G31 Towbar?

Discussion in '5 Series' started by Rob530i, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. Rob530i
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    Rob530i Site Supporter

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    Hi Folks,

    Any recommendations on model and type of tow bar for my G31 530D? Obviously one that folds away or is removable without cutting the rear bumper. I'm considering a mobile fit from a reputable firm and know it won't nor expect it to be be cheap.

    I've got the boot opening sensor underneath the bumper and want to retain that; I've looked underneath and can't see where the sensor is. Does any one know if this function can be retained once a tow bar is fitted?

    Ta in advance.

    Rob
     
  2. 535i MSport
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    There’s probably a retro fit for the BMW electric one which would be circa £2k.

    Alternatively, I think Westfalia make the BMW ones and will likely do a removable one.


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  3. snrbrtsn
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    snrbrtsn WARLORD Site Supporter

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    I’d advocate the Westfalia one and is most likely the OEM supplier albeit dealer aftermarket.
    It’s worth reading up on the bumper/ball clearances as they all differ, as do the weights.

    I have the kick the boot sensor and have fitted a tow trust detachable, primarily as it offered the most discrete fitment with minimal bumper cut (or that’s what the installer advised)
    The sensor is relocated higher, though realistically I’d rather it was disabled as I only use tow bar for cycle carrier. (Kick sensor is disabled when engine is running, so avoids accidental boot opening, I’m sure it’s the same with BMW)

    I believe the important part is getting the dedicated wiring harness to eliminate the need to splice or run random wires & relays.
    Fitment costs vary, IRC’s £400 -£600, try and find a mobile installer, as ultimately that’s what the dealer will use with a dealer mark up added to price!
     
  4. 535i MSport
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    Did you get a towbar sorted out?


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  5. Rob530i
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    I did. Due to be fitted tomorrow. I went for the Witter towbar as that was in stock (more expensive than the Westfalia that I wanted but the pandemic meant they didn't know when this will arrive as it wasn't in stock).

    All parts have arrived, including BMW specific wiring kit so just need the mobile fitter to turn up. I've gone with the detachable version obviously and spoke to the supplier about the boot sensor so fingers crossed!
     
  6. 535i MSport
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    535i MSport Site Supporter

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    What’s the magnitude of cost?

    I am considering a G31 (M340i) and very few have the factory towbar, so hence the question.


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  7. Rob530i
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    I paid £650 ish for mine as I opted for a mobile fitter rather than waiting at a workshop for a few hours. You can pay more, you can pay less for a similar set up. I went with what they had available, car specific 13 pin wiring and the mobile fitting.

    I've yet to try it in anger but the fitting went well even though he had a problem with the CAN connection as there are two and they both have the same colour coded wires to tap into. On a plus note, it didn't need coding

    There is a cut out on the undertray so easy to snip through the tabs and remove. However, now that it is installed there is a gaping hole left that I'd like to cover to keep the insides clean. Anyone know if a panel can be sourced to cover this (quite large) aperture?
     
  8. a.s.uk
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    a.s.uk

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    I will have this problem on the G05
    Shame it’s such a big cut out..
    My stuffs arrived from pf Jones
    Just waiting for the fitter now..


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  9. 535i MSport
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    Is that visible from behind the car, or only when you look underneath?

    Also, I assume if you didn’t need any coding, that you have to turn the parking sensors off manually when reversing?


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    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  10. Rob530i
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    535i MSport: Nothing visible until you look underneath. The socket swings up out of the way until you need it.

    A.S.UK: I got mine from PF Jones too. No coding required. When the fitter demonstrated it with this test lights kit, it seems the foot swipe sensor is disabled when the trailer is plugged. However, today was the first time I got to test my trailer on the car and while all the lights work, the foot swipe sensor did work (when I tried to disconnect the plug!) and I haven't got a buzzer warning for the trailer indicators. Is this not a legal requirement so you know the electrics are still plugged in? I tried a neighbour's trailer and everything worked but no buzzer. I've texted the fitter and asked this question but being a weekend may mean I won't get an answer until Monday.

    Would a 7 pin plug (plus 13 to 7 pin adaptor) be the cause? I can't see why...
     
  11. 535i MSport
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    Do you have any pictures? Extended and hidden away....


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  12. Rob530i
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    20200806_194424.jpg
    Socket folds down from the right of the tow bar, but I hadn't done so here. You turn the blue knob (just visible on the right) to release the tow hitch (this is lockable too). There is good clearance between the ball and the bumper so should be enough for the Alco hitch. I driven with this fitted (okay...I forgot to take it off!) and you can see it with the reversing camera and the sensors did not pick it up.

    I had a protective plate on my E39 touring and could do with one here but I never thought to ask about it. Best be VEEERRRRY careful when hitching up.
     
  13. snrbrtsn
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    snrbrtsn WARLORD Site Supporter

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    Very purposeful
    In regards to legal requirements
    AFAIK, there’s no requirement for indicator buzzer, do you have reverse camera, if so, a towbar icon should appear on the screen when reverse is engaged.
     
  14. Rob530i
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    Sean,
    I'll try that next time I hook up and report back.
     
  15. Rob530i
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    Apologies for the delay in replying, It took a while to get an answer on the warning buzzer (lack of). It seems that you don't need to have a buzzer so there is no warning as such. If a trailer indicator light fails, the car's indicators flash at twice their normal speed. I've checked and it does.

    Sean, I don't get a towbar icon on the dash when I select reverse. Thank goodness for the reversing camera, if I had one of those small galvanised trailers, I'd forget it was there!

    Rob
     
  16. Silverbeemer525
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    The legal requirement is that you need to have some form of indication to tell you whether the trailer indicators are working or not. With the genuine BMW wiring the car knows when a trailer is attached, which disables the parking sensors automatically and if the dashboard indicators warning is flashing correctly it means the trailer indicators are working ok. The cheap and cheerful way that some aftermarket installations meet this requirement is to use a buzzer. I would recommend using the genuine BMW wiring harness. When I fitted a Brink towbar to my E39, back in 2004, the Brink-supplied BMW specific harness was not correct. I ended up buying the genuine BMW one, which was simply 'plug and play', and correctly disabled the parking sensors when the trailer was attached. Modern electrical systems are a lot more complex than the E39 was!
     

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