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Tesla Teardown! – Install a Tow Hitch on a Model 3!

Tesla Teardown! – Install a Tow Hitch on a Model 3!


So we have the Model 3 hooked up to this 1700
pound trailer. That is not my Model 3 so I’m totally fine doing whatever! [Music playing] So Tesla’s are some of the coolest cars on
the planet. But, allowing a car to accomplish more things is always a good thing. Today
we’re going to install a hitch on the Tesla Model 3 that will allow it to tow, carry bikes,
and just be an all-around more productive vehicle. Let’s get started. [Intro] So this isn’t my Model 3, obviously. It took
me a second to find someone brave enough to let me teardown their vehicle. [Ben] Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hey. Wait a minute.
Tear down? [Zack] This is Ben from Teslanomics. He has
a whole channel dedicated to the economics of Tesla vehicles. Why do you want a hitch
on your car? [Ben] Well, I think that these cars are beautiful,
but they are not as functional as they could be. So adding this hitch is going to give
me a whole new capability of, you know, carrying bikes around, and little things like that.
And while the Tesla’s aren’t rated to tow anything yet, we did see a performance model
that was pulling something recently. So I thought this was just a great way to get that
same functionality without having to buy an $80,000 car. [Zack] That’s true. And the thing that I like
about this hitch is that it does nothing to change the aesthetics of the vehicle. You
can’t see it’s there when it’s installed. It’s totally hidden – 100%. Let’s go around
to the back of the car and show you how to install it. Alright, so we have to get this hunk of metal
behind the bumper inside of this Tesla. So we’re going to tear off the whole back end
to get it installed, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. This is called the Eco Hitch
– I’ll have it linked down in the video description. This video is not sponsored.
But this thing has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds, and a tongue weight of 200 pounds. Now, obviously, like we mentioned before,
Tesla’s not actually rated to tow stuff. But at the same time, Tesla’s are super powerful
vehicles with electric motors and, you know, large batteries inside. So it’s not like it’s
going to hurt the car to throw a couple bikes on the back or to tow a trailer every now
and then. It’s probably not the best idea to put like a mobile home behind this thing.
But, you know, 2,000 pounds is 2,000 pounds. We’ll test it out here at the end. You nervous yet? Alright, for this little
plastic piece over the top of the light, this little guy is kind of hard to unscrew and
we don’t want to scratch it up because the Tesla is kind of nice. So we’re going to take
these pliers with a cloth over it and then grab it and twist it like that because the
pliers are longer than your hands are. And once it’s started, it will come off the rest
of the way. Let’s keep going. Alright, so there are 2
little plastic pins on the inside that you just pop off this top and then the whole thing
collapses inside allowing you to pull the whole contraption out from underneath, allowing
this felt piece to pull away, giving us access to the taillights. And then to pull the taillight
out, there are 2 bolts holding it in and both of these are 8 millimeters. Alright, after those 2 nuts are released from
the bolts, the whole thing comes away. There are 2 little pins: one here and one here.
And the way that they’re shaped, they go inside these little plugs. So just a little bit of
force pops the whole light out of the housing. So the other…the passenger taillight is
the same way. It has those 2 little nuts inside. And then hopefully…yep, same 2 little clasps
right here. So now the taillights are out and now we can work on the bumper. [Ben] So we’ve got these 2 pushpins that hold
this side of the bumper into the wheel well And then just one torque screw that holds
it all together. [Zack] Okay, so we are underneath the Model
3 right now and there are…these are all 10 millimeter bolts. There are 3 over here
on this end and we’re moving this bottom plastic plate. And then there are 2 more clips right
here on the very end right next to the bumper. And these can be pulled down with just a screwdriver
popping out this plastic piece and then you have full access to the bolts right there.
So let’s pull off this plastic chunk. Remember, throughout this whole process it’s
probably a good idea to keep your screws organized, as with any project. There are 2 more bolts
up here at the top of the bumper underneath where those headlights used to be. And by
headlights, I mean taillights. So the bumper itself is all made of plastic
and it’s got these little clasps right here. So I’m going to unclip all of these. [Snapping
sound] Oh! This isn’t my car! And then all of the rear sensors on the bumper are attached
to this little guy. And then the whole thing comes out. Looks like Ben’s been collecting
rocks under here for a little while. You been taking this thing off-roading? Where have
you been going buddy? [Ben] Ha ha! I’ve just been jumping it, you
know! [Zack] And this is what a Tesla looks like
without the whole bumper or taillights. How are you feeling about not having your car
in one piece anymore, Ben? [Ben] Ha ha! I feel alight. I’m a little worried
about the Ikea nature of the assembly, but I know where to go if we lose any of these
parts. [Zack] Those plastic push pins are impressive. [Ben] Yes! You know, get some cinnamon rolls
while you’re there. It’s cool. [Zack] Okay, so all the plastic bumper stuff
is off. There’s this metal piece right here called the crash bar, and there are 3 bolts
on either side. Three where Ben is at, and then 3 right here inside of these little holes.
And each of them are 15 millimeters. And then the whole crash bar pulls up and away from
the frame. So this is the hitch right here, and you see
how it has this sloping plate? The car also has a sloping plate. So this piece of metal
right here, we actually take off and discard. We don’t need it. But to access this metal,
we have to remove this. And these are all 10 millimeter bolts, and there are 5 of them.
One here…two…three…four…and five. [Ben] I’m just going to pull this clip off,
and you just set it inside. [Zack] Man, this is pretty brutal. So these
are the same 15 millimeter bolts all the way around this. And once they are all off, we
don’t need this piece of metal anymore because the slope is included on the actual hitch
itself. Alright, so you remember that piece we just pulled off and discarded? There are
these little plastic washers that are included with the kit that we’re going to put on each
one of these little bolts, and that’s to keep the 2 metals separate from each other. And
it could be for vibrations, to minimize them, or it also could be because 2 dissimilar metals
fusing together is a thing and we don’t want that to happen. So the white washers go on these bolts as
well as the 3 bolts right here on the mount itself, and that’s where the crash bars installs
once the hitch is on the Model 3. Perfect. So now the hitch is installed on the back
of the Model 3. This part right here is removable. I’ll show you that in a second. And all of
these nuts are tightened down to 50 pound feet of torque. So the thing with torquing
down all of these bolts to the 50 foot pounds of torque is so that the torque wrench, right
when you hit the right amount of torque, it will do this clicking thing. [Click sound]
Right there. And that’s when you know when to stop, and the nut is tight enough on the
bolt. Then the crash bar attaches right onto the hitch itself, with the white washers between
it and the hitch to prevent that corrosion. So the crash bar is also installed now, and
each of the nuts holding it in place are also torqued down to that same 50 foot pounds of
torque that the base hitch was torqued down to. This part right here is the hitch. And
the whole hitch is hidden except for this part right here which sticks up inside of
the bumper and attaches to the hitch itself that we just mounted. But in order for that
to happen, we do have to cut the only cut that we’re going to make, a hole in the bottom
of that plastic piece underneath the bumper itself. That way, with the hole there, this
can slip inside of the hole, and then this will protrude out, but only when we actually
want to tow something. That way when we’re not actually towing something, we can take
it out and it’s hidden and the Tesla 3 looks like it has no hitch. So probably the scariest part of this ordeal
is cutting into the bumper itself. But it’s actually a lot simpler than it seems. We have
the bumper off of the car, set right here. And to get the correct measurements, we’re
measuring from the inside of the car to the outside where the bumper is at. And right
here, measuring along this center line, we’re looking at 26 and ½ inches, which is this
line right here. And in the instructions it says that if we put a dot right here, which
is ¾ of an inch, from this one center line, we can use a 4 inch hole saw and cut right
there, and then put another dot over here, 2 and ¼ inches from the center line, and
use that same 4 inch hole saw right here. We don’t have a 4 inch hole saw, so we used
this pink candle, set it right here and got the diameters correct. And then we can use
a jig saw to cut that hole out and it accomplishes the same thing. And there we have it. Perfectly cut for the
hitch. Alright so the bumper is in place. It’s clipped
in in both wheel wells. We have the little plastic tacks and both torque screws going
up in the top, connecting the bumper and the wheel wells. And Ben just finished installing
all the bolts underneath that plastic skid plate. So we should be good to go after we
install the brake lights. We have to test out the trailer. Alright so we have the passenger taillight
installed. Remember it has that plastic bit up top. Then we got the driver’s side taillight
for the Model 3. Now it’s in. And we’ll plug it in and get those 2 nuts screwed in on the
backside. And this is what it looks like with the hitch installed. Let’s get that trailer on. [Music playing] Alright, so we have the Model 3 hooked up
to this 1700 pound trailer, which is pretty close to maxing out the towing capacity of
the hitch we just installed. But we’re going to give it a try anyway. Like I said, it’s
not my Model 3 so I’m totally fine doing whatever. [Music playing] So I think the trailer did good. I was on
the trailer, so how did it feel from the inside? [Ben] It felt good. It didn’t have any kind
of hesitation about pulling it. It felt strong. I was more worried about the trailer kind
of bouncing around and stuff, but it felt solid. [Zack] Obviously we weren’t going super fast
in a parking lot testing it out because we don’t have the lights and stuff on the back
of it. Depends on what state you’re in, you might need a wiring harness and brake lights
and all of that stuff. But for a bike rack and stuff – I think it would be great. [Ben] Yeah, for any reasonable amount of needs
that you would have for a vehicle like this, it performs well. So thumbs up. [Zack] You might not use that hitch all the
time, but sometimes it’s useful to have on there. [Ben] And when you don’t need it, it’s totally
hidden. [Zack] If you have any questions or comments,
leave them down in the comments section. Check out Ben’s channel. I’ll leave a link right
here. And thanks a ton for watching. I’ll see you around.

100 comments

Thumpnail looks like the meme where a guy has a big ass trailer and the trailer is carrying a small ass bicycle

Jerry desperately wants tesla to contact him and gift one car as soon as possible for promoting tesla so much๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

2019 Model 3 Warning!!
I spent 3 hours trying to make it fit on my 2019 Model 3, the metal parts fit like a charm but I could not get the fascia back on. In the end it looks like Tesla has changed the rear fascia and this will not fit any more. The store and manufacture wanted me to take the car a part "again" to send them measurements and photos to show them why it does not fit. It is not my job to troubleshoot for them. The dealer tried to help a little but all emails to Torklift Central went unanswered. Very unhappy, selling it locally to someone with an older model.

When installing that, aren't you adding a plate thickness whereby causing an additional thickness to cause a larger gap? or is it the same thickness as that metal plate you removed? Either way, with that metal and the plastic washers (2 each per stud), I'd think that there must be some additional gap that is created by installing the hitch? Please advise/clarify thanks

I love how the whole entire video is you talking about how to put the thing on and then you show the car pulling the trailer for 1 second thatโ€™s the whole reason why I clicked on this video to see it pull it but I didnโ€™t see that happen. VERY DISAPPOINTED! Iโ€™m unsubscribing and disliking!

Problem with that is that the sensors where you put that hitch is going to be non functional so no auto pilot

Tesla should make a trailer with its own batteries, motors and brakes. All of it would communicate with the car so in theory you could tow as much as you want.

Nice looking Model 3. Good idea to use plastic washers to prevent corrosion. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ

What's up guys. Great vid and kudos to being specific about specifics. I was thinking about that hole under the tesla and had an idea. If you guys dropped 2 carriage bolts facing down on the driver and passenger side of the oval hole you cut, with an aluminum plate rivited in place for the bolts to rest in, you could have a removable cover for the hitch hole while NOT in tow. Considering Bin like collecting rocks in his bumper this might be useful. Thanks again for the vid…..

Looks like you guys should have been the ones to repair The Fast Lane Car's Tesla that they wrecked, you guys probably could have done it without breaking the rear glass and roof glass LOL.

I didn't think the Tesla was rated to tow anything either, but many vehicles aren't and you see people towing things with them anyways. I wonder the reason really, maybe public safety and/or automakers knowing people really don't pay much attention to weights, speeds, braking, etc. so they severely under-rate many vehicle's tow ratings to compensate.

Yes, those plastic washers are separating 2 different metals, the Tesla is aluminum, the receiver hitch is steel.

Would installing the hitch void your guaranty? Amazing work guys. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜

If that was my car I would paint the area behind the crash bar at 6 min with rust resistant paint as the metal was bare the rest was a great installation

That's the oddest hitch install ive seen. All the hitch's ive seen bolt onto the frame horizontally so when you "pull" something it pulls… Because it's on a vertical bolt install rather than horizontal it seems like it would snap the bolts when pulling something. But what do i know..

Nice Video, but due to safety regulations, this project would be incredibly illigal in germany. And u may consider the extra stress with recuperation on the motor with the extra weight. Thats the reason, why Toyota Hybrid cars are not allowed to tow more then 350 kg.

Thanks for the video. I guess you can install a universal trailer lighting adapter/ harness. But do you know if the model 3 has already a trailer wiring harness available? The European model 3 has the factory trailer option available. Thanks.

dont you need brake and backlights at the trailer? In Germany you would never be allowed to do this in this way

Hey this is really great.content. The install is super clean and you explained everything well. I'm a new subscriber and really love this video. I hope to live in a small Camper with a Tesla tow-rig. Thanks for the video!!!

still waiting for the promised $35,000 model 3…….purchase price, not the BS 'including potential savings' which is just pathetic….

Did you guys do any kind of cover plate when hitch is not in use? BTW Tesla cars now shipping in US and EU all have removable access hatch (designed for EU hitch not avail. yet in US)

Looking for some help. I took everything off easily enough, installed my hitch, but am having the darnest of time getting the bumper re-installed. Do you have any hints? I can get the bumper on, but then the holes aren't aligning to affix the bottom pan to the car again. So strange. Any help greatly appreciated!

I would love a more detailed disassembly video. I have the factory installed hitch, but I am not happy with the placement of the trailer light socket. The plug is fairly long and can rub against the groud where there are quick change in slope. I want to move the socket to a place where the plug will fit inside.

Lack of lights is a huge issue. How do you get brake & turn signal lights for the trailer? If you can't, then it means you can't legally pull any trailer on a public road.

Oh God, thank you for not making 10 minute long video where 9 of them you wake up, drink coffee, drive, buy stuff, wash your car, go to dinner with your friends and in 1 minute at night, with dogs running around you and other teslas pulling in your driveaway you actually installing the hitch. (aka every car diy video on youtube).. THANK YOU!!!

If you use an ultralight trailer that be good for hauling wood or other materials for projects. Maybe I'll get a model 3 instead of a pick up truck.

Is the model 3 more like a station wagon or a sedan car? What about the model Y? I need a car that I can put my dog in.

LSUโ€™s,SKUs is a time,sksksksksaaaaadcfref+ r

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Aaas aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaae is that jfkfnnfj);rfj.l.
Slelelsldlsldlslx ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ”ง๐ŸŒ๐Ÿš‰๐ŸšŠ๐ŸšŸ๐Ÿš ๐Ÿš๐Ÿš”

Not gonna lie, that is a beefy hitch for only 2,000 lbs. Guaranteed that is closer to 4 or 6 thousand, at least as far as the hitch is concerned.

They might just have a low rating since who knows what the tesla is actually good for

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