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Old 04-19-2010, 09:04 AM   #1
corrie
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Default 2010 WRX Hitch Install

This past weekend I installed the forester hitch on my 2010 WRX. I have seen these installed on STI's before, but not on a WRX. Figured it should fit fine, and with a few small exceptions, everything went well. I took some pictures along the way, and figured I would do a quick write up.



First I used ramps to get some clearance in the back to work on the car. I found that the ramps worked fine, no need for a lift to do this job.



Next I cleaned out the trunk area removing all of the foam inserts so that I could get to the bolt holes and wiring grommet.



There are a couple of metal pieces at the base of the rear seats that I removed in order to make room for the bolts that go through the frame rail. These will have to be trimmed, and I have pictures of that later on. There are 4 nuts and 4 bolts that hold these pieces on, and they come apart as 3 parts. It is pretty obvious how to get them off when you are back there.



Remove the rear bumper fascia. There are clips in the rear wheel well that you have to push on the center of them to release them. Then there are 6 clips on the underside of the bumper that you have to pry off. After that you have to wiggle and pull and get the bumper to release. It will help a lot if you have a second person to help you with this. After a lot of tugging and wiggling, I was able to get it free.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:05 AM   #2
corrie
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The bumper beam is held on by 6 nuts. My car is only 6 months old, but these things were a total pain in the butt to get off due to rust. The nuts are hard to get to because of the shape of the bumper beam and so I wasn't able to fit a socket onto them. Had to use a wrench and a lot of PB Blaster to get them loose. This was probably the hardest part of the whole install. I think it took me close to an hour just to get the 6 nuts off them bumper beam.



Bye Bye bumper beam



Next I pulled off the muffler so that I could get to the bottom bolts for mounting the hitch. Just had to loosen 2 bolts on the pipe and slide the rubber hangers off. FYI, I have the SPT exhaust on my car so the OEM one might look a little different.



Bye Bye muffler



Next I slide the bracket for the hitch into the frame rail where the bumper beam used to be. There are 2 holes in the bottom of the car, and 1 inside the hatch floor that this piece is supposed to bolt to. Unfortunately only 1 of the holes lined up. This picture is the hole from inside the hatch area. It is hard to see from the pic, but the hole was only a little off. There is also a hole on the bottom of the car that was way off. I ended up having to drill new holes for these bolts. I didn't take pics from the bracket on the bottom of the car, but it was fairly easy to hold the bracket on the bottom in the correct place and then drill the hole. The sheet metal is thin, so drilling the holes only took a few mins. Drilling the one under the car is fun since you have hot metal shavings flying in your face as you drill. Eye protection is a must!
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:05 AM   #3
corrie
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Next I bolted up the brackets in the back to the six studs left over from the bumper beam. Then using 4 bolts, the reciever of the hitch bolts between the 2 brackets.



Next I loosely placed the bumper cover back on to check for fitment. The bumper cover hits the hitch where it hangs down from the car and needed to be trimmed about 2 inches back. I was able to mark the area to cut by holding the facsia up and using a sharpie.



The bumper cover hits the hitch in the area of the exhaust cutout. The bumper cover still fits, but it presses down on the cover a bit. So far I haven't cut out around the exhaust until I decide if this bothers me enough. You can see from the picture how the air dam is pressed downward near the exhaust cutout.



This is the bracket that is at the base of the seats inside the hatch area. I had to trim the bracket a bit to make it fit over the spot where the hitch bolt was. This is made out of really thin sheet metal, so it was easy to trim with tin snips.



Same bracket on other side of the car.




Final installed pics.



I haven't tackled the wiring yet, will be working on that tomorrow.

Overall it ended up taking about 4 hours to complete. Taking off the bumper beam was a pain due to the rusty bolts that I couldn't get a socket over. I had to drill 4 holes and modify a few things along the way, but overall it fit well. The end result looks pretty good, and doesn't mess up the looks of the car too much.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:12 PM   #4
- Dash -
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- Damn bro thats friggin CLEAN!! I totally love it!!

....hmmm I might have to weld myself a new bumper beam anyhow, just because I am jelous!!
-Dash
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:16 PM   #5
dwf137
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awesome write up. I love it.

but be careful of those rear corners now, those things will dent like crazy....
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:04 PM   #6
naimouasta
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looks good. on the forester, does it take the place of the bumper beam also? or is it an add on?
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:06 PM   #7
corrie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naimouasta View Post
looks good. on the forester, does it take the place of the bumper beam also? or is it an add on?
Yeah it installed just like it would on the Forester, except for a few missing bolt holes. Only reason to use the Forester hitch is because Subaru doesn't make one for the Impreza 08+.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:50 PM   #8
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what do you tow with that? or use that for? bikes?
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:37 PM   #9
naimouasta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrie View Post
Yeah it installed just like it would on the Forester, except for a few missing bolt holes. Only reason to use the Forester hitch is because Subaru doesn't make one for the Impreza 08+.
ic, so missing the bumper beam shouldn't be too much of a problem. i just would be scared about the bumper cover popping inward. my brother was looking into this for his.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:31 PM   #10
P.Rico
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Very nice work, and informative. However, there are bolt on hitches available for 08+ WRX's (unless I'm missing something...), found one on UHaul.com and several on Trailerhitchuniverse.com when trying to look for one for carrying bikes. Haven't gotten to purchasing one yet, though.
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Old 04-20-2010, 01:29 AM   #11
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There are bolt-ons for the 08+ WRXs. And Subaru actually makes one, but they don't sell it in the US for some reason. I heard it had to do with the crash test rating. http://www.subaru.com.au/models/impr...h/accessories/ -> Cargo & towing -> Tow Bar. It's rated to ~1400 lbs w/o trailer brakes, ~2645 lbs with brakes.
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:29 AM   #12
corrie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRXSIG View Post
what do you tow with that? or use that for? bikes?
So far I haven't towed anything, but my plan is to get a utility trailer so I can make trips to Lowes/HD and stuff like that. I am always doing something around the house that needs something large like a new door, 2x4's, mulch, etc. Getting a hitch and utility trailer is much cheaper than buying, insuring and paying taxes on a pickup truck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by P.Rico View Post
Very nice work, and informative. However, there are bolt on hitches available for 08+ WRX's (unless I'm missing something...), found one on UHaul.com and several on Trailerhitchuniverse.com when trying to look for one for carrying bikes. Haven't gotten to purchasing one yet, though.
I looked at the eTrailer/Uhaul/Etc ones, but they hang down really low and are much more visible from the back of the car. I also feel like the Subaru OEM one is much more securely attached. If you look at how the aftermarket ones are attached, they are not nearly as strong.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:35 PM   #13
nevets89
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i want a tow hitch for my car but idk if i want to go through all the trouble especially since i'm not as handy as you seem to be
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:49 PM   #14
WinterSubie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwal View Post
There are bolt-ons for the 08+ WRXs. And Subaru actually makes one, but they don't sell it in the US for some reason. I heard it had to do with the crash test rating. http://www.subaru.com.au/models/impr...h/accessories/ -> Cargo & towing -> Tow Bar. It's rated to ~1400 lbs w/o trailer brakes, ~2645 lbs with brakes.
I asked a dealer and he agreed, it actually voids the warranty in the US by adding a hitch. Which seems stupid since it can handle light loads like bike racks and since they make hitches for it.
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:11 AM   #15
corrie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WinterSubie View Post
I asked a dealer and he agreed, it actually voids the warranty in the US by adding a hitch. Which seems stupid since it can handle light loads like bike racks and since they make hitches for it.
Voids the warranty for what? That dealer is full of crap if they think your whole warranty is void because of you having a hitch. Yeah the power window motor burned out because you put a hitch on the back..I'd like to see them claim that
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrie View Post


I haven't tackled the wiring yet, will be working on that tomorrow.
any updates on wiring?
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:56 PM   #17
WinterSubie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrie View Post
Voids the warranty for what? That dealer is full of crap if they think your whole warranty is void because of you having a hitch. Yeah the power window motor burned out because you put a hitch on the back..I'd like to see them claim that
Haha no just for drivetrain damage. I guess there's a lot of idiots who try and pull big a$$ trailers with small cars.
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Old 04-29-2010, 01:11 PM   #18
corrie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmbmusic View Post
any updates on wiring?
Wiring is done, got that finished last week just never came back to write about it here.

The wiring was a total pain. The biggest problem is that all the interior parts are made of such cheap plastic that everything I touched wanted to break. I didn't take any pictures, but I can tell you the basic steps.

Our cars definitely don't have the connected that the Forester does, so splicing into the factory wiring was required. I looked around to find out where the wiring ran and where to splice into it. After digging around a bit, I found that wires for the rear curtain airbags are wrapped together in the same wiring bundle and harnesses that goes to the rear taillights.

Not wanting to risk messing with the wrong wire and setting off the airbags, I decided to splice the wiring right at the back of the taillights. What I ended up doing was to pull off the back taillights (2 screws next to the hatch weatherstripping and they pull straight back). Then I popped out the rubber grommet that the wiring goes through. I pulled the wiring far enough back so that I could get a vampire tap onto it and then fished a wire down to the spare tire area. After I hooked up all the wires I needed on each side, I pushed the wiring back through the hole in the body and pushed the grommet back into place.

I then connected these up to the trailer wire controller that came with the forester hitch. After that I needed to run a 12V battery connection to power the trailer light controller. I used an "add a fuse" device that I bought off of Amazon to piggyback off an existing fuse. Using a multimeter to find a fuse that was always powered, I then connected the wire up with the "add a fuse" inside of the fuse box on the drivers side under the instrument panel. I popped up the sill plate trim in the door openings on the driver side and ran the wiring to the trunk area through there.

Running the flat connector for the trailer under the car required that I trim some of the sheet metal heat shield over the muffler. There was simply no room to run it out the back of the car with the stock heat shield in place. A quick trim with some snips took car of it.

After that I used a test light to make sure the wires all worked and I was done. All told it took a few hours but finally it is finished
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Old 04-29-2010, 01:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwal View Post
There are bolt-ons for the 08+ WRXs. And Subaru actually makes one, but they don't sell it in the US for some reason. I heard it had to do with the crash test rating. http://www.subaru.com.au/models/impr...h/accessories/ -> Cargo & towing -> Tow Bar. It's rated to ~1400 lbs w/o trailer brakes, ~2645 lbs with brakes.
the vehicle is rated at that, not the hitch... The hitch is probably a class 2 with a 1 1/4 drawbar receiver. (class I hitches are 2000 pounds max, class 2 is 3500)

Only reason i know... Hitches are never rated with a brake vs non brake rating. You always assume you don't have brakes when it comes to the safety of the hitch itself.
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Old 07-12-2010, 10:36 PM   #20
JTraction
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Excellent DIY! There's definitely pros and cons to this install. I'm trying to figure out a bike rack solution and I know that other bolt on hitches (etrailers.com etc) are a bit of an eyesore, don't fit perfectly, and aren't the easiest to put on when you've got a bigger exhaust. I think I'll end up going the roof rack route and get the factory cross bars. Thanks for this writeup.
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Old 07-30-2010, 01:19 PM   #21
Zingeris
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Anybody know what year Forester hitch is the best to use and the price of the hitch? I am deciding to tackle this job for my 2010 wrx so i could tow my dirtbike to and from the track
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:13 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zingeris View Post
Anybody know what year Forester hitch is the best to use and the price of the hitch? I am deciding to tackle this job for my 2010 wrx so i could tow my dirtbike to and from the track
You'd have to use the hitch assembly from an 09+ Forester.
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:22 PM   #23
Zingeris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyG View Post
You'd have to use the hitch assembly from an 09+ Forester.
are you 100% sure? and what about the wiring? also if i put in this hitch myself, will it by any chance void the warranty i have on the car because it is a modification of the car?
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:34 PM   #24
corrie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zingeris View Post
are you 100% sure? and what about the wiring? also if i put in this hitch myself, will it by any chance void the warranty i have on the car because it is a modification of the car?
If you want to use the OEM hitch, then yes you need one for an 09+ forester. There are aftermarket ones meant specifically for the WRX/Impreza, but I didn't like the look of them as much, which is why i used the Subaru one.

As far as the warranty goes, the official word from Subaru is that they DON'T recommend using our cars for towing, so you could have issues if you try to claim warranty for a clutch or something like that since they could claim that towing ruined it.

For the wiring, it was a real pain in the butt, but it is possible to do. You have to run a wire up to the front of the car for BATT+ always on power for the converter, and then find and tap the wires in the back for the taillight feeds.
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:37 PM   #25
TFBHTMFSNE
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Nice work!

Of course, you had better hope you have no problems with your clutch, trans, etc. From your owner's manual:

Trailer towing
Your vehicle is neither designed nor
intended to be used for trailer towing.
Therefore, never tow a trailer with your
vehicle.
SUBARU assumes no responsibility for
injuries or vehicle damage that may result
from trailer towing, from any trailer towing
equipment or from any errors or omissions
in the instructions accompanying such
equipment. SUBARU warranties do not
apply to vehicle damage or malfunction
caused by trailer towing.
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