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2018 Forester
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Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Receiver - Custom Fit - Class III - 2 - Easy Peasy. No filing on the 2018 Subaru forester as the back hole is easy to use. Be sure to put the plug in prior to putting back the heat shield. Also I didn't cut the shield I used a dremmel. Worked better, but not perfect. Bought it through Etrailer.com - Their customer service was excellent. Sent it right away and emailed me as a follow up. Definitely recommend going through them. Just follow the video. I also found it was easier to unbolt the muffler to get one of the hangers off..oof a bit hard. Heavy hitch but installed it myself by laying on ground and propping up other end with a pot until I got a nut or two on the other side. PLENTY of fish wires included. Only need one but they sent 6. I sound like I work for them. (as does that sentence).... But I looked everywhere. Not a fan of Eco hitch as I am not sure how to take off the bumper and all the videos and instructions I saw did not hold my hand to walk me through it. Curt needs a support strap so I decided to go with the Draw Tite. Didn't lift the car just crawled underneath and plenty of room as it is a Subaru! So it was too easy and took me about 2 hours with plenty of breaks and a lunch. Just now I have the wiring harness to install and haven't started yet. In a minute. I'm taking a break........
 

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2018 Forester
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5 Posts
Funny I literally just did the same hitch install (on my own) yesterday on my '18, also purchased through Etrailer, and I also picked the Draw-Tite for the same reasons. No filing on that one hole, but I forgot to put those front plugs back in so I will do that. I also just made holes in the heat shield for the bolts using a drill and reinstalled it. I didn't pull the muffler, I just dropped the 3 hangers and I backed mine up on a few pieces of 2x10s, which gave me plenty of room. I think they include 6 fishing wires cause they want you to use one for each bolt and leave them in place until you mount the hitch, which is what I did. Only thing I did extra, which I believe I saw on here, was to spray the hitch with a few coats of undercoating to help with rust prevention. Oh and no wiring harness for me, for now.
Good luck with yours and good choice in the hitch!
 

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2018 Forester 2.5i 6MT
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459 Posts
Installed mine today. It seems strange to me that on the etrailer video they don't use the front plug opening to insert the hardware. I found that my muffler heat shield had little nubs which perfectly line up with the frame holes to make an easy reference for drilling. Since I had the muffler off for this, I took the opportunity to install the 20mm sti rear swaybar and nameless axle-back.
 

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2003 Forester X 5MT
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60 Posts
Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Receiver - Custom Fit - Class III - 2 - Easy Peasy. No filing on the 2018 Subaru forester as the back hole is easy to use. Be sure to put the plug in prior to putting back the heat shield. Also I didn't cut the shield I used a dremmel. Worked better, but not perfect. Bought it through Etrailer.com - Their customer service was excellent. Sent it right away and emailed me as a follow up. Definitely recommend going through them. Just follow the video. I also found it was easier to unbolt the muffler to get one of the hangers off..oof a bit hard. Heavy hitch but installed it myself by laying on ground and propping up other end with a pot until I got a nut or two on the other side. PLENTY of fish wires included. Only need one but they sent 6. I sound like I work for them. (as does that sentence).... But I looked everywhere. Not a fan of Eco hitch as I am not sure how to take off the bumper and all the videos and instructions I saw did not hold my hand to walk me through it. Curt needs a support strap so I decided to go with the Draw Tite. Didn't lift the car just crawled underneath and plenty of room as it is a Subaru! So it was too easy and took me about 2 hours with plenty of breaks and a lunch. Just now I have the wiring harness to install and haven't started yet. In a minute. I'm taking a break........
I'm buying an FXT tomorrow and this is the thread I was hoping to find! Thank you!!
 

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2017 Forester
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81 Posts
I purchased the Draw-Tite 76182 and T-One 118467 harness. Probably won't get to install until mid April though. I have generally fitted a hitch receiver to my cars because if it were to get rear ended, having that extra metal back there is good to have.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i Tour CVT
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313 Posts
Wow. I am tempted to try this install myself. Is there more somewhere on installing the wiring harness?
etrailer has a video.. if not there is one on youtube..

the wiring harness was an ez install - I did not run it through the spare tire space though.. i just tuck it away until needed then run it under the tailgate


b
 

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2018 Forester
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49 Posts
Have to laugh at myself. The hitch and harness arrived yesterday -- the day I had cataract surgery. No lifting for me for awhile. Never even thought about it.
 

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2016 Forester CVT
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12 Posts
I just installed the #76182 this last weekend on my 2016 Forester. There are videos and instruction sheets for similar products that provide different perspectives for disassembly. I was concerned about the fascia removal and trimming the fascia.

I used a set of ramps for access to the underside of the vehicle. The bumper fascia removal was straight forward and fairly easy. I disconnected the muffler from the exhaust pipe and then removed if from the hangers to get it out of the way; the exhaust pipe is supported by a separate hanger. The muffler heat shield has round dimples that correspond to the hidden holes in the vehicle so I used a hole saw to open them up. A drill diameter larger than the bolt diameter would have sufficed. I replaced the forward plug used for feeding the hardware on each side. All four fasteners for the muffler heat shield can be replaced without interfering with anything.

I found that the hitch flanges that attach to the vehicle ride hard on the spare tire well and are spread a bit due to the interference but it doesn't prevent installation. The hitch is heavy and awkward so installation was much easier with two people.

My biggest challenge was trimming the bottom of the bumper fascia. The instructions call for a 2.5" high(?) x 3.25" wide cutout. I tried to lay out the cutout on the outside of the fascia. Much later I discovered that there is a pattern for a cutout (OEM hitch?) on the inside of the fascia. That would have made finding center much easier. Also, I assumed that the dimensions were measured on the surface of the fascia since it is difficult to measure vertically with the fascia off the vehicle. That must be wrong. My trim method was taping the edges of my cutout with tape. I used a wood bit to make 1/2” holes in the fascia that were tangent to the tape. My cutting tool was a hacksaw blade without the handle. I smoothed the edges with small files and small grit sandpaper.

When I put the fascia back on the vehicle, the height of the cutout which was way too short so the top edge of the cutout was binding on the top of the hitch. There was a gap between the top of the forward edge of the fascia and the rear quarter panel and the hitch was clearly pushing up on the bottom of the fascia. I trimmed and checked the fit many times. During one of the re-trims, I found the pattern on the inside of the fascia. In my case, trimming to the top of the pattern gave me about 3/16” clearance between the top of the cutout and the top of the hitch and the width trim was approximately 1/4” inside the pattern on both sides. ***Use this for reference only - your mileage may vary.*** In my case, the 3.25” wide cutout was tight up against the hitch’s maximum width. Once I got the proper trim height, the fascia fit well to the quarter panels.
 

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2018 Forester XT Touring
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145 Posts
I just installed the #76182 this last weekend on my 2016 Forester. There are videos and instruction sheets for similar products that provide different perspectives for disassembly. I was concerned about the fascia removal and trimming the fascia.

I used a set of ramps for access to the underside of the vehicle. The bumper fascia removal was straight forward and fairly easy. I disconnected the muffler from the exhaust pipe and then removed if from the hangers to get it out of the way; the exhaust pipe is supported by a separate hanger. The muffler heat shield has round dimples that correspond to the hidden holes in the vehicle so I used a hole saw to open them up. A drill diameter larger than the bolt diameter would have sufficed. I replaced the forward plug used for feeding the hardware on each side. All four fasteners for the muffler heat shield can be replaced without interfering with anything.

I found that the hitch flanges that attach to the vehicle ride hard on the spare tire well and are spread a bit due to the interference but it doesn't prevent installation. The hitch is heavy and awkward so installation was much easier with two people.

My biggest challenge was trimming the bottom of the bumper fascia. The instructions call for a 2.5" high(?) x 3.25" wide cutout. I tried to lay out the cutout on the outside of the fascia. Much later I discovered that there is a pattern for a cutout (OEM hitch?) on the inside of the fascia. That would have made finding center much easier. Also, I assumed that the dimensions were measured on the surface of the fascia since it is difficult to measure vertically with the fascia off the vehicle. That must be wrong. My trim method was taping the edges of my cutout with tape. I used a wood bit to make 1/2” holes in the fascia that were tangent to the tape. My cutting tool was a hacksaw blade without the handle. I smoothed the edges with small files and small grit sandpaper.

When I put the fascia back on the vehicle, the height of the cutout which was way too short so the top edge of the cutout was binding on the top of the hitch. There was a gap between the top of the forward edge of the fascia and the rear quarter panel and the hitch was clearly pushing up on the bottom of the fascia. I trimmed and checked the fit many times. During one of the re-trims, I found the pattern on the inside of the fascia. In my case, trimming to the top of the pattern gave me about 3/16” clearance between the top of the cutout and the top of the hitch and the width trim was approximately 1/4” inside the pattern on both sides. ***Use this for reference only - your mileage may vary.*** In my case, the 3.25” wide cutout was tight up against the hitch’s maximum width. Once I got the proper trim height, the fascia fit well to the quarter panels.
I know I'm reviving a thread from the dead, but its the same topic and I wanted to know if anyone has anymore insight.
I bought this hitch (76182) for my 2018 Forester XT. Video makes it look easy. I trimmed everything on the fascia, heat-shields etc. Everything was going swimmingly until I tried to get the hitch in place. I honestly spent 1.5-2 hours just trying to position the thing and force it in. It seemed almst too small to go on either side of the spare tire compartment. I finally relented and put it all back without the hitch b/c I needed to drive the next day and I was completely shot afer screwing with the hitch for almost 4 hours.

I didn't take the bumper cover off, just followed the steps in the video. I'm debating about removing the bumper cover, and possibly the mufflers and trying to get it in, with the thought that trying to do this with the mufflers hanging and shoehorning it in past the bumper cover was causing the non-fit issue.

However, I'm not sure if there is something wrong with the hitch I got or that it doesn't fit XTs or something like that.

Anyone have any thoughts?
 

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2016 Forester CVT
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12 Posts
I used a combination of three different sources for directions and concluded that I needed to remove the bumper cover. With the cover off, I laid under the vehicle (which was on ramps) and lifted the hitch up to the bolts that were in the chassis. The first issue was getting the cross bar of the hitch past two angles that hang down from the chassis. In fact, one of my sources suggested bending these out of the way but they looked like they may be important so I left them alone. I scraped across them hard to get by. Once I was past those the spare tire well guided the hitch into place. As I stated, I found that the hitch flanges ride hard on the spare tire well and are spread a bit due to the interference. I noticed this when I was putting on the nuts. The holes are slotted so it doesn't prevent installation. The hitch is heavy and awkward so installation was much easier with two people. My assistant helped by supporting one side while I guided the other into place on the bolts.
 

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2018 Forester XT Touring
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145 Posts
Thanks, I'm thinking I'll pull the bumper cover and possibly the mufflers. I need to get a bettter set up to have the thing supported while working. My father was helping me, but he just doesn't have the ability to hold things in place for periods of time and the jack stands and jack didn't go up high enough.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i Limit CVT
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291 Posts
Thanks, I'm thinking I'll pull the bumper cover and possibly the mufflers. I need to get a bettter set up to have the thing supported while working. My father was helping me, but he just doesn't have the ability to hold things in place for periods of time and the jack stands and jack didn't go up high enough.
So while my foz install went fine, what you describe sounds like the hell I went through with the install on our van. I'm pretty sure during shipping, cause it wasn't well packed it probably got tossed around by ups and the sheer weight of it hitting the ground on one side of the hitch could have easily bent the part with the bolt holes inward just enough to keep both sides from lining up exactly.
Since I'm stubborn and didn't want to deal with shipping one back and waiting for another, I bolted one side into the van, not torked tight, and then crowbarred/manhandled the other side to line up long enough to get the 3 bolts started. The rest of the process went as smoothly as the videos I watched before Starting the whole ordeal.
But it was just me and a floor jack so it took me a few hours total... Though I'm sure a good part of that was me taking it off a couple of times and scratching my head wondering what I was doing wrong.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i Tour.. 6spd MT
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98 Posts
Could someone who has the Draw-tite installed measure how far it sticks out from the bumper. As if you were looking straight down at it and held a measuring tape up to it? Thanks!
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i Limit CVT
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291 Posts
I can try when I'm at home . But I think etrailer has some videos that give measurements like that

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 
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