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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > F07 Gran Turismo (2010 - Current)

F07 Gran Turismo (2010 - Current)
The 5 Series Gran Turismo -- now available in the USA as a 535i, 550i and 550i xDrive model.

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  #1  
Old 04-23-2012, 04:51 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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Mein Auto: 535ix-drive GT
Invisihitch

I ordered a manual version of the InvisiHitch today, should have it by the end of the week. This one, if you're only going to use it for a bike rack, is less expensive and doesn't require any wiring at all. In the process, they told me that they've submitted the hitch to BMW and it may become an OEM approved item. It is in some other countries (their parent company is in South Africa). They have a plug and play wiring harness if you actually want to tow a trailer, but at least for now, they are not allowed by BMW to ship it...they can install it at their factory site on a customer car, though. Eventually, that may end up a part # that can be ordered, and I might consider it, but don't plan to tow anything. Also note that the square receiver is not designed to hook up a trailer...it is less robust, and only designed for the load of a bike rack or similar item. If you want to tow a trailer, you need to get the ball hitch.

Now comes the decision on whether I try to take my bumper cover off to install the thing, or pay a pro to do it. It doesn't sound all that hard, but if you do mess up and break a tab, the only real fix is to replace it, which is FAR more than the cost to have BMW install it. At their factory, they say it takes them about an hour. The BMW dealer figured about 1.5 hours, but they'd reprogram the car to take car of the parking sensors, so I'll probably go that way.

I've got the mudflaps on, and those need to be removed to get to the screws for the bumper cover. Hassle is, the back edge is held on with a strip of double-stick, permanent tape.

I'll post a picture or two when I get it installed.

I've thought about using some magnets to hold the cutout piece in place to cover the hole required on the bottom of the car where the receiver or ball assembly fits when not installed. Will have to see once I get into it.

If anyone has one already installed on their GT, I'd like to hear your thoughts, and whether you installed it or had it installed. Other than cutting a piece out of the black plastic on the bottom, the rest of the installation is all unscrew this, replace that, using exiting holes...no welding, bending, drilling, or other cutting. And, if not using it, you'd have to crawl on the ground to see the changes made to the vehicle. Neat...
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2012, 06:06 PM
wchewbaka wchewbaka is offline
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Mein Auto: 2012 535i GT; 1976 2002
JAD,
Do you have a website for reference?
Also, can I ask what the price is?
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  #3  
Old 04-24-2012, 10:23 AM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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Mein Auto: 535ix-drive GT
www.execuhitch.com

They have some errors on the website, they call the 5 GT an F10, but it is for the F07. You need to add the price of the desired adapter, as the basic hitch does not include one. Choices are: 2" ball, 1-1/4" square, 2" square, and they have a winch that can be inserted.

The powered version latches and unlatches the towing adapter electrically. Probably more trouble than it's worth since it requires wiring, and unless you are really planning on towing, an extra expense.

Their factory/shop is in Georgia, way too far away for me to consider stopping in, or I'd have them install it - much cheaper than the dealer wants (lower labor rates, shorter time).

Once I get it in, I'll post a picture or two. My car will be 1-year old in a few days, and I'll be taking it in for an oil change soon...may have them install it then.
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2012, 03:16 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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I thought about installing the thing myself, but decided that the (probably small) chance of breaking a plastic tab or slot and then having to replace, or scratch something in the process, I;d let the dealer install the hitch. Execuhitch says they install them every day for about an hour labor, but BMW's book rate ro r&r the rear bumper cover, not counting cutting the bits to allow access for the visible part of the hitch is 1.5h. Throw in that I have mud flaps that have to be removed, reset with new doublestick on the back edges, and they wanted 2.5h, so I bit the bullet. Not sure they cut the hole as large as directed as it's a little tight removing the receiver adapter, but it's doable. The receiver is in there really solid with no play.

It's kind of wet and nasty, so I'll try to take a couple of pictures tomorrow with the thing in and out, then with the basket I plan to use to carry my recumbent trike.

If BMW comes out with a plug and play wiring harness, I may pick one up so I could tow a trailer if the need arose.
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  #5  
Old 05-05-2012, 09:17 AM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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The dealer did not make the opening in the cover large enough to easily get your hand on the release knob, nor did they make it as large as the instructions said, so I carved it out a bit this morning. The plastic is not hard to cut with a sharp utility knife. You have to be almost at ground level to see the cutout opening, and the only thing of the internal mount you can see are the skid guards, so when not needing the hitch, there is no visual impact to the back of the vehicle. And, as you can see from the attached picture, it's not a big issue when it is installed. What I did expect the dealer to do was program the VDC sensors so the rear ones could be turned off. They were supposed to call me back, but haven't so far. I'll bug them again next week.

The receiver hitch is ONLY designed for light loads like bike racks. If you acutally do want to pull a trailer, you can't just put a ball hitch adapter inside this, you need to buy their forged ball accessory (plus, you'd need to do the wiring for the lights on the trailer).

So, it works as hoped, and I think, looks decent. Rather than installing and removing each time, I'll probably leave it installed unless there will be a long time in between uses. As it is now, it should be used about every other day. This makes the car MUCH quieter verses having the thing on the roof rack, and I can drive into the garage without having to worry about destroying things carried up there. This saves a start/stop each time I needed to load up the trike onto the roof, so it's better for the car as well.
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Last edited by jadnashuanh; 05-05-2012 at 09:21 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-05-2012, 02:11 PM
stancv stancv is offline
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Location: Dallas, TX
 
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Mein Auto: 2004 530i & 2012 535x GT
Looks good, you can barely notice it. Can you tell us how much did the whole thing cost you from A-Z?
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  #7  
Old 05-05-2012, 04:26 PM
wchewbaka wchewbaka is offline
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Mein Auto: 2012 535i GT; 1976 2002
JAD, the hitch is bolt on - right?
I was thinking of installing myself as I did install my hitch on the X5, however, now you got me thinking about the reprogramming of the rear sensors....

Let us know the results of the reprogramming...

thankx - it looks very nice.
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  #8  
Old 05-05-2012, 05:19 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stancv View Post
Looks good, you can barely notice it. Can you tell us how much did the whole thing cost you from A-Z?
If you are near the factory, they'll install it for one hour labor (they get $80 or so). While BMW doesn't have a book labor charge for the GT to install one, they used the X5's labor rate (which, I think DOES include the reprogramming), which is 2.5hr. So, depends on your local rates.

You can get the current prices at www.execuhitch.com. Shipping is kind of expensive, as it's a big, heavy box.

To install, if you don't need the wiring harness, the only cutting is underneath in the black bottom plastic cover...the rest is all bolt on using the existing bolts and holes.
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  #9  
Old 05-10-2012, 02:41 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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I'm adding a couple of pictures showing what I'm using the Invisihitch for. I have a recumbent trike that I'd been carrying in a basket on top of the roof (using the BMW bars). While this worked, it was noisy, and I couldn't drive into the garage. The basket seems to work out. But, as you can see, it doesn't quite site horizontally. Don't think there's anything I can do with the hitch, but may have a shop either bend or weld the beam of the basket with a slight offset to raise it some. Checking with the manufacturer, but just sent them the pics and an e-mail, so it may take a little to get their thoughts. The thing is solid, makes no noises, and now lets me consider longer trips with the trike (the noise from it being on the roof was annoying). I chose the basket over a dedicated trike holder as it was less expensive and more utilitarian for other potential light loads I might want to carry outside of the car.
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  #10  
Old 05-10-2012, 07:54 PM
wchewbaka wchewbaka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadnashuanh View Post
I'm adding a couple of pictures showing what I'm using the Invisihitch for. I have a recumbent trike that I'd been carrying in a basket on top of the roof (using the BMW bars). While this worked, it was noisy, and I couldn't drive into the garage. The basket seems to work out. But, as you can see, it doesn't quite site horizontally. Don't think there's anything I can do with the hitch, but may have a shop either bend or weld the beam of the basket with a slight offset to raise it some. Checking with the manufacturer, but just sent them the pics and an e-mail, so it may take a little to get their thoughts. The thing is solid, makes no noises, and now lets me consider longer trips with the trike (the noise from it being on the roof was annoying). I chose the basket over a dedicated trike holder as it was less expensive and more utilitarian for other potential light loads I might want to carry outside of the car.
JAD, impressive.

There has to be some pretty high torsional forces on the hitch and receiver, particularly when you hit bumps.

I wonder your setup compares with 4 bikes on a typical hitch carrier.
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  #11  
Old 05-11-2012, 04:09 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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That basket is rated for 500# load on a class V hitch (this is only a class III hitch), so the basket itself should be fine with the load. The tonge weight limit on the vehicle is the limiting factor, not the strength of the vehicle. The basket I bought is aluminum except for the hitch shaft, and I chose it over a steel one because it was lighter. The trike weighs about 35# as sitting folded up, so it's probably the equivalent of maybe 3 bikes on a traditional bike carrier.

Invisihitch got back to me and filled me in on a couple of thoughts. Hitches' receivers are typically installed with the outlet horizontal. Most bike carriers aren't all that robust - the rod is light gauge metal, and there's some slop when it fits into the receiver making it normally slump a little. So, they've been toying with putting a little up angle on it so that under load, it would still sit level. They're fabricating some up as we type, and are going to send me one to try out. This should solve the slight down-angle from my install.

With the variations in suspension options, wheels/tires/ drive configurations, I think there may be a slight difference between variations of the GT. I suggested that they may want to add a step in the install instructions to maybe use a shim or washer to make a fine adjustment to the thing to level it exactly for the specific model. The thing bolted right on (at least the dealer didn't say they had any issues), and this minor tweak would be a pain to make after the fact as you'd have to remove the bumper cover to do it...so, they've been very helpful in understanding and providing a likely resolution not only to mine, but for future users.
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  #12  
Old 05-17-2012, 01:43 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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Got a modified hitch receiver

As discussed previously, I got the revised hitch receiver with the up-angled mode (verses the stock 90-degree one), and I'm happy. The basket I use to carry my recumbent trike now sits level. If you were to use this with a typical bike carrier and had it fully loaded, the upward angle would likely compensate for any sloppiness in the bar into the receiver and any bending of the bar under load, so might be useful for others.

I haven't driven with the new receiver adapter in yet, but did measure it with the basket installed, and it should work out great.

Very responsive people.

Now, if I can get the dealer to reprogram the VDC on the rear so I don't have to listen to the warning and block lots of area on the display with red, it would be great.
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  #13  
Old 07-18-2012, 02:25 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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With the proper interface kit as part of a trailer hitch wiring harness, many (most? all?) recent BMW's enable multiple functions when a trailer is hooked up:
- if present, the rear camera gets new functions: a zoom and a green center line
- the PDC rear sensors are disabled
- a stability program is activated to damp swaying of a trailer.

From what I've seen, none of the aftermarket kits sold here enable those functions but, I found one made in the UK that does. I'm considering getting one. My sister lives in a town where the manufacturer has an authorized dealer, and I got a price. I'm trying to see if I can get it exported and thus pick it up without the VAT, which would save a fair amount (I think it's 20% or so). While this is more expensive than some of the aftermarket interface kits sold in the USA, at least from what I can tell, those don't automatically trigger the trailer detection functions. The name of the manufactuer in the UK is: Right Connections.

While I don't have immediate plans to tow a trailer, I would like to disable the PDC alarm. I may need to hook up a load to make the thing think there's a trailer hooked up, but that's doable. I could also actually put some lights on the bike rack, and may consider that. Anyway, I'll update this if I get further info.

BTW, the people at Invisihitch are still in negotiations with BMWNA, had considered importing the interface kit/harness from Right Connection people, but are waiting for a decision from BMW on their OEM status. Could be soon, could never happen, but if you want full factory functionality while pulling a trailer, you either need the BMW hitch, or, for right now, as far as I've been able to find out, the kit from Right Connections. A bunch of places can sell you a kit that will make the lights work, but so far, only this one and the factory one enable all of the functions automatically.

If you know of an alternative...I'd be happy to hear about it!

Last edited by jadnashuanh; 07-18-2012 at 02:26 PM.
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