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Tow bar advice on new GLE SUV

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jtotheb, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. jtotheb

    jtotheb Member

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    I'm keen to get a tow bar fitted on my new GLE SUV (not coupe). I'm very confused about what I need to look out for but my requirements are very simple. I'm not looking to tow a caravan or trailer or anything like that - it will purely be used for a 4 bike rack.

    There seem to be so many providers and a wild variety of prices (I'd be looking for someone to fit it for me) so, can anyone suggest what electrical hookup should I look for? Recommendations on a reliable company? I'd like it detachable too, unless there are limitations on that variety?

    Thanks in advance...


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  2. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I tend to buy from PF Jones and then find a local fitter (usually about £80). all of these https://www.pfjones.co.uk/tow-bars/...es-gle-tow-bars/mercedes-gle-suv-towbars.html are decent and well known manufacturers. MB have over the years used either Westfelia or Bosal as OEM. They look pretty similar, so as long as the model years work I'd go with either.

    With the removable your limited to the type of carrier that clamps onto the towball. A bit of a fath I find with ours.

    I suspect the folding variety is not a viable option as aftermarket, detachable is a bit of a pain, but at least prettier when removed.

    Electrics - in the past it's been possible to hard wire the electrics, but it's a real hotpotch of connectors, and can mess up the bulb failure sensing. In the modern day world of canbus I would not go near this.

    Dedicated electrics can be either 13pin or 7 pin. 13 pin is the modern standard, and I would suggest going with this. 7 pin is the old fashioned socket which if towing a caravan requires 2 connectors. You would only need one for a bike rack...
     
  3. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    We have a Westfalia on ours and it's the same as supplied by Mercedes themselves. Expect to pay £7-900 including fitting, coding and electrics. Whereabouts are you?
     
  4. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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  5. Druk

    Druk Administrator Staff Member

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    This. Best company in the business by a long mile.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    jtotheb

    jtotheb Member

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    Epsom in Surrey. That's about the money I was expecting to have to pay although, if I'm just putting a bike rack on it, are there cheaper options?


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  7. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    PF jones and a mobile install.... I don't think I've ever had to go over £500.

    You can't really save costs on the towbar, as they might end up towing a caravan one day...

    The only other option is a tailgate mount or roof rails....
     
  8. OP
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    jtotheb

    jtotheb Member

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    Tailgate not an option on the GLE. Roof rails would be a big high IMO.

    Thanks for the advice, will phone PF Jones in the morning.


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  9. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Last year PF Jones quoted me £752 for a removeable Westfalia towbar with 13 pin electrics, fitted at home by their mobile service.

    You could get the cheapest "fixed" towbar without electrics fitted for much much much less if you shop around, but personally I'd avoid that on a new car like yours.

    We use Mercedes roof bars and cycle carries for our bikes and it's a bit awkward. lifting them isn't so bad, but reaching the tightening thumb screws is a pain.
     
  10. OP
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    jtotheb

    jtotheb Member

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    Thanks for everyone's help on this thread.

    Are there any warranty considerations with using a third party to fit a tow bar?

    What about advising my insurance company?
     
  11. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    You need to tell the Insurance Company. Most just note it. I did hear of one who bizarrely would not cover cars with towbars... That was odd - I suspect that some call centre worker had counted it as a 'modd'.

    In theory if your third party fitter breaks something it will not be covered under the warranty... But.... Towbars are bolt on bolt off. Modern wiring is plug in with a specific module.... For someone who is experienced not a lot to go wrong...

    Also - most dealers will not fit towbars themselves, but will subcontract to guess who?!
     
  12. Druk

    Druk Administrator Staff Member

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    I paid Merc £100 to code in the wiring loom and it's now showing as factory on the data sheet.
     
  13. David404

    David404 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Whatever tow bar you fit it must be rated to tow whatever the max weight of trailer the car is plated for, the fact that you're only using it to fit a bike rack in 'tow bar word' isn't relevant, so you cant really fit a cheap 'tow bar lite' unit.

    13 pin electrics is the current standard so I'd go with that. Info Caravans went to 13 pin in 2008/09.

    Defo get it coded in correctly.
     
  14. OP
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    jtotheb

    jtotheb Member

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    Brilliant everyone. Thanks all for your help.

    What a really useful and pleasant bunch! :)
     
  15. The Mirror Man

    The Mirror Man Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Interesting thread: i'm thinking of buying a E320 and fitting a towbar.
    Q: what is the advantage of having it "coded in"?
     
  16. Oldlae

    Oldlae Member

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    I had a Witter tow bar fitted to my S204 last year, for about £400.
    The job was carried out in approx. 3 hours by a company in Dorchester.
    This was considerably less than Witter quoted to do the job at one of their service centers.
    Tony
     
  17. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    After coding, the car knows you're towing, and adjusts ABS/ESP to aid stability, disable rear parking sensors and fog lights, and other stuff.
     
  18. David404

    David404 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I had a detachable tow bar and 13 pin electrics (all coded in - trailer light failure warning demonstrated as working) fitted to my 2009 E320 (W211) by Dynamic Performance . org in Birmingham about 12 months ago. £540 all in Inc VAT and when removed there is no visible evidence that the car has a tow bar fitted at all.

    There's a story behind the job - short version I was impressed by their honesty and attention to detail, would use them again without hesitation.

    The workshop is as clean and tidy as it looks on the web site and I'd rather have the fitter working inside in a dry warm workshop with access to all the tools and kit.

    They also said (I cant confirm but I had no reason to doubt the statement) that they fit for MB Birmingham & Tamworth.
     
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