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Old 02-01-2017, 10:13 AM   #1
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Tow bar advice on new GLE SUV

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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Old 02-01-2017, 10:58 AM   #2
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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/t...v-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...
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:05 AM   #3
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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?
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:09 AM   #4
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This may be useful: http://www.mbclub.co.uk/forums/elect...-ml63-amg.html

Tamzin at Westfalia UK should be are to recommend fitters in your area. Phone a few and ask for a price.
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Old 02-01-2017, 04:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidjpowell View Post
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/t...v-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...

This. Best company in the business by a long mile.
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Old 02-01-2017, 04:39 PM   #6
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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?


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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Old 02-01-2017, 05:19 PM   #7
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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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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....
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Old 02-01-2017, 07:46 PM   #8
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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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Old 02-01-2017, 07:55 PM   #9
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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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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.
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:43 PM   #10
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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?
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:09 AM   #11
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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?!
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:57 AM   #12
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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.
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:31 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:35 PM   #14
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Brilliant everyone. Thanks all for your help.

What a really useful and pleasant bunch! :-)
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:07 PM   #15
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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"?
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