Yesterday I installed the Subaru OEM trailer hitch (L1010SG611) onto our 2017 2.5i Premium. Because I encountered QA problems, I want to review my detailed experiences and observations that I hope will help out others!
: The box had labels for BOTH the prior obsolete revision (L1010SG610) and also the current revision (L1010SG611). The first issue I encountered was lack of any installation instructions, so I printed them out from Subaru’s site: http://techinfo.subaru.com/proxy/119...L1010SG611.pdf
HEADS UP: If you print out instructions like I did, be sure that the template sheet for cutting your bumper is printed actual size!
I immediately did an inventory and discovered 3 parts missing specific to cable dressing for the new 2017 RAB (Reverse Automatic Braking) option for Limited and Touring models. Fortunately, our Forester 2.5i Premium doesn’t have RAB.
In essence, I was shipped an older revision kit (i.e., no RAB support) without installation instructions.
Another odd kitting thing I encountered was that the muffler gasket, nuts and bolts are NOT included in the core trailer hitch kit! Indeed, the installation instructions says “these are sold separately”, even though step #7
of the instructions requires removal and discard of this hardware in order to remove and modify the heat shield. It seems that Subaru chose to put the replacement muffler hardware in the trailer hitch wiring harness kit, and offer that wiring harness kit in a turbo version (4 bolts, 4 nuts, 2 gaskets) and non-turbo version (2 bolts, 2 nuts, 1 gasket). This is really screwy –the wiring harness installation/instructions don’t have anything to do with the muffler.
HEADS UP: Subaru did this strange thing as a kitting convenience for themselves, assuming that everybody would be buying one or the other versions of the harness along with the hitch. Even though I only use my hitch for carrying a bike rack, I’m glad I went ahead and bought the wiring harness (another $86) too!
INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS vs. PARTS
: The thing that REALLY tripped me up were the lower brackets with spacers that are installed underneath the chassis channels for reinforcement. There is a Left-hand version and a Right-hand version of these brackets, where I believe the design intent is to avoid any bracket contact with the muffler’s heat shield(s) by having the holes off-center and also having a bit of a side-jog to the brackets. Contact/interference between brackets and heat shield would mean annoying buzzing noises!
Here’s where things get funny… In 3 places (Page 1 exploded diagram, and the two larger diagrams in Step#13
on Page 9), the brackets are correctly shown with a hole offset that diverts them away from the heat shield. In the newest version of these instructions (L1010SG611) Subaru inserted another new small diagram in Step #13
with exclamation point intended to clarify bracket orientation for LH vs. RH that contradicts
the other 3 diagrams. To make matters worse, the metal brackets have “L” and “R” stamped on them that agree with this new contradictory diagram. OK, so now what do I do?
After staring and trial-fitting things for quite a while, I decided to ignore that new small “clarifying” diagram, and also ignore the ‘L’ and ‘R’ metal stampings on the lower brackets (see photo) – not doing so would have caused the lower brackets to smash/interfere with the heat shield and to violate what I believe is the design intent. Perhaps what happened here is that Subaru realized the metal parts were stamped incorrectly, and instructed somebody to fix that problem by “clarifying” things in the diagram. Oops – try again!
KIT PARTS QUALITY
: In general I found the quality of the hitch’s metal parts to be solid and well-made. The one exception to this was the RH side bracket that inserts into the chassis channel which was bent somewhat – it did not contact the cross tube until the bolts were fully torqued down (61 ft-lbs).
Upshot – I’m really happy with end result, but the QA problems (kit inventory, instructions, bent part) are something to be wary of. Anybody know where at Subaru to send email to let them know where they’ve messed things up??!?