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XC90 - Westfalia Detachable towbar fitting guide

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Old Mar 21st, 2010, 21:42   #1
ABC
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Default XC90 - Westfalia Detachable towbar fitting guide

Hi,

Am new to this forum, but read some of the advice given before I fitted a Westfalia detachable towbar to a MY2010 XC90 Active, so I hope this info on my install is some use for others.

I avoided the Volvo dealer fitted Towbar as I didn't like the way the Volvo towbar fitted, and the amount that was left visible when the towball was detached.

I bought the Westfalia towbar as it's invisible when detached. I got it from PF Jones website. Delivered next day for around 175.

I bought the Volvo 7 pin wiring kit from Volvo for around 50.

I had a friend help me fit the towbar at the weekend. Here's how we did it. ..

1) Remove spare wheel

2) Remove rear most exhaust hanger rubber and then undo two 10mm bolts holding next exhaust hangers on under rear axle. Allow exhaust to drop. It doesn't drop that much as it's supported about midway on the car body.

3) Remove exaust heat shield. 4 x 10mm nuts. Plenty of room to remove with a ratchet spanner.

4) No need to remove anything else on the bumper, or losen any part of the bumper trim - despite what the instructions will tell you.

5) In the car boot, lift luggage floor hatch , then remove the two triangular floor pieces on either side (they just pull up) and also the clip out panel just above on the left hand side.
Feel down on each side and pull off the foam strips covering the holes in the chassis rail (two more underneath the car covering the same holes)

6) Push in the Westfalia metal bolt guides / supports (see Westfalia instructions for more info ) on each side, and slide in the 6 bolts with washers.

7) Remove the tow ball from the towbar and offer up the towbar. We found it easier to offer up from the non exhaust side first over the exhaust pipes. Once in place the towball receiver will sit with about 2/3 over the existing half moon cut in the bumper and 1/3 obscured by the bumper. You need to make a small cut to expose the receiver but more on that later.

8) Once in place push the 6 bolts through from the inside of the boot.

9) Put the washers and nuts on. By pulling the bolts back in to the boot we could get a ring ratch spanner on for the majority of the thread on the bolt. Once bolt nearly pulled tight we switched to open ended spanner. One person with spanner on bolt in boot and one underneath car to tighten.

10) Remove battery cover and then start with Volvo wiring. It fits in from outside of car. Feed wiring loom through swivelling 7/13 pin socket holder on towbar. Then up through battery drain gromit in boot floor ( kit has new gromit on it already to replace the existing boot floor gromit)

11) Attach earth wire to existing earth point by battery.

12) Place wire loom behind battery and then through gap in trim to left hand side boot floor void (where bolts for towbar fitted)

13) Ignore Volvo instructions and don't remove any trim in boot on side. Instead feed wire up to fuse box and reach hand in and plug into socket on fuse panel and add a couple of fuses to same panel. Check your socket works by attaching to lighting board. All should be ok if you have followed these steps. No need for SW download from Volvo unless you want car fog lights deactivated (unlikely if you are fitting a 7 pin socket).

14) Trim bumper. All cuts are to the horizontal underside of the silver part of the bumper. If you lie on your back under car it makes it simple to cut around the inside of the towbar receiver and around "ears" on towball. I had to enlarge the existing half moon cut by about 1 cm. To avoid having to cut too big an opening I trimmed the towbar receiver cap ( for use when the towball is not being used) as the ears on this are bigger than needed).

Check your cuts as you go with the towball. No need to cut any more than needed to have towball engage /disengage cleanly.

15) When all is done nothing is visible from the rear of the car when the towball is not attached. Not even if you get on your knees and look. To see anything of the cut you would have to lie on your back under the bumper

All in all I am very pleased. I have saved over 300 and have a cleaner looking towbar install, and also by doing it myself I know exactly what was done (i.e bumper not removed etc) and I have managed to take the time to ensure I cut the bumper the absolute bare minimum I needed to - I am sure if I paid someone to fit this towbar they would have followed the template and made a much bigger cut than was needed which might have meant some of the cut was visible.

Hope this helps - will see if I can take a photo to show what it looks like and if I can post pictures on here.
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Old Mar 21st, 2010, 22:41   #2
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Superb write up ABC, look forward to seeing the pics of the install in due course.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2010, 03:03   #3
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Yes, excellent write up! Particularly as I've been looking at PF Jones. Out of interest, why did you not go for their dedicated wiring loom instead of Volvo's own?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2010, 09:47   #4
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In response to why did I buy the Volvo wiring....Well a good reason was that it was half the price of the non Volvo kits ( 52 delivered from Simon at FRF versus 105 from PF Jones) but the following were equally important ...

1) No warranty issues with the Volvo kit
2) Visibility of the installation instructions in advance
3) No messing - Volvo kit is 100% plug and play
4) Included the new boot floor gromit pre fitted, 7 pin socket already fitted


Here are some pictures...

The first picture shows the fuse panel where the Volvo wiring plugs in. You can easily reach in and plug the kit in (and take it out) without removing the side trim of the car as in the Volvo instructions.

In the second picture you can see the towbar just above the exhaust pipes. It's closer than I thought but doesn't touch . The silver bumper is pushed down a little in the middle. I think if I cut the bumper back a little more it would sit level, but I might see a fraction of the towbar receiver. I think I will keep it as is.

3rd picture shows the cuts I made. I need to file the curved edge down a little more for my liking. You can also see that I have cut the ears off the red plug. This just meant I got away with a smaller cut than I otherwise would have had to.

4th /5th picture shows the towball in use. The towball has changed from some of the earlier pictures I saw (old design was round tubing). I prefer this style so was happy that this is how it came.

Fitting the towbar couldn't be simpler. Remove the red plug, and simply offer up towball and it just clicks in to place. Turn the key and remove.

To remove unlock, pull handle out 1/2 inch and turn and the towball will disengage and you can lower out.

I store the towball in the boot to the right of the battery.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2010, 14:05   #5
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Unusual for Volvo to be cheaper! But thanks for your explanation - that makes it much easier.
Nice job as well looks very neat. What did you use to cut the bumper, just a standard hacksaw?
I want one to carry a bike rack. From your photos the towball does look quite close to the bumper. Would a bike rack clash with it do you think?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2010, 14:31   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volvopaws View Post
Unusual for Volvo to be cheaper! But thanks for your explanation - that makes it much easier.
Nice job as well looks very neat. What did you use to cut the bumper, just a standard hacksaw?
I want one to carry a bike rack. From your photos the towball does look quite close to the bumper. Would a bike rack clash with it do you think?
I used a stanley knife to cut the bumper. I just took my time and kept checking as I went. In my view this is one of the benefits of doing it yourself compared to a towbar fitter who is against the clock.


I only use the towbar to carry a bike rack. I have a Thule 3 bike rack currently and there is no issue with the size of the gap between the towball/bike rack fixing and the bumper -with the bike rack attached there is still a good 6-8 inches clearance to the bumper. I think the photo I posted is deceptive so I can see why you would be concerned but I'll take a photo sideways on to show the clearance with the rack on.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 12:46   #7
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Excellent write up! Thank you. I have just purchased the same towbar so this is perfect timing for me to read this thread.
What I wanted to ask though is the Volvo wiring has the "7 pin plug" fitted yet the plate that holds the wiring in place on the Westfalia towar is sealed. How did you manage to fit the plug fitted to the plate without cutting a slit though the backing plate?
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 13:50   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris N View Post
Excellent write up! Thank you. I have just purchased the same towbar so this is perfect timing for me to read this thread.
What I wanted to ask though is the Volvo wiring has the "7 pin plug" fitted yet the plate that holds the wiring in place on the Westfalia towar is sealed. How did you manage to fit the plug fitted to the plate without cutting a slit though the backing plate?
Yes - that was a surprise to me espcially since I had already fitted the wiring the week before. I had to remove the wiring and start again. I fed the wiring through the towbar 7 pin socket plate. It was a squeeze and I had to feed the larger of the electric plugs through first without any cable to give enough room to get the plug through side ways on.

So - if that makes sense - basically fit the towbar, them feed wiring loom through plate starting with biggest plug , then into car leaving 7 pin socket as last to come up to the plug.

I did think about cutting the round plate when I realised my mistake ( of having fitted the wiring before the towbar) but decided against it and was glad it worked out ok.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 13:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volvopaws View Post
Unusual for Volvo to be cheaper! But thanks for your explanation - that makes it much easier.
Nice job as well looks very neat. What did you use to cut the bumper, just a standard hacksaw?
I want one to carry a bike rack. From your photos the towball does look quite close to the bumper. Would a bike rack clash with it do you think?
Here are the photos to show clearance ...
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 16:41   #10
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Geat job and write up, Would be nice if we had a, how to do column on our forum would make searching for these great how too,s far better.

Just for interest to our readers my wife has a civic type r just take a view at this forum
some people are rely dedicated i dont no where they find the time

www.civinfo.com
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