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2015 Forester CVT
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24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

I'm documenting the install of the Curt model 12100 hitch and 56040 wiring. On my 2009 Forester, I went with the Subaru OEM hitch. Unhappy with how that hitch replaces the bumper beam, and thus reduces rear crash performance, I went with the Curt hitch for my 2015 Forester.

The Curt hitch calls for drilling holes and slots in order to install. I achieved this without drilling by removing the rear bumper cover. All together, it took about two hours to install.

First, I used almost a full can of 3M 03584 rubberized undercoating to cover the hitch three days prior to install. It seems that aftermarket hitches rust easily, and this should give the hitch much better protection. It dried to a hard, matte finish.

Remove the two rear taillights - 10mm socket, and unplug the wiring connector.



Remove the rear splash guards, two screws and a plastic push plug each.

Remove the plastic push plugs from the bottom of the bumper. These pry out easy using a flat screwdriver blade.


Remove the push plug at the top edge of the bumper cover - in the wheel well. This was a little tricky, as you need to pull back the plastic wheel well liner a bit, and using a flat screwdriver, push the retaining pin out from the plug.


Pull the bumper cover out from the side - snaps out, and then the whole cover comes off fairly easily.

With a deep well 14mm socket and extension, remove the 4 bolts and 2 nuts holding the bumper beam on. Take the beam off, and then from inside the frame rail, push out the 3 plastic plugs. This is where the bolts holding the hitch will go.


With 14mm socket and wrench on backside, remove two bolts connecting the muffler to the pipe.


Remove muffler, then remove the four bolts holding the heat shield. I squirted a bit of wd40 in the rubber hangers to get them to slide out easier.

Prior to taking the heat shield down, hold up the hitch in place, so you can estimate where to trim the shield to access the bolt holes. Trim the shield with tin snips, then reinstall three of the four screws. There is one screw you won't reinstall, as it is in the way of the hitch.







From inside the frame rail, install three of the bolt/rectangular washers into the holes. Repeat for the other side. With a helper, put the hitch in place, and tighten the nuts to the prescribed torque.






Reinstall everything you removed in reverse order.

The wiring is very easy to install. Remove the spare tire, remove the plug at the bottom of the tire well, and cut a slit in the middle of it. This is where the wire will go thru.

Pull back the trim panel on the drivers side, and you will see the connector (wrapped in blue tape). Remove the tape, and install the plug from the 56040 kit. Apply the double side tape to the module, and adhere to the floor of the car well behind the trim piece. Push the wire thru the rubber plug and reinstall. Attach ground wire to bracket near the connector.



 

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2014 Forester XT CVT
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29 Posts
Just a note. I installed a Curt hitch also. I was not thrilled about drilling an area that would be supporting load and possibly trap water.

What I found was a plugged hole in the frame rail well forward of the hitch area. I cut a slot in this hold that wasn't much larger than the original size. From here I used the bolt threading wires to reach all three holes on each side.

Once I was done, I hit each enlarged hole with some good spray paint.

Have a good one.
 

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2014 Forester XT CVT
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3,535 Posts
I did the drill method but only made one entry from below that was covered by the hitch anyway. Good to know I wished I did this method instead.
 

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2015 XT-P
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639 Posts
Your cut of the heat shield is a lot cleaner than mine!
I used a hole saw on my heat shields, made a nice round hole in that thin sheet metal. The hole only has to be big enough to get your socket through it.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i P CVT
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20 Posts
Thanks for the demo! I almost ordered the same rack without knowing what I was getting in to. I was thinking of doing a hitch mount bike rack instead of a roof rack. The install pegs my personal "too much hassle" meter and convinced me to go with a roof rack.
 

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2015 Forester auto
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6 Posts
Nice Install

Nice install BedfordFred.

I just bought a 2015. Want to get a Hitch but I am not sure I am skilled enough to complete the job myself.(even with your excellent instructions).

I do have one question regarding removal of the muffler. Is there any sort of gasket that must be replaced when you bolt that flange back together ?

I am considering going to Uhaul. They charge around $200 for one installed.
They installed one on my Toyota Camry 3 years ago and I never had a problem with it.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5iPremium CVT
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87 Posts
Hi all,

I'm documenting the install of the Curt model 12100 hitch and 56040 wiring. On my 2009 Forester, I went with the Subaru OEM hitch. Unhappy with how that hitch replaces the bumper beam, and thus reduces rear crash performance, I went with the Curt hitch for my 2015 Forester.
Thanks for the detailed instructions and pictures! Heading out to do my hitch right now, and sure appreciate the overview before I dive in.
 

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2010 Forester Premium X AT
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1,000 Posts
Anyone have any tips for working with these bumper cover clips? Having a nightmare of a time with mine (on the 2015). They're shattering before coming out. Trying various screw drivers as well as my plastic molding kit that has a bunch of forked tools. Could be because its only 40 degrees outside today, but these things dont want to budge. Silicone spray maybe?

Also, in the wheel well at the top edge of the bumper cover, there's a small clip that is removed by pushing the center in (verses pulling the center out like the rest of the clips). How do you refasten this type of clip?
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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158 Posts
Could be because its only 40 degrees outside today, but these things dont want to budge.
Bingo. That's your problem. Do you have a hair dryer? Warm it up plastic tab, then pull it. It will make the plastic less brittle if you warm it slightly. Don't use a heat gun. Just a hair dryer.


Also, in the wheel well at the top edge of the bumper cover, there's a small clip that is removed by pushing the center in (verses pulling the center out like the rest of the clips). How do you refasten this type of clip?
That doesn't sound familiar at all. Picture?
 

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2010 Forester Premium X AT
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1,000 Posts
The sun came out and it warmed up a little bit and they all started coming out no problem. And I figured out the weird clip. Push the center pin in to pull the whole thing out; then to reinstall, push the center pin way out, slide whole thing into place, then push center pin in flush. FWIW, it's the clip at the top edge of the bumper cover



 

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2015 Forester XT CVT
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11 Posts
awesome write up! made my install a Breese this weekend. I took a few minutes and undercoated under the cover and above the heat shields while it was apart.
 

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2017 Forester 2.0 XT CVT
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48 Posts
This is super handy. I nought a U=haul hitch yesterday and then was made extremely unhappy at the prospect of drilling and "fishing" bolts through while lying on my back in the driveway. I git to wondering if the frame rail could be access if the bumper was off, did a search and voila. I'll be using this method... when Spring comes!
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i 6MT
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10 Posts
I did this install recently but instead of drilling out a hole from the bottom I went through the top from the spare wheel compartment.

Took me an hour and a half from the time I took the keys in my hand to head out to the garage to the final cleanup.

Taking off a bumper to do this install seems like an overkill to me.
 

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2016 Perimun 2.5 Cvt
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117 Posts
I used a draw tight hitch and no need to enlarge the holes.
 

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2015 2.5i Premium CVT
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227 Posts
Hidden Hitch installation doesn't require drilling or bumper removal

I installed a class III 2" Hidden Hitch onto my 2015 Forester because it does not require drilling into the frame or removal of the rear bumper.
 

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2017 Forester 2.5i 6MT
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10 Posts
I used a draw tight hitch and no need to enlarge the holes.
DrawTite requires a stabilizing strap for a bike rack or a bucket, Curt does not require one. This is the reason I went with Curt over DrawTite even thought they look similar.
 

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2017 Forester
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7 Posts
Hidden Hitch

I installed a class III 2" Hidden Hitch onto my 2015 Forester because it does not require drilling into the frame or removal of the rear bumper.
Can you tell me the part number of the Hidden Hitch that you used? I looked on the brand Hidden Hitch's website but they don't show any fit for the newer Forester.

Did you have to drill or grind any metal?
 
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