Trailer Hitch Installation - 1998 Toyota Sienna

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How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a 1998 Toyota Sienna

Today we are going to install part number 87638 from Hidden Hitch. And we are going to be installing this on a 1998 Toyota Sienna mini van. And this also applies for part number 75120 from Draw-Tite. To begin our install, we need to do a couple things. We need to lower the exhaust to help get it out of the way. Sometimes, you can sneak it between the bumper and tail pipe, but just to give you a little bit of extra working room, we will go ahead and lower it out of the way. And then also these tie-down hooks for shipping, these come off and stay off. And we will begin by removing these. Alright, at this point we can go ahead and install the hitch with the fasteners towards the end of the vehicle. And it is a good idea to have an extra set of hands with this one it is a little on the wide side. We will just temporarily install it with the bolts.

Once you get your hitch up there, what we want to do is go ahead and actually get it centered first, simply because we have to drill the holes out towards the front of the vehicle. And we have to get it straight right off the bat because there are no holes to adjust it after we drill our holes. We will go ahead and center it the way we want, like we were done with it, and then we will go and drill our holes out. We are actually going to start off a pilot hole first with a quarter inch bit. And then what will happen next, we will take down the hitch and we will run the hole out to 9/16. That will insure we have a little bit of extra room to pull the bolt and plate through the frame and out the hole. We have our quarter inch hole drilled out and the hitch out of the way, and we are going to enlarge it to 9/16.Actually, we will leave a 1/2 inch right now, then it will be a little bit easier to go to 9/16 size.

What the next steps involve is, actually you have to enlarge this hole to accept the hardware. Basically you have to enlarge it enough to get this piece of the plate inside there and also the head of a bolt. And there is a variety of different ways you can do this. Most of the time, you can drill out a series of 1/2 inch holes around this, just to make it big enough to run the bolt through, pry some metal out of the way. Also, you could actually use a cold chisel, or air chisel, and notch it out a little bit too, to get the same effect. And you just have to chip away the excess steel just to get your hardware inside. I think it might be easiest all the way around just to go ahead and just get yourself a regular 1 inch or 1-1/4 inch hole saw and just drill it out and have a nice easy finish when you are done. And you can easily touch it up. So you can see, I left a little ring here to show you what we are taking out. It is a good idea to get as close as possible to a hole and have enough steel to keep your bit from coming out. But you want to use up as much of the original hole as possible. That way, you lose as little steel as possible. We have our hole made. Actually on the passenger side, we actually offset it a little bit to stay away from the heater hose.

We will just go ahead and fish our wire through. We are just using some good old stove wire, but you can use safety wire, anything that will hold its shape once you can wrap it around a bolt and pull it back through will work just fine. Put our plate in first and then we will wrap our wire inside the threads of the bolt and then pull it on through. This is where it helps to have a 9/16 hole. That exact 1/2 inch hole, the wire might get hung up in there. Wiggle it around so you get the plate nice and flat. And you know you have it right when the bolt settles straight down. And just go repeat for the other side. OK, once you get your hardwire fished in, it would be a good idea to go ahead and spray down the holes you just drilled out with a little bit of spray paint or some primer to help seal the steel from rusting.

When reinstalling the hitch, you want to put the metal plate between the hitch and the frame of the vehicle. Make sure you do that for both sides. Alright, now we can reinstall the rest of the fasteners and snug them up. OK, at this point we can give the bolts their final torque. OK, we can go ahead and reinstall our exhaust. Alright, that concludes our install of part number 87638 from Hidden Hitch on our 1998 Toyota Sienna mini van.

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