How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a Toyota Camryby Thomas West
The Toyota Camry is a mid-sized car that comes standard with a four-cylinder, transverse-mounted engine. You may need extra cargo room in your Camry, and installing an aftermarket trailer hitch will enable you to tow a small trailer and expand your car's cargo hauling capacity. Installation of a hitch is facilitated by factory-drilled holes in the undercarriage, but some drilling to the trunk pan is required for hitch installation.
Open the trunk lid and lift up the carpet mat. Loosen the thumb screw and remove the spare tire from the well at the bottom of the trunk compartment.
Slide under the rear end of the car. Lubricate the rubber exhaust hangers with penetrating fluid. Hold up on the muffler with one hand while sliding the hanger from its bracket with an exhaust hanger removal tool -- available where automotive tools are sold. Lower the muffler and let it hang out of the way.
Pry out the plastic rivets that secure the bottom of the bumper fascia to the underside of the trunk pan, using a flat-blade screwdriver. Remove the plastic cover from the underside of the trunk pan in the same fashion -- if your Camry is so equipped.
Locate the metal bracket attached to the driver's frame rail and the sheet metal end panel. Remove the retaining bolts from the bracket with a socket and ratchet wrench. Remove the bracket from the car. Note that the now-vacant bolt holes on the end panel will be used to mount the hitch.
Raise the hitch to the underside of the car and line up the vertical mounting holes with the existing welded-in nuts on the car's sheet metal end panel. Place conical or lock washers -- depending on the hitch manufacturer -- onto the hitch mounting bolts. Thread the bolts through the mounting holes in the hitch and into the welded-in nuts on the end panel. Tighten the bolts finger-tight.
Use a power drill and bore a ½-inch hole through each of the two forward horizontal mounting holes in the hitch and into the bottom of the trunk pan from under the car. Scrape the foam rubber material away from the vicinity of the holes with a metal putty knife from inside the trunk compartment.
Insert two bolt blocks over the two remaining hitch mounting bolts. Insert the bolts through the holes inside the trunk compartment. Place washers and nuts over the threaded ends of the bolts that protrude through the bottom of the trunk and through the two forward hitch mounting holes.
Tighten all bolts and nuts with a torque wrench to the tightness indicated by the hitch manufacturer -- usually between 40 and 80 foot-pounds.
Mount the spare tight back inside the trunk and close the trunk lid. Raise the muffler and hold it into position with one hand while working the rubber hanger back over the metal bracket with the other hand. Push the plastic rivets back into place to secure the rear bumper fascia. Do not install the plastic cover over the trunk pan, if your car was so equipped.