My expanded summary of what I did, including tips & reasoning: 0. Various preparatory actions a. Using block of wood and mallet, slightly widen the hitch to make it easier to slide on. I only banged on the passenger side a bit, figured I'd do it again if necessary, but it wasn't, it was very tight but movable w/ the mallet later. b. The passenger side frame had an inordinate amount of undercoating sprayed onto the side where the hitch was to be bolted onto place. In my case I had to Remove 1/8" of undercoating from the outside of the frame member the hitch is bolted on to using a razor blade scraper. You may need to do this to one, both, or neither sides. c. Temporarily reposition the exhaust a bit lower by removing the upper connection of the rubber anchor that it hangs from. The exhaust is held in place by a rubber support, I assume to allow for dissipation of vibration. I was able to, by hand and with patience, remove the support from its top connection to give enough clearance to get the passenger side of the hitch in place. It was clear to me that without lower the exhaust pipe, the hitch wasn't going to go on. Don't forget to push it back into place when you're done, though! 1. Put notches in one hole on each side of the frame. a. You're wearing safety glasses, right? b. Don't try to notch the access holes in the frame using a portable drill, or at least, not with a low to medium range portable (such as my 12V). It will take all day due to lack of speed & torque. c. I chose to widen the rearward holes. Getting the pull wire from the rearward access hole to the rearward bolt hole will be easy. Getting the pull wire from the rearward access hole to the forward bolt hole is *IMPOSSIBLE*. There's a trick I'll explain later. d. Rather than "notch" I "semi-circled" a bump on the circumference of the access hole. My reasoning was that to notch it, I'd have to use a small drill bit. It was pretty clear I had to provide a lot of sideways pressure to cut into the metal using my drill bits (which are supposedly for all drilling, including metal drilling, but supposed to be used in-and-out, not from the side). I figured a small bit was much more likely to shatter, so I picked a larger bit and felt more comfortable applying strong lateral pressure. d. Use a *lot* of sideways pressure: I used the bottom of the spare tire well to give the drill leverage, and also moved the bit back and forth in a slow sawing motion. Took 2-3 minutes per side. e. Use the end of one of the plates to test your notch/semicircle, but don't push it in very far esp. if you are a potential klutz (like me). Once it fits well, cut some more with the drill. I think the carriage bolt heads which are as wide as the plates, are slightly more difficult to get through because they go in at an angle (as you'll find later), so you'll appreciate the extra clearance. 2. Put hitch in place and secure loosely using the U-bolt, washers and nuts. Ha. Positioning took a lot of patience. And the mallet. The important things to note are: a. You did check for undercoating positioned in the way, right? See section 0 above. b. You can rotate it pretty easily, even when it's held in place pretty strongly by pressure. c. You'll need to mallet it into place on each side, noting that each adjustment to one side will tend to mis-adjust the other. It's a back and forth process. d. Don't be like me and forget to put the U-bolt on until after you started with the frame bolts/nuts. Doh.
3. Use pull wire to pull bolt & plate through from notched access hole to bolt hole. If REAR (toward tailgate) BOLTS a. For the rear bolts, you can do it the obvious way: screw the spring end of the pull wire onto the bolt and thread the plate onto the line and voila!...you've got a fishing wire to pull the bolt through! Very very cool. b. Getting the wire from the rearward access hole to the rearward bolt hole was frustrating but only took a few minutes, since they're just across from each other (well, close enough). c. Pull the bolt through. If FORWARD (toward engine) BOLTS (can be used for REAR too) a. However, for the frontward bolts, getting the wire from the rearward access hole to the forward bolt hole was *IMPOSSIBLE*. I almost gave up and drilled a notch into the rear ACCESS hole, but I didn't want to do more drilling than necessary, since I'd survived the earlier drilling with nothing broken (tools or car or me). b. Then in a moment of brilliance (mixed with a feeling of total dopiness), I figure out the trick! Remove the fishing wire from the bolt/plate. Thread the *spring* end backward INTO the REAR BOLT hole & OUT the FORWARD ACCESS hole! That was *way easier*, though you need to be more slow/careful as it's possible to snag the spring end of the wire in a bunch of places. Now put the plate onto the bolt and screw the spring end of the wire to the bolt. c. Pull the bolt through. 4. Remove pull wire and secure in loosely place with nut. a. Hold the pulled bolt in place with thumb and forefinger (no pliers). b. Remove the pull wire by slowly unthreading it. Be careful, because if you let go now, you'll lose the bolt/plate inside the frame never to be found again (really). Also, safety glasses are useful here, as the pointy end tends to whip around a lot. c. Once you've unthreaded the wire, screw the nut on by hand loosely (perhaps halfway down the shaft of the bolt). 5. Repeat steps 3&4 three more times for remaining bolts. 6. Tighten bolts/nuts to specified torque. 7. Re-secure the exhaust. 8. Put all your tools away, have some water, and brush all the grime and plant matter off of yourself. 9. After some # of miles/days, re-torque bolts/nuts. You're DONE! * I keep a PowerPack 400 Plus in the car now: http://www.xantrex.com/products/product.asp?did=737 I've had it for 2-3 weeks and already used it twice: once to give a fellow motorist a jump, and just now to power my corded drill. I loved the feature set: battery, jump, tire pump, light, 12V socket, inverter w/ 2 AC sockets, percentage of available battery power left and a wattage in use display. According to the powerpack, startup wattage of my drill is ~375W, but the drill runs at about 200W. Yeah, it's an ancient sears drill, not too beefy.
Vlad,Now dosen't that sound a lot easier?