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Procedure for those who want it
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Posted by Noel [Email] (#876) [Profile/Gallery] (more from Noel) on Wed, 8 Sep 2010 07:12:24 Share Post by Email
In Reply to: Trailer hitch., Noel [Profile/Gallery] , Tue, 7 Sep 2010 15:31:03
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This is for the DrawTite hitch, but others will be similar. The directions that come with the hitch are fine, but a couple of tricks will make it easier. This is on a '03 SportWagon, but I think all 9-5s are about the same.

Get the car up on stands or ramps. Chock the front wheels. If on ramps, set the e-brake and put the car in park or in gear. As the directions say, get the spare tire, jack, etc., out of the trunk. Remove the tow loop/tie down. Keep the nuts--you'll need them for the hitch.

The kit has 3 carriage bolts, three 1/2 inch by 2.5 inch backing plates, three washers, three nuts and two square backing plates/spacers. The illustration with the hitch shows where they go. Note that 1 carriage bolt is shorter than the others so be sure you get them in the proper places. Get out your safety glasses to keep grit out of your eyes as you'll be doing this on your back looking up.

Under the back end of the car you see the "frame rails" on each side, to which you'll bolt the ends of the hitch. There is an oval slot in each rail, with a bolt hole 3-4 inches in front of and behind the slot on the right side, and only behind the slot on the left. The carriage bolts, with the rectangular backing plates under them, go into the frame rails through the oval holes and the bolts comes out through the holes. The trick is getting the bolts and plates to and through the holes.

Put the bolt and backing plate together and put them through the oval slot. Push them toward the hole you're trying to fill. I used my fingers and a stiff wire. You can get it close, but it can be a little awkward to line up the bolt with the hole. You have to fiddle a bit to line it up-- the stiff wire helps. I used a telescoping magnet (the kind you use to retrieve parts that have fallen into places you can't reach) to grab the end of the bolt and pull it through the hole. You have to work around the tailpipe on the left side.

The instructions with the DrawTite hitch say to loosely hang the hitch from the two center bolts that originally held the tow loop to the spare tire well, before doing the bolts in the frame rails, but I found this made access to the bolt holes in the rails harder--the hitch was in the way. So I did the bolts in the frame rails first, then mounted the hitch with just one of the center bolts, using a couple of turns to hold it in place. Then it pivots so you can align the ends with the carriage bolts coming out of the frame rails. Doing it this way you just have to be careful not to push the carriage bolts back up into the rails. Once the frame rail bolts have nuts on them, put on the second center bolt, torque everything down (specs are in the directions) and you're done. Thinking back on this, if you loosely mounted the hitch with ONE of the center bolts first, you'd be able to pivot the hitch out of the way as you work the bolts through the frame rail. That'd work OK, too. Whatever is easier for you.

You do need to plug the hole left by one of the bolts for the OEM tow/tie-down loop. I just used duct tape until I can find a rubber plug.

The wiring is plug-and-play if you get the harness from Taliaferro/Genuine Saab. It plugs into the existing socket under the trunk floor, and you're good to go. Total time is about an hour or so for the whole job.

The receiver bar is the one thing you need to pay attention to. I got the hitch from eTrailer but figured I'd use the receiver bar and ball from the factory hitch on my 9K. But it was too deep, so that the hole for the locking pin wouldn't line up. I got a bar with a 2" rise made by Reese at the parts store, but it wasn't long enough and put the ball just an inch from the bumper. A different Reese bar with a 5/8" rise was longer and did the job fine.

Good luck. Hope this helps

_______________________________________ Noel 1999 9-3 SE auto (daily driver) 1996 9000 CSE 5 speed (soon to leave) 2003 9-5 Linear SportWagon (wife's) 1984 C900 4 door Base model (RIP) 1995 9000 CS (sold) 1996 9000 CS (RIP) 2000 9-3 SE (RIP)

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