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Trailer Hitch Installation - 2017 Subaru Forester - Curt

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How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a 2017 Subaru Forester


Today on our 2017 Subaru Forester we're going to be taking a look at and installing the Curt class 3 trailer hitch receiver, part number C13144. Here's what this hitch is going to look like once it's installed on the vehicle. As you can see it maintains a pretty clean look, but it also looks nice heavy duty and durable. The cross tube is pretty well hidden up underneath. This receiver tube comes out far enough that it'll give us plenty of clearance for our hitch mounted accessories, but it doesn't come out too far to where we may knock our knee on it. Here we've got the standard 5/8 hitch pin hole. We've got the plate style safety chain connection points, and the openings for the safety chain connections are nice and large so even if you have bigger safety chain clips they should still fit in there no problem.

This hitch bolts up the same way as the other hitches that we sell for the Subaru, with 3 connection points on each frame rail. It features a 525 pound max tongue weight rating, and a 3,500 pound gross trailer weight rating. You will want to be sure to check the owner's manual to see if your vehicle's rated for that type of weight. Curt requires a stabilization strap for all non-trailer loads, and if you need to pick one of those up you can get that on our site, part number 18050. Now let's give you some measurements to help assist you with your selection of hitch mounted accessories such as ball mounts, bike racks, or cargo carriers. The distance from the center of the hitch pin hole to outer most part of the bumper is about 4 1/2 inches.

The distance from the top inside edge of the receiver tube opening to the ground is about 14 1/4 inches. Now let's show you how to install this hitch. First thing we're going to need to do to begin our installation is, we're going to need to get this exhaust out of our way so that we can access the holes that we're going to be using in order to put our hardware through in the frame. We've got 2 hangers that we're going to need to remove. We've got 1 over here on the driver's side of the exhaust, and 1 over here tucked inside of the fender. I'm going to take those off. You can put a little bit of spray lubricant on here to help with the removal.

It'll just help them slide a little bit better. In order to take those of you can use a pair of channel lock pliers. You can also use a pry bar. Then just let it hang there. Once we've got it loosened up at this flange here, it's got 2 bolts that go through it so you'll need a 14mm socket and wrench.

I'm just going to go ahead and take this whole muffler off because that's going to give me plenty of room to work. I'll loosen it up most of the way then I can support the muffler and take the nuts off the rest of the way. Then I can just work it out of there. I can set my muffler carefully off to the side. Now we'll need to take a 10mm socket and remove the 4 screws that are holding in this heat shield because we need to take this heat shield down so we can trim it to gain full access to all of our mounting points. Here are our 3 mounting points right here. We'll just need to take these little rubber plugs out in order to gain access to the holes. We can take a pair of needle nose pliers and just pull them all out of there. Then we'll repeat that same process for the other side. Then on our heat shield here what we'll be doing is the holes that we're on the frame rail, we're just going to trim up along this line almost to that front hole in order to cut across. That way we'll have full access to our mounting holes that'll run right along here. That's the area that I'll be cutting out. I'm just going to use some tin snips in order to trim this heat shield. Once I've got it trimmed here I can reinstall it. Now, as you can see, that gives me good access to my 3 mounting holes. Now the next thing we're going to need to do, on both sides, the middle hole that we'll be using for the mounting, we need to enlarge that a little bit. I'm going to use a step drill bit to make it a little bit bigger and then I'll use a grinding bit in order to widen it a little bit so we can fit our hardware through there. You can also use a file if you have one in order to do this. Now what we can do is, we can take our fish wire. We'll take the coiled end and send it up through the hole that we'll be pulling our carriage bolt through. Then we'll fish that out through the hole that we enlarged. Once we've got it fed through there we can take one of our square holed spacer blocks, put it up onto our fish wire, and then take one of our 1/2 inch carriage bolts and feed it into the coiled end of our fish wire. With that we can feed them up into the frame and then just gently pull them down into position. For the forward most hole we'll do that same thing. Then for the 3rd one we'll use the reverse fish method so we'll put our spacer block and carriage bolt onto the fish wire then we can feed our bolt through first, and then the block, and then pull them back into position. We'll repeat this process for the other side. It's a good idea to grab a second set of hands in order to put the hitch up and into place. Carefully slide it up there making sure we don't push any of our carriage bolts back up into the frame. Then we can take a flange nut and get one started on each side. Then we can let it hang there in order to start the rest of our flange nuts. Before we tighten up our flange nuts we want to be sure that the hitch is centered and pulled all the way as far as it'll go towards the rear of the vehicle. Then we can take a 3/4 inch socket and tighten them all up. Once we've got our flange nuts tightened up we'll want to be sure to go back and torque them down to the specification in the instructions. You'll want to make sure to do that on all 6 flange nuts. Once we've got the hitch torque down we're ready to reinstall our exhaust. That's going to complete our look at and installation of the Curt class 3 trailer hitch receiver, part number C13144, on our 2017 Subaru Forester.


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