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Curt Trailer Hitch Installation - 2020 Volkswagen Passat

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How to Install the Curt Trailer Hitch on a 2020 Volkswagen Passat


Hello neighbors. It's Brad here at etrailer and today we're taking a look at installing the Curt Class One Trailer Hitch Receiver on a 2020 Volkswagen Passat. Now, this is what the hitch is gonna look like when it's installed. And one of the first things you may notice or may not notice is gonna be the cross tube and that's because it's hidden. A lot of hitches that you'll see they kind of go across the whole length of it and it kind of makes it a little unsightly especially on something like a Passat where it doesn't really have a utilitarian look to it. This is nice and clean.

You can see that the only portion hanging out is this receiver tube opening. It does hang down a little bit and a little bit out but that's not a bad thing especially when hooking up your accessories, it's gonna make sure that you have a lot of clearance. Now you can see right off the bat here this is gonna be an inch and a quarter. So it is a little bit smaller than the standard two inch but I actually have an inch and quarter on my car and it's great for bike racks or cargo carriers. And as far as towing, you're not really gonna want to tow too much with this.

Maybe a small jet ski or a small trailer, something along those lines and that's because the weight capacity. The rating on this hitch, a gross trailer weight rating is gonna be 2,000 pounds which is gonna be the weight of the trailer plus the accessories loaded up. Your tongue weight, which is gonna be the downward pressure here is gonna be 200 pounds. So that's gonna be your suspended accessories like your bike racks or cargo carriers. So just make sure you check the vehicle's owner's manual and see what the vehicle's actually rated at and then compare that with the hitch, take the lower of those two numbers just to stay safe.

Now, taking a closer look, we're also gonna see it does have a rolled-style safety chain loop. So if you are pulling those trailers, you're gonna be able to hook up even a large clevis style or your standard hook with no problem. Now you are also gonna have a half hitch hole here. Then that's gonna allow us to put our pin and clip in place to hold our accessories in. Now the hitch isn't gonna come with it but generally when you pick up your accessories they're gonna come with a pin and clip.

Or if you wanna pick up a locking one we actually have a bunch of them available here at etrailer which is nice, cuz when you have your accessories loaded up you can lock it and know that they're not gonna walk away while you're unattended from your vehicle. Now, a few quick measurements from the center of the hitch pin hole to the furthest point of the rear fascia, we're looking right at about four inches maybe four and a half. Let's go with four and a half on this and that's gonna be important for your folding accessories. So when you have your bike racks that tilts up or your cargo carriers, sometimes you need to make sure that you have that clearance, so it's not hit hitting your bumper. Now, another thing that we're gonna be measuring is gonna be our ground clearance. So from the top of the receiver tube opening to the ground, coming in right at about ten and a half inches. And so I don't ever really worry about the hitch making contact with the ground but when you do have those bike racks or cargo carriers and you go up an incline, those are gonna tilt down so you just wanna keep that in mind when you have your accessories loaded up or when you're choosing accessories which ones to buy, maybe a slightly higher ground clearance will help a little bit with that. Now, as far as the installation goes on this it's not too terribly bad to do. There's no really drilling to do. You're gonna have to cut a little bit of the fascia out but it's pretty easy to cut through as it's just plastic and that's just to make room for the hitch. Now this is a little bit more of a unique install than your typical hitch and that's because you're using a plate that's gonna go up on your framerail and some bolts that go up to there as well as using the drain holes to create mounting points for the hitch as well. But overall, it's not too terribly hard to do. You can definitely do this in your driveway or garage if you set aside a few hours and I'm gonna walk you through all those steps just to help you out and make sure you get your hitch installed so let's take a look at that now. To begin our installation, we're gonna wanna head underneath the vehicle and we're gonna see that there's three small torx bits here attaching the rear fascia to the actual support and I'm using a, let's see what we got here. It's gonna be a T15. So they're pretty small here. So we'll go ahead and remove these. And throughout this whole process we're gonna wanna make sure that we hold onto our hardware that way it's gonna make it nice and easy for reinstallation later. And once that screw is out, you're gonna see that this is actually a clip that's still kind of holding our fascia into those brackets so to pry these back, I'm using a trim panel tool. You can also use a flathead screwdriver, just kind of get underneath it and then pry it gently and take these all out. And again, you may not be using all of these for reinstallation, but hold onto 'em for now. So what we're gonna do here, we have our drain plugs and you might be able to access it up top, but you're still gonna have this coating here so what I'm gonna do is just, I have my pocket knife, you could take a razor blade and I'm just gonna kind of put it in at the flattest angle I can do and then just kind of work it around, kind of get some of this caulk off. Now you don't want to go straight up because the spare tire is there. We have not removed ours yet, but if we kind of go at this angle, this should be perfectly safe to do. And this is gonna create that mounting point again for our hitch. So getting this cleared out is going to help us once we get up top. And you may need to grab a sort of needle nose or something like that. But again, if not, we can grab it up top, no big deal but we do want these out of the way. Now, while under the vehicle, again we're going to trim our fascia. This is gonna give us clearance for mounting up our hitch. Now I've just used the instruction manual. They give you kind of a diagram, just kind of center it up. This is gonna be two and a half inches and then this is gonna be four and a half. So just kind of use painter's tape or some sort of reference to get a nice clean mark. And then as far as cutting it, you can use a pair of snips or 10 shears will actually go through this pretty well, Dremel, rotary tool, something along those lines but I'm gonna be using an oscillating tool for a nice clean line. And while doing this, you're gonna wanna kind of pry this back just to make sure that you have clearance back here. You don't wanna nick the spare tire spot there. So I'm gonna go ahead and just kinda make these cut. So now we're gonna want to go back and get some of these burs off so you can take a file. What I actually use is the backside of a knife to actually pulls these burs off pretty well. Just kind of run it across there that should clean it up. So just make sure all your edges are nice and clean and that way it's gonna be looking really good when we get our hitch up in place. Now you're gonna want to head into your trunk and we're gonna be removing our spare tire so make sure all your stuff is out of your trunk. And once you do, we're just simply gonna pull these up and we can actually pull this out. It's just gonna make it a little bit easier for the installation. And now we have our jack, we're gonna need to take that out. So we'll unclip this here, and then we have this knob here so we're gonna just unscrew this and then we can pull our spare tire out. Well, we went through and cut that inside and that's gonna allow us to get this cap off. As you can see, it was sealed in there so what I'm gonna do is just kind of remove the excess of this glue or whatever this is. That's just gonna make it better when we put our hardware in here, it's gonna sit a little bit more flush so you can use a putty scraper or a knife to kind of just get this cut back. Now on our passenger side, we're gonna want to separate this black portion of the fascia from the painted portion. And that's just gonna give us a little bit more clearance for when we get the hitch in place. So in order to do that, you're gonna see there's a large tab here and I'm just gonna kind of pull this down and push back at the same time and that's gonna again give us a little bit of extra room here. So now we're gonna grab our nut plates and these are gonna create again mounting points for the hitch to bolt up to and you're gonna see that there's an offset hole. We're gonna want that offset hole facing towards the outside of the vehicle and you're gonna want the welded nut portion facing up and that way those bolts can align here. Now this is gonna slip on top of the impact bar and there's a small little pocket here so we'll just kind of place this up. And so kinda right here you can see there's a little bit of a gap and this is just gonna sit up here and just make sure that both holes are kind of straddling the impact bar. So we'll have this one in place and I'm gonna go ahead and get our other on the other side. Now we're gonna get ready to raise our hitch in position so you might wanna grab an extra set of hands for that step. It's gonna make a little bit easier. And something else that we're gonna be doing is putting a little bit of black silicone here. We're just gonna kind of circle around here creating a nice little pocket. That way, when we cinch up our hitch it's gonna tighten it up and create a nice waterproof seal since we have those drain plugs out. So go ahead, make sure you have a nice clean surface. And then I'm just gonna we have some RTV black silicone here, like I said just kind of create a nice little barrier around it and that way, when it presses up it's gonna be nice and sealed up. So we're gonna raise this up and we're gonna line our hitch with that nut plate that we kind of put up. Now you may have to peel the rear fascia back just a little bit and that way this can kind of go up in place up over these brackets and then we can kind of slide it down. Now you're gonna wanna have your hardware in place. So we have our bolts here with a conical tooth washer. You're gonna want the teeth facing towards the metal part so just make sure you have it shaped like that and then I'm just gonna take our bolt and feed this up, aligning it with that plate and I'm just gonna get one started on each side. There we go. So just kind of holding that nut plate in I'm just gonna get some few threads started and that's gonna at least support it on this side and I'll do the same on the other. I'm gonna go ahead with the other two and get those started on those other holes. Now, a little tip, obviously in hindsight for us but hopefully this helps you. Those nut plates have a powder coat on them and sometimes that'll get in the thread portion so sometimes hand tightening those bolts in can be a little bit tricky so to make it a little bit easier before putting them in take your bolt and kind of just run it through with a socket or an impact and that way it's gonna clear that powder coat out. It's gonna make it a lot easier to get that threaded. So now back in our spare tire, we're gonna grab our carriage bolt and this large spacer here and this is just gonna feed down creating a nice mounting point for us. So I'm just gonna drop this in place here and I'll do the same and that way underneath we can get our hitch raised up and then we'll be able to tighten that down. So now we can see where we pass those through and I'm gonna just kind of feed this in the holes here. So you may need to shift the hitch a little bit make sure they both pop in. And then at this point, you're gonna want to kind of put pressure on the side of it by kind of pushing the hitch against it if you can, or another option you can kind of use your finger or a flat head. You just don't want to push that back up cuz obviously it's gonna be hard to thread on. So just get that started there and then we'll do the other side as well. And if you need help to get it to spin, you can kind of once you get the first little portion down, you can kind of pull on that and that carriage bolt is gonna add pressure with that plate it's gonna make it a little bit easier to hand tighten on. So now at this point, I'm gonna go back I'm just gonna tighten these down using our drill here or our impact. You don't have to get too crazy. You want it snug though, and kind of cinched up. So what I'm gonna do is do one on the outside, one on the outside and then just kind of work my way in that way, it equally goes up and we're gonna go back with the torque wrench. So really it doesn't matter. As long as you're not over tightening here you don't have to get too crazy but just make sure it's kind of cinched up. So now we're gonna go back with that same 19 and with our torque wrench, get these torqued to spec. Now the two or the four longer bolts are gonna be a different torque setting than the center ones, so just make sure you check the instruction manual and get those proper settings. Now, if you need a torque wrench we have 'em here available at etrailer. You can rent them in an auto parts store as well but this is gonna be an important step. That's gonna make sure that they're not gonna be too tight putting stress on those threads but also it's not gonna be loose and come loose over time. So let's go through and we'll just make sure these are all torqued properly. So now we have everything torqued down properly. You can go ahead and get your fascia piece back in. It kind of can be tricky, just getting those tabs in place but just take your time and you'll be able to get that to notch in. Now, we'll get our spare tire back in and then we're ready to hit the road and start using our hitch. And that was a look in installation of the Curt Class One Trailer Hitch Receiver on a 2020 Volkswagen Passat..


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