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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently installed the Curt 13116 hitch on a 2014 Touareg. As someone who has virtually no experience working on cars, I thought I'd pass along some notes for other DIY amateurs considering an installation. There's also some potentially new, good info about the Curt hitch that I wasn't aware of until I took it out of its box.

(1) The Curt hitch:
I purchased the hitch under the assumption that it was limited at 6,500 / 600lbs tongue weight, which is how it was advertised on multiple websites that sell it.

The hitch that I received still uses the C13116 model number, but it is now rated at 7,500 / 700 lbs tongue weight, which is a much closer match to the ratings of the OEM hitch and the vehicle max tow rating. So a pleasant surprise there. Both a sticker on the hitch and the included installation directions verified this new, higher tow rating. Odd note, as of this date, Curt's website for this hitch lists both the new 7,500 rating and the old 6,500 as well. The Curt pdf directions have definitely been updated with the 7,500 rating. For what it's worth, I don't think a company should use the same model number for an 'evolved' item that has different specs but the same purpose as its predecessor part, but I'm no expert.

On the bad news side, the bottom of the hitch at the receiver location was scratched just enough that I want to make the repair. I'm going to reach out to Curt Mfg soon to see if they can provide a little bit of the liquid Aquence coating and gloss black coating that I can apply myself (as noted on Curt's website description for the hitch).

(2) The tow wiring harness
At this time I have partially installed the Tekonsha T-one connector with Modulite HD (Model # 118668 ) even though at this time I only plan to use the hitch for a bike rack. This harness should cost you between $45-60 depending on the website you use, and there are two advantages that, for my preferences, justify its cost over less expensive units: (1) it is plug-and-play directly into factory rear light wiring harness (i.e., does not require cutting into a harness cover or splicing wires), and (2) it powers trailer lights using a power wire direct from the battery rather than from the factory taillight harnesses.

Help! I need advice on powering the tow harness:
(a) I have not yet run the power wire to the battery because I am hesitant to run it under the vehicle (heat, or split plastic cable tubes to be protective don't have enough heat rating). If there's a safe way to run it under the car, may someone please advise? Or, my preference, if there's a way to run it through the interior to the front through the firewall, can someone advise on how to get it to the front right side of the interior? (I understand that the best way through the firewall on this LHD Touareg is through the plugged-port for the hood release that would be on the right side for a RHD Touareg.)

(b) I attached the module to the top of the hitch (left of the foam insert) rather than the interior of the car; this follows the directions from another video on etrailer rather than the directions provided by Tekonsha. If I do eventually run the power wire through the interior of the car to the firewall, I might have to move the module to the interior and re-do the routing of the plug-and-play wires. Not sure what yet...

Installation tools:
So I do not know how to do my own car maintenance and have very little mechanical experience, but I was able to do this installation successfully. The tools needed are on the Curt installation pdf. I had some the torxbit and socket wrench as part of some cheap toolkits in my apartment. But I ultimately purchased a $35 Tekton torque wrench on Amazon, which was a 4.5 / 5 star rated product. I also purchased socket kits. The torque wrench was the only tool I've never used. For newbies, follow the directions that recommend using a low-setting on the torque wrench for your first use so you can get used to the clicking noise it makes once you reach the correct setting.

Installation process:
There's no point in my repeating any of the directions that are much more capably demonstrated on the etrailer website with their video. Here's the link to that video:

So the purpose of my notes here is to give some pointers that go into a little more detail than what's in the video. Here are some thoughts:

(1) Wheel well trim pieces:
When you pull back the trim pieces above the rear wheel wells, even the most gentle, slow process of pulling back can still result in a couple broken clips. I broke a couple, but I will look up the part numbers soon and buy them from the dealership. That said, when I was done and plugged the trim back in, nothing was visually loose; there were still enough other clips and torx bit fasteners keeping it in the proper place.

(2) Push pin fastener below the tail light assemblies:
Soon after removing the tail light assemblies, you'll remove two torx bit fasteners and a push pin fastener just below where the tail lights were located. What the Curt directions and the etrailer video do not show is how to recover the center "plug" of the push pin fastener once you push it down to through the fastener. That black plug falls down and into a separate black plastic piece under the tail light assemblies. Simply unscrew it and the plugs fall out to the ground. You can recover them and use them to properly reinstall the push pin fastener. My gut sense is that this is an easy step to skip, particularly for a shop that rushes the job.

(3) Reinstalling the foam piece above the hitch:
Just do it, but be sure to sufficiently shave off enough foam from the bottom before putting it back in just above the installed hitch (which replaces the bumper beam that the foam was sitting above previously; NB the bumper beam is replaced by the hitch for those unaware). This foam piece needs to be shaved because it needs to fit loosely. While both the Curt instructions and the etrailer video say its optional to reinstall, I err on the side of getting everything as close back to original factory settings and assume those German engineers had a reason to include that foam piece. So I put it back in. Shaving it down added a fair amount of time, but my personal (albeit amateur) perspective is that taking this step is the right thing to do and worth it.

(4) Reinstalling the taillights:
Screw it back by hand, and don't use max force. Bottom line, I over-did this and ended up having to use some superglue to repair a mistake. Retighten the taillight assemblies sufficiently and firmly but definitely not as tight as you can.

(5) Reinstalling the rear fascia:
This was probably the biggest pain, especially since I did this installation by myself. The rear fascia is a large, unwieldy piece to start. However, at the bottom is the open space between which the hitch itself goes through. The part of the fascia that goes directly above the hitch receiver pushes against the hitch itself. The level of contact is enough to make reinstalling the fascia a pain, but definitely not even close to justify trimming the fascia at all.

(6) Hitch cover:
Honestly, I think the Touareg looks super ugly with the hitch sticking out there, but I had to install this. For those of you who agree, Curt also makes a hitch cover that ensures the hitch doesn't stand out as much visually. It's the Curt 21278 cover; didn't see it on their website, but it is on Amazon. This cover conveniently also has a holder for the wiring harness plug.

Final lessons learned:
Once I had all the parts and tools, I went ahead and got the installation done because I had an unexpected few hours free. I'm glad I got it done, but a couple things would have been easier if I had a buddy help out: (1) reinstalling the rear fascia and (2) holding up the 55 lb hitch to get the bolts initially started. Reinstalling the rear fascia by myself was definitely more frustrating than holding up the hitch by myself.

So now I think it's nice to have started my own tool collection (torque wrench, sockets, etc). And, since I understand that doing the brakes on the Touareg is a rather pricey deal, I might start exploring whether I can (safely!) do my own brakes once the time comes.

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20,262 Posts
Excellent first post. Well done and welcome.

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398 Posts
Thanks for this post!

I mounted a Curt hitch on my last vehicle (Nissan Xterra) and used the factory wiring harness. Like you, all I used it for was a bike rack. After buying the Touareg I couldn't justify spending what VW wants for their hitch only for a bike rack.

This is a much more reasonable alternative and looks pretty similar to the OEM hitch once installed.

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Thanks @treadlightly These were great instructions and really helped me.

I also installed backup radar at the same time: Frostory Car Reverse Backup Parking Sensor Radar System, Buzzer Beeps, Detection Distance:30~150CM, Waterproof Sensors (22mm Diameter 2.3M Cable) 4 Packs X60D (White)


Here are some notes on both of these installs:

First, I want to re-iterate what OP treadlightly said about “Push pin fastener below the tail light assemblies:” Make sure you understand what he said. I glossed over it and ended up spending 30 mins getting these push pins out that should have taken 2 mins.

Second, when it comes to wiring I simply ran a wire across to the rear/passenger panel and tapped the 12V socket. The curt wire used 15A and I think that is probably what the 12V socket is rated at (but not sure). Much simpler wire run and its switched on with the ignition. I don’t like wiring things to the battery, have had leaks before. That being said, maybe if you are going to tow a big trailer w/ electronic brakes or similar – maybe you need a higher amperage – maybe that is why eTrailer says to run a wire directly to the battery.

Third, protect your car w/ painters tape anywhere and everywhere near where the bumper meets the rest of the car body. I knicked a couple things because I wasn’t careful enough.

Fourth, my hitch arrived really dinged up:


I called eTrailer and they totally took care of me and shipped out a new one. However, they kind of tried to pin the damage on UPS when it was them that didn’t protect the hitch at all in the box, no padding or bubble wrap just some light tape. The new one also was unprotected but just was lucky to arrive not damage. eTrailer said they would only ship me one replacement and that if the replacement was also damaged, that was just how it was going to be. So I'd onl order from eTrailer again if they change their replacement policy.

Fifth, The Curt or etrailer instructions said to just tuck away the wiring harness inside the vehicle when not in use, and drape them under the hatch. Doesn’t look so great imho:

I wanted a more traditional install where the wires are available right by the hitch and not sticking out under the rear hatch. So I drilled a hole from underneath. This hole lined up to an existing hole that wasn’t being used so the wires go through two holes to get up into the vehicle:

Backup Radar Sensors:
If you are not installing a hitch, and just installing the backup radar you should still follow eTrailers videos/instructions on how to remove the bumper, brake lights and interior trim. These install notes start off where everything is already apart:

First, when I pulled the bumper off I noticed 4 pieces of green tape exactly where I thought the sensors should go, and I thought, maybe…. Just maybe… the bumper is pre-marked. And it is!! Under each green piece of tape is a little target outline (hard to see in the second pic, but it is there.

I used a very tiny drill bit and drilled tiny holes from the inside of the bumper to the outside. Then using the hole saw provided in the backup sensor kit I drilled from the outside of the bumper in using the tiny holes as guide marks. The hole saw was a bit wobbly, so I was worried, but it actually made very clean holes.

My bumpers were marked on the inside w/ a paint code of C9A. I bought this paint to spray my sensors to match my pure white 2012 t-reg:

I covered the little space between the two circles of the sensors with a little rubber washer that I had. Not sure if that was important, but I can say that after painting the sensors work just fine. I lightly sanded them, gave them 3 coats of color, 2 coats of clear.

I was a bit bummed to see the paint didn’t match. I sanded the sensors down and re-painted using C9A touch up paint I got from a VW dealer and it also didn’t match. I don’t know what’s up with paint codes and getting paint made, but the color is not exact but life goes on. To do it over, I might rather do the install but don’t fully push in the sensors, tape them up to the bumper and then take it to a body shop and have them color match and properly spray the sensors. This would require skipping the glue step which I will describe next but that probably isn’t a big deal. Or just live with the brighter white color that these sensors have, it would probably be fine.

When you push in the sensors into the bumper, they don’t “snap in” the way you would hope and did not feel very secure, so I used a little JB weld and glued them a bit on the sides in a way I could cut through fairly easily if I ever need to replace them. This may not be necc, but I like to try to do the job once and do it right…

The hardest part of the radar install was finding & tapping the 12v reverse wire. It was hard because I expected it to be in the brake assembly and there is a hot-reverse wire but it is only 7V. I spent hours trying to figure this out and considering adding a relay. Note that the t-reg doesn’t even have reverse bulbs in the brake assembly (at least mine didn’t) and reverse lights are in the hatch. I found the right wire in the hatch and was able to trace it to the inside of the driver rear panel (about where the brake wire comes through into the vehicle). Find this pink connector, then the wire you want is blue w/ a yellow stripe (but use a tester to be sure). This was in the upper right corner of this pic:


I did not install any visual indicator, and the speaker sounded good to me taped to the wheel well (but behind the carpeted panel shown above). I had the speaker set to “high”. Some people that blast their stereo or that can’t hear so well, may want to rather put the speaker on the inside of the vehicle where you can see it (and then hear it better).

How well does it work?

Honestly it is not as good as my 20 year old BMW’s sensors, it picks up everything in the right places however its distance isn’t as great so you don’t get as much advanced notice as you did with the BMW. With the BMW I felt I could really trust it 100% to prevent hitting something/someone at any typical reverse speed. With this unit, I only can trust it if I go very slow which is fine. And it was only $25…
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