Welcome to the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club Monday July 14, 2014
Home Forums WikiNASIOC Products Store Modifications Upgrade Garage
NASIOC
Here you can view your subscribed threads, work with private messages and edit your profile and preferences Home Registration is free! Visit the NASIOC Store NASIOC Rules Search Find other members Frequently Asked Questions Calendar Archive NASIOC Upgrade Garage Logout
Go Back   NASIOC > NASIOC General > Interior & Exterior Modification

Welcome to NASIOC - The world's largest online community for Subaru enthusiasts!
Welcome to the NASIOC.com Subaru forum.

You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community, free of charge, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is free, fast and simple, so please join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us.
* Registered users of the site do not see these ads.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-20-2014, 12:03 PM   #1
fredzy
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 317270
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Erie, PA
Vehicle:
15 WRX, WRB 6MT
14 CX-5

Default Invisible Trailer Hitch Install on 2015 WRX

So I was set on getting the new WRX, but needed to expand it's practicality. Sedan. One excellent way to do that is with a hitch. I already have several bike/cargo accessories for 1-1/4" receiver hitch so I really wanted to go that way. Knowing that the 2015 WRX would be in many ways similar to the '12+ Impreza sedan, I set out looking for a hitch for that car that would also maybe work on WRX. Someone in the forums here (sorry, can't remember/find them!) mentioned the EcoHitch.

Torklift makes an interesting product called the EcoHitch, which for the '12+ Impreza/XV Crosstrek is completely invisible once installed. You access the receiver through the little fog light knock-out (where a rear fog light would go in cars sold in countries that require them) and everything else is hidden behind the bumper. This is not only awesome for looks, but also not compromising ground clearance which is major with an already low WRX.

So after studying the installation video, pictures, and the 2015 STI Launch Edition underside at the Pittsburgh Auto Show I decided it was going to be feasible and ordered the hitch.

The hitch.

I installed it with my father in law, it probably took 4 hours total and still might not be complete. I would not recommend doing this unless - like myself - you REALLY need a hitch for a bike rack or something, and soon. It ended up being pretty involved with respect to modification of the bumper and hitch. Definitely not a novice job.

FYI - Torklift is currently looking for a guinea pig to mock up a hitch on a 2015 WRX/STI, so they may be offering a legit hitch in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled.

Most of the detail I will get into on here is the stuff that was additional to what was in the instructions.

Tools: a Saws-all, grinding wheel and Dremel tool.

Material: 1.25" diameter rubber grommets used as spacers for exhaust. Also some spray paint to cover any exposed metal created by cutting/grinding.

So we tore down the interior and removed the tails, I backed it up onto some ramps and we tore the rest apart. This all went pretty smoothly, just need to be gentle prying the bumper out of the locking tabs. Dropped the exhaust down onto some buckets - WD-40 of course key to removing muffler supports easily.

We trimmer up both heat shields, similar to what was shown in the instructions. Fit up of the hitch revealed the first problem. The chain hook loops on the hitch interfered directly with the bumper clip anchors on the spare tire well area. Since I could never use these chain hook loops, we Saws-all'd them off.



The hitch fit up well and we tightened, loosened and then tightened it down a few times. This was to help crush down the heat shields. The Torklift design calls for crushing the shield between the frame and the hitch, which I don't like, but I don't think the joint will relax and loosen.

Then the next problem - the bumper. Two clip tabs interfered with the hitch, and so we trimmed those to be more narrow - this being the only compromise made to the strength of the bumper. They may snap some cold winter day



Unfortunately this wasn't quite enough to get the bumper to clear the hitch. Faced with either slotting the bumper or cutting corners on the hitch, I decided to grind away the offending corners on the hitch as I do not believe the structural integrity of the hitch would be compromised. Sorry, no before shot, but you can imagine how much was removed by following the lines.



Also, some non-important material was removed from the fog-light knockout window to allow access to putting pins in the hitch (rather important.)



So it could all go together now, hooray! Until we found that the drivers' side muffler was touching the hitch. This is where we got out the rubber grommets. Putting these on the hanger with the rubber support would push one side exhaust away from the hitch, but the other side might get too close. We went back and forth, and after a test drive confirmed some rattling, we dropped the exhaust and went to notching the hitch with a Dremel to clear the hanger.

Before:


After:


This unfortunately weakens the hitch structure, but I doubt it will hurt enough to ever matter. I will never load this past 120lbs tongue max. It's rated 200 and surely has lots of safety margin built into it.

So with everything mounted up we had clearance everywhere except where the body of the muffler could hit the side of the hitch. We re-enlisted the grommets (you can see them to the right in the second picture, they wedge up against the hitch) and that got us 1/8" minimum clearance everywhere.

Why I say it isn't over - when the exhaust heats up, it expands and closes our gap created by grinding with the Dremel. I'm pretty sure it can hit, but I'm not so sure that I can take much more with the Dremel, or where exactly to take it. I'll see how bad the rattle is and check to see where it touches once hot, and do what I have to do then.

One nice thing, is that the fog light knock-out window situation worked out well. It sits in there solid, but a firm push will pop it inward and then you can just finangle it out. Shouldn't fall out on the road. If it does it won't be a catastrophe - looks pretty good



If you're interested in doing this and have any questions, let me know. Thanks for checking out the write-up.
* Registered users of the site do not see these ads.

Last edited by fredzy; 04-20-2014 at 12:11 PM.
fredzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2014, 02:39 PM   #2
wdubel
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 374747
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Arizona
Vehicle:
2012 FZ8
Matte Grey

Default

Good work and thanks for the detail! Hopefully I can wait until Torklift releases a model specific one but good to know how much work I'd have to tackle otherwise.
wdubel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2014, 07:02 PM   #3
eurospek
Scooby Guru
 
Member#: 96944
Join Date: Sep 2005
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Hampshire, IL
Vehicle:
2005 SAAB 9-2X AERO
4eat Stage 2 Protuned

Default

Shouldn't the hitch receiver be more centered in the fog cutout?
eurospek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2014, 07:43 PM   #4
3inchesoflove
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 379979
Join Date: Jan 2014
Default

nice work, be looking to go down this road on my 15 STI, I have about 2 months to go before I need to tow my shifter kart trailer, so hopefully they will have a revised hitch by then.
3inchesoflove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2014, 11:48 PM   #5
fredzy
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 317270
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Erie, PA
Vehicle:
15 WRX, WRB 6MT
14 CX-5

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by eurospek View Post
Shouldn't the hitch receiver be more centered in the fog cutout?
It's actually off center about 4mm to the right. The angle I took the pic at makes it look off center to the left. I could have centered it better but clearing the exhaust and bumper cover dictated where it ended up more than anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3inchesoflove View Post
nice work, be looking to go down this road on my 15 STI, I have about 2 months to go before I need to tow my shifter kart trailer, so hopefully they will have a revised hitch by then.
If you're gonna tow a trailer, you'll need to consider the issue with the chain hook loops. I'm not sure if you do things all legit or whatever, but if you do chains, that could be an issue.
fredzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2014, 11:55 PM   #6
fredzy
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 317270
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Erie, PA
Vehicle:
15 WRX, WRB 6MT
14 CX-5

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdubel View Post
Good work and thanks for the detail! Hopefully I can wait until Torklift releases a model specific one but good to know how much work I'd have to tackle otherwise.
Thanks. The rattles have me all and curing them will be a chore. It's definitely one of those things you don't want to do unless you really feel the need. My 500 mile car suddenly feels like a 100,000 mile clunker

I'm a little worried that Torklift won't release a hitch for the WRX if it's too tight and requires too much bumper cutting. It's a small market after all. Keep your fingers crossed.
fredzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 12:20 PM   #7
Torklift Central
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 387985
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Kent, WA
Default Hidden EcoHitch for 2015 Impreza WRX & STI

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredzy View Post
Thanks. The rattles have me all and curing them will be a chore. It's definitely one of those things you don't want to do unless you really feel the need. My 500 mile car suddenly feels like a 100,000 mile clunker

I'm a little worried that Torklift won't release a hitch for the WRX if it's too tight and requires too much bumper cutting. It's a small market after all. Keep your fingers crossed.
Thanks for posting what you discovered with the install. We’re working on making a hidden EcoHitch for the 2015 WRX/STI this month and will definitely have a proper fit engineered soon. Looking forward to getting it finalized ASAP.

Last edited by Torklift Central; 04-22-2014 at 12:26 PM.
Torklift Central is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2014, 09:24 PM   #8
willimprez
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 91655
Join Date: Jul 2005
Chapter/Region: E. Canada
Location: Quebec
Vehicle:
15 WRX
ISM

Default

Hurry up , I want one !

Need to get ready for car show season ASAP.

This is my setup for events :
willimprez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 01:02 PM   #9
Torklift Central
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 387985
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Kent, WA
Default Hidden EcoHitch for 2015 Impreza WRX & STI

[quote=willimprez;41833590]Hurry up , I want one !

Need to get ready for car show season ASAP.

This is my setup for events :


Looking good! We’re close to having a hidden EcoHitch engineered for the 2015 WRX/STI but still need someone to lend us the car so we can finalize it at our shop in Kent, WA. Once the hitch is finished we’ll give it to the car's owner free of charge. We can also provide a loaner car while the hitch is being developed. Let us know if you or anyone else out there might be interested.
Torklift Central is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 03:28 PM   #10
fredzy
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 317270
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Erie, PA
Vehicle:
15 WRX, WRB 6MT
14 CX-5

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Torklift Central View Post
Looking good! We’re close to having a hidden EcoHitch engineered for the 2015 WRX/STI but still need someone to lend us the car so we can finalize it at our shop in Kent, WA. Once the hitch is finished we’ll give it to the car's owner free of charge. We can also provide a loaner car while the hitch is being developed. Let us know if you or anyone else out there might be interested.
Thanks for the updates! I wish I weren't 0.9 North American Continents away, or else I would have been in your shop a few days after I took delivery of my car.

I also hope you found my feedback useful in your development.
fredzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 03:55 PM   #11
Perscitus
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 378214
Join Date: Jan 2014
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Blue Hole, Belize
Vehicle:
2010 Legacy 3.6R
GGM

Default

Nice work fredzy! It came out extra clean.

Extra points for dedication and seeing it through, in spite of the pitfalls along the way.
Perscitus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 04:08 PM   #12
jay25RS
Scooby Specialist
 
Member#: 4273
Join Date: Feb 2001
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: CT
Vehicle:
2011 GR-STI
& 2014 Legacy Ltd.

Default

Thanks for posting up fredzy! I'll have to look to see their application for a 2014 Legacy as this might sway me from getting a new Thule rack for my bike.
jay25RS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 04:13 PM   #13
Torklift Central
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 387985
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Kent, WA
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredzy View Post
Thanks for the updates! I wish I weren't 0.9 North American Continents away, or else I would have been in your shop a few days after I took delivery of my car.

I also hope you found my feedback useful in your development.
No worries. We're glad you managed to make the EcoHitch work for you. Thanks for sharing the install notes and pictures. We were curious to see what you would come up with and will definitely keep your findings in mind. We'll be looking out for more pics of how the hitch works out for you!
Torklift Central is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 04:17 PM   #14
fredzy
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 317270
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Erie, PA
Vehicle:
15 WRX, WRB 6MT
14 CX-5

Default

Thanks a lot guys, my pleasure. It's good to know Torklift will be supporting WRX for sure now, because yes it was tricky.
fredzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 05:03 PM   #15
theturtleguy
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 387113
Join Date: Apr 2014
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Torklift Central View Post
Thanks for posting what you discovered with the install. We’re working on making a hidden EcoHitch for the 2015 WRX/STI this month and will definitely have a proper fit engineered soon. Looking forward to getting it finalized ASAP.
Looking forward to this!
theturtleguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2014, 06:28 PM   #16
3inchesoflove
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 379979
Join Date: Jan 2014
Default



Now picture a WRB STI on the front end of this trailer... Come on Torklift, I need you now more than ever...
3inchesoflove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2014, 12:35 PM   #17
fredzy
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 317270
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Erie, PA
Vehicle:
15 WRX, WRB 6MT
14 CX-5

Default

I used my hitch a few times the past week and have gotten the hang of installing and removing the rack. I still use the bolt that came with my bike rack to fasten it to the hitch, with a small ring trough the end of the bolt rather than a cotter pin. (There is a little tapped block inside the bike rack stinger that the bolt actually threads into.) Limited access and room in the window renders the standard cotter pin you'd get with this size hitch pin impractical.

I thought I would have to use a regular pin, allowing the rack to wobble like hell but it turns out the bolt is the easiest way to go. It has a skinny guide pin tip that actually makes getting it "into the hole" a lot easier, and the last few turns to snug the bolt are not too time consuming with a closed-end wrench. Plus, no wobble!



I have also done a little extra grinding on the hitch to gain clearance for the muffler hangers - no more rattles! Again I advise against doing this if you are going to carry anywhere near the design loads for this hitch since there is some compromise to the hitch structure.

One big thing to note, which will be applicable on the official Tofrklift WRX hitch as well:

Consider installing the hitch off-center. My hitch is just slightly off center to the right within the fog light window due to tricky fitment. The few mm of extra clearance on the left side of the receiver has been invaluable for installing hitch pins/bolts. Gaining access from below would require more cutting of the bumper than I am comfortable with, so it's not an option for me.

If I did this over again (or if I ever take my exhaust down again) I will max the hitch out to the right (maybe 3-4 more mm available) to make as big a window on the left as possible. Getting the pin (or bolt) in takes a good deal of care and patience, and the extra room would be welcomed. Just have to be careful that it doesn't become too tight on the right to install the retainer pin in the bolt. I have big hands so it won't be a problem for everyone but it's something to keep in mind.
fredzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2014, 12:44 PM   #18
eurospek
Scooby Guru
 
Member#: 96944
Join Date: Sep 2005
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Hampshire, IL
Vehicle:
2005 SAAB 9-2X AERO
4eat Stage 2 Protuned

Default

Or you can just get a 1UP Quick Rack and you wouldn't have to mess with any bolts to secure it to the hitch.
eurospek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2014, 01:15 PM   #19
fredzy
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 317270
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Erie, PA
Vehicle:
15 WRX, WRB 6MT
14 CX-5

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by eurospek View Post
Or you can just get a 1UP Quick Rack and you wouldn't have to mess with any bolts to secure it to the hitch.
For sure, that kind internal fastening is ideal. Just gets a little pricey. Those racks are nice though. Would be great with the FS bike to not have to use the top-tube adapter. Some day
fredzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2014, 02:49 PM   #20
eurospek
Scooby Guru
 
Member#: 96944
Join Date: Sep 2005
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Hampshire, IL
Vehicle:
2005 SAAB 9-2X AERO
4eat Stage 2 Protuned

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredzy View Post
For sure, that kind internal fastening is ideal. Just gets a little pricey. Those racks are nice though. Would be great with the FS bike to not have to use the top-tube adapter. Some day
For sure. When I set out looking for a bike rack I surely did not plan on blowing $500 for it, but figured it's a once in a lifetime investment as it's a solid piece of equipment unlike all the other typical rusted out racks I see at the trailhead.
eurospek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2014, 09:47 AM   #21
bicycle_wreck
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 226331
Join Date: Oct 2009
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Knoxville, TN
Vehicle:
2012 WRX Hatch
Dirty Smurf

Default

Did you consider wrapping the exhaust hanger in heater hose? Split it with a razor, wrap the hanger, zip tie it to keep it from falling off. No more rattles. Repeat as necessary if the heater hose wears through.
bicycle_wreck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2014, 03:03 PM   #22
fredzy
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 317270
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Erie, PA
Vehicle:
15 WRX, WRB 6MT
14 CX-5

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bicycle_wreck View Post
Did you consider wrapping the exhaust hanger in heater hose? Split it with a razor, wrap the hanger, zip tie it to keep it from falling off. No more rattles. Repeat as necessary if the heater hose wears through.
I was thinking of doing something along those lines, but wanted it to be as permanent as possible. If any new rattles develop I may do something like that. Exhaust can do weird stuff.

In other news, at 40lbs, this hitch probably improves my F/R weight distribution by almost 1%
fredzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2014, 04:07 PM   #23
3inchesoflove
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 379979
Join Date: Jan 2014
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredzy View Post
I was thinking of doing something along those lines, but wanted it to be as permanent as possible. If any new rattles develop I may do something like that. Exhaust can do weird stuff.

In other news, at 40lbs, this hitch probably improves my F/R weight distribution by almost 1%
Ha, not a laughing matter... I do some rally cross and ice racing every winter and one of the racers mounted a hitch on his FRS so he could put some ballast out back to improve traction... 40lbs FTW!
3inchesoflove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2014, 04:12 PM   #24
WRX-78
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 13300
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Moncton, NB, Canada
Vehicle:
2015 WRX
World Rally Blue

Question

Can the foglight cut-out be removed without taking off the bumper? I can reach my hand behind there but unsure of how the clips are positioned. Thanks.
WRX-78 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2014, 08:30 PM   #25
nicsye
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 385676
Join Date: Mar 2014
Chapter/Region: VIC
Location: North Vancouver, BC
Vehicle:
2015 WRX
CBS

Default

[quote=Torklift Central;41837051]
Quote:
Originally Posted by willimprez View Post
Hurry up , I want one !



Looking good! We’re close to having a hidden EcoHitch engineered for the 2015 WRX/STI but still need someone to lend us the car so we can finalize it at our shop in Kent, WA. Once the hitch is finished we’ll give it to the car's owner free of charge. We can also provide a loaner car while the hitch is being developed. Let us know if you or anyone else out there might be interested.
Can someone in WA please do us all a favour and go get a free hitch??

I'm the guy up in Vancouver, BC who emailed about the hitch a month ago. I think I'll wait it out for someone else to provide an R&D loaner, it's not the best time for me to do a double-trip down there... unless it doesn't happen after another month or so... fingers crossed though!

Can't wait!

Have you guys thought about asking a local Subaru dealer to let you develop a hitch on one of their WRXs, then become the supplier of hitches for all future WRX sales where the customer wants a hitch installed? Not sure if that would work, just a thought though. My dealer told me they get all their hitches from RackAttack, so maybe you can do something similar by beating them to it?
nicsye is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Powered by Searchlight © 2014 Axivo Inc.
Copyright ©1999 - 2014, North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club, Inc.