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Trailer Hitch Installation - 2009 Subaru Forester

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How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a 2009 Subaru Forester

Today on our 2009 Subaru Forester, we are going to install part number 13147 from Curt. All right we will go ahead and show you, the hitch mounts up to the body of the vehicle and to get started we are going to have to actually lower the exhaust so we have more working room. All right also what we are going to do is put on a little safety strap, you can use a wire or something, just to control the exhaust so when we take it off the hangers it will not come falling down. All right we are just going to spray them down with some lubricant. And there is one up towards the front of the vehicle we will need to undo also. You are going to do the same two on the passenger side. Now with the exhaust out of the way you get a better view of the frame rail. What we have got to do next is go ahead and remove the rubber plugs here and here. We will just pop out this one here. With that one I think we can just grab a pair of pliers and pull straight down. All right we will do the same thing on the passenger side.

Next thing we are going to do is enlarge the holes to accept the hardware. There is two different things we are going to have to do. One, we are going to have to enlarge this hole so we can get our hardware into place because it is missing it to about an eighth of an inch so we will take out that much material. And then also this hole here we will need to drill out to about a half inch to get our hardware through there also. Go ahead and enlarge the hole. There is a variety of ways of doing it. You can use a cold chisel and just make a dent in it and just make a cut and just make enough room for you to get the hardware in. You can use a file or you can use a small rotary tool like we are going to use. And we are going to go ahead and do the same thing on the passenger side also. Now go ahead and drill out this hole to the half inch size.

If you go one size over, you have to ease pulling the bolt through too. Again we are going to do the same thing back over on the passenger side. We will go ahead and install our hardware now. We are going to run our bolt leader and through our first hole here and out our access hole. We will run it through. We will pull it out the backside and slip our block into place. Put in our bolt and pull it on back through. On the other side, pull it on back out. Then we do the same thing with the hardware here but we are just going to go straight up and then back down. First we will put in our bolt, push it out of our way and then the block. And then pull everything back down. All right we will go back to the passenger side and do the same thing again. At this point we can go ahead and start installing the hitch onto the hardware. We will slip the hitch over the exhaust and then up to the hardware and on this one it is a good idea to have an extra set of hands to help hold everything up while you thread the nuts onto the bolts. All right, at this point we can go ahead and move the hitch left and right. Get it centered on the frame as best as possible. And then go ahead and snug down the bolts. Once you get your bolts snugged down go ahead and torque the bolts as specified in the instructions. At this point we can go ahead and reinstall our exhaust by reattaching the rubber hangers. And with that, that finishes our install part number 13147 from Curt.



The hardware I have includes 4 washers and two different sizes of bolts. Neither of these are mentioned int the video but it looks like the maybe the washers are between the hitch and the frame rails in the space the plugs previously occupied. Also, many people use this because they don't have the original instructions and are using this instructional video to replace them. With this, is frustrating to hear "torque to the specifications in your instructions." My bros, you are currently my instructions here--all in jest. I can probably find the answer in some forums. Perhaps this is for liability concerns? Thanks for the video. It was still helpful.

Etrailer Expert

Jon G.


Are you sure you've got the correct hardware? The instructions call for all 4 bolts to be the same size. While I wish we could just say the torque specs, we have seen in the past where manufacturers slightly changed some of the hardware so that the hitch could fit more vehicles. This resulted in the torque specs changing so we just use that phrase to make sure everyone installs their hitch safely. The current torque specs can be found in the instructions linked to the product page for the Curt # 13147 so you can find them there.



Hello what is the clearance from the bottom of receiver square to the ground once installed?

Patrick B.


It's approximately 13 inches. These can vary a bit from model to model as things like weight and wheel size change from package to package.

Info for this part was:

Employee Andrew K
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Andrew K
Employee Joshua S
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Joshua S
Employee Jacob T
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Jacob T
Employee Andrew L
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Andrew L
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Nicholas E
Test Fit:
Nicholas E
Employee Alan C
Video by:
Alan C

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