Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Installation - 2013 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

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How to Install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch on a 2013 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Speaker 1: Today on this 2013 Mercedes Benz M class, we're going to review and install the Draw-Tite max frame trailer hitch receiver. Part number 76141. Now the actual model we're working with is a ML350 bluetec.You can tell right off the bat, it does fit up underneath the bumper here. And basically all you see is the receiver opening. You do see the safety chain loops of course and an outrigger on the bottom that goes towards the front. But left to right you really don't see anything.

The vast majority's hidden behind the bumper cover.We have our two inch by two inch receiver opening. It's great for a variety of ball mounts and or accessories. If you look on the side here, there are two holes. There's a 5/8 of an inch diameter pin hole here for your hitch pin or locking hitch pin, for all your accessories. And you'll see a smaller hole here, this is designed to work the J pin stabilization pin.

That works for any ball mounts or accessories that do not have their own anti-rattle devices. Now this loop right here is for our safety chains. This will work with a wide variety of safety chains that are out there.Now the weight capacity is pretty easy to remember. It's not going to change whether you have it by itself or with weight distribution assembly. So it's going to have 700 pounds of tongue weight, which is the weight pushing down on the ball.

And it has a max towing weight, which is the pull of it of 7,000 pounds. Now always double check with your owners manual make sure your vehicle is configured to haul those kinds of weights.If you bought your vehicle without a factory tow hitch and you decided hey I want to do to the dealership and get another factory hitch just put on here. You're going to get some sticker shock because it's going to be stupid expensive. Basically you get a new bumper structure on the inside as well as a different type of bumper cover out here. So it gets expensive really fast.

If you're okay with the hitch hanging down below everything, it does not look too bad at all. This is probably the way to go for you.Next we'll go ahead and give you some measurements that'll help you out in selecting some accessories for your vehicle. First off, we're going to measure from the center of the hitch pin hole to the outside edge of your bumper. We've got six inches. For ground clearance, we'll go about 13 inches from top of the receiver opening down to the ground. This will give you some ideas on how much your accessories will be close to the ground and also it's helpful in determining a ball mount height for your trailer.All right next we'll go ahead and show you how we install the hitch. A couple tips to think about, is you definitely want to have the vehicle off the ground to give you some working room. Because it does get a little bit complicated underneath here for working room to tighten down the fasteners. Also there's a few other pieces you got to remove and put back up. It's a lot easier to have it up in the air and also at one point you're going to need an extra set of hands as well.First part, we're going to install is to get our vehicle ready. So we're going to remove some components on the bottom here. We're going to do some trimming as well on the plastic and some of the heat shield. Not too bad but it's a lot of steps. First off, let's take off this heat shield for a DEF tank. Using a 10 millimeter socket, we're going to remove six plastic fasteners. Fasteners out of the way, we can go ahead and just work it off and get it out of the way.Just above our bumper fascia here, there are three brackets we have to remove, consisting of four screws on the bottom here. Again we'll use our 10 millimeter socket. With our bumper fascia loose, now we can get access to the fasteners support our brackets. They'll be up here. For example, the center one has a 10 millimeter nut right here and on the tow other brackets, there are two more fasteners on each one that we have to remove. Again using a 10 millimeter socket. Center and driver's side done, one more time on the passenger side.Next up we have to lower our exhaust get it out of the way for more working room. Now you can support it on the bottom, why I have it lowered down or you can use a strap. I like using a strap. So we'll hook up some on the frame or suspension, whichever works. And we want to get behind this rear cross member here because there'll be some attachment points for the hitch as well. So you don't want a strap in the way. To lower it, we have to remove the rubber hangers here. There's one here by the driver's side wheel, towards the center there's another green one.To remove them, I'm going to spray them down with some silicone spray. And then we can go ahead and pry them off. Sometimes this will easier on vehicles than others. So you may have to work at for a while to get them to loosen them up. And if you can, use some exhaust pliers. Now I'm going to loosen up my cam buckle strap and lower the exhaust. There won't be too much play in it, but we don't want it to go anymore than it has to. Heat shield needs to come down next. There'll be four fasteners we have to remove using a eight millimeter socket. One down, two, three and four to go.Now you notice this last fastener does look a little different but the socket will work on it. Pull down our exhaust. Be careful of sharp edges and pull it out. Just like our exhaust, our DEF tank needs to be lowered down for working room. We're going to remove this rearmost bolt right here using a 13 millimeter socket. And also you want to make sure you have this supported in some fashion. Look towards the center of the vehicle, here's another nut going to the support strap. That'll get removed as well.Now I'm using a pole jack to help lower it down. I'm just going to lower it just a little bit and then I can go up and down from there as I need. Looking towards the end of the frame right here, where the bumper structure meets the body work of the frame of the vehicle. Now there'll be two nuts that we have to remove using a 16 millimeter socket. This is on the driver's side, we'll repeat the same process over on the passenger side.Now on our passenger side, the DEF tank is not doing us any favors at all for clearance wise to work with. So I'm using a ratcheting wrench with a flexible head. That'll make things a little bit easier and again it'll be a 16 millimeter wrench.Let's get back to the heat shield here. We do have to do some trimming to make room for the hitch. Roughly from this edge going that way, about four inches. We'll have to cut into it this way, going all the way across to about 12 inches and then back down. Now on my center mark, my 12 inch length was this hole right here. I'm just going to use some tin snips to cut through the heat shield. Pretty light duty stuff. You can use a fastener cutter if you like, a dremel rotator tool or a dremel cutting disk would work nice too.The heat shield can go back into place. We can go ahead and reinstall our fasteners now. When we reinstall our fasteners, we'll be using three of the four because original one got cut away right here. Finally, we can put our hitch up into place. What seems to work best, is get the driver's side up in there first. Offset to the driver's side and then run the hitch over towards the passenger side. And our hitch is going to mount to two studs that removed the nuts from earlier.When you put the hitch up, you definitely want an extra set of hands to help hold it up, maneuver it around in there. Then we'll go ahead and reinstall the factory nuts. Now this isn't an exact fit of course. So what we had to do to help thing get started to get the nut started, is a big pair of pliers to help kind of squeeze it together a little bit onto the end of the frame right here. Just enough to get the thread started and then we can go ahead and use a tool to tighten them down. And of course, this is the driver's side, this is the easy side. Passenger side, same principal but the DEF tank's in the way. So they require a lot of patience and maybe a little bit ingenuity to get them started.Straight up getting to these bolts here and here, royal pain, straight up. What I found made things a little easier, is I actually went behind DEF tank here. There's another half inch fastener right here. I ran it down as far as I could while I still could hold up the tank a little bit. And it gave it a little more working room to get the hardware in place. And then I tighten them down. Once I have them in place, I use a couple extensions and a swivel, with one end that swivel extension. And I routed it behind the gas tank. I'm sorry I routed it up above the gas tank. I lined it up with my fingers.This is definitely a one click at a time affair, but it does get you there. Moving forward on the vehicle. This part of the hitch here, it goes up to this sub frame assembly. We need to install this plate in this fashion right here. Put it between these two pieces here. Take our carriage bolt, run it through. The other side gets a conical tooth washer. You'll notice there's some teeth on the washer. They always face towards the hitch. And we'll install a hex nut. Same thing on this side.Now on this plate here, has two holes on the top. We'll install these two long hex bolts here. Our long half inch hex bolt with a conical tooth washer. We'll go through the plate and through this large hole of the sub frame. We'll do that on both sides and you'll probably have to maneuver hitch quite a bit to get them to go through.On the back side here, this large plate will go between a differential and this cross member. And you'll just line up our bolts with them. Getting this rear plate on, a little bit easier said than done. We got the one side first. We add another conical tooth washer and a nut to keep the bolt from sliding out. Then we ran our other bolt through the other hole. Again another two man operation. We need to apply pressure going towards the driver's side to help line up the bolt and go through the plate. This will end up with a nice snug fit, so it won't go anywhere. Especially after it's clamped down.Now we have most of our hardware for our hitch in place. However, there's an oval slot right here. And there's some factory bolts that need to go back in as well. So always double check before we tighten down everything that these will line up, one on each side.At this point, we can tighten down all our hardware and torque them down as specified in the instructions. To tighten up our bolts on top, we'll need a 3/4 inch socket just like we did for the nuts down here. And then it's good to have a 19 millimeter or a 3/4 inch wrench on the nut.They do tend to want to sit above this ridge here, but I didn't like that. I simply as I torqued down, I used a sawzall with a metal blade and just cut it off. At this point, we can go ahead and put our DEF tank back up into place. Don't forget this guy with the strap.We'll switch over to the exhaust. We'll reinstall our hanger here. Last part of trimming is for the shield for a DEF tank. Basically, a little over four inches, I think we'll do. I'm going to go about four and a half inches in. This little section here will be removed. After I made my mark, I'm going to make a series of passes with a sharp knife to make my cut. And then down through here I'll use some tin snips to do the short section.Once we have it trimmed, put it back up into place. This is where our four inch cut ended up, not too bad. We can go ahead and reinstall all our fasteners. Then we'll go ahead and tighten it back down. Now if you remember earlier, the supports that we had up here we had to take out of course. The hitch is going to be in the way of all of that. So these tabs here for your bumper fascia, are simply going to be zip tied to the body of the hitch here with the supplied zip ties that come with the hitch. Our zip ties in place, we'll cut off the tails.Last but not least, go ahead and take down our strap that used to hold the exhaust. And that'll finish it for the Draw-Tite max frame trailer hitch receiver, part number 76141 on this Mercedes Benz ML350 bluetec.

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Info for this part was:

Test Fit:
Joe V
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Video Edited:
Chris R
Video by:
Zach D
Test Fit:
Shane H

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