Best place to get hitch installed? - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-20-2013, 09:32 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by dylemma View Post
So I called Can Am this morning having pretty much decided to take the drive to London.
Well it turns out the hitch installation will cost me almost as much as I paid for my '75 Trillium.
So here's the scoop

1 - 2" Class 3 equalizing hitch system, installed...
This may be a custom-built hitch, or at least a modified version of a production product. Hitch classes are defined by SAE standard J684, which describes required testing methods and results; in this case, Class 3 means suitable for a trailer weight of up to 5000 lb, including ability to withstand a pulling force of 7500 lb and both lateral and vertical forces of 2500 lb. Is Can Am certifying that their hitch design is tested and meets this standard?

I don't have much confidence in the products of any North American hitch manufacturer, and I'm not really sure that any of them actually test anything, but I would have even less confidence in a custom fabricator unless I personally understood and assessed the design.

I'm sure that Can Am can built an adequate hitch for the rated capacity of the vehicle, but there's no need to custom-build that, and in this case they are claiming a substantially higher capacity.


Dave, sorry to make this whole question even more complicated, but once a choice goes beyond common products used in accordance with manufacturer's instructions, there are more factors to consider.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:49 AM   #58
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Dave, sorry to make this whole question even more complicated, but once a choice goes beyond common products used in accordance with manufacturer's instructions, there are more factors to consider.
A good point Brian. We know in many cases Can Am will strenghten or improve on many factory or aftermarket receivers because they were not up to the task they were designed for. Their rep wrote about it a number of times. For sure this type of knowledge/experience/skill is beyond the scope of the average folk.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:16 PM   #59
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I really fear that we are making this far more complicated for the OP then it really needs to be. I recall all to well the fear moguling that I was subjected to when I first started looking at what my hitch options where on my Outback and at the time Subaru didn't offer any of their own hitches.

Throwing photos into the mix of generic after market failed draw bars with no markings or labels to indicate who's brand it was or what it cost and that has nothing to do with the hitch itself is IMO not helping matters. If the OP if concerned about that they can walk into Canadian Tire or any RV supply store and pick up a name brand draw bar. Yes even the Go Big or Go Home crowed frequently uses Reese products. The OP should wait until the hitch is installed & at home and set it up with the trailer anyways as they are most probable going to need a drop bar of more than a couple of inches in order to get the trailer to ride level.

With a 180 to 200lb hitch weight which the OP's trailer is going to have I personally dont think the OP is going to see much if any squat from the Outback. If the car was for some strange reason or another to squat then I suppose if one wanted to totally ignore the manufactures recommendations in regards to an equalizer hitch, a few here would put forward an argument as to why the car should have one but one would have to ask why not just add air bags to the rear of the car & avoid the equalizer/warranty issue all together? I have no doubt that most who have never towed with an Outback a trailer that falls within its tow specs would be very surprised as to how well the car actually does handle towing in even in the most adverse conditions & would themselves have a hard time justifying the added expense of an equalizer hitch or even a sway bar for that matter.

I have not seen or heard of anyone having a hitch failure on a Subaru here or elsewhere and there are a larger number of people pulling with Subaru's than some may realize. Not saying it has never happened just as I have no doubt it has happened on pretty well every make of car or truck at one time or another. I just do not believe that its a common of a happening as some here would like us to believe it is and warrants someone spending the kind of money on upgrading a standard hitch setup to the level being suggested here. I totally get that its always way more fun to spend someone else money when weighing the options heck on that front I would suggest if the OP wanted the ultimate small SUV tow vehicle he trade in the Subaru and buy a VW Touareg - assuming he has a extra $50,000 burning a hole in his pocket

As Subaru only started putting a Class I hitch on their cars a couple of years ago (not sure but I dont think they even offer a Class II still) the vast majority who are towing with a Subaru are using right off the shelf after market hitches and I assure you far more where installed by a local hitch installer or U-haul than have been installed by CanAm. ;-)

The OP is pulling a 13' Trillium which Real World Weights comes in loaded between 18/1900lbs loaded. The OP hasn't said what model of Outback they have but regardless the tow cap is either 2700lbs or 3000lbs and the tongue cap is 200lbs. The tongue cap will keep most people who choose to follow safe towing practises from towing a trailer that comes close or over the cars towing capacity. A Class II hitch leaves them with more than enough margin of error IMO in regards to the actual weights he will be towing. Regardless, most of the major hitch manufactures make a Class II and Class III hitch for the Outback. Subaru's are pretty popular cars in my area (actually have 6 on my block alone) and the most commonly seen hitch on them are Class II Hidden Hitch or one from U-Haul which looks exactly like the Hidden Hitch (some say its made by the same people) & a few Outbacks are starting to appear on the streets with the factory installed Class I hitch but I havent seen any with a Class II from the factory as yet. It took less than 2 hours to have the hitch & wiring harness install on mine - no removal of bumpers or cutting away of parts but as with most hitch installs the exhaust system did need to be dropped while they did the install.

My local mechanic does a check over of the hitch attachments every time he puts the car up in the air for an oil change or brake inspection - its a bit of a standing joke with us as he also tows but is a member of the Go Big or Go Home crowd and at first had problems believing that the set up was good to go. Often rubs his hands together and grins with anticipations when I tell him how far and where I towed the trailer on my latest trip. The hitch continues to remain secure to the car after 6 years and a lot of miles of towing with no issues with the hitch or the cars mechanicals. Funny enough my mechanic is actually starting to become a believer. ;-)) Only recent issue I have with the hitch is that it is starting to show surface rust at the draw bar box that I do need to address - but in all fairness I drive a lot in winter on very salted roads & not had a cover over the box hole.

I also know the local dealer may not be able/willing to install a class II or III hitch for the OP. Especially not a Class III as it would open the door to far greater abuse of the cars tow specs. It was pointed out to me recently by a member here that even some U-Haul shops are refusing to put on hitches that far exceed the towing specs of the vehicles. The dealer may not be willing to add a hitch simply because not enough of their customers want or need a hitch to justify the training of their staff to install them correctly or they just don't carry/make a Class II hitch.

If the OP takes the car to a reputable hitch installer I am very sure they will be able to have a name brand hitch which more than exceeds their vehicles tow specs and have it installed for far less than what they have been quoted by CanAm. Pretty sure they will still be able to enjoy many miles and years of safe Happy Happy camping with little to no worries just as many folks here have.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:28 PM   #60
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Well said. For $240, my receiver and wiring was done on my '11 legacy (no brake controller, I don't tow that much).

I have no doubt at all that the receiver will take all the car can, and lots more. You would rip the car in two before there was an issue with the hitch. You're putting a hitch fit for a pickup on a subaru. No matter how you slice it, the car is the weak link, and you can't change that.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:05 PM   #61
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OEM: So simple, I could install it.

Well, I tracked down the OEM hitch for the 2013 Outback.

And, frankly, I can't wrap my head around the notion that confidence in Subaru engineering leads folks to buy their cars in huge numbers, but that confidence doesn't extend to the equipment it designed for this particular purpose!

Subaru's hitch is certainly more expensive than aftermarket hitches, but it's a heckuvalot cheaper than Can-Am is going to cost, especially if the O.P. has the most basic mechanical skills and is willing to do it at home. Though the process looks time-consuming for an amateur (like me), it's a bolt-on sequence that's so simple that I wouldn't hesitate to tackle it.

I see no reason the O.P. should be directed to a place like Can-Am, whose specialty other than moving RV's from place to place is evidently coming up with "creative solutions" for vehicles whose manufacturers provide no parts/support/directions for towing applications. That's why they charge big money! Why pay them to "fabricate" something when a hitch specifically engineered for the purpose has been built by the carmaker?

Per strength/sufficiency for the job:
The OEM hitch is rated for more than the capacity of the car, and appears to bolt on in more places than its aftermarket substitutes, including this example of the kind of "bigger" hitch some recommend. Also, Subaru's hitch does make use of the inside of the framerails (See page 5 at instructions below), while the linked-to bigger hitch does not.

Links to OEM hitch info:

Outback Hitch: fits 2009-2013

Instructions

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Old 02-20-2013, 03:56 PM   #62
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Well thanks for digging that up Francesca.
Its a good thing as when Subaru first started offering hitches a couple of years back they *only* had a class I hitch good for 2000lbs which as one party here who purchased a new car with a hitch on it from the factory found out Subaru was not able to switch out to match their cars higher tow specs. Which is the reason most people have in the past had to go elsewhere for a hitch.

Also looks like they may be offering up the wiring harness and attachment housing as well - which they havent done in the past either. I Love Seeing this! as some here have suggested in the past that the reason Subaru didnt offer up hitches or harnesses was because they really didnt want you towing with the car as it really wasnt meant to be towed with. Their current hitch and harness offerings sure seem to throw that whole theory out the window
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:11 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Well, I tracked down the OEM hitch for the 2013 Outback....

Links to OEM hitch info:

Instructions

Specific, relevant, authoritative, detailed, and clear - truly a beautiful thing
Thanks!

I was surprised that any content from the Subaru Technical Information System (STIS) is freely available to the public. When I have tried to navigate into this material in the past, I have found that it requires a paid subscription, which is understandable. Now I see this explanation at the bottom of the STIS home page:
Quote:
*Note: All Accessory Installation Guides do not require a subscription.
Good news for those with Subaru tugs.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:14 PM   #64
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The $2000+ quote is really out of line, no need to spend that much to have a hitch installed. I would order a hitch from Etrailer.com and have a local shop install it for about $500 total cost. If you also include the cooler instal that shouldn't cost more than $200, so $700 should cover it. I'm not sure about the cost for 7 pin wiring? (All newer Subaru's do have a 4 pin wiring harness to plug into located in the right rear trunk area, which is all I am presently using.)
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:22 PM   #65
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The $2000+ quote is really out of line, no need to spend that much to have a hitch installed.
Yes, but, to be fair to Can Am RV...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dylemma View Post
1 - 2" Class 3 equalizing hitch system, installed
1 - 7 pin connector with brake control, installed
1 - Transmission cooler (apparently I need it)
This is much more than installation of a hitch.
Parts:
  • hitch receiver - possibly custom fabricated
  • weight distribution system? (they said "hitch system")
  • brake controller (hopefully a first rate unit, at the very least a modern proportional controller)
  • wiring supplies
  • relay and circuit breaker for charge line to trailer?
  • transmission cooler with hoses, fittings, and brackets

Labour:
  • hitch installation
  • brake control installation
  • brake control wiring
  • trailer charge line wiring?
  • transmission cooler installation
  • hitch setup (adjustment of WD system)

Some of us have our opinions about the necessity of some of these items, but regardless of that, this is not likely a $700 job for over $2000.

Dave - are a WD system (shank, head, spring bars, chain brackets) and charge wiring included? Is it a stock hitch receiver, a modified one, or a custom fabrication? Just curious... it's your purchase, not ours
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:40 PM   #66
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We know in many cases Can Am will strenghten or improve on many factory or aftermarket receivers because they were not up to the task they were designed for. Their rep wrote about it a number of times.
I have read Andy Thompson's columns about cases where production hitches were flexing excessively under load, and Can Am has added reinforcement, thus improving them. It's not rocket science - these are just steel boxes fastened to the vehicle structure. Has there been any suggestion in this discussion that any of the available Subaru Outback hitch receivers (OEM or aftermarket) needed this sort of fix?

A more common scenario discussed by Andy and his customers seems to be modifying hitches to perform tasks for which they were not designed, such as using weight distribution to handle tongue weights beyond the vehicle manufacturer's rated limit. This can be done, but another approach is to stay within the limits and not need the modification (or custom fabrication); an advantage is that the trailer owner then doesn't need to understand the custom work or assess any supplier's ability to correctly do mechanical design and manufacturing.

I am interested in automotive technology and mechanical design - I entertain myself by mentally sketching out vehicle configurations and solving mechanical puzzles such as WD hitch operation - so I would look forward to a custom hitch design if I needed it. On the other hand, for most people if the desired trailer is within the rated limits of the owner's tow vehicle, there seems to be little reason for the headaches and risks of having a custom system designed and built - especially one intended to operate in a mode not even endorsed by the vehicle manufacturer. We - and our rigs - each have our own best answers, if we have enough information to make the choice.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:44 AM   #67
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I will need to install a hitch on my new tow vehicle, 2013 Outback.I have no interest in DIY. Any suggestions in the Toronto area? I will also cross the border if the price and service warrant.
Although a good discussion I keep refering back to the OP.

They asked for "the best place to get a hitch installed".

Not interested in DIY.

Can Am is still the best answer.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:23 PM   #68
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I'm disturbed by Can-Am's evident recommendation to the O.P. that he disregard the car maker's admonition re. weight distributing hitch, especially given the vehicle's other limitations. This is different from a run-of-the-mill Can Am job, where they take on some car whose mfr. says nothing at all about the vehicle's limitations and Can Am wonderboys come up with a ground-up setup based on what they think is possible.

In this case, the carmaker is very specific about what the car can do, and how. I'm uncomfortable with mechanics that simply throw explicit information out the window and reinvent something! I think there's overkill (and a bit of hubris) here that's running up the cost.

Also:
I guess I missed the O.P.'s Outback model- but since all autotranny versions have transmission coolers already: Is additional transmission cooling capacity required by Subaru as an add-on for towing ? It doesn't even appear to be offered as an option on new units. I wonder if the existing cooler isn't deemed sufficient when towing within given limits.

And finally, as to the trailer that the O.P. actually wants to tow (Trillium 1300?)
I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't someone (maybe Thomas?) post here recently that Trillium ALSO specifically advises against the use of W/D hitches on their trailers?


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Old 02-21-2013, 03:11 PM   #69
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I think you need to give credit and trust where it is due.

It is no secret. Can Am has been doing what they do successfully for over 40 years.

Are you aware of their resources?

There is info our there. Contacts with auto makers, data, engineers etc.

I know when Mr. T. (Can Am) set my vehicle up he was in contact with the manufacturer before taking on the job.

It's great when someone can get past the marketing department and politics of the day.


The other safety benefit that folks forget about is that when complete the rig gets test driven by "someone in the know" at Can Am.

If there is anything not right you have an expert that makes it right before they hand it back to you.

If you take your vehicle to most other places they may not take it to that level of service/accuracy/detail.


Can Am has always said..... If someone doesn't want to use their premium services there is a budget hitch installer just down the street from them.


Customers choice!
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:36 PM   #70
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You are also correct that Subaru does not offer a transmission cooler as optional for the Outbacks. Nor do they require one for towing. In fact adding one can result in warranty issues if you have a transmission failure during the 5 years it is under warranty.

Pretty sure if you did a poll here you would find that few folks of the many towing with a Subaru actually have added a 3rd party transmission cooler - aside from those folks who are pulling a trailer way over their cars tow specs.
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