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2015 Forester Touring 2.5 6MT
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Just take a look at the attachment points. The OEM is the strongest set up. Curt, Torklift use weak attachment points only.
Take a look at the angles.
The OEM hitch drops straight down with the receiver on the bottom. There is no diagonal bracing. This is an incredibly weak design, regardless of how it bolts on.

Though I wasn't particularly impressed with the little tabs that curt provides for inside the frame rails, anyone can easily make proper internal reinforcements out of 2"x2" angle and slide in from the end. That makes the attachment properly strong, while also providing a diagonal brace.
 

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2015 Forester Touring 2.5 6MT
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112 Posts
Ordered 2'' Torklift EcoHitch last Sunday. It showed up on my door step on Thursday. Super fast shipping (and it's included in the price)! Hefty puppy.

I took the whole bumper off, taking off rubber donuts with rubbing alcohol (thanks for the tip E-Ticket), lowered mufflers, heat shield off.. Those were easy as pie.

Then dremel time, expanding one access hole per side - ouch. A brand new car. I was so not ready for it but this is more of a permanent fixture on this car, so do it once and get over with it. Good thing my wife didn't come out, or she would've killed me dremelling a brand new car. Left two big scars.

Then fishing bolts time. Never used this wire with spiral coil at the end to attach a bolt, how clever. First ones right below the expanded holes were ok, the ones closer to the bumper were royal PITA to get the wire through, took very frustrating 15 min each side. It was getting dark, so I started to swear - good thing my kids weren't out. Finally all 4 bolts hanging.

Then lifting the hitch to hung. I used my 2 ton hydraulic to lift up the hitch. Since I didn't remove mufflers (just lowered them), the hitch base refused to lodge in without a fight. Not sure if the rear end design changed for the '15, but spare tire well exterior lip (where tire tubs are welded together) is too wide, the hitch bar pushed the tire well lip up a little when installed. Oh well, that's how it went.

Also I had to cut the bumper about 3.5'' deep, rather than 2.5'' deep in the instruction - else bumper won't go back in completely. Not sure if something changed...

From there, it was quick putting the whole thing back together. Solid product with a very good powercoat finish. Did I mention they shipped very fast?

Two things that I rather have done, but couldn't/didn't were:
1) instead of widening 2 access holes, I wanted to remove bumper like OEM method to place bolts. Nope, these 14 mm nuts won't budge. I didn't have a lever for my wrench, it might have helped. But they are painted over, so they are obviously not designed to come off easily. How do you take these off?
2) Muffler removal - I wanted to just take off mufflers but again but they were solidly tightened, I didn't push. Hind side, I should've taken them off anyway, since placing the hitch between bumper beam, muffler, and tire well was just too tight. At one point the hitch rested on a muffler that was sitting on a jack stand.

Started at 4 pm, ended at 8:30 pm. I'm pretty handy but I would probably pay someone to do it the next time. Especially when there is not much to see after the installation :icon_wink:

Now I'm waiting for 1Up to show up. Taking a whole week for them just to ship. Must be a busy time.
1) Use a 1/2" RATCHET, EXTENSION, and 6-point metric SOCKET (#14, or whatever size they are). If you look at the bumper bar, you will see that there are holes through it that line up with the nuts/bolts holding it on. They actually come off pretty easily. The paint (which is actually just overspray) only means that the car was painted after the bumper bar was installed.

2) An interesting bit of information about muffler removal; the OEM wiring harness actually comes with new bolts and muffler donuts. If they don't come off, force them. If they still don't come off, heat and/or grind the bolts off. I didn't actually use any of the replacement parts on ours, since everything was still new.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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157 Posts
I installed my Curt 13144 without drilling into the frame. It was quite simple. I removed the rear bumper and rear bumper beam. The instructions for this can be found on the Subaru Techinfo site for the OEM hitch install.

Once the bumper beam is removed, just stick your hands into the frame rail and drop the bolts into the holes. If your have large hands, you can use the fishwire.

Took me about 6 hours with lots of breaks, photo taking, and greasing the bolt threads (just in case I ever need to take this apart again).

Tail light removal - Here's what it looks like so you can see how it clips into the body.



Bumper skin - So you get an idea where you need to pull/pry







Looking at the frame rails:




Frame rails with rubber plugs installed:


Frame rails with plugs removed and bolts and spacers installed:


Exhaust removal - I ended up re-using the gasket, bolts, and nuts




Gasket part numbers:
Turbo - 44011SG010
Non-Turbo - 44011SG000

Bolt part number: 010510307
Nut part number: 902350001

Exhaust hanger pliers worked wonders to remove the muffler. Definitely worth the investment.
[ame]http://www.amazon.com/Lisle-38350-Exhaust-Removal-Pliers/dp/B0012S9A5U[/ame]
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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157 Posts
It looks like you're limited to 20 photos per post.

The heat shield was tricky. The "R" and "M" line up with the holes in the frame.



I thought I could just use a hole saw to drill holes for the nuts.


WRONG. I had to make additional cuts with tin snips. The Curt hitch has a brace that runs down and interferes with the side of the heat shield. See the photo below:


If I were to do it all over again, I'd simply use tin snips to remove the entire area. Also, you can only use 3 of the 4 bolts to re-attach the heat shield. The 4th hole is now covered by the hitch.


I am using the Swagman XC-2 with my Curt hitch. Here's some photos that show the clearances:


 

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2015 Forester 2.5 Premium CVT
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2 Posts
Just installed a Curt Hitch on our 2015 Forester this weekend. Using the "No Drill" method outlined here:
http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f137/no-drill-curt-hitch-install-374929/
Thanks to BedfordFred for that.

I also added a piece of 2" x 9" x 1/8" thick plate to go inside the frame-rail to distribute the loads from the spacers. (McMaster Part 8910K399, shortened down from 12")
I used the hitch as a template for both length, and to locate the holes. Then carefully center-punched, pre-drilled, and then hogged them out to size with a uni-bit. Also added 1" holes for the heat shield nutsert. The entire thing was primed and coated with several coats of underbody spray.





I was very careful with hole placement, and it dropped into place perfectly on both sides. Small sigh of relief.



That's how it looked from underneath. Trimmed the Heat Shield with a metal shear, and then curled the edge to a 90 because I left it just a tad too big, and it would have touched the hitch.



This is where I mounted the light adapter. Safely under the trim panel, but up on the rib where the tape made good contact.



End product looks like everyone elses. I didn't take a picture.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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158 Posts
2015 2.5i w/ oem hitch

I chose the oem hitch and installed it myself. In my opinion, it is the best choice by far because of the extra mounting points and the nicest looking tucked up under the bumper valance. It is also a very husky unit and much much stronger than my Curt class 2 on a Sportage. If the oem is a class 1 that makes my Sportage Curt hitch a class 1/2 (one/half).

The down sides are the cost and losing the inside bumper, but face it, in a rear end collision over 10-15 mph it doesn't make much diff. anyway, it isn't going to be pretty.

I went out into the desert yesterday and drug the ball hitch going though a wash. As I removed it I was thinking if I had had a low mount after market hitch it may have also drug, but no removing it.

*I am using the hitch to tow a small 4 x 8 Sure-Trac trailer and it works very well. Since this is a tilt bed trailer the axle is very close to center, which leaves very little tongue weight when empty, resulting in the hitch rattling. So I added an electrical strut channel clamp to tighten the ball mount to the hitch and a piece of visqueen over the ball to take up the slack in the trailer coupler. Since I never use the tilt part of the trailer future plans are to move the axle back for a 60/40 split, increasing the empty tongue weight. The other odd thing about the oem hitch is the non standard pin hole placement, which (as others have expressed) would be an issue if I was to ever use it for something other than the trailer. But looks like it could be overcome by re-drilling the hole in the accessory (not hitch) or just fabricate what is needed to make it work.
 

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2015 Forester CVT
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It looks like you're limited to 20 photos per post.

The heat shield was tricky. The "R" and "M" line up with the holes in the frame.



I thought I could just use a hole saw to drill holes for the nuts.


WRONG. I had to make additional cuts with tin snips. The Curt hitch has a brace that runs down and interferes with the side of the heat shield. See the photo below:


If I were to do it all over again, I'd simply use tin snips to remove the entire area. Also, you can only use 3 of the 4 bolts to re-attach the heat shield. The 4th hole is now covered by the hitch.
I just installed mine today but I did not trimmed anything on the shield I simply drilled the holes with a 1/2 inch drill bit where the R and the M are (there is actually a pilot indentation there) and then I attached the shield first to the car using only 3 of the 4 attachment bolts and then I bolted the hitch, this way the shield does not interfere with the hitch at all...

Auto part Pipe


Automotive exterior Auto part Bumper Vehicle Car


Automotive exterior Bumper Auto part Pipe Vehicle
 

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2014 XT Touring CVT
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31 Posts
I just installed mine today but I did not trimmed anything on the shield I simply drilled the holes with a 1/2 inch drill bit where the R and the M are (there is actually a pilot indentation there) and then I attached the shield first to the car using only 3 of the 4 attachment bolts and then I bolted the hitch, this way the shield does not interfere with the hitch at all...

View attachment 194505

View attachment 194513

View attachment 194521
Going back and forth between the OEM and an aftermarket I finally pulled the trigger on a Curt and will do the no drill install. The hitch is on order but I was looking at the instructions they have online and they don't have putting the heat shields back on. Unless I've missed that through all these threads all folks are modifying and putting them back on. I called Curt and talked to one of their installers and he said that the hitch takes the place of the heat shield and they're not need anymore. I'm inclined though to use your method though and reinstall.

Thanks for everyone's posts very imformative!
 

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2015 XT Touring CVT
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264 Posts
Did your EcoHitch seem excessively heavy? I've read that a few places. Any idea how much it weighs? It looks very good, by the way. By far the best looking of the ones available.
From Torklift: The weight of the X7216 is roughly 37lbs

From eTrailer: The Curt class 3 model 13144 weighs roughly 35lbs.
 

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2016 Forester XT Touring
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532 Posts
I installed the Curt hitch on my 2010. It wasn't too hard to do. It seems sturdy. As somebody else noted, it doesn't hang down a meaningful amount further than the exhaust, so you really aren't losing much on the departure angle. In a sense, you are actually protecting your rear bumper and exhaust tips. Dragging a hitch in the dirt and mud is really common and pretty harmless, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

My only complaint about the Curt hitch is that after having it on for 6 months, it is already looking kind of rusty around the edges. I may attack it with some spraypaint, but I wish it wasn't necessary I may be being a bit to anal about it. As soon as you stick a thousand pound trailer on the hitch, some paint is going to be scraped off the receiver, no matter what you do. Maybe I will just keep a can of satin black paint around to touch it up occasionally. At 105K miles, I have the same complaint about my mufflers.
 

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2015 Forester XT Premium
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157 Posts
Hidden Hitch 87654 Class III 2"

Just installed this evening.

After significant research I wanted a hitch that was class III, 2" AND came with hardware that I could fit through the large upper drain hole in my 15FXT. NO DRILLING, NO REMOVING BUMPER = WINNING.

The kit was from etrailer which had FANTASTIC customer service.

I ordered this exact model:
Trailer Hitch for 2015 Subaru Forester - Hidden Hitch 87654

I would have done install picks but I did it exactly like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zstl3zaF5gc

I did the install by myself, no lift, no jacks, bench pressed that sucker up in there in about 1.5 hours. I am relatively mechanically inclined and had all tools. Not sure why people struggle with the exhaust hangers.... a little wd-40 and remove the entire rubber hanger from the car, not the mufflers from the rubber hangers....

Only difference I did from video is trimmed heat shields so they run along frame rail and dont get in the way... looks cleaner too.

I will install the CURT harness.
 

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2015 Forester XT Premium
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157 Posts
Pics

Hidden Hitch class III 2 inch.
No drilling, no removing bumper, super easy install.

Here is how i cut the shield, hitch covers the 4th mount nut hole access anyway so this makes a nice clean tight install.


EDIT: Please not the hidden hitch only has the 3 holes shown, not 4 as shown on e-trailer website. Rest assured it is still the correct hitch.
 

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2017 Forester Touring 2.5
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39 Posts
Nice job Jlaw on your Hidden Hitch installation!

I went with the Draw Tite Class II since it met my needs and the Forester max towing capacity is well within it"s capability. I occasionally tow a light Jon boat or small utility trailer.

My single muffler required only one heat shield mod. I cut two holes for the bolts and with a bit of "re-forming", the shield fit nicely and allowed all four screws to be re-attached.

Every hitch that I ever installed eventually surface-rusted from upstate NY salt-infested winters, so I coated the rear underside of the car including both sides and spare tire well with Rustoleum black truck bed liner paint prior to installing the hitch and heat shield (you don't want to paint the shield). I also put several coats of matte black anti-rust paint on the hitch.
I used the Curt 56040 T harness and everything works well!
 

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2014 2.0XT Touring CVT
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819 Posts
Hidden Hitch class III 2 inch.
No drilling, no removing bumper, super easy install.

Here is how i cut the shield, hitch covers the 4th mount nut hole access anyway so this makes a nice clean tight install.
I couldn't find this info on the website, how much would you guess the hitch weighs?
Looks like a nice product and your installation is very clean, good job.
 

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2015 Forester XT Premium
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157 Posts
I couldn't find this info on the website, how much would you guess the hitch weighs?
Looks like a nice product and your installation is very clean, good job.
Less than 40lbs for sure. Very happy with the product. Know it is way overkill but all my towing equipment, bike racks, etc al needed the 2" receiver.

I also took all the stickers off and like the round tube look (knowing my 1500lb limit I am certainly not coming close to the hitch limits). With the after market exhaust it hangs just at the same level as my mufflers so happy there too.

Last thing is the hidden hitch has 2 receiver pin locations and comes out a bit further towards the rear bumper which is importation on this application. The curts look sucked in a bit too far for some receivers and racks. The two pin locations allow you to have whatever you are putting in the receiver tick out a bit further too for more clearance.
 
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