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2011 Forester 5MT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had the dealer install an OEM 1-1/4 inch trailer hitch on my new Forester, and upon trying to install a Thule Roadway 4 (914XT) bike carrier, noted the pin hole on the hitch receiver is a lot farther back than on pretty much every other trailer hitch I have seen (I've never taken notice before, but look on pretty much every other SUV I pass while driving along these days). Even though the receiver is about 4 inches in length, the hole in the receiver is so far back that I can only insert the bike rack stinger less than 2 inches in order for the pin holes to align. Is this safe to use? It seems like the bike rack would be a lot more stable if I could insert the stinger farther into the hitch receiver.

I asked the Service Manager at the dealer, and he agreed it seems like it should go in farther, but he said it "should be fine". Somehow I don't find that very reassuring.

I called Thule, and they advised not to drill another hole farther back on the bike rack stinger since there is an embedded nut (i.e. not just a tapped pin hole) that provides stability when the bolt is tightened. I couldn't see any such nut when I looked, but maybe it isn't easy to see.

Does anyone think it would be a good/bad idea to drill another pin hole farther forward in the hitch receiver? Since the existing hole is right at the very end and the receiver is about 4 inches long, I figure I could place a new hole maybe 2 inches farther forward. It seems it would be a 9/16ths inch hole to drill. I'm not super handy, but if I buy the right bit (i.e. a cobalt drill bit), can I do this with a hand-held power drill (low speed with lubricating oil as advised on a few YouTube videos)?

Or is this totally unnecessary and I should just trust the dealer parts guy that it "should be fine" as is?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

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2009 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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4 Posts
What did you end up doing? I'm in a similar situation wiht my KUAT rack, and thinking of putting a second pin hole in the receiver. Seems like it should be fine, but I'd like to know what you ended up with.
 

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2004 Forester 4EAT
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5,462 Posts
I doubt he will answer, but I think you would be wise to drill a new hole. I've seen hitches with more than one hole before. Just make sure to de-bur the hole and touch up the paint to prevent rust.
 

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2012 Forester Automatic
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3 Posts
What did you end up doing? I'm in a similar situation wiht my KUAT rack, and thinking of putting a second pin hole in the receiver. Seems like it should be fine, but I'd like to know what you ended up with.
I have just discovered the exact same problem. My Kuat rack won't fit in the factory 1.25 hitch on my 2012 Forester. The hole is so close to the front that the tightening nut doesn't go into the receiver.

Did you ever find a solution?
 

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2011 Touring 4EAT
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307 Posts
It took me a few tries with my Thule but I was trying to use the wrong hole. After that it was good. I didn't check how much it was inserted ie if it was only two inches, but it seemed stable.

My latest rack is a 1UP USA and it fits great because it doesn't rely on a threaded bolt of course you might not like not having the security of a bolt through the rack:)
 

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2009 Forester 2.5X Automatic
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4 Posts
Solution with Kuat

So I didn't drill a new hole. Too challenging to get it "plumb"
I called Kuat, and they have actually designed a new stinger that is being sold in Canada, but not the US. It uses a ball bearing instead of the cam, so it is positioned further up the stinger, allowing it to be inserted properly. Fits great. I had to pay $39 for it, but I figure that was well worth my hourly rate and lost day trying to drill a second hole, voiding a warranty, risking an insurance investigation in event of a failure etc. It really falls on Subaru to change the design slightly to fit more standard options.
 
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