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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. I have a 5G Outback (2018) with the Subaru official trailer hitch (1.25" receiver). I bought a used Thule bike rack that goes in the hitch and the locking pin holes don't line up. See the photos. Does anyone know - does Subaru put the locking pin holes in a nonstandard location? Wouldn't this be a standardized kind of thing across manufacturers? Did the dealership install the receiver backwards?

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Common sense would dictate that the pin hole location would be something that is standard across all lines and brands. Subaru doesn't always subscribe to common sense. Yes, it is in a non-standard location on the Outback hitch and as a result many aftermarket ball mounts or accessories such as bike racks or cargo carriers don't fit correctly without modification. One option would be to mark the pin hole location with the stinger inserted all the way and then drill a new hole in the stinger. I have also considered drilling a hole in the standard location of my hitch, but then inserting the pin would be more inconvenient being so far under the bumper. I'm not sure if either of those options is without some level of risk though so those would be up to the individual to decide. To this point I have not modified mine at all and may just opt for an aftermarket hitch with a 2" receiver like I should have done to begin with.
 

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2019 OB limited 2.5 Abyss pearl blue. SR headlights, eyesight
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You just need to pull the carrier out until the holes line up. Some hitches sit farther under the vehicle than others so Thule leaves plenty of room so it will work on multiple hitches/vehicles.
If you want the carrier to sit closer to the vehicle, Danvers idea of drilling a new hole in the stinger would work well.

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Drilling a new hole would work, but if you ever plan on selling the rack the new hole might not fit the new owner's hitch and leaving the hole outside the hitch would weaken it somewhat. If there was an issue with the hole placement, I don't think Thule would have put it there. The hole position in the Subaru hitch is pretty much standard location for any hitch I've seen.
 
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the outback hole for that pin is an inch farther back than ones on other aftermarket 1-1/4" hitches. Just insert the shank far enough to line up the hole and then insert the locking pin. You can get a tightener if the rack wobbles more than you like (side to side). I use that on some accessories with the factory hitch if they fit a bit loosely (like a cargo tray). I use the hitchrider one (much better than some of the cheap ones on amazon).

The extra length on the shank on the thule rack is because some vehicles need more clearance after the hitch opening than others.
 

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For the pin hole to match most other hitches it would have to be in the slotted hole in this pic further back. I thought it was either 2" or 2.5" difference when I have measured in the past but I'm not sure.
I've thought about drilling a new hole in my hitch there but since that spot is welded I would consider adding a reinforcing weld, maybe a vertical weld where the side plates butt up to the receiver part. I'm sure the reason Subaru put the pin hole where it is was for better access to install the pin.

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Discussion Starter #8
Hmm. Well it works— for those saying the hole location is fine and it’s supposed to be that deep.

The stinger is only in the receiver to a depth of about 3”. And it looks kinda weirdly cantilevered far out. But I guess it’s only holding the rack and a few bikes, not a huge amount of weight.


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Hmm. Well it works— for those saying the hole location is fine and it’s supposed to be that deep.

The stinger is only in the receiver to a depth of about 3”. And it looks kinda weirdly cantilevered far out. But I guess it’s only holding the rack and a few bikes, not a huge amount of weight.


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How did it hold up carrying your bikes? I too have the factory hitch and a Thule rack coming in and am wondering how well they work together.

Thanks!
 

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2019, Subaru Outback Limited 3.6R
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This boys and girls is why I opted for a 2” ecohitch instead of the crappy Subaru OEM 1 3/4” POS.

corrected
 
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For the pin hole to match most other hitches it would have to be in the slotted hole in this pic further back. I thought it was either 2" or 2.5" difference when I have measured in the past but I'm not sure.
I've thought about drilling a new hole in my hitch there but since that spot is welded I would consider adding a reinforcing weld, maybe a vertical weld where the side plates butt up to the receiver part. I'm sure the reason Subaru put the pin hole where it is was for better access to install the pin.

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I ended up drilling a hole in my factory hitch in this exact location. Also based on what @Jimusoke did in this thread: Bike rack for factory installed hitch.

Using a cobalt drill bit, starting with a small hole and working up to 3/8" it was perfect for my Thule Aero Pro 3. Loaded it up with three bikes for a 300 km (186 miles) round trip last week and everything went well. Total weight of the bike rack and three bikes was 114 lbs.

 

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I measured my Gen 4 Outback with a factory 1 1/4 hitch and the hole measured 2 1/4 from the face to the hole.
I also have a hidden 1 1/4 inch hitch on my 99 Cadillac SLS. It also measured 2 1/4 from face to the hole.
My 2005 Duramax which has a 2 inch hitch front and rear both measure 2 1/2 from face to the hole.
The 2 inch hitch on the back of my 5th wheel measures 2 1/2 inch from face to the hole.
I had a hidden 2 inch hitch on my Outback first and it measures 2 1/2 inch from face to the hole.
I replaced the hidden hich with the factory as the factory gave me about 3 inches more road clearance. I have used the Outback on jeep trails.
 

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I measured my Gen 4 Outback with a factory 1 1/4 hitch and the hole measured 2 1/4 from the face to the hole.
I also have a hidden 1 1/4 inch hitch on my 99 Cadillac SLS. It also measured 2 1/4 from face to the hole.
My 2005 Duramax which has a 2 inch hitch front and rear both measure 2 1/2 from face to the hole.
The 2 inch hitch on the back of my 5th wheel measures 2 1/2 inch from face to the hole.
I had a hidden 2 inch hitch on my Outback first and it measures 2 1/2 inch from face to the hole.
I replaced the hidden hich with the factory as the factory gave me about 3 inches more road clearance. I have used the Outback on jeep trails.
subaru changed that in the Gen5... it's 1" from the face of the hitch.
 
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