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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-16-2012, 07:33 AM   #1
steve.k
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Tow Bar

Tried to search but all that came up were stories of reversing into a tow bar lol.

Recently bought a few toys and it would really make my life easier if i could tow them around when i need to, so the question is, can i install a tow ball on my 04' 325Ci? It is m sport so it has the Mtech II rear.... i had a look under the car to see if there were any 'mounting points' (worth a look) but there was nothing.

Also, if i am able to install one, can i do it so that it can be taken out and a cap placed into the bumper where the hole is? has anyone done anything like this?

Thanks guys !
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:48 AM   #2
Mulrich07
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In as well. I wouldn't mind towing my Honda ruckus to a few further away shows
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:07 AM   #3
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I would guess you guys should be able to buy them from the dealer.
BMWUSA wont sell a single part of the OEM tow bar to us for any of their cars, only SAVs, but here in Germany, you can walk into a dealership and order a tow kit for any car (i think even M models, but not sure)

Theyre pretty common in Europe, not sure how BMWAU does it.
I have a copy OE style hitch at home, im gonna attempt to put on this summer, to tow bikes to the track. Bought it off a member here.
As far as i know, the only issue is the tongue weight limit it pretty low, usually like 200lbs.

Mulrich, as far i know, in the US the only hitches available for us is this one that bolts to the spare wheel tub. you hae to drill it and stuff. just google BMW hitch. I dont trust that one, but it seems a few people have em for light loads and have no issues.
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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Word I'll check it out. I've searched a few threads on here but everyone says don't tow anything with the e46, let alone the underpowered 325ci lol
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:45 PM   #5
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Don't make me post pictures. I've seen fiat 500 toying stuff. 1series convertibles. F10 5s. F1 7s u name it they toy wih it here in Germany. People that say don't toy with a BMW don't know crap.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:06 PM   #6
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Snikward, thanks for your help. Did you mean that 200lbs is the max towing weight? That is around 90 kilograms. My jetski weighs 400 kilograms!
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:10 PM   #7
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no, towing load WITH OEM HITCH is about 2000lbs or so. cant remember actuall.
The tongue weight is 200lbs. which is typical of small cars.

OEM style hitch mounts to the bumper support things, bolted into the "frame rails" for lack of a better term.
Thats how BMW and Audi and Benz do it, the sheet metal, spare wheel tub is just scary to me.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:16 PM   #8
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I've been towing with a CURT hitch for years now with my 323i. I would have preferred to get the OEM one but it's simply hard to get in North America and costs a small fortune if you can find it.

Two points though.

1. You will probably have to cut your bumper but I'm not 100% sure. The pictures I've seen of a hitch on an m3 had a notch cut into its bumper.

2. Although the hitch is class I (2000 lbs), I try to keep the loads below 1000 lbs. Even though the engine can handle it, those tiny OEM brake pads have to stop it. You can easily overheat the brakes.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:17 PM   #9
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Oh yeah I get ya. Thanks man. I'll have to chat to BMW and see what they say! Or maybe I should just buy a cheap ute with a tow bar lol
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:18 PM   #10
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Pic of OEM setup (i know its a X5 but its the same design for the cars)


Pic of the cheaper, more available style (in the US) that bolts to the spare tub.
Available from Curt hitches USA


Thread...
http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...php?p=10902453
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salocin111 View Post
I've been towing with a CURT hitch for years now with my 323i. I would have preferred to get the OEM one but it's simply hard to get in North America and costs a small fortune if you can find it.

Two points though.

1. You will probably have to cut your bumper but I'm not 100% sure. The pictures I've seen of a hitch on an m3 had a notch cut into its bumper.

2. Although the hitch is class I (2000 lbs), I try to keep the loads below 1000 lbs. Even though the engine can handle it, those tiny OEM brake pads have to stop it. You can easily overheat the brakes.
There's one of em.
A few of you are using them with no issues, i think. But it just scares me, especially since i would possibly carry 2 bikes on a trailer once i have a hitch.

and yes, the OEM style has to have the bumper cut. just a small part of the bottom from what ive seen. They make a lil removable clip thingy for it. Wont notice it unless youre looking for it, or the ball is in, obviously.
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Last edited by Snik; 04-16-2012 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salocin111 View Post
I've been towing with a CURT hitch for years now with my 323i. I would have preferred to get the OEM one but it's simply hard to get in North America and costs a small fortune if you can find it.

Two points though.

1. You will probably have to cut your bumper but I'm not 100% sure. The pictures I've seen of a hitch on an m3 had a notch cut into its bumper.

2. Although the hitch is class I (2000 lbs), I try to keep the loads below 1000 lbs. Even though the engine can handle it, those tiny OEM brake pads have to stop it. You can easily overheat the brakes.


Good point! Will definetly take note of this. Thanks
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:22 PM   #13
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BMW NA only sells OEM hitches for X-class cars. You have to get OEM sedan hitches from Europe or fr a US reseller.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snikwad View Post
Pic of OEM setup (i know its a X5 but its the same design for the cars)


Pic of the cheaper, more available style (in the US) that bolts to the spare tub.
Available from Curt hitches USA


Thread...
http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...php?p=10902453
I definitely won't be doing the second set up. It looks dangerous!
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salocin111 View Post
BMW NA only sells OEM hitches for X-class cars. You have to get OEM sedan hitches from Europe or fr a US reseller.
and they arent cheap.
Tell me, how did you wire up the lights for your trailer?
Did splicing into it throw error codes on the dash?
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:25 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by stevie.k View Post
I definitely won't be doing the second set up. It looks dangerous!
I think thats what Salocin has. the design has evolved and there is not another part that bolt to the back of the tub as well as under it. looks more sturdy, but BMW E36 and E46 floors arent the stongest as we've seen, i dont want to drill it, or stress it in any new ways.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:25 PM   #17
steve.k
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snikwad View Post
the OEM style has to have the bumper cut. just a small part of the bottom from what ive seen. They make a lil removable clip thingy for it. Wont notice it unless youre looking for it, or the ball is in, obviously.
This!
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:28 PM   #18
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Here's a typical German E46 with hitch. You can clearly see the lil trim thats removed for the ball/hitch.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:33 PM   #19
steve.k
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snikwad View Post
I think thats what Salocin has. the design has evolved and there is not another part that bolt to the back of the tub as well as under it. looks more sturdy, but BMW E36 and E46 floors arent the stongest as we've seen, i dont want to drill it, or stress it in any new ways.
I agree, i definitely dont like the idea of drilling anything into the car let a lone a tow bar. If they can mount it off OEM mounting points i will be happy. If they have to drill holes here there and everywhere i wont be happy lol.


Quote:
Originally Posted by snikwad View Post
Here's a typical German E46 with hitch. You can clearly see the lil trim thats removed for the ball/hitch.
Yeah that looks decent. I dont see why they removed so much of the bumper though when really they only need to remove the width of the tow bar?

Edit: Dont worry, i understand why they did it like that. Because the square tube would hit the bumper when putting it in.

Last edited by steve.k; 04-16-2012 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:37 PM   #20
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I think the ball piece and how it mounts requires a bit of clearance.
Its really neat the factory setup. Mine is a knockoff, so im sure it wont be as neat, but we'll see when i put it on this summer. Not sure how im gonna work the cutout issue.
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