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What's The Best Towbar?


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There's a few to choose from, Witter, Brink, Bosal, PCT, etc, etc, but which one is the best?

 

Do some suit certain vehicles better that others?

 

How do swan neck towballs work with Al-ko stabilisers?

 

Any views?

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Hi Spyder,

 

I wouldn't like to offer judgement as to which towbar is the best as they all have to comply with EU directives and attach to the same pre-allocated points on each vehicle manufacturers product.

 

However some manage to achieve a neater result than others,but at a price.

 

Some makes of towbar do suit a particular vehicle better than others.

 

The Al-ko towball stabiliser was developed for the swan-neck as this type was more poular on the continent than the bolt on ball used in the UK.

 

A leaf spring stabiliser can be used on a swan-neck bracket by attaching a clamp to the neck of the ball,but is not very successful, especially if the neck is completly round, as movement of the clamp on the neck can occur.

 

Frank

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Guest Hobbybod

Spyder, as Frank indicates there's quite a selection nowadays and as they all have to conform to current EU standards etc. there's probably little difference to choose between them from this point of view.

 

Personally, I've always used the SIARR continental towbar which is marketed by Eurobars; a division? of Tanfield Towbars at Peterborough. I've always got a good deal from them, and either fitted them myself, or as I got older, a specialist company to do it, and the electrics. This way I can coat the whole bar in Hammerite etc. before fitting.

 

The reason for choosing these bars was/is that they use tubular cross-section beams etc, which are inherently stronger than than L-angle beams, and they are fully welded, one piece towbars, rather than bolted-up sections.

 

Fitters generally prefer the bolted section ones as it gives some leeway in fitting to the car's mounting points. The welded one piece towbars HAVE to be be made exactly to fit. They are also more cumbersome to transport.

 

If you use a spring-leaf stabiliser or tow bracket mounted bike-carriers etc. then go for the flange type towball where fittings can be easily bolted on.

 

As Frank suggests, none of the clamp alternatives on a swan neck work as well.

 

Whether you go for a more expensive detachable towball, all swan-necks now I think, is up to you, but some makes are easier to lock on than others.

 

The best one I saw, (can't remember the make), is where the towball goes into the towbar at 90 degrees to the vertical, then rotated to the vertical, where it locks on. The towball can't be removed in, or near, the vertical position even if the 'lock' hasn't engaged or has been defeated. This means that a hitch-locked caravan can't be taken off the towbar by disabling the towball lock.

 

Seem to have thrown all my towbar catalogues away, but IIRC a fixed towball one is £80-£100 whilst detachables are over £200.

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There's a few to choose from, Witter, Brink, Bosal, PCT, etc, etc, but which one is the best?

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Spyder, from the experience of having 2 different towbars fitted to two identical cars. ..

 

The first Mondeo Estate I had, had a fixed towbar fitted by a mobile fitter organised through the main Ford dealer in Didcot. He fitted a Witter Towbar - No problems

 

The second Mondeo Estate, had a fixed towbar fitted by the supplying dealer near Birmingham somewhere. This was a PCT. Again no problems with it.

 

The only thing that differed is the PCT bracket was made of a thinner section of box metal. When I took the Witter bar off it also looked a sturdier construction. The other thing about the PCT is that the weld for the plate which has the two bolt holes was not welded at an exact 90degrees to the draw bar. It was slightly skewed, which added to the size of box section, made me think it was not as good quality.

 

Does that make sense?

 

HTH - Gaz.

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I have had lots of different towbars on lots of different towcars. My own view is that Witter are very sturdy and worth a look. Got one on my present car.

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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I´ve been fitting my own towbars ever since I started caravanning some forty years ago and everyone of them has been a Towsure bar with the exception of the one just fitted to my C5 estate. That is a Witter bar, chosen simply because none of the other manufacturers had their bars ready for production. I am very impressed with the quality and weight of the construction compared with some of my previous bars, but that may be due to new EU regulations. The Witter bar fitted perfectly and easily to the fixing points provided by Citroen, but I´m sure any other bar which comes on the market will fit just as easily.

Citroen C5-X7 Tourer+Avondale Rialto 480/2
https://jondogoescaravanning.com

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  • 4 years later...

I have had lots of different towbars on lots of different towcars. My own view is that Witter are very sturdy and worth a look. Got one on my present car.

 

David

 

 

 

I like your website / blog good info as well as interesting travel info

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Some towbars arrive in primer and really are supposed to be painted. The PCT on my mondeo was looking a bit shabby after a couple of years. The Brink I have on my toyota still looks pristine after 3 years. I really should have painted the PCT one!

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I would highly recommend Westfalia - I have had their detachables fitted to several of my cars over the years, including my current car. They tend to supply a lot of high-end motor manufacturers and have them badged as OEM kit.

Their mechanisms are excellent and even after 3 years under the car, a wipe over with rag and they look like new. Also against other comparative manufacturers, they tend to have a higher noseweight limit should your towcar support it.

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Brink, Westfalia and Witter are all major contractors to car manufacturers and almost every factory-fit towbar will be made by one of them or the other after-market manufacturers.

 

For detachable towbars the fittings vary according to towbar manufacturer but I'd not choose one over the others.

 

Westfalia do make "swing-down" towbars for a few models.

 

I would highly recommend Westfalia . .. Also against other comparative manufacturers, they tend to have a higher noseweight limit should your towcar support it.

Under Type-Approval, no towbar is permitted to have a plated noseweight limit higher than the car's Type-Approved limit - very few towbars have a noseweight limit LOWER than the car - so there can be very few models that this statement applies to.

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Under Type-Approval, no towbar is permitted to have a plated noseweight limit higher than the car's Type-Approved limit - very few towbars have a noseweight limit LOWER than the car - so there can be very few models that this statement applies to.

 

Strange? I could swear that my Westfialia has a 100kg max whereas the cars max is 60kg'ish.

Will check when I get home. ....

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Strange? I could swear that my Westfialia has a 100kg max whereas the cars max is 60kg'ish.

Will check when I get home. ....

If it's a detachable the ball itself may be rated at 100kg but the rest should be rated as the car or less - I guess that where cars have different noseweights, eg automatic vs manual, then only one Type-Approval is necessary and will be at the higher figure - so perhaps my statement was a bit too sweeeping.

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If it's a detachable the ball itself may be rated at 100kg but the rest should be rated as the car or less - I guess that where cars have different noseweights, eg automatic vs manual, then only one Type-Approval is necessary and will be at the higher figure - so perhaps my statement was a bit too sweeeping.

 

That is a bit bizarre as most will know what their car's noseweight is but not the Towbar ( the witter type approval plate requires me to get under the car with a torch read it ). So in theory you could have a situation where you are overloading the towbar even though it has type approval on a car with a higher nose weight limit. Although in practice the chance of this happening is low it is still a little strange.

 

 

Al,

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That is a bit bizarre as most will know what their car's noseweight is but not the Towbar ( the witter type approval plate requires me to get under the car with a torch read it ). So in theory you could have a situation where you are overloading the towbar even though it has type approval on a car with a higher nose weight limit. Although in practice the chance of this happening is low it is still a little strange.

 

 

Al,

The time to resolve that is when you order the towbar - or buy the car - but as you say it's a very low possibility.

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The new Santa Fe has different nose weight limits for auto and Manuel.

 

Assuming the tow bar maker makes only ONE type approved bar for the car, i would expect this to be rated at 100kg.

 

So assume a auto for eg could have a bar plated with 100kg?

 

Anyone know?

 

same applies with the xtrail, mine is a manuel 2litre diesel plated at 100kg, it must be the same bar for the auto?

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The new Santa Fe has different nose weight limits for auto and Manuel.

 

Assuming the tow bar maker makes only ONE type approved bar for the car, i would expect this to be rated at 100kg.

 

So assume a auto for eg could have a bar plated with 100kg?

 

Anyone know?

 

same applies with the xtrail, mine is a manuel 2litre diesel plated at 100kg, it must be the same bar for the auto?

I'll tell you in a few days but Witter don't list different towbars for auto/manual versions of Santa Fe.

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There is a Westfalia swan neck on my Touareg.

 

It was as an option when the car was new and I must admit that I would only go for a swan neck again. It just seems so much tidier and when removed a panel fits over the fitting so that nothing can be seen (even the electrics are covered).

 

The noseweight for both the car and the Westfalia hitch is rated at 150kg but obviously has to stay at 100kg or less for the caravan hitch.

 

Ian

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It is probable that a towbar/towball will be rated to suit the maximum loading permitted on the vehicle. Do towbar/towballs come in ranges? In which case, depending on the vehicle specification, can a towbar/towball carry a plate that has loadings which exceed the vehicle (the vehicle spec being the only legal one in this case), or are the towbar/towball specifically stamped to match the vehicle?

My vehicle came pre-delivery with the vehicle manufacturer's specified towbar assembly fitted by the dealership. My only stipulation was that it is a removable towball.

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My 2009 S-max 2. 0Tdci has a Ford supplied Wesfailia detachable towbar (dealer fitted option) The instructions incled two lables one rated at 80kg and the other at 90kg. Ford uprated the towball load from 80 to 90kg early in 2008. The instructions included a table to decode the VIN number to establish the build date of the car. Those built up to and including Feb 2008 had to have the 80kg label and those built from March onwards got the 90kg one. The towbar/ball assy is the same, it's what the car manufacturer specifies which governs the capacity. Likewise different models of the same car have differing towing capacities in my case the 2. 0Tdci is specified for 1750kg whereas the 2. 2 is ok for 1800.

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And to actually answer the original question I have had both Witter and Westfalia detachables and there isn't really a lot to choose between them ecept perhaps price - Westfailia are a bit more expensive. Both are well made and have decent mechanisms.

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Noseweights can vary for Estates and saloons using the same tow bar for the same floor pan . As said tow bars are type approved and tested so it down to personnal choice for the vehicle and price .

 

 

 

Dave

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My 2009 S-max 2. 0Tdci has a Ford supplied Wesfailia detachable towbar (dealer fitted option) The instructions incled two lables one rated at 80kg and the other at 90kg. Ford uprated the towball load from 80 to 90kg early in 2008. The instructions included a table to decode the VIN number to establish the build date of the car. Those built up to and including Feb 2008 had to have the 80kg label and those built from March onwards got the 90kg one.

 

Whoever fitted the towbar should have applied the correct sticker and destroyed the other one.

On the continent the towbars are fitted with embossed or engraved metal plates rivetted to the assembly. Only the U. K. could come up with silver foil with dot matrix printing. Mine has been replaced twice in three years as the print fades.

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Whoever fitted the towbar should have applied the correct sticker and destroyed the other one.

On the continent the towbars are fitted with embossed or engraved metal plates rivetted to the assembly. Only the U. K. could come up with silver foil with dot matrix printing. Mine has been replaced twice in three years as the print fades.

A bit like caravan VIN stickers which fade to blank after 3 years in the open air!

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I personally love my Westfalia because it's totally invisible when removed, and the electrics cleverly swings down into position when fitted. Every Witter I've seen leaves everything visible minus the ball and doesn't look as neat. Maybe it's model specific though?

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