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2018 3.6R Touring, Dark Blue Pearl
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141 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Part of the deal I negotiated for our new Outback is the installation of the OEM hitch at a price I could live with. I don't need a 2" hitch; I just wanted a way to install a light, hitch-mounted bike rack (arm, not tray, type), which obviously does not need a wiring harness. When I made the appointment with the dealer's service department to have the hitch installed, the service advisor claimed that the wiring harness was a separate item that had not been ordered, and that most people don't install it. According to the installation instructions, the harness is definitely included with the OEM hitch. At least the Subaru salesman knew that when I bought the car...

After looking at the installation instructions, there's a tremendous amount of disassembly involved, and the wiring harness connection to the pre-wired connector seems to be a relatively minor part of the overall process. My questions are:

1. If I don't install the wiring harness, does that eliminate a meaningful amount of the disassembly involved?

2. Assuming that adding the wiring harness is a minor matter when the hitch is installed, should I just have it installed, even if I can't envision using it? My thought was that not having the harness was one less thing exposed to the elements that could have a problem in the future. On the other hand, if I ever needed the harness in the future, adding it may be difficult. I can't tell how much disassembly would be required just to add the harness.

Many thanks in advance.
 

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2018 Outback Touring 3.6R
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350 Posts
I can't speak for the Gen 5s, but on my Gen 4 I installed the harness myself (bought it from etrailer.com IIRC). It was not difficult -- only required removing a couple inner cargo area panels -- and I just left it coiled up in the underfloor storage area. As it turned out, I never used it, but would have connected it up simply by dangling it out the rear hatch opening.
 

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2019 Forester Sport. Love the Orange.
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4,017 Posts
The harness may be a different part# but to my eyes is part of the install. I've had one installed on three different OB's at the factory and all came with the harness. Your dealer is jerking you. Never had a whiff of disassembly issues. Don't over think it.
 

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The harness it easy stuff. It's taped up behind the driver's side rear cargo area panel. Etrailer has a video for it. It's kind of a pain to get to, but it's just plug and play.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
 

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2018 3.6R Touring, Dark Blue Pearl
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141 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
As Steinbeck said, "The best-laid plans of mice and men...." After sorting out an ordering mix-up at the dealer, finally got the car in, and the work order was very clear that I didn't want to install the wiring harness, and instead just wanted the parts in case I ever needed to install it later. They get their "top" guy working on it, and I leave. Three hours later: All done, but the guy was so focused on getting the install done efficiently that he forgot the instructions and installed the wiring harness. Oh, well. Looks fine, but having the wire hanging underneath the car is annoying and with my luck with snag on something. it looks as if that so long as I can get another rubber plug that was in the hole in the spare tire well where the wire is now fed through, I can just undo the harness from the bracket and store it in the spare tire well, as others have. We'll see. At least the install was very clean; better than the OEM Honda hitch I had installed.
 
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