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Trailer Hitch Installation - 2016 Dodge Journey

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How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a 2016 Dodge Journey

Today in our 2016 Dodge Journey we'll be installing a Curt Trailer Hitch Receiver Class 3, part number C13201. As you can see it's a nice clean look, has this nice angular design to give us plenty of drop so we don't have any clearance issues when we're inserting accessories into our hitch, don't want to worry about anything hitting our bumper cover here. This hitch has a 400 lb max gross tongue weight rating and a 4,000 lb max gross trailer weight rating. It does support the use of weight distribution but those numbers stay the same, they do not increase at all. You may notice this hitch has a nice welded on collar at the end of it to give it a nice finished look and add a little bit of reinforcement to it. We have these angular plates for our safety chain welded on the bottom of our receiver.

The opening is a little bit small here so if you have some larger diameter safety chains on your trailer you may need to swap them out to a smaller one to fit in here easily. On the side of our receiver we have our industry standard 5/8" hitch pin hole to secure our ball mount, our bike rack, our cargo carrier, or any other hitch mounted accessory that we may have. This hitch features a nice high gloss black powder coat finish which will give us many years of rust and corrosion-free service. It sits almost flush with the back portion of our bumper cover here so we don't have to worry too much if it's sticking out when we're loading our cargo area of the hatch of our vehicle. We don't have to worry about running our knees into it or our shins. Now, for a few measurements to assist you in choosing any hitch-mounted accessory you may need, such as a ball mount, bike rack, or a cargo carrier, you're looking at about 14.5" from the ground to the top of the Class 3 2" receiving opening and about 4" from the center of the 5/8" diameter hitch pin hole to the rearmost point on the back bumper. Now that we've gone over some of the features of our Curt Class 3 hitch, we'll show you how to install it.

We're fortunate we don't need to lower our spare tire in order to begin our installation, but we do need to lower our exhaust here. There's two mufflers on either side of the vehicle. On our passenger side there's a grounds trap though, just clipped onto the exhaust hanger, just grab it, unclip it, set it out of the way. That done, we need to put a strap in to support our exhaust. We'll take a cam buckle strap here, go round this sway bar link on the driver's side, come over to the passenger side, do the same thing. Make sure our strap has a little bit of slack in it to catch our exhaust.

Okay, we have two exhaust hangers on both mufflers, spray some lubricant on them, help them slide off easier. Repeat the same process on the other muffler. Now that we have all of our hangers sprayed with some lubricant, take a pry bar here and we'll work our hangers off our muffler. There's one, got three more to go. Okay, now that we have our exhaust all dropped down, we'll take one of our fish wires, one of our small spacer plates here, and one of our carriage bolts. Working on the passenger side of the vehicle, I'll take our fish wire here, we'll go through this foremost hole in the frame rail and will come out here in the frame rail, put on a plate, we'll thread on a carriage bolt, stick it inside the frame, pull it on down.

Do the same thing for the rearmost hole in the frame rail. Okay, now we have a large spacer plate. This one's used in our bumper support bar in the rear of the vehicle. We still use the same fish wire and same style carriage bolt though, go through this hole here, it'll come out the end of our frame rail, put the spacer plate on. I'll stick it inside the bumper rail, thread on a carriage bolt and pull it on through. We'll repeat this same process on the other side of the vehicle. Now, our hitch comes with two of these metal wedges that will go on the rearmost hole between the hitch and the body of the vehicle. These will go into our bumper support so what we're going to do in order to make our installation easier, we're going to put them on, couple pieces of tape like this so we can tape them in place and don't have to worry about them falling while we install them. So like this we'll raise them into position and secure them to the vehicle. Now, the fat part of the wedge will go towards the rear of the vehicle, so we'll just raise it up and secure tape around the bumper support like so and we'll do the same on the other side of the vehicle. This way we don't have to worry about them dropping down when we raise the hitch into position. Now, before we raise our hitch up into position, there's this connector here, take a trim panel tool and pop it loose from the body, pop this loose and let it hand out of the way so our hitch does not make contact with it when we raise it up. Now, with an extra set of hands, we'll raise our hitch up over our exhaust and secure it in place with our flange nuts here. Now that we have all of our hardware in place and the hitch is supported, we can snug them down with a 3/4" socket. Repeat the same process on the other side. Now that we've snugged down all our hardware we'll start torquing it to the amount specific in the instructions, make sure you use a quality torque wrench here. Repeat the same process on the other side. With all of our hardware torqued down to specifications, we can raise our exhaust back into position and reattach the hangers. We get one started on one side of the vehicle, we'll go on the other side and do the same thing and we'll come back and get the other one. The reason you want to do that is because the exhaust wants to rotate and be real high on one side, real low on the other. You want to try to keep it as straight as possible. Once you get all of our exhaust hangers back on, make sure you slip back on our ground strap on the passenger side. All right, with that clipped on, that completes our installation. Make sure we remove our strap that we use to support the exhaust. That completes our installation of the Curt Class 3 Trailer Hitch Receiver, part number C13201 on our 2016 Dodge Journey.

David P.


theres this connector here, take a trim panel tool and pop it loose from the body, pop this loose and let it hand out of the way so our hitch does not make contact with it when we raise it up

Etrailer Expert

Rachael H.


The electrical connector should be re-installed, it is a temporary removal to reduce potential damage to the connector while installing the hitch. This is specified in steps 4 and 5 in the installation instructions, that I have linked for your reference.

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