Best trailer hitch for Encore?

Tazmool

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Howdy,

I just got my '15 Encore yesterday, love the vehicle.
One of the things I'd like to install before winter is a trailer hitch (reason before winter is that I'm planning on having the Encore Krown sprayed and would like to have the hitch already on there)

Does anyone have a hitch installed on their Encore?
Any photos?

Is one hitch much different from another? (Kurt, Draw-tite) quality, ease of install etc?

I'm not looking to tow anything heavy, at absolute most a motorcycle (combined trailer + bike weight is around 750 lbs, very little wind resistance)
And yes, I read the manual and I know what it says "this vehicle is not designed or built for towing" however the dealer assured me that towing <1000lbs will not void the warranty and that the vehicle is actually rated for towing in other markets (UK, Australia, Europe in general, right from Buick UK tow rating for the 1.4L tubo gas engine Encore: (500kg) 1100lbs with no trailer brakes, (1200kg) 2600lbs with trailer brakes)
I also know that the Encore uses the Global platform, and most if not all (for sure mine according to the Vin) was build in Korea.

So getting back to the trailer hitches, any thoughts? photos? experiences?

Tazmool
 

Tazmool

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Well after a bit more reading, and looking into whats available for these vehicles in Europe and on this side of the Pond, I decided to go with the Class I Kurt hitch.

The kurt is still visible from the rear, but its the smallest, most tucked away hitch I could find that still conforms to North American towing accessories. The European stuff is invisible when installed, needs some cutting of the rear bumper, and they use some Europe specific attachments, which are also insanely expensive....

The class 1 kurt is rated for 2000lbs, and 250lb tongue weight, which is perfect for me. I also checked the underside of the back of the vehicle, viewed the install videos, and it seems that the Encore already has nuts pre-installed and ready in the rear sub-frame, as if it was build to have a trailer hitch installed...?

When the hitch arrives, I'll install and update here on my findings.

Tazmool
 

sddale2001

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I put the Curt hitch on our car a couple of years ago and it's been good. The install is pretty easy. Once you loosen the muffler it should slide into place and bolt on. The first one that was sent to me looked fine but when I went to install it the hitch was too tight to get on. As it turned out that it was bent somehow. Curt sent out a new one and it went on smoothly. Some of the bolts are a tight squeeze for a wrench but it worked out.
 

deville42

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I have a Kurt hitch on my 2015. It was about $300 installed including wiring. I haul a 4x8 utility trailer. i keep the load under 1000 lbs.
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Tazmool

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Ok, I got the Hitch installed.
It was relatively easy, but I was hung up (literally) on one bolt, the alignment was just off somehow, eventually it went in.

The hitch looks good, and is out of the way.
I like how it does not hang any lower than the exhaust, so catching it on anything should not be a problem.

I did install it with out lifting the car, and I barely lowered the exhaust (only removed the rear two muffler hangers) this made the install a bit more fiddly, but also much easier since I did not have to use a lift (which I don't have) no jack, no stands etc...

I'll post few photos when the weather clears up a bit (its been raining for days)

Tazmool
 

Tazmool

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It finally stopped raining here (we've had some flooding due to all this crazy rain)
I snapped a few photos of the Kurt Class 1 hitch on the Encore.

All in all I'm happy with the install, its very un-obtrusive, does not lower ground clearance (it does not hang below the exhaust)

Encore-hitch-3.jpg

With a bit of shadow, the hitch is nearly invisible

Encore-hitch-4.jpg

Encore-hitch-1.jpg

Next will be the wiring....
Hope its easy...

Tazmool
 

TheAirman

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Ok, I got the Hitch installed.
It was relatively easy, but I was hung up (literally) on one bolt, the alignment was just off somehow, eventually it went in.

The hitch looks good, and is out of the way.
I like how it does not hang any lower than the exhaust, so catching it on anything should not be a problem.

I did install it with out lifting the car, and I barely lowered the exhaust (only removed the rear two muffler hangers) this made the install a bit more fiddly, but also much easier since I did not have to use a lift (which I don't have) no jack, no stands etc...

I'll post few photos when the weather clears up a bit (its been raining for days)

Tazmool
That's the same thing I did, plus I had one bolt hole that wouldn't line up either.

When I got my hitch, they had just come out and newly designed from Curt for the Encore, so I wrote and called the customer service with the bolt alignment issue. So I sent them pictures and they seemed concerned.

I guess they never fixed it. ???
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TheAirman

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It finally stopped raining here (we've had some flooding due to all this crazy rain)
I snapped a few photos of the Kurt Class 1 hitch on the Encore.

All in all I'm happy with the install, its very un-obtrusive, does not lower ground clearance (it does not hang below the exhaust)

View attachment 9861

With a bit of shadow, the hitch is nearly invisible

View attachment 9862

View attachment 9863

Next will be the wiring....
Hope its easy...

Tazmool
The wiring is not too bad if you're handy. I went ahead and used Curt's wiring kit. I could have went ahead a got one at K-Mart or PepBoys but I guess that Curt"s might be a little nicer. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.

I picked up my power from the remote fuse box in the back, so it was basically a snap to do. Watch pulling those cheap plastic panels back there. The clips break real easy.

I then spiral wrapped the wires and picked up the ground back there also. The whole trailer wiring bundle stays inside the car until you need it, then you just close it in the trunk door seal. So I keep it folded up safely inside the right side rear in that easy to remove access door. The access door on the left is hard to remove without a screwdriver.

Also the wiring seems to be powered all the time, so I put a switch inline after the power hook up in the picture. I figured I didn't want power in those wires all the time when I wasn't using the trailer.

100_1300 1.jpg
 

Tazmool

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TheAirman,
Thanks for the info and photo, thats a great idea to tap into the power in the back, vs running a long wire from the battery. The power switch, is brilliant! I'll do the same.

For the hole that was not aligning, it was on the drivers side, one of the two holes on the side plate, closest to the rear bumper (both bolts had nuts welded inside the frame). It was off by just a tiny bit and was very hard to get the two bolts to go through.

Right now I'm having a major issue with Amazon, they are not shipping the wiring harness, they had me cancel and re-order the harness 3 times now...
But once it arrives, I'll install and update with progress.

Tazmool
 

Tazmool

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The wiring harness finally arrived, got it installed.
I'm having a grounding issue I think.

I have one of those little led testers that you plug into the 4 pole harness to see if your lights are working.
According to the led tester, everything works, brakes, turn signals, running lights etc.

As soon as I plug a trailer in (which uses regular bulbs) nothing works.. no turn signals, no running lights, no brakes. The trailer lights work just fine when plugged into a friends jeep, so its something on my vehicle.

I'm out of time today to mess with it, but I'll see if I can improve the ground.

TheAirman, where did you attach your grounding wire?

Tazmool
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TheAirman

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I wish my memory of that was better, but I think I found an area in about the center of the back near the spare tire just below the plastic trim. I don't remember the ground being a bad issue. I remember when I got the trailer (Harbor Freight) I had a wiring problem though. After all, it is Chinese !!!!

But if your LED tester said you have a good ground on your new wiring, I bet the problem is with the trailer itself. Your best bet is to leave the trailer OFF the hitch so the only connection between the two is the wiring and chase the grounds from each trailer tail light then.

And after I looked at it, if your trailer is a Chinese Harbor Freight, they don't actually have a ground wire to the lights. They ground trough the frame, and the only real ground wire is the white one to the plug at the front of the trailer. Clean that one of paint so it gets a metal to metal connection. Then run a jumper wire to each trailer tail light and touch a mounting bolt. If it lights, clean the paint from the bolt holes or run a whole new wire to each.
 
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Tazmool

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Thanks for your help again TheAirman (Dave)

I think you may be right, that the problem is with my friends trailer.
I dug up my little "trailer in a bag" (small trailer for moving motorcycles, and 50% of the reason I wanted a hitch on my Encore) got the lighting section from the trailer and hooked it up to my Encore. All the lights work perfectly, nice, bright, running lights, brakes, turn signals, everything works just fine. The trailer in a bag uses std incandescent bulbs, so plenty of load. The LED tester also shows 100% functionality.

The trailer I hooked up to before must have some strange fault in it.... What I don't get is that when I hooked up my LED tester to my friends Jeep, it showed 100% functionality, his trailer worked with his jeep, but the trailer had 0% lighting with my Encore...

I removed my grounding cable and cleaned up the post it was attached to.
The ground post is hiding behind the drivers side rear hatch removable panel, its also the area where the trailer module is installed. When I took some emery cloth to the threaded post, to my surprise it turns out the post is actually made of copper, it must be a grounding post for some optional module my vehicle does not have (backup sensors perhaps)
When I tested this post for a possible ground with my tester during the initial wiring install, it worked with out cleaning it (it had some white coating on it, paint of some sort) its now the std red color, and is still serving as my trailer module ground cable.

I tested the trailer in a bag trailer lighting with my Encore after the ground post cleaning, and again it was fine.
I'm now wondering if I should spray the copper post with some sort of post protector so it won't oxidize on me.... (thats probably what the white coating on it originally was)

And I'm wondering whats wrong with my friends trailer that it won't work properly with my Encore... (I was hoping to borrow that trailer once in a while to move stuff, the other 50% of the reason I wanted a hitch on my Encore)

Also, speaking of towing, the Encore had no trouble pulling the little utility trailer, around when I did a test tow. In the spring, I'll test it out with my tiab and a motorcycle of some sort.

Tazmool
 

TheAirman

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Wow, that's tough one.

First, you are right, that's where I picked up the ground for the trailer wiring. In the panel at the back drivers side. The one where you have to remove the two screws before the little shelf will come out. That's why I wired it in on the drivers side rear, ran the whole thing to the other side (passenger) to that panel that just pulls out. I keep all the excess coiled up safely away inside that panel until I use the trailer.

I would probably coat that ground contact with something. High temp axle grease might work. I remember testing mine with a multimeter and got a good ground there, so I didn't clean the paint off mine.

My little Harbor Freight trailer tows just fine behind the Encore. You just have to use a little common sense. And my trailer is older so it's been used one a few different cars. I think this wiring kit I bought from Curt is the first one to use a power wire. All the other ones just a wire you tapped into the brake light, ground, left and right. So maybe the Jeeps trailer wiring is a different unpowered style.

And I bet the problem is still in his trailer. It's probably from China and has those floating grounds that they use to make it be cheap. You need to make yourself a long jumper wire... hook trailer up to the Encore....plug it in..... then run that jumper from a good ground and touch the mounting bolts of the trailer lights that don't work. Try that.
 

Cags1285

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Hi all,
What’s the model number on the curt hitch? Amazon search turns out a few different ones. Thanks I’m advance!
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TheAirman

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I got the Curt 11527 some time ago. I think the only difference between all the different model numbers is the receiver they include. The 11527 has no receiver, and the other ones have a ball or just a hole to mount what you need.
 
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