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Discussion Starter #1
We've been down in South Florida for the last week or so with our Metris, and the other day I noticed something odd. I was crouched down to adjust our hitch mounted bike rack and noticed the lower edge of the rear bumper was damaged on the passenger side. After looking closer it appeared the damage was actually the plastic melting!

I've got an aftermarket Draw-Tite hitch receiver on the van, and what looks like is happening is exhaust gasses are being channeled thru the gap between the top of the hitch structure and the bottom of the bumper. The problem is the downturned tailpipe doesn't extend low enough. I assume the rear bumper gets exposed to some of the heat from the exhaust, but did the hitch just make the problem worse? I did notice the exhaust is VERY hot after walking around the back of the van in flip-flops the other day.

I'm going to bring it in to see the dealer when we get back, but in the meantime I built a heat shield out of aluminum sound deadening material to prevent the gasses from flowing over the top of the hitch. It's not pretty, but it should prevent the damage from getting any worse.

Anyway, I'm curious - has anyone seen something similar with their vans?
 

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A New York Metris in South Florida in July! Probably just needs time to acclimate :wink:

Just checked my non-hitch Metris and it seems your hunch is correct, no sign of heat. The bumpers are one area I wish the Metris was a bit beefier, but cost, weight and MPG made that decision.
 

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I have the exact same setup and I live in South Texas where it has been 100 degrees here for a few weeks and I have had NO issue with a melting bumper. Maybe there is a difference in spacing or how far down my exhaust pipe extends down. Its hard to imagine it being hotter where you are. I was, however, concerned about the design when I saw how close it was to the hitch bar.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
emcain, how much highway driving do you do? The outside temp can't be helping, but I think the long highway drive between NJ and FL was the big contributing factor. I assume the exhaust ends up flowing between the hitch and bumper when the vehicle is in motion, but I'd think prolonged exposure would be needed to do any real damage. Still just speculating here, but that's what makes the most sense in my mind.
 

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I can say that I have only done a 2.5 hour drive since getting mine. I still saw nothing more than some carbon residue on the hitch tube and a little on the bottom edge of the bumper. Nothing even close to what you have on your van. Here is a picture of the back of mine up close to try and show clearance from top. Side clearance might also be a factor.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
By whom, and what was the reason? I'd imagine a dealer would give such an answer as there's no way to install the factory towing package equipment outside of the factory, but I've never heard any MFR say you can't add an aftermarket solution that's designed for the vehicle.
 

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By whom, and what was the reason? I'd imagine a dealer would give such an answer as there's no way to install the factory towing package equipment outside of the factory, but I've never heard any MFR say you can't add an aftermarket solution that's designed for the vehicle.
I could've sworn I saw on here that there wasn't an aftermarket hitch that would work. But yes, that info did come from two different dealers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Not sure when it became available, but Draw-Tite makes one specifically for the Metris.

It doesn't look like MBUSA was aware of any issues installing an aftermarket hitch - my dealer mentioned the melty bumper issue to their corporate rep, and they're apparently quite interested in seeing it to understand what's happened. I'd assume their statement about not being able to add a hitch is simply not knowing an aftermarket one exists (vs. there being an issue after doing so)
 

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Well this is great news that this exists. So many Metris I like don't have the hitch - I don't understand why, but I guess dealers don't think it's worth the $300z Who installed your draw tite? Was there any reprogramming needed for the wiring?
 

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The hitch is fairly easy to install by yourself. The wiring is another issue. I bought the cable assembly and the controller from the dealer. If you have rear sensors then you have to get a unique controller that will add a backup feature for trailering (zoom maybe). I have installed the hitch, but not the controller and wiring. It looks like you have to remove a rear panel (near where the jack is) to get it installed. Any experience from others is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No kidding! I wonder how Curt figured out a heat shield was needed, but Drawtite didn't. I still think it's crazy the exhaust gasses coming out of the tailpipe are that bloody hot - especially since I assume the cat is pretty far forward on the exhaust system.
 

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Spoke to two dealers today. One told me $995 to add a hitch. The other told me adding a hitch is no big deal because they all come pre wired. Haven't gotten a price from him yet.
 

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Let us know as its been reportedly up to $2k US to buy the parts and have it installed at the dealer (assume on a Passenger version which may require moving some side paneling in rear). It also will require the bumper to be cut (slotted) if you go with the OEM hitch. It does raise the hitch up a few inches though. You may also avoid the exhaust melting bumper issue.
 

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I had the dealer add an aftermarket hitch on my metris I paid about 500 for it. I have to check for the melting bumper and to see if there is a heat shield there as well.
 

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If you can find one. Get the factory-installed hitch! So much more than just 'a bunch of steel' and wiring. And with the rear camera, a CINCH to hook up to a trailer. I say the same about the reverse camera. The 'guidelines gfx overlay' makes slotting quickly into parking spots easy even in a crowded parking lot. I haven't had a driver behind me blow his horn yet waiting for me to back in. I 99% back in because my MC has no rear windows.
 
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