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installation instructions and specs for complete information.
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This durable, fully welded Subaru Outback Wagon trailer hitch receiver features a powder coat finish over an e-coat base to ensure superior corrosion resistance.
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Video of Hidden Hitch Trailer Hitch Receiver - Custom Fit - Class III - 2"
Videos are provided as a guide only. Refer to manufacturer
installation instructions and specs for complete information.
Today in our 2014 Subaru Outback wagon we'll be installing hidden hitch two inch receiver two bits, part number 87568. Here's what our hitch will look like once it's installed. Next we'll go ahead and give you a couple of measurements to assist you selecting accessories for your new hitch such as a ball mount, bike rack or cargo carrier. From the center of the hitch pin hold to the outermost edge of the bumper is four and a half inches. From the top of the receiver tube opening to the ground is 16 inches. Now we'll go ahead with the installation. Now, to begin our install, we'll first need to lower the exhaust.
To safely lower the exhaust we'll put a safety strap underneath it first which helps control the weight of the exhaust once we remove the exhaust hangers. Now with our safety strap in place we'll go ahead and use some spray lubricant on the three hangers we'll be removing. Now we can use the pry bar pliers to remove each of the rubber isolators from the metal hanger. Now we can use the safety strap to safely lower the weight of the exhaust. With the exhaust down and out of the way I'm going to go ahead and remove the rubber isolator just to get it out of the way so that when we remove the heat shield it's not in the way.
Next we'll remove the four fasteners that secure our heat shield. Once we remove the fasteners we'll go ahead and put the heat shield down and set it aside for now. Next we'll go ahead and point out the attachment points. These attachment points have rubber plugs that in the frame we'll need to remove. There are two attachment points on each side. Keep in mind each process we do on one side will get repeated identically on the opposite side.
Now that we have our attachment points exposed measuring from the hole just behind the front attachment point back approximately two inches we'll need to use a hole saw bit to cut a access hole so that we can get our hardware into the frame. We're cutting a one and an eighth inch hole in the frame for an access hole. First I'll go ahead and mark where we'll be drilling the access hole, it'll be approximately center of the frame and two inches back behind the small hole behind the forward attachment point. Then I'm going to go ahead and drill a pilot hole. This will make it easier to drill out the hole saw access point.
Now with the access food drilled out, we'll need to install the rear attachment point hardware first. To do that we'll use the carriage bolt and short block provided with our install kit. To get our hardware in place we'll use the pull wire or bolt leader supplied with the install kit. We'll take it, feed it through the attachment point and then out the access hole. Once we have our bolt leader in place we'll slide on our block and thread on the carriage bolt. We'll feed the block into the frame first, followed by our carriage bolt and then pull them into position over our attachment point. Now we can leave our bolt leader attached as it will assist to us getting our hitch up into position without pushing our hardware back into the frame. We're going to repeat the same process for our forward attachment point where we'll use the carriage bolt and the long block for our attachment point hardware. Take the bolt leader, go through the attachment point and out the access hole. Slide on our block and thread on the carriage bolt. Feed the block into the frame first, followed by the carriage bolt and then pull them into position creating our attachment point. Once again, we'll leave our bolt leader attached. Now with our passenger side done, we'll go ahead and repeat the same process on the drivers side. Now with all our hardware in place we're ready to install the hitch. It's a good idea to get an extra set of hands to help you hold the hitch while you install the fasteners. Keep in mind that our forward attachment point will get a flat washer sandwiched between the hitch and the frame. We'll put our flat washer under the forward pull wire first. Then we can feed the pull wire through the attachment point. Once we have the hitch up we'll go ahead and remove the pull wire, install the inaudible 00:04:58 washer and nut with the teeth of the washer facing the hitch. Once we have our fasteners installed on one side we'll repeat the same process on the other side. Now with all our fasteners installed we can go ahead and tighten them down. Once they're tightened down we can then torque the specifications as indicated in the instructions. Once we have our hitch tightened and torqued to specifications we'll need to go ahead, cut out the heat shield where it's going to make contact with the hitch so they can reinstall it. Using a paint marker we'll mark out the section of the heat shield that will need to be trim. Now to make a cut out you can use a cut off wheel or a pair of tin snips. Once we've got the cut out made we can go ahead and reinstall the heat shield, reusing the manufacturers hardware. When re-installing your heat shield make sure you get above your exhaust hanger. Now we have our heat shield reinstalled, go ahead and put our exhaust hanger back in position. Now to reinstall our exhaust, to make it a little easier, we're going to go ahead and remove the rear rubber isolator from the metal hanger on the frame. Once we remove the rubber isolator from the metal hanger we'll go ahead and put it on the metal hanger on the muffler. Then put our exhaust back up into position and reinstall the rubber isolator back on the metal hanger to the frame. Once we have that in place we'll then reinstall the middle and forward rubber isolators. Now with our hitch tightened down and torque specification and our heat shield and exhaust back in place, that'll complete our install of the hidden hitch, part number 87568, on our 2014 Subaru Outback wagon. .
Average Customer Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (260 Customer Reviews)This durable, fully welded vehicle trailer hitch receiver features a powder coat finish over an e-coat base to ensure superior corrosion resistance.
by: Jim H.05/15/2014
I finished the hitch install on my 2014 Subaru Outback today. It went without a "hitch" so to speak. I did the job alone (age 69) and managed it well because of some hints from previous writers. First, I drilled access holes from inside the trunk area as suggested. Remove the black adhesive dots over each hole and drill them out to 1 1/8" using a step drill (see photos 1.jpg, 2.jpg, 3.jpg). I didn't have a vacuum cleaner handy so I used a small magnet to collect all the metal cuttings. (see photo 4.jpg) I then raised the rear of the car with ramps to get easier access underneath. I took off the muffler which was not too difficult once the rubber shock-absorbers were liberally doused with WD-40. Getting it back on later was another story. That thing is heavy and it took quite a few "bench-presses" to get it up and slid onto the outboard rubber shock-absorber. After that, the inner one and the final bolt-down was a lot easier. I also removed and drilled out the heat shield to clear the hitch bolt. The step-drill was perfect for this as well. I removed the small rubber plugs from the four hitch holes under the car. The holes could then be clearly seen from above so guiding the bolts and plates into the holes using the included guide-wires turned out to be extremely easy. I used my 3 ton hydraulic jack to suspend and position the hitch. I clamped it to the jack pad using two small c-clamps. Once in position an raised up, I could easily finger-tighten the rear nuts (rear of the hitch/front of the car). Then I took off the c-clamps in order to push the front of the hitch up into place with the jack. Tightening everything down to 50 ft/lbs. finished the job. I also found some plastic snap-in covers that perfectly fit the drilled holes in the trunk. I used these to seal the holes from dirt and to give it a finished appearance. (see photo 5.jpg). Next was the wiring harness. That turned out to be a bit tricky. I searched the wheel well housing on the drivers side but couldn't feel any wires. Then I found a YouTube video from a 2011 Outback that made it clear that the carpeting behind the rear seats had to be removed as well as the long foam strip adjacent to it. It is held down with three snaps...one in the front (fixed) and two loose plugs in the back. Once this was removed I was able to find and pull out the connector. The rest was easy. Plug in the connector, thread the wire back a bit, hide the black box under the wheel well housing and continue the wire around the outside edge of the trunk and into the spare-tire area. Everything went back together nicely. I brought the hitch cable up into the foam tray where it would be easier to get when needed. I plan to run it out the tailgate and I don't at all think it will be damaged by the rubber weatherseal. 130920
by: Kevin H08/02/2013
Excellent hitch, and super fast shipping! Arrived in pretty good condition (see picture of my "Frankenbox" which likely helped), especially considering how mangled the first one arrived (*see below). The only damage was to the labels - both the Hidden Hitch label and the weight-rating label were scraped up. I don't really care about the HH label, but having the weight ratings visible is a nice safety feature. Installation went really well. Hitch and Wiring Harness took about 3 hours, and that was working slowly and includes all cleanup. I love the video (in fact, I stumbled across it the night before my car was scheduled at the Subaru dealer for the hitch install, and it prompted me to cancel my appointment and buy/install on my own - SO glad I did too - saved me over $400!). That said, I did make a few modifications to the process shown in the video. I decided to access the frame holes from the top, as others have mentioned, rather than the bottom as shown in the video. This meant drilling through much softer metal, and cutting a hole in a place much less likely to be exposed to the elements. I had a whole saw bit (vs. step bit) so I opted for a new hole rather than expanding one of the existing holes. This also worked well because I was able to center the hole between the two "peek holes" giving fairly easy access to both the front and rear holes in the frame when snaking the bold leader cables through. That said, coming from the top did make this step harder than it would be from the bottom because the leaders are curved, and want to bend back in the direction they came from. This meant that they want to curve UP when you put them in from the top, but they need to go down. Since I had a partner in crime, it worked out alright, but it would have been very tough alone. After the hitch was installed, I simply held the heat shield back up in place and marked where the front bolt hit it with my finder. Then I drilled a hole there with the same 1 1/8" hole bit, and it worked perfectly, leaving much more heat shield in place than if I had cut off the entire corner as seen in the video.i * I originally ordered a 1 1/4" Hidden Hitch Mount (see below), which arrived in a smaller box. The box was clearly too narrow, and because it bulged out, it was ripped open and the metal was sticking out a bit. I had already ordered the 2" version at this time, and was returning this one, so I didn't open the box. 92925
by: Brett H.05/25/2013
I was a little intimidated by the prospect of installing this hitch, but it turned out very well in the end. Many thanks to the excellent videos at etrailer and the comments from my awesome fellow-customers. Looks great, works great, and total install time was only about 2 hours. I'm reasonably good with tools in general, but little to no auto mechanic experience. Here are a few tips I found very helpful (many of them from the other reviews). Some would have helped me decide sooner to take the plunge: 1) The hitch actually installs on four bolt holes already provided in the frame by Subaru for installing a trailer hitch. The only reason the instructions have you drilling new holes under the car is to provide a way to fish the bolts through from the top, which takes us to our next point... 2) I highly recommend drilling down from the trunk area, rather than drilling up from under the car (thanks to the other reviews for this tip!). It's not only easier, but also means your holes aren't exposed to the weather. In fact, your new holes will be entirely covered by the snap-in panels in the trunk. Other reviewers have talked about removing the bumper -- in that case you don't have to drill any holes and I'm sure it's the best approach if you're comfortable doing that. 3) You must fully remove the rubber bumper hanger that is closest to the rear of the car. It wasn't clear to me initially, and I just took the bumper off the hanger, leaving the rubber hanger attached to the car. The hitch won't fit over the rubber hanger, and you'll be in no position to deal with it once you start trying to lift the hitch into place. 4) As others have said, removing the muffler entirely is probably the best way to go. I was a little concerned about doing that, but it was easy to get off and back on. If your car is very old, it might be tougher. 5) I had a second person assist me in lifting the hitch assembly into place, and cannot imagine trying to do that by myself. Definitely get a helper! 81947
I just installed the 87568 Hidden Hitch 2" Receiver on my 2014 Subaru Outback (2.5). Dealing with etrailer was wonderful and I highly recommend them - not just OK - they are a real pleasure to deal with. The website is helpful and clear, product was exactly as described and was shipped the same day I ordered (delivery in 5 days). It arrived in excellent condition with everything I needed (including fish wires they used to sell separately). Videos, written comments/pictures from other customers and even the instructions that came with the hitch were very helpful. It took me about 2 hours to install in my garage. The Outback is pretty high off the ground so I had no problems fitting under the car. I followed the approach other customers suggested, expanding access holes inside the car, instead of drilling new holes in the frame below the car. Basic procedure was as follows. 1) Remove muffler by spraying rubber hangers with WD40 and loosening 2 bolts. 2) Remove the heat shield. 3) Remove cargo tray and spare tire cover from inside the car. Snap off the carpeted covers from the left and right sides (these just snap off). 4) Remove the polystyrene trays on left and right - note these are clipped to the metal below (I found it very tricky to get these loose and actually broke the tabs on a couple of the clips). 5) Peel off the black tape circles covering access holes (you can see the hitch attachment holes by looking through these). Enlarge holes (2 on each side) to 1 1/8" using a step drill bit. Note that metal shavings will fly so use safety glasses and cover spare tire so they don't get where you don't want them. 6) Fish the bolts through holes as described in the instructions. 7) Flatten the cardboard box and use it to slide the hitch under the car below the mounting bolts. 8) Raise the hitch and put washers and nuts on as described in instructions. Note this step is a little tricky physically. I did it alone but an assistant would be helpful. The rubber muffler hanger has to go through the cutout in the hitch so think this through before you start. I did it by raising the right side of the hitch (non-muffler side) first and securing loosely with washers/bolts. I then raised the left side and slid under it so hitch was briefly supported on my chest. I pressed the hitch up while twisting the rubber muffler hanger to guide it through the hitch hole. I then tightened all fasteners as instructed. I sprayed some undercoating material on the bolts. 9) Hold up the heat shield to see where on of the hitch bolts interferes. I used the step drill to create a hole in the heat shield instead of cutting as instructed. Attach modified heat shield. Reinstall muffler. 10) Inside car, cover access holes with tape and reinstall interior padding and trays. Clean up and done! 114980
by: Ryan M08/30/2012
I wanted a 2" hitch for my 2013 Subaru Outback. I was not looking for a specific manufacturer or model. I found etrailer.com via google results. I was very surprised to find as much information regarding installation of this hitch, including a detailed instructional video on installing the hitch on a 2011 Subaru Outback which is nearly identical to the 2013 model from a structural standpoint. I was completely impressed. Without this video, I probably would not have had the confidence to install the hitch myself, especially once I would have realized I had to drill holes in the frame of my brand new vehicle. The hitch is sturdy and well built. It fits extremely well on my car. It does not stick out from under the rear fascia. In fact, just as the video shows, it is quite nicely recessed underneath. I probably would not be able to tell you the difference between the Hidden Hitch, the Curt or the Draw-Tite. I bought this hitch simply because of the incredibly accurate and helpful installation video. The installation process took about 2 hours working solo. I am not extremely handy, but I can follow directions well. I probably would have been done sooner, but my hammer drill battery was not fully charged. It took me probably 40 minutes to drill two holes in the frame because I had to quick charge the drill battery several times. Installing the hitch was not difficult with one person. The Outback has nearly 9" of ground clearance, so I was able to slide under the car myself and align the hitch with the mounting bolts fairly easily. Also to note, the instructional video is installing on a 4 cylinder Outback, thus there is only one exhaust pipe and one heat shield to mess with. I have the 6 cylinder version so I had two mufflers and two heat shields to deal with. Instead of lowering the exhaust as the video shows, I removed the two mufflers by removing the two bolts on each muffler pipe about 8" from the actual muffler using a 14mm (I think) socket wrench. Doing so really opened up the underside of the car and made it very easy for the rest of the installation. I did not have any issues removing the rubber muffler hangers as some other reviewers mentioned. I simply sprayed them with some Tri-Flow lubricant and was able to remove them by hand. Perhaps this is because my car was fairly clean and fairly new. 53535
by: John A04/11/2014
First of all, let it be said that nothing trumps good engineering. My hitch and wiring harness harness arrived 2-3 days after I ordered it. Unlike others here, my shipping container was completely intact. Like others, the etrailer.com decal was crooked, wrinkled and looked silly. I removed it. The installation of the wiring harness was just as simple and the video suggests. In spite of the fact that the Molex connector was right where it was supposed to be, I could not find it right away. I used a bathroom mirror reflecting up and behind the trim panel to find it. There are some sharp edges and this may have saved a cut or two to my hand by not having to dig around for it. The hitch was also no more difficult to install that the video suggested. I strongly advise that you use a lubricant to remove the muffler hangers as they slide right off (and on again) with ease. Unlike some others, I had no problem drilling the access holes in the frame. Be sure your bits are sharp and good quality. I did however buy two plastic plugs to cap the holes and sprayed the bare metal with auto primer. One nice surprise was that the parts bag included 4 of the wire fish tapes. I planned to have to create these myself. They were absolutely perfect. I entered through my access hole and the lead end popped right through the other hole with almost no effort each time. I left the wires attached until after I positioned the hitch to the bolts. I made it easier to line the four up, install the spacer washers in the front and I also didn't risk pushing the unattached bolts up and into the frame. One word of advice: don't torque the hitch until you reattach the heat shield. Two of the heat shield screws need to pass through the hitch. If it's tight to the frame and the holes don't line up you need to loosen the hitch and reposition it. Total install time, including the wiring harness was about 2-1/2 hours. I didn't have an extra set of hands or it would have taken about 15 minutes less. It can be done alone, but it's awkward. The hitch looks great in that it's barely noticeable (and nicely recessed) under my bumper. I can't say enough good things about this product and etrailer. I saved hundreds of dollars and have the knowledge that nobody boogered up the undercarriage of my beloved Subie. 124715
Completely satisfied with this hitch. Looks great, not very noticeable, and is of quality construction. Details of my experience: 1) ordering/shipping - placed order at 11pm, had an email an hour later saying product shipped. Well, that seemed highly unlikely, but by next morning I had the tracking number. Package arrived in 5 business days. Box was a bit roughed up and hitch had some scuff marks, but it was going under my car so didn't make much matter. 2) installation - the video was a huge help. I mounted this hitch by myself and did it without using a lift or jacking the car up. Space was tight, and I had to use some creativity to support the hitch up on wooden blocks in order to get the bolts in place, so all that made the install take longer than it should have (about 2 hours total). You'll find that even though the muffler was lowered, it still gets in the way for drilling holes. I was skeptical about how easy the little guide wires would work for feeding the bolts into the car frame. I found it does work just like you see in the video -- I was completely impressed. One key step, which is mentioned in the instructions, is to thread the heat shield bolts part way in before torqueing down the nuts on the hitch frame. I found that the front heat shield bolt on the driver side did not line up perfectly no matter how much manual positioning of the hitch -- so I had to use a small board to pry the frame open a bit, leveraging off the spare tire well, in order to get that bolt started. Had I not done that before torqueing the nuts, never would have got the bolt in. Also had a frustrating moment when my 5/8" hitch pin would not go into the receiver hole -- thought the hole was undersized. Turned out a small metal "ear" was sticking out from where the hole was punched through. A few strokes of a file took care of that. My wife is completely happy with this hitch -- she uses it for a bike carrier and can now take her bike wherever she want to go. and, if the wife is happy, I'm happy. 20309
by: Aaron T.06/08/2013
This hitch was installed on my 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i. I received the hitch with a few paint chips where it poked through the box. No big deal. Since I'm OCD, I had a can of hi-temp flat black paint and started touching up spots and before I knew it, the entire hitch was painted flat black, which actually looks great. As far as the install goes, I definitely recommend increasing the hole size of the 4-holes in the trunk. They are covered with black circular tape. I took a 1-1/4" hole saw and took about 10 minutes to increase all 4 hole sizes. This is a far better alternative than removing the bumper. (Why anyone would want to do that is beyond me, or increase the hole size in their frame for that matter). I took some gray Rust-Oleum paint and painted around all of the increased holes and used black duct tape to cover all of the holes after that. Overkill on this part, but what's done is done. I used a Rino ramp to help me keep the hitch off the ground so I could install it myself. This method worked great. I ordered the wiring harness and installed it as well. All in all, the videos and reviews on this hitch were invaluable. I can't recommend etrailer enough, and I plan to order more accessories for my hitch as soon as I decide on the gear I want to haul. 83846
by: Evan S.01/11/2014
First, I'd like to reiterate how great the customer service was from etrailer.com - honestly one of the best online shopping experiences I've had. On to the install...mine wasn't quite as trivial as some others, but it was nobody's fault but my own. I installed the hitch without jacking up the car which, while possible, made for very tight working quarters. I also forgot to re-install the heat shield, so had to remove the hitch completely. Typical me. All in all the install took me a couple hours. Thanks to the suggestions from others, I also went through the trunk to gain access rather than drilling a hole in the frame, which I really didn't want to do. It wasn't hard to go through the trunk, I used a step bit (also thanks to someone's suggestion) and enlarged one of the existing holes in the body. It did add some time though. It was trivial to thread the front hardware through, a little more challenging to fish it through to the back ones. I also removed the muffler, definitely made things a lot easier, especially since I didn't jack the car up. I did use my jack to lift the hitch into place, but it was still extremely nice to have a second set of hands to keep everything balanced and aligned. I'm extremely pleased with the result - the hitch is tucked away nicely under the bumper and looks great. Thanks etrailer.com! 112558
by: Alex H08/12/2014
I'll echo most of the reviews for etrailer.com and say that the install guides were thorough and the ordering process was easy. Kudos to etrailer.com for providing such great information including the videos and reviews from previous installers (they helped immensely). I fed the bolts in from the trunk (as suggested by others) and found it quite easy. Do the rearmost cables first - I had to use another cable guide to meet the first and guide it through to both holes. I fed the first cable through the bottom until I could see it through the hole in the trunk, then I could hook it with the curly end of the second cable and bring it up through the trunk hole. The forward holes are easy. BTW, I drove my rear wheels on some 4x wood to give me some extra clearance while working under the car - I highly recommend this for comfort's sake. I'll also echo that if you can remove your muffler, you should. I couldn't remove mine, and while it didn't make things impossible, it just made everything on that side harder, especially dealing with the heat shield bolts. Which leads me to... I had only one issue with the product itself, which was mentioned in passing in other reviews - I had to flex the hitch to match up the heat shield hole. It was off by quite a bit and required me to flex it with tools. I couldn't bend it enough by hand even with all the other bolts left loose. Having my muffler in the way didn't help with this task either. I'll echo others to say that you should leave the hitch bolts only hand tight until you get the heat shield back in place for this reason. I also found that the hitch was thick enough that I had to get a slightly longer heat shield screw. Because of this trip to the local hardware store and the heat shield screw alignment issue, the install took me 3 hours instead of the 2 that others have been reporting. Now that it's in, I'm happy. It looks like it should and does what I need it to do. 146200
I couldn't be happier with the hitch and the ease of installation. I read over the reviews and honestly, almost every review helped, and of course the video was very well done. For those who are little tweaked, I chose to mount the hitch without drilling a hole. All you need to do is remove styrofoam compartments in the truck section, locate the 4 black adhesive caps and remove. The forward holes, one left, one right, now need to be reemed out to a little over an inch. Using an round one inch rock grinding bit I enlarged each hole, took about 30 seconds for both holes. Next, using about 18 inches of somewhat medium gauge wire I went from the bottom mounting hole, underneath the car, to the access hole I earlier made larger. From there I taped the medium gauge wire to the fish wire with tape and proceeded to pull down the mounting spacer and carriage bolt. Without drilling a hole the hitch was mounted. The customer support was excellent, I don't do reviews, but felt compelled to do so after being treated with great service and a quality product. Patrick is a very good employee! 73900
Great quality and install went as smooth on my 2013 Outback. It took me about 90 minutes to do the install. I have dual Exhaust/mufflers and I took them both off, and I think that helped (and two heat shields needed to be cut). As an FYI the mufflers may have a gasket that could be broken in the removal process so it may be good to double check to make sure; or at least see your local parts dealer to see if they have them in stock. I used my impact drill/driver to remove the bolts on the heat shield and it went really fast. The only minor issue (my fault) is that I torqued the mounting bolts before I installed the heat shields. I had to loosen the mounting bolts up again and move the hitch slightly to get the holes to line up (which is in the directions anyhow). I was able to do the install with the car on the ground but it was a little tricky getting the hitch in place. I was able to get some help (and lip) from my teenage son and it wasn't a major chore lifting it in position and getting the nuts started, doing it myself with it on the ground would likely have been a challenge. I used undercoat spray, $5 at the local auto parts store to cover the access holes. Some said they used plugs in other reviews, but the holes are covered by the hitch and I think plugs could keep the hitch from lying flat on the frame. I am VERY happy with the looks and the functionality. As a side note, since the hitch is back from the bumper, make sure accessories (like a carrier/rack) have enough clearance from the bumper to the hitch, or order an extension etc. I am sure the folks here at etrailer wont steer you wrong if you tell them what the setback is when you order accessories. 151773
by: Steve G07/29/2013
I am getting old enough that the idea of putting a trailer hitch on was not appealing but several reason drove me to etrailer. The dealer cost was staggering but the deal breaker was their hitch stuck out of the bumper and I just knew I would be banging my old shins on it every time I reached into the rear of the Outback. After doing a Google search, I found etrailer and was encouraged by the installation videos and the reviews. Based on reviews, I chose the Hidden Hitch and the T-one wiring harness. They arrived incredibly fast and in good condition. Based on all the reviews, I was able to install it myself in about three hours without even jacking up the car. All of the helpful hints discovered reading the reviews really helped. Removing the muffler completely really helped and was not that difficult. I also drilled the 1 1/8" holes for the bolt installation from the top and that worked great. I sprayed undercoating on all the exposed hardware underneath and sealed the holes I drilled on top. I used the 1 1/8" hole saw to drill the heat shield instead of cutting the entire corner off. One thing I would definitely recommend would be to use a torque wrench on the final tightening of the mounting bolts. I was able to get the wiring harness connected easily without removing the side panels - I just reached under the panel right were they said it would be and was able to pull it down enough to plug in the harness. Definitely would have been easier with a hoist and two people, but this old man got it done anyways! I would recommend the Hidden Hitch because of its perfect fit and no need to drill any additional holes into the bottom of the frame rail. It looks great on the car - definitely "hidden"! 92193
by: Bob B06/23/2012
Ordered this hitch late on Thursday evening expecting to receive it late the next week. Order was processed immediately and hitch was here on Monday. Used the inside inspection port method as it was not only easier, but retained more structural integrity. As I only had 2000 miles on the car, I removed the muffler ( removed two hangers and unbolted from the tailpipe. This made the muffler side install very easy. I also chose to use a hole saw to cut a 1.5" hole in the heat shield for the bolt rather than cut the corner off. ( After removing the plugs from the frame, I reinstalled the heat shield and marked through the holes where the bolt would be). I did the install on the ground by myself. I used a motorcycle lift to lift and support the hitch while connecting the bolts. A few tricks made it easy. Insert the metal pieces in the frame with the long side front to back. It seats better in the frame and allows the bolt to stick through the frame more. After installing the bolts using the fish wire, I used masking tape to tape the spacer washer to the frame over the bolt. This made its install easier. I used a heavy chisel in the drilled holes ( inspection ports) to hold the bolt down while working on them. This prevented pushing them back up into the frame once the fish wire was removed. If you have a two people, one can do this with their finger. Total time to install was about 1.5 hours. Prior to the install, I used a grinder to round the corners and edges of the four steel bolt plates so they would not scratch the inside of the frame. I also coated with undercoating to prevent rust. 45379
by: John S08/14/2012
Just installed this hitch this weekend on my 2012 Outback. Certainly the most-intrusive thing I've ever done to an automobile and apart from a bloody knuckle and sliced thumb, all went pretty smoothly. I opted to go through the observation holes as recommended by other reviewers. Seemed making two existing holes larger would be better than creating two new ones. I opened up the two holes nearest the front of the hatch area which made threading the guide wire to the back holes a bit tricky. I solved it by running a fish wire of my own up through the rear hole then attaching the provided wires to that and pulling the whole shebang back through. I installed this so I could use a hitch-mounted bike rack. I purchased the Softride Dura Parallelogram and had read on this site that it was necessary to also purchase the extender bar for that rack, so I did. Turns out this was an unnecessary purchase as it fit fine with the standard bar. So if you're planning on going that route, hold off on the extender bar until you find out if it's really needed. Oh yeah, have help. Although I'm certain I could have done this alone with some cleverness, having a couple extra hands made it far easier. 51683
by: Tim J09/04/2013
I installed this product on a brand new, less than 50 miles, 2014 Subaru Outback 2.5 Limited. Product was delivered promptly with all the parts. The box worked as a great platform to slid in and out from beneath the car, instead of rolling around on the concrete drive. Installation, due to others comments, tips, and the video made this a great experience, saving me at least half when compared to the dealer cost of a hitch. I did drive the rear up onto a set of solid paver blocks when I started, to give me just a few extra inches to get under the car comfortably once the hitch was placed up under the car and finish the install. I used a jack to lift the entire hitch into place, which made the wife very happy. I also drilled down with a step-bit from the trunk, using one of the existing inspection holes (the front-most hole). Doing this required the use of a wire snake to get the wire leads for the retainer and bolts threaded from the rear-most hole to the access hole. If you drilled an entirely new hole in the middle of the two existing access holes, you may not need the snake to get the wires into place. The unit aligned with the factory holes perfectly, making the final steps of bolting down the assembly a real breeze. I sprayed the trunk access hole with undercoating just to be safe, then covered it with metallic HVAC duct tape. I would recommend this hitch to anyone contemplating adding a hitch to a Subaru Outback. 98192
by: Happy Customer07/03/2013
etrailer processed and shipped my order promptly. The package arrived the next day in perfect condition. The installation instructions were very easy to follow. I installed the hitch via enlarging the drain-holes in the rear cargo compartment area (inside the vehicle) rather than drilling the frame rails (underneath the vehicle). Additionally, I did not cut a large rectangle out of the heat shield, rather I drilled a 3/4" hole through it to allow for the hitch bolt/nut to pass through. Total installation time was 1.25 hours and I was going slow and cleaning up as I went along. I would recommend this product and vendor in anyone. 87209
I installed this hitch on my 2013 Outback 3.6R. Even though I am somewhat mechanically inclined this installation took me a couple of hours due to a bit of OCD and not having any help lifting the hitch into place. The etrailer.com video was helpful but I made some changes. As some others have done, I enlarged the holes in the trunk versus drilling the frame underneath. The trunk metal is much thinner than the frame underneath and not really a structural part of the frame so it didn't bother me as much to drill it. I also drilled the heat shield holes versus cutting them as they are visible once everything is put back together (pic). To do this I just put the heat shields back with two bolts after removing the plugs in the frame, then I used a marker inserted through the factory holes in the trunk to mark the location for drilling with my hole saw. After the install was done I used metal hvac tape to cover the trunk holes for a clean look. For those interested, my local Home Depot sells 11/8" metal plugs in the hardware aisle that will snap right into your holes. The finished install is quite clean looking and the hitch is hardly noticeable. Note... the installation instructions say to torque the 7/16" nuts to 50 lb. ft. but they are actually 11/16". 95574
As others have suggested, I drilled a hole from inside the spare tire area for installing the bolts. Again, as has been noted before, it is difficult to run the fish wires to the bolt holes as the fish wire's natural bend makes them want to go in opposite direction. Doing this job myself, I solved this problem by shoving another piece of semi-flexible wire (about 20" long) up through the bolt holes. With a small loop at the end to this piece, I was able to snag it when I saw it near the hole I had drilled. I then ran the end of the fish wire through the loop of the second "fish wire", bent it back onto itself to form another loop. For added security I taped both loop ends securely so I wouldn't loose the fish wire inside the frame channel, and pulled both wires out the bolt holes. Worked great! One other small note, just before you do the final tightening of the four hitch bolts, screw the two heat shield bolts through the hitch and into the frame. Now tighten and torque the hitch bolts. You can now remove the two heat shield bolts and install the heat shield. The alignment of the predrilled holes in the hitch were not exactly dead on and this step will prevent some frustration and spewing of expletives when trying to install the heat shield. 108312
by: Bob P04/03/2014
The hitch fits the Subaru Outback (2014) perfectly, and it does not stick out beyond the bumper, which is good. I would mention three things. First, it IS possible to perform a 1-man installation, fairly easily, if you have a car jack. As shown in the picture, put a bucket with a cover on the car jack and raise the hitch up. Use 2x4 scraps or anything else you have to push the rails up exactly where you want them, attach the washers and nuts, and you're done. Second, pay close attention to the backing plates for the carriage bolts. The shorter one MUST go in the rear hole and the longer one MUST go in the forward hole. Otherwise the plate in the forward hole (which is too short) will spin and you won't be able to tighten the nut. Then, everything has to come out and you start over. Bad karma. Third, to drill the 1 1/8 inch holes through the frame, go to Harbor freight Tools, or to a good hardware store and buy a step drill as shown in the picture. It will cut through the frame like butter, and cut exactly the right size hole in seconds 123592
by: Benny T.01/05/2014
Excellent fit on my 2014 Subaru Outback. I did not drill a hole underneath because the 2014 Outback has 4 observation holes in the trunk directly above the hits mounting holes covered with tape. All I need to do was enlarge them to insert the rectangular washer. Also instead of cutting the heat sheild I just drilled a hole where the bolt needs to pass..Easy installation. Took me less than 45 minutes. 111961
by: Suman C.02/01/2014
etrailer is amazing. I ordered on a Saturday night late in West coast timezone and within a hour my order was processed and a shipping label was created. Daniel upgraded my order to 3-5 business days shipping at no additional cost and it arrived promptly. No damage to the box or the hitch. Followed all the great reviews here and took the trunk approach. Removed the muffler completely is the way to go. Widened the holes in the trunk and once the screws are snaked in, rest of the installation was easy. I used two jacks to lift the hitch in place and it made it was so much easier. With the help of my 13 year old son, we were able to finish the installation in under 2 hours. Now it's time to shop for a good bike rack to hold our 4 bikes :-) 115425
by: Henry Taber01/24/2011
Wow, this is a hard review...because everything fit up perfectly and went together exactly like the online video. I was amazed how easy it was. Took my nephew, who had never installed a hitch before, about 30 minutes for the hitch itself and about 20 minutes installing the wiring. Since the Outback had less than 500 miles on it he didn't want to break any interior plastic. I'm in a wheelchair and was getting the hitch to install a chair carrier platform on the back. It took longer to put the carrier together than install the hitch. 6029
by: Thurman K.09/16/2013
The hitch appears to be of high quality. It is heavy-gauge and the finish looks like it will withstand the weather for a long time. It came well packaged, and with all the hardware securely attached to the hitch itself -- not just loose in the box -- very nice. Installation went almost as smoothly as in the video :-/ After getting past 1. Deciding it was OK to drill two big holes in my new car, and 2. Actually drilling two big holes in my new car, the installation went pretty smoothly. The toughest part after the hole drilling, since I did it in my driveway, without benefit of a lift, was wrestling the hitch into position and getting the first two nuts threaded on. I used a floor jack to help me get the hitch in position. In hind sight, I should have cut a wooden bar of about 2 x 2 inches, and stuck it through the receiver out the front side so the jack could lift the hitch at its center of gravity, then I could have jacked it straight up into position. A nice addition to the kit would be two plastic plugs to use to fill the access holes. I used some spray-on undercoating to protect the drilled edges. 100094
by: Jason H08/12/2012
The Hidden Hitch installed easily onto my 2011 Subaru Outback and looks great. Everything came in the box ready to install. I suggest taking off the back bumper to gain access to the frame rails to avoid drilling an access hole in the frame rail, the same as the OEM hitch installation. It only added approx 45 mins to my install. I preferred the 2" receiver over the OEM 1 1/4" because it allows for a much broader range of accessories. I have a 4x8 utility trailer and a cargo tray that will get some great use with this hitch. 51464
Great product, well designed, good not be easier to install. I am very handy but was intimidated by the prospect of this installation. You should not hesitate to install your own trailer hitch. Less than an hour of working time, I over thought the process so spent another hour preparing to make sure I did not make any mistakes. Wiring harness I bought was also very simple to install (less than 10 minutes). A few simple do's and don'ts based on my experience: Don't: - remove the bumper - remove the exhaust - not necessary, just lower it using a strap to hold it and prevent damage, I had plenty of working space - drill holes from the bottom Do: - enlarge the already existing holes from the trunk area - VERY easy to install this way - drill a hole in the heat shield to fit over the bolt, no need to trim the entire corner - get some help to lift the hitch into place - watch some of the excellent install videos on the website, I watched a few from different years and they offered slightly different tips that were very helpful. 129895
by: Stephanie C.06/25/2014
Product arrived very promptly, but ends of hitch had torn through the cardboard box and paint was scraped, as other reviewers have also noted. Touched it up with some black Rustoleum. DH went with the "bumper removal method" of installation to avoid adding extra holes to my Outback. This probably doubled the installation time! Total installation time about 5 hours, including a trip to the hardware store to replace a broken bolt-head (his fault - forgot to reinsert washer). Instructions that came with hitch did not include torque needed to tighten bolts - we were able to find that online elsewhere. Installation of the hitch itself went very easily except it was quite heavy to lift into place and get the nuts onto the bolts - I cannot imagine how one person could do this alone. Definitely a 2-person job at our house. Did not need to jack up the car - there was plenty of clearance under the Outback for an average-sized person. Once attached, it seems rock solid! Can't wait to load up our bike rack and go on vacation. 137578
Rack went on very well to my 2013 Subaru outback (4 cylinder). I recommend taking the muffler off (vs. lowering) and reattaching after the hitch is applied. Took me about 90 minutes. If you can read and operate a drill you can install this rack. Outback has enough clearance to just lie underneath and work right there. Pictures taken with the Kuat NV bike rack attached ... another excellent product. 71530
by: Paul H.03/30/2012
Easy to install providing you have some sort of mechanical knowledge . I did as another fellow did , I drilled my holes from inside the trunk area , as there was pilot holes already in place from the factory ! Much easier to install the plates/bolts this way , as they drop straight down , and at the same time , it keeps the frame rails sturdy . I didn't like the idea of weaking my frame rails , by drilling such a large hole in that area , and at the same token , allowing water to eventually rust the frame , even if a sealer is used . And last of all , be sure you have a second person to help align the hitch , when installing the nuts , washers and spacers . Unfortunately , Subaru only recomends a 200lb. tounge wieght , which to me is unexceptable and in turn limits me in what I'm able to tow . Just be sure you weigh your load before towing it ! 35607
by: Todd H02/06/2014
Etrailer.com was the perfect site for me. I am an research junkie and I was able to select the best hitch for my 2012 Subaru Outback using all of the tools available (customer reviews, installation videos, photos, Q&A, etc.) The hitch was delivered in 2 days in great condition. Installation took me about 1:30. I could not get the muffler bolts to move and didn't want to risk breaking anything, so I lowered the muffler assembly. That added a little time. I elected the top down installation that others customers suggested and found that to be pretty easy. The one thing I would add is that most DIY customer reviews overlooked torquing the bolts to specification. I would highly recommend purchasing a torque wrench ($25-30) at your local hardware store and doing so. I suspect the etrailer.com techs would say this is a must do for good reason. Not only would I use etrailer.com again, I just upgraded my bicycle rack to a platform style. 115874
Installation was on my new 2014 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5. Received Hitch and wiring lighting quick. Installation took about 2 hours (mainly because I would stop and check out the NCAA tournament). Used technique posted by others who posted on this site. I did the installation solo. Used a step bit and enlarged holes already provided by Subaru. Removed muffler completely. Drilled hole using my step bit, in heat shield rather than cut out (gives it a more finished appearance). One thing I did that helped considerably since it was a solo install. I have a floor jack and I clamped the hitch in the mouth of the receiver with vice grips to the lift platform of the floor jack. I just rolled the hitch under the bolts, threaded the wire attached to the bolts through the hardware, jacked the hitch up slowly until bolts came through the hitch holes and secured and torqued the nuts. Highly recommend this hitch. Will use e-trailer again. 121595
by: Rick O11/19/2012
The hitch arrived on schedule and the install was pretty easy. Thanks to the suggestions of other customers I widened the observation holes from inside the car rather than drilling new holes in the frame. I also pulled the muffler rather than mess with holding it up with a strap. I propped the hitch into place using a couple of 2x4s so an extra set of hands were not needed. The only issue I had was that the nuts supplied in the package were 3/8 and the carriage bolts were 7/16. I spent a little too much time trying to get the too small nuts on, thinking that I was just not coordinated enough. I finally pulled one of the bolts back out and verified that the nuts were the wrong size. I made a quick trip down to Ace and got the correct size nuts. All went well after that. The video instructions, the correspondence and the quick turn around on the order were all excellent but I have to give 4/5 for the wrong size nuts. 59704
by: Joe D10/28/2013
I ordered the hitch on a Tuesday and received it Thursday, and this was with the free shipping. I had watched a couple of installation videos at etrailer before ordering. They convinced me the project was doable. The instructions that came with the hitch were accurate and all parts were included. The Subaru has just enough ground clearance that I was able to install the hitch myself with the car sitting in the carport. A few tips: -Safety glasses or face shield for the drilling. Long sleeved shirt will keep hot chips off of your arm too. -If you're scooting around on the floor as I was, make sure to slide out and sweep up the chips after drilling. -Remove the rear-most rubber muffler hanger before mounting the hitch. The clearance hole in the hitch is large enough for the hanger post but not the rubber. Based on my experience, I highly recommend etrailer. I will be purchasing from them again. 105378
by: Brad N.10/19/2014
Shipping was fast. Just installed this morning and it took about 3 hours by myself. I watched the videos and read the previous postings and decided I would drill from the bottom and just put one hole per side. After drilling, I sprayed the exposed metal with a primer to help prevent rust. I noticed that the holes are covered by the hitch once it's install so I wasn't too worried about corrosion. One thing I did try since I was by myself was to use zip ties to secure the hitch to my floor jack which made placing the jack super easy. I did double up on them after the first set snapped but double worked perfect. You also definately want to use WD-40 on the hangars both remove and install, makes it very easy. 156781
by: Bob A.08/18/2012
The hitch arrived 2 or 3 days after I ordered it, not bad for free shipping. Installation took a leisurely hour and a half, including set up and clean up. The video gave me all the information I needed to install this solo on my 2013 Outback. The only thing I did different was instead of drilling 1 1/8 inch holes into the frame from the bottom, I enlarged a couple of access holes which already exist in the top, which can be accessed from the trunk. This was a piece of cake and feeding the hardware through these 2 enlarged holes was easy. I didn't jack up the car and I don't think jacking it up would have made the project any easier. Just make sure the exhaust has cooled down before starting the install. My only complaint about the hitch itself is that it had a lot of patches where paint had chipped off, or had never been applied. I sprayed some black rust inhibitor on those patches. 52195
by: Brian E06/11/2012
Hitch is great. It was pretty easy to install. There was a little persuading needed to have the bolt holes line up as the mounting bracket ends seemed to be bent toward the center on both sides. I used the interior inspection holes and drilled them larger to install the blocks and bolts instead of drilling holes from the bottom exposed to the weather. I did the job myself, using a jack to help raise the hitch in place to bolt it up. I really recommend following the instructions provided by having someone else help you lift it in place. I think it would have been much easier. The hitch looks good and is tucked under the bumper, unlike the knee/ shin grabbing factory hitch for the Subaru Outback. 43629
by: J B04/11/2014
MY Hidden Hitch for my '14 Outback was a great price, arrived promptly, fit perfectly and installed easily (I used the method where you make your holes to install the bolts from inside the spare tire area). Took me about an hour and a half from start to finish, with a extra pair of hands needed only to help me actually bolt it up. Only knock I can think of is that I can see why some people report that their trailer hitches arrived hanging half out of their boxes, as my box had a softball size hole in it where one corner of the hitch had torn through in shipping. eTrailer should definitely work on improving their packing dept's procedures to ensure that the boxes contents (ie: heavy steel items with serious corners) can NOT shift around and so easily punch through their boxes. A few pieces of cheap pallet wood, or thick cardboard zip tied to the hitch would go a long way toward that goal. 124640
by: Spencer W.08/08/2014
Excellent product, and quick shipping. LOVE how the hitch is hidden and you won't bang your shins on it. I drilled the holes using a step drill bit on the top side (inside spare compartment), and installed the trailer lighting harness at the same time. I used extra wire from the bottom to feed up and attach to the fish wires, then pulled them all the way through - took about 10 minutes total to get all the bolts/plates in place. Used same step drill to drill hole into the heat shield. Used my chest to rest the hitch on, and attached one nut at a time. Total install took about 2 hours and 15 minutes from beginning to end, with clean-up. Works perfectly with a trailer, and an Allen hitch-mount bike rack. Was going to purchase a competitor's "no drill" version, but price, style, and quality got me to buy this instead. VERY HAPPY with Hidden hitch, and eTrailer! 145111
by: Terry in Golden04/05/2012
Excellent service and excellent product. The hitch fit perfectly and the installation video was spot on. My Subaru dealer wanted almost $900.00 for the hitch and installation. They were going to charge for 3.5 hours of labor at around $100.00 per hour. It took me 1.5 hours to do it my self with your very helpfull video. Two key things I learned were use plenty of WD-40 to help with the exhaust system mounts, and I used my roller floor jack in conjunction with a ball mount to hold the hitch in place when I bolted it on. I would have taken more pictures, but it went too fast and too easy. Thank you for the great product and service. Terry 36218
This fits a 2014 Outback perfect. Do not hesitate if you are considering this hitch. The 2014 Outback actually has 4-1/2" holes in the frame directly above the 4 hitch mounting holes. They are covered with a round black piece of tape. I just drilled these out with a step bit big enough to allow the rectangular washer slip through. The advantage in doing so is your helper can push straight down on the bolt head when your underneath bench pressing, aligning washers and turning nuts. Simply tape over the enlarged holes when finished. Excellent fit and finish and highly recommended. Trailer connector 118467 also perfect fit and finish. 111487
by: Mike B08/27/2012
Everything was great. A couple things to note: The box arrived with a MASSIVE hole in the side. Good thing all the small bits are shrink-wrapped to the hitch. The e-coating had rubbed through in several spots. I took care of that with a little chassis black spray paint the day before installation. The written instructions for the wiring harness leave A LOT to be desired. There are many pieces of interior trim that need to come off and it would be handy to know where the attachment points are when taking these off. But we figured it out. By the way there is no way this will only take an hour to install. I went fast and was prepared before I started and it took 2 hours from beginning to end. This is my second hitch from etrailer. Super fast shipping and great customer service. I recommend them to all my friends and family. 53147
Quick delivery! Made my bolt access through the interior as suggested by other reviews.Great idea! An electrical knockout stepped bit works well for holes. Sabre saw or hole saw would also work. My wife operated floor jack with a block of wood on it to lift the hitch, while I positioned and bolted it in place. 86787
I mounted my new trailer hitch on my Subaru Outback '12 today. I made the installation from above in the trunk rather than below. I've attached a few photos to illustrate this approach. It's a great product and it fits beautifully. 84020
by: Joe H.06/08/2013
Had my mechanic install it. Fits like a glove and solid as a rock. Also very well designed as it sits back from the "bumper" a little and is very unobtrusive. 83823
by: Christopher W.07/09/2014
Product Review:Ordering from etrailer.com was great. Customer response from email was quick. The Hidden Hitch, Ball Mount Kit and the T-one Vehicle Wiring Harness all arrived within a few days. Installing the wiring harness was an easy plug in. The ball mounts are great, ready for any trailer tongue height. The hitch receiver did require an extra set of hands but everything lined up perfectly making installation easier. 140219
by: Hugh V.10/03/2011
Quick shipping. Had the hitch installed about an hour and a half after UPS dropped it off. Only issue was the width between the uprights was off a little and it took some prying to get the holes to line up. Suggest you measure the width before lifting up against frame. I had to spread it about 3/4" to get it to line up. From the look of the box it arrived in the problem may have been caused in transit. There were good sized holes in the box at both ends. It really looks nice on the Outback and is really tucked up and out of the way. I am very satisfied with the hitch and the service from eTrailer. 24996
by: Eric M.04/09/2012
The hitch shipped and arrived promptly. I don't have a lift, but I put my Outback up on car ramps and instllalled the hitch that way. I had it installed in under 3 hours. I am very satified, and my wife is excited to be able to haul her bike! 36584
just installed HH on my 2012 3.6R Outback LTD. I choose to use the access holes in the cargo area and enlarge them with a step drill. I removed the mufflers and the rest was fairly easy. The supplied wires are just the right length without any excess so I added some wire to them (needed for the holes further away from the access hole). I did the install on the ground and used a tool box to support one side of the hitch while I fastened the other side. I used the step drill to make holes in the heat shields instead of cutting the shield. Looks great. Just take your time and don't rush. I also added the wiring kit just in case . The hitch will mainly be used for a bike rack. This is the second HH I have installed The other is on my wife's 07 CRV. That install took 30mins. 40212
by: Becky & Read08/20/2011
The hitch came quickly and as described. With the help of the video we were able to install the hitch on the Subaru under a shade tree. It' summer in southern Mississippi and the temperature quickly goes to 90 in the middle of the day. We didn't have a 1 1/8 hole drill so we had to use a step drill instead. This worked fine, just took a little longer. Safety glasses are a must since there are lots of metal filings flying around while drilling. All holes lined up and the fish wires worked perfectly once you understand how they work. A little trouble getting the rubber hangers back on the muffler, just needed a little more leverage. I did most of the work under the car and my husband was the assistant. Can't wait to hitch up the camper and head to where its cool! 22345
by: Bob J03/11/2014
I bought the Hidden Hitch Trailer Receiver with electrical harness and ball mount. It was all very easy to order using the step by step method on etrailer's web site. I have a 2010 Subaru Outback and it took about 20 seconds to figure out what I needed. I wanted a hitch that I wouldn't be hitting with my chins everyday and etrailer had it. I haven't installed it yet, but it looks easy, and the videos etrailer supplies will answer any of my questions. I've ordered from etrailer before and have always received the right parts in just a few days....and the parts are always of the highest quality in my opinion. Their free shipping is another amazing service they supply. I am completely satisfied with the products and service I receive from etrailer. 120248
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