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Discussion Starter #1
I tried to install the honda hitch and had a few problems. Did the cutout, then tried the mounting. There were two major problems. First, the holes didnt align. After starting the bolts by threading one side partially, the other side was off by 1 bolt hole diameter. I found I could get the bolts in the other side if someone pulled real hard on the hitch toward the rear of the car, thereby bending the hitch slightly. I dont know if the hitch arms bent slightly or the part against the inside rear bumper straigtened out better. Did others find this problem also? Second, after wrenching the bolts in, I noticed that the part that goes against the underneath of bumper was already touching before I could wrench the bolts tight. In other words, there was a .25" gap between the car and the hitch where the 8 large bolts connect. I started to torque the bolts harder so that the hitch would seat firmly against the car, but then started hearing creaking/cracking sounds. This is akin to what happens when your wood rafters shift during seasonal changes. After the second noise, I stopped and backed off torqueing the bolts. It seems that it there is a misalignment vertically of .25", then either the hitch has to bend and/or it puts stress on the connection between the bumper and the frame of the car. Not knowing how the bumper frame is welded to the auto, I am left wondering whether to finish torqueing the bolts despite these cracking noises or should I simply pull the hitch out and get a replacement. It isnt that hard except for the fact that it doesnt fit well and that takes a long time, eg 2 installs?

THX
 

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First off, who is this "someone" who was able to bend the hitch:eek: (and please don't tell me its your wife)?
My experience was that the hitch lined up reasonably well. As directions state, just "start" and don't "tighten" bolts until all are in place. Sounds like you got either a bum hitch (hopefully) or the holes are out of whack on your Pilot (which would be a problem). I believe there was another thread where someone encountered similar problem and exchanged for another factory hitch (you might want to do a search or see below).
My advise would be to return it. Oh, and don't forget to drop a case of beer off as compensation for your "assistant". Sounds like the type of person you want to keep on your good side. Follow this thread for some guidance side.http://www.honda-pilot.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=554
 

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Hitch

I did not have these problems.
The bolt alignment is a bit touchy, but eveything lined up at he end.
Maybe your hitch got bent in shipping?
I would call where you got it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
THX for the replies

Actually I put in the bolts on one side, then pulled the hitch while my wife started the bolts on the other side. It sounds like I got a bad hitch. I will give Tim a call at HondaAcuraworld. The biggest pain is now I need to remove the old hitch and reinstall the new one. It would be okay to do it once, but twice is too much. That hitch is really heavy for one person. I ended up using foam blocks and boxes to support it underneath. The only tricky part is lifting it to go over the muffler tailpipe.
 

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Hitch

I put a rag on the muffler and used that to hold one end, while I started the end bolt on the left.
Then put one bolt on right. Then just worked back and forth leaving everything loose.
When all 8 were stared, I tightened them up till there was only 1/8" gap, then did the 4 at the back.
All in all, it took me about 45 min.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No noises?

So no one heard cracking noises while installing? The part of the hitch that contacts the rear bumper sounds like it fit ok on most people's install.
 

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Did you forget the shims? (Hitch)

Did you put the two shims in before tightening the bolts?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
no shims needed

I didnt even get that far. By the time the hitch was bottomed (or topped) against the rear bumper, there was still .25" space left, way more than the spacer thickness. When I started torquing the bolts even more, I started hearing the cracking sounds. Thats when I stopped, fearing that I might start cracking welds on the body frame. (If the rear bumper has to pushed up .25" relative to the auto frame, then either the hitch has to bend or the frame has to. ) I didnt like those choices, so I stopped.
 

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Installation Trick

Here's a trick for holding the hitch up during installation:

I used two plastic 10 gallon buckets to hold up each end of the hitch while I started the bolts. (One on each side) The buckets just fit under the bumper, so you don't have to lift the hitch very far to start the bolts. I was able to install the hitch alone using this method.

The center bolts were tough to get started, but I was able to get them in.

N_Jay is right, put a rag over the muffler to prevent scratching the hitch.
 

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I had a similar problem

Knowledgebase Link

My hitch wasn't as badly warped as yours, but the holes would not line up properly. Apparently, this is not too uncommon. Someone reported that ~10% of Honda hitches have fit problems.

The problem is almost certainly the hitch - a cheap welded product, not the chassis - a heavily tooled structure.

Kit
 
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