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Discussion Starter #1
I know some of you will consider this thread heresy and/or suggest I get a truck or some other tow car. Spare me; the M5 tows a trailer just fine and with a bit of mechanical sympathy towing is a damn sight easier on the car/clutch than you launch control junkies. :D

I wanted to install a tow bar (trailer hitch to those of the left side of the Atlantic) to tow my Caterham 7 to track days. I could have bought the BMW bar and wiring kit for about $1350 but learned from another M5 owner that the bar from the standard 5 series sport would also fit. So I did some digging and decided to order the Westfalia bar and wiring harness from PF Jones in the UK for just under $500. The potential savings of over $800 was too great to pass up and as Westfalia makes the factory fitted tow bars for BMW I figured I couldn't go too far wrong.

Either way 3 plastic pieces are needed from BMW; they're numbers 5 and 6 on M Trim, rear | BMW 5' E61 LCI M5 S85 Europe and number 14 on M support/fixture rear bumper panel | BMW 5' E61 LCI M5 S85 Europe You can actually forego buying this 3rd panel - it's merely the standard panel that has had a section cut out. The area to be removed is already marked so you can re-use your original one.

Fitting turned out to be pretty straightforward. Remove the rear bumper cover, remove the support beam, remove the mounts, bolt up the hitch in lieu of the mounts and reinstall the support beam. A section of the diffuser portion of the bumper needs to be cut out and there's no template from BMW so a bit of trial and error is involved. I started with a small cut out and enlarged it until number 5 from the list of plastic pieces above snapped securely into place.

The wiring is a bit tedious - a hole needs to be drilled in the sheet metal for the electrics to enter the car. The control module has 6 connections: ground and 12V, a connection to the CAN bus at one of the modules under the boot/trunk floor and a switched 12V and brake light signal from the cable bundle near the right rear door opening. Both the $480 BMW harness and the $150 Westfalia harness use wiring splices - I was disappointed that the BMW harness wasn't plug and play for all that extra cost. The generic BMW instructions from Westfalia are pretty good and I had a copy of BMW's instructions specific to the M5 as well and read both several times as well as studying the car and then it all went like clockwork. The rear parking sensors are shut off when the trailer is connected and there are no error messages and no coding was required.

The only difference I have found between the standard 5 series sport tow bar and the BMW M5 specific one is the mounting of the socket for the electrics. On the standard 5 series it points to the back of the car and is rotated down to get access; on the M5 bar it points downward. All much of muchness to me and not worth $800!

Some links if you're still reading.

The towbar and wiring supplier - https://www.pfjones.co.uk/5-series-tourer-estate-e61-2004-detachable-tow-bar-1.html

The Westfalia towbar installation instructions - http://www.westfalia-automotive.com/fileadmin/pdf/303-bmw/a303294691101.pdf

The Westfalia wiring harness installation instructions - http://www.aukup.de/anbauanleitungen/esaetze/303460300113.pdf

I don't have a link to the BMW M5 instructions but send me a PM and I'll send you a scanned pdf via email.

There are some good photos of the factory installed bar in this thread - http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e6...ring-sapphire-black-black-tow-hook-hitch.html

And some good photos of the 5 series sport bar installed on an M5 in this thread - Towbar on an M5 - PistonHeads

Will try to answer any questions as best I can.
 

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I see this is a bit over a year old so you should have some towing time behind it now. how does the car do with a lightweight car on a trailer? is there any reason this wouldn't work on an E60 or is it E61 only? If it is E61 only does anyone know what is different about that area of the car?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The car tows just fine - 450kg trailer with a 500 kg car in/on it. Should be much the same for the E60. The E61 has one benefit though - the self levelling rear suspension.
 

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The car tows just fine - 450kg trailer with a 500 kg car in/on it. Should be much the same for the E60. The E61 has one benefit though - the self levelling rear suspension.

Great. Thank you for the reply. I've recently started buying old fiats and isettas in need of restoration work but renting a truck to get them is annoying. I'll delve into this project once the car I'm working on now is on its way to the states.


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