Today on our 2003 Mercedes M Class, specifically the ML 350, well be installing the Draw-Tite Hitch, part number 7508. This is what our hitch look will like once its installed. Next, well go ahead and give you a couple of measurements to assist you in selecting accessories for new hitch. The center of the hitch pinhole is even with even for when the outside, most edge at the bumper and tape of the receiver tube is 17-1/2 inches from the ground. This will assist you in selecting accessories such a draw bar, a bike rack, or a cargo carrier. Now, lets go ahead with the insulation. Note, weve already gone ahead and removed the spare tire and this will make it easier to access the inside frame support brackets.
Our first step is going to be removing the fascia doors. There are a total of three doors to remove. We got the center one where our hitch will be installed, then one on either side to remove fasteners. Now, with our fascia doors removed, we can go ahead and remove the four fasteners that are uncovered by removing these doors. Now with those removed, pull on the bumper fascia near the wheel wells and pop him free, and then we can go ahead and remove the bumper.
Be careful, some applications as this one, having the antenna built into the bumper. You may know need to go ahead and loosen this to give yourself enough slack to set the bumper aside. Now with the bumper out of the way, you can see that it exposes the four weld nuts in the bumper frame. Before we install our hardware, were going to go ahead and clean these weld nuts out using a 1/2-inch nylon tube brush, part number 814092 and some spray lubricant. Well go ahead and clean up the treads.
A quick tech tip: I recommend to take one of the new fasteners and go ahead and tread it in to make sure they go nice and smoothly. Now with that done, were ready to go ahead and install the hitch. Well be using a new 14-mm fastener and lock washer along with a hardened steel washer. The steel washer will get sandwiched between the hitch and the frame. Lets go ahead and install it now.
Weve got a total of four fasteners. With that done, we can go ahead and tighten them down. Next, were going to go ahead and install the frame support brackets. Theres one on the driver and one on the passengers side and a total of four fasteners for each. There are three ACE fasteners that well be using two, three ACE conical toothed washers, three flat washers, and one nut. The three ACE bolt and conical toothed washer will feed from the outside of the bumper to the inside. Then well slide on three flat washers to compensate for the difference in the frame and then we can put our bracket in position. With the three ACE bolts and washers in place, we can now go ahead and install the support bracket. Be careful not to push your hardware back into the frame as you install the bracket. Now, well go ahead and slide on a conical toothed washer with the teeth of the washer facing the hitch and our nut to secure them. Now with both those fasteners installed, we can move to our 1/2-inch fasteners. These will be secured with conical toothed washers with the teeth of the washer facing the hitch and handle nuts. The handle nut, as you can see, can be bent into position to make it easiest to tread our bolt. Our 1/2-inch bolt will go through the bracket and into the--inside of the frame channel. Well use our handle nut to go into the frame channel from the outside to the end to secure the bolt. Now with both of those done here on the drivers side, we can tighten them down. Now with all four fasteners tightened down, well go ahead and repeat the same process on the passengers side. Now with all of our hardware installed and tightened down, we can go ahead and torque to specifications as indicated in the instructions. Now, were ready to go ahead and test fit the rear bumper fascia. It may be necessary to trim it out so well go ahead and test fit first. After sliding into position, we can see here just above the hitch tube that well need to trim a little bit of the inner bumper fascia. Well go ahead and mark it with a pen marker and then use a rotary zip tool to cut it out. Now, were ready to go ahead and reinstall the bumper fascia. With our bumper fascia in place, well go ahead and reinstall the four fasteners to secure it and reinstall the two outside fascia doors. The center fascia door where the hitch is now positioned will not get reinstalled. And that will do it for the installation of our Draw-Tite Hitch, part number 75087, on our 2003 Mercedes M Class.