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etrailer Class III Trailer Hitch Installation - 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

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How to Install the etrailer Class III Trailer Hitch on a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas


Hello neighbors, it's Brad here at etrailer and today we're taking a look and installing the etrailer Class III trailer hitch receiver on a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. Now if you plan on towing a trailer you have some nice rolled style safety chain loops here which are gonna be great for your standard S hooks. Even a larger clevis style no problem to hook that up. And if you do plan on towing, you're gonna want to adhere to the weight capacity of the hitch as well as the vehicle. And these are pretty solid numbers. Your gross trailer weight rating which is gonna be the weight of the trailer plus the accessories loaded up.

Basically what's pulling on the receiver it's gonna be 6,000 pounds and that's pretty solid. You also have a tongue weight rating which is gonna be for your suspended accessories basically how much weight's being put on here and that's gonna be 900 pounds. So overall really, really good numbers. But you're gonna want to actually check your vehicles owner's manual check to see what the vehicle's capable of and that way you're not overloading them. So compare that with the hitch numbers and take the lower of those two.

And we're gonna take a few quick measurements. This does sit a little bit recessed past the rear fascia here. So something to keep in mind when choosing accessories to make sure that they fit. We have five inches from the center of the hitch pin hole to the furthest point. So when you have some of those folding accessories you're gonna wanna make sure it doesn't make contact with your rear fascia.

And also just choosing your ball mount as well making sure you have that extension to stick out far enough for your trailer. Now another quick measurement here from the top the receiver tube to the ground, we're looking at about 13 inches and that's also helpful as far as picking a ball mount for your trailer. But also when choosing your accessories you do have a slightly lower ground clearance and they can extend past your vehicle. So as you go up an incline you don't want those making contact with the ground. So just something to keep in mind while driving with accessories loaded.

Now the installation's super easy on this. The hardest part is going to be scraping off the undercoating that's on the frame so that our hitch sits nice and flush against the metal. But other than that, this can definitely be done in your garage or on your driveway and it's simply just putting four bolts in. I'm gonna walk you through all those steps. So let's take this into the bay and I'll show you how to get it done. To begin our installation, we're gonna need to scrape off some undercoating that they have on the frame. You can see that this is all coated on there and we can scrape this off. A putty knife works pretty well. I have a scraper here. Our hitch kind of extends right at this kind of seam. So I'm gonna go, I'm gonna start here and work my way all the way to the front that way our hitch has clearance and it's gonna sit nice and flat. And if we can get a nice opening here we can kind of work away at the rest of it. This is gonna be a little bit tedious so make sure you have a nice putty knife or something that's gonna be strong enough to get this all off. If you're using a razor blade or something along those lines, just be extra careful. Now if this is gonna be tedious, which it is putting up a pretty good fight here, if you have an oscillating tool or a multi-tool as they call 'em sometimes this is really nice just if you have a blade that's not, you know just don't go at a straight angle against the metal but you can really dig under this. So now at this point we're gonna be using a fish wire technique to get our carriage bolts and our spacer blocks here in place and that's gonna create the stud for our hitch to mount up to. And if you've never done this it can look a little bit tricky, but it's pretty simple. So we're gonna take our fish wire here and take the coiled end and if you need to, you can put a little bend here and we're gonna have to be feeding this back all the way to this access hole, this oval. So just kind of keep your finger here and just kind of jostle this around until you find that coiled end. You're gonna wanna pull this out here, now don't pull too far 'cause you're gonna need this tail end that we fed it in. Just gonna put a bend here on our wire and that way it's gonna kind of help prevent it from pulling through. Now on our coiled end what we can do is take our carriage bolt and spacer block and we'll just get this fed on our coiled end pretty easy here. So then we can feed each of them in one by one. So spacer block, we'll just kind of push this up in the frame rail. And same with the carriage bolt. Now it might get a little tight here so you kind of put it in at an angle and some of that undercoating here might kind of make it a little tricky but sometimes it's easier to put the head in first. So just kind of find the sweet spot there. It's pretty close here but should be able to get this in. There we go. And you can just feed that carriage bolt up and then from here we're just gonna pull on our end where we fed it in, jostle around a little bit and we should have our stud pop through. Now keep your fish wire attached. It's gonna make it a lot easier to keep this in place when we push the hitch up. That way it doesn't push back in the frame. So now we're just gonna repeat the same process for this hole and also on the other side of the vehicle. Now at this point you might wanna grab an extra set of hands and we're gonna get our hitch in place. Now you're also gonna want to have at least one of these flange nuts ready. That way we can get it started on each side and the hitch will support itself. And those bends we've put in the fish wire kind of work twofold. We're gonna feed these into our hitch and those are gonna kind of keep those in place. So as we raise this up, just kind of pull the pull wires along as you go and you may have to kind of raise this up over the exhaust to kind of get that to fit. And then what we'll do is kinda get our stud to feed through here. And then I'm gonna just use the hitch to kind of hold this in place. So you can pull your pull wire off and then just make sure this doesn't push up. So as I push on the hitch, it's gonna keep that in place and I can just hand tighten this on here. Once you get it on both sides then you'll be able to support it. Now we're just gonna repeat the same process for the rest of our hardware, getting our flange nuts on. And if you can't use the hitch to hold it in place it might help to just kind of use your finger or a flat head screwdriver just to kind of hold tension on it just to kind of get those first threads started. Now at this point we're gonna tighten these down but you have a little bit of wiggle room here on the hitch so just make sure you have it perfectly aligned in the center or exactly where you want it. And then we're gonna be using a three quarter inch socket to just get these tightened down, make it nice and snug. Now we're gonna come back with a torque wrench and torque 'em properly so you don't have to get too crazy here. So now we're gonna be using the torque setting that's found in the instruction manual and we have torque wrenches available here at etrailer. You can generally rent them at an auto parts store as well. This is just gonna make sure that we have 'em tighten enough to where they're not gonna loosen up over time. But also you can over tighten hardware as well causing stress on the threads. So we'll just go through and torque these all down. With all of our hardware properly torqued down our hitch is completely installed and all that's left to do is load up our accessories and hit the road. And that was a look and installation of the etrailer Class III trailer hitch receiver on a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas..


Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Dustin K
Video by:
Dustin K
Employee Bradley B
Test Fit:
Bradley B

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