How To Install Hitch On Subaru Forester

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Last Updated on June 20, 2022

I understand how important it is to install a hitch on your Subaru Forester. After installing a hitch on your forester, you will find the towing job is quite handy. You will not have to spend money on towing services.

However, you shouldn’t worry if you don’t know the installation process of a hitch on your Subaru Forester. I am here to help you out.

In this section, I will be guiding you on how you can install a hitch on your Subaru Forester.

Two editions of Subaru Forester (2014-2018) and (2019-2021) are available. You may own any one of these models. The installation process of a hitch is a bit different due to different editions. My guide will tell you the installation process for both editions.

Install A Hitch On Your Subaru Forester (2019-2021)

Step 1: Bringing The Tools

In the first step, you must bring some necessary tools. The tools are: 

  • Spray Bottle
  • Safety Glass
  • Exhaust Pliers
  • Torque Wrench
  • Power Drill 
  • Screwdriver (Flat Head)
  • Ratchet Strap
  • Step Bit

Step 2: Taking Off The Exhaust

Then, you have to take off the exhaust of your vehicle. You should use the strap to support the exhaust. Otherwise, it may fall after you remove the hangers.

Step 3: Taking off The Panels

After that, you have to take off the panels you find in the underbody. You should remove the nearest heat shields too.

Step 4: Prepare The Attachment Points

Now, take off the rubber plugs. You are supposed to find it on the points of attachment. To ensure the hardware is appropriately fit, you may need to make the center hole a bit bigger. You can do that easily using the drill and step bit. You should do it for both sides.

Step 5: Installing The Hardware

After making the hole, you can place the hardware. Now, put the bolts into their place with the help of a fish wire.

Step 6: Placing The Hitch In Its Position

At this point, you can raise your hitch into its position. Make sure that the bolts are correctly inserted in the attachment points.

Step 7: Make The Hitch Secured

Now, you have to make the hitch secured. For this, take off the fish wire first and place flange nuts in its place. After that, use the socket and a 5″ extension to tighten them.

Step 8: Reinstall Everything

Once you have installed the hitch, now you should re-install everything. You have to install the exhaust and panels again.

Install A Hitch On Your Subaru Forester (2014-2018)

Step 1: Gathering The Tools

To deal with this edition of Subaru Forester, you will need different tools. These are: 

  • Stability strap
  • Safety Glass
  • Tin snips
  • Exhaust Pliers
  • Air saw
  • 10 mm long socket
  • Screwdriver (Flat Head)
  • 11/15″ socket and 5″ extension
  • Torque Wrench
  • Socket wrench
  • Power Drill 

Step 2: Supporting The Exhaust And Making It Lower

To support your vehicle’s exhaust, you must link the center exhaust pipe and any strong engine component using the strap. You can use a jack as a substitute for a strap. 

Then, use the exhaust pliers and remove all the isolator rods from the exhaust hangers. The location of the rods is different. In the passenger part of your forester, there will be two rods over the muffler. You will find another rod in your vehicle’s center part, just the backside of the backward axle. These are for the single exhaust. However, if your forester has dual or two exhausts, you will find rods in the muffler of the drive-side.

Step 2: Removing And Trimming The Heat Shields

Now, you will find the shield over the exhaust muffler. Using a screwdriver or socket (10mm), you must take it off. After that, you have to take off the three-hole plugs using your flathead screwdriver. You will find them on the lower side of the frame. Again, if your vehicle has dual exhaust, you must also repeat the process for the driver’s side. You are ready to trim now.

For trimming the shields, you need to use tin snips. You have to cut little squares over the shield labeled R and M. As a result, you will find the hardware is coming through the frame. If there are two shields, you have to repeat this trimming process for each shield.

Step 4: Threading The Bolts

Feed the end of a fish wire coil through the last hole of your frame and out of the access hole facing the onward side. Then, engage a spacer and bolt to this coil. Now, pull back the wire by the access hole till the bolt does not drop through the last hole. You must repeat the process for the following hole and each side of your forester.

Step 5: Removing The Bumper Push And Cutting A Square

At this point, use your flat head screwdriver to remove the rubber bush tabs from the lower bumper part. Then pry up the metal push tabs till you don’t find them in a ninety-degree angle shape. 

Now, use the air saw to cut a little square from the rear bumpers center part where you will expose the hitch. You can mark the place first before cutting for accurate cutting.

Step 6: Attaching The Hitch And Returning The Shields

After that, haul the hitch in its position and remove all the fish wire from the bolts. You may take help from anyone if needed. Once the fish wire is removed and the hitch is positioned correctly, you can engage the nuts and washers toward the hitch. Use the socket to tighten the bolts.

Now, You should get the heat shields back into their place. Place them in position as you remove them.

Step 7: Torque All The Bolts

At this point, you should make all the bolt tightens using a socket and extension. To provide torque to the bolts, you can use a torque wrench. Torque the bolts to 50 ft. lbs. You will hear a small sound once the torque reaches the proper amount.

Step 8: Lifting The Exhaust And Bend The Tabs Back

In the last step, you need to place the isolator rods in their position using exhaust pliers. You might need soapy water to lubricate the hangers. After getting them in place, you can remove the jack or strap you used earlier.

Lastly, you need to bend the push tab in its place below the backward bumper. Then, to secure your bumper, you should get the rubber push tabs back.

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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