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@TerryB: Didn't measure the ground clearance, but would guess its reduced by ~2", given the receiver is 1.25" plus clearance and wall thickness.

Here are a couple pics from this morning in bright sunlight. Can't even really see the hitch.
View attachment 1256 View attachment 1257
Looks great. Can you tell me if there is any flexing/contact if the hitch is weighed down by a bike rack or equivalent? thanks.
 

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I'm still waiting for my bike rack to arrive, so I'm not sure how much flex there will be. I think those universal exhaust hangers could be a good option. The hitch does reduce the clearance from side to side. The first time I bolted it down, it was not centered around the muffler and would definately bumped during driving. I loosened it up and slid it over to center up the muffler, and hoped there would be enough clearance. It makes sense to me that most of the movement would be vertical from bouncing over bumps. The universal hangers should allow you to hang the muffler a bit lower to increase the vertical clearance. If you can get a stiffer durometer, that should help prevent it from moving around as much. If/when my plastic strip hack wears out the stock hanger, I will most likely try one of these universal hangers - thanks for the heads up!
 

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BTW, no thunks during my 30 miles of urban commuting today. Haven't done any aggressive cornering yet to see if side to side could be a problem (it's painful to have a car that handles this well and end with an average speed of 18mph over a full tank of gas due to traffic!).
 

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I wonder if something like this would be the trick for everyone? Is it confirmed that lateral hitting is not a problem, and that it's from bouncing up and down?.....
Buy universal exhaust hanger- Source universal exhaust hanger,exhaust hanger For Freeshipping from China Online universal exhaust hanger Stores on Aliexpress.com
Yep, good find. I also noticed the plastic piece that MightyM added in the last photo actually stretched the hanger down vertically which leads me to believe that the extra distance was the main helping factor rather than the 'higher durometer' the bottlecaps and fender washers applied.

I'm going to get under my ST after work and remove the exhaust hanger to get dimensions of both the hanger-hole diameter and also the center-to-center distances on the hanger to see what measurements we'll need. I was looking at the Kartboy hangers that the Subaru community uses... Kartboy dot com :: Search results
 

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Yep, good find. I also noticed the plastic piece that MightyM added in the last photo actually stretched the hanger down vertically which leads me to believe that the extra distance was the main helping factor rather than the 'higher durometer' the bottlecaps and fender washers applied.

I'm going to get under my ST after work and remove the exhaust hanger to get dimensions of both the hanger-hole diameter and also the center-to-center distances on the hanger to see what measurements we'll need. I was looking at the Kartboy hangers that the Subaru community uses... Kartboy dot com :: Search results
Yeah, the kartboy ones definitely look firmer, which would reduce lateral play when cornering (hard). Perhaps a check on YouTube could confirm how rigid they are. Would be nice to figure out if a set of longer ones gets rid of ALL clunking/noise. Maybe the solution to accommodate a hitch has been this simple all along.....
 

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Yeah, the kartboy ones definitely look firmer, which would reduce lateral play when cornering (hard). Perhaps a check on YouTube could confirm how rigid they are. Would be nice to figure out if a set of longer ones gets rid of ALL clunking/noise. Maybe the solution to accommodate a hitch has been this simple all along.....
He we go, fast forward 1:40 in the video...

 

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(I tilted the caliper to show the measurement) This measurement is ~48mm from center-to-center (c-c) of the ST's exhaust hanger; this equates to ~1.88 inches. The regular 12mm Kartboy hanger is 1.4" (36mm) c-c. The extended hanger is 2.375" (60mm) c-c.








 

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So sounds like 60mm one would do the trick. I thought of sound-deadener tape on the rack for the odd later contact while cornering. I'm a little worried that the rack would droop down a bit with 2 downhill mountain bikes on it (ie 85lbs) and hit the muffler. Hopefully the 60mm hanger would help. 10mm is a fair bit of extra clearance...
 

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Alright, time to update you all with what I've found out. I purchased the Curt Hitch and installed it on the car. Despite Curt saying it doesn't fit the ST model, it actually installs without hitting any part of the bumper. The muffler does bang up against it though just like everyone else has posted. I borrowed two XL (extra long) KartBoy hangers from local Scooby friends and I purchased an extended generic rubber hanger from Autozone. One of the KartBoy hangers is 12mm holes while the other has 15mm holes. I've been using the 15mm holed one this past week. The 12mm model is the correct size for our hangers but from what I've been told, once you put them on you basically have to cut them off b/c they're not very pliable; so I've been using the 15mm to easily take if off.

The XL hanger is 20mm longer than the stock hanger and is made out of polyurethane. I have no issues over speedbumps but taking corners at T-intersections or highway interchanges (if my speed is high enough) I'll hear the exhaust bump the hitch on right-hand turns; it's okay on left-hand turns though. Before adjusting it, it was opposite (hitting on left-hand turns vs right-hand). The Autozone hanger is the same length as the KartBoy hanger but thinner, and made of rubber. It ended up being worse than the Karboy hanger.

I think I'm gonna have to get a universal hanger welded on to the exhaust and bolted to the chassis just like @skeeter97 did (page 3).

End Result...
20140313_131257.jpg 20140312_220938.jpg 20140312_220946.jpg


Clearance Photos
20140312_220442.jpg 20140312_220456.jpg 20140312_220519.jpg 20140312_220538.jpg

Difference between stock hanger (red) and Kartboy hanger (black). Even after a slight adjustment the exhaust still hits the hitch. I'm probably going to have an exhaust shop add in a universal bolt-on hanger to help in that regard.
20140226_214003.jpg 20140312_220551.jpg
 

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Well there is at least 1 bloke down here in Aus who is on the same Bike and FiST diet as you guys, pretty sure he got the one of Ford, that fits the non ST fiestas, prob better one for you guys who are worrying about your ground clearance.
This is not my car and I have no info on the hitch, I am providing this image for reference only!

 

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Hey everyone,

I gave up on the idea of finding the right hanger to make the exhaust not hit the hitch. I took it to an exhaust shop and had a hanger welded on to stabilize the exhaust. It barely even moves. I have gotten some slight vibration once or twice but it's been good ever since. I think it's because the hanger sits very close to the vertical frame part on the left side of the photo. I'll see if I can loosen the hitch nut and slide the hanger away slightly.

20140327_173241.jpg 20140327_173114.jpg

20140327_173044.jpg 20140327_173218.jpg
 

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Thanks for all the info. guys! Been watching this with great interest as I've been trying to decide what to do. Often need two bikes on the car(sometimes our touring bikes, sometimes road bikes, sometimes xc, and sometimes dh :p). I'm hopefully installing my fswerks exhaust first this week and hoping the muffler may be a little smaller which could help a bit. Question for MightyM and RavynX(and anyone else): It almost looked like there was contact and/or slight deformation of the plastic on the underside of the car against the top of the hitch--is that the case or just the photos? I noticed it more on MightyM's photo......

Thanks again for sharing your results and pics!
 

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Thanks for all the info. guys! Been watching this with great interest as I've been trying to decide what to do. Often need two bikes on the car(sometimes our touring bikes, sometimes road bikes, sometimes xc, and sometimes dh :p). I'm hopefully installing my fswerks exhaust first this week and hoping the muffler may be a little smaller which could help a bit. Question for MightyM and RavynX(and anyone else): It almost looked like there was contact and/or slight deformation of the plastic on the underside of the car against the top of the hitch--is that the case or just the photos? I noticed it more on MightyM's photo......

Thanks again for sharing your results and pics!
No worries, I'm glad to help out the community; just paying it forward for those who helped me with other cars.

In regards to your question on the underside of the rear bumper against the hitch... from my experience the Curt hitch that I'm using does not contact the bumper if you get it positioned like I did in the photos. There is some wiggle room to adjust it how you like. If you get the HiddenHitch or DrawTite bar, from the photos I've seen it looks like the upward angle of the square bar does come in contact with the edge of the rear bumper.

If you look at the 4 photos I have under "Clearance Photos", the bottom two show a square-sized tab on the rear bumper, the upward angle of the HiddenHitch and DrawTite bars are what push on that square tab. Otherwise I believe those hitches fit just like the Curt.
 

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As an avid cyclist with a new Fiesta ST needing a rack solution, this thread was a huge benefit and help into making my final decision - so I decided thought I'd pay it forward by describing the path I selected.

I decided to go with a hitch rack for a number of reasons (fuel economy, aerodynamics, easier racking solution, etc) and purchased the Hidden Hitch #60271 from eTrailer. Although the instructions estimate 30 min to install, I was skeptical and had my Ford service department complete the work. They said it took them about 1.5 hrs and would only be a 30 min job if this was an install they were doing frequently. The installation was solid but I noticed pretty quickly a thumping coming from the rear after hitting bumps in the road. Turns out the clearance between my exhaust and hitch was less than 1 inch so I took it to my local body shop and (using heat) they bent the hangers to lengthen them - no more hitch contact!

Hidden Hitch Trailer Hitch Receiver with Drawbar - Custom Fit - Class I - 1-1/4" Hidden Hitch Trailer Hitch 60271
Hidden Hitch - Class I Hitch

And for those who are interested, the rack I purchased is the Kuat NV. Needless to say it is one of the best racks on the market right now and I am very pleased with it so far. Plus it looks great on my ST! Overall I've been very pleased with this setup and haven't noticed much of a difference while riding unloaded, although I do notice a bit of a drag when the rack is loaded. Good tradeoff versus permanent drag with a roof rack.

Products » The NV | Küat

Here it is unloaded and folded up - please note the rack is not wider than the car although it appears that way here.
20140829_163954.jpg

And here it is loaded with one bike - it is another optical illusion that the bike is larger than the car. My XS frame on 26 wheels is not in fact larger than my ST, albeit small. :)
20140829_164905.jpg

Hope this helps!
 

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I did my install today using the DrawTite (Hidden Hitch / Uhaul) version because it seemed like people were getting closest to no clucking this way. I got the XL kartboy hanger as described above.

Hitch came from CARiD.com. The picture is backwards, but it's the right part. It came loose in a big box and was beat to crap, but I wanted to de-sticker it and paint it rustoleum satin black anyway:
Draw-Tite® 24855 - Class 1 Sportframe Trailer Hitch with 1-1/4" Receiver Opening (200/2000 Weight Capacity)

The new hanger came from here. It went on easily with some silicone spray.
Kartboy dot com :: Subaru Forester :: 2000-2005 Forester :: Kartboy Exhaust Hanger 12mm EXTRA LONG Single (BLACK)

I also put in a wiring kit for my velco mounted lights. Good instructions. Went in without issue.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EOS3CG8...UTF8&colid=1Z87WX6M9FM9&coliid=I333DMOIFLJIVN

Good news is there is no clunking yet! I spent some time moving it to the left and right trying to get it centered between clunking on the left and clunking on the right as I wiggled the muffler back and forth. In the end it was pretty much centered in the slots in the brackets. I also relieved the right lower valence tab where it contacted the horizontal cross bar. I drilled a hole, then cut on each side. Hopefully this will keep it from tearing through.















 
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