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Fitting a Tow bar and electrics to a W211

Discussion in 'Electrics, Vacuum, Ignition and ECU' started by Dosco, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. Dosco

    Dosco Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    W211
    and electrics to a W211 are you? some tips and hints which may or may not be of help - (Mods should this be in the DIY section?) -

    Preamble: - I have fitted many tow bars in my time the first in 1968 to a Ford ConsulMK2 when you had to measure and drill all the holes required in the rear end to accommodate the tow-bar so fitting one to a modern motor is oh so easy and as long as you have the tools, good basic skill level and ideally someone to give a helping hand then all should be well.

    As a start point it is always extremely useful if you have the appropriate MB dismantling instructions for the boot lining and rear bumper and for this I am so grateful we have a guy like Television - aka Malcolm who is always willing to help out in these matters.

    Choosing a TB: - There many variety's on the market so do some research before buying. I chose the Westfalia bar with a removable hitch not the cheapest but is an OE supplier to MB so I knew it would be 'right for the job' and 'Right Connections UK Ltd' for the wiring loom.

    When doing your research ask the manufacture to send you the fitting instructions for their TB's I did and found them all extremely helpful this allowed me to compare not just the marketing/sales blurb but the all important construction and fitting arrangements. I also asked 'Right Connections to send me the installation instructions for their wiring kit and again they were very helpful and obliging.

    By doing the above you get to understand what you are faced with and helps when you come to do the job.

    Dismantling: - The rear end of the W211 is a reasonably easy job and with the instructions at least you can see where the myriad of screws and (plastic) expansion rivets are, well not quite.

    Before starting I chocked the front wheels fore and aft as it is useful to lift the back end up with a trolley jack then support the car on stands this will allow the wheels to 'drop away' and give you some space to get at the screws and rivets holding the wheel arch lining to the body, if you don't do this and it is strictly not necessary you will be working in a really confined space, it also gives you a bit more height when removing the two OE brackets which the new TB does not require.

    The bumper is a large but not heavy piece to remove on your own - it can be done and I did it but another pair of hands would have made it so quicker and easier indeed assembly would have been a lot easier! The dismantling instructions are as I have said are really useful BUT they do not show all fixings that need to be removed in my case there were two extra plastic blind rivets either side in the wheel arch area that need to be extracted.

    As noted above I had to remove the two OE support brackets which hold the aluminuim bar which is behind the bumper and whilst four of the eight retaining bolts are easy to get at as they are in the wheel well the other four are sited ajacent the left and right exhaust silencer boxes and are certainly not easy to get at - so expect them to be hard to remove even with a soaking of rust release fluid. I removed the rubber hangers and inserted a block of wood between the body work and the silencer just to give me a little more space in which to work. I ended up grinding away two of the retaining nuts as they were well and truly siezed up, (see attached picture) well in one case it had been put on x threaded and was not even tight to the body and as the bolts are welded to the brackets the only forward was by grinding away the welded head - so be warned.

    All in all it took far longer to dismantle than it did to fit the TB and Wiring loom.

    Assembly of the Westfalia is simplicity in itself and the instructions are a joy to follow and if you have taken the time to pre-read them the job is so much quicker. The same can be said of the 'Plug and Play' wiring loom as it is fully 'assembled' even down to having the correct size grommet to fit the pre drilled hole in the bodywork no extra curricular activities required in the terms of fitting connectors, splicing wires or cutting into the cars loom. The instructions are superb and the fitting colour coded just about anyone who is not colour blind could do this job indeed if you are colour blind just follow the numbers on the instructions which all tally with those on the rear SAM unit. One important point here before connecting up the loom to the car is to remember to disconnect the car battery - negative/earth terminal, that rear SAM is bl**dy expensive!:shock: The picture shows one part of the wiring loom curled up and located in the alloy housing used for the satnav unit.

    Re-fitting the bumper is as I have said easier with two people but can be done if you are VERY careful, locate one side and fit one of the screws to hold it in place then fit the other side and line it all up then replace the fixings.

    Then fit the boot linings and that's it.

    General points.

    Double check that all the bolts are tight in this case 16 + 2 refitted to hold the OE alloy bar.

    Coat all the new metal work with rust inhibitor.

    The Westfalia TB has rubber gaiters which seal off the square chassis members to stop water ingress and it is worthwhile taking a bit of time to ensure they are located as described in the instructions. If you purchase a bar that does not have this feature make certain you foam up the open ends if not water will get in. Check out the attached photo showing the foam plastic seal used by MB to stop water ingress

    Tidy up the loom using plastic ties - supplied in this case.

    Stand back and feel satisfied that you have saved yourself between £120/250

    Regrets? Would have liked to have had a helping hand, and I failed to take more 'active' photos
     

    Attached Files:

  2. stuartadair

    stuartadair New Member

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    Hi,
    2006 E280 without rear parking sensors. Am about to fit a towbar and just want to check a few things...
    a) Towbar (Westfalia supplied by Towequipe) looks nice and easy so no questions here.
    b) Do I have to use the Mercedes specific electrics or can I just wire into the loom as normal ?
    c) If I have to use Merc electrics, is a duel plug available as it seems I can only get a single 7 pin or the new 13 pin type.
    d) What does "Coding needed to de-activate PDC" mean? Its on the electric kit fitting instructions that are online ?
    Thanks in advance.
    Stu
     
  3. bouncer

    bouncer Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    C200k w203
    Hope you rembered to seal around the chassis member holes, or you will get water in your boot.

    you can see the old seal on the the last picture.

    sTeVe
     
  4. bouncer

    bouncer Senior Member

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    You can use a by pass relay. . . . . if you want. . . . This is the CHEAP option. Why pay a lot of money for your car and a lot of money for your caravan then buy the cheapest bit of kit to keep them together. Do it right go for the dedicated kit. Right connection to your car, no splicing and you know its SAFE.

    Dedicated kit is the way to go. If your vehicle has ESP or trailer stability programs then I’m sure you would like your car to know it has a trailer or caravan attached and can make adjustments to allow for the what your towing.

    You can use a 7 pin dedicated kit and purchase a 12s supplemental socket and wire / fuse to the battery in the tradition way.
    Or 13 pin dedicated kit if your caravan is of the newer type
    Or use the 13 pin kit with a 13pin to two 7 pins converter.

    Deactivating PDC’s Some kits need the car to be coded to deactivate the parking sensors and fog lights when the caravan is attached.


    sTeVe
     
  5. HaydnM

    HaydnM Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    S211 320CDI Year 2003
    Just fitted my Westfalia bar with a removable hitch & Jaeger 13 pin wiring kit.

    Where about's in the Star menu do you go to program this in, is it under ESP or hidden somewhere else.

    Thanks in advance
     
  6. television

    television Senior Member

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    I have never done this but I think that you would go to the rear SAM and program it in
     
  7. HaydnM

    HaydnM Senior Member

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    Hmm thanks Malcolm

    Think Alex checked the rear sam menu today, could not see anything there ?
     
  8. television

    television Senior Member

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    OK just checked both papers and nothing to do other than test the tow socket works,,you can have both papers if you wish
     
  9. HaydnM

    HaydnM Senior Member

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    Hi Malcolm,

    O.K that's great news, I thought I had read somewhere that it had to be programed in by a dealer.

    Thought this was maybe something that makes changes to ESP when towing.

    If that's the case great, Papers not needed, thank you very much
     
  10. Suki

    Suki Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    W251, S211 320 cdi Avantgarde (2005), W202 250 td (now sold), W245 with lots of extras
    Dosco, thank you for the write up. it was very useful as I have just done mine.
    I used ASRA to find all the bolts, and did the job.
    The only thing I noted was that One can not use the eyelet to tow another car... not that I have ever done that though!
    I foolishly did not have pictures but for those of you having a go..
    either side in the wheel arch there is 1 plastic clip, one plastic 10 mm and then another 10 mm (metal) bolt as you prise the arch away.
    There are three bolts in the boot (either side). (two on the wing and one fact the rear of the vehicle)
    And finally there are two on the underside of the vehicle
    I also had to disconnect the rear parking sensors to remove the bumper!

    Regards
    Suki
     
  11. HaydnM

    HaydnM Senior Member

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    Sorry to go on about this, but does any one know if the towbar has to be coded with Star to the car.

    My car is showing on Star that it is not programed to the car as a fault, but after going through the menu's we can not find any info to program it
     
  12. television

    television Senior Member

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    Perform version coding as on sheet *WE58.40-Z-1013-06A
     
  13. HaydnM

    HaydnM Senior Member

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    Thank you Malcom, I will pass on to Alex
     
  14. Alex Crow

    Alex Crow Senior Member Authorised Forum Supporter

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    as far as i can see WE58.40-Z-1013-06A is simply a reference to STAR diagnosis with regard to coding, with no specific details.

    i had a look myself, and AN00.01-P-1001-01V spells it out, i should have selected the " Entry for retrofits and modifications" menu from the initial screen and entered the SE codes - DOH!
     
  15. HaydnM

    HaydnM Senior Member

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    One for thursday then
     
  16. Alex Crow

    Alex Crow Senior Member Authorised Forum Supporter

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    yes indeedy, it needs done my man.
     

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