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EcoHitch Hidden Trailer Hitch Installation - 2018 Subaru Forester

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How to Install the EcoHitch Hidden Trailer Hitch on a 2018 Subaru Forester

Speaker 1: Today on our 2018 Subaru Forester, we're going to be taking a look at the eco hitch custom fit class three hidden trailer hitch receiver, part number 306-X7216. So here's what our hitch is going to look like. Now the really nice thing about this hitch is the fact that we're not going to have any cross tube that's going to be visible. All we're going to see is that receiver tube right below our bumper.Our hitch is going to be a class three hitch, which means it's going to give us that two inch by two inch receiver tube opening and have a lot of different accessories that are going to be available for it. It's going to have that reinforced collar giving it added strength and has an overall nice finished look to it. Now we're going to mount all of our accessories to this pin hole here.

And it's going to accept a standard 5/8 pin and clip. Now these are not included in the kit, but you can pick them up on our website using part number PC3.Our safety chain connection points are going to be a plate style. They're going to be welded on either side and have tabs that come out to the side. And the loops on the side are going to be large enough to accept most size hooks. We're not going to have any trouble getting them on or off.

And they are just slightly off set from the hitch pin hole, so we're not going to have to worry about any kind of interference with the hitch pin or locking device. The hitch itself is going to be made of an alloy construction. It's going to be part aluminum, steel and stainless steel. So it's going to be nice and durable but at the same time it's going to be lightweight. Now it's also going to have a nice black powder coat finish, which is going to hold up against rust and corrosion extremely well.As far as weight capacity goes, our hitch is going to feature a 350 pound tongue weight.

Along with a 3,500 pound gross trailer weight rating. Now I do want to mention you always want to check your Forester's owners manual to make sure that you don't exceed the manufacturers recommended weight.Like to give you a few measurements and that's going to help you when deciding for accessories for your new hitch, such as a ball mount, a bike rack, or even a cargo carrier. From the center of the hitch pin hole to the outermost edge of the bumper, it's going to be right about three and a half inches. Now from the ground to the inside top edge of the receiver tube opening, that's going to be right about 15 and a half inches. So now that we've seen what our hitch looks like and gone over some of the features, let's show you how to get it installed.To begin our installation, we're going to have to lower our exhaust.

Now there's going to be three points where we're going to have to lower the exhaust at the hangers. So if we come right to the rear differential, just right in front of that towards the front of the car, we're going to have one rubber isolator. We can just slide that off. And if we go back towards the muffler, towards the back on the inside, we're going to have one. And then on the outside towards the front of the muffler, we're going to have another hanger up top.Now before you lower the exhaust, you want to make sure that it's support sou don't cause any damage. So I'm going to take this strap and I'm going to find a secure point to attach it to, to the vehicle, so that it'll support I underneath once I start lowering it down. I'm just going to take some spray lubricant and I'm going to spray the rubber isolator and the hanger. Then you can take whatever you have available pry bar or rather large screw driver and you're just going to want to slide that rubber isolator off. Now we can move back and start working on the ones on the muffler.Now this one on the outside top is going to be rather hard to get a pry bar in there to get anything on it. But if you have a pair of gloves or if you're not worried about getting that lubricant on your hands. You can just reach up and you're going to pull on that rubber hanger. It may take a little bit of force but you should be able to slide it off. Then we're just going to lower our exhaust slowly until we have enough room to work with, but making sure that it doesn't go too low and cause any damage. It gives us a lot more room in here to work with.So over here on the passenger side. We're going to have to lower our heat shield down. Now there's going to be four bolts holding it in place. I'm going to be using a 10 millimeter socket to take them out. We can pull our heat shield out and for now we're going to set it aside and it will be trimmed later. So if we come to each side of our frame rail, we're going to have several rubber plugs that are in place. We're going to be working with the very rear one and the forward one right before the axle. We're going to take a flat head screwdriver and go ahead and pop those plugs out. And we'll do this for both sides.Now per the instructions, they're going to want us to enlarge the center hole, so that we can fit our hardware through but we're actually going to be coming back to the forward hole and enlarging that. Because our hardware almost fits through it right now. So we're going to be using either a file or anything you can to just basically enlarge this hole. Now I'm going to be using a drill with a de burning bit to file that hole out and you just want to periodically take your hardware and check after you've been filing because you don't want to file too much. Just enough to get your hardware in place.Now we can come back and grab our space block. We're going to make sure that it fits through the frame rail as well as the bolt. Now it's never a good idea to leave exposed metal on your car because it's just going to open up doors for any kind of rust and corrosion to start building up. So I'm going to take a little bit of spray paint, I'm going to spray the inside of where I filed and hopefully it'll protect it a little bit. Now that we have this side done, we're going to go ahead and repeat that on the other side as well.Now I already went out and marked out the area that we're going to have to trim on our fascia here for our hitch to get in place. I just put some electrical tape going around the edges to help protect it. We're going to go two and a half inches up and it's going to be three and a quarter inches wide on center. You an use whatever you have available to cut it whether it be a sharp utility knife, some tin snips or whatever you have. But I'm going to be using a dremel tool because I think I can get a cleaner cut that way. If we need to we can come back and clean up the edges as well.Now I also marked out the spot on our heat shield. Now there's no exact measurement of where we need to cut. But if you come to right where the right symbol is and where we have that one mounting point, just right past that you're going to have a little ledge where it's going to be bumped up a little bit. And you're basically just want to cut that section out right there. Now for this I am going to be using a pair of tin snips. I'm just going to go take my time, make sure I have gloves on so I don't cut myself on the sharp metal and cut that section out.So with our heat shield trimmed, we can go ahead and put it back in place. Now when we reinstall it though, we're not going to be replacing the bolts that are going into the frame. We're only going to be replacing the two that are on the outside. So we need to start to get our hardware in place. Now this is going to be a little bit different than the instructions because we already started to enlarge this hole rather than what the instructions say because we did find it a lot easier to do it this way. So we're going to take our half inch bolt lead and we're going to come to the very rear hole. And we're going to take the coiled end and we're going to feed it in and our main goal is to come out the enlarged hole towards the front.You may have to reach in just be extremely careful not to cut your finger since we just got done filing that. Okay so now you wanna make sure you leave the tail still out of the frame. You don't want to push that all the way through. Now on the coiled end we're going to take one of those spacer blocks. We're going to slide it over the coiled end, then we're going to take one of our star washers, slide that over the coiled end. Then we're going to take one of our half inch bolts and thread it in place. Now to make it a little bit easier on ourselves, we're going to go in the frame one piece at a time, so they don't get locked up. We're going to push the block in. Then we can push our washer and bolt in. We're going to pull on our pull wire until all of our hardware is going to drop down through the frame.Now I do want to mention too, you want to be extremely careful when you're pulling your pull wire off of the bolt because they do only provide you with one. So you don't want to damage it because we're going to have to do the same process for the rest of our hardware. The hardware for our forward hole is going to be the same but it's going to be a slightly different method of how we get it in. We're going to take our space block and slide it over the coiled end. Followed by that star washer and then again we're going to thread that bolt on. This time we're going to feed the bolt in first followed by the rest of our hardware into the frame.Then we're going to pull it straight back down through the frame. Now we're going to repeat this for the other side. Now if we come to the back of our bumper, we're going to have two push pins on the bottom of our fascia here that are held on to some support tabs. Now we're going to need to remove them. So we can go ahead and grab a flathead screwdriver and there's going to be some indentions around the side. You're going to take your flathead screwdriver, you're going to pop out the center section of the push pin first, which will take some of the tension off and unlock it. Then we can go underneath the outer section and pull the rest of it out. And we'll do the same thing on the other side.So here are those metal tabs that I was talking about. Now since we have enough room we're going to slightly pull on our fascia. You're going to want to grab a pair of pliers or whatever you have available and we're going to bend that tab towards the front of our vehicle. So that we have room to where out hitch can get in here. Now you just want to be careful because they are metal but they're kind of thin, so you don't want to bend them too much to where it's going to cause a crease and break. And we're going to do that for both sides.Before we put our hitch up, I'd like to go over the hardware that's going to secure it in place because it will be a little bit difficult once we have it up there. Each bolt that's in our frame rail is going to get two flat washers and that's going to be followed by a lock washer and then finally we're going to secure it with a nut. Now with an extra set of hands, we're going to lift our hitch into place. And when you do, you kind want to pull away on the fascia so you can get your hitch behind it. Just going to pull gently on the plastic. Then when you line up your bolts, you want to be careful not to push it back in the frame. Put our washers in place, lock washer. Then finally secure it with the nut.Now if you're having trouble getting the nut started, one thing that'll help is if you actually push on the washer. It'll keep it from spinning until you can get it snugged up. And then that star washer that we installed earlier will keep it from spinning. You're going to want to make sure that your hitch is nice and centered in the cut and it's not off to one side or the other if you did have to cut a little bit larger. Ours looks pretty good, so we're going to come back and snug up all the hardware.I'm going to be using a 3/4 inch socket and I'm going to snug up all the hardware in the frame. So I'm going to come back with that same 3/4 inch socket and a torque wrench and I'm going to torque all my hardware down. And we're going to find that specification in our instructions. Just want to make sure you do that for all the remaining hardware. With our hitch torqued down, we can bend those tabs back. Just want to be careful when you're bending them back because again it is thin. You don't want to cause too much of a crease and break the metal. Just want to get it pretty close to where it's going to line up. Then we can bend the other side back and reinstall the push pins.Now with the push pins when we put them back in, you want to make sure that center section is still sticking out. You're going to push the outer section in first. You may have to push in on that metal tab a little bit to get it lined up. Once you get the outer section in, just going to push in on the center section and lock it down. We'll replace the other one too. We can go ahead and put our exhaust back up. It's going to take a little bit more spray lubricant, spray it on the hanger and the rubber isolator making it that much easier to slide back in place. We can just lift up, slide the isolator back on. We can remove the strap and that'll finish up the installation.And that'll finish up your look at the eco hitch hidden trailer hitch receiver part number 306-X7216 on our 2018 Subaru Forester.

Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
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Joshua S
Employee Jonathan Y
Video by:
Jonathan Y
Employee Jacob T
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Jacob T
Employee Dustin K
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Dustin K
Employee Chris R
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Chris R
Employee Brent H
Test Fit:
Brent H
Employee Robert C
Test Fit:
Robert C
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G

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