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Towbar & Electrics Fitting

Towbar Fitting | Electrics Fitting

I have no desire to tow anything, the reason for the towbar is to mount a motorbike rack onto for my motocross bike.

I bought mine from the Towbar Warehouse, they only seem to do one towbar for the Surf which is a Witter TY87A for Toyota 4 Runner 1990 - 1996. It simply bolts onto the chassis and does not interfere with the under slung spare wheel or winding mechanism (should you have one). The towbar comes with a tow ball, tow ball cover, all necessary nuts, bolts washers, single socket electrics, cable and scotch-locks for wiring up.

Should be a fairly simple job, but it took me about 2 hours because I found (either due to towbar or chassis imperfections) that one of the towbar brackets would not fit properly and I had to file out one of the bolt holes on one of the towbar brackets. Also note that there is probably a rubber cover/grommet on each side of the chassis covering one of the bolt holes you need to use, so remove these before you start.

Electrics fitting can take a couple of hours or more because you have to remove all the rear trim before you can start.

I was a bit concerned how the towbar would effect approach/departure angles when off road, and it does make quite a difference and you can often catch it, but for the kind of (non extreme) off-roading I do in this vehicle, as long as I take it steady on sharp climbs/descents I don't have a problem. Also I intend to fit some sort of suspension lift in future so this will also help.

Tools/Equipment Needed for Towbar Fitting

  • Socket set & spanners
  • Torque wrench (if you want to ensure you torque all the bolts correctly)

Tools/Equipment Needed for Electrics Fitting

  • Cross-head & flat-bladed screwdrivers
  • Voltmeter
  • Wire cutters & strippers
  • Extra wire & scotch-locks
  • Zip-ties & electrical tape

Towbar Fitting

These are the main towbar parts.

The two brackets bolt to the chassis (along with the rectangular plates), then the towbar itself bolts to the brackets.

 
     

Obviously the towbar comes with instructions, so I won't go into any detail.

This picture shows the right hand bracket in place with the tow bar attached to it.

 
     

I did have a slight problem with the exhaust mount on the left side, I found I had to unbolt it to get the bracket in place, then I just managed to get it back in place afterwards.

This picture shows the left hand bracket in place and one of the bolts for the exhaust mount about to be done up (A).

 
     
The final result: (obviously the supplied tow ball simply bolts onto the bar in one of the two positions using two bolts).

Electrics Fitting

The towbar comes with all electrics and a bracket to fit the socket onto the towbar. I know from experience that a socket on a towbar gets filled with mud when driving off road so I wanted to fit mine inside the vehicle.

Either way, before you start you will need to remove both rear side trim panels to gain access to both the rear light clusters wiring (left and right).

I decided to mount my socket inside the left side cubby hole in the rear. It will be out of the way when I am not using it and I can also store the trailer board cable in there.

This made wiring quite simple as I did not have to run any cable from the interior to the exterior. If you need to feed cable to the exterior, there are plastic covers that can be drilled to access the exterior (see the workshop article on fog light conversion).

 
     
When needed, I can run the cable to the exterior of the vehicle over the top of the rear tailgate on the far side as shown in the photograph.  
     

Again, the towbar comes with wiring instructions so I won't go into much detail.

You will need to connect the socket wires to the following wires on your vehicle:

  • Earth (vehicle chassis)
  • Left hand indicator (black & green wire)
  • Right hand indicator (yellow & green wire)
  • Left hand tail lamp (green wire)
  • Right hand tail lamp (green wire)
  • Brake Light (white & green wire)
  • Rear fog light

Please note: I have indicated which colour wires I needed to connect to on my vehicle - this is no guarantee that the wires will be the same on yours so I suggest you check with a voltmeter first.

Disclaimer

I have taken a lot of time to ensure the information above is correct, but please remember vehicle manufacturers make alterations and design changes during the production run of a vehicle. No liability can be accepted for loss, damage or injury caused by any errors in, or omissions from, the information given above.

If you think any information is incorrect, confusing, misleading or incomplete, please feel free to contact me.


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