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Trailer Hitch Installation - 2002 Mazda Tribute - Hidden Hitch

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How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a 2002 Mazda Tribute

Today on our 2002 Mazda Tribute, we'll be installing Hidden Hitch part number 70636. This is what our hitch will look like once its installed. Next we'll go ahead and give you a couple of measurements to assist your selecting accessories for your new hitch. From the center of the hitch pin hole to the outer most edge of the bumper is 5 3/4 inches. From the top of the receiver tube opening to the ground is 14 1/2 inches. This will assist your selecting accessories such as a ball mount, bike rack or cargo carrier. Now let's go ahead with installation.

Now to begin our install we'll first need to remove the heat shield over the muffler on the passenger's side. To do this we'll remove the four fasteners that secure it. Now with the fasteners removed we'll go ahead and pull the heat shield down and set aside for reinstallation later. Next we'll go ahead and point out our attachment points. Next we'll need to begin installing the hardware into the frame, we'll use a 7/16 carriage bolt and block with a 7/16 conical tooth washer with the teeth of the washer facing the hitch and a 7/16 nut.

Note for this application you'll also need a 7/16 bolt leader, part number 80103-1. Now we'll first go ahead and check the application to make sure we can get our hardware into the frame. Now in this application we'll need to slightly file out the oblong hole so that our block will go up into the frame. Using a round file bit, we'll go ahead and do that now. Now with the hole large enough we'll go ahead and take our bolt leader and go through our forward attachment point and out the access hole. We'll then slide on the block and thread on the carriage bolt.

We'll feed the block up into the frame followed by the bolt and then we'll pull them both into position and remove our bolt leader. Next we'll go ahead and do the rear attachment point following the same process. Now our center attachment point will also be the access hole so we'll use the reverse pull method for this attachment point. We'll go ahead and put the block onto the bolt leader and then thread on the carriage bolt. We'll feed the carriage bolt into the frame followed by the block and then pull them both back down into position and remove the bolt leader. Each process we do to one side will be repeated identically on the opposite side. Now with all our hardware in place we're ready to go ahead and install the hitch.

It's a good idea to get an extra set of hands to help you hold the hitch while you install the fasteners. We'll feed the passenger's side up of the exhaust first and then bring them both into position against the frame being careful not to push the hardware back up into the frame. Then we'll slide on the conical tooth washer and thread on the nut. Once we have all the hardware installed we'll go ahead and tighten it down. Then torque to specifications as indicated in the instructions. Now with our hitch secured and torqued to specifications we'll need to cut out portions of the heat shield to go around the hitch. Following the instructions and using a paint marker, we'll go ahead and measure it out. Now to cut it out you can use a reciprocating saw or even an angle grinder or cut off wheel. Now with our cut outs made we'll go ahead and reinstall the heat shield although the rear frame attachment point will get the new bolt and flat washer. Now with our heat shield reinstalled and secured that will complete the install of our Hidden Hitch, part number 70636, on our 2002 Mazda Tribute. .

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