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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, thanks Kasey for your writeup on the hatchback hitch install. Even though Sedans will always rule, your writeup convinced me that I can tow with my 3, which I do need to occasionally. I will confess that even though I had your writeup in front of me (see pic) I didn't really use it. What will I tow? My motorcycle, all my shi* when I move this summer, and probably auto-x tires/rims down the road if I decide to auto-x the 3.

I used the same Curt class I hitch as Kasey (but the sedan version, obviously) that I bought on Ebay from Cap and Hitch, based in Springfield, MA. The parts #'s were 11393 for the hitch and 56011 for the wiring kit. The total cost was $139.97 for the hitch and $44.98 for the wiring kit, for a grand total of $184.95 with free shipping. Since they were in MA and I'm in NH, I ordered the parts on Saturday, they shipped Monday, and arrived on Tuesday. Awesome deal, I highly recommend them, especially if you're in New England. They have free shipping to the lower 48, but I don't know how they ship out for those farther away. Anyway, here it is, a writeup for sedan hitch installs.

Step 1: Gather all your tools. Contrary to what Kasey said, don't throw out the instructions, they are useful. I'll explain why later. Here's what my setup was:

-10mm socket
-11/16" deep socket
-Your choice of driver for above sockets
-11/16" wrench
-A second pair of hands to eliminate risk of pushing the carriage bolts into the frame rails like I almost did - I did this by myself and while its not recommended, its doable
-A pair of jackstands is also nice, but I'm used to working in cramped spaces, and didn't have 'em anyways, so I didn't use them.
-A muddy driveway (I love mud season) and some cardboard, and you should be good to go



Step 2: Install the wiring. Refer to the owners manual on how to take off the hard plastic trim. There are 4 plastic fasteners to pop out, and another two holding in the fabric trim that you'll need to pop out to peel back the fabric trim. If you don't you'll break the plastic fasteners, which is exactly what I did. Twice. See the below photo for what I'm talking about.



The kit is a plug-n-play operation, except for the ground wire. Initially, I tried grounding through one of the bolts holding the taillight assembly into the body. That didn't work, as I only got turn signals on the trailer, but no brake or tail lights. On recommendation from the local U-Haul install guy, I ended up drilling a hole into the sheetmetal behind the trim and riveting the ground wire, which resolved the brake and tail light issues. And that's it for wiring. I don't have a pic for my grounding solution, because it was dark out when I finally got around to it. But I do have one of where I located processor box, on the drivers side behind the fabric trim, close to the jack mount. The wiring to the trailer just pops out of the bottom of the hard plastic trim. You'll have to close the trunk lid of top of the wiring, as there is no suitable way to route it to underneath by the hitch. This has the added benefit though of not having your wiring exposed to the elements when not in use, especially if you're in New England in the winter time.

Here's the processor box:



Step 3: Install the bolts. The fishwire technique sounds daunting, but its pretty easy. Until Murphy's law kicks in.

Above, I said that you should need the directions. That's because they tell you what holes to put the bolts in. Had I read the instructions, or just stopped to think about what I was doing, I wouldn't have put all three bolts in the holes at the rearmost part of the chassis. But that's what I did so I had to re-do it. Before you start threading, your fishwire assembly should look like this:



Thread the fishwire through an access hole on either side of the framerail at the rearmost part of the chassis, and then through the desired hole. Slot the spacer in first and then pull the fishwire through. Sounds easy, right? Well it is for the rearmost holes, but threading the fishwire through to the front bolts is a little bit more tricky. Contrary to convention, the first bolt assemblies took me 2 minutes flat, then each subsequent one took longer and longer to do. I think the last one took me about 15 minutes. Don't be alarmed though, remember I'm an idiot. Once all 6 are in, time to install the hitch.

Threading technique:



Wrong bolt placement:



Correct bolt placement:



Step 4: Install the hitch. Like I said, this is easier with two sets of hands, but I don't have any friends so I did it myself. Use the 10mm socket to take off the bolts holding the bumper cover to the metal tabs just aft of the muffler.



I then lined up the hitch with the bolts, taking precaution not to push any of them into the framerails. If you do, godspeed getting that bolt back. Lining up the hitch took some creative foot and hip movement to keep the darn thing level, as well as persuading the exhaust to move just a little bit out of the way. But once it was lined up I threaded the nuts onto the carriage bolts, starting with the passenger side (all of them) and then moving onto the driver side. Again Murphy's law kicked in, and I had forgotten to check the bolts to see if they all threaded nicely, and of course one didn't, so I had to take a thread file to it to fix the threads. But anyway, once those are all in, tighten the nuts using the 11/16" deep socket and driver. Torque the bolts to 50 ft-lbs (I did mine in increments of 20,40,50). Props go to Curt for making a hitch where you cannot access the rearmost carriage bolts via deep socket, or regular socket. This is where the 11/16" box wrench came in. I "torqued" it to what felt like 50 ft-lbs and called it a day. Remember to install the drawbar in the "rise position" (unless you have a lowrider trailer lol). I used a 2" ball I purchased at UHaul for $8.95. And don't forget to re-install the bumper tabs.

Total system cost: $193.90

I took my school's 5x8 enclosed trailer out for a parking lot spin and the 2.0 didn't seem that fazed. Even with a couple hundred pounds of stuff, and a ~150 lb tongue weight, the suspension seemed to handle it pretty well (the stock spring rates aren't that soft). The true test will come tomorrow when I tow my 400 lb. motorcycle to the mechanic.

Final Setup (w/ stealership plate):
 

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nice write-up ! Don't know if it's same with sedan but if you are working alone the fascia tabs you take loose at the beginning are your friend when it's time to lift the bumper into place....lift bumper above fascia tabs and then reconnect them loosely with their bolts and this holds the hitch high enough to let you raise one side up to the fished bolts and attach loosely then switch to other side and lift it up.....saved me a LOT of headache 'cause I always work alone.....:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i was just afraid that the fascia brackets would break under the weight (bad) and that the hitch would fall on to my head while I'm under it (even worse). The metal tabs were not far enough rearward for me to rest the hitch on to align it, so it woulda been on the plastic, which was more flexible than I thought. Thankfully I'm still young and can get myself into uncomfortable positions (that's what she said....) for short amounts of time.
 

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Dude, Love the write up! I want to install a hitch on mine, and you just gave me the confidence to do it in the near future. Great add-ins, to keep the read interesting, BTW.


+10!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks a lot. I figured since I'm going to be graduating in June (and might be embarking on a 2-year rotational job where I move every 6-12 months), and that I'm now gonna need to haul my motorcycle around a little bit I might as well install a trailer hitch and tow a trailer instead of renting a uhaul van every time (damn their advertisements, that shit's expensive!). I towed my motorcycle to the shop today (combined weight was about 1100 lbs) and it performed great!
 

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I had one put on by the dealership before I bought my Mazda 3. Little did I know it says in the manual "Do not tow a trailer".

However, SCREW THAT. Keep it a small light weight trailer and don't pull anything that can mess up your tranny.

Thumbs up to the trailer hitch on cars!
 

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Born and lived in Stamford for 10 years. I'm installing this same setup in 2 weeks, thanks for the right up dude.
 

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Talked to my dealer.

There are no worries about warranty. Just don't pull an RV or some ungodly sized trailer and you should be fine.

They will still warranty my Drive train if ti fails with a trailer. They will know if I pulled something over the class limit.
 
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