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Towbar Help!


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Hi I'm very new to this and we've kind of done this backwards but we've just bought our first caravan but we don't actually have a towbar! The different types of electrics are baffling us. What pin do we need a 7 8 or 13. Can we do it ourselves? Thanks

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What plug has your caravan got?

Car - can be EITHER two 7 pin sockets called 12N (black) and 12S (grey) OR the more modern 13 pin socket. There is no 8 pin plug/socket. Adaptors are available if car and van are different.


You can do it yourselves if you really know what you are doing, but my personal advice, for what it's worth, is get a professional to do it.


Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Thank you. I'll find out what the caravan is. Can we fit the towbar and get someone to do the electrics or is it better to do it all together?

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Hi Clairmp7, welcome to caravan talk, you can fit a towbar yourself I've done it in the past and bought from Towsure, for your mondeo your looking at about £120 for a fixed towbar, then there's the electrics, but to be honest if your cars relatively new I would take it to a professional towbar fitter as newish cars electrics can be a nightmare if your not sure.

Compass Corona (Magnum) 524 (2003) -----------VW Passat Alltrack 170 BHP DSG

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I agree with previous posters my son got a towbar including 7 pin electrics for his elderly Subaru Forrester for £72.


But mine cost just shy of £400 fitted for my new Citroen Picasso Grand included £150 fitting cost.


A critical factor in choice of D-I-Y or having it fitted is the age and type of your vehicle.

The newer your vehicle the less chance you have of getting the electrics installed and working.


All the modern electronic relays used by towbar fitters are generalised clones of the vehicle manufacturers "real" ones and they can fail.


Reading the threads on my previous vehicle a Ford Galaxy from new even the Ford £700 job has relay problems!


So to summarise the older the vehicle the greater the possibility of D-I-Y


Regarding 13 or 7 pin-depends on your caravan plug.


If its twin I would fit one 7 pin plug its cheaper and much more important a failure in the system could fry your alternator!

That's just my opinion feel free to take the risk a lot of caravanners do :)

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I always did my own towbar in the past but if it's a modern car I would suggest getting it done, find a local towbar fitter who will issue you with a certificate of compliance (which you may need if towing on the continent) and who will also program your car to tell it a towbar is fitted (if required) most can be fitted for about £300 to £350 if you ring around.

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Hi there


It all depends on how much of a Car DIY'er you are. On a modern car as has been said in this thread it's harder BUT if you get "Vehicle Specific Electrics" rather than a so called universal wiring kit - it becomes easier.


I fitted the tow bar and electrics on my 2010 MB C220 CDi sport last year (Removable swan neck tow bar and vehicle specific electrics) and the hardest part was removing the rear "bumper" panel - took me a good hour and a half - the tow bar and electrics were dead easy - only an hour to do the lot - but then another hour to put the rear panel back. - PLUS then I needed to go and get the CPU reset for a tow bar. Total savings about £150 - would I do it again -definitely - I like doing stuff like that and I know it's done right - plus the instructions were great.





BTW I got my tow bar and electrics from these people - they were able to supply what I wanted (most suppliers didn't do a removable tow bar kit for a MB with the AMG body kit) at a great price;


https://www. towbars-uk. co. uk/

Edited by JamesF

"keep your motor running"

caravan: Avondale Avocet ( 2006) - tow car: Renault Laguna (2007) - play car: Mercedes 300SL (1988)

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Some basics on caravan electrics that might help you. Older caravans had one, (if they were very old), black 7 pin plug (12N). This operates the legally required lights on your trailer, side lights, brake lights and indicators. Slightly newer caravans had a second grey 7 pin plug fitted (12S). This is sometimes called the accessory plug and charges the caravan battery and operates the caravan fridge while you are on the move. The most modern caravans have one black 13 pin (sometimes called continental) plug fitted. This takes the place of the other two plugs and operates everything on the caravan while you are driving, (road lights, charging, fridge, rear fog lights and reversing lights if fitted to the caravan). It will also disable the car rear fog lights when the caravan is attached, (to prevent glare from the front of the caravan).

If you feel confident in your DIY motor electrical skills, do it yourself. If you, (like me), aren't that confident, leave it to a professional towbar fitter.

As has been said, there are adapters available for all combinations, i. e. 13 pin on the car to 2 x 7 pin on the caravan, or 2 x 7 pin sockets on the car to a 13 pin plug on the caravan.


Hope this helps, Mike.

2014 SsangYong Rexton W towing a 2017 Sprite Major 4EB. (After June 9th).

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