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S60 & V60 '11-'18 / XC60 '09-'17 Articles How to's and step by step guides on a specific repair or modification to a Volvo x60 series of cars

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XC60 Towbar fitting guide

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Old Feb 9th, 2016, 09:49   #1

Last Online: Mar 14th, 2024 18:01
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Sunderland
Default XC60 Towbar fitting guide

This guide is to show you how to fit a tow bar to a XC60. The car used for demonstration is my 61 plate XC60 AWD D3. I believe for the parts that are involved it is the same across the range but their maybe some slight differences between years. The R-Design bumper is significantly different and I don’t have one so I can’t advise on this. This guide if for informational purposes only, I take no responsibility for damage you may do to the car and/or trailer. If you are unsure get a professional to fit it for you.

The kit used was bought from eBay for around 130 for a detachable ball and a 13pin universal electrics kit. It fits the XC60 and the V60 but this guide is aimed at the XC60.

The first step is to check over the bar you have, make sure there are no cracks or marks that might weaken it. Once it is on the car you can’t see much of it to check it. Also make sure you read the fitting instructions supplied with your tow bar and these instructions. Make sure you have all the tools you need before you start. The sizes for the car's nuts and bolts should be the same but don’t go off the sizes for my tow bar as yours maybe slightly different so check the ones you have and can access in advance.

Tools I used:
T25 Torx bit
Small ratchet wrench
Large ratchet wrench
Torque wrench
13mm, 19mm, 22mm x2 sockets
13mm, 19mm spanners
Small flat head screwdriver
Hack saw
Stanley knife

Next you need to remove the rear bumper. There are 5 Torx screws in each rear wheel arch. I found this easier to use a ratchet wrench with a Torx bit, which means you don’t need to take the wheels off for access.

There are 2 more Torx screws which are hidden inside the rubber stops. One each side of the boot opening.

Finally there are 2 push clips at the bottom. I found these tight and got covered in trapped stones when I took them out. You have to push the pin from the back of the clip then you can pull the clip out.

Once all of them are out the bumper will still be quite solid. There are a lot of clips round the wheel arches and under the rear light clusters. It does take some persuasion to get those clips out. Be careful as once those are out the bumper will fall to the floor and might get scratched.

Separate the wiring loom for the rear sensors and lights if you have them. Set the rear bumper to one side on something soft so it does not get scratched on the floor.

Next remove the rear panel. It is to be replaced by the tow bar so will not be refitted. There are six 13mm bolts, three on each side

You should now have this. I refitted those 6 bolts and kept the rear panel in case the tow bar was ever to be removed.

Remove the exhaust hangers on both sides, it is a 13mm bolt for this. It will drop the exhaust by a couple of inches and give you much better access.

Offer to tow bar up to the chassis holes.

My bar fits both the XC60 and V60, the instructions show which holes to use on each car, yours may have this or may not. Put the supplied bolts in one side loosely. Mine were 22mm bolts. You will find it easier to bend the heat shield a little to get better access, this is why it is easier to remove the exhaust hangers and they hold the heat shield in place.

Once all four bolts are in loosely, tighten the bolts using a 22mm socket on either side. Your tow bar instructions should have a torque value. Refit the exhaust hangers.
There is a rubber grommet in the boot floor for you to feed the wiring through, use a Stanley knife to cut this open and feed through the wiring. You should see the cable to the left of the exhaust heat shield.

It was at this point that I tightened all the bolts holding the bracket for the electrics plug.

Feed the cable to the 13pin plug and use this diagram for wiring the plug. Make sure you feed the cable through the rubber back panel, I made this mistake and had to redo the plug.

Fit the plug to the bracket using the three supplied nuts and bolts.
Now the nervous part. Trial refit your bumper and see how much you need to remove so it clears the new tow bar and wiring plug. My bumper had a small line marked from the factory so I followed that with a hack saw and it worked out pretty nicely. Keep the piece you remove in case you ever want to remove the tow bar, you can fibreglass it back on. Refit the bumper as a reverse of removal, not forgetting to connect the wiring.

You should now have your tow bar and wiring plug on the car, looking something like this.

This took me about 2 hours, most of the time was figuring out that the bumper was so securely held on by clips and there were no more screws as I didn't want to be too rough and damage it.

Now we will move onto the electrics. Because the XC60 has sensors for when a bulb is out we can’t just run a parallel line to a bulb in the trailer because the resistance will be too high so it will show as a blown bulb even though it is not. Instead the kits use a relay that need a cable running from each light, then the negative from the chassis and positive from the battery positive terminal. You also need a switched live which means it is only live when the ignition is on, one of the 12v sockets is ideal. The live from the battery and from the ignition need fuses which should be supplied with your kit.

There are some negative chassis connections on either side of the boot floor, so most of the wiring will be done in and around the boot.

I will be wiring mine in, in the next few weeks so I will post a part two of this guide then.

Link to original thread here...
EX 2017 XC90 D5 Momentum
Ex MY12 XC60 D3 AWD
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Last edited by tt82; Feb 9th, 2016 at 12:02.
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