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Latest performance mod!! S3 8L Westfalia detachable towbar install

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by Agric04, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. Agric04
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    Agric04 Member

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    Ok so not exactly a performance mod and probably not high up there on the list of cool mods to do to an S3 for most people.

    Don't worry I won't be towing any trailers or caravans, this is purely for mounting my Thule bike carrier on so I don't risk damaging the paintwork using roof bars or an off the boot carrier!

    I went for a Westfalia detachable towbar from http://www.pfjones.co.uk/a3-hatchback-quattro-and-s3-1996-2003-detachable.html which cost me £190 including wiring kit and delivery, and arrived super quick within 2 days. the Westfalia towbars are the same brand that Audi use as OEM. The detachable towbar will even fit into the oem spare wheel toolkit with a tiny bit of modification (they have obviously changed the towbar since the original design so it no longer fits straight in which is a shame).

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    Please note that I am no expert towbar installer, this is only the second one I've ever installed, my previous install was a Westfalia swan neck towbar on my old 1998 1.8T A3 last year. Here's my install pics, hope they are usefull to someone.

    Before I started the install:
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    Jacked up and ready to start:
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    Firstly you need to remove the black plastic trim along the top edge of the bumper:
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    Remove this screw:
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    And also this screw:
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    Now you can remove the small piece of trim. Note that it is only the right hand side piece that is removable:
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    You can now carefully lift the trim up, if this is the first time it has been removed you will need a knife to cut the silicone which glues it down. The trim is also held in place by velcro strips:
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    Now that piece of trim is out of the way we can remove the metal bar and the 6x screws that hold it in place:
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    Now you can turn your attention to removing the 5x screws that hold the bumper on in the inside edge of each side of the wheel arches. My rear shocks look a state in this picture, the covers have rusted away.... another job on the list of things to replace:
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    Now remove this screw on the under side:
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    And finally the last screw to be removed hides on the underside between the exhaust tips:
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    The rear bumper should now just pull off with a gentle tug. If you have rear parking sensors you will need to be carefull when removing the bumper as there isn't much slack in the wiring, you will need to pull the bumper off far enough to get your hand behind and cut the cable ties holding the loom to the inside of the bumper and then unplug each individual sensor:
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    Here's what it looks like with the bumper off:
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    To remove the rear beam to make way for the new towbar beam you will need to unbolt the 4x bolts holding it on. I strongly advise you soak the nuts with some wd40 before you try to undo them, if you don't and the bolt breaks away from it's anchor point then it's a real pain to remove, this hapened when I installed a towbar on my old A3 and I ended up having to cut the bolt with an angle grinder to get the beam off:
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    Beam off:
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    The mounting holes for attaching the towbar can't be seen as they're covered by the rubberised protective coating that Audi have applied to the underbody. Have a feel around and you should eventually feel a soft spot in the coating where the predrilled bolt holes are. Stick a knife through the hole and clean away enough of the protective coating around the hole so that the towbar bolt and washer will firmly seat against the metal:
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    It is a good idea once you have bolted the towbar to the car to give the bolts a good coat of paint or wax oil to prevent any rusting

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    The only problem I've had with the install is that the supplied wiring kit doesn't fit the Westfalia mount as there is no hole to allow for the sockets rear feed, I suspect it should be fitted with a socket that can be wried from the side. I did initially think I could just drill a hole through but it's not going to be that simple! I need to customise the plate that the socket is mounted to as it doesn't drop down low enough to clear the bumper valance and allow you to get enough access to plug into it, for now I have just attached the socket with 1x screw to the plate, it's funcyional but won't allow me at present to fold it up out of the way when not in use.
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    Towbar installed but unfortunately trailer socket still on show until I get the bracket modified:
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    Thule bike carrier and GT i-Drive mountain bike mounted on S3:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Still got the electrics to wire into the car, hopefully get that done tomorrow. Really wanted to get a dedicated wiring loom so I don't have to splice into the cars loom, but unfortunately the Audi dealership and all the 3rd party suppliers I have found that do the looms don't have any stock and apparently there is no longer enough demand for the MKI A3/S3 dedicated wiring looms so it's a splice job which is a shame as I won't be able to use vcds to deactivate the rear parking sensors when the bike carrier is connected.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
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  2. S3 Nattie
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    S3 Nattie Quattro ist für sissies

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    Thanks a lot for that guide, really useful as I need a tow bar for my go kart.

    I had my light socket installed inside the boot on my previous car. The place that installed it said its for people who have bike stand and want to hide the light socket. It was a thin cable but was meant to be really strong as the boot closes on it, worth contacting a tow bar/ trailer place if you want to completely hide the light socket when not in use.
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  3. Agric04
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    Agric04 Member

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    Thanks S3 Nattie, Glad it's of help to someone.

    The light socket folds up completely out of sight, I just need to make a minor modification so the bracket drops down a bit lower to clear the bumper completely so the socket has enough clearance. Once that's done you won't be able to tell that a towbar is fitted at all when it's not in use.

    Apart from this minor problem I'm really pleased with the tow bar, no cutting of the bumper is needed.
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  4. S3 Nattie
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    S3 Nattie Quattro ist für sissies

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    I see, upload some pics if you can when you modified the light socket. Been meaning to sort out a tow bar for a while but havent got round to doing it.

    Nice bike by the way, my friend used to have one of them. I used to ride downhill and have a specialized big hit, probably full of cobwebs now though lol
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  5. S3 Nattie
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    S3 Nattie Quattro ist für sissies

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    I see, upload some pics if you can when you modified the light socket. Been meaning to sort out a tow bar for a while but havent got round to doing it.

    Nice bike by the way, my friend used to have one of them. I used to ride downhill and have a specialized big hit, probably full of cobwebs now though lol
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  6. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    Excellent guide! Even thought I'll never towbar my S3, it's a great guide just for 'how to remove an S3 rear bumper', I might just create a new thread and rob the top half of your post Agric, and stick it in the FAQs.

    Cheers.
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  7. s3dave
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    s3dave TFSI Hybrid

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    Really good write up, even if someone just wants to remove the bumper....
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  8. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    This is perfect as I have been looking to get one of those tail bars. Getting into cycling at the moment ;)
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  9. Dani_B19
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    Dani_B19 Audi-sports own special child.

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    Someone pile on the pounds over xmas? haha :).
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  10. cabby86
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    cabby86 Member

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    Nice write up, and a good step by step on the rear bumper removal, my old S3 had a factory tow bar fitted, very similar to your set up, thankfully it looked like it had seen very little use, apparently the original owner specced it tow a jet ski with!

    Chris
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  11. StrmsekS3
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    StrmsekS3 Member

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    great write up, just ordered one for my S3, any chance you could run through how you did the wiring? just into the rear lights?
    ive got reverseing sensors they will not sure if i can bypass these when trailer is on or not

    Cheers Matt
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  12. Agric04
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    Agric04 Member

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    That's a shame you've just ordered one StrmsekS3 as I'm selling my S3 this month and will be removing the tow bar and selling separately.

    I did just wire the electrics into the rear light wiring, no bypasses were needed. I would have liked to have a dedicated proper Audi wiring loom but Audi no longer supply them on this age of car. It does mean that you can't as far as I am aware turn off the rear reversing sensors when using the tow bar, but to be honest I've never really found it a huge problem.

    Not the best write up but below are some pictures of my wiring, I haven't got time to do a full write up on this but if you have any questions I'll try and answer them.

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    Note: try not to place all your connectors in the same place as I have as it makes it very tight when you tape it all back up again and refit the metal plate.

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    In the background you can see the earthing point I used. The white wire is the earth for the tow bar. The pipe that I am holding is the rear wiper wash fluid pipe, make sure it is connected, mine came apart when I was working in this area, and I only noticed it by luck, glad I did, don't think water and electrics are the best combination.


    [​IMG]

    The black plate above is the point that you need to be careful not to make the cables to bulky behind it as this is a bit of a pinch point. I very nearly needed to redo the wiring as it almost wouldn't fit back on with the connectors I'd fitted which were all in the same point.

    [​IMG]


    It's not a complicated job, just make sure you leave yourself with plenty of time so you don't need to rush the job and have a pen and paper handy so you can test all the wires and make sure you have the correct ones before you start cutting into them. I would list the wire colours but I have since lost my bit of paper with it written down on!
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
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  13. Agric04
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    Agric04 Member

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    S3dave thanks for your PM, I've tried to reply to you but an asn error says your mailbox is full. Drop me another PM and I'll try message you again.
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  14. s3dave
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    s3dave TFSI Hybrid

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    Done....:)
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  15. StrmsekS3
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    StrmsekS3 Member

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    Cheers for that Dave! should be spot on im fairly handy! and old man has wired plenty of vans etc but always great to get a bit more info from someone whos one it before. yeah im not really worried about the reversing sensors! they arent working properly just now anyway! paid £190 for mine all in which i thought wasnt too bad as its as OEM as you can buy.
    Cheers again
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  16. StrmsekS3
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    StrmsekS3 Member

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    Excellent guide i fitted new towbar and wiring on saturday, works a treat!! great kit! had to modify the bracket which held the light socket so now when all folded up / removed u can see nothing!
    cheers all
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  17. Agric04
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    Agric04 Member

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    Cool. Do you have any pics of your bracket mod? Would be interested to see how you did it.
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  18. Perplexer
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    Perplexer Member

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    Excellent guide!

    What did you use to stick the trim (image 8) back down with?
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  19. Agric04
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    Agric04 Member

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    I personally haven't bothered sticking it back down, I haven't noticed it looking to bad not being stuck back down, it appears to hold itself in place. Not sure what I'd use though if I was to stick it back down.
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  20. Perplexer
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    Perplexer Member

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    I have left mine as is too as I couldn't source the right sized double sided tape. It looks OK though.
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  21. dancuz
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    dancuz Member

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    Don't suppose anyone knows the wire colours for indicators, side lights, brake lights etc in side the back of the car? I'm going to test before cutting with a multi tester but if anyone can help that would be great.
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  22. Prawn
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    Prawn My other car is a MINI!!!!

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    Just whip out the bulb holder and follow the board round Dan, you can see which bulb centre goes to which pin, then it's easy to follow from there :)
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  23. knoxie
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    knoxie K4OXE

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    mine is held down by double sided sticky tape but has curled up so might have to get a new one
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  24. vfr800
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    vfr800 Member

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    Hi

    I just bought the towbar above from the OP (Agric04) as he's selling his S3.

    I also just picked this up off ebay. 8L0 055 203 GA.

    It's the original Audi 8L tow bar wiring harness, appears to be real live rocking horse poop, it comes with a new hazard/indicator relay and 7 pin trailer socket. etc.

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    #24
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