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      07-01-2012, 09:35 AM   #1
Wild M
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Trailer hitch for 2012 335i

I need to install a trailer hitch for hauling a utility trailer and possibly a boat trailer for a 20 ft ski boat. I went to a trailer place only to be told that no one makes a hitch for this car. Can this be possible? Am I out of luck, or do any of you know where I might be able to find one?
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      07-01-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
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You can't be serious?
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      07-01-2012, 10:34 AM   #3
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Here's what I posted in this thread about towing. (In response to towing a 3,000 lb. boat)

CLIFF's NOTES: You'll probably need to order one from Europe, or have one custom made. I also searched and don't see F30 fits from any of the usual domestic manufacturers (U-Haul, Curt, Hidden Hitch). Take a pass on any hitch you find that simply bolts to the trunk floor pan - like some of the generic-fit domestic hitches. I'd only use those type for utilizing a hitch-mounted bike rack.

Just keep in mind the standard Euro hitch ball is 50mm and not easily replaceable/interchangable like the standard North American design. So, you'll be limited to 2" (50.8mm) couplers (Ive heard they fit the 50mm ball well). If you have a 1 7/8" coupler you're sort out-of-luck with the euro hitches. Also, most euro hitches do not have provisions for safety chains which I always thought was odd. You'll either need to have some welded on, or get comfortable (illegal?) not using them at all.

-----------

I'd first contact a UK member of the board and have them give you the max towing limits in their owner's manual. I haven't seen towing limits listed in the US versions for decades.

The two limiting factors will be:

#1 The tounge weight. Most BMW cars are limited to 75kg (165 lbs). Weight the tounge of your trailer to make sure you will be under that. If it's over by much at all I'd just forget it.

#2 The max UNBRAKED towing limits of the F30 will not be close to 3,000 lbs. It will probably be in the high 1,000 lbs range (maybe 1,600 -1,800 lbs.). But, the BRAKED trailer limits will probably be in the 3,500 lb range. Even my 138 HP/ 138 FT-LBS E36 318ti has an BRAKED towing limit of 3,306 lbs. You will need to add trailer brakes if you want to meet this limit.

And for the hitch itself, the US made ones (u-haul, Curt, etc..) are mostly class I, as you've probably seen. You might need to order a real Euro hitch (Westfalia, Witter, Bosal, Thule, etc.) to get the max towing capability. Check their websites for limitations on their hitches. For example, Westfalia has F30 hitches in their online catalog but they don't list max weights, yet. But, their E90 hitches in both fixed and detachable versions have max limits of 165 lbs tounge (75 kg) and 4,000 lbs trailer (1,800 kg). That will do the trick.

You can buy euro hitches at http://www.pfjones.co.uk. They will ship to the US for about $220.

I've towed with my 318ti for many years and find it very useful Here's my 5x8 Aluma that puts any SUV to shame. When things are too big for the family Suburban, we use this (and get better fuel mileage than the Subruban could get) Good Luck!

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Last edited by CirrusSR22; 07-01-2012 at 10:48 AM.
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      07-01-2012, 11:16 AM   #4
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You can't be serious?
Why not? But for the hitch issue the car would make a fine tow vehicle.
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      07-01-2012, 11:20 AM   #5
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Now that was a good answer. I have bought parts for other things from the UK and while the time difference (making phone comm. problematic) and the shipping time can suck, if you buy from a reputable establishment, I can attest that the result can be A+ (needed an aftermarket upgrade for rear susp. on an old mountain bike I was not quite ready to put to pasture).

My towing solution is my wife's X5
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      07-01-2012, 12:29 PM   #6
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Elk,
For one thing I own a Yamaha LX210 jet boat with a towing weight of 2000lbs. I would not want to be submerging the back axles of my F30 on a boat ramp or putting the car through that type of towing stress. To each his own but saying it is a good idea for a low riding F30 not designed for towing is nothing but nuts. Go with a x5 if you want to haul a boat of that size.
Peace

Last edited by TLennox; 07-01-2012 at 12:35 PM.
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      07-01-2012, 01:02 PM   #7
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Perfectly reasonable. Not finding boats interesting on any level this is completely foreign territory for me.
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      07-01-2012, 04:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLennox View Post
Elk,
For one thing I own a Yamaha LX210 jet boat with a towing weight of 2000lbs. I would not want to be submerging the back axles of my F30 on a boat ramp or putting the car through that type of towing stress. To each his own but saying it is a good idea for a low riding F30 not designed for towing is nothing but nuts. Go with a x5 if you want to haul a boat of that size.
Peace
In Europe you have a BMW factory option (3AC) for an trailer hitch. In fact it folds out of the way such that it is hidden when not needed. You get a button in the trunk for this.

I regularly see BMWs here with trailers, or bike racks on the trailer hitch.
So saying that the car is not designed for it is simply not true.
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      07-01-2012, 05:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLennox View Post
Elk,
For one thing I own a Yamaha LX210 jet boat with a towing weight of 2000lbs. I would not want to be submerging the back axles of my F30 on a boat ramp or putting the car through that type of towing stress. To each his own but saying it is a good idea for a low riding F30 not designed for towing is nothing but nuts. Go with a x5 if you want to haul a boat of that size.
Peace
I think he says he wants to tow a trailer for a 20' boat, not one with a 20' boat on it.
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      07-01-2012, 05:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CirrusSR22 View Post
Also, most euro hitches do not have provisions for safety chains which I always thought was odd.
Really? When I lived in Europe, I towed quite a few times and there was always provisions for the safety chains. Although I'm not entirely sure, I do believe it's law (at least in the Netherlands).

Edit: just checked to be sure, it seems that, since May 2009, those safety cables are no longer mandatory when you pull less than 750kg (about 1650lbs) but still are when they're heavier and when the trailer is an older trailer that is equipped with them. The hitch should therefor still have provisions for it, at least in the Netherlands from what I read.
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Last edited by svache; 07-01-2012 at 05:34 PM.
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      07-01-2012, 06:20 PM   #11
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Well most I have seen do not. Not to imply none of them have it though. I've only looked at UK market hitches but it's still all the big brands. Westfalia, Bosal, Witter, Thule, etc..

Most of them a single "loop" for connecting to the brake system breakaway cable, but I almost never see the double loop system seen on US hitches. But also, trailer brakes seem to be much more common on euro trailers as they become more and more important when towing with smaller vehicles like they do in europe.

Even BMW's own multi-trailer from the 1990s listed safety chains, but only for the US market.
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Last edited by CirrusSR22; 07-02-2012 at 12:24 AM.
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      07-02-2012, 12:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CirrusSR22 View Post
Here's what I posted in this thread about towing. (In response to towing a 3,000 lb. boat)

CLIFF's NOTES: You'll probably need to order one from Europe, or have one custom made. I also searched and don't see F30 fits from any of the usual domestic manufacturers (U-Haul, Curt, Hidden Hitch). Take a pass on any hitch you find that simply bolts to the trunk floor pan - like some of the generic-fit domestic hitches. I'd only use those type for utilizing a hitch-mounted bike rack.

Just keep in mind the standard Euro hitch ball is 50mm and not easily replaceable/interchangable like the standard North American design. So, you'll be limited to 2" (50.8mm) couplers (Ive heard they fit the 50mm ball well). If you have a 1 7/8" coupler you're sort out-of-luck with the euro hitches. Also, most euro hitches do not have provisions for safety chains which I always thought was odd. You'll either need to have some welded on, or get comfortable (illegal?) not using them at all.

-----------

I'd first contact a UK member of the board and have them give you the max towing limits in their owner's manual. I haven't seen towing limits listed in the US versions for decades.

The two limiting factors will be:

#1 The tounge weight. Most BMW cars are limited to 75kg (165 lbs). Weight the tounge of your trailer to make sure you will be under that. If it's over by much at all I'd just forget it.

#2 The max UNBRAKED towing limits of the F30 will not be close to 3,000 lbs. It will probably be in the high 1,000 lbs range (maybe 1,600 -1,800 lbs.). But, the BRAKED trailer limits will probably be in the 3,500 lb range. Even my 138 HP/ 138 FT-LBS E36 318ti has an BRAKED towing limit of 3,306 lbs. You will need to add trailer brakes if you want to meet this limit.

And for the hitch itself, the US made ones (u-haul, Curt, etc..) are mostly class I, as you've probably seen. You might need to order a real Euro hitch (Westfalia, Witter, Bosal, Thule, etc.) to get the max towing capability. Check their websites for limitations on their hitches. For example, Westfalia has F30 hitches in their online catalog but they don't list max weights, yet. But, their E90 hitches in both fixed and detachable versions have max limits of 165 lbs tounge (75 kg) and 4,000 lbs trailer (1,800 kg). That will do the trick.

You can buy euro hitches at http://www.pfjones.co.uk. They will ship to the US for about $220.

I've towed with my 318ti for many years and find it very useful Here's my 5x8 Aluma that puts any SUV to shame. When things are too big for the family Suburban, we use this (and get better fuel mileage than the Subruban could get) Good Luck!

Thanks for the leads. For the most part, I need the hitch for my utility trailer, one I picked up a few years ago at Home Depot. It has a 2 inch ball, so, as you say, it should be ok with the 50mm ball. Although I have a 20 ft boat, I don't curently have a trailer for it. It's a rather light low profile fast outboard motor boat (84 mph), about 1000 lbs I seem to recall, not a big heavy cabin cruiser. I might need to trailer it from time to time just to take it for service.

My previous car was a 1997 Maxima, which is about the same size as the 335i, so I was surprised to find it so difficult to find a hitch. It's not exactly a 'Smart' car. The old Maxima only had 190HP compared to the 300 for the 335i. There should be no problem towing with this car.
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