Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Installation - 2020 Subaru Forester

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How to Install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch on a 2020 Subaru Forester


Ryan: How's it going Ryan here at etrainer.com. Today on our 2020 Subaru Forester, we're going to be taking a look at and showing you how to install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame trailer hitch receiver. Right off the bat, this hitch is going to be a little bit visible, but in my opinion, it really doesn't look too bad, and kind of goes well and matches that Subaru image.Now, this is a class III hitch, so it's going to have that two inch by two inch receiver tube opening, which is really going to give us a ton of different options, as far as what we want to do with it. So whether you're pulling a trailer, putting in a cargo carrier or even using it for those accessories like a bike rack, this is going to get the job done and work really well. And as a bonus, it's going to give us some pretty good clearance too. The end of the receiver tube, it's going to sit just behind the bumper, so that's going to be perfect for those folding accessories.We're going to have a reinforced collar here for extra strength, and it's also going to have these standard sized 5/8ths pin hole.

Now keep in mind, a pin and clip does not come included, but if you need one, you can find it here at etrailer.com. It's going to have plate style safety chain openings, which are really big and open enough to easily get on just about any size hook that we might have. The hitch is going to give us some pretty good weight capacities. As far as the maximum gross tongue weight rating goes, it's going to be 525 pounds, and that's going to be the amount of weight that's pushing down on the hitch. So that's more than enough capacity for just about any bike rack or cargo carrier.As far as the maximum gross trailer weight rating goes, it's going to be 3,500 pounds.

So it's going to be the amount of weight that's pulling on your hitch, so that's the weight of your trailer, plus anything that you might have on it. Now, this can be used with a weight distribution system, which is a separate component, and if you're using that, the numbers don't change. They will remain the same at 525 for the tongue weight rating, and 3,500 for the trailer weight rating. Now, I do want to point out it's never a bad idea to check with your Forester's owner's manual, to make sure your Subaru can pull that much weight.Now I'm going to give you a couple of measurements, and you're going to use these to help figure out which hitch mounted accessories to get. From the ground to the top inside edge of the receiver tube opening, it's going to be about 13 and a half inches.

So if you do plan on doing a little bit of towing, chances are pretty good, you're going to need to get a ball mount with a rise. From the center of the hitch pin hole to the edge of our rear bumper, it's about five inches, and you're going to use that measurement to figure out any folding accessories that you might have, can be stored in the upright position without making contact with the bumper. So overall, a good versatile all-around hitch, and it's going to allow us to use those various different accessories to do the things that we enjoy.Now as far as the installation goes, there is a handful of steps, but everything is pretty easy to get to, and is relatively straightforward. Speaking of which, let's go ahead and put the hitch on together now. To begin our installation, we're going to be here underneath the back of our Subaru, and we're going to start by removing a underbody panel over here on the driver's side.

To get it off, we're going to have three push pin style fasteners along this edge, and to get these out, you just take a trim tool or a flat-head screwdriver, pry underneath the head of it, and you're able to completely remove them.We're going to have two more push pin fasteners right behind our back tire, one here and one there, and these are just a little bit different style, but work the same way. We'll pry that head up, and I found that a smaller flat-head screwdriver works a little bit better for these. You get underneath it, pry it up, and kind of just reach in and remove it. And along this edge, we're going to have two screws, so we'll take those out with a 10 millimeter socket. Around this corner behind our tire, another push pin fastener, up here in our wheel well, essentially attaching that underbody panel, so we'll go ahead and take that one out as well, and once we get it out, that should release the panel, and allow us to remove it from our vehicle.All right, now we're able to grab our panel. You kind of work it out, and we can set it to the side. Now we're going to need to lower our exhaust down to give us a little more room to work, but before we do that, what I like to do is take a strap, and just run it from side to side, and that way, the exhaust system will have a little bit of support while it's hanging down. We're going to have two rubber isolator hangers that's holding our exhaust up, one on each side of our muffler here. We'll start by removing this one. Now what you're going to want to do, is spray it down with some soapy water or some lubricant to make it a little easier, and then just grab a pry bar, and pry that isolator off of either one of the metal hangers that it's over.Now that'll don't give us access to the four bolts that's holding our heat shield up, and we're going to need to lower that heat shield, so we'll go ahead and use our 10 millimeter socket, to get all four of those removed. And then once you've run that last bolt out, inaudible 00:05:45 over the heat shield, and kind of sneak it out from underneath the car. Now, if we move to our frame rail, we're going to have four plugs that we need to take out. So just grab a flat-head screwdriver, and pry underneath them to pop them out, and once we have all of these removed, the other side, we set up the exact same way. So we'll just repeat this process over there. We're going to use these three holes for our attachment points on each side, and the way that we're going to get our hardware in there, is called the fish wire technique.So we're going to take the coiled end of our fish wire, and run it through the openings, out of this large hole. So what I like to do, is take the fish wire, and just kind of eyeball the length a little bit here, and just kind of put a bend in it, that makes it a little easier to drop out, and then we'll run that through, and try to get that coil then to come out. Now, you might have to kind of reach up and help kind of assist it, just like that. And from there, we're going to take a spacer block, and a carriage bolt, and we'll thread that carriage bolt onto our fish wire. We're going to feed the hardware into our tray now, pull the other end of our fish wire until we get it to drop down. Now all of our attachment points are going to use that method to get the hardware in, and they're also going to use that same exact hardware combination. So I'm just going to repeat that same process for the two remaining holes over here, as well as the three on the other side.Now at this point, what we will do, is trim our heat shield, according to the diagram in the instructions. So I went ahead and just marked that area out. Now, what you can use to trim this, is maybe a Dremel tool, or even a pair of tin snips, just like this. Now, I'll show you why that we would need to trim this. So if you hold our heat shield up where we would re-install it, this edge here that we need to cut out, would actually interfere with our hardware and our hitch sitting flat against the frame rail, so that's the reasoning behind needing to cut this. Now for video purposes, we're not going to make that cut, we're just going to leave the heat shield off for now, but at this point when you do make the cut, you would simply just reinstall the heat shield, using the same hardware that was holding it up originally, with the exception of installing this forwardmost bolt.Now with an extra set of hands, we can put our hitch in place, so we'll take our fish wires and put them through the first binding holes in our hitch, raise it up into position, and once all of our bolts have dropped through, you can remove one of the fish wires, and what we're going to use to secure all the hardware is a inaudible 00:09:22 tooth washer, and make sure that the teeth on the washer are facing up, slide that over. Then we're just going to take a nut, and get that threaded on hand-tight. We're going to get one on each side, that way, the hitch will support itself while we work on the rest of the hardware.Now with all of our hardware in place and hand-tight, we can use an 1116 socket to snug it all down. Now we'll use a torque wrench to tighten all of our hardware down to the amount specified in the instructions. Now we're going to grab our plugs, and we're going to put one of them back in on each side, and the one that's exposed here is close to the front, the hole that we use to run all of our hardware into the frame rail. So just simply push that in, and do the same thing on the other side. Now at this point, we can grab our exhaust and re-secure it, so we'll just lift it up, line up our isolators, and just push them on by hand. And with it re-supported, we can go ahead and remove our safety strap.Now we can go ahead and take our underbody panel and slide that back into position, so you can kind of go in between the body of our vehicle here, and our wheel inaudible 00:11:03. Now we can go ahead and re-secure our underbody panel. What I found was we can reuse this factory bolt here for this hole towards the front of our vehicle, but for the other one, closer to the back right here, since it's going to set on top of our hitch plate, that the factory bolt is a little too short to reach into our frame rail. Now the hitch does come included with some bolts for that purpose, but what I found when I tried to thread this in, that this is actually too long, and I want it completely tightened up. So what I did was, is I just grabbed a handful of washers, which are sold separately, that way, it'll take up some of that space, and we're able to completely tighten down our bolt. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the Draw-Tite Max-Frame trailer hitch receiver on our 2020 Subaru Forester.


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Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Dustin K
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Employee Shane H
Test Fit:
Shane H
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G
Employee Michael B
Video by:
Michael B

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