Fitting towbar

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b21playa
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Fitting towbar

Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:49 am

Hi all

Looking to buy a 3.0sd msport and wondered how hard as well as expensive would it be to fit a tow bar

Many thanks
Last edited by b21playa on Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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gileso
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Re: Fitting towbar

Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:29 am

Hi

You have 3 options:

1. OEM is around £2k, as the official specs require the addition of a gearbox oil cooler.

2. Third party - such as PF Jones - who will supply and fit for around £600 - no oil cooler

3. DIY for about £300 for parts (towbar and electrics). I went down this route when PF Jones went out of stock over the summer. You will need to approach it systematically and it will take about 2 hours to fit plus another hour or so to route and connect the electrics. You will need some specific special tools (deep socket and plastic rivets)

Things to note:
- always use a dedicated electric system as generic ones can make an E70 do weird things
- DIY / 3rd party wiring can give you warranty problems
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Re: Fitting towbar

Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:29 am

BMW also upgrade the electric fan to a more powerful version but to be honest unless you are towing at max weight, and up and down mountains you probably don’t need the additional kit.

Standard tow limit is 2.7T with just the fan.  Extra cooling rads are fitted if towing 3.5T - and that means a new bumper as well.  Hence the silly OEM prices.  Factory/BMW Dealer fit does not include the switched 12V live or fridge feeds either.  >:(

Fold away towbars are very hard to find, but the Westphalia detachable is readily available plus the dedicated electrics kit from PF Jones as above.  You can diy if you want.  Instructions are on their website.
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b21playa
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Re: Fitting towbar

Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:40 am

Just got a 3.0sd and although it had a towbar which is aftermarket, someone has removed the ball
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b21playa
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Re: Fitting towbar

Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:09 pm

Just waiting to hear back from PF Jones to see if I can buy the missing neck and flange. Someone’s takennit off and tucked the electrics up behind the bumper.
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Graeme
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Re: Fitting towbar

Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:16 am

Hello,

When you say "tucked the electrics up behind the bumper" do you mean the 13 pin socket is up there?  If so it's because they are often fitted to a swinging bracket - just rotate it firmly 90 deg anti-clockwise and it should click into place for use.  When finished, tuck it away again! If the wires have been cut then it's a job and a half to fit another socket!!! I guess you can see it's made by Jones - the BMW fitment and many after market ones like mine are Westphalia. Good luck with the quest for the ball - make sure the socket and the V shaped slots that locate it are clean because they are a tight and precise fit to prevent any movement.

Graeme
b21playa
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Re: Fitting towbar

Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:59 am

[quote="Graeme"]
Hello,

When you say "tucked the electrics up behind the bumper" do you mean the 13 pin socket is up there?  If so it's because they are often fitted to a swinging bracket - just rotate it firmly 90 deg anti-clockwise and it should click into place for use.  When finished, tuck it away again! If the wires have been cut then it's a job and a half to fit another socket!!! I guess you can see it's made by Jones - the BMW fitment and many after market ones like mine are Westphalia. Good luck with the quest for the ball - make sure the socket and the V shaped slots that locate it are clean because they are a tight and precise fit to prevent any movement.

Graeme
[/quote]

Hi

It’s a Witter aftermarket towbar. Yes by electrics I meant the 13pin socket, still connected to backplate but guessing which the fixed flange was removed, they pushed it up to hide it.

Witter have just come back and said they don’t sell the parts separately, so would need to purchase a whole kit
Last edited by b21playa on Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fitting towbar

Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:08 pm

Hi,that's very disappointing news.  A replacement price will depend on the price of a replacement bar and ball.  A key question for Witter is will the ball assembly fit your existing towbar? If the design has changed you may not need replacement electrics but clearly the bumper etc will have to come off to replace the bar.  Only a specialist fitter will be able to advise.  My bar and electrics are BMW parts, made I believe by Wesphalia, and were fitted by the local BMW dealership when I bought the car 10 years ago - cost then was nearly £1200.  Sorry but I've no idea what specialist tow bar fitters will charge as that will depend on the price of the parts needed and the work they have to do.  Let us know how you get on...

Graeme
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Re: Fitting towbar

Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:13 am

Check on ebay, loads of tow bar bits, new and secondhand.

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Re: Fitting towbar

Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:42 pm

Slightly off topic, but one for caravan owners.
I’m presently caravaning in Northumberland.
Our last trip was to the Solway Firth area of Scotland, where I failed to secure the electrics cable from the 13 pin car socket to the caravan at a height that would clear the tarmac on the many humpback bridge crossings on the coast road
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Re: Fitting towbar

Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:23 pm

Horizon - interesting!  I've just had to replace the BMW fitted 13 pin socket that was installed when I got the car 10 years ago.  Issue was the left hand winker was out.  On inspection its a wonder anything worked because of extensive corrosion at each terminal caused by a leaking seal behind the socket - the dealership had actually run the two additional power leads in separately from the OEM wiring loom and had just put a hole in the rubber seal for them that, over time, let water in. Off from Durham on Thursday to the lakes so I hope the wind abates - have a safe journey tomorrow - if you're on the A1M between Durham and Darlington take car as it's notorious in the wind.  If on the A19 watch out on the Tees flyover, it's as bad.  Gan canny as they say in Northumberland!

B21playa, just a daft question - you did look in the little cubby next to the battery behind the stowed away rear seats for the ball - it's where they are kept!

Graeme
b21playa
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Re: Fitting towbar

Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:00 pm

[quote="Graeme"]
Horizon - interesting!  I've just had to replace the BMW fitted 13 pin socket that was installed when I got the car 10 years ago.  Issue was the left hand winker was out.  On inspection its a wonder anything worked because of extensive corrosion at each terminal caused by a leaking seal behind the socket - the dealership had actually run the two additional power leads in separately from the OEM wiring loom and had just put a hole in the rubber seal for them that, over time, let water in. Off from Durham on Thursday to the lakes so I hope the wind abates - have a safe journey tomorrow - if you're on the A1M between Durham and Darlington take car as it's notorious in the wind.  If on the A19 watch out on the Tees flyover, it's as bad.  Gan canny as they say in Northumberland!

B21playa, just a daft question - you did look in the little cubby next to the battery behind the stowed away rear seats for the ball - it's where they are kept!

Graeme
[/quote]

Hi

Yes looked behind both side panels and under the boot floor and nothing
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Graeme
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Re: Fitting towbar

Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:36 pm

Oh shucks!!!!
b21playa
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Re: Fitting towbar

Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:12 pm

I know, but have just won an auction for a Westfalia detachable.

Should just need to mount it, and use existing electrics
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Re: Fitting towbar

Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:21 am

Does anyone know if the 7 pin dedicated wiring being sold is plug and play or a bit more involved to fit as was looking to get a towbar fitted at some stage hopefully a Westfalia detachable type one too ?

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