy. And these little keepers, you can see the plastic just kinda clips in there, and they can fight you pretty good. Just be patient on this as you don't wanna damage those. But some of these can be tricky, so don't be too hard on your yourself. So now, these little tabs, sometimes it's easy to kinda pry this down or pry it up on the actual fascia to get it over that tab. So again, be patient here. You might need to work from the other side. So once we kinda got that loose, now, that's gonna gain us a little bit of extra space. I'm gonna kinda lift up a little also to kinda relieve some pressure on that clip. Got it there. So keep working your way towards the middle. So here's that clip I was talking about. This is gonna be pretty easy to separate. You're gonna wanna just pull this tab back, and then you should be able to pry this here. Push that clip in, and it should separate. There we go. Yeah, pushing the clip in a little bit and then pulling really made a big difference. We have our fascia here. We're gonna just set this on the cardboard just to kinda keep it safe, and that way it's not gonna get scratched. So now, we're gonna be removing these five 10-millimeter sockets. Now, I'm gonna go ahead and make just a quick mark here because when we tighten 'em back down, that's gonna allow us to know that we actually have these torqued down properly in the same spot. And you can kinda use whatever. I'm using a paint marker, but if you put a little scratch or maybe just a mark with something just so you can denote where it needs to go, that should be fine. So now, we can go ahead and remove our five bolts. Now, this should be pretty loose here. There are these little clips that kinda keep it in this bracket, so you may need to pop those out. But ours we're actually loose. And this wire loom here on both sides is kinda keeping this in place, but we do need to actually get this out of the way here to gain access to our bolts. So we're gonna let it hang down for just a little bit here. It doesn't look like there's too much stress on it. Just be careful to not push down on this and damage those wires. So now, our bumper beam is exposed. And that means that we can actually go ahead, and we're gonna take a 15-millimeter and get these taken off. And this one has five mounting holes. You have two on the passenger, and there's three on the driver. Some of them actually have six, kinda depends on what year model that you got. So ours does have five, so we're gonna go ahead and remove those now. Now, I'm kinda just using my hip to keep this in place, just so it doesn't fall. But make sure you keep all your hardware as you're gonna need that later. And this should just kinda come off, and we can set this aside. So now, we're gonna be removing our reinforcement beam plates here, and you have three on each side that are 15 millimeters. Now, some models will have eight. It kinda all depends again on the year, but whichever you have, go ahead and you can remove those. Now, our support plates are not gonna be actually going back on the vehicle, so you can actually, you can keep these for later or you can throw 'em away, it's kind of your call. But you are gonna wanna make sure you have your hardware as we're gonna be reusing these. Now, you'll see this flat panel where that plate was. Some of them will have a little bit of some of this sealant here that can cause it to be kinda chunked up. If you do have that on yours, just take a plastic scraper and get that off. Ours here does not have that, so we'll continue on. Now, you're gonna have these nylon washers. We're gonna go ahead and place one on each of them. Go ahead and do the same thing on the other side. So now, go ahead and grab your hitch and just slide them over the studs. Now, we're going to take our previous nuts that we had, and we're just gonna do the outside. I'm just gonna hand-tighten 'em on there for now on both sides. So just two of 'em will be going on. And before you really tighten it down, this is a good chance to make sure it's properly aligned in the center of the vehicle as there is a little bit of wiggle room as these are slotted. So just kinda make sure it's lined exactly where you want it. And then from there, we're gonna go ahead with our torque wrench and tighten these down to the specified torque setting in the instruction. Now, if you don't have a torque wrench, we have these here at etrailer. Generally, you can rent them in an auto parts store. But this is gonna be important because it's gonna make sure that it's not gonna put too much stress on the studs, but it's also gonna be tight enough to not come off. So go ahead and get these torqued down. So now, we're gonna take our brackets that are in the kit, and you're gonna want to align 'em to where the wider part here of this impact bar, that's gonna be the top, this little notch here, that's gonna indicate that, that goes on the top, and these holes should line up. Now, we're going to take the hardware that's supplied from the kit, and we're gonna do this in the same procedure for all of 'em. So take your bolt with your flat washer. And then, you're gonna take your nylon washer, and then we also have our flange nuts. And what we're gonna be doing is feeding these in here, and then we're gonna tighten those flange nuts down. Now, this is gonna be a little bit tricky here as you're gonna have to kinda feed this in. So I'm gonna just get one lightly threaded on, and that way I can go back and put my other ones on. And if you go too tight, it's gonna be hard to get that nylon washer in. So this is kinda tricky. These edges here are pretty sharp as well, so just be careful. You don't wanna cut yourself on this. Okay, so I got that one, the thread started. So I'm gonna go ahead and repeat that same process here. So we'll just make sure that we put our nylon through. Now, this last one, it's kinda further in there, so it might get tricky. But you can actually go from the bottom here just to kinda get that thread started. That's gonna make it a little bit easier for you. Now, we can go ahead, we'll do the same process on the other side, and we'll tighten these down. So now, we did the three on that side, ours, since we only had the five bolts total, we're gonna do the two over here. Now, during this process, do not tighten 'em down all the way as we're still gonna need to actually align this hitch. So just finger-tight on there, just so it's not gonna fall off, should be plenty for now. So now, we're gonna take our bumper bar here with those brackets installed, and we're actually gonna place it on those studs. Now, I'm gonna just lift this out of the way. That way, we're not kinda trapped having to pull this over the bumper beam. Now, they suggest that you slide the brackets out as far as possible while doing this, so let's go ahead and do that. And if you have your friend handy that helped take off the fascia, it might be a good job for them to kinda hold that wiring harness in place. And that way, it's not in the way of doing this. And I'm holding my brackets out as far as I can. I'm gonna slide these on the studs. We may have to kinda slide it a little to each side to get that on there. And we're gonna see we have these factory studs. We have our factory hardware here, so I'm gonna go ahead and I'm gonna just get these two on. Now, this is why this is removed, so we can actually gain access to this one. Go ahead and do that on the other side as well. Now, before we tighten this down, a little helpful tip to make sure that this is aligned properly. You're gonna go to the side here by your bumper impact bar. And on this tapered-in edge, you're gonna wanna measure from here to the outside of our actual bracket there, and it should be right at an inch on both sides. So double check both just to know that you're aligned properly before torquing these down. Now, we're gonna go through and torque all of our hardware down to the proper specifications. I'm gonna start with our actual bracket bolts here or bracket nuts first. So now, for tightening down our bolts that we fed through here, this is gonna get a little bit tricky, but our best bet is to actually put a 17-millimeter socket or, I'm sorry, wrench on the actual bolt head. And that's just gonna kinda hold that in place as we tighten it down. Now, we can still use these access holes to be able to get our 15-millimeter socket in here. But just making sure that we have that 17 on the back is gonna make sure that it's not gonna spin around on us. So get that on there. And then, you can start to tighten this up. And I'm gonna go ahead, and I'm gonna do a little on each one on each bolt. And that way, they're kind of evened out as they're pretty still loose. Moving to my next one here. You might have to kinda move it around to get your wrench on there. So now, we're gonna go back and torque down all of our bumper bolts that we have. You're still gonna want to put your 17-millimeter behind there. That way, it's not rotating while you're torquing it down. So now, you're gonna wanna grab the actual receiver portion of the hitch. And we're gonna go ahead with the long bolts that are included, and we're just gonna feed these through here. Now, I'm going, you're gonna want the key side on the driver, and you're gonna want the head of the bolt on the passenger facing towards the driver side. Push those in. And now, we're gonna grab the supplied nuts that came with it. We're also going to need to torque these down. So it might actually be a little bit easier to get to these with this one outta the way, but we should be able to get both of 'em torqued down pretty easily here. Now, we're gonna be using a 15/16 wrench and socket to do that, so get those handy. So now, we're gonna tighten these down. They may get a little tricky to get to with an impact, so you might have to actually use a wrench. I have a swivel here, which is gonna allow us to get onto our front one here. Just go ahead and put the 15/16 wrench on the other side, and get these tightened down. If you need to, you can always use just a socket and a ratchet. It is kinda tricky space-wise, and you will need a deep well in order to get this tightened all the way down, but just to kinda get this started, this seems to be a easier method. So now, our final step on these bolts are to torque them down. Now, I always try to use my torque wrench on the nut side as that's actually a little more proper way to do it. And that way, it's not cinching it up, and this will give you the proper torque rating. Now, double check the instruction manual because this is different than the other ones that we have done previous, so just make sure you have that properly set. And this one may be tricky to get to. Eh, it might not be able to bite onto there. So again, I try my best to only torque down on the nut side, but sometimes just for space, we may have to do it this way. There we go. So now, we're ready to put everything back in reverse order, starting with this electrical panel here. Now, remember, when you're putting your fascia back on, make sure this plug gets plugged back in 'cause it's very frustrating to have to take that all back off. So remember to plug that in, and then the rest of it is just gonna be in the reverse order that we did to take it all off. So let's go ahead and do that. Now, putting your fascia back on isn't terribly hard, but remember, this bottom portion can kinda get tricky, and you're gonna need this to tuck up underneath this portion. So the way that I kinda do it is if you take your plastic trim removal tool, and you can actually kinda create a wedge here and try to get this to slide back behind there. So holding this down and pushing up to see if we can't get this tucked in there. There we go. And now, I can kinda just work this down the edge, ideally. There we go. So now, we got that slid up. That's gonna help that fascia kinda tuck a little bit more in. Now, a little tip, if your metal clip came off on taking the fascia off, make sure you find them first off, but also to get this installed back and without scratching anything. You might wanna keep this off, get these all popped into place, and then you can actually put this on once it's actually attached. Now, make sure that nipple part there, the opening is gonna be facing up, and that way your T25 can go in and tighten this down. So peeling back our fender liner here, it's gonna allow me to be able to slide this into place. So it does kinda go at a slight angle, but you're gonna see and gonna feel at least with your fingers there's an indentation where it will actually slot into. So just take your time. And with that pulled back, I was able to get that slid in place. And now, we'll be able to tighten that up. We're gonna go ahead and reinstall our taillights. Make sure you are plugging those back in and locking that clip as well. Now, with our fascia back on, everything's been buttoned up as far as our taillights and our plugs, really all that's left to do is put our receiver tube in. And the great part about this one being a 2022 is it does actually have this access panel. Now, not all Teslas will have that, and you may have to actually trim this. There is a template in the instruction manual, so if yours doesn't have have this access panel, you'll simply just cut that to gain access to it. But right here, we just have a little quarter turn with a flathead, and that should open this up. And once this drops out, we can actually get this pulled out. And I see it's a pretty tight fit here on where our stealth hitch is. So if it is pinched, that's probably why. Now, this rubber cover here is gonna open up. Let me just pry that out. Oops, sorry. And in there are gonna be your keys. Now, these are important to have because this is what's gonna actually be able to lock and unlock your receiver tube once it's placed in there. So let's go ahead and grab the receiver tube. Now, in order to put this in place, you're gonna wanna take your rubber cap off the lock, which is gonna be on the driver side. And let's go ahead and unlock this. Now, it should pop open like that, and that's gonna let you know that it's unlocked. Now, simply take your receiver tube. I'm gonna turn my handle here. And once in place, you should be able to push that up. You're gonna hear that clunk. You know it's actually solid. That handle will actually drop down, letting you know that it's in place and in position. Now, once you have it on there, if you want to, you can simply turn that and lock it in. And now, it's not gonna go anywhere. Now, once you're done using your hitch, whenever you are ready to store it away, no problem. You're simply gonna take that same key, unlock it, that's gonna pop open. And then, the handle, you're just gonna reach up, give that a clockwise twist, and that's gonna drop out. So now, you can store this in your vehicle and have it ready for next time. And the great part is once that receiver tube's out, you can simply put your panel back in place, take your flatheads, and you can tighten those up. And now, everything's hidden. That's the great part about the Stealth Hitch is the fact that once you're not using it, and you have no idea that a hitch is there. So there's no unsightly receiver tube hanging down at all times. And whenever you wanna hide it up, keep it OEM, that's no problem. It's nice, quick, couple-minute changeover, and you're ready to rock. And that was a look and installation of the Stealth Hitch rack receiver on a 2022 Tesla Model 3. Thanks for watching..

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