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Oh, o.k. i thought that the weather tite cases were part of the rack and then you put your own suitcases inside of them. I dont think the mrs. wants her samsonite hanging out out in the elements. Maybe thats why God made garbage bags.
The first leg of the trip, I covered the suitcases with plastic trash bags, to protect them from the soot, which turned out to not be a problem. The rest of the trip, they were just hanging out there. No leaks, no soot, no problem.
 

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Last night, I installed my Draw-tite hitch.

I was going to post my experiences in a separate thread, but this thread IS the "end all, be all" trailer hitch thread.

As I said before, I bought the Draw-tite hitch
http://www.draw-tite.com/fitguides/d...ID=24833&dlr=0
http://www.draw-tite.com/fitguides/pdf/N24833.pdf

It cost me $160, shipped directly to my house. I forget where I bought it from, but they had a different SKU from Draw-tite, but a phone call confirmed I would be ordering 24833 for a Pontiac Solstice GXP.

In the box was everything as advertised: two bolt leaders, all the bolts, washers, nuts, and plates. The instructions just like the PDF above. Of course the hitch, plus the drawbar and pin w/ clip.

Total installation time, including cleanup: 2 hours + 5 small cuts on my hands (plastic fascia material is pretty sharp).

I used drive-on ramps to get under the rear of the car.

Some tips and my experience during the install:

You do have to clip the corners off your fascia if you have a GXP.

Do not think you might be able to do it without lowering the muffler (my car has stock muffler). I tried getting the rubber muffler attachments off without lube at first. This is a bad idea. Use plenty of lube, and I remembered a tip from doing exhaust changes in the shop: glass cleaner makes GREAT lube for rubber parts. Spray liberally, and be patient, they will come off, you just have to really push them a long ways before they pop over the end. Use lube liberally for re-installation, too.

Your muffler, if you have a GXP, will not drop down very far. The lower valence panel prevents it from dropping out of the car. I recalled that we have to disconnect the flex coupling at the front, then slide the assembly forward a few inches to get the cat-back out of a car, so don't expect it to come right out once you disconnect the rubber hangers.

After staring at the hitch for several minutes, I found that you just wrestle it around your exhaust pipes and lower valence panel. Since I had disconnected the muffler hangers, the muffler would move a couple inches each direction, so I concluded I could just work one side then the other in. Eventually, you will have your hitch hanging sort of in place.

Then comes the time to fish the bolts. I wrestled with the left side first. Found out that you have to set the plate first over the hole, then I spent 15 minutes trying like hell to fish the end of the leader through that small hole from the larger, rearward hole. Eventually, I got it. Then, carefully insert the plate in the oval hole, and work it back until the square hole lines up well enough. Turns out the left side has a hexagonal hole behind the oval mounting hole, so it was easier to fish the bolt through.

THEN, put the leader holes through the mounting holes in the hitch. The reason to do this is because you might push the bolts right up into the frame rail.


My next step was to raise the hitch, start the nuts for the left side. I used a jackstand to hold it in place. Do not mess with the washers just yet, this is just to get your left side started while you fish the right hand bolts.

When it came time to fish the right hand bolts, I learned something that should help. Maybe it is obvious to others, but my first job as an engineer is to make things more difficult by a factor of at least 10. :)

First, I spent several minutes, with the hitch in the way, trying to fish the end of the leader through the forward plate and hole, without accidentally pushing the plate way into the rail and without injuring myself or use too much foul language.

Then, a light went on.

Here is the big tip for fishing the bolts:

-First, stick the plate in through the rearward oval hole, and set your plate for the small forward hole.
-Second, take your leader WITHOUT the bolt, and stick it into the rail through your forward hole and plate, SPRING END FIRST.
-Third, simply fish the spring end backward into the rearward oval hole, it takes about 15 seconds, and screw your bolt onto the spring, and pull it through into the forward hole.

Much easier than blind fishing a wire from a large hole into a small hole with stuff in the way.

Then, the rearward oval hole is about 5 seconds:

-First, screw your bolt onto the leader.
-Second, insert the bolt into the rail through the oval hole. Put it in a few inches.
-Third, string your plate onto the wire end of the leader through the square hole in the plate.
-Fourth, insert the plate through the oval hole into the rail, while it is strung on the leader, and get it positioned over the hole with the wire end of the leader handing out..
-Fifth, simply pull the bolt back through your plate.

I wish I knew that before. It would have made the left side much easier.

The rest is getting the washers and the nuts on. It is a pain, but not impossible. Use a screwdriver to hold the washer while you work the nuts on. And for Heaven's sake, do not push the bolts up into the rail.

Remember to use plenty of lube to reinstall the rubber muffler hangers.


Some observations:

Once installed, it fits well, especially since the valence panel is dark grey.

I can see it will be difficult to work on the muffler or remove the muffler without first removing the hitch. I just hope that the bolts do not get pushed into the rail during any type of repair that requires the muffler to be removed, which is just about any type of work such as fuel tank removal, differential service, replacing the crossmember, etc.


Next up is wiring a 4-way connector for trailer lights. Anyone who has a good link to wiring diagrams or instructions for a Solstice, please post it here. I assume I get to the light wires at the outside/rear of the rail where the connectors are.
Thank you for the nice write up, Steve. I got my Draw-Tite installed in about an hour. I did have somebody helping me, so that came in handy moving the exhaust side to side and holding up the hitch. I used your advice and got a set of Rhino ramps. I did get the large ones and that helped with the 245mm section width tires.

I found that fishing the bolts and plates into the frame rails to be very easy. It was a bit nerve racking while I tried to not push them into the frame.

It was a lot easier than I thought, and I enjoyed the process. I'm going to be using the hitch for my bike rack, so all of you have contributed to my well being!
 

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I also installed the Draw-tite hitch. I found the instructions to be straight forward and had no issues with installation on my 2008 2.4 NA. I found that driving the rear wheels up on some lengths of 2x10 lumber was sufficient to install the hitch without ramps and/or jacks.

I purchased the hitch for use with a bike rack. I chose the Hollywood Pro-rider rack because it has a fork mounted configuration. It was also a lot cheaper than similar Thule/Yakima/Saris fork mount racks. It will handle one or two bikes. I put the front wheel in a wheel bag that rides shot gun. Accessories are available for mounting the wheel on the rack as well. Rack just barely clears the rear of the car in the UP position. Pictures below:









 

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I installed mine a few weeks back. It take a few hours to complete the job. I painted it to match the car to be a little different.



 

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I just installed the new curt hitch.They dont show one for the gxp,but when i called them they said to buy the one for the saturn redline. The part # is 11114. This hitch looks much nicer than the square tubing one from draw-tite or even the older model for the solstice.They used 2" round tubing instead of square tubing,and the reciever comes back a bit farther. I did have to trim a bit of the facia where the muffler tips protrude. I have norms fascia on so if i had the stock one on you may not have to trim anything. You do have to drill a hole in the frame,for 2 of the rear bolts but the install was pretty simple. The exhaust did have to be lowered and then lifted together with the hitch to be reinstalled. Fish wires were provided. All in all a very nice looking hitch.(if hitches can look nice)
 

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i went with the Curt 11114 yesterday as well. install was difficult but i had never done one before.

you do need to trim the interior corners of the molding near the exhaust on both sides.

i added the sportrack EZ2 bike rack for 2 wheeled transport.
 

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MG owners stick on hitches once in awhile and they also create trailers that suit the cars. One popular one is the rear of another MG on wheels.

I wonder if someone could incorporate the rear body of a Solstice into a trailer?

 

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says the man who hasnt posted pics off the faceplates in the radio thread!

here is the hitch

and the bike rack
Yeah, yeah, yeah... beat a man while he's down. Photos are still on my camera. PM me with your email and I'll wing 'em to ya.

Meanwhile, back on topic, I really like the look of the round-tube hitch. However, it looks from the photos that it comes down lower than the square-tube Drawrite one. Less clearance is bad :) Can you tell me/us what the ground clearance actually is?

I have the square one on order, if the round one is the same height, then I'd want to cancel my order. Thanks.
 

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Hopefully this isn't a dupe, but does anyone know if will this fit with Norm fiberglass rear ends or do slight modifications have to be made?
 

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Discussion Starter #74
I'm not sure I like the looks of the new Curt Hitch... sits lower and right now my older version is perfect in height for stock setup. As I've lowered the car it's not as ideal anymore (tips the trailer forward in tow), and with the hitch in the new version lower than the old, I'm thinking I'd start dragging somewhere.
 

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Ok one question, I have covered all the bases as far as hitch installation goes and I located a trailer at Harbor Freight. My question. What is a real safe speed to pull the trailer at? Harbor Freight says max speed is 55 mph.. Id like to go at least the speed limit. Any suggestions? here is what Harbor Freight offers.


600 Lb. Capacity 78" Tag-Along Trailer




600 lb. load capacity for automotive and 200 lb. maximum capacity for motorcycle use
16.6 cubic feet of storage space
Heavy duty 4.80 x 8" tires
Universal 1-7/8" ball coupler
Leaf spring suspension system
Self-assisted hydraulic struts for easy lid opening
Lockable shell includes two keys and has two additional side latches
Includes coupler, safety chain, wiring harness, trailer light kit, and license plate holder
55 MPH maximum towing speed
 

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Ok one question, I have covered all the bases as far as hitch installation goes and I located a trailer at Harbor Freight. My question. What is a real safe speed to pull the trailer at? Harbor Freight says max speed is 55 mph.. Id like to go at least the speed limit. Any suggestions? here is what Harbor Freight offers.
. . .

55 MPH maximum towing speed
55 MPH is the legal speed limit (unfortunately) for any vehicle pulling a trailer in California. But it seems to be loosely enforced. I see people pulling trailers around where I live (southern California) at 70 quite frequently.

BTW, I have seen the trailer at Harbor freight. It is a basic small-wheeled utility trailer. I would think that the safety of pulling the trailer at speed would be primarily a function of the tires and bearings. If you have a choice, get the larger wheels - 12" vs 8", and you should have no problem.

I have bought quite a few small tools at Harbor with no problems.
 

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Yeah, yeah, yeah... beat a man while he's down. Photos are still on my camera. PM me with your email and I'll wing 'em to ya.

Meanwhile, back on topic, I really like the look of the round-tube hitch. However, it looks from the photos that it comes down lower than the square-tube Drawrite one. Less clearance is bad :) Can you tell me/us what the ground clearance actually is?

I have the square one on order, if the round one is the same height, then I'd want to cancel my order. Thanks.
so the clearance is 7.5"

it is by no mens the lowest thing on the car. the suspension arm connection is lower and so is the main exhaust pipe coming from the front.

i think two things might be effecting the pic.

1) the angle

2) the fact that i was conservative in my valence trimming, and there is still upward pressure on it from the hitch crossbar which may be pushing it up a little, making the hitch look lower.

i cant find any other posted clearance numbers, so i don't know how 7.5" compares.
 

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55 MPH is the legal speed limit (unfortunately) for any vehicle pulling a trailer in California. But it seems to be loosely enforced. I see people pulling trailers around where I live (southern California) at 70 quite frequently.

BTW, I have seen the trailer at Harbor freight. It is a basic small-wheeled utility trailer. I would think that the safety of pulling the trailer at speed would be primarily a function of the tires and bearings. If you have a choice, get the larger wheels - 12" vs 8", and you should have no problem.

I have bought quite a few small tools at Harbor with no problems.
I agree, upgrade tires. Short wheelbase vehicle + trailer with cheap tires + speed = danger Will Robertson, danger!
 
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