('14+) OEM or other hitch? - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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OEM or other hitch?

Looks like I'm going to grit my teeth and buy a '16 Forester, despite the low tow rating. Is there any advantage or disadvantage to the OEM tow hitch? I see that others are offered. I'd like to keep the receiver as high as possible.

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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 05:14 PM
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Also interested in this topic. For my 2011

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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 06:19 PM
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I been looking at hitches and the OEM hitch will cost around $600.00 vs one from auto everything for about $150.00.
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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 06:40 PM
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I recommend the Torklift EcoHitch. I have it on my '16 XT. It mounts higher, like the factory, but has braces/brackets that run forward on the frame rails, instead of just hanging off the back of the chassis by replacing the impact bar. I think this favors less chassis twist than the factory hitch, as it spreads the load better.

As an additional note, I had a Curt hitch on my '15 XT (long story why I traded up so quick). That one hung much lower, and was also pushed forward, making it more difficult to insert the receiver bar.

I had the Curt drag several times on high angle driveway entries. I have never had that issue with the Torklift.

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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LKenney View Post
Looks like I'm going to grit my teeth and buy a '16 Forester, despite the low tow rating. Is there any advantage or disadvantage to the OEM tow hitch? I see that others are offered. I'd like to keep the receiver as high as possible.
I've been on the fence with this same question for awhile. The OEM hitch is 1 1/4 inch but aftermarket is available in that size and also as 2 inch. The OEM is a bit odd in that the hole placement isn't far back which might limit your choices on attachments like bike racks. In my opinion etrailer.com has lots of good information and videos about this. I'm fairly certain that a couple of aftermarket hitches mount as high as the OEM. Aftermarket hitches all mount to the frame rails. There is some (but not very much) thought that this may stiffen the frame and diminish the ability to distribute the force of impact from a crash. On the other hand the OEM hitch replaces the rear impact bumper bar. But I have an email from Subaru saying that the installation of the OEM hitch does not change the safety rating. I don't know about you but I just don't like the idea of getting rid of the bumper bar.

Torklift has designed an ecohitch which I think is the better than OEM and every aftermarket hitch out there. It mounts in the same way as the OEM hitch and behind the bumper bar. Yes you keep the bumper bar intact. Unfortunately it is only available for the 2015-16 outback and Torklift has no plans to bring this design to the Forester until after the next redesign. https://youtu.be/dt-TSABNH50

Lastly I think installation is a big factor. If you're not installing yourself I think an experienced installer you trust is important.
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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tossici View Post
I've been on the fence with this same question for awhile. The OEM hitch is 1 1/4 inch but aftermarket is available in that size and also as 2 inch. The OEM is a bit odd in that the hole placement isn't far back which might limit your choices on attachments like bike racks. In my opinion etrailer.com has lots of good information and videos about this. I'm fairly certain that a couple of aftermarket hitches mount as high as the OEM. Aftermarket hitches all mount to the frame rails. There is some (but not very much) thought that this may stiffen the frame and diminish the ability to distribute the force of impact from a crash. On the other hand the OEM hitch replaces the rear impact bumper bar. But I have an email from Subaru saying that the installation of the OEM hitch does not change the safety rating. I don't know about you but I just don't like the idea of getting rid of the bumper bar.

Torklift has designed an ecohitch which I think is the better than OEM and every aftermarket hitch out there. It mounts in the same way as the OEM hitch and behind the bumper bar. Yes you keep the bumper bar intact. Unfortunately it is only available for the 2015-16 outback and Torklift has no plans to bring this design to the Forester until after the next redesign. https://youtu.be/dt-TSABNH50

Lastly I think installation is a big factor. If you're not installing yourself I think an experienced installer you trust is important.
@tossici , Torklift does have one for the 14+ Foz... I have it on mine..

Here it is on their site.
Forester EcoHitch

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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-17-2016, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe19403 View Post
I been looking at hitches and the OEM hitch will cost around $600.00 vs one from auto everything for about $150.00.
OEM Hitch MSRP is 399.99 and 374.99 at
Subaru Forester Trailer Hitch (Part No: L1010SG610)
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File Type: png Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 9.21.51 PM.png (296.6 KB, 2080 views)

Less is more
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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by HotShot308 View Post
@tossici , Torklift does have one for the 14+ Foz... I have it on mine..
This one mounts to the frame rails and if I go aftermarket I'll probably get this one. I only meant that Torklift doesn't make one that mounts behind the bumper bar for the Foz like they do for the newest subaru outback. I suspect that all future Torklift hitches for subarus will be made this way. It's a great design IMO. Did you install yourself if not where did you go? Thanks!

Last edited by tossici; 06-18-2016 at 06:15 PM. Reason: forgot to specify that the outback and only the outback has the latest torklift design
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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 05:41 PM
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I have watched some videos on youtube about how to install a trailer hitch. Sometimes they reinstall the heat shield, sometimes they don't. How much difference would it make if it is left off?
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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tossici View Post
This one mounts to the frame rails and if I go aftermarket I'll probably get this one. I only meant that Torklift doesn't make one that mounts behind the bumper bar for the Foz like they do for the newest subaru. I suspect that all future Torklift hitches for subarus will be made this way. It's a great design IMO. Did you install yourself if not where did you go? Thanks!
I installed it myself, using the bumper removal method.

I checked their website, and it appears that the only model they have available that mounts behind the bumper bar is for the Outback.

I like the style that I have, it tuck up behind the bumper cover and somewhat behind the bumper bar, without incorporating it's mounting points, but goes all the way forward on the frame rails and uses the front hole. I think this braces/strengthens the frame rails, and spreads the load on them much better than just hanging it off the back of them by only mounting under the bumper bar.


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Last edited by HotShot308; 01-19-2016 at 12:39 PM.
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post #11 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Brother Phil From Texas View Post
I have watched some videos on youtube about how to install a trailer hitch. Sometimes they reinstall the heat shield, sometimes they don't. How much difference would it make if it is left off?
If you are running stock exhaust I would leave them in, and trim them to fit around the hitch.
I am running aftermarket Invidia N1 exhaust, so I left them out as my exhaust is at least 6" away from the floor pan.

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post #12 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 01:12 PM
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Aftermarket hitches are usually made stronger, but mount lower. OEM hitches tuck away and have a short ball mount and maybe too short for some bike racks etc. I like the fact that the bumper still works when the hitch is independant from it. The choice is yours .....strength or looks

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post #13 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 02:36 PM
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My 2013 came with a U-Haul hitch installed, and its been fine. I was considering getting a 2015 and installing an OEM hitch but couldn't' justify the money for that little bit of extra clearance and cleaner look.

Something to be aware of is that Fozzies aren't really sprung for heavy towing and tend to sag in the rear (several vendors offer solutions for this problem). I had to reverse the 4" drop hitch so that it lifted the ball rather than drop it, as otherwise the trailer carried at a downward angle and I also had problems dropping the trailer tongue onto the ball at times because it was too low.
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post #14 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 04:08 PM
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+1 for Torklift. Had one on my Outback and will do the same with the Fozzy. Mounts nice and tight and strong as heck - it took the full impact when I got rear ended and barely moved.
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post #15 of 74 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 05:24 PM
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The OEM Hitch replaces the bumper beam meaning a smaller net weight gain.

Non OEM hitches transfer the impact of a rear end crash further along the frame rails compromising the ability of the frame to absorb the energy if rear ended.

I think this is why Subaru can claim that the OEM hitch does not change crash test performance.

What's a few hundred dollars more on a $25,000 vehicle purchase.
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