Aftermarket two bar on GLE

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miketja

New Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2022
Messages
6
Location
UK
Car
Mercedes GLE 400d
Hi, I’ve reviewed the threads on here (and elsewhere) about getting an after-market tow bar fitted to my 2021 GLE 400d. I’ve a quote from PF Jones for a removable swan neck bar, and I’ve requested the 13-pin plug and vehicle-specific wiring. I’m fine with the price, and I already have a Thule 4-bike tow-bar carrier that I used on my previous car (which had a factory fit tow bar). A few quick questions:
  1. The quote is for an Oris Detatchable tow bar, but most people seem to recommend Westfalia. Should I call and get requoted for a Westfalia tow bar, or does Oris also have a good reputation?
  2. I’m getting a mobile install, will this include all the “stuff” required to the car so it just works like a factory-fit tow-bar (or close to it?) Or do I still need to go to Mercedes and beg them to do something so the car knows when the tow-bar is in use?
  3. What’s the impact to the car’s warranty? I‘d obviously like to avoid knackering my warranty if at all possible.
Thanks for your help!

- Michael

Edit: *sigh* I wish I could edit the title… autocorrect of “tow” to “two” wasn’t helpful.
 
Hi, I’ve reviewed the threads on here (and elsewhere) about getting an after-market tow bar fitted to my 2021 GLE 400d. I’ve a quote from PF Jones for a removable swan neck bar, and I’ve requested the 13-pin plug and vehicle-specific wiring. I’m fine with the price, and I already have a Thule 4-bike tow-bar carrier that I used on my previous car (which had a factory fit tow bar). A few quick questions:
  1. The quote is for an Oris Detatchable tow bar, but most people seem to recommend Westfalia. Should I call and get requoted for a Westfalia tow bar, or does Oris also have a good reputation?
  2. I’m getting a mobile install, will this include all the “stuff” required to the car so it just works like a factory-fit tow-bar (or close to it?) Or do I still need to go to Mercedes and beg them to do something so the car knows when the tow-bar is in use?
  3. What’s the impact to the car’s warranty? I‘d obviously like to avoid knackering my warranty if at all possible.
Thanks for your help!

- Michael

Edit: *sigh* I wish I could edit the title… autocorrect of “tow” to “two” wasn’t helpful.
Michale, firstly nice choice of car!

1. Oris will be fine but personally I would go for Westfalia. If you bought the retrofit kit from the main dealer it would very likely be Westfalia. It has been for previous generations.

2. Mobile fitting could be absolutely fine and include all coding but it may not. I would ask the fitting firm whether it requires coding and whether they will do it. If they say it’s not required then I would use the kit, because it’s will either require coding g later or they’ll be bypassing all of the safety features built in to your car at the factory.

3. Nothing unless there’s an issue which could be explained by damage caused by the fitment of the towbar. Seems unlikely, unless the fitter does something wrong.
 
Thanks for your help. One more question if you don’t mind: I can’t find a retrofit option from a main dealer. The main MB accessories site shows a towbar for a GLE, but then says (when I check) that it’s not suitable for my car (for some reason). Is this an option that’s only available from certain dealers if you call them? And is it identical to the factory-fit folding towbar? That was what I wanted, but couldn’t get it last year when I bought the car (from new) as the dealer didn’t have any cars in stock with that option and factory orders were taking forever…
 
Is your model an AMG Line, possibly the MB tow bar isn't compatible with that trim spec? Requiring a bumper cutout possibly?
 
Thanks for your help. One more question if you don’t mind: I can’t find a retrofit option from a main dealer. The main MB accessories site shows a towbar for a GLE, but then says (when I check) that it’s not suitable for my car (for some reason). Is this an option that’s only available from certain dealers if you call them? And is it identical to the factory-fit folding towbar? That was what I wanted, but couldn’t get it last year when I bought the car (from new) as the dealer didn’t have any cars in stock with that option and factory orders were taking forever…
Have you confirmed that your car has been type approved for towing?

If you’re unsure how, them open the drivers door and look for a plate which displays a series of weights (in kg) - make a note of them all and post them on this thread.

It is possible to retrofit the factory electric folding towbar but it’s very rare to do so. That said a member here did retrofit it to his previous generation GLE.

The accessory towbar from the parts counter is (or was) a removable Westfalia swan-neck, and is also very rare as it’s more expensive than buying from Westfalia agents.

We have two previous generation GLE and the first was retrofitted with the “official” accessory removable towbar kit (not folding) which I purchased from a maiin dealer.

The main dealer’s third-party fitter fitted it. Most main dealers use a third-party fitter as it’s quicker and less expensive for them than using their own technicians.

When we had confirmed the part numbers were all Westfalia part numbers on the first kit, Westfalia then supplied their kit (same Westfalia part nunbers) for the second GLE. The Mercedes main dealer’s third-party fitted that one too.

Neither Mercedes UK nor Westfalia UK could confirm whether the parts supplied directly by Mercedes and through Westfalia would be the same, u til we ordered them. I wanted it to be spot on so I was the Guinea pig.
 
Is your model an AMG Line, possibly the MB tow bar isn't compatible with that trim spec? Requiring a bumper cutout possibly?
Yes, it is, so perhaps that’s why.
 
Have you confirmed that your car has been type approved for towing?

If you’re unsure how, them open the drivers door and look for a plate which displays a series of weights (in kg) - make a note of them all and post them on this thread.

On the plate it says:
3220kg​
6020kg​
1- 1540kg​
2- 1750kg​

Is that the info you’re looking for?

It is possible to retrofit the factory electric folding towbar but it’s very rare to do so. That said a member here did retrofit it to his previous generation GLE.
I noticed this (Baybrooks retrofit) that says is the equivalent of the factory fit folding option. But at £3k, it’s hard to justify for the limited use it’ll get with just a bike rack.

Thanks again for your help!
 
On the plate it says:
3220kg​
6020kg​
1- 1540kg​
2- 1750kg​

Is that the info you’re looking for?


I noticed this (Baybrooks retrofit) that says is the equivalent of the factory fit folding option. But at £3k, it’s hard to justify for the limited use it’ll get with just a bike rack.

Thanks again for your help!
That’s exactly the right information. You let car is type approved to tow 👍🏻

£3k is a lot of money but surprised it’s not even more to be honest. The aftermarket kits will be fine, just stick with a reputable fitter and kit (I prefer Westfalia).

Do ask about the coding though 👍🏻
 
That’s great, thanks very much for your help!
 
Things you need to check 1). some towbars do not fit cars fitted with comfort access feature for the rear tailgate (swing your foot to open the boot thing) - this could be why the ORIS doesn't work for your car. 2). Coding is required in all cases with MB as this activates the towing DSC settings and for cars fitted with Drive Pilot switches this off when towing and if you have air suspension keeps the height in comfort 3). You may requrie to upgrade the cooling fan, MB fit 450w motors in non factory fitted towbar cars, you need 600w if you are towing something larger than a small trailer.

ORIS are a great brand and make the OE for the electrically swinging one fitted in the factory. Westfalia are top class and I think they either own, or are owned by the holding company that own Witter (Westfalia do detachable and Witter focus on flange).
 
Ah, ok. Yes, my car has the comfort access thing for the boot, so I can use my foot to open it. Yet another thing I need to check with PF Jones as part of the install. I’ve asked them to quote for Westfalia, to compare with the Oris, to see what’s possible. Good to know that Oris is a good brand too, thanks!
 
Ah, ok. Yes, my car has the comfort access thing for the boot, so I can use my foot to open it. Yet another thing I need to check with PF Jones as part of the install. I’ve asked them to quote for Westfalia, to compare with the Oris, to see what’s possible. Good to know that Oris is a good brand too, thanks!
Oris and Westfalia are the two leading German towbar manufacturers. I had a Westfalia on a W164 back in the day (no issues). Westfalia actually "invented" the whole detachable towbar thing in the early 1980's so they know a thing or two...
 
On the plate it says:
3220kg​
6020kg​
1- 1540kg​
2- 1750kg​

Is that the info you’re looking for?


I noticed this (Baybrooks retrofit) that says is the equivalent of the factory fit folding option. But at £3k, it’s hard to justify for the limited use it’ll get with just a bike rack.

Thanks again for your help!
Need to check though what the towbar itself says as the max noseweight and max draw load do vary between manufacturer (clearly not to exceed what it says on the plate).
 
My comfort access works just fine, as does my removable swan neck and 13 pin electrics and reversing sensors. All fitted and coded by a local(ish) fitter.
And BTW, it is a Tow Trust, manufactured in Atherstone. A fraction of the Oris/ Westfalia price.
 
You need to check with MB if your car needs a cooling system upgrade. If it needs one and doesn't get one then MB will probably invalidate your warranty for the engine and gearbox. I know that VW/Audi and BMW will void your warranty.
 

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