Short summary of hitch options? - Page 2 - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by pbrgdmkj View Post
The manufacturers do not want to get sued. The hitches must all meet a standard.
I thought the same thing, figuring there is a standard for almost everything else in the automotive world. Crazy thing about towing is that there isn't a standard as per the government. SAE just instituted one a few years back, the first time ever, and there is a thread on subaruoutback.org about it. In the end none of the auto makers need to follow the SAE standard as it is not a government requirement. Part of the standard is that the hitch must not deflect after a certain number of seconds with the trailer attached to the hitch (a static deflection test), and may only rotate 5 degrees throughout all the test events.

Hopefully the aftermarket hitch companies run a couple tests just to make sure things are holding up with respect to attachment points. My guess is one or two companies spring for the test and others just look at that for confirmation. When it comes to the actual hitch itself holding up, all of the aftermarket designs for cars like an Outback are probably just over-designed using historical knowledge. It's probably not until you get to bigger trucks with high load capacities that hitch companies probably worry much about failures in the hitch itself. This is just a guess but my TorkLift hitch is made of real thick steel compared with what I connect it to on the vehicle. No way the hitch fails before the car's frame does.

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 10:49 AM
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I wonder, which hitch model or brand does not require frame drilling for the installation?

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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by SubiTank View Post
I wonder, which hitch model or brand does not require frame drilling for the installation?
My understanding is that you can do the non-drill with any brand hitch. You just have to remove the bumper cover to do it.
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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My understanding is that you can do the non-drill with any brand hitch. You just have to remove the bumper cover to do it.
Any except the Curt hitch.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by SubiTank View Post
I wonder, which hitch model or brand does not require frame drilling for the installation?
Most do not. So far as I know the Curt brand one is the only major manufacturer to require drilling; there may be a couple others but HiddenHitch, Draw-Tite, Uhaul, and TorkLift do not require drilling. TorkLift may require some small bending or trimming of the sheet metal behind your plastic bumper, usually about 1/4 inch or so.
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 11:23 AM
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Torklift seems to be alone in not using carriage bolts with keyed backing plates which makes the install just a little more difficult because the bolts/nuts can spin. Not a show stopper by any means and the addition of a star washer to their kit has partially mitigated this complaint. Also, you can't seem to get Torklift's installation instructions without buying the hitch. I'd have liked to look at them before deciding.
It is a little annoying that they didn't use keyed washers to prevent the spinning, but it wasn't that hard to get a wrench into the frame tube to hold to top of the bolt in place and wrench it down.

The instructions.....aren't all that great. I can scan them and send them out if you want, but I didn't follow them. I followed the excellent writeup that a member of this site wrote up (and some of the subaru OEM hitch install instructions for removing the bumper).

Quote:
In case someone reads this without reading all the other info out there: if you remove the bumper using Subaru's instructions, all these hitches can be installed without drilling extra frame holes (except the Curt). 3rd party installers (and the aftermarket instructions) usually drill largish holes in the frame to insert bolts and backing plates through rather than go through the extra labor of removing the bumper.
The only things I had to cut/drill are the square hold in the bottom of the bumper plastic and I did also have to drill a hole in the exhaust heat shield so that the bolt could go through it. Both very easy to do, not visible at all from anywhere but under the car, and look very nice.
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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 01:00 PM
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if I'm interested in a 2" hitch and do NOT want to drill anything onto the Frame (removing bumper), what is(are) my options(s). (I know the OEM is out).

Also, when removing bumper, how many "christmas" tree looking screw I need to get/replace?
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by awd-gg View Post
if I'm interested in a 2" hitch and do NOT want to drill anything onto the Frame (removing bumper), what is(are) my options(s). (I know the OEM is out).

Also, when removing bumper, how many "christmas" tree looking screw I need to get/replace?
i have an oem hitch and had to remove the bumper and remove material.

for an aftermarket 2" hitch and using the factory install method i imagine all the mounting hardware would be included with the hitch you go with.

and you would reuse the existing hardware when you remove your factory bumper.

did i miss something...?

joel


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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Since I started this thread I thought I ought to followup with my final decision.

I went with the 2" Torklift.

2" because for the same price, why not have more accessories available to me? Even though I have no current plans to do anything but tow the occasional trailer. I suppose the 1.25" model would have saved a little weight.

Torklift because the extra $75 vs. a Hidden Hitch was worth it to me to hide the towbar. It was close decision though.

I really couldn't come up with a good enough reason to spend yet $100 more for the Subaru hitch - other than the warm fuzzy feelings OEM parts provide. If I had to quantify that, I guess it would boil down to there being no bending or cutting of body and heat shields - however minor. That, and it's been suggested the aftermarket hitches reinforce the frame rails in a way that could alter the performance of the crumple zone in a crash. If I weren't installing it myself, being able to have the dealer do it would be a warm fuzzy too.
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-19-2013, 11:56 AM
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I wanted to note that I tossed a few e-mails to the TorkLift team and after a few questions the fellow just sent me a PDF with the instructions. Seems to me that they're not keen on sharing them, but will if you "prove" to them that you really are interested in putting the hitch on your vehicle and just want to know what to expect.

Out of respect for their property I don't plan to post the instructions, but do encourage you to e-mail them with questions. Responses were delivered within minutes and were very helpful.


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