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Steve C
14-02-2013, 02:47 PM
Whats with the lack of towbars available for HSV's?

I would love this type of towbar for my vy Maloo.. http://www.westfalia-automotive.co.nz/ (Watch the video..Its bloody fantastic)

Anyone got a stealth towbar setup on their ute? Either custom made or off the shelf?

I only want to tow a kart trailer about 20km's each weekend i'm home..and I dont think I can live with the humiliation of having a permanent towbar on the Maloo. Even one of those removable tongue jobbies looks bloody awful. I dont want a big square sticking out the back of my bumper.

Dont even get me started on the fact that you have to saw a **** in the rear valance!

Any feedback much appreciated.

So far the best solution i can think of for moving the kart about is to ditch the trailer idea and go out and buy a old Hiace van..but I would literally be using the van about 25 days of the year, which seems like a waste of money paying rego, insurance and replacing dead batteries.

Steve C

white_lie
14-02-2013, 05:11 PM
Didn't watch the video, might do when I get a bit of time later...

But it's all to do with the mounting points for the bar. Its all behind the bumper so it needs to be cut for any of it to poke out. Even if it dropped lower and came around the bumper and back up again, it would still need cutting. Would be nice if there was a decent mount under the car but the fuel tank is in the way on the sedans

Steve C
14-02-2013, 07:06 PM
'Tis worth a watch sir.

Its only a 5 second video but after watching it you'll never look at a tow bar the same again!

Steve C

moray066
14-02-2013, 08:39 PM
whats the towing capacity on these tow bars, couldn't find it anywhere on their website

Steve C
14-02-2013, 11:23 PM
whats the towing capacity on these tow bars, couldn't find it anywhere on their website

Yeh mate..Ive done a bit of digging and those Westfalia detachable towbars are not on sale to the general public..They are supplying their towbars direct to manufacturers as an option for the new Mercedes E cl*** and new Mazdas. I think there was one other manufacturer had started using them too.

Anyway I decided to go more international with my searching, and it turns out these 'invisable' detachable towbars have taken off big style in Europe. A quick ebay UK search threw up loads of results. Witter offer a diy fitting kit for most car models: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=witter+detachable+towbar&rt=nc&LH_BIN=1

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/Witter_zpsfe9eb770.jpg

Also Brink, Thule & Bosal have similar products on the market. All pretty well known and international companies.

From what I have read, the capacity of each towbar is rated to suit the max towing capacity of the car it is designed to fit.

Unfortunately....Because Holdens arent mainstream in Europe they dont have an option for any commodores, utes etc :(

However im currently hatching a plan to buy a HSV towbar in Aus..then order one of these quick release one from the UK for some generic model. I could then bastardise both of them until I can work out a design which works with the Maloo. (looking at the mounting for the detachable part, they look universal & fairly simple) I think all that may be required would be to cut off the Holden 'tounge mount' and get the brackets for the 'quick release' base welded in its place.

I am currently reading up on the law in SA surrounding custom towbars. I ***ume I will have to get an engineers report and probably some type of NDT (Non destructive test) carried out on it. I'll let you know how i get on.

If the law allows, my first step will be to start trying to aquire some dimensions and start measuring & sketching.

I do realise this project will probably end up costing a fortune, and eat up a lot of my time but what the hell...
The devil makes work for idle thumbs.

Steve C

Jordoi
15-02-2013, 08:56 AM
I don't like the idea of cutting ****s in the rear of my car as well so interested to see how this goes. Keep some photos if you do get round to it.

Steve C
15-02-2013, 02:51 PM
I don't like the idea of cutting ****s in the rear of my car as well so interested to see how this goes. Keep some photos if you do get round to it.

Roger.
Same here mate. That and the fact I will be towing fairly infrequently.. I think its a pretty big sacrifice to a vehicles looks to have any kind of towbar permanently on show.

Steve C
17-02-2013, 10:16 PM
Ok, quick update.

Just won a second hand Hayman Reese style vy maloo towbar on ebay...$39.

I decided that it would be pointless paying top dollar for a new towbar, only to chop it up. All i need is a bare bar which is designed to mount to the ute. And obviously any warranty would be null & void as soon as I modify it.

Next job is to decide which brand of 'invisable' towbar i will go for...Witter, Thule, Westfalia.

I'll probably do this by searching some UK car forums and see whach manufacturer has the best reputation.

Steve C

Steve C
18-02-2013, 01:43 PM
Im not sure if I'm just talking to myself here or if anyone is actually interested...but today I managed to obtain a copy of Australian standards AS4177.1, AS4177.2 & AS4177.3. These all relate to Towing and tow bar fitting.

The long and short of is that ISO 1103 and ISO 3853 are also acceptable in Australia. Which is good news.

All of the invisable bars ive been looking at from Europe meet this standard and will no doubt have a stamp or certificate with them.

Looks like all i may have to do is get an engineers report saying the welds are satisfactory when i merge the two types of towbar together. If I ever get a roadside check carried out, the detachable towbar shouldnt be a problem.

I may even be able to get an approved manufacturer of custom towbars to do the welding for me.. http://www.halltowbars.com.au/index.php/selectedContent/1495171312?currentDriven=2147259961&currentContent=1495171312

Another thing I will have to organise is a shackle point, as it is not a legal requirement to have a chain or wire rope attached when towing in Europe...but that shouldnt be a big deal.

As long as I use a rated shackle I doubt the policemen will carry any equipment for ultrasonic or radiographic weld testing.....unless I'm caught driving in Queensland ;)

Strick
18-02-2013, 06:42 PM
hey mate,

im taking note in what you are doing here. bluddy good idea i reckon, will be interested to see the end result!

moray066
18-02-2013, 08:38 PM
Same here, I'm keeping a close eye on this one, I race karts, I'm using my ute to tow at the moment, never considered fitting a tow bar on the clubby because of what was required, but this has my attention.

Steve C
19-02-2013, 12:03 AM
Good stuff..I'll keep the updates coming then.

I found a video on youtube of Witter testing one of their detachable towbars on a bmw X5. They bomb round a test track with 2.8 ton in the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE0Wfp5ZW84

That should be ok for me then considering I'll be hauling a few hundred kilos.
To be honest the video does drag on a bit, but you get the jist by skipping through it.

Steve C

Steve C
29-04-2013, 12:24 PM
Thought I'd better just post a bit of an update..in case anyone thought my idea had just tailed off...

Quite the opposite though!

Its been all systems go, but Ive been covering a lot of shifts for guys on annual leave..and have so far this year only spent 4 weeks at home in my own bed! :(

On the plus side the bank account is fit to burst..so Ive put down a deposit on one of these kart trailers, built to my own spec*. Complete with Holden wheel stud pattern & mp3 stereo + sidchrome toolboxes.

* The wheels fitted in the picture are 20's and for promational purposes only. I have requested that the builder tries to fit a 17 or 18" wheel as similar as possible to the 5 spoke VY2 maloo/clubsport wheels on my ute. Obviously, I can then fit a pair of clubsport wheels at a later date as the trailer will accept holden rims :)

4596
4597

Getting the trailer wrapped sting red may have to wait til later in the year, as I've promised to take my ****friend on holiday before I blow anymore $ on things with wheels! haha


So I have in my possesion:
-Standard HSV towbar, which I have stripped and prepared for welding.
-Donor towbar: A Witter invisable/ detachable, which I had sent to my old man in the UK first. He then took some measurments for me and confirmed that with a bit of work it should fit the HSV bar and clear the rear bumper, and hopefully (if my calculations are correct) be totally invisable when not clipped into place).
-I have also sourced a wiring harness with a 7 pin flat plug (obviously I have specced the trailer to have a 7 pin flat too), which piggybacks straight into the right rear tail light.

I will be home in just over a week so hopefully things will start to come together, and I'll put some pictures up of the finished article.

Cheers
Steve C

Note:In case anyone is wondering, the donor towbar Ive bought is a Brand new Witter detachable, specifically for a Ford Kuga. It is rated to tow 2100kg, with a maximum towball weight of 110kg. Basically it is more than up to the task! The HSV Hayman reese type towbar I butchered was only rated to tow 1600kg. The trailer I will be towing is unbraked and rated to a maximum weight of 750kg. Happy days.

It cost me a LOT of personal time to research this, as all i had available to me were online pictures/google images, with no dimensions. I then made a shortlist of towbars that LOOKED like they might be suitable, and because no manufacturer would play along with the idea of me fitting the towbar to a vehicle it wasnt specifically intended, they werent exactly forthcoming with information.
In the end I was reduced to contacting private sellers on ebay/ gumtree. I felt a little bit guilty as I had to string a few of them along that I was interested in buying their second hand bmw/audi/land rover/whatever towbar, and asked them kindly to give me some information about part numbers & dimensions.

In the end the winner looked like the model above. I then bought the new item direct from Witter.

Am I mental? Possibly.
Hopefully it will all be worth it.........

Surfnturf
29-04-2013, 02:54 PM
Great Work Steve,very interested in this.
I have a HSV VE Senator but I noticed you setting up for a VY Maloo which I ***ume is totally different unfortunately.
Anyway will keep an eye out for the outcome.

Strick
29-04-2013, 09:15 PM
was only thinking of this the other day actally, great too see your putting alot of time and effort into it. Will be a fantastic final product.

Trailer will look the goods once done too, congrats mate

carwrec
03-05-2013, 10:49 PM
Not sure if this is worth mentioning, but I have a invisible towbar on my VZ clubsport, it's mounted behind rear bar and tongue bolts up from underneath coming around bar when needed, actually had the same setup up on my VS clubsport, I don't like the idea of it coming thru bar either, ruins the car! On my VY 2 maloo I had to get a towbar fitted, which they cut a nice square thru bar, then the tongue actually sat right up against bar concealing cut out quite a bit. Had the towbar fitted at a local place, did a great job considering I was so fussy with it, and cheaper by far than holden too

Steve C
26-06-2013, 12:25 AM
A long awaited update!

I have finished the project and have some pictures.

I dont have a full blown photo reel of the build as I'm not really into that sort of thing..So you'll have to use your imaginations a bit.

This is the towbar I had sent over from the uk
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/IMG_9439_zps2be34802.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/IMG_9439_zps2be34802.jpg.html)
Note the neat little feature that needs a key for the quick release mechanism.
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/IMG_9438_zps26c491a0.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/IMG_9438_zps26c491a0.jpg.html)

I also got my father to cut a section of the towbar and sent it so I could check out the exact way the mounting point was welded to the cross bar. I was actually quite surprised at how little weld there was (The picture is crap, and ive already chopeed a bit off it, but there is only a seam of weld along the outsides, none on the inside!) Although if you work to the rule of thumb that 1 inch of decent weld is good to hang 1 ton of static weight then i guess its not really that surprising)
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/IMG_9436_zps435133f8.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/IMG_9436_zps435133f8.jpg.html)

Next I mounted up the holden towbar which I had stripped back to a bare bar, including paint removed. No pics.

After a bit of head scratching I came up with a couple of templates:
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/IMG_9440_zpsddd3fb84.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/IMG_9440_zpsddd3fb84.jpg.html)

Now imagine an A-team style montage of me cutting, grinding, drilling, welding and painting......

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/IMG_9444_zps117e15c5.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/IMG_9444_zps117e15c5.jpg.html)
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/IMG_9435_zps89de20b7.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/IMG_9435_zps89de20b7.jpg.html)

Note I have erred on the side of caution with the old welding. Dont want the thing falling off now! I have also added some webbs to give some additional rigidity.
Also I have added a **** for the chain shackle to bolt through. I am very confident the removable part will never fail, but if it were to, the trailer would be connected directly to the cross bar section and not the tow ball part, if that makes sense.

Sorry I havent got any photos of it on the ute but I will definately add them later (This is a bit embar***ing but I dont own a camera, these pics were taken with the ****friends camera) My flashy new trailer will also be ready in the next week or two.

My only grumble with the entire project was that I couldnt manage to set up the towbar so it would clear the rear plastic valance. Well, thats not strictly true, I couldnt get it set up up so that the ball would be at a legal height (it would have been below the 360mm minimum) and would have meant trailers would be a bit too nose down.

So unfortunately I had to chop out a small section:
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/IMG_9432_zps87e818fb.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/IMG_9432_zps87e818fb.jpg.html)

I was really dissapointed to have to do this, however I can live with it because the part I removed is only noticable from anything lower than a dogs eye view, as demonstrated:
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/IMG_9434_zps4f982c4d.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/IMG_9434_zps4f982c4d.jpg.html)

So overall I am pleased with the result.
I have a euro style towbar, which can be fitted or removed in a matter of seconds, and is completely invisible when not in use. (Just that damn cut in the lower plastic haha)

Thanks for loooking,
Steve

white_lie
26-06-2013, 01:50 AM
Good stuff Steve, props to you for fabricating something that should be easily available but isn't. Looks like a top notch job and doesn't appear to have taken much out of the rear bar at all. Certainly nothing noticeable

Strick
26-06-2013, 09:40 AM
very nice mate, and done very well. any thoughts of getting it legalized and out to the public?

Steve C
28-06-2013, 02:49 PM
Good stuff Steve, props to you for fabricating something that should be easily available but isn't. Looks like a top notch job and doesn't appear to have taken much out of the rear bar at all. Certainly nothing noticeable

Thanks for the comments gents.

You are right. The 'tube in tube' type towbar is a 30 year old design now. The fact that australian made cars have no alternative options to bring towing into this millenium is appalling & embarr***ing.

Imagine spending $50,000+ on a new car and ticking the option box for a towbar. "Yep mate, just let me go and grab my hacksaw blade."


very nice mate, and done very well. any thoughts of getting it legalized and out to the public?

None what-so-ever.
For me it was just an exercise to see if I could build the towbar I wanted.

Steve C

gto461
28-06-2013, 09:17 PM
cool towbar

Steve C
29-08-2013, 08:43 PM
Some pics of the towbar on the ute:
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/Trailer/IMG_9823_zps68774fd4.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/Trailer/IMG_9823_zps68774fd4.jpg.html)

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/Trailer/IMG_9821_zpsf20d587c.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/Trailer/IMG_9821_zpsf20d587c.jpg.html)

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/Trailer/IMG_9819_zps49a06323.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/Trailer/IMG_9819_zps49a06323.jpg.html)

The new trailer:

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/Trailer/IMG_9839_zpse2621e37.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/Trailer/IMG_9839_zpse2621e37.jpg.html)

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/Trailer/d450a06d-82a8-406c-be62-2ae9aed71e00_zpsd681b463.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/Trailer/d450a06d-82a8-406c-be62-2ae9aed71e00_zpsd681b463.jpg.html)

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/Trailer/IMG_9842_zps632cb54d.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/Trailer/IMG_9842_zps632cb54d.jpg.html)

And out for a practice run:
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/Trailer/6e5da87f-3976-4b29-a638-eab5fbaaac17_zpsc1fd81fb.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/Trailer/6e5da87f-3976-4b29-a638-eab5fbaaac17_zpsc1fd81fb.jpg.html)

Ready for the summer season....
http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk81/stevendotcampbell/Trailer/Gawlerpractice_zpscd40b168.jpg (http://s278.photobucket.com/user/stevendotcampbell/media/Trailer/Gawlerpractice_zpscd40b168.jpg.html)

Steve C

white_lie
30-08-2013, 12:11 AM
Looks great Steve, is it a little on the low side? Looks fine for your purpose but if you were to put the average box trailer on there, would it be too low?

hotrodtwo
30-08-2013, 09:48 AM
You may be able to over come the height problem. You can get differnent height tow balls .

Steve C
30-08-2013, 01:23 PM
White_lie...You're right it is reasonably low. The Austrailian standard for towing says the towball centre should have 350 - 460 mm ground clearance when fully loaded. I am flirting with that 350 figure but it is legal. I am constantly looking at other vehicles, and Ive seen some cars with lowered suspension which have towbars, and must be way less than 300mm height without load.

My trailer sits low, so its not a problem for my setup (I discussed it with the company that made the trailer and we even considered fitting wheels/tyres with a smaller rolling radius to suit the ute, but agreed that it wasnt necessary)
I admit it would possibly tow a bit too nose down with other trailers.

I was hoping I might still be able to open the tailgate with the trailer hooked up, but it wasnt to be. The handle sticks up too far on the trailer hitch :(

Thanks hotrodtwo.
I was aware that I might be able to get a different flange mounted towball, but I havent looked into yet. The towball fitted is the one which came as standard with the Witter kit)
I will probably check it out later as it would be nice to have the flexibility of towing other trailers, but then again I wouldnt want it too much higher as I dont want the kart trailer 'nose up'.

Steve

metester
01-09-2013, 12:17 PM
Is the the arm that drops below/under the bar lower than a normal tow bar? I am concerned how low it gets going up/down driveways and whether it would scrape.

Steve C
02-09-2013, 08:30 AM
It sits a bit lower than the tail pipes yes. I would estimate it has the same potential to scrape as a ute with a 20-30mm suspension drop.

Havent managed to scrape it off anthing when towing yet.

Cant comment about if it scrapes when going in/out of driveways because i've not had it fitted any time other than when towing. :D

376ci
16-01-2014, 12:21 PM
Hi Steve, sorry to resurrect this older thread but I'm about to get my first HSV Clubby sedan (2011 model) and intend to try the same thing in February - since I only get to Eastern Creek about 4 times a year. Great post btw! :) I wanted to ask you some follow-up questions.... So how has your hidden bar been performing since September?

You mentioned using a Ford Kuga type Witter hitch. Looking at their website, they now have 2 types: Kuga 1 (C394) & Kuga 2 (C520). The Kuga 2 is for a 2013 model, and Kuga 1 for prior models. Can I presume you used a Kuga 1 type on your car?
(I noticed the Witter site's Kuga pics don't look like yours - so hopefully Witter placed generic pics)

I've been trying to find dimensions of the Witter too - particularly the inside length of the detachable hitch bar. I'm going to take measurements of my bumper to check enough room for the towball from the bumper. Can you confirm the length of your detachable hitch bar?

I also noticed you chose a Detachable Flange Towbar over a Detachable Swan Towbar. Any reason behind that decision?

cheers, Sam.

Steve C
27-01-2014, 02:29 PM
pm sent


Hi Steve, sorry to resurrect this older thread but I'm about to get my first HSV Clubby sedan (2011 model) and intend to try the same thing in February - since I only get to Eastern Creek about 4 times a year. Great post btw! :) I wanted to ask you some follow-up questions.... So how has your hidden bar been performing since September?

You mentioned using a Ford Kuga type Witter hitch. Looking at their website, they now have 2 types: Kuga 1 (C394) & Kuga 2 (C520). The Kuga 2 is for a 2013 model, and Kuga 1 for prior models. Can I presume you used a Kuga 1 type on your car?
(I noticed the Witter site's Kuga pics don't look like yours - so hopefully Witter placed generic pics)

I've been trying to find dimensions of the Witter too - particularly the inside length of the detachable hitch bar. I'm going to take measurements of my bumper to check enough room for the towball from the bumper. Can you confirm the length of your detachable hitch bar?

I also noticed you chose a Detachable Flange Towbar over a Detachable Swan Towbar. Any reason behind that decision?

cheers, Sam.

Surfnturf
28-01-2014, 05:15 PM
Hi guys could you post up any information that isn't confidential regarding this set up please as I want to do this to my 07 Senator and would like to have and see as much information as possible.thanks

376ci
01-02-2014, 11:53 PM
Hi Surfnturf, not a problem. I am still in the design phase and will start a new thread soon... so I don't hijack this one. I now have a 2nd-hand Holden VE bar and currently doing lots of measurements & research. Look out for a towbar post from me in about 2 weeks.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Toxo492
02-02-2014, 08:42 PM
Hi 376ci,
I am interested in one of these removable tow bars as well, so am looking forward to your findings, good work.
Bob

Nitrate
04-02-2014, 11:07 PM
Hi 376ci,
I am interested in one of these removable tow bars as well, so am looking forward to your findings, good work.
Bob
Bob what's going on? You thinking of towing something with da GTS? :o

Strick
05-02-2014, 01:17 PM
whats wrong with that? Wont have the towbar **** in the bar, heaps of power, win win!

Toxo492
05-02-2014, 03:10 PM
Bob what's going on? You thinking of towing something with da GTS? :o

Hi Ben,
I have a box trailer that I use every now and then. I am tossing up whether to sell my Subaru Liberty GT (it has a tow bar) if I do this I will need one and I do not like the ugly Holden ones. I have just sorted out the rattle from the air con and am testing the fix, perfect after three days. How is yours going?
Bob

Nitrate
05-02-2014, 06:41 PM
Hi Ben,
I have a box trailer that I use every now and then. I am tossing up whether to sell my Subaru Liberty GT (it has a tow bar) if I do this I will need one and I do not like the ugly Holden ones. I have just sorted out the rattle from the air con and am testing the fix, perfect after three days. How is yours going?
Bob
Hey Bob, fair enough....
I am putting mine in for its first service this week, still have the rattle but only occasionally. Will let you know the outcome, I tried looking but couldn't actually find the spot where it was loose. Apart from that car is fantastic of course..... Ben

Nitrate
05-02-2014, 06:44 PM
whats wrong with that? Wont have the towbar **** in the bar, heaps of power, win win!
Just not a fan of tow bars on performance cars, unless of course its a ute or a station wagon. I don't know why, never really asked myself :)

Mikhail
05-02-2014, 08:47 PM
Hey Bob, fair enough....
I am putting mine in for its first service this week, still have the rattle but only occasionally. Will let you know the outcome, I tried looking but couldn't actually find the spot where it was loose. Apart from that car is fantastic of course..... Ben

15,000? I am around 8,000, I'm impressed.