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Trailer Hitch Installation - 2016 Subaru Forester - Draw-Tite

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How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a 2016 Subaru Forester


Today on our 2016 Subaru Forester we will be installing the Draw-Tite Class II Frame Receiver Hitch, part number 36523. Here's what our hitch looks like installed on the back of our Subaru. As you can see, there's a very minimal amount that hangs down below the bumper. When you're standing up behind the vehicle you can barely see it at all, besides the inch and a quarter receiver. You can see we got a nice, gloss black powder coated finished, and two really easy to access safety chaining loops to hook the safety chains of our trailer up to. This hitch has a max gross trailer weight rating of 3,500 pounds and a max gross tongue weight rating of 300 pounds.

Obviously you want to consult with the owner's manual of your Subaru before you tow anything and go by whichever number is left. Now for a couple measurements here, to assist you in choosing any hitch mounted accessories, such as a ball mount, bike carrier, or cargo carrier, you're looking about 14 inches from the ground to the top of the inch and a quarter receiver. About 7 inches from the center of the half inch diameter hitch pin hole to the back of your bumper. Now that we've gone over a couple features of the Draw-Tite Class II hitch, we'll show you how to install it on our Subaru. We really want to support our exhaust in our Subaru, because we're going to have to lower it. Put a rubber tarp strap here, connecting to the sub frame in two locations.

Now, we take some spray lubricant, lubricate our exhaust hanger here. Then this one here, too. Then take a pry bar and we're going to remove our exhaust hangers. Pop that loose, there. We're going to do the same for the other two.

We want to remove this exhaust heat shield. It's held in place with 4 10 millimeter bolts. We're going to drop our shield on down. There's three plugs on either side on the frame that we need to pop out with a flat head screwdriver. Do the same on the other side.

Now using a step drill, I have it marked for three quarters of an inch, is on our step drill. We're going to enlarge this center hole on either side so we have a place to fish wire our bolts and our spacer plates through. We're going to do the same on the other side. Using our provided fish wire, we'll feed it through our bolt hole on the frame, starting with the back one first. Slide our plate onto it and our carriage bolt. Insert the spacer plate and pull the bolt on through. Do the front one next, finishing with the middle one. The middle one is what we call a reverse fish wire technique, so we thread the bolt on first. Drop down our spacer plate, feed the bolt into the frame, insert our spacer plate, pull down our bolt. Do the same on the other side. I want to point our Conical Tooth Washer. They have this flat service here in the part of the teeth. The teeth will go up towards the hitch and it will put our bolt on. Let's go grab our assistant right now and we'll put our hitch up. Making sure we don't push your bolts up into the frame. I'm good. You good Get them started a few times by hand. We'll keep the process on the other side. Using our three quarter inch socket, we'll tighten our bolts down. Do the same on the other side. Now we'll torque our bolts to the manufacturer's specifications found in the instructions. Okay, with these three torqued, we'll torque the other side. Now we can trim our exhaust heat shield, or just leave it off, it's completely up to you. However, I would recommend re-installing it, so that's what we're going to do. First, you need to slide it back up into its original position. Figure out exactly how much you're going to need to remove. From this hole here, back to about where this R is, we'll just trim that off. Using a pair of tin snips, we'll just start trimming it on off from the areas that we saw where we needed to trim. You want to be careful while doing this, because this stuff will be sharp. You might have to cut off a small portion at a time to save room to get your tool in there. It does make your life a little bit easier for you. See if we can leave this one on so we have one of our attachment bolts still left there. We'll slide it back into position and check how our trimming did. Looks like we need to still take off a small portion right here. Let's go diagonal across. Now it should fit fine. Re-install our hardware. We'll only be able to use three, just because we had to cut one of the holes off. That'll keep it from rattling with three. We would still have our factory exhaust shield in place. Now we can tighten them, those 10 millimeter bolts down again. That'll work just fine. It won't rattle any and our heat shield in place. Now we can raise our exhaust back into position and re-install our hangers. We start with the one on the passenger's side, all the way out, first. It is a lot easier. It'll help hold the weight up for you. Then you can just slide the one closer to the driver's side and back on, or go way back to the front. Going to install this hanger just like so. You need to remove the strap that held the exhaust in place. That completes the installation of our Draw-Tite Class II Frame Receiver Hitch, part number 36523, on our 2016 Subaru Forester.


Info for this part was:

Employee Andrew K
Video by:
Andrew K
Employee Chris R
Video by:
Chris R
Employee Jonathan Y
Video by:
Jonathan Y
Employee Nicholas E
Test Fit:
Nicholas E
Employee Brent H
Test Fit:
Brent H
Employee Robert C
Test Fit:
Robert C
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Dustin K
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Employee Sue W
Video Edited:
Sue W

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