i have an 08 xls the spare is pretty much in the same place. i had a hide-a-hitch installed as part of my purchase. the hitch was just placed below the bumper area and forward of where the spare sits so it can still lower down when needed.
I installed a Hidden Hitch brand on my 2007 Outlander XLS. I was disappointed that it didn't line up exactly right with the existing holes and required some tweaking(read that as pounding on the mount plates with a large hammer) to get the holes to line up. It allows the spare tire to remain, but I removed it to make installation easier. The hitch extends out behind the lower fascia panel to allow room for the spare tire. I suspect any of the hitches you find would do that or would be too low to the ground. In any event, the spare does remain in place after hitch installation.
I installed a wiring harness, but there was no pre-wiring that I could detect. It required getting behind some of the interior side panels, not too bad, but inconvenient.
I just installed a Curt brand trailer hitch that I ordered from etrailer.com for my 2008 Outlander SE.
When I received the hitch it was bent (probably during shipping). The bolt holes on the driver side and passenger side weren't parallel, the passenger side was bent inward. I called etrailer to explain and emailed some pictures. They called me back the next day and suggested I try bending it back to it's original position. At first I was like, you want me to do what?! I felt like they didn't really want to deal with sending me a new one.
So I managed to bend it back and began the installation. First I lowered the exhaust by removing 2 of the rubber exhaust hangers (with the aid of some WD40). I then installed the bolt through the tow loop and then the 3 bolts to the frame on the passenger side. When I went put the 3 bolts on the frame of the driver side, that's when it didn't line up.
I had to undo the bolt through the tow loop and bend the hitch (with the passenger side still attached to the frame) in order to get the holes on the driver side to line up. After some coaxing I managed to get them lined up but now the hole for the tow loop wasn't lined up anymore. Very frustrating.
I thought maybe lowering the spare would give me more room to work. While lowering the spare it was stuck and rubbing up against the back of the hitch and I had to jiggle it for while to get it down. Lowering the spare didn't allow the tow loop to line up (**** it!) but it did give me more room to finish the install.
Now I understand why the instructions say to install the bolt through the tow loop first. However, since I'm using the hitch for a bike rack I decided to leave the bolt for the tow loop out. I torqued the 6 bolts to spec and put the spare back which was a really tight squeeze.
In the end, installation took about an hour (instructions estimated 30 minutes) and I wasn't too thrilled about the fit. The hitch sticks out a bit farther from the bumper than I expected. I was hoping that it would be a little more hidden and not detract from the clean lines of the Outlander.
Sorry for the delay in my response, I know it's been a while.
So here's the update: I really wasn't happy with the Curt so I called up etrailer.com and explained why I was not a happy customer (the fit, the shipping damage, etc). I asked them to exchange the Curt for Hidden Hitch brand. A few days later it arrived at my door and it installed without any problems. Iwas SO relieved that it doesn't touch the spare.
I've attached 3 pics. Sorry, that it's middle of winter now and there's snow everywhere.
i know that part of your dissatisfaction is due to shipping damage, but if it was a perfect situation, would you recommend the hidden or the curt? from the photos i hav seen so far the curt looks like it is more recessed than the hidden which ismore aestheticly pleasing.
I would definitely recommend the Hidden Hitch over the Curt because even when I bent the Curt back into place their fit/design is way too tight and it rubbed against the spare. It's a shame cause I really wanted to like the Curt cause I thought it looked nicer, cleaner, more concealed.
I actually didn't even want to put a hitch on my Outlander cause I thought it was ugly but I really wanted to use my bike carrier from my previous car. It's been on there since this summer and I don't think too much about the way it looks anymore.
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