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EcoHitch Hidden Trailer Hitch Installation - 2015 Subaru Forester

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How to Install the EcoHitch Hidden Trailer Hitch on a 2015 Subaru Forester

Today on our 2015 Subaru Forester, we'll be having a look at and installing the EcoHitch Hidden Trailer Hitch Receiver, part number 306-X7216. Here's what your hitch looks like installed. What sets this hitch apart from other hitches on the market is the fact that our main frame of the receiver is completely hidden behind our rear fascia. The only part visible is our actual class three receiver opening here with our safety chain attachment points. On the side of our receiver here, we'll see our industry standard five-eighth of an inch diameter hitch pinhole to secure any of our hitch mount and accessories. Our safety chain attachment points are behind the pin making it easy to clip our hooks on to without having to worry about the pin interfering with the safety chains. Another thing that sets it apart from other hitches on the market is that it's made of an ecologically friendly material.

It is made out of recycled materials meaning we have less carbon footprint being created during the manufacturing process of this hitch making this an ideal hitch to put on a vehicle if you're environmentally conscious. This hitch features a 350 pound max tongue weight rating which the amount forcing down and a 3500 pound max gross trailer weight rating which is the amount you can pull. You'll want to consult the owner's manual of your Forester and not exceed what the vehicle is capable of towing. With the hitch being hidden behind our rear fascia here, it does complicate our install a little bit making it slightly more difficult but as you can see with it being hidden, it does get us much better looks than a hitch that would be hanging down below our fascia. Now for a few measurements to better assist you in choosing any hitch mounted accessory you may need such as a ball mount, bike rack, or cargo carrier. You're looking at about 15 inches from the ground to the top of the 2 inch receiver opening and about 4 inches from the center of the hitch pinhole to the rear most part of the back bumper. Now that we've gone over some features, we'll show you how to get it installed. There's two ways that we can install our hitch according to the instructions.

One requires enlarging holes underneath the vehicle. The other requires removing the rear bumper cover here. By removing the rear bumper cover, we won't have to enlarge any holes so that's the method that we're going to do today. We'll begin by opening our hatch. With our hatch open, we'll remove our taillight assemblies now.

We have two 10 millimeter bolts. Grab the assembly now, pull back, and we'll unplug it by pushing on this gray tab right here and pulling back. Now we'll do the same on the other side. On each side by where our taillight assemblies were, we have another 10 millimeter bolt to remove. Now we're in our wheel wells where our rear fascia meets our fender liner. We have a click here at the top.

In some applications, there's two more spots further on down where you may have another clip as well. Push it on the center of the clip. Use a trim panel tool to remove it and then we'll push the pin all the way out so we can reinstall it later. Once we insert it, we'll just push it in. Underneath where our fascia meets our underbody panels here, we have two plastic fasteners on each side. These are different from the other ones. These you pop out the center section. You can use a flathead screwdriver or a tread panel tool. Once we get the center section started, we'll pull that out fuller and then the whole thing will pull out. Now we have two at the very rear of our fascia. One on each side of the center section. Now with an extra set of hands, we'll remove our rear fascia by unclipping it where it meets our body and around by our taillight area and we'll set it aside where it won't get damaged. Now we'll remove our bumper beam here. We have three 14 millimeter bolts on each side. It may be necessary to use a pry bar to break the seal that may have been created over time of the bumper being stuck to the car. Then we'll just pull the bumper beam off. Now we're going to have to put a strap in place to support our exhaust because we will need to lower it. Let's go around the sway bar here and this will give us the support we need. We have two exhaust hangers. We'll spray some lubricant on these so that they'll slide off easier for us. Now we'll use a pry bar and pry off our hangers. To give ourselves some extra room to work, we're going to remove our muffler section completely by removing the two 14 millimeter nuts that we're put in place. We'll hold the bolt in place with a 14 millimeter wrench. Then we can grab our muffler and pull it off. Now we'll remove the four 10 millimeter bolts that hold our heat shield in place. Our vehicle only has a single exhaust. If you have duel exhaust, you'll need to do this to both sides of the vehicle. We've marked out our heat shield here according to the instructions and now we'll trim out this area using a pair of tin snips. Right now before we actually handle this after we made our cuts, we'll make sure we're wearing gloves to help prevent any cuts. On our frame rail, we'll remove our plugs that are the furthest apart so the one at the very end and the one at the very front. Just take a trim panel tool or a flathead screwdriver and just pop them out. Take our fish wire. We'll go through our back hole here and it'll come out where our bumper beam attached. We'll place on our spacer block our lock washer that has teeth on it and we'll thread on our bolt and we'll pull it on through. Take our pull wire again and we'll go through our forward hole. We'll repeat the same process for the other side. With our hardware in place and our frame rail, we'll reinstall our exhaust heat shield. We're only going to use 2 bolts now. We're not going to use the bolts that we're in our frame rail. We'll take a pair of channel locks and go on our fascia attachment tab here and we'll bend it forward for the time being. Do this on both sides. This will give us room for our hitch to go into place. With an extra set of hands, we'll take our hitch, we'll hold it in a vertical position like this, rotate it in place, and then secure it into place with our hardware. Now we'll take two flat washers, stick them over our bolt, a lockwasher and we'll thread on a nut. We'll do the same for the all four hardware points. We'll take our pliers again and bend our tab back on up. We'll place our bumper beam back on. Then we'll secure our hardware that we removed. Right now, we'll twerk our bumper beam bolts to the amount specified in the instructions. We have our rear fascia sitting here on a surface where we can work on it. We went ahead, according to the instructions, and marked out the area on our fascia that we need trim. You can trim this with a sharp utility knife. I'm going to use a rotary tool though because I feel I can make a cleaner cut with it. Now we'll reinstall our fascia. We want to make sure that our hitch is centered in the cutout of our fascia. Ours is looking pretty good so now we can tighten up our bolts. We use a three-quarter inch socket for this. Now we'll twerk our hardware to the amount specified in our instructions. We'll reinstall our muffler. With our muffler back on the hangers now, we'll reinstall the hardware that holds it in place. We can take our strap down. We'll go ahead and reinstall all of our fasteners for our fascia. We'll plug back in our taillights - make sure they click in place - and we'll reinstall them into position. That completes our look at and installation of EcoHitch Hidden Trailer Hitch Receiver, part number 306-X7216, on our 2015 Subaru Forester.

Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
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Joshua S
Employee Jonathan Y
Video by:
Jonathan Y
Employee Jacob T
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Jacob T
Employee Dustin K
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Dustin K
Employee Chris R
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Chris R
Employee Brent H
Test Fit:
Brent H
Employee Robert C
Test Fit:
Robert C
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
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