Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Installation - 2019 Toyota Highlander

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How to Install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch on a 2019 Toyota Highlander


Rob here at etrailer.com. Today you're going to be taking a look at the Draw-Tite Class III Custom Fit Trailer Hitch Receiver on our 2019 Toyota Highlander.Here's what our hitch is going to look like once we have it installed. The cross tube is going to be pretty well hidden. It does sit just right below the bumper. But the main thing we're going to see is that receiver tube sticking it out. It's not going to be distracting or taking away from the looks of our Highlander.Now, since our hitch is a Class III, it's going to give us that two inch by two inch receiver tube opening.

We're going to have the biggest variety of options when it comes accessories we want to mount up. Whether we're towing a trailer where you need a ball mount, if you want to go on a bike ride with a couple friends, put a bike rack in there. Or even just throw some extra gear in a cargo carrier.But the way we're going to mount any of our accessories, is through the hitch pin hole here on the side. It is going to accept a standard 5/8" pin and clip. Now these are not going to be included with the hitch, but you can pick them up here at etrailer.com.Now you may be wondering what that secondary hole is for.

And that's going to be exclusively for the J pin stabilization device. The way this is going to work, is we're going to put the threaded section into the hitch pin hole, going all the way through. And we'll secure it down using a nut. Then we can tighten up the nut, and that's going to draw in the hook into the secondary hole, which then will apply pressure to our accessory, making sure that it doesn't rattle around and make a lot of noise when we're driving down the road. Now there is a lock that comes with this also, so it will make sure the accessories are secure.

Now the J pin is sold separately, and you can find that here at etrailer.com.Now if you are going to be doing some towing, we have to have a spot to hook up our safety chains. Our connection point is going to be a loop style, welded to the bottom. As you see, we've got plenty of room to get most size hooks on or off. And the fact that our hitch pin hole is just slightly off center from the loop itself, means we're going to have less of a chance of interference with our safety chains and our pin and clip.Another nice thing Draw-Tite has added, is they added this bracket just to the left of the receiver tube, towards the driver's side. That's going to be great for mounting any kind of electrical components here.

If we have a four, five, six, or seven way connector, that way when we hook up to our trailer, we'll have our electrical ready for us.Now if you're looking for a hitch, obviously you want to know what it's capable of. Our hitch is going to have a 500 pound ton weight. That's going to be the maximum downward force to the receiver tube. Which is going to be a good amount, because it will handle those larger cargo carriers or even bike racks up to four or five bikes. Now as far as the gross trailer rating, our hitch is going to be rated at 5,000 pounds. That's how much it can pull, including the trailer and everything we have loaded on it. With all those numbers in mind, you should always double check your Highlander's owners' manual, because you don't want to exceed the manufacturer's recommended weight.I'd like to give you a few measurements. This is going to help you whenever you're looking for accessories for your new hitch; like a ball mount, a bike rack, or even a cargo carrier. The center of the hitch pin hole is going to be even with the outermost edge of the bumper, but our hitch is going to stick out about 2 1/2 inches. To give you a reference point, we're not going to have to worry about hitting our legs when we're walking past it, unless we're extremely close to our car to begin with. From the ground to the inside top edge of the receiver tube opening, is right about 17 inches. That measurement's going to help you when you're looking for a ball mount, so you can find the appropriate rise or drop to match up to your trailer.But now that we've seen what our hitch looks like and gone over some of the features, let's put it on together. To begin the installation, we're going to have to prep our Highlander. We're going to have to remove a few things so we can get the hitch in place. When we come over to the passenger's side, at the very bottom of our fascia, I've already marked out the area that needs to be trimmed. But we're going to have this air deflector right above the muffler here, we're going to want to trim that off so it's nice and even with the back of the bumper.Now when you go to trim this, you can use a few different things. You can use a pair of tin snips, a razor knife, or whatever you have available. You just want to be careful, we only want to trim the section below. We don't want to go onto the outside. I'm going to be using a rotary tool just to make it a little quicker and a little bit cleaner cut. We can always come back and clean a little excess plastic off with a razor knife or we can just pick off the plastic, make sure that it's nice and clean.Now on the driver's side, we're going to have this plastic panel that's going to be on the bottom. It's going to be covering up the frame rails, so we're going to have to pull it out. Now if we come along the edge, we're going to have several fasteners holding it in place. We'll have a few bolts, and a few push pins. For the bolts I'm going to use a 10 millimeter socket to pull those out. Now there is going to be one bolt at the corner, right by our spare tire, at the very top. It's going to be a little plastic nut. That's going to be a 12 millimeter, so we'll go ahead and get a 12 millimeter socket and pull that out as well. Most likely, the nut's not going to completely come loose. So you need to pull down on the panel while you're loosening it. We'll loosen that one, then we can pull the rest of the push pins out. Once you have all the fasteners removed, we'll pull the panel out and set it aside.Now we're going to have a panel on the passenger side as well. Now this is going to have the same style fasteners holding it in place. So we'll just pull all those out and pull the panel down.Now underneath both those panels, we'll find our frame rail with several plastic and rubber plugs in it. So we'll want to pull all those out. These rubber ones, we can just take a flat blade screwdriver, and we're just going to pop them out, just get underneath it and pry them out. Now for the plastic ones, you'll notice it's got a little slot in it. I'm going to grab a flat blade screwdriver, and very gently start unthreading it. You just don't want to push on it, because it will just push it back into the hole. We'll loosely start unthreading it till we can pop it out. We're going to repeat that for all the plugs on both sides of the frame.Now on the passenger side frame rail at the very back, right by the end of the muffler here, we're going to have this plate, it's held in by this bolt. We're going to need to remove it. So we can grab a 17 millimeter socket, pull the bolt and that bracket out.Now if we move back towards our fascia, we'll see that we're going to have several supports at the very back of our fascia here. They're held in by these push pins, and we're going to pull those out. So you can grab a flat head screwdriver and there's little notches in the push pin. We're going to come underneath the center section, that'll relieve the tension, then we can pull the rest of the push pin out and have room to bend these tabs out of the way. Now we move into the center a little bit, we'll have another one. They will be the same on both sides. So we'll pull the two out from each side.Now this part isn't going to be required, but to give ourselves a little bit more head room and so you can see, I'm going to lower down the spare tire. If you open up the hatch, we'll have a spot in our spare tire tools, that we have a little crank, and we'll lower the spare tire down.I'd like to go over the mounting locations and the hardware we're going to use to put our hitch in place. On each side of the frame rail, we're going to have three threaded holes. We want to grab one of the new bolts out of our kit, as well as a conical tooth washer. Now there's going to be some teeth on there, you want those to face up towards the frame rail. We're going to go through our hitch, and we're going to secure it down using the bolt going into the weld nut in the frame. Now it's a good idea to double check all the weld nuts and make sure you can easily thread it in by hand. There's no dirt, debris, or rust inside the weld nuts. You want to check both sides of the frame.Now this bracket that we removed earlier on the passenger side of the frame rail, this is actually going to get sandwiched in between the frame and the hitch. When we put it up, you want to make this the last bolt you put in, so if you can try to sneak it underneath the hitch, go through the hitch, and secure everything using the bolt and conical tooth washer.Now with an extra set of hands, we're going to lift our hitch up. On the passenger side, you will have to over the exhaust. We'll raise it up till the holes in the hitch line up with the holes in the frame. Then we'll take our hardware, and you want to get at least one secure on each side. That way the hitch will support itself and we can work on getting the rest of the hardware in place.Now for that back plate. If we only have one bolt in, we can push on the hitch to where it will pivot enough so we can slide that bracket into position. Just want to make sure that you have it in the correct orientation. There's a weld nut on it. You want that to be towards the outside, facing up. We'll tilt our hitch enough to where we can sneak that bracket in there. Line everything up, then we'll secure it down with our hardware.Once you have all your hardware in, I'm going to come back with a 19 millimeter socket, I'm going to snug it all up. You want to make sure you come back with a torque wrench and torque all the hardware down to the specified amount in the instructions. Make sure you repeat that for any remaining hardware you have.Now for our fascia support tabs here, you can see that they line up pretty well. They may be a little bit off, but actually in the instructions they tell you to cut these off. But we actually made our hitch fit without cutting them, so we'll still have all the integrity of the rear fascia. If we can, go ahead and put those push pins back in place.Then we can work our passenger side panel back into place. I will let you know it is going to be a tight fit to get it back in there, but everything will line back up. You're just going to have to work it into position. Then we can put all the fasteners back in place. Now for our driver's side panel, you can see that it's not going to fit with the side plate of our hitch being in the way. We can trim this if we choose to, but it is an option, so we're going to go ahead and leave these off for now.With our hitch torqued down, all we have left to do is put our spare tire back, and we're ready to hit the road.Well, that will finish up your look at the Draw-Tite Class III Custom Fit Trailer Hitch Receiver on our 2019 Toyota Highlander.


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