('19+) 2019 hitch install. ecohitch 2 inch - DIY - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-03-2018, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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2019 hitch install. ecohitch 2 inch - DIY

This is a DIY on a 2019 forester limited showing the new torklift ecohitch install. I hope this might help those of you considering installing this yourself. I opted for the 2” receiver version… they also make a 1.25 as well.

The Subaru 1.25 inch hitch should go on in a similar way, but without the extra attachment points to the frame internally on each side that the ecohitch has.

I am not a mechanic, so there may be other approaches that are better, but I did follow the instructions generally, and found them understandable. I have commented here on other things to supplement the booklet they sent with the hitch.

Tools needed : 10mm, 14mm, 17mm , and 19mm (or ľ” ) sockets and wrenches. Some cutting tool for plastic and the aluminum heatshield such as a hacksaw, dremel tool, snips etc. A screw driver, Philips and flat screwdriver.I used a plastic pry bar, and a lg slip joint plier to take off the muffler holder.

It took me about 4.5 hours going slow so nothing got scratched and to take some pictures. Its easier than writing all this down! I was surprised how much “stuff” had to come off but it all made sense once your into it. I have never had a newer year car with all the plastic… and this is my first Subaru….but I suspect most are like this now for lighter weight etc. Here we go:

1. raise the tailgate and remove the two plastic Philips screw on a taillight cover. These unscrew a half turn , pop up the center, and then remove. Do the other taillight cover the same way. I used a plastic trim pry bar if it sticks some.
2. Tailights are held in by 2 10mm bolts. Pull backwards after removing bolts to unsnap them. I found it easier for me to undo the connectors shown after this, by grabbing the connector back with needle nose pliers and then pressing down the one tab to release the connector.
3. Remove the 7 bottom plastic fasteners by prying up the center with a flat head screwdriver, then pulling out the hole fastener. On the wheel wells I did not have mudflaps so only a single “center pin” plastic fastener had to be removed on each side. I used a pick to raise the pin and then remove the fastener. One broke but my hardware store carries these for .50 cents a piece.
4. You take off the bumper cover by starting at each wheel well and pulling firmly out and slightly down to release the clips holding it. You then pull from the backwards center of the cover and then remove. Its fairly flexible. I set up a place to put it so I would not scratch it.
5. The crosspiece support is held on with four 14mm bolts and two nuts. This piece is not reused but I saved it for any future accident. Removal exposed the car frame that the hitch fits into.
6. The muffler is dropped halfway to get access to the four 10mm bolts that hold on the aluminum heat shield. You spray the two rubber supports with wd40 and slide them off the post. I used slip joint pliers to wiggle them off, then supported the muffler on a small jack, while I took off the heat shield. One of the bolts to the hitch needs some clearance by trimming the heat shield a bit. I used a metal cutting wheel…. Its thin aluminum so no big deal. This extra effort is by design so an extra strength bolt is holding the hitch deep within the frame, described in step 7. Sorry I did not post a pix of the 2 inch rectangle I cut out for this bolt.
7. Hitch is inserted, and fastened with provided bolts into pre-existing holes. A bolt on both sides of the car is “fished” into an existing hole in the frame with a wire the company provides. I had to help it with needle nose pliers to get it through the access holes.
8. Cut bumper cover. I used a hacksaw/bandsaw, and a metal cutter blade… a dremel tool or other things could be used. The instructions show the proper measurements and it was exact. The bumper has a mold line inside that provides the center location for these cuts. Note that cuts are underneath…not visible from the back… and hug the hitch.
9. Parts are reassembled in reverse order. Make sure you press along where parts join the bumper to make sure all the clips that are there are engaged. On the wheel wells, and underneath, make sure everything is overlapped the same as it was when you took it apart (e.g. well plastic goes inside bumper, bottom metal bolt holder is insid the bumper to receive the plastic fastener underneath).
10. That’s it!.... on to the trailer wiring for lights….Please excuse me if I left something out … I wanted to describe this quickly as one of the first installs so you at least had an idea as to whether this was something you felt was in your wheelhouse.

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 08:21 AM
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Thank you for your installation pictures and commentary.
Here is your picture of the hitch with your background cut to white in Photoshop. (I hope you don't mind - I like to do things in Photoshop.)

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 09:02 AM
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Perfect! I cannot wait to get my '19 Forester and install a 2" EcoHitch.
I have subscribed so I can come back to your guide and see your pics.

Thanks!
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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perfect
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-04-2018, 05:25 PM
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Does your Forester have the Reverse Automatic Braking? I just got my 19 Forester Touring and don't want to mess up the RAB. Any info you have would be great. Thanks for the tutorial!
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 03:36 AM Thread Starter
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No, I do not have the reverse braking on my limited. As a guess, though, I dont think this would be an install problem as the Subaru hitch installs in the same place, essentially.

The instructions has a picture that came with the hitch appearing to show an extra harness on the bumper cover that is not on mine....they mention a connector disconnect to remove the bumper cover completely, on the driver side. I would give the company tech support a call if concerned. One pix in my post shows the manual and a tech number on it. Mslawlor, hope that helps you.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-05-2018, 07:23 AM
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Thanks for the info. I'll give them a call unless someone else posts.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-06-2018, 05:41 AM
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Nice write up
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-15-2018, 03:56 PM
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Thanks for the detailed writeup, I'm getting a new forester in a few weeks, and wanted to get a hitch ASAP. Can you say whether this lowers the ground clearance, and if so, by how much?
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Not for normal travel, will this lower ground clearance . Specifically, for the forester 19 design, there is an upsweep in the back, so you dont lose overall ground clearance. Only if your on extremely steep or rough off roads on the approach angles etc might you see a problem. So the hitch is higher than the listed car ground clearance. Note most of the hitch is inside the bumper cover, and not below, in line with car frame itself.

The 1.25 receiver hitch is a little higher due to the receiver size... mine is the 2 inch version ,to be compatible with my bike rack and carryall attachment.

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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-19-2018, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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I did a rough measurement from the ground to the bottom of the receiver (2inch) and its about 12 inches. It would have to be a pretty severe departure angle off road for you to scrape the hitch
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-20-2018, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for the additional detail/measurements. Off to get my new forester in next few days
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2019, 09:19 PM
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Okay, I am next in line to install. Turnkey, thanks for the write-up. I am studying your post and hope to install mine faster than yours.

This will be mounted to a 2019 Forester Sport with RAB and power lift gate. Unfortunately, the wire harness has not arrived yet, but that should be pretty easy to add on later.
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Cheers,
Scott

Last edited by Sdcerreta; 01-04-2019 at 09:32 PM.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-06-2019, 09:09 PM
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Ok, it is done. Very high quality hitch and quite heavy. I am happy to have that replace the cross member section in case of an accident. That hitch is solid!!!

Work completed in 2 hours 59 minutes and 23 seconds.


I found this project to be a little tricky in a couple areas. I had a hard time working around the muffler. I wish I just unbolted it and took it off. I also had a hard time visualizing where the large bolt gets snaked into the insert section. There are about 6 plastic plugs and I was removing a bunch of them before figuring it out.

The instructions that came with the hitch are pretty good, but the pictures are in B&W and hard to see. It also had a few steps in an order that I found to be out of place, but likely their intention.

MSLAwlor, the RAB has one wire harness. Just unplug it and all the wires stay out of the way. There is no interference at all with the hitch install.

I am going to post some photos on my modz page and not here. So, if anyone wants to check it out you can find the details on page 2 of this link.

https://www.subaruforester.org/vbull...05/index2.html


Turnkey, if you do not mind, I would like to repost your instruction with a few of my install comments. The relevant photos I will post here as well. Let me know if that is okay.

Cheers,
Scott
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Cheers,
Scott
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-07-2019, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Scott,
Your welcome to repost whatever you like from my pix as well as text.

Last edited by turnkey; 01-07-2019 at 02:54 AM. Reason: addition for clarity
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