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Thanks everyone for sharing so much information and your experience! I'm close to buying a 2018 Metris passenger van, and will most likely end up buying one without a factory-installed hitch (given what's available). I don't plan on towing a trailer and just need the hitch for a bike rack. My local dealer quoted ~$1,500 for parts and labor, which I assume includes the full towing kit incl electrical. Having read this forum thoroughly, my inclination is just to order the hitch, nuts and bolts, and install it myself. Given my plan, I would greatly appreciate it if you can confirm the following (and of course please feel free to comment, offer advice, etc.):

1. Parts needed (only for occasional bike rack use):
A 447 310 04 00 trailer coupling (hitch itself)
N 0000 0000 32 76 -- Nut (6)
N 9101 0501 20 01 -- Screw (6)

2. Where to buy: I'm not 100% sure, but it seems the hitch (447 310 04 00) is "discontinued" and stock is not being replenished. Is this true? I spoke to a couple of parts vendors and they said "place an order and wait," because they don't know if it's available.

3. Torque settings for the bolts: I couldn't find this information. Do I need a torque wrench for simple "bike rack only" hitch install? Can I just tighten the bolts down as hard as can, manually (average strength male)?

4. Inner plastic bumper removal: In the Youtube install video, it says this "hard inner plastic bumper" needs to be removed. It's not clear in the video, but won't removing this inner bumper reduce the overall protection provided by the van's rear bumper? Maybe it's just a small part, but I couldn't tell exactly what this inner bumper was.

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated. Many many thanks again.
 

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Noman, I would buy a van that had a factory hitch installed. One reason is it's makes the van much more marketable if you decide to sell at some point. The other, the aftermarket, and I know you are planning on buying oem, hitches hang down further than oem and these vans sit low as it is, which I really like.
 

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My local dealer quoted ~$1,500 for parts and labor, which I assume includes the full towing kit incl electrical.
from reading this thread, you have to know making such an assumption is risky. One out of 50 Merc dealers can install the hitch and actually get the electrical wiring to work and deal with changes required to the systems like stability control
 

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from reading this thread, you have to know making such an assumption is risky. One out of 50 Merc dealers can install the hitch and actually get the electrical wiring to work and deal with changes required to the systems like stability control
Good point, Tree. I had the distinct feeling they really didn't want to be bothered. I dread having to deal with them to ensure electrical gets done perfectly after paying up so much for oem install at dealership. If I do end up buying a van without a factory hitch installed, I may give up on replicating the full factory setup and settle for either 1) buying the oem hitch only and diy install, or 2) buying a cheaper (below-bumper) Curt hitch and diy install. Again, my requirements are not extensive. I just want to be able to attach my 1UP USA rack a few times in the summer.

Lane: Thanks for the comment, I hear you. I'm not confident my dealership will be able to do this smoothly, even at full cost and time.
 

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Thanks everyone for sharing so much information and your experience! I'm close to buying a 2018 Metris passenger van, and will most likely end up buying one without a factory-installed hitch (given what's available). I don't plan on towing a trailer and just need the hitch for a bike rack. My local dealer quoted ~$1,500 for parts and labor, which I assume includes the full towing kit incl electrical. Having read this forum thoroughly, my inclination is just to order the hitch, nuts and bolts, and install it myself. Given my plan, I would greatly appreciate it if you can confirm the following (and of course please feel free to comment, offer advice, etc.):

1. Parts needed (only for occasional bike rack use):
A 447 310 04 00 trailer coupling (hitch itself)
N 0000 0000 32 76 -- Nut (6)
N 9101 0501 20 01 -- Screw (6)

2. Where to buy: I'm not 100% sure, but it seems the hitch (447 310 04 00) is "discontinued" and stock is not being replenished. Is this true? I spoke to a couple of parts vendors and they said "place an order and wait," because they don't know if it's available.

3. Torque settings for the bolts: I couldn't find this information. Do I need a torque wrench for simple "bike rack only" hitch install? Can I just tighten the bolts down as hard as can, manually (average strength male)?

4. Inner plastic bumper removal: In the Youtube install video, it says this "hard inner plastic bumper" needs to be removed. It's not clear in the video, but won't removing this inner bumper reduce the overall protection provided by the van's rear bumper? Maybe it's just a small part, but I couldn't tell exactly what this inner bumper was.

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated. Many many thanks again.
1. The trailer hitch kit should include the bolts and nuts.

2. It seems like virtually every non-powertrain Metris part has been listed as "discontinued" for nearly a year. I do not know what's going on with that. You should be able to get one on eBay.

3. Torque spec is 90 Nm / 66 lb-ft.

4. The inner bumper goes back on, with the trailer hitch frame inside it.
 

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Good point, Tree. I had the distinct feeling they really didn't want to be bothered. I dread having to deal with them to ensure electrical gets done perfectly after paying up so much for oem install at dealership.
When I bought my van, I made the deal contingent on the service department successfully re-coding it for the Trailer Recognition Unit.

This was without any trailer hitch hardware. Just the control box in the rear compartment. I finished the actual installation at home.

It took them hours of fussing around with the factory scan tool, and they very nearly gave up. I am sure they would have if the sale weren't riding on it.

The problem turned out to be missing steps in the retrofit instructions to do with re-coding the audio unit. The newer instructions posted earlier in this thread appear to include those steps.
 

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When I bought my van, I made the deal contingent on the service department successfully re-coding it for the Trailer Recognition Unit.

This was without any trailer hitch hardware. Just the control box in the rear compartment. I finished the actual installation at home.

It took them hours of fussing around with the factory scan tool, and they very nearly gave up. I am sure they would have if the sale weren't riding on it.

The problem turned out to be missing steps in the retrofit instructions to do with re-coding the audio unit. The newer instructions posted earlier in this thread appear to include those steps.
Thank you for the clarifying answers to my questions! In my case, due to the dealer installation cost of the full tow setup and expected utility from it, I think I'm going to buy the van as is and try to diy retrofit just the hitch receiver (oem).

I'm learning so much from the forum -- Thanks everyone.
 

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Hello all. New to this forum. Just finished oem hitch install on my 2016 passenger Metris.
Short story: My Metris has never had a hitch installed before. Installed all oem parts, and lights work without dealer help.
This forum gave me the confidence to go ahead with this project, so thanks to all who posted.
Long story: Found hitch, harness, and control box at a salvage yard on ebay. The yard was selling other Metris parts but had a picture of a crashed Metris. I scrolled through the many pic's and saw the hitch. So I looked up the yard and called direct. They agreed to $250 for hitch, harness and control box, including shipping from NC to AZ. It helped me to tell them etrailer had new hitches for around $150.
I am not going to give a detailed instruction but will give highlights.
I removed the rear bumper cover, and inner passenger wall cover.
Routed harness through the hole provided starting on the inside. It was a struggle getting the connector through the hole. I had to partially disassemble the connector and squeeze it with a pliers to get it through.
After mounting the hitch, and trimming the cover, I reinstalled the cover.
Connecting the control module was easy, and I mounted the module using the existing holes in the stock location.
Replaced the inner wall and connected the trailer lights using a 7 to 4 pin converter from Harbor Freight.
The trailer has old school lamps, not LED, and all light functions worked right away with no errors. Took it on a 200 mile test run and all is well. The trailer is a light 4 x 8 open utility trailer, and the Metris towed, at times 80 mph with the cruse on, with no problems.
I can't comment on how it would handle heavier trailers. I didn't call the dealer to program anything, and assume I have no trailer stability function activated. The backup camera works the same as before, If the lights didn't work my plan B was to install an inductive pickup light controller.
 
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