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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Trailer Hitch - self install summary

I just installed the trailer hitch all by myself. Let me tell you this is not for the weak or faint of heart. Directions were pretty straight forward but you had to be a contortionist to get to the wiring under the dash. However, I'm a really big guy so twisting about isn't my strong suit. The biggest stumper was it said to find these connectors that were taped up with blue tape and to release them. I did that but they still wouldn't pull down to give some slack. Apparently they were also taped further up where you can not see it. The only solution was to pull harder and twist about and finally the unseen tape broke free.

Bolting up the hitch is defintely a two man job. However using both my hands, legs and head I was able to get it into place after about 15 minutes of struggling. Took me about 3 hours of total time to get it all in. Man, I'm sore today.
 

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Vertrkr,

Congrats on a big install, can you post pictures of your work.
Working on anything under the dash, is allways a pain, I feel for teh guys who do this all day. I wonder why they can't add an access panel thats easy to reach where all connections could be done, or make it easier to drop the dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
delphi7x10 said:
Vertrkr,

Congrats on a big install, can you post pictures of your work.
Working on anything under the dash, is allways a pain, I feel for teh guys who do this all day. I wonder why they can't add an access panel thats easy to reach where all connections could be done, or make it easier to drop the dash.
Thanks, instead of posting pics piece meal I'd rather wait until I have everything done. So far I got the metal interior trim kit and hitch on. Today I'll put on the running boards and over the weekend the fender flares, fog lights and bumper guard go on. If I have time I'll do the wireless parking sensors but got a feeling that won't happen 'til Monday/Tuesday. So then late next week I'll have a big pic portfolio I'll post up on my site with descriptions & so forth and give ya all the link to view it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ravishol said:
Hey Vertrkr,


I thought the Ridgeline was prewired for a hitch? I thought all you had to do was add the hitch.
Haha, I was hoping for that but I guess it's a matter of symantecs. Technically it is pre-wired but you still need to add some relays and control boxes but the wiring from front to back is already there.
 

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Wow! I'm impressed you did this yourself. I heard the exhaust needs to be dropped for this as well. Is that true? I think I would just have the dealer do this. I've got enough stress in my life without this.
 

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I've installed every option on each Honda I've owned 96 Odyssey, 03 Element, 03 Accord, those PDF instructions look intimidating but they are really not. Dealer mark up on add on items is darn near criminal, for the little labor required. Good music, a cold beverage of your choice, and about an hour or so of your time can save hundreds!!!

P.S. I've used H & A and Manchester Honda for factory accessories (both provided excellent price and delivery), the only non-honda accessory I've used was a hidden hitch for the 03 Accord because it was around 100.00 less than tne honda part and looked better!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ridge said:
Wow! I'm impressed you did this yourself. I heard the exhaust needs to be dropped for this as well. Is that true? I think I would just have the dealer do this. I've got enough stress in my life without this.
Dropping the exhaust was probably the easiest part of all of it. It's actually just the muffler mount which is two rubber pieces that slide off easily and the exhaust/muffler hangs down lower just a bit, it really doesn't come off. then you remove the heat shield which is 4 easy bolts. With two people you could probably have the thing done in an hour or so. My 3 year old kept running off with my tools which delayed things a bit :)
 

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vertrkr,

I guess you never installed the running board. I am waiting (hoping) for the chrome side step like the pilot has. I need one of those lifestyle add on package that Pilot SUV offers.

I checked out your Odyssey, where did you get the wood grain dash?

We are 30 miles away. Next time I go to Berkeley, I should stop by and see your finished Ridgeline.

Good job and luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Blue said:
vertrkr,

I guess you never installed the running board. I am waiting (hoping) for the chrome side step like the pilot has. I need one of those lifestyle add on package that Pilot SUV offers.

I checked out your Odyssey, where did you get the wood grain dash?

We are 30 miles away. Next time I go to Berkeley, I should stop by and see your finished Ridgeline.

Good job and luck.
I did install the running boards, just haven't written up a summary for it yet. I did talk about the tool needed to do so in this thread:

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=329

As for the Ody stuff you can get all the accessories from H&A:
http://www.handa-accessories.com/odyssey05.html

Sure, stop by next time your around. We can meet at starbucks or something.
 

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I installed my hitch yesterday. The hitch isn't too heavy so I thought "no problem", ha was I wrong. The way the hitch ia shoehorned up under the bumper is almost impossible for one person to do. With two people it would have been a piece of cake.

I did have one bolt (lower bolt in the middle of the backside of the bumper) that gave me a bit of trouble. The welded nut on the RL frame had a bit of weld splatter in it. I had to chase it with a tap (10mm 1.25mm pitch). I also placed treadlock on the bolts instead of just trusting the lock washers.

The wiring wasn't bad but I have done a bit of under the dash wiring and am use to contorting into odd positions.

Although I am unhappy that a trailer ready truck requires a hitch, wiring, fuses, relays and a full sized spare I must say that the kit and install instructions were top notch. I do wonder how much money Honda saved from the RL cost by omitting the 3 fuses that were included in the hitch kit?

I am use to instructions that are vague at best, with the Honda instructions just follow every step and follow them exactly.
 

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I agree...so far I've installed two accessories myself and the instructions are very close to perfect. One difference I found in the rear view mirror install was the installation instructions identifying tape as "blue" it was actually black.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
bongus said:
I agree...so far I've installed two accessories myself and the instructions are very close to perfect. One difference I found in the rear view mirror install was the installation instructions identifying tape as "blue" it was actually black.
Yep, had the same deal with the fog lights, called for blue tape and it was actually black. Other than that it's pretty fool proof instructions.
 

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Finished my install last night. I will say that out of all the accessories, this was the most difficult. Of course it would have been easier if I had had another person to help.

The removal of the lower dash trim was an act of faith. I couldn't figure out if one just pulled or if there was some release mechanism for the clips. So I just pulled. It came off but one of the clips broke in the process. It is a lower middle clip, so it's not noticeable, but one needs to be careful.

The green tape under the dash and the rear frame is easy to find. However, there is also black tape that can't be seen and would not release, even with a significant amount of tugging. I had a small pocket knife that I used to feel the tape with my fingers and then cut. Once that is done, the wiring harnesses come free. If you have big hands, the rear harness tape is particularly hard to cut.

The rest of the under dash installation was easy. Just follow the directions. I did think the description of where to mount the control box bracket was lacking. I finally hunted for a threaded hole with a non-threaded hole above it and found where to mount the bracket.

The hitch itself is a beast to get into position. Do the install of the hitch before you install the rear mud flaps. I found that the driver's side mud flap prevented moving the hitch into place, so I removed it. In order to get it into position by myself, I placed the hitch on the floor under the bed. Then I man handled the right (passenger) side up over the muffler. I used the muffler as a prop and then got the left side somewhat into position. If you push the left side all the way up and shove it back towards the bumper, there's a notch of welded metal which can hold that side in place; barely.

I then shifted over to the right (passenger) side. While lying with my head by the right tire, my knee under the middle of the hitch (where the tongue goes) for support, I was able to shove the right side up and got two bolts started. I shifted back to the left got two bolts in and then the rest was easy. I also had some threading issues, so I recommend running the threads before you start the install.

BTW, I did not disconnect the battery. I didn't see the point as installing a relay shouldn't do anything and I wasn't leaning on the brakes during the install. I thought it would be more of a pain unlocking the radio and resetting the presets.
 

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I remove and reinstall my trailer hitch receiver from time to time on other vehicles without any extra help. I use a floor jack to lift the receiver up and press it against the underside of the vehicle.

I just balance it on the jack as it is lifted up and into position. When in place, you can secure the receiver bolts and then drop the floor jack.

In the Ridgeline case, an extra spacer may be needed to get enough lift out of your floor jack. Mine has a lift range of 5 inches to 17 inches. I have used a short piece of a 4x4 as a spacer.
 

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I thought about whether a floor jack might help! My back has gotten better so maybe I will install mine this week.

Can you guys offer tips on how to avoid sfoster's clip breakage. I hate "acts of faith" when it comes to pulling on stuff when you don't know how it's fastened!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
laserfan said:
I thought about whether a floor jack might help! My back has gotten better so maybe I will install mine this week.
Can you guys offer tips on how to avoid sfoster's clip breakage. I hate "acts of faith" when it comes to pulling on stuff when you don't know how it's fastened!
I've taken mine off 3 times now, no broken clips so far. I don't have any good tips, I just pulled the sucker off.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
swampler said:
Do you have to push down on the tab to free it, or did you just pull?
I don't recall any tab, I just pulled. First the side panel has to come off, there's a little indent you use to put in a screw driver to pry it off and then it reveals a screw that must come off that holds the bottom dash panel and then I just pull outward towards the seat.
 
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