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Folks,

For a couple of reasons I need to replace the factory installed 1.25 inch receiver hitch with a 2" receiver hitch.

I've got the installation instructions for the factory hitch. To get the old one off do I need to reverse the whole process, or can I just remove the cross bar with the receiver in it, and leave the brackets in place? Would like to avoid all the bumper removal, etc, if possible.

Thanks in advance for your wisdom.

Glider Guider
2011 Outback 3.6R
 

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You will need to remove everything. Any aftermarket 2" hitch is going to use the same forward mounting points as the factory hitch, and I doubt the bolts are long enough to leave the bracket in place.

Honestly, its not that hard to remove the bumper, and in the end makes the hitch installation easier and seamless. There are a couple threads on here detailing hitch installs. I'll include a link to mine.

I'd just order the 2" hitch before you do anything, then do it all in one step. I have the Hidden Hitch and it went right on. I've had no trouble with clearance. There is also a TorkLift that is tucked up more for a few more $.

Stay away from Curt, it doesn't use the factory mounting points.

Here's a link to my write up

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/99-do-yourself-illustrated-guides/47218-4th-gen-aftermarket-hitch-install-oem-method.html

search the forum and there are plenty more.

edit: one thing I just realized. You're gonna have a notch in your bumper from the factory hitch. I can't think of anyway you can fix that :/
 

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Folks,

For a couple of reasons I need to replace the factory installed 1.25 inch receiver hitch with a 2" receiver hitch.

I've got the installation instructions for the factory hitch. To get the old one off do I need to reverse the whole process, or can I just remove the cross bar with the receiver in it, and leave the brackets in place? Would like to avoid all the bumper removal, etc, if possible.

Thanks in advance for your wisdom.

Glider Guider
2011 Outback 3.6R
The easiest (and the cheapest) is to get an adapter (1.25 to 2" adapter). Several companies have them for about $ 50.00
You can Google Reese/Hidden Hitch adapter P/N 80303...
 

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The easiest (and the cheapest) is to get an adapter (1.25 to 2" adapter). Several companies have them for about $ 50.00
You can Google Reese/Hidden Hitch adapter P/N 80303...
Depending on the need, this may be an unsafe option.

For a bike rack? May be just fine.
Towing a trailer? Not sure I'd trust it.
 

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^ easiest yes, but not the most sensible. Depending on how you use the hitch it could amplify your tongue weight. Especially if you use hitch mounted accessories.
 

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Folks,

For a couple of reasons I need to replace the factory installed 1.25 inch receiver hitch with a 2" receiver hitch.

I've got the installation instructions for the factory hitch. To get the old one off do I need to reverse the whole process, or can I just remove the cross bar with the receiver in it, and leave the brackets in place? Would like to avoid all the bumper removal, etc, if possible.

Thanks in advance for your wisdom.

Glider Guider
2011 Outback 3.6R
Just an FYI about aesthetics, all of the non-factory receivers that I have seen go under the bumper, not through the hole the OEM hitch has cut out of the bumper. So, don't be surprised by the empty hole in the bumper after the switch.
 

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GliderGuider did not specify in his post for what application - hence my suggestion.
A reasonable suggestion considering the factory class II receiver (3,500 lbs) is more than the 3.6R is rated to tow already (3,000lbs) and any other application involving a class III receiver if the intention is towing a heavier load since that would already be unsafe.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow - thanks for all the great replies.

To clarify, in case this may affect the advice you've given, here are the things I need to use the hitch for.

1 - Towing a glider (sailplane) trailer. 4 feet wide, 30+ feet long, weighing about 1800 pounds fully loaded.

2 - A bike rack. The rack I've got is a DraftMaster (Atoc - Draftmaster - Topper Racks), and is a very solidly built unit, weighing about 50 pounds. Add my long wheel base recumbent bicycle, made of steel, for about 35 pounds.

The 1.25 hitch will tow both of these, but I have another vehicle which has a 2 inch hitch, and I'd like them to be the same, for obvious reasons.

If I have to change one, I'd rather both vehicles end up with 2 inch receivers.

Again, thanks for the rapid and quality advice!

Glider Guider
2011 OB 3.6R
British Racing Green (or close enough for government work)
 

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For towing a trailer, absolutely change out the hardware. Using that adapter halves the allowed tongue weight as well as increases the distance between the rear axle and the trailer pivot, reducing trailer stability.
 

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Wow - thanks for all the great replies.

To clarify, in case this may affect the advice you've given, here are the things I need to use the hitch for.

1 - Towing a glider (sailplane) trailer. 4 feet wide, 30+ feet long, weighing about 1800 pounds fully loaded.

2 - A bike rack. The rack I've got is a DraftMaster (Atoc - Draftmaster - Topper Racks), and is a very solidly built unit, weighing about 50 pounds. Add my long wheel base recumbent bicycle, made of steel, for about 35 pounds.

The 1.25 hitch will tow both of these, but I have another vehicle which has a 2 inch hitch, and I'd like them to be the same, for obvious reasons.

If I have to change one, I'd rather both vehicles end up with 2 inch receivers.

Again, thanks for the rapid and quality advice!

Glider Guider
2011 OB 3.6R
British Racing Green (or close enough for government work)
Assuming that Subaru has EOM 1.25 inch hitch and the "other" vehicle has the 2" hitch, here is my suggestion for your Subaru: for application 1 - use the 1.25 OEM hitch and for application 2 use the adapter = the cheapest solution.
The expensive solution (for Subaru): remove 1.25 OEM hitch and install an aftermarket 2" hitch - it may leave an open cut in the rear bumper skin.
It's your call!
 

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Cheapest isn't always the best. For many reasons stated here.

An adapter is an option. For $130 more you can have a more stable, more convinient, and more useful 2" receiver on the Subaru. Of course the notch would be a little unsightly, but it wouldn't be much worse than it is now with the hitch there. Just an empty spot.
 

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Cheapest isn't always the best. For many reasons stated here.

An adapter is an option. For $130 more you can have a more stable, more convinient, and more useful 2" receiver on the Subaru. Of course the notch would be a little unsightly, but it wouldn't be much worse than it is now with the hitch there. Just an empty spot.
The cheapest isn't always the best - well, yeah - I agree ... that is why there are options and suggestions ... ultimately, the owner decides what he/she wants within his/her budget, right?
I myslef would install a 2" hitch... others may disagree.....
 

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I agree with wanting/ needing to swap to a 2" receiver. I wish the 1.25 was eliminated. I only have the OEM 1.25 on my 08 because it came with it. Other wise I would have bought a 2" receiver.
 

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I installed the Torklift 2.5 and it was the best thing I have done to my car. If you are upsizing and you don't already have 2-inch devices to plug-in, go 2.5. Why? Its stronger and the weight is the same so why not? I had to remove the rear bumper and it did take a while to get it in but the install was seamless.
2.5"? Like a Class IV/V?

First question: Somebody actually makes a 2.5" receiver hitch for a Subaru Outback?

Second question: Why? Outback can't tow enough to need more than a Class III, which is a 2".

You ask "why not"?

1). Availability of accessories. 2" is by far the most common for hitch accessories. I don't think I've even ever seen a hitch-mounted bike rack for a 2.5" receiver.

2). Surely you can get a hitch adapter to go from 2.5" down to 2" - but why? For things like bike racks, and even trailers, that's one more piece to be loose and rattle, and a weak point. I'd even wager a guess that a 2" hitch going directly to a 2" accessory is going to be stronger and more stable than a 2.5" hitch to an adapter to a 2" accessory.

But as for the original post question:

If you were installing fresh, there's no question in my mind that you should just install a 2" receiver. Removing the bumper isn't that hard, and it made the whole process go much smoother.

Seeing as you already have a 1.25" receiver already, I dunno. I much prefer 2" over 1.25", but if I already had a 1.25" from the factory, I might not have felt as motivated to go through the process and cost of swapping it out. 1.25" can still tow a trailer, and you can still get a fair number of accessories.
 

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se7enLC

I think that 2,5" might have been a typo... I haven't heard of that size of a hitch myslef.... but then again, there might be one out there....
 

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just my humble opinion, but for my car I would use a 1.25" draw bar and ball to tow the boat and use a 1.25" to 2" adapter for the bike rack.

probably least expensive option and doesn't leave a hole in the bumper. BTW I love my Torklift hitch.

-Mike.
 

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personally... i'd hate the hole in the bumper so much, i'd just buy another bike rack

for the outback and stick with the OEM 1.25"

money spent will be about the same
 

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I think that 2,5" might have been a typo... I haven't heard of that size of a hitch myslef.... but then again, there might be one out there....
I thought that at first, too, but he said:

If you are upsizing and you don't already have 2-inch devices to plug-in, go 2.5.
The bit about the 2-inch devices made me realize that the 2.5 wasn't a typo. If you already have 2-inch devices that would be a good reason TO go with a 2" hitch. Unless the 2.5 was supposed to be 2 and the 2 was supposed to be 1.25?

Now I want to see photos of an outback with a Class-V hitch towing a motorhome :)
 
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