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Tow hitch install problems

jcs3

Member
Mar 4, 2019
30
10
Massachusetts
I purchased a Curt Class 3 trailer hitch for my 2018 Model 3 from etrailer.com. While waiting for the hitch to be delivered I downloaded Curt's installation instructions from the etrailer website. The job seemed simple enough and required just a few hand tools (not even close), including a torque wrench. When the hitch arrived it was obviously a high quality item and gave me no clue what I was in for. After removing the bumper cover, bottom cover, interior trunk trim, tail light assemblies, bumper and bumper mounting plates, I mounted the hitch and remounted the bumper. So far so good. Everything after that (meaning getting the bumper cover, bottom cover, lights and interior trim back together) was an absolute horror. NOTHING fit!!! I was doing the job with a friend who has a lift to make the job easier. Both of us have extensive experience installing aftermarket accessories on cars and motorcycles over many years. We spent hours trying different things in an attempt to figure out what we were doing wrong. In the end we did figure out what the problem was.

The hitch replaces the stock bumper mounting plates and is quite a bit thicker (1/4" vs. 1/16"). The extra 3/16" in thickness causes all the remaining parts to misalign. We tried calling Curt several times and could only get a busy signal. We also tried calling etrailer and got a recording saying their hold time was 25 minutes! Pure frustration! At this point, six hours into what should have been a 2-3 hour job, we were faced with dismantling everything we had assembled and returning the hitch to etrailer. Unfortunately, I'm leaving on a long trip just two days after the installation attempt and needed the hitch for a bicycle rack. No time to find a hitch that would install correctly.

Now what? Time to get creative. We got out the Dremel tool and cut into the bumper cover and bottom cover in order to be able to reattach them, put some muscle into convincing the lights, trim pieces, etc. to cooperate and finally, nine hours after starting the job, had it all back together. I'm still not confident that everything will be OK in the long run, but it's the best we could do.

Needless to say, both Curt and etrailer are on my s__t list. I tried calling them again today to tell them about my experience, but there is still nothing but a busy signal at Curt and etrailer is still saying it will take 25 minutes on hold to talk to them. So, I'm giving up and simply giving you Model 3 owners a heads up on what to expect if you choose a Curt trailer hitch for your car. Good luck!
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Puddles
Aug 24, 2016
2,219
1,522
Outside a bubble
Sorry to hear this.
Curt did the same thing to me in December when I imported it from Amazon US to Australia & needed it for a holiday to support a hang glider (using a custom mount)
Didn’t fit & I spent 5 days drilling, cutting, grinding & reworking to make it fit

Curt are an utter sh*t of a company & neither they or Amazon provided any compensation for all the work I did
DO NOT BUY CURT PRODUCTS,
 

jcs3

Member
Mar 4, 2019
30
10
Massachusetts
Sorry to hear you had the same problem, but happy to hear it wasn't my fault. Poor customer service only makes it worse. I think COVID-19 has given many companies an excuse to reduce their customer service budgets.

I WILL ABSOLUTELY NEVER BUY ANOTHER CURT PRODUCT! I sent them a copy of my original post. If they respond I'll post it here.
 

Z28diddy

Member
Sep 23, 2019
68
16
Texas
What part didn't fit? Where was the bodywork hitting the hitch? The bumper/ bottom plate assembly hits the horizontal hitch bar and needs a little tug down to get the clips below that bar before attaching the top of the bumper. Hope it was something a minor as that.

Also, do you know what Curt part number you received? I think they have an old one (11571) and a new version (11581).
 

jcs3

Member
Mar 4, 2019
30
10
Massachusetts
What part didn't fit? Where was the bodywork hitting the hitch? The bumper/ bottom plate assembly hits the horizontal hitch bar and needs a little tug down to get the clips below that bar before attaching the top of the bumper. Hope it was something a minor as that.

Also, do you know what Curt part number you received? I think they have an old one (11571) and a new version (11581).

etrailer's part number is C45FR. The bumper cover/bottom plate assembly wouldn't fit and I'm pretty sure it's because of the additional thickness of the hitch mounting plates relative to the thickness of the original mounting plates that are no longer used. I tried "tugging" in several directions, but nothing worked. You could feel the bumper cover hard up against the bumper. Nowhere left to go.

My 3 is a 2018, so it doesn't benefit from the more recent updates. etrailer should never have sold this hitch for my 2018 without a much more detailed (and correct) set of instructions and Curt simply did a lousy job of design. It's their job to know which model years their product works on. It shouldn't fall to the buyer to have to consult a forum once their in over their head. To top it off, neither etrailer nor Curt made themselves available when the problem occurred. Now I'm left wondering if some part will come flying off when I'm a long way from home.
 

sdodds

Member
Mar 1, 2020
14
3
Maple Ridge
If you search "Curt" you will find my post and story for 2020 Tesla 3 and the Curt Model 13449 Hitch. So much time wasted. We were connected with a Curt Rep in Vancouver Area and he seems to genuinely want to find a solution and has head office engineers working on re-designing. We could not get anyone at 1-800 number to answer phone or our emails to general line but this rep has been communicating and our fingers are crossed that eventually we will get a hitch that fits. Uhaul was not interested in finding a solution and only differed to manufacturer.
 

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