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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Figured I’d post so folks can feel good about taking it on.
This is an install with stock garish and no harness. I only carry bikes and not a trailer so this is probably applicable to most MDX owners. Fitment with stock garish is not 100% but I doubt anyone could tell the difference

Tools Needed
10mm combination (ratcheting type makes it way easier)
18mm socket
6” extension
Torque wrench (63 ft/lbs for the (6) bolts)
Razor or other short blade knife
Hacksaw with fine tooth blade
Pretty much any kind of sandpaper I used 180
Blue painters tape
2 zip ties

Step 0 - drop stire

step 1 - remove stock garish
  • Remove four 10mm bolts two exposed and two near the aluminum bumper frame
  • Remove two pop pins (gently pry towards ground the inset head - 10mm works pretty well for this as it doesn’t scratch
  • once bolts and pop-pins are removed pull garish toward front of car to release 6 tabs

step 2 - Trim Garish
There is a center line to the trim piece you can measure from. I measured 1.25” from center on each side and used blue tape to make a straight and plumb line. This makes for a 2.5” opening that terminated where the trim piece has a natural line
Bumper Automotive tire Automotive exterior Rectangle Rim

if I did it again I’d cut a little more of the trim panel on top out so the trim piece would sit more flush
  • I used the hacksaw for the vertical cuts and used a knife to cut along the molded line for the horizontal cut. Score gently so it’s straight then increase pressure with repeated strokes to cut the plastic.
  • use sandpaper to remove any fuzzy bits

Step 3 - Reinstall the trim piece reversing the order of step 1 but don’t put in any bolts or pop pins

Step 4 - install hitch.
if you just tilt the hitch with one end on the ground, you can install one bolt with a few full turns so you don’t have to hold up the whole hitch with one hand. There’s enough play. Just make sure you have 3-4 full turns of the bolt before trusting it to hold the hitch while it’s over your head
- the trim piece is cut to just barely surround the hitch so you have to wiggle and squeeze the hitch into the hole

- once aligned tighten all hitch bolts equally to 63 ft/lbs

step 5 - trim garish again
- you’ll notice the harness mount is in the way of the bottom lip of the trim. Using tape and a knife I scored and cut a notch out.
-take your time and don’t slip (you can see I did slip and made an extra line that nobody will ever see)
Automotive tire White Motor vehicle Hood Light

Automotive lighting Automotive tire Bumper Vehicle Automotive design


Step 6 - reinstall bolts to trim. Since the hitch pushes out the trim a little bit at the bottom I didn’t reinstall the pop pins and just zip tied.
Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Automotive tire Hood

Tire Wheel Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design

The bottom lip sticks out about maybe 3/4” overall but is invisible once installed

if you buy the OEM hitch trim, this is like a 20-minute install. But like another poster, the hitch garish is super ugly IMHO. The dealer wanted over 600 to install w/o the harness so you do the math.

Finished
Hood Automotive lighting Grille Automotive design Automotive exterior
 

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Figured I’d post so folks can feel good about taking it on.
This is an install with stock garish and no harness. I only carry bikes and not a trailer so this is probably applicable to most MDX owners. Fitment with stock garish is not 100% but I doubt anyone could tell the difference

Tools Needed
10mm combination (ratcheting type makes it way easier)
18mm socket
6” extension
Torque wrench (63 ft/lbs for the (6) bolts)
Razor or other short blade knife
Hacksaw with fine tooth blade
Pretty much any kind of sandpaper I used 180
Blue painters tape
2 zip ties

Step 0 - drop stire

step 1 - remove stock garish
  • Remove four 10mm bolts two exposed and two near the aluminum bumper frame
  • Remove two pop pins (gently pry towards ground the inset head - 10mm works pretty well for this as it doesn’t scratch
  • once bolts and pop-pins are removed pull garish toward front of car to release 6 tabs

step 2 - Trim Garish
There is a center line to the trim piece you can measure from. I measured 1.25” from center on each side and used blue tape to make a straight and plumb line. This makes for a 2.5” opening that terminated where the trim piece has a natural line
View attachment 118477
if I did it again I’d cut a little more of the trim panel on top out so the trim piece would sit more flush
  • I used the hacksaw for the vertical cuts and used a knife to cut along the molded line for the horizontal cut. Score gently so it’s straight then increase pressure with repeated strokes to cut the plastic.
  • use sandpaper to remove any fuzzy bits

Step 3 - Reinstall the trim piece reversing the order of step 1 but don’t put in any bolts or pop pins

Step 4 - install hitch.
if you just tilt the hitch with one end on the ground, you can install one bolt with a few full turns so you don’t have to hold up the whole hitch with one hand. There’s enough play. Just make sure you have 3-4 full turns of the bolt before trusting it to hold the hitch while it’s over your head
- the trim piece is cut to just barely surround the hitch so you have to wiggle and squeeze the hitch into the hole

- once aligned tighten all hitch bolts equally to 63 ft/lbs

step 5 - trim garish again
- you’ll notice the harness mount is in the way of the bottom lip of the trim. Using tape and a knife I scored and cut a notch out.
-take your time and don’t slip (you can see I did slip and made an extra line that nobody will ever see)
View attachment 118479
View attachment 118478

Step 6 - reinstall bolts to trim. Since the hitch pushes out the trim a little bit at the bottom I didn’t reinstall the pop pins and just zip tied. View attachment 118481
View attachment 118480
The bottom lip sticks out about maybe 3/4” overall but is invisible once installed

if you buy the OEM hitch trim, this is like a 20-minute install. But like another poster, the hitch garish is super ugly IMHO. The dealer wanted over 600 to install w/o the harness so you do the math.

Finished
View attachment 118482
Fantastic job!!! Thanks for the detailed post with pics!!!
 

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Any chance @HIROSHIMA, @A&Hsince90, or anyone that has done this to their MDX have one with the Hands Free Access power tailgate? If so, did you have to reposition the HFA sensor or purchase a new sensor to get it to work with the hitch installed?
 

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Re: OP's description, very helpful, thanks

A couple things to offer that I learned when doing my Odyssey about 10yrs ago.

1) I drilled a small hole at the corner of where I was going to cut, to make sure my cuts stopped at the right spot on the plastic fender cover. Also allows you to make a 90 degree turn there.

2) I had a real time trying to get the last bolt hole to line up, and ended up using a pry bar and some leverage to get the hitch aligned with that bolt hole. I think in retrospect, there is ONE of the bolt holes on the hitch that is more oval rather than the perfect diameter of the bolt, and that is one you want to put in last as it allows a little more wiggle room in case the hitch is not perfectly aligned with all the bolt holes on the frame of the MDX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Any chance @HIROSHIMA, @A&Hsince90, or anyone that has done this to their MDX have one with the Hands Free Access power tailgate? If so, did you have to reposition the HFA sensor or purchase a new sensor to get it to work with the hitch installed?
I didn’t install handsfree. I barely use the trunk when my hands are full and honestly I’d save your money. The key fob range is so weak and interferes with either your phone or your wallet that, about 70% of the time I have to fish my keys from my pocket because it doesn’t recognize I have the key.

my old 2014 odyssey I could just touch my kids shoulder and they could unlock the car when they touched the handles.
 

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I did not install the hands-free tailgate. I had it in our CRV and hardly ever used it so I didn’t bother.
 
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