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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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Something is different with this hybrid Forester in that the bolted connection between the bumper support and "frame" crush zone is missing. Maybe because this is a cutaway? Maybe because the design changed?



Here is the 2019 Forester sold in America. Note the bumper support is bolted to the "frame" crush component.



Another view:



I'm satisfied with the EcoHitch connection.



The passenger crush zone remains intact.
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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Well, looking closer the above view is different than the below view. Appears that this hybrid Forester still has a bolted bumper support.





You can see where one component fits up against the other:



Looks like for 2020 a hybrid will be the next engine offering:

 

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To the left of the orange gloved hand you can see the piece between the bumper and car is a crush zone design to dissipate energy in a rear end accident
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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To the left of the orange gloved hand you can see the piece between the bumper and car is a crush zone design to dissipate energy in a rear end accident
If you wanted a trailer hitch, what would you install?

Life is a series of compromises. I need to tow a trailer. I will give-up the tiny amount of crumple in a small rear end hit for the usefulness of trailer towing.

Using a OEM type of trailer hitch design, my passenger crumple zone remains intact.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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Reading this with interest as I am reviewing hitch options for my 2019 Forester.

I think much ado is being made of material strengths. A properly designed box beam structure of mild steel can have similar performance to one manufactured of high strength materials. The mild steel unit will likely be heavier as well. Material strength ratings are just part of the picture and by themselves, not terribly meaningful.

The OEM Subaru hitch uses a design very similar to TorkLift Central's EcoHitch. Both entail removing the bumper beam and bolting the hitch into the frame beams. If Subaru's general approach to hitch design is satisfactory, then by extension, so is the EcoHitch.

Subaru is silent on whether or not replacing the bumper with their hitch somehow compromises the Forester. There may (or may not) be a crush zone in the existing bumper design. As an engineer, I cannot tell simply by looking at it and I've seen no literature from Subaru to indicate one way or the other.

So.... EcoHitch vs. Subaru OEM. My thoughts so far...

  • The OEM hitch costs a few bucks more ($322 vs $354).
  • The OEM hitch has slightly higher ground clearance. Both are higher then the lowest body part, so the only impact is to only exit angle (?). Not important to me.
  • OEM hitch uses a 1.25" receiver. This can limit your accessory choices (bike racks, etc) so you need to know what you're hitching your car to in advance.
  • OEM hitch weight capacities are lower. This is a non-factor since the Forester, not the hitch, dictates these limits. While the EcoHitch by itself can handle a 350 lb tongue weight, the Forester cannot. You're on your own if you go heavier.
  • The EcoHitch is a one-piece design, while the OEM hitch is three-piece. For the OEM hitch, the parts that extend into the frame rails are separate and bolted to the cross piece during the install process. This leads me to think the OEM installation will be a tad easier.
I've attached the OEM install instructions for anyone interested. Much of the prep work applies to the EcoHitch.
 

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For those that only occasionally need a trailer hitch there is a new version of the EcoHitch that has a removable receiver, making the entire hitch hidden from view. They call it their Stealth Hitch.
 

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Subaru 100% agrees you guys in bolting on as the EcoHitch does is the best way to maintain crumple zone engineering.

What flavor crow am I eating?

 

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2004 Outback Manual
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I’ve installed four hitches in the last eight years, three Eco hitch and one OEM Subaru Hitch. We preferred the eco-Hitch design, And were extremely happy with our choice until recently. The “powder coat” finish has failed on all three hitches. Even with an annual maintenance of touching up the rusty spots, The powder coat is flaking off to expose a lot of rust. The steel used in the Eco-Hitch seems to be more prone to rusting. After searching, it seems that this is very common. If you remove the Hitch and send it back they will apply a new finish, but you have to pay shipping both ways. I am not sure what good that would do as it is the metals propensity to rust that seems to be the real issue.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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14 Posts
I think I read it somewhere OEM hitch has a cut out on your rear bumper. They basically replace the bottom piece of your rear bumper, and it's not recommended with your Touring Trim. I have a Touring trim too, our rear bumper has special silver color, where rest of the Forester trim has black plastic over there. If you get OEM hitch, the rear bumper area will change to black plastic instead of the silver.
 

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Some comment that the OE hitch is painted, so rusts easy.

I have seen OE hitches bent downward.

The TorkLift is powder coated and has a 3,500 lb limit with a 350 lb tongue weight.

The Drawtite entire structure hangs down below the bumper.

The TorkLift shows only the receiver square. The 1 1/2" has the smallest exposed area.

Mine is a 2".



Rawland, What is the setup for your wheels and tires? Are those factory wheels or are they aftermarket? I have a 2018 XT and despise the factory wheels that came on it. I want to get some black wheels and tires and like the looks of your setup.
 

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2009 Forester XT
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Believe it or not, U-Haul sells name brand hitches (Reese, Valley, EZ-Lift, etc) way, way cheaper and they install them and give a lifetime warranty.
 

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