Repainted my hitch - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-23-2020, 05:17 PM   #1
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Name: Rich
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Repainted my hitch

I know these receiver hitches are designed to rust, but it just drives me crazy. So now that it's almost spring here in Minnesota and I've got some time on my hands, I got busy yesterday and went after the hitch on my 2011 Highlander. It's not a Toyota factory hitch, I think it's a Curt, so it hangs down a bit. Which is good in terms of accessing it for this project. I removed a couple of trim pieces on the Highlander and got to work scraping and sanding. Turns out that a 1" putty knife and a small mallet was all I needed to get most of the rust and paint off. I was worried that the hitch would be structurally deficient but it's fine. After a little sanding, I started in with my POR-15 kit today. $20 and change buys enough degreaser, metal etch solution and paint for about one hitch. I'm going to top coat it with some rattle can satin black paint when the second coat get's tacky and call it good enough.

If we weren't in this virus thing, I might have just bought a new hitch and replaced this one, only a $140 or so from eTrailer. But with plenty of time on my hands, this turned out to be a very satisfying project.
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Old 04-24-2020, 08:13 AM   #2
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...and better than anything you might have bought!
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Old 04-24-2020, 09:24 AM   #3
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Name: Bob
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Nice Work!

From the picture, your effort is top notch. Definitely nice work!
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Old 04-24-2020, 09:32 AM   #4
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Thanks! Iíll report back sometime in the future on how well itís holding up. Now that Iíve got the rear under carriage all torn apart, Iím going to get started on wiring my brake controller. I bought the eTrailer wiring harness and watched their video on a 2012 Highlander. I think I can do this.

We heard from the place thatís storing our Scamp that we can pick it up next Tuesday. Not that we can camp anywhere yet, but at least this gives me some projects to keep busy with.
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Old 04-24-2020, 09:45 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by rpassmore View Post
Thanks! Iíll report back sometime in the future on how well itís holding up. Now that Iíve got the rear under carriage all torn apart, Iím going to get started on wiring my brake controller. I bought the eTrailer wiring harness and watched their video on a 2012 Highlander. I think I can do this.

We heard from the place thatís storing our Scamp that we can pick it up next Tuesday. Not that we can camp anywhere yet, but at least this gives me some projects to keep busy with.
That refreshed hitch looks great!

I wired the brake controller on our 2015 Highlander, and the worst part by far was working under the dash to splice into the brake light wire. Tight confines and awkward positioning.

Not sure about the 2011, but on the 2015 there is a grommet on the passenger side, and you can pass the wires through the center console (had to use wire fish tape). That saved me from having to drill a hole in the driver's side firewall, but I did have to pick up an extra length of wire from the local NAPA. What came with the kit didn't have enough left over to make the run from the breaker terminal, through the passenger grommet, across the console, and up into the dash.

Also those barrel connectors that came with the eTrailer kit are not great. If you have tiny heat shrink wrap I'd recommend that to strengthen the connection. Otherwise squeeze them tight and wrap it good with electrical tape.
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Old 04-24-2020, 09:49 AM   #6
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My brother has a 2017 Highlander and he told me what a pain that underdash wiring was. Iím hoping the older HL is easier. Given that itís already 9 yesrs old, I donít have a problem drilling thru the firewall if I have to.
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Old 04-24-2020, 10:35 AM   #7
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It is not nearly as neat and shiny as your job -- but for hitches, trailer tongues, and any painted steel on the frame, etc. -- a quick, easy and long lasting solution is to spray on Rustoleum Rust Reformer (other companies may make similar, but I can't vouch for them). Just a little rubbing with a wire brush or coarse sandpaper, and a quick spray will keep things looking good and stop further rusting.
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Old 04-24-2020, 01:27 PM   #8
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In case you're interested, my brake controller installation in my 2013.

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Old 04-25-2020, 11:40 AM   #9
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Looks awesome,

It has that 'powder coated' look to it.

actually just got some Por-15 and going to pain a bumper/hitch/tire swing out.
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Old 04-26-2020, 06:33 AM   #10
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With POR-15, prep is everything. If youíre painting over old paint, it really needs to be scuffed up. Over bare metal or rust is best. And for rust, all the flaking stuff needs to be removed or it will just continue to flake and take the POR-15 with it.
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Old 04-26-2020, 08:26 PM   #11
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You have to overcoat the POR-15, as it can be UV damaged.

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Old 04-29-2020, 12:40 PM   #12
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Sounds like you have more time too. I just coated mine with some stuff called "rust converter". Looks much better, turned the rust black.
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