Follow-up on attaching trailer hitch

Attaching the trailer hitch to my Toyota Solara went smoothly.
I think they would sell a lot more hitches if they imparted the message of how easy it is. Until I read t he instructions online, I thought all the holes would have to be positioned and drilled** by me That would be a lot of effort, and maybe beyond the skill of a lot of people who otoh could easily attach a hitch the way it is actually attached.
The only problem was removing the rear bolt that held on the heat shield above the muffler. No room for a socket, and my combination wrench wasn't long enough for much leverage. I used my propane torch but ran out of gas before it got very hot. The next day I finally opened my new MAPP gas torch with the trigger sparker. Boy is that nice. 3 minutes or so on and around the bolt head and when I applied the wrench it took only one hand and barely any effort at all.
So my question is, Is the old bolt ruined by being heated like that? It wasn't glowing red. What if it were glowing red?
At any rate, I replaced it with one of the included bolts, so all the hitch bolts are new and have the same size head.
As to using a tap or thread chaser to clean out the threads of the 4 weld-nuts, it wasn't necessary after all. (Perhaps partly because they are set back, welded, 1/8 or 1/4 inch from the lower face of the frame^^) Using the included bolt, it was rather hard in all four cases to find without looking the right angle to start the bolt. However, once started, the two nuts on the right near the muffler needed a wrench but showed no special resistance. The two on the left did show resistance, but when the bolt was removed there was no grit, just some black stuff in the threads. So I put the bolt in again and used a wrench to get past the hard part. Strangely, backing it out, it was hard to turn at the same spots (one per hole). I would think bolts would get progressively easier to turn.
It was well worth the time to do all this, to clean out the threads, before trying to mount the hitch.
^^I hear it's not really a frame, but I don't know what else to call it.
The Curt kit came with toothed washers for all 5 bolts, plus one spare of each, and all the other hardware needed. Other manufacturers do the same.
It was also expected that the installer drill two holes in the frame on the left, but positioning was pretty easy since the hitch was already mounted and the two empty holes in the hitch approximately marked the place where the holes should be drilled. Then a square u-botlt (provided) was put in though one hole, nuts added, and tightened. So t he hitch is attacked by 4 bolts on the left and 3 on the right. I can't find either of my 1/2 to 3/8 adapters, but when I do, I'll torque the bolts to 36 foot-pounds.
BTW, I tend to see the same cars every day, but I've been looking at the cars I see, and in the 3 big junkyards I've been to, and I've seen only one passenger car with a trailer hitch. (OTOH, most of the SUVs have them. They are often thrown in by the dealer.)
This new hitch is strangely shaped. It is normal on the left, but the bar on the right is replaced by a thick flat piece of steel that goes under the muffler. The picture online for this Curt hitch showed that. Maybe the picture for Hidden Hitch and the other popular brand showed it too.
**For the Lebaron hitch, part of the bottom of the vinyl covering of the bumper had to be cut away and the holes had to be positioned and drilled***, although the Class I hitch could be already clamped to the bumper struts at the time, so positioning was pretty much done, and the metal bumper (under the plastic) was thinner than the Toyota frame, I assume.
***I had figured a bigger hitch (class II instead of class I) would present bigger problems for me. But it was easier.
The instructions said it would take 45 minutes for a pro and 90 for an amateur. It probably took me about 105, 75 for normal stuff, and another 15 for the time spent cleaning out the threads, and 15 for the extra time heating and removing the heat shield bolt.
Prior to the LeBarons, my cars had real, chrome bumpers, and U-Haul would attach a temporary hitch when I needed one. Although one time they clamped it on so tight they flared my bumper out on one side. It didn't look that bad, but still.
Although the reason I got a permanent hitch for the first LeBaron was that it a smaller back seat than the Buick and it had leather seats, and I didn't want to put my bicycle in the back seat. I had found a bike rack that screwed on where the ball normally goes. Used the same hitch in all 3 LeBarons.
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On 11/05/2011 05:01 PM, micky wrote:

I'd replace that one bolt, and install the new one with anti-seize. If nothing else the plating is probably destroyed, and also you likely annealed it. Not a huge deal, but if you plan on removing it again 10-15 years from now you'll have to break out the torch again, and since it's annealed, you run the risk of breaking it off and having to drill it.
nate
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wrote:

I did replace it, but didn't' think of anti-seize. Oh, well.
Thanks for the good advice, both parts.

Well, if I buy another Solara in 7 or 9 years, or earlier if this one gets wrecked, and the same hitch will fit, I would want to take the hitch with me. Like I did with the three LeBarons.
(I"ve never managed to keep a car for more than 9 years, five of them only 7 years each..)

Used the new bolt. OTOH, with the hitch in place, it's even harder to use a wrench.

Dilling wouldn't work. The muffler is right under the bolt!. I could lower the muffler I guess.
Darn. Maybe I can get a muffler shop to cut the head off with gas. Darn.
I guess the worst that can happen is I'll have to buy another for 150 dollars. But since it's a new bolt, the MAPP torch should work again, right?
Another back-up plan is to buy a better wrench and put an extension pipe on it . I know that's "bad", but it works. That was the plan if the torch didnt' work this time.
(I really couldn't pull that hard beforer, because I thought the bolt would spring loose and even being careful, I'd ram my hand or fingers into some hard or shap piece of metal. With an extension, and my hands out from under the car, I can gradually increase until I apply just the right amount of force. )

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On 11/05/2011 05:57 PM, micky wrote:

Oh, I didn't realize that you'd replaced the bolt. No worries then, you should be good to go.
nate
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<snip>
<snip>
Nate, it's a /heat-shield bolt/, about as unstressed a bolt as I can think of, and one of the least likely to ever need future removal.
I'd say leave it alone and move on to more important things, like making sure there's sufficient beer in the trailer for the next camping trip.
In any case, if micky finds the bolt difficult to remove at a later date, he can just re-heat it again, just like he did this time.
I'm a bit surprised he didn't set his interior on fire. If he'd got the bolt glowing red-hot, he probably /would/ have set his interior on fire!
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Tegger

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