I-wagons 14+ forester factory trailer hitch install instructions


Well-known member
So, my Subaru hitch didn't come with directions. Joel did email them to me after I was almost done, so i do have them if anyone wants. Might be similar for crosstrek and imp

Difficulty: 5/10

Realistic time frame: 2 hours with no help. I was 3 standing around on the phone with Joel trying to get the directions emailed to me and went to get coffee at one point. Could've done it in an hour and 45 minutes with directions

Required tools: medium flathead screwdriver, 1/4 drive ratchet with 10mm socket and various extensions. 1/2 drive ratchet with deep 14 and 17 mm and about a4 inch extension, Flashlight, pry bar, dremel with cutting wheel, Jack stand.

Recommended tools: torque wrench, panel popping tool, fluid film

Start with cracking a beer. If you have a set of ramps, back up on them. Remove push rivets from top of wheel well area on bumper. I have no idea how they work, broke them out. Remove mud flaps if applicable. Remove 3 push rivets issuing screw driver from bottom of bumper behind wheel well, repeat on other side. Remove 2 push rivets from bottom of bumper in the center- rear. Remove one bolt each side from just before tail light. Gently pull bumper away from vehicle starting at one wheel well. There's a metric crap ton of clips all around. Bumper should pull off. Set aside. Get under the car and use pry bar to remove 2 hangers from muffler sand one just in front of rear sub frame, set muffler on Jack stand. Remove 4 bolts from heat shield, repeat other side for fxt. Set heat shield (s) aside. Using 14mm with extension remove 2 bolts per side on bumper beam and one nut per side, and throw bumper beam away. With the bumper beam removed you can see inside the frame rails. In the box there are 2 pieces that look funky. One stamped L other stamped R. Put the end with 2 threaded holes inside the frame rail and align the other holes with the stud and bolt holes the bumper beam used. Using provided new hardware, slap some nuts and bolts on the plates (finger tight) and grab 4 if the larger bolts and get underneath. In the frame rail are 2 dummy plugs per side at the very rear that need to be removed. Also, there's a weird plate and thick washer in the box that go on each side outside the frame. Offset end with washer under it goes to the front of the car. I started the bolts on this hole first. Once all 4 are in grab the actual hitch part and the remaining 4 large bolts, they thread in to the beam from the plates that you just installed. Torque all large bolts (17mm heads) to 55 ft/lbs. Then tighten the smaller bolts and nuts to 35 ft/lbs. Reinstall heat shield (good luck, the heads of the bolts through the frame made it fun) at this point, if you want to fluid film all exposed metal bits, do it up. I plastered it. Reinstall exhaust hangers. Go to your bumper. With it upside down there's some contour lines in the center that come to a transition. Cut along those lines, then about 3/4 to 1 inch straight up past the transition, then across to eachother. I highly recommend gloves, long sleeves and safety glasses for this part. Hot melted plastic went everywhere. There's some cute rubber trim stuff that hides the nasty cut you just made, slap that on, line the bumper up and test to make sure the cut you made clears the hitch. I had to trim more. Reinstall bumper and call to order any clips you broke. Crack another beer and admire the job well done and bleeding knuckles.



Well-known member
the pdf says to re torque after the first 600 miles. Good thing i torqued everything to 90 ft/lbs. I have no intention of tearing everything apart again


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