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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi. I have a 2007 Honda Element 4WD EX. Love it... except for being frustrated at the moment.

After reading several great threads and having issues with two U-Haul locations and Honda wanting over $200 to install, I decided to install a hitch (U-Haul) and wiring harness (Honda) myself. I started this morning and got stalled on step one - LOL - removing the rear bumper.

Removing the bumper sounds easy, but when I went to unscrew screw over the wheel, there wasn't one visible. Instead, there's what appears to be a cap. I jacked the car so I could get a look and tried to pop it off, thinking these are covers, but no dice (I stopped because I was afraid I'd break something). I'm hoping this is an easy fix and don't mind laughing at myself if it is - just better safe than sorry.

Pictures of the "cap" are below. Sorry, they're a bit blurry (and my car's a little dirty). Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
 

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first you'll have to remove the mud flaps, then that plastic part pictured.

not sure why you need to remove the bumper to install a hitch though....
 

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I installed a U-Haul hitch by myself on my 2010 a couple of weeks ago, and there was no need to remove the rear bumper. The receiver fits snugly up against the underneath side of the bumper, but no issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your responses. This is the Honda wiring harness. After reading several threads here, it seemed like a good idea to spend the extra money (2.5x) for it over other ones - hope that was a good call.

I read in a thread that the rear bumper doesn't need to be removed to install the Honda harness, but I don't know how they did it. I double-checked on my car and there's no opening that I can see to fish it through.

The caps where the screws should be appear to be a single piece. The top is covered - the discoloration is dirt. My Element is a 2007 4WD EX 5 Speed Automatic and I got it new. Is anyone else's Honda like this? Know how to get these off? Thanks.
 

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Don't remember

I have a 07 EX that I put an aftermarket hitch and a Honda harness on. I did it three years ago so I forget how I took of the rar bumber; but as with any; it's no big deal. I do remember I had to pull it to snake the harness through the factory hole.
 

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If you want to keep things very simple just leave the trailer wiring in the spare tire well. Pull it out and flop it over the rear bumper when you need it. Mine is still that way since '04 and the wiring is fine despite getting "pinched" in the tailgate thousands of times.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks. That's the official instructions on several non-Honda harnesses I've looked at. Apparently if you keep the wiring away from the latch, it's good to go (which you've got experience in). If I can't get the "screw covers" off, I'll do this.

Yep, once it's done, it'll be easy. If I do remove the bumper, I'll document the process step-by-step. Anyone familiar with the "covers" pictured in the first post? It looks like a screw might be under the plastic.

I'm going to call Honda today. Hopefully someone in the service department will be in a helpful mood and tell me what they are and how to remove them. If they do, I'll share that info.
 

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From the looks of it remove the mud flap and access the screw fronm the other side. The piece in the pic is the nut you just need to remove the screw from the other side. It is super easy!!

John
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks! The thought that the screws might be going the other way crossed my mind, but I didn't think about removing the mud flaps since that wasn't in any of the diagrams or instructions I've come across. I appreciate it. This drove me crazy over the weekend. Simple is good. I'll remove them tonight and follow-up here later.
 

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It has been a really long time since I installed my hitch, so that is off memory. Also, keep in mind mud flaps are not standard from the factory. That is possibly why they are not mentioned in the instructions. If I were you I would take the time to wire it correctly and not let it hang through the rear hatch.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
"Phase 1" is complete. Next up is finishing the wiring. You're right, it was surprisingly easy. Thanks everyone for your help. I took pictures and plan to continue documenting the process and will post it when done. Hopefully the hitch itself, which is a U-Haul class 3, isn't a problem for me like it has been for others. I'll find out soon.
 
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