We bought a 2018 GMC Terrain to replace our Dodge Caravan which was totaled by insurance after a relatively minor collision. The Terrain is great, but we need more space to move two of the kids to college this year. Originally we intended to rent a minivan for the drive, but it was $1400 for the minivan. The smallest UHaul truck was $3400. We didn’t need a lot of extra space, but some, so I decided to add a hitch to the Terrain and use one of those cargo carriers in the back. If needed I could rent a small pull behind trailer, those were only around $700 one-way. Yeah, I know this isn’t motorcycles. Get over it.
I ordered a Draw Tite hitch from etrailers.com waaaaay back on July 3. I’m glad I ordered early because it took almost a month to get here. Sure I could have taken it to the shop and had someone else do it, but with quotes of $250 for the install, I decided I could figure it out. Some encouraging words from friends told me I could do it for sure.
For our car, it was relatively straight forward:
- First step- jack up your car. Block the front wheels and support with jack stands.
- Remove a couple trim screws from the rear fascia
- Unbolt the two rear muffler supports and unhook the exhaust support just in front of the muffler. Wrangle the rear mounts around the fascia so it hangs low while supported with a strap.
- Run the pull wire through the mounting plate and lightly thread the bolts onto the end. Fish the bolts and mounting plates through the frame rails (3 per side, super easy with the wire fish from etrailers.com).
- ‘Threaded’ end of the wire through the small hole first, then push it through the ‘big’ hole in the rail.
- ‘Threaded’ end of wire through the plate, then attach the bolt.
- Push the plate and bolt through the big hole, and pull to the small hole.
- I taped the loose ends of the wire pulls out of the way while I worked on the other side so they wouldn’t get pulled or bumped.
- My car has a wire harness zip tied to a mount on the frame rail, which I cut off and pushed the harness out of the way.
- This was the tricky part- maneuver the hitch around and above the muffler. It was awkwardly heavy and hard to lift from a sitting/kneeling position while also trying to avoid putting pressure on the dangling muffler. Some blocks of wood helped me align it.
- Thread the pull wires through the mounting holes in the hitch.
- Lift again, support with wood, I used my floor jack to carefully and slowly align one of the bolt holes until I could get one washer/nut on finger-loose.
- Carefully wiggle and lift the hitch with a jack while keeping the pull wires and bolt-ends aligned until you can get 1 or 2 nuts on finger tight.
- Lift into place, tighten bolts finger tight. Remove supports and jack. Tighten bolts with ratchet to GNT. Reattach wire harness from step 5.
- Torque nuts to specified ft lbs (50, for me).
- Reinstall muffler/exhaust mounts.
- Reinstall rear fascia.
- Install cargo hauler for picture and then spend 10 minutes trying to pull it back off.
It took me about two and a half hours end to end Saturday morning. Probably would’ve been faster if I’d asked a friend to help, but I’m dumb and like to do things alone. It was all pretty straight forward except for the whole positioning and maneuvering the hitch above the muffler. I couldn’t really figure that part out so I had to watch the install video from etrailers.com.
Don’t forget to order a hitch pin or get one local!