ever install a tow hitch?

-- Last Updated: Mar-13-08 10:51 AM EST --

how hard can those things be to put on? I was thinking about putting one on my civic. i am not going to tow anything but was going to use it to add a rack for carrying bikes. I have seen ones on internet that require no drilling just bolting them on.

its easy
really nothing to it, use grade eight bolts,lock washers, maybe some lock-tight and your haulin-Bert

It is supposed to be easy

– Last Updated: Mar-13-08 11:26 AM EST –

But, I had a heck of a time getting one on my Sienna minivan. It was about 3.5 years old when I put one one and had a heck of a time getting the bolts into the factory threaded holes.

I called the hitch MFR, Hidden Hitch, and told them of my trouble. They were very interested and offered to do anything to help. They convinced me that the bolts they sent out were the correct ones. But for some reason they did not want to start.

I did clean the threads and sprayed penetrating oil on them. But, it was a real bear. It didn't get any better after they started either. I am never taking that thing back off ... I hope.

That's just my experience and I'm sure it's not everyones'.

Fairly simple.
No drilling was required to put one on our Camry.

Yup! Bronco PITA, Van easy

– Last Updated: Mar-13-08 11:28 AM EST –

Ah' installed a Valley Class III receiver in me 1981 Ford Bronco which wuz a bit of a pain - had ta drill de frame ta git dat one on. Later de Valley CL.III receiver fer me 1990 Ford E-150 wuz pretty easy. Now wit me Jeep Cherokee, well ah' got lazy an' had a CL. III Drawtite installed by de trailer place waan ah' bought de utility trailer. Took de installer quite awhile ta git dat one on (unibody), he wuz cuzin' up a storm.

Fat Elmo

i am going to order one now. if it turns into a pain in the but i will get my mechanic to do it otherwise it sounds pretty doable.

Honda Accessories
If you Google any of the accessories websites, you can download PDF instructions on mounting the accessory tow hitch receivers. On my CR-V for example, it requires removal of the inner trim panels, and some drilling as well to mount additional brackets . This is using the factory ‘approved’ receiver.

When I put the step rails on mine, it was a bear to get the bolts started-the factory undercoating was thickly applied in all the boat holes, not a bad thing I suppose.

Difficulty varies
I’ve always paid to have mine installed, but what the pros told me was that some vehicles were easy to install hitches on, others not so easy. With one of mine, the bumper would have had to be unbolted before the hitch could be installed, then the bumper re-installed. Not a 1-person job with a steel truck bumper.

Go to any U Haul center
The normally have the best prices for installed hitches and they have the right tools for the job. I usually buy the middle price range class III, depending on what I am putting it on and it has never run more than $159 plus tax and it is worth every penny. On a lot of cars the exhaust gets in the way, sometimes bolts need to be removed or holes don’t line up like they should. Much less aggravation all the way around.

I’d agree. Friends had their '08 CR-V done for $179, which is the cost for the Honda accessory hitch alone via mail order companies. I’m going to price out same on my '05, as having the swing away bike rack for vacations frees the roof up for boats.

U-Haul Again
7 of my vehicles have had U-haul hitches installed. 2 at U-haul and 5 at home. If you buy the hitch there and self-install it, you take it in to them for a post inspection. If they are satisfied with your installation, the warranty is the same as if they installed. So if anything goes wrong with the hitch while you are traveling, any U-Haul location will repair or replace your hitch. And that includes the ball adapter and ball.

As far as installation, it does vary tremendously with the design of the car. All my Chevy’s (all were body on frame) were easy. Even the ones that had undercoating went in without a problem. I just ran a tap into all the frame holes to clean out the dirt and undercoating. The hitches came with all the grade 8 bolts, nuts, and washers. And since the great gods at Chevrolet know that their vehicles get used in the real world, there are always mounting points engineered into the frame for accessories.

On a foreign compact, things get tight. An aftermarket exhaust system can totally block access to the mounting locations, and many times things like the spare tire holder, muffler, rear bumper need to be unbolted to access the hitch mounting locations. The suggestion above to get the installation directions ahead of time and check the vehicle undercarriage is a great idea. If holes need to be drilled, and they won’t be small holes either; you need to see if there is room for the drill. You don’t make a 12-15mm hole in a car frame member with a 1/4" drill motor. And do you have the 1/2" drive socket set to tighten up the bolts? They have to be really tight, some around 100lb/ft.

As the Boy Scouts say,"Be Prepared’.


Agree with Uhaul or other retailer
Buy the hitch from them and they typically install for free.

First, I bought a truck
then I had the dealer install a sturdy Class III hitch. Works like a charm and only cost $25k.

gettin hitched
My experience has been that there are many types of hitches, some easy some not so easy, depending on how heavy duty you want.

Here’s some things to look for: Rear bumpers with indented areas that can receive a ball, like on full sized vans or pick-ups are generally higher than most trailer tongues and are worthless because an extended drop hitch is really necessary. When turning sharply with indented hitches, the trailer cowl can really screw up your license plate and/or bumper. The best route is to get an extension hitch that drops lower than the bumper if necessary to make your trailer level and gets the cowl away from your bumper and license plate. Towing a trailer with the tongue at an upward slant is a bad idea on several levels.

the hard part
holding the hitch up to the car while you try to put the first couple of bolts in is the hard part. those things are heavy! i found a cooler and a couple of wood blocks to hold it in place while i got it started. the rest was easy. you can do it!

Drilling or not
You can’t believe the “no drilling” ad, as it will vary from one model of car to the next. OTOH, drilling a couple of holes is not a big deal, as long as you have a drill with the proper size bit(s).

If you go to Uhaul, be prepared to
do it yourself at the center. I had to show them how to install a simple bumper hitch on a Toyota Corolla.

Only $25k?

Sure you can, but why?
I agree with clarion. If you just bought your car or something, it might be easier. It cost me $25 to have them put one on for me according to factory specs. Money well spent, hands are not dirty, did not have to find or buy new tools.

If you have some morbid do-it-yourself obssesive disorder, then by all means bleed until you are proud. Otherwise, shop the job.

Difficulties I have run into over the years when I was too cheap to spring the bucks:

  1. The holes do not line up. You must drill. Your drill will not hold a bit large enough. You have to buy a drill, drill motor etc. , where the hell did I leave my drill.

  2. Old nuts wont come out. Had to borrow or rent a torch.

  3. Holes that are supposed to be in the frame are not. Tougher to drill than the hitch, see 1.

  4. The particular model year of vehicle went through a mid year design change and the standard product for your vehicle will not work.

  5. Had to remove the bumper, install hitch, then reinstall bumper with clearance shims.

  6. Broke the old bolts while removing. More drilling, see 1.

  7. The vehicle has a small gas leak previously unnoted. That will make your butt clamp!! Two fire extiguishers and a wire harness later we are back in action.

    Just some thoughts to consider. Or take it to the garage, walk down the street and have a beer, come back two hours or less later and drive confidently away.

Yeah, expensive hitch.
But the truck was free.