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DIY install of Westfalia tow bar, with tow bar prep on van

mccp

mccp

VIP Member
Messages
355
Location
Cambridgeshire
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
So today I installed the Westfalia removable tow bar that I bought from PF Jones with the vehicle specific wiring loom (designed for vans with tow bar prep from the factory). I thought I would put some notes here to help others.

Tools - trim removal kit (you need this to get the bumper trim off), 8mm, 10mm, 13mm, 18mm, 19mm sockets, medium pozi screwdriver, torque wrench (90Nm), breaker bar. Oh, yes, you also need a couple of small torx bits, sorry can't remember the size.

The Westfalia instructions show you what to do - remove lights, rear quarter trim, bumper, etc., but they don't say how to remove each bit. Mostly it's pretty self explanatory, but getting the bumper off is a bit of a trial. There are two torx head screws in each wheel arch, which is the easy bit. You then need to detach the bumper trim between the wheel arch and the lights. It is attached at the top with clips. With a spudger from the trim removal kit, find the rectangular slots and push the black plastic clip down as you try to lift the bumper trim over the black clips. This took me a while.

Once the bumper trim is free from the wheel arch to the lights on each side, it's relatively easy to unclip the clips at the back. If you have no clips at the back, you are missing the plastic support that you need. Westfalia give you the part number and it is cheap enough. You will need to unplug the parking sensors - push the white tab up and the press it in to unclip the plug.

Next you remove big chunk of pressed steel and bin it. I had the plastic bit preinstalled, so no more needed at the back.

Next drop the spare wheel and remove the undertray - all straightforward.

You can now bolt the tow bar in, and tighten the bolts. They say 90Nm +120. 90 Nm is easy, but getting another 120 degrees, even with a 50 cm breaker bar is pretty difficult. No doubt easier on a ramp.

Now for the fun bit.

The tow bar prep from the factory means that you have the towing loom pre-installed. The Westfalia loom has two plugs that simply plug into to it. However, first you need to find it.

Remove the mains inlet socket on the side of the van. It's screwed in with four self tappers. These have little plastic protectors on the back - presumably to prevent wires scuffing. You might be able to retrieve one or two from the back cupboard before unscrewing, but mine mostly fell off.

Poke a torch down and to the back of the van once the mains socket is out, and you will see the connectors.

upload_2018-6-6_18-42-59.png

In the photo, the top connector with wires, is the rear parking sensors. I've no idea what the bottom connector is, but just above it you can see a plug with no wires. This comes out and is thrown away.

The Westfalia loom has two connectors on it. The 8 pin one plugs into the socket with the empty plug. The second connector needs to be combined with the top connector. I guess if you don't have parking sensors, you could just plug in, but if you do, you need to laboriously remove the wires with their pins from the plug and push them into the Westfalia plug.

This proved to be the hardest part of the install. I'm sure its easy if you have the special tool for dismantling the plugs, but in the end, I used a stanley knife to carve the pins out.

upload_2018-6-6_18-48-28.png

Above, you can see the Westfalia plugs at the top and the van plug at the bottom. You need to carefully lift up the tab on either side of the plug at the wire end. I then cut it off and just carved away the plug until the pins were free.

Once I lifted the tabs on the Westfalia plug, the pins from the VW loom just clipped in.

If I were to do this again, I would dismantle the Westfalia plug in the comfort of the workshop, once I had ascertained that the van had it's own plug. They are identical, but obviously have complementary sets of wires.

After this, it's all plain sailing. I used a stiff bit of wire pushed through the grommet hole to pull the loom through and then you just need to put it all back together again.

It all works, but my observations are:

1. Don't specify tow bar prep - if you think you might need a tow bar, or you think it will be good for the resale value, just get the tow bar installed. It's not that much more than a DIY install.

2. If you don't already have the tools - get a tow bar installer to fit the Westfalia tow bar with the vehicle specific loom.

3. Only install this yourself if you are a skinflint. It took me about 4 hours, including tidying up and I still need to get someone to recode the computer so that the van knows I have the tow bar installed. I will have saved a couple of hundred quid on the install, but in the end it was a bit of a hassle.

If anyone knows a cheap way to get the coding done, please let me know.

upload_2018-6-6_18-29-50.png

upload_2018-6-6_18-30-7.png

upload_2018-6-6_18-30-52.png
 
motacyclist

motacyclist

Colin
Super Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
4,198
Location
Chester
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
Wow looks a laborious job; much easier to tick the option box!

Great write up! :thumb
 
rupertpoon

rupertpoon

VIP Member
Messages
160
Location
Nottinghamshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
I’m the past I asked my dealer to sort out the coding at my service. They seemed happy to do it... So if you have a good relationship with your dealer you may get it done for free? I imagine it’s a 5 minute job.


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Neilos

Neilos

VIP Member
Messages
284
Location
Cambridge UK
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Hi @mccp very detailed post. Helpful to any DIYers I’m sure. I decided it looked too much and got a professional to do it. It’s just been finished and all looks ok but I did notice the rear bumper seems less sturdy than before. It deflects when you lean any weight on it certainly more that it used to. Just wondered whether yours was similar?

I also had the plastic bumper support piece already there which saved £40 in parts!

Cheers

N.


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T

TripleBee

Messages
2,809
Location
.
Vehicle
N/A
Hi @mccp very detailed post. Helpful to any DIYers I’m sure. I decided it looked too much and got a professional to do it. It’s just been finished and all looks ok but I did notice the rear bumper seems less sturdy than before. It deflects when you lean any weight on it certainly more that it used to. Just wondered whether yours was similar?

I also had the plastic bumper support piece already there which saved £40 in parts!

Cheers

N.


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I suspect you don't have the foam pads on the towbar to support the bumper?
 
Neilos

Neilos

VIP Member
Messages
284
Location
Cambridge UK
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
That’s right. No foam pads. I do have the bumper support rail. And I can see that’s clicked on to the bumper.


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Mike Currie

Mike Currie

Messages
50
Location
Edinburgh
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
If it has towbar prep from the factory, it should be already coded.
 
B

Brian S

Messages
48
Location
Dublin
Vehicle
T6 Coast 102
I fitted a towbar recently. The big chunk of pressed steel that was bined can be refitted if part of it is hacksawn off. This metal piece backs up the plastic bumper and ideally should be retained. Details of what needs to be sawn off can be found on the VW T6 forum.
 
Neilos

Neilos

VIP Member
Messages
284
Location
Cambridge UK
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
I fitted a towbar recently. The big chunk of pressed steel that was bined can be refitted if part of it is hacksawn off. This metal piece backs up the plastic bumper and ideally should be retained. Details of what needs to be sawn off can be found on the VW T6 forum.

That is interesting. I kept the piece and fixings. Had assumed it would not fit at all. Might have a search. Thanks.


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Neilos

Neilos

VIP Member
Messages
284
Location
Cambridge UK
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Does anyone have a diagram or pictures of how the underbody trays go on? The PF Jones fitter has left it a bit bodged. Doesn’t look right to me but it’s also not obvious how the trays go together and fix on.


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B

Brian S

Messages
48
Location
Dublin
Vehicle
T6 Coast 102
Hi Neilos,
Do a search for "Westfalia towbar with factory support bracket" on T6 forum .com and you will see pictures and description of what needs to be done. The guy used an angle grinder and cut off more than was necessary. I used a hacksaw and cut the pieces off each side just level with the edges of the long crossbar. Roughly 15 mm of metal needs to be removed past the edge of the crossbar. I cut this off by making a few cuts with a junior hacksaw and breaking the metal between the cuts by bending them backwards and forwards with a visegrips.
 
Neilos

Neilos

VIP Member
Messages
284
Location
Cambridge UK
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Hi Neilos,
Do a search for "Westfalia towbar with factory support bracket" on T6 forum .com and you will see pictures and description of what needs to be done. The guy used an angle grinder and cut off more than was necessary. I used a hacksaw and cut the pieces off each side just level with the edges of the long crossbar. Roughly 15 mm of metal needs to be removed past the edge of the crossbar. I cut this off by making a few cuts with a junior hacksaw and breaking the metal between the cuts by bending them backwards and forwards with a visegrips.

I found the T6 forum post thanks. I thought it looked quite involved but using a hand saw and trimming a bit off sounds a bit better. Do the fixings for the crash beam still go in ok or is the tow bar in the way?


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B

Brian S

Messages
48
Location
Dublin
Vehicle
T6 Coast 102
You will be able to replace the 2 lower bolts. The upper bolts are discarded. The metal beam wil be very secure as it sits on the towbar at the top.
 
Californication69

Californication69

Buzz Lightyear
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
721
Location
UK
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
You will be able to replace the 2 lower bolts. The upper bolts are discarded. The metal beam wil be very secure as it sits on the towbar at the top.
But does the metal vibrate on the towbar bracket if not cut correctly ? Or not attached well. They (T6 forum) spoke about tack welds to hold it securely to each other.
Parts from PFJones for £342.67
Westfalia towbar is £235
And vw specific electrics with towbar prep is £107.67
So it’s a lot cheaper than £600 fitted at the towbar installers. £257 for 4 hours work !
I’m led to believe the foam insert is already there And the coding is already done, if you have tow bar prep from the factory.
Think I’m going to order it and fit myself whilst waiting for late afternoon meetings.
£800 VW want to fit it.
So a £457 saving !
 
B

Brian S

Messages
48
Location
Dublin
Vehicle
T6 Coast 102
No it does not vibrate. It's very secure with the two lower bolts. If you are worried about vibration you could wedge some foam between the towbar and crash beam.
If someone stood on the plastic bumper the crash beam is supported by the towbar so there is no danger of it pulling away at the top. It works perfectly without the top bolts.
 
Californication69

Californication69

Buzz Lightyear
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
721
Location
UK
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
No it does not vibrate. It's very secure with the two lower bolts. If you are worried about vibration you could wedge some foam between the towbar and crash beam.
If someone stood on the plastic bumper the crash beam is supported by the towbar so there is no danger of it pulling away at the top. It works perfectly without the top bolts.
Perfect, thanks @Brian S
 

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