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GLC Towbar options - Australia

 
Old 04-23-2016, 12:32 AM
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Question GLC Towbar options - Australia

Greetings. First post.

The factory towbar options are not sold in Australia, which I understand is because they don't meet Australian Design Rules. So what all the German manufacturers do is get local companies to design ones that do meet the ADRs.

Hayman Reese is once such company, and I understand that if you get a bar fitted to a beemer by the dealer, that's what you may well get. Hayman Reese also make bars for MB, and a local supplier and fitter has managed to discover for me that the GLC bar has just been released. $AUD1,570 fitted. Apparently only for the diesel models (not sure why) and it's not entirely clear that it will fit my (250D) AMG variant - to be determined. It comes with the connection that plugs into the car's systems.

The bar that you apparently get from a MB dealer is by another company - Westfalia. This costs $AUD3,000 fitted. This is similar to what a family member paid to get a Hayman Reese fitted to his 530 beemer by a dealer. The spare parts guy at my local MB dealer told me that it's a full day job to fit one, because of all the reprogramming of the car's software that is required. I've heard similar stories about fitting to a beemer. This may partly explain the cost.

When I was deciding on the GLC and asked the salesman about towbars, he warned me about cheap bars, as the car needs to know that it's there. There has to be a connection that plugs into the car's systems. Which the Hayman Reese seems to do, through this special connection.

The price difference raises a lot of questions. It is just price gouging by MB? Or do they know more and do more than an independent fitter? Are there any risks to the car and its systems from fitting an another quality brand? How much software reprogramming is really required?

Also, has anyone had any experience of Hayman Reese bars on a recent MB? Perhaps the GLC forum is not the best place to ask this last question, but I thought I'd start here.
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Old 04-23-2016, 02:44 AM
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Answering my own question: I've found this list of FAQs, and the last one "What is an ECU?" has most of the answer:
http://www.towbarsaustralia.com.au/faqs

I gather that the expensive price quoted by the dealer is because the trailer is wired directly into the Can-bus, and the vehicle's systems need to be adapted / reprogrammed. This option means that the car knows that the trailer is there and adapts in a range of ways.

The less expensive option uses the bypass ECU. The car won't know know that the trailer is there, and while it therefore won't complain about the extra current drain, nor will it adapt its systems to suit.

I imagine that the bypass ECU would be fine for moderate towing of light loads, but if I was towing heavier loads for longer periods, the full integration with the vehicle would be better. Does that sound right?
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:16 AM
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Trailer hitch data.
Max braked = 2000kg
Max unbaked = 750kg
Max download = 100kg
Fitted by MB, Wesrfalia type, narrow neck.
Attached Thumbnails GLC Towbar options - Australia-image.jpeg  
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:24 AM
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By the way, you loose the kick option to open and close the tailgate when a tow bar is fitted.
We found out later when we tried to use it. Happy with tow bar, may be difficult to fit bike rack due to narrow neck design and loss of surface area at base. Time will tell.
At least it stops idiots using touch parking. It also helps in reversing as the ball image can be used to centre the car when reversing in a curved driveway, using the concrete expansion line.
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Old 04-23-2016, 09:47 AM
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Thanks. With this genuine Mercedes / Wesfalia part, is the goose neck reasonably readily removable, and if so and you do remove it, does the kick open return? It appears possible from that diagram, but it's hard to be sure.

The choice between this part and the Hayman Reese part with the bypass ECU at half the price remains an open question.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:00 AM
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We have not tried to remove the neck. A set of keys are provided to unlock it to avoid it being stolen and possibly to ensure it does not come loose ?
It would be a lay on the ground job to remove it, at least the first time. It comes with a plug to insert to avoid dirt getting in the hole and stopping you reinserting the neck at a later date. Have no idea if kick feature then works. That said we did get the tail gate to open once or twice, no idea how, looked a bit of a nutter waving my leg around under the tow bar area !
Have not tried it since.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:08 AM
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Thanks again. If it worked once or twice then that implies that the kick open hasn't been unplugged, contrary to the instructions, and so may work normally if the gooseneck was removed.

Looking at your other posts, I see you have pretty much the exact same car as me, and so it follows that there was no problem fitting the MB Wesfalia towbar to a GLC with the AMG line pack. Which makes sense, as this is just a pack and not an AMG vehicle, where I gather there can be issues fitting a towbar.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:17 AM
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Thanks.
Great car. Done 3500km and still very impressed. Wife will be looking for a replacement for her Lexus RX ; GLC is very high on list, but will look at new Jag F-Pace and Lexus RX , NX seems too small. Next weekend I'll try and remove towball neck and see if kick open, close option is still connected.
Enjoy your car, love the LED headlights at night on the freeway and country roads, very safe and intuitive .
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Old 04-27-2016, 12:42 AM
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The kick open/close feature was disconnected on my GLC when the tow bar was fitted.
Surprisingly they have to cut a small section out of the bumper to fit the Mb/Wesfalia hitch as there is no removable insert.
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Old 04-27-2016, 05:59 AM
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An update. It transpires that the local fitter was mis-advised by Hayman Reese. The GLC bar is still being developed and won't be available until the end of May. Which is too late for my requirements. It seems that Hayman Reese initially was quoting on the C-class bar, which has been available for some time, but doesn't fit the GLC.

I wanted the bar as part of an upcoming house move, and then subsequent occasional use. I could justify $1,500 but for $3,000 there are other options. It's not the bar but the way that they wire it in which makes it so much more expensive.

I don't like the idea of cutting the car to fit the bar, but I guess if you need a bar then it's something you have to wear. Teckno - did this happen to your car with the AMG line pack as well?
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:04 AM
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Hi Bips, yes base was cut, did a reasonable job. If I had I think I would have been neater ! There is no trim stuck over the cutting. Seems a standard 7 pin flat connector, not round. No flat to round converter, our Skoda and Jeep came with two way converters as an aside. Two keys ( to lock goose neck) and a plastic ? bag to hold the plug and to place in the goose neck. Your welcome to have a look at some stage if it helps you. I asked to keep the docs and they replaced the rear steel pressed outer bar which I also kept. Seems they usually throw out all that stuff, Dealer surprised I wanted everything associated with delivery and left over stuff. I also got a cut off of tint used and brand, just in case we ever needed to replace and match up later.. Esp if interstate or Dealer changes installers.
Hope this helps.
Have you taken delivery or still negotiating ?
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bips View Post
An update. It transpires that the local fitter was mis-advised by Hayman Reese. The GLC bar is still being developed and won't be available until the end of May. Which is too late for my requirements. It seems that Hayman Reese initially was quoting on the C-class bar, which has been available for some time, but doesn't fit the GLC.

I wanted the bar as part of an upcoming house move, and then subsequent occasional use. I could justify $1,500 but for $3,000 there are other options. It's not the bar but the way that they wire it in which makes it so much more expensive.

I don't like the idea of cutting the car to fit the bar, but I guess if you need a bar then it's something you have to wear. Teckno - did this happen to your car with the AMG line pack as well?
You should be able to negotiate with the dealer and come up with a price about halfway between the two options.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:16 AM
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My GLC is nearly four months old and has over 5,000km on the clock. It's seen a fair bit of dirt and some challenging tracks. So this towbar would have been a retro fit. Thanks for the offer but you're a long way away. At this stage I won't be getting one - I've made other arrangements for the move.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Penn View Post
You should be able to negotiate with the dealer and come up with a price about halfway between the two options.
My one and only local MB dealer doesn't have the n-work in his vocabulary.

Also, I am prepared to believe that it would cost that much in labour to wire the bar into the can-bus, at least at MB labour rates. Apparently it's close to a full-day job. The Hayman Reese bar has this "SmartClick" plug and play system, which apparently powers the trailer without the car knowing that it's there, and is a five minute job when the physical installation is finished. Apparently that's the main source of the price difference.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:33 AM
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Well done. I've been a bit of a city slicker and stuck to tar. Had to cross a partly dug trench, tar to tar, so "ticked off rough terrain"... Then crossed a gutter with lots of muddy water from a pump emptying a building site, so "crossed of wading & fording"....
I really need to get out more ! Car is 2 months and travelled 4200km.
I'm thinking of fitting after market TPMS as MB do not have one, esp for the run flats. Saw one that has a solar powered head unit, to save wiring and 4 internal tyre sensors. These need to be fitted by tyre dealer. Had one on my SAAB 9000 Aero and it helped prolong tyre life, felt much happier knowing tyre pressures and tyre temps in live time.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:50 AM
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I thought there was some warning system in relation to tyre pressure, but don't recall the details.

I bought a fifth wheel plus the jack kit. 80kms is not far if you're far from civilisation and/or a MB dealer. I didn't get the AMG rim for the fifth wheel, as these are insanely expensive, but did get the Pirelli MOE. Still not cheap and takes up a lot of space, but what's the alternative when you're far from home? The emergency spare is a joke. Costs as much as the fifth wheel with AMG rims, although at least you get the jack kit included, FWIW. So with the emergency spare you pay nearly $2,000 for the privilege of being able to do an extra 80ks at 80km/hr, and it still takes up a fair bit of space. A full fifth wheel plus jack kit was a no-brainer, and the MB spares guy shared my view. He too thought that the emergency was a very bad joke. The fifth wheel with the jack kit was $600 cheaper.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bips View Post
My one and only local MB dealer doesn't have the n-work in his vocabulary.

Also, I am prepared to believe that it would cost that much in labour to wire the bar into the can-bus, at least at MB labour rates. Apparently it's close to a full-day job. The Hayman Reese bar has this "SmartClick" plug and play system, which apparently powers the trailer without the car knowing that it's there, and is a five minute job when the physical installation is finished. Apparently that's the main source of the price difference.
The labour is a major cost component but the Mercedes system does integrate features such as trailer sway control which changes the stability control system to avoid the old "tank slapper" situations and also switches of the rear parking sensors as soon as a trailer is connected. Not sure on your location but it may be worth a drive to another towns dealership.
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Old 04-27-2016, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Penn View Post
... trailer sway control which changes the stability control system to avoid the old "tank slapper" situations
Not being a frequent tower, what is this?

Isn't turning off the rear parking sensors a one-button press on the GLC? Admittedly you have to do this each time you start the car, IIRC, but I'd want a little more than that for $1,500.

I have a friend who had a bar fitted to his new VW Tiguan by the local dealer a couple of years ago, and from what we can gather, they must have fitted something like the Hayman Reese SmartClick system, because his rear parking sensors don't go off automatically. Seems VW Australia is more relaxed on such matters than MBA.
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Old 04-27-2016, 08:35 AM
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Thanks Bips
I have been considering same altn option for no spare and Jack kit. $180 for Jack kit, $770 for OEM matching tyre. Not priced an aluminium rim yet, not fussed re AMG, as it's only for spare. Might be able to buy a tyre bag and tie down straps to secure the heavy beast in boot. Dealer told me that the special "spare" was only for GLC, I was hoping to use generic 18" that other MB models use; appears offset, etc is different and there is a risk of transmission damage if not correct type,,,,,, who would figure.... Computers getting too smart !
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Old 04-27-2016, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by bips View Post
Not being a frequent tower, what is this?

Isn't turning off the rear parking sensors a one-button press on the GLC? Admittedly you have to do this each time you start the car, IIRC, but I'd want a little more than that for $1,500.

I have a friend who had a bar fitted to his new VW Tiguan by the local dealer a couple of years ago, and from what we can gather, they must have fitted something like the Hayman Reese SmartClick system, because his rear parking sensors don't go off automatically. Seems VW Australia is more relaxed on such matters than MBA.
A tank slapper is where the trailer starts swaying to the point the rear of the car starts swaying/fishtailing. Stability control reduces the chances of fishtailing and the Mercedes system adjusts the programming of the system to reduce the risk of swaying taking into account that you are towing a trailer.

It really depends on what you are towing as the chances of trailer sway increase considerably when you are towing close to your vehicle weight or above the vehicle weight. In Oz we have one of the highest jack knife to number of vehicle ratios in the world and you are likely to run into more problems the further north you live due to greater road camber in tropical areas.
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:51 PM
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Question Towbar for my glc

Hi Bips

I have been trying to get a tow bar for my GLC for 6 months now , that is suitable for caravan towing and not a Swan kneck type (westfalia) and it seems the only brand with one "coming" is Hayman Reece but as of today they tell me it has been put on the back burner with no release date in sight.
Quite frustaring
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:17 PM
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I wanted a towbar for a particular purpose, and opted to borrow a car and trailer instead. Even though I have no current plans to get one, it's disappointing that it's on the back-burner. Particularly if the MB one isn't up to your requirements, as you seem to be saying (I have no caravan experience).
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:07 AM
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Hi Brenwag

The main issue I have with the Wesfalia is the chain mounting points are horizontal with relatively small holes which are a lot further under the vehicle than with a traditional hitch and therefore harder to reach.
I have down sized the shackles I previously used and the chains need to be much longer than usual to reach the mounting points.

For your caravan hitch are you looking to use load levellers?
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:18 AM
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GLC towbar Euro Style Australia

These look cool. If you can spare the cash it is an option.

http://etowbars.com/au/Towbars/Merce...visible-towbar
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete1977 View Post


GLC towbar Euro Style Australia

These look cool. If you can spare the cash it is an option.

http://etowbars.com/au/Towbars/Merce...visible-towbar
Looks like it only comes with a single chain mounting point. Personally, my preference is to always tow with two chains crossed over.

With the chains crossed over if the trailer ever comes off the ball the chains should catch the hitch and stop it hitting the road.
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