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Old 08-09-2015, 11:22 PM   #1
bimmernate
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Moving across country, Trailer hitch

Hey All,

Was thinking of the best ways to move across the country and am thinking about installing a trailer hitch to pull a small uhaul trailer (4x8). Renting the trailer would be ~$400 in comparison to $2500+ to rent a uhaul and pull the bmw. Please spare me on the "trailer hitches don't belong on BMW" stuff.

Anyhow, if I did it, I would do it right and purchase the OEM unit since I don't like the idea of drilling holes in the spare tire well. It's expensive at $700 but it looks to be very stealth and mounts into the actual frame rails. Does anyone here have this unit? It's made by westfalia. How do I go about hooking up the electrical?

My next question is, instead of cutting out a section in the diffuser, could I just remove the diffuser entirely when I need to tow something? Is the diffuser easy to remove? I will tow stuff pretty rarely, but I like the idea of being able to tow something if I really need to. I will only be on the other side of the country for 2 years and then will be moving back to CA.

http://www.eurohitches.com/bmw-e46-s...13b091740561e5



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Aesthetics/Functionality: TFX Projector retrofit by lightwerkz, 20% Tint, OEM Aux Input, Clear corners, LED taillights, M3 Steering wheel, Black kidney grills, mobius dash cam

Last edited by bimmernate; 08-09-2015 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 08-10-2015, 02:01 AM   #2
Rob43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmernate View Post
Hey All,

Was thinking of the best ways to move across the country and am thinking about installing a trailer hitch to pull a small uhaul trailer (4x8). Renting the trailer would be ~$400 in comparison to $2500+ to rent a uhaul and pull the bmw. Please spare me on the "trailer hitches don't belong on BMW" stuff.

Anyhow, if I did it, I would do it right and purchase the OEM unit since I don't like the idea of drilling holes in the spare tire well. It's expensive at $700 but it looks to be very stealth and mounts into the actual frame rails. Does anyone here have this unit? It's made by westfalia. How do I go about hooking up the electrical?

My next question is, instead of cutting out a section in the diffuser, could I just remove the diffuser entirely when I need to tow something? Is the diffuser easy to remove? I will tow stuff pretty rarely, but I like the idea of being able to tow something if I really need to. I will only be on the other side of the country for 2 years and then will be moving back to CA.

http://www.eurohitches.com/bmw-e46-s...13b091740561e5


I have some ideas for you based on years & years of pulling my enclosed race car trailer. We'll talk tomorrow.



Rob43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Cheap Coilovers Like: Jom RL FK SE & RK.
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:16 AM   #3
Geo31
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You can get basically the same hitch on eBay UK much cheaper.

It's not a Westfalia, but basically the same design.

[edit] clarification
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:20 PM   #4
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I'm going to be updating this thread with my thoughts. I spoke to teamdfl and added some stuff to the list.

I found the hitch for cheaper. $420 shipped.
http://www.schmiedmann.com/en/produc...30#Showdetails

A modified euro carrier, will this fit my zhp, its listed for coupe. *EDIT* I think i'm actually just going to modify the carrier on the car since the euro one ends up being $200+ after shipping.

http://www.ecstuning.com/Search/Site...95314/ES76778/

It looks like i'm going to need this wiring harness:

http://www.etrailer.com/p-56146KIT.html

And I still need to source the tray. Although I may just remove the diffuser when I need to tow something.
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Old 08-10-2015, 05:02 PM   #5
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I believe that real success will be had with a Very light weight trailer.

The real key to all of this is the tongue weight spec on the trailer hitch you plan on buying, it's listed at 75kg / 165 lbs. Now what you should do (IMO) is use this 165 lbs number for all of your other important calculations.

Using the standardized tongue weight of 10 to 15% leaves you with a GTWR between 1100 lbs to 1650 lbs. This is your target GTWR number for a safe cross country tow.

U Haul rental trailer: This 4X8 trailer weighs in at 850 lbs empty, leaving you with very little cargo weight, so I wouldn't recommend it.

I'd personally give great consideration to a Harbor Freight ~$300 dollar 4X8 trailer because they weigh in at roughly 250 to 300 lbs when finished. You would need to assemble it which takes about 2 hours, plus figure out what you're gonna do about any siding & a tarp to weather proof it. Certainly this method takes more time to setup, but you'll be able to haul more stuff safely. Once you arrive, sell it on craigslist for .75 cents on the dollar to recoup funds.

The last reason I'd suggest that you tow "light" would be because you won't have trailer brakes or a in cockpit brake controller to control them. So your bimmer will be doing All the braking work instead of sharing it with the trailer. So realize stopping distances will be greatly extended with a ~1500 lbs trailer pushing on your Bimmer.



Rob43
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I BUILD SUSPENSIONS (Consult) FROM MILD TO WILD FOR RWD & Xi E46's
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Cheap Coilovers Like: Jom RL FK SE & RK.

Last edited by Rob43; 08-10-2015 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 08-11-2015, 03:50 PM   #6
bimmernate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob43 View Post
I believe that real success will be had with a Very light weight trailer.

The real key to all of this is the tongue weight spec on the trailer hitch you plan on buying, it's listed at 75kg / 165 lbs. Now what you should do (IMO) is use this 165 lbs number for all of your other important calculations.

Using the standardized tongue weight of 10 to 15% leaves you with a GTWR between 1100 lbs to 1650 lbs. This is your target GTWR number for a safe cross country tow.

U Haul rental trailer: This 4X8 trailer weighs in at 850 lbs empty, leaving you with very little cargo weight, so I wouldn't recommend it.

I'd personally give great consideration to a Harbor Freight ~$300 dollar 4X8 trailer because they weigh in at roughly 250 to 300 lbs when finished. You would need to assemble it which takes about 2 hours, plus figure out what you're gonna do about any siding & a tarp to weather proof it. Certainly this method takes more time to setup, but you'll be able to haul more stuff safely. Once you arrive, sell it on craigslist for .75 cents on the dollar to recoup funds.

The last reason I'd suggest that you tow "light" would be because you won't have trailer brakes or a in cockpit brake controller to control them. So your bimmer will be doing All the braking work instead of sharing it with the trailer. So realize stopping distances will be greatly extended with a ~1500 lbs trailer pushing on your Bimmer.



Rob43
Hey Rob, thanks for the reply! I actually did contemplate the harbor freight idea, however I will actually be moving to florida where it rains alllll the time. The harbor freight trailer doesn't have walls and will be hard to really put everything I want in it securely. In addition, the trailer is going to have a 50" plasma that obviously can't get wet, which will actually be the heaviest thing in the trailer at 80 lbs. I'd like to keep it along with the rest of the stuff well protected from the elements and also thieves (it will be a multi-day trip and I will have to park the trailer over night). the 4x8 trailers are pretty small so I won't really be able to bring that much stuff. I figure I might have a max of 500-600lbs of stuff in it bringing the total weight to 1450lbs.

*Edit, just did some rough calculations. The stuff I'm putting in the trailer shouldn't really exceed 400lbs. Also uhaul notes that the max weight for the trailer w/ contents is 1600 lbs.


now all that being said. I'm kind of on the fence....The uhaul rental is going to cost $500 w/ insurance. The value of the stuff in the trailer is probably only $1k....Might be better off selling everything, and renting a uhaul trailer when I get there ($15/6 hours) to pick up stuff from stores and on craigslist and what not to furnish the apt. Haha I think part of me just wants to do another project and bmws hauling stuff look badass 0.0
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:28 PM   #7
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If you can really limit your weight to roughly 500-600 lbs with the U-Haul 4X8 trailer that weighs 850 lbs, then that will workout well & be as safe as you can make it.

A few things you might consider doing:

1) Jack up the empty trailer one wheel at a time & grab the tire with both hands to see if you can detect ANY wobble in the wheel bearings, if it's very noticeable, take it back. A decent amount of wheel bearing wobble might lead to a failure somewhere on your trip.

2) Find some semi-local place that has a truck scale, this might be a the county/state Dump, or a truck stop. Knowing you Actual loaded trailer weigh is a good idea.

3) First measure the height* off the ground of your new ball hitch, save the number. Once your trailer is fully packed, stick you bathroom scale under the trailers tongue at the prerecorded height of the ball to see what your actual tongue weight is. You are trying to get close to your 165 lbs number without exceeding it, if you do exceed it, readjust the contents of your trailer & remeasure.

4) I never see pictures of trailer Chains on that Euro hitch setup, so make sure you can hookup the U-Hauls chains to your new hitch.

5) Run the trailer tires (Cold) within 3-5 PSI of maximum inflation, run your Bimmer tires the same way.




Rob43





* Subtract 1" for compression.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Cheap Coilovers Like: Jom RL FK SE & RK.
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:36 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the tips! I haven't found the safety chain work around yet, the euro hitches don't have a place to connect them to; that is on the to-do list. I was thinking maybe using the tow hitch? It may require a longer safety chain though however.
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Old 08-11-2015, 06:26 PM   #9
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If you haven't seen this thread, it's a good one. These pics are the very best way to add chains to that Euro trailer hitch design.

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=349258


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SUMMIT POINT WV 1:24:229 SCCA
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"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

I BUILD SUSPENSIONS (Consult) FROM MILD TO WILD FOR RWD & Xi E46's
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Cheap Coilovers Like: Jom RL FK SE & RK.
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob43 View Post
If you haven't seen this thread, it's a good one. These pics are the very best way to add chains to that Euro trailer hitch design.

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=349258


Rob43
I did see that thread but did not see the part about the safety chains. Thanks for showing me that. If I end up doing the hitch I think that's the way I will do it.

Also, reading that thread makes it look like the rear tow hook goes away because the bar isn't threaded for it?
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Last edited by bimmernate; 08-11-2015 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:06 PM   #11
Rob43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmernate View Post
I did see that thread but did not see the part about the safety chains. Thanks for showing me that. If I end up doing the hitch I think that's the way I will do it.

Also, reading that thread makes it look like the rear tow hook goes away because the bar isn't threaded for it?

Not sure I understand your question....



Rob43
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SUMMIT POINT WV 1:24:229 SCCA
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"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

I BUILD SUSPENSIONS (Consult) FROM MILD TO WILD FOR RWD & Xi E46's
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Cheap Coilovers Like: Jom RL FK SE & RK.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob43 View Post
Not sure I understand your question....



Rob43
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwsull View Post

I added a Turner/Schroth racing tow strap because the tow bar does not have a tow hook threaded receptacle. This threads out right behind the rear bumper tow hook hatch:



The hatch cut out of the rear diffuser was sized to accommodate both the detachable hitch and safety chains. I measured and fit templates umpteen times to make sure I got it right, then cut with a diamond point Dremel tool, then sanded with progressively finer papers until smooth and as close to an OEM appearance as I could get. I found no need to repaint the diffuser since it is the same color as my car and looks great with original paint:


The middle diffuser support piece (part of the bumper) also had to be cut to accommodate the hitch. I cut carefully and in progressive stages with a utility knife:


I replaced the diffuser attachment plastic pop rivets with Dzus quarter turn screws for ease of swapping the cut trailering diffuser with the uncut one:


Here we are with the entire assembly back on the car:


see above. I don't really like that the functionality of the rear tow hook can't really be used unless you do the strap method. Am I missing something?
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:11 PM   #13
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see above. I don't really like that the functionality of the rear tow hook can't really be used unless you do the strap method. Am I missing something?
You're not missing anything, now I understand the question.

Since you're drilling two holes for the chain hookup, drill a third hole in the Tow Hook location. A 3/8 or 1/2 hole will Not compromise the strength of that steel, especially for this application.


Rob43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Cheap Coilovers Like: Jom RL FK SE & RK.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:13 PM   #14
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You're not missing anything, now I understand the question.

Since you're drilling two holes for the chain hookup, drill a third hole in the Tow Hook location. A 3/8 or 1/2 hole will Not compromise the strength of that steel, especially for this application.


Rob43
hmm, drilling a hole isnt a problem, but drilling one that is threaded i'm not sure about.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:53 PM   #15
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Yep, that could be an issue, if you can get this welded that would be best. If you can't get it welded, here's how I'd proceed:

I'd drill the hole in your tow hook location to the Exact size of the tow hook diameter, by doing this your making the bolt insertion very snug. The reason for this is because the steel beam will support the tow bolt so it can't rock back n forth. Then I'd buy the biggest nut that fit the threads of the male tow bolt & epoxy the nut & washer onto the backside of the steel beam with A LOT of epoxy. This way the beam is providing all the side to side load & the only thing the nut is good for is the straight through pull force.

EDIT: Now the tow bolt is removable for your convenience.



Rob43
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I BUILD SUSPENSIONS (Consult) FROM MILD TO WILD FOR RWD & Xi E46's
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Cheap Coilovers Like: Jom RL FK SE & RK.

Last edited by Rob43; 08-12-2015 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 08-12-2015, 12:14 AM   #16
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Thanks Rob for pointing all these things out for me. I'm thinking that this job might be too much for the very few times I'll be using a hitch.
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Old 08-12-2015, 12:41 AM   #17
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Don't throw in the towel hook just yet. ha ha

You should look at this as a fun adventure.... if you do it, it really will be.


EDIT: You don't need a tow hook/strap hookup point, just install the actual ball into the hitch & have any towing
company put their strap around that ball, certainly its rating is higher than what your Bimmer weighs.


Rob43
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SUMMIT POINT WV 1:24:229 SCCA
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"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

I BUILD SUSPENSIONS (Consult) FROM MILD TO WILD FOR RWD & Xi E46's
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Cheap Coilovers Like: Jom RL FK SE & RK.

Last edited by Rob43; 08-12-2015 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 12-09-2016, 07:40 PM   #18
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Did anything ever come of this? I'm also looking to use a Westfalia on my ZHP sedan. I do not like the idea of the hitches that mount to the spare tire well.
I've been pulling a HF folding trailer with one or two motorcycles on it for trackdays over the last year with my now sold MK7 GTI.
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