Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: New England
Car Year: 2019
Car Model: Limited
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
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.