Hey! I see you! Please take two seconds to sign up! We'd love to have you as a member of our Kia Stinger club. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain... :)

How-To: Trailer Hitch Install (and How-To: Remove the rear bumper skin)

Discussion in 'Kia Stinger How To's and Do It Yourself' started by StingEm, May 20, 2018.

  1. StingEm

    StingEm United States Active Member

    135
    34
    28
    I recently installed the Draw-Tite 24974 hitch onto my USA model Stinger 2.0 Premium. Here's the hitch: Class I Trailer Hitch

    These are the instructions provided by Draw-Tite: http://www.draw-tite.com/support/installation/N24974.pdf

    There are some errors and omissions in the instructions. I will clarify those below.

    Some helpful information:

    • First, this is going to take a long time. I was trying to figure all of this out as I went along and the entire process probably took 8 hours. I'd expect with these tips you will easily save a couple of hours off of that (and even more if the hitch was dimensionally correct), but I doubt many people would be able to do it in under 3-4 hours their first time. Etrailer rates this installation difficulty as 10/10, and I would not disagree with that. If I were going to pay someone to do this work I would want to be sure they are going to do it right and not cut any corners.
    • Second, be prepared to modify the Draw-Tite hitch. Mine had the mounting holes in the hitch misaligned. They were slightly too wide and I had to grind the inside edge of the four holes about a quarter inch inward on each hole in order to get the bolts in the bracket to line up. I used a dremel with a carbide burr and then a coarse file to clean up the holes, but a proper die grinder and burr would have been a lot faster than the dremel.
    • Third, the quality control on the Draw-Tite hitch was sorely lacking. The safety chain loop was misaligned in two dimensions and looks awful. I will eventually grind it off and either reweld it on properly or just leave it off since I don't normally use it with my bike rack anyway. That being said, even considering the modifications mentioned above I am still basically happy with the hitch. The Stinger is a complicated car to fit a hitch on with the dual exhausts and oddly shaped lower rear chassis area, and other than those two snafus the hitch fit absolutely perfectly. It also requires very minimal modification to the rear splitter and looks pretty clean (obviously excepting that stupid loop misalignment which hopefully isn't typical).
    • I would recommend having two people at the following points in the install: At the final step in removing the bumper skin in order to support it while you disconnect parking sensor plugs, and when installing the hitch since it weighs 40 pounds and is very difficult to position by yourself. You can install the bumper skin by yourself if you support it with some carboard boxes along the bottom edges, but it would probably be slightly easier with 2 people to help while reattaching it at the top.
    • Finally, the Kia factory tech info (service manual) won't be much use on this. The repair procedures for the rear bumper are for removing the entire bumper beam and bumper assembly. I would not recommend going that route when installing the hitch. Follow the hitch install instructions to remove only the skin (with the clarifications mentioned in the step-by-step below).

    Let's get started!

    • There are 2 screws to remove on the tail lights, one you can use a phillips screwdriver on through the hole in the black cover panel, and then after popping off the black cover panel you will find another one at the top of the tail light that will require a 10mm wrench (ratcheting wrench makes this faster). Carefully pull the tail light out and disconnect the electrical connector.
    • Once the tail lights are removed there is one screw and one plastic pop rivet holding the top of bumper skin under each light. 1- Tail Light screws - Copy.jpg
    • There are 12 plastic pop rivets under the bottom of the car along the edge of the bumper skin. Use a tiny flat blade screwdriver to lift up the center and pop these loose. Make sure to undo the 3 at the bottom center a few inches inside the edge where they stick up and attach to brackets on the bumper beam. The center one is a bit of a pain to remove. Just keep at it. You will get your revenge when you unbolt this center bracket and throw it away later on.
    • There are four screws in each fender well. The top one on each side can be removed with a stubby phillips, but the other 3 will either require removing the wheel or using a stubby 1/8" bit ratchet like this Neiko: https://www.amazon.com/Neiko-03044A-Ratcheting-Screwdriver-Close-Quarters/dp/B000XYOUS6 A 1/4" drive phillips socket might also work.
    • Once you have removed the 12 pop rivets on the bottom, the eight fender screws, two screws and two pop rivets at the top undone you are ready to un-snap the bumper skin from the sides of the car. Just begin pulling on one side at the fender well and it will begin to snap and pop loose from the metal quarter panel (along the top of the bumper skin). Be careful as you approach the reflector. You will want to pull up on the reflector to make it easier for that last part to pop loose. Repeat this on the other side of the car. 2- Popping loose bumper - Copy.jpg 3- Popping loose bumper reflector - Copy.jpg
    • Once you have unsnapped both sides you will notice that the bumper is still being supported at the center of the top section on the left and right sides. If you pull the top edge back and then push back the black weathertrim you will see two metal claw things holding two straps together. This is a good time to disconnect the two outside parking sensors down through the tail light holes. The center two sensors will have to be disconnected once you pry the metal claw things off, but BE VERY CAREFUL. THE PARKING SENSOR WIRES ARE VERY SHORT AND YOU COULD EASILY BREAK THEM!!
    • Begin removing one of the silver metal claws by prying it up with a flat blade screwdriver from the edges. Once you have lifted the edge a bit you can then use a pair of pliers to grab an edge and rip the metal claw off of the strap. These metal claws really dig into the plastic strap, so you will have to be forceful to get it to separate. Once the first one is off you can carefully pull the bumper back just enough to reach down inside and unplug the center sensor beneath it. Repeat this process on the other side, but be VERY CAREFUL to not let the bumper to fall back too far and damage the wiring to the remaining parking sensor. metal claw - Copy.jpg
    • The bumper skin is now off! Sweet!
    • Remove the center three lower bumper support brackets with one phillips screw in each. The middle one won't be reinstalled because that's where the hitch will sit. Removing the two on the sides will just make it easier when we're fitting the hitch. We'll reinstall them when we're done.
    • Remove the two black plastic bumper support trim pieces on the sides of the car by taking out the two 10mm bolts holding them onto the frame. You will be removing the heatshields by pulling them out the sides. Removing these two support pieces also makes it easier to install the hitch mounting brackets. 4- Side bracket - Copy.jpg
    • Now it's time to drop the exhaust. You will have to drop the exhaust as shown in the instructions in order to move the hitch into position. There's no way to avoid it. I disconnected the rubber exhaust hangers for the mufflers instead of removing the 2x M12 bolts, and I'd recommend doing it the way I did it. It makes it more convenient if you need to temporarily support the exhaust since you can just slip the hangers back on part-way.
    • All of this work can be done with the car on the ground but only if you are a fairly small human. I would be prepared to jack the back of the car up (and support with jackstands) especially when it comes time to access the 2nd set of rubber exhaust hangers in the middle of the car. I was able to do everything on a new car while it was on the ground, but if the hangers have hardened up after many miles you would either need to raise the car to get better leverage or use an exhaust hanger removal tool. I'd recommend having the exhaust hanger removal tool either way because otherwise you will be fiddling with screw drivers in tight quarters trying to pry the hangers loose. It's not impossible but it's also not fun.
    • With the car on the ground I was able to support the muffler using a couple of cardboard boxes. I initially used some wire to hang the muffler tips from the bumper beam but ultimately this interfered while trying to install the hitch, so I switched to cardboard boxes underneath. If you have the car in the air you will have to figure out some other way to support the muffler.
    • Remove the heatshields using a 10mm socket and pull them straight out the side of the car. They should come out easily with the exhaust dropped and the plastic bumper support brackets removed on each side.
    • Punch out holes for each frame nut in the black patches covering them up. Test thread the bolts into the holes to ensure you won't have problems later on. Test fit the bracket into position (don't pull in the rear bolt and plate yet), mark the rear edge of the flange that the hitch mounts to, and note visually how it sits. Remove the bracket and re-fit the heatshield onto the studs. Mark the heatshield with a sharpie based on the marks and visual notes you made from the bracket test-fit. Remove the heatshield and use some tin snips to trim it to fit. You don't need to remove nearly as much material as the instructions advise.
    • Pull in the bolt and bolt plate using the little springy fish wire, put the mounting bracket into position and install the front 3 bolts with blue loc-tite. Carefully remove the pull spring from the rear bolt and install the washer and nut (put loc-tite on the nut before installing). Once all the bolts are in place pull down on the hitch near the 3 bolts and push up on the back end by the single bolt. This will sit the bracket into the same position that the hitch will load it up. Now tighten all three bolts and the nut. Repeat this process on the other side.
    • Get a helper and lift the hitch into position. Hopefully it will align with the mounting holes in the brackets. If not, grind out the slots in the hitch until it fits. Use blue loc-tite on the nuts and tighten to spec. The center of the hitch should sit directly centered in front of the center bumper bracket at the back of the car.
    • Test fit the heatshields and make any additional modifications that are necessary. Install them once they fit. 5- Heatshield trimmed - Copy.jpg
    • Raise the exhaust back into position and push the hangers back into place.
    • Reinstall the outside two of the three lower-center bumper support brackets. The middle one won't be used anymore since the hitch is in the way. 6- Hitch in place - Copy.jpg
    • Reinstall the black plastic bumper supports on each side of the car (the ones behind the wheels).
    • Trim the 2.5" x 4" section from the bumper. I used tin snips to cut the 4" long section and then used a dremel cutoff wheel to cut the 2.5" slot at the top. Wear eye protection because plastic + cutoff wheel = broken cutoff wheel usually.
    • Test fit the bumper into place and ensure the section you removed fits over the hitch and will allow the bumper to move in far enough to get the lower pop rivets in place.
    • Put the bumper into position and support the lower edges with carbon boxes (or whatever works for you).
    • Re-connect the two parking sensors on one side, and then begin attempting to install the metal claw that holds the two straps together on that side. You may need to expand the teeth of the metal claw slightly using a flat bade screwdriver before attempting to reinstall it. Use the flat blade screwdriver to press down hard on it until you get it to re-attach. This will likely be very frustrating, but you will eventually get it. Be careful not to pull the bumper out too far and do not let the bumper fall! This would probably damage the parking sensor wiring.
    • Repeat this process on the strap on the other edge after reconnecting the two parking sensors on that side.
    • Snap the bumper edges into position and reverse the disassembly process for the bumper skin.
    • The job is done! Test that all four of the parking sensors are still working by covering each one separately and then putting the car into reverse each time. They should each scream and blink red when they are covered.
    Congratulations! Now go enjoy your hitch. Hopefully everything went according to plan.

    7- Hitch installed final - Copy.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. westcoastGT

    westcoastGT 5000 Posts Club!

    6,059
    2,199
    118
    Location:
    Vancouver , Canada
    Wow ! great write up !! winner winner , chicken dinner !!:thumbup::thumbup:
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  3. StingerGTT

    StingerGTT United States Active Member

    171
    65
    28
    I could be insane and wrong but I'm pretty sure in the owners manual it says in bold letters DO NOT TOW WITH THIS VEHICHLE lol but each to there own good luck with that. If I saw someone towing something with a stinger I may say WTF did I just see that !?!?!?!?! but hey tow away brother !!!
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. StingEm

    StingEm United States Active Member

    135
    34
    28
    No towing is being done. The hitch is for a bike rack. :)

    Although I’d be willing to bet a small utility trailer would be fine to pull too. You should see the kind of stuff they pull with cars in Europe!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. BahamaTodd

    BahamaTodd United States Active Member

    129
    87
    28
    Location:
    Palm Beach FL
    Both the 2.0L and 3.3L are rated to tow 1500 kg (3300 lbs) in Australia. Yes they use a different rating system, but the Stinger is capable of towing. Kia USA just decided not to have it rated. I'm sure it would do just fine with up to 1000 lbs.

    Stinger Specification | Large Cars | Kia Motors Australia
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Almqvist65

    Almqvist65 Sweden New Member

    1
    0
    1
    its the same in sweden the car is rated to 1500kg but only 1175kg on a normal driving licens B
    you can extend your driving licens to B96 then you can tow 1500kg
    nice tutorial......
     
  7. Hamburger1971

    Hamburger1971 United States Member

    51
    17
    8
    Thanks for this! I installed the hitch this weekend, and learning from your post made it better than it otherwise would have been.

    I only had to remove the mufflers from the rear hanger, that was enough clearance to remove the heat shields and install the brackets to the frame. I also could NOT get those little metal clips back onto the plastic, hopefully that won't be an issue in the long term.
     
  8. D.J.

    D.J. Canada Member

    53
    4
    8
    I know I'm years late replying, lol. Sorry bout that.

    I tow regularly with my Stinger in the summer.

    I even found a rubber plug for when not in use - so it looks less ugly :)
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  9. StingerGTT

    StingerGTT United States Active Member

    171
    65
    28
    WTF ….. poor car, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do I swear if I see a vette go up here with a trailer attached I quit lol
     
  10. Helo58

    Helo58 United States Stinger Enthusiast

    668
    241
    43
    Location:
    NC
    Don't quit...btw...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. StingerGTT

    StingerGTT United States Active Member

    171
    65
    28
    im done .... lol what's this world coming to
     
  12. Helo58

    Helo58 United States Stinger Enthusiast

    668
    241
    43
    Location:
    NC
    Haha, from what I have seen most sports cars with hitches use them for towing a small trailer with track day supplies. Wheels, tires, tools, and an air compressor. Luckily, the Stinger can fit 4 wheels/tires in the rear hatch.:thumbup::thumbup:
     
  13. StingerGTT

    StingerGTT United States Active Member

    171
    65
    28
    or the people that do this could buy a decent by no means prefect (cheap S-10) pick up truck for the price of the trailer and the hitch lol but like I said each to there own it just boggles my mind
     
  14. Hockster

    Hockster Canada Active Member

    227
    53
    28
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, CA
  15. eflyguy

    eflyguy 2500 Posts Club!

    3,153
    1,042
    118
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Some people don't have the space or desire to own a second 4-wheel vehicle.

    I've seen a fair number of "inappropriate" sporty cars with hitches at motorcycle track days. Generally, they're the iddy biddy ones and the receiver is virtually invisible with the adapter removed.

    It's also my understanding that a hitch is a KIA option in AUS.
     
  16. turboAWD

    turboAWD United States 1000 Posts Club! Sustaining Member

    1,142
    228
    63
    Location:
    NorCal
    Sure, great option once they invent a way for me to drive TWO vehicles to the track at the same time...
     
    • Like Like x 1
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.