Best place to get hitch installed? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-11-2013, 08:36 PM   #1
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Best place to get hitch installed?

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.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:38 PM   #2
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We used U-Haul in the US. They are known for installing hitches of all sorts. A tip, though...do not have it installed on the weekend. Their service priority goes to truck rental customers and they will delay a hitch customer if they need to. Our hitch took more than one day due to this policy. Ultimately, the hitch was installed (mostly) correctly. They neglected to connect the back-up lights wiring, though. Another tip...check everything with your rig before you go on a trip.
Happy camping!
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:05 PM   #3
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U-hual. They sold me the hitch, installed it and gave life time warranty for less than I could buy one and do it myself. Check their online prices and booking.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:18 PM   #4
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Note: not all U-Haul locations are created equal. There are company-owned stores, and franchises; there are U-Haul hitch shops, and there are convenience stores that rent U-Haul trailers... and everything in between. Given the lack of effective maintenance of U-Haul equipment by dealers, it's a good bet that their dealers' installation work is not effectively governed either, so you pay your money and you take your chances like any random hitch shop.

I found U-Haul prices - for a hitch complete with installation - comparable to other hitch shops in this area. One U-Haul "special" feature: they charge extra to bring in your hitch if it is not in stock; that's nice, they don't have proper inventory and I should pay the penalty. I bought my hitch (for my Focus in this case) from another store instead and spent an hour installing it.

Electrical work and brake controller installation are usually far more problematic than the actual hitch installation, so if I had any of that to do and was looking for someone to do it, I would pick the place which convinced me they knew what they were doing with those jobs, and let them bolt on the hitch as well. On the other hand, according to notes on the eTrailer page for 2013 Outback hitches it looks like Subaru did not properly accommodate hitch installation on the Legacy/Outback, and a bunch of messing about is required (including dropping the exhaust, trimming a heat shield, and drilling a couple of 1-1/8" holes in the frame rails)... the installation is not the trivial bolt-on it could be.

Although a Subaru dealer would be unlikely to do any hitch or related electrical installation work (except for dealer-installed OEM accessories), they might have some idea of who they have sent such work to for other customers without complaints coming back.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:44 PM   #5
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I have had at least 5 U-haul hitches installed at U-Haul Company STORES and have never had a problem.
They're set up to install hitches.
They will also do your electrical work.
They are much less expensive than auto dealers or RV shops.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:06 PM   #6
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I have had at least 5 U-haul hitches installed at U-Haul Company STORES...
They are much less expensive than auto dealers or RV shops.
I agree - auto dealers and RV shops are expensive places to have this sort of work done. Toyota dealers here send this stuff out to hitch shops... and in my local checking I found that those hitch shops (such as a suitable U-Haul, but everyone else is comparably priced) are the place to go, not RV shops. None of the experience of an "RV technician" and none of the expensive equipment of an auto dealership service department (except a hoist) is needed for hitch installation or towing wiring, so there's no need to pay for them.

I'm not simply anti-U-Haul; I just have no reason to like them and various reasons to dislike them. Other hitch shops haven't had a chance to lose my business yet. I would still go to a U-Haul company store for moving supplies, and perhaps even towing accessories that they have on the shelf.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:26 AM   #7
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I seem to recall folks finding some U-Haul places unwilling to install 7 pin and brake controller wiring. Since Subaru requires trailer brakes to tow over 1000 lbs., a 7 pin connector and a brake controller are a must. Don't let someone tell you you don't need brakes. You do. I did the install on our Forester last summer. As Brian indicates, it is one of the more involved installations. Subaru dealers won't do it but might have a shop they use when a customer makes the request. I would start there. Good luck, Raz
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:35 AM   #8
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I got hitched in a Baptist Church 45 years ago. Seemed to be the thing to do at the time. Still holding fast.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:49 PM   #9
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dave---i'd give serious consideration to travelling to can-am RV in the london area.

we heard such wonderful reviews from others about their work that we drove up from new brunswick and have absolutely zero regrets.

good luck!
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:05 PM   #10
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Dave
Do you homework on your hitch options for the Outback. Check out the Outback forum. The Subaru hitch is one of the best looking hitches but only has a 1 1/4 opening which limits your accessories and weight. Also the rear bumper cover has to be removed to install it. Some owners complain about it sticking out too far and bumping their legs on the factory hitch. Most people install the after market 2" opening hitches but they are a bit unsightly. I have a 2011 with a 2' Curt hitch and wiring from e trailer. Right after I installed it a company (Torklift) came out with compact a nice looking 2" hitch. I will try to find the mfg. and get back with the info. A lot of Outback owners like the torklift stelth hitch, looks like they now call it the ecohitch. Check for a dealer near you.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:21 PM   #11
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I was going to suggest installing the hitch at the rear of the tow vehicle under the bumper. As to where; we got happily and securly hitched on a wharf. Worked for me. Sorry I'm not much help re: the original question :-)
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
On the other hand, according to notes on the eTrailer page for 2013 Outback hitches it looks like Subaru did not properly accommodate hitch installation on the Legacy/Outback, and a bunch of messing about is required (including dropping the exhaust, trimming a heat shield, and drilling a couple of 1-1/8" holes in the frame rails)... the installation is not the trivial bolt-on it could be.
If you take the rear bumper off, you can access the end of the "frame" instead of drilling those holes. I found that out after drilling the holes in mine, ticked me off. It's not a big deal. I had my bumper and wiring converter installed in 4 hours, and I painted/siliconed all holes, zip tied all the wiring, etc., while drinking beer and watching a movie in the garage.









I ran the wiring under the trunk floor, where the spare tire is. When I need it, I just flip it outside the trunk. If I don't, it stays inside, nice and dry, and out of the way.







As to where to get it done, I have no idea. I have a severe distrust of letting anybody else install something that important.

Stay away from 1 1/4" hitches. They work ok for trailers, but if you want to use a bike mount, or cargo rack, they suck. 2" has much better accessories available.

I bought all my stuff from etrailer.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:27 AM   #13
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If you take the rear bumper off, you can access the end of the "frame" instead of drilling those holes. I found that out after drilling the holes in mine, ticked me off. It's not a big deal...

Good info, Jared. I would be ticked off, too!

It seems that North American hitch manufacturers assume that no one will be willing to remove a bumper, even if that would allow a better design, or allow installation of their existing designs better. I suppose it might be worth checking whether the bumper removal approach would save drilling similar access holes on any model needing it - neither my Sienna nor my Focus required drilling, so I didn't need to do this.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:21 AM   #14
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I just checked the U-Haul site for the 2013 Outback, and from the model number and installation instructions it appears that this U-Haul-branded hitch receiver (75159) is actually made by Cequent, and sold as the Draw-Tite 75673, Hidden Hitch 87568, and Reese 44631. There's nothing wrong with that - if you go to different suppliers/installers, they will have different products available; some will have the same Cequent hitch (or the 1-1/4 Cequent), some will have Curt (13390), or Valley, EcoHitch, or perhaps another brand.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:26 AM   #15
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dave---i'd give serious consideration to travelling to can-am RV in the london area.

we heard such wonderful reviews from others about their work that we drove up from new brunswick and have absolutely zero regrets.

good luck!
For sure. We only had to drive 2 hours but it was worth it. Here is a Can Am receiver going on a Subaru.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:49 AM   #16
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I had no problems having U-Haul install the wiring and hitch on my Outback in Vancouver. Just need to tell them ahead of time the year of the Outback, class of hitch and that you want the 7 pin connector so they order in the correct wiring harness & hitch. All the wiring is needed is already in the Outback - plug and play with the exception of the brake wire which Subaru requires you to add if towing anything over 1000lbs (which is pretty well every fiberglass trailer out there). I didnt have U-Haul add the break wire - had a very nice forum member from here who works for a large RV shop come to my house and run it for me before I had the hitch and wire harness added by U-Haul.

Edit to add: On my 08 no additional holes or dropping of any parts of the car where required to install the hitch. It went on easily and quickly. Been good for 6 years now.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:58 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Eddie Longest View Post
Dave Do you homework on your hitch options for the Outback. Check out the Outback forum. The Subaru hitch is one of the best looking hitches but only has a 1 1/4 opening which limits your accessories and weight.
Good point - up until a few years ago Subaru didnt offer any of their own hitches and would tell you to take the car to a hitch shop for any hitch install but now they do and its only a Class I - not good for pulling anything other than a garden waste trailer.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:22 PM   #18
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On the wiring - If your going to run a wire intended to re-charge trailer battery, or provide 12 volt power to trailer make sure they use a heavy gauge wire for that line to the 7 pin plug. Not less than 10 gauge, 8 gauge would be better. Otherwise voltage drop from the long wire will give you problems charging your trailer battery or running your fridge on 12 volt while traveling.

Typical hitch and trailer plug installers don't use wire that heavy. More like 12 or 14 gauge suitable for turn signals and tail lights.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:29 PM   #19
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For sure. We only had to drive 2 hours but it was worth it. Here is a Can Am receiver going on a Subaru.
Notice that it attaches securely forward in the vehicle which allows for good weight transfer from a load equalizing hitch.

Quote:
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On the wiring - If your going to run a wire intended to re-charge trailer battery, or provide 12 volt power to trailer make sure they use a heavy gauge wire for that line to the 7 pin plug. Not less than 10 gauge, 8 gauge would be better. .......
Excellent advice and worth the extra trouble / cost.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:40 PM   #20
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Notice that it attaches securely forward in the vehicle which allows for good weight transfer from a load equalizing hitch.
The OP may wish to check their cars manual in regards to the use of an equalizing hitch should who ever installs the hitch suggest they use one. In previous year models of Subaru's the manual clearly states they are not to be used. Having hauled thousands of miles with a Subaru all I can say is that it there is really no good reason for adding one either if the OP stays within Subaru's towing specs. No squat issue with the Outback (or at least on older models) and no handling issues either without one.
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