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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 10-24-2011, 02:48 PM
Greatpooba Greatpooba is offline
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Trailer hitch for 550iGT?

Hi all,

First post here for me. Just got a 2010 CPO 550iGT, and want to install a trailer hitch with a 2" receiver for my Thule bike rack. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2011, 06:24 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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In most of the rest of the world, BMW offers a neat retractable ball towing arm that has electronics in it to detect sway and stuff that is integrated into the stability control. But, I've not seen a typical receiver hitch. Be interesting to see what responses you get. BTW, BMW does make a bike carrier designed to fit on their hitch, but again, not sold here.
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:53 PM
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Capobranco Capobranco is offline
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Congrats on your first post and your new 550i GT!
Welcome to the tribe!

Sorry - I do not have any experience with hitches.
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Last edited by Capobranco; 10-24-2011 at 08:54 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-26-2011, 10:41 PM
wchewbaka wchewbaka is offline
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Mein Auto: 2012 535i GT; 1976 2002
I also have a receiver mounted bike rack (Yakima) and have been looking around for a hitch.

The Westfalia built hitch sold in Europe looks pretty slick in operation from what I can see in Youtube videos - but the literature on their website shows the hitch to be an integral ball hitch. No receiver. They also seem to sell a bike rack that mounts on the ball hitch.

I saw a listing in Ebay for the Westfalia hitch from England priced in the mid $300 range, plus shipping.

Ebay also shows receiver hitches - search under BMW 550i GT hitch - that are priced about $170. They claim to be Class 1. I found some instructions online for their installation that involves drilling holes in the trunk floor pan. I don't think I would trust it for much more than a bike rack.

I am actually more concerned with the appearance of the hitch. I have one on my X5, but that lower bumper is built for it with a removable panel. I have no idea what a receiver hitch would look like on a GT - but I would not want to cut a hole in the bumper. Too ugly on a GT in my opinion.....

Plus, if someone would rear end the GT the hitch would rip apart the floor pan - the bumper ceases to be any protection.

Other than removing the front wheels from the forks and putting the bikes in the trunk, I am leaning towards a roof rack.
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  #5  
Old 10-26-2011, 10:59 PM
Thad Thad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wchewbaka View Post
I also have a receiver mounted bike rack (Yakima) and have been looking around for a hitch.

The Westfalia built hitch sold in Europe looks pretty slick in operation from what I can see in Youtube videos - but the literature on their website shows the hitch to be an integral ball hitch. No receiver. They also seem to sell a bike rack that mounts on the ball hitch.

I saw a listing in Ebay for the Westfalia hitch from England priced in the mid $300 range, plus shipping.

Ebay also shows receiver hitches - search under BMW 550i GT hitch - that are priced about $170. They claim to be Class 1. I found some instructions online for their installation that involves drilling holes in the trunk floor pan. I don't think I would trust it for much more than a bike rack.

I am actually more concerned with the appearance of the hitch. I have one on my X5, but that lower bumper is built for it with a removable panel. I have no idea what a receiver hitch would look like on a GT - but I would not want to cut a hole in the bumper. Too ugly on a GT in my opinion.....

Plus, if someone would rear end the GT the hitch would rip apart the floor pan - the bumper ceases to be any protection.

Other than removing the front wheels from the forks and putting the bikes in the trunk, I am leaning towards a roof rack.
I would concur about the appearance look. I have a Yakama bike rake that I'd like to use on my GT ... but am concerned about the look. Perhaps there's a mechanical engineering special forces type out there that can help out out with something cammo ;-)
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1995 325is - Euro Delivery, Retired
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  #6  
Old 10-27-2011, 01:05 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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I have an ICE trike that I ride and carry around. It will fit in the back if I take the front wheels off (the trike folds), but I opted to put the BMW rack on to avoid the chain lube from intruding on the interior (a trike has a VERY long chain, thus more opportunities to rub something). I clamped a Yakima tray onto the rails, as trying to get a trike onto rails would be a major pain! If I wasn't tall and in moderately good shape, hoisting the thing up on top would be a problem.

BMW does sell a crane like bike attachment that essentially lets you do most of the work on the ground. Expensive, though.

If I could find a rear hitch that wasn't obtrusive and would hold my trike, I'd probably buy one as I don't know how many more years I'll want to put the thing on the roof.
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  #7  
Old 10-27-2011, 02:53 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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I looked over the Westfailia website, and their hitch and bike rack system is neat. The instructions indicate the replacement of the bottom bumper trim piece. I don't know if that trim piece would fit the USA version or not and then you'd probably need to get it painted if you could get it. The installation, including all of the electrical hookup, can get quite involved, but it looks like it is a straight bolt-on operation. The arm pivots out of the way and is hidden underneath the rear when stowed...a neat operation. They have an animation that shows the operation I found, but didn't bookmark (it may have been on the GB site). In addition to the bike rack, they make a platform and a storage box that can fit on the bike rack after you have the base towing hook installed. All in all, a nice, clean installation, but not cheap. It isn't deep enough to fit my trike, though. It will hold two bikes, and a third rail is optional. Folds down so you can open the tailgate even while loaded. Slick.
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2012, 03:26 PM
DEAN@EXECUHITCH DEAN@EXECUHITCH is offline
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Execuhitch has it!

We do have an excellent hitch assembly for the 550GT

And..After a big move and retooling we are ready to serve you at Execuhitch. Please visit www.execuhitch.com. Website is constantly updated but for best most current info please contact dean@execuhitch.com or call direct with phone number posted on website.
Thanks!
Dean

As a re grand opening offer to those in BIMMERFEST I will give a 10 percent discount off any hitch and accessory purchase now through the month of February 2012. (does not apply to shipping, handling, and insurance and may not be combined with any other offer)

Jurassicdean is your code word. either mention during phone order or use on website with on-line order.

Dean ...
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2012, 05:42 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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This looks like a nice idea, but a square mount receiver hitch would allow installation of many different bike racks from others. Also, your website lists the GT as an F10...the GT series is the F07, so you need to change that, assuming it really is the GT.
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2012, 08:22 PM
wchewbaka wchewbaka is offline
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Yep, still looking for a way to salvage use of my Yakima bike rack.
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  #11  
Old 01-19-2012, 08:41 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wchewbaka View Post
Yep, still looking for a way to salvage use of my Yakima bike rack.
After a little more digging, they make both a 1-1/4 and 2" square receiver that plugs into the base mount ($69)...so, depending on the length of the lever and the weight of the bike(s), it should work. Unless the rack you buy tilts, you might have to take it off to open the trunk, though, but I guess that's true with most.
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2012, 09:12 PM
wchewbaka wchewbaka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadnashuanh View Post
After a little more digging, they make both a 1-1/4 and 2" square receiver that plugs into the base mount ($69)...so, depending on the length of the lever and the weight of the bike(s), it should work. Unless the rack you buy tilts, you might have to take it off to open the trunk, though, but I guess that's true with most.
Yes, I see that now. Still, kinda expensive solution.

I think I am going to go with the BMW base system and adapt a Yakima or Thule bike rack to it.

Sell the Yakima hitch rack....
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  #13  
Old 01-19-2012, 11:07 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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That's essentially what I did, but I put the Yakima basket case up there to hold my folding trike. The shape of the bars means you have to improvise. I used some SS worm clamps with some vinal tubing over the strap. This hitch might end up about the same as the BMW authorized one they sell in Europe (by Westfailia). That one hooks into the stability programming as well, which would be better if you were actually going to tow a trailer, verses just use it as a bike rack. The BMW one uses existing bolt locations from the installation instructions. I didn't find the Execuhitch's installation instructions, only the operation ones.
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  #14  
Old 01-20-2012, 04:09 AM
DEAN@EXECUHITCH DEAN@EXECUHITCH is offline
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Execuhitch for 550GT

We are still getting all bugs out of website as to exact models. The hitch was specifically made on the 550gt and is an excellent application. We offer the 2 inch and 1 1/4 inch receiver attachment for use with bike racks and cargo racks so along with the towball assembly you have a complete package.
Dean
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2014, 01:51 PM
bmrbiker bmrbiker is offline
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I posted some pictures of the Invisihitch with a 5 series at this post. Should work the same for other BMW models.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...6&postcount=19
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  #16  
Old 08-26-2014, 09:32 AM
fredruth fredruth is offline
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Towng

Does anyone know if you put to an Invisihitch how much you can tow? Does towing void the BMW warranty? My car is new and has a beast of an engine, but, I'm not sure if BMW would supprot towing with this vehicle. The Invisihitch looks like it would work well for bike rack mounting, but, I also would like to be able to tow 2 a trailer with 2 snowmobiles. Wt is probably 1800 lbs.

Any help would be appreciated!

Fred
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  #17  
Old 08-26-2014, 03:40 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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I have one installed, but only use it to carry bikes. I've not hauled a trailer. But, that being said, the hitch can pull more than the car can support. Read through the whole thread, it has some of the BMW weight limits from areas where BMW does offer their hitch, and it's more than what you want to pull by a fair amount.

But, the bigger thing is if you want to enable the vehicle's trailer logic. It's easy to find a wiring harness that can make the lights work, but you're very limited to one choice in the USA if you want all of the logic to work (stability control, camera view, auto rear pdc shutoff). I also have that solution, but you'll have to import it yourself and unless you rewire your trailer, you'll need to buy or build a conversion adapter to make the trailer lights (and maybe brakes) to work and that's from www.rightconnection.co/uk. I chose the 13-pin DIN connector, as it's a nice, 1/4-turn, waterproof plug...much easier to install and remove than any of the USA plugs.

Give Daryl a call there, he can help you out.

Note, as is true for most hitches, the Invisihitch requires an adapter to either carry a bike rack or pull a trailer, and if you want to do both, you'll need both as the square receiver is NOT rated to pull a trailer, but the ball hitch is (but that can't hold a bike carrier!). IOW, to do what you want, you'll need both the bike rack adapter and a ball hitch.
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  #18  
Old 08-27-2014, 09:41 AM
fredruth fredruth is offline
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Smile 550 GT hitch

Thank you for your reply.

I didn't realize that BMW has the logic for towing already built in. I picked this car up in Munich and when driving through Europe you see all kinds of cars pulling trailers as not many people have SUV's and almost nobody has a pick up, so it makes sense that the logic is built in.

The Invisihitch looks amazing since you don't detract form the appearance of the vehicle and you have a rock solid connection to the trailer since the ball is integral to the hitch.

Getting the car to perform well in trailer mode is essential. I'm going to be pulling snowmobiles in bad weather so the harness from the UK sounds like what I'm going to need.

Once it get set up I'll post and really appreciate your time in answering my questions.

Fred
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  #19  
Old 08-27-2014, 03:46 PM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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The Right Connections website doesn't sell directly, so you'll have to find a dealer that is willing to export it for you. I picked mine up while visiting my sister, and was able to get it locally at a shop near her place (and was able to avoid the VAT because of my brother-in-law's status). I carried it home in my carry-on luggage, and got flagged for a very close inspection at the airport! But, all was well.

With the Invisihitch, you can remove the bike carrier part and the ball hitch, and unless you're laying on the ground, you'd never know there was a hitch under there. Just remember to put some lube on the post, otherwise, it can be a pain getting it out of there! I leave the bike carrier square adapter in all summer, and only take it out when the winter weather approaches, and over that time, in the rain, etc., if there's no lube, it can get pretty tight. Other than that, no issues.

There are three sources of electronics for the GT that could provide all of the OEM functionalities, but only one of them works out of the box without programming the vehicle. And, the dealers in the USA are not capable of programming the module to incorporate it into the vehicle. The RightConnections interface box has that programming in the firmware, so it works out of the box. The other two do not (the BMW part, and the Westphalia - the maker of the OEM hitch) - they have a 'generic' box that must be programmed to work in a specific vehicle, and since the USA dealers can't or won't, you're stuck.

As I said, though, if you don't care about the OEM towing functionality, there are sources of interface wiring that will make the lights and brakes work. If you do have a trailer with brakes, the only one I'd consider for the GT is one that works via a wireless connection - the controller just plugs into the accessory socket and talks to the box on the trailer for the brakes. The lights and power come from the 'normal' harness.

The lights on most BMWs are not controlled via real switches carrying current - the switches talk to the computer, and then the computer tells the light to turn on or off, so it's not just patching onto existing wires...you need a box smart enough to understand the serial data and then make the power available to light the lights. Same idea with the brakes...you don't really want to try to cobble something up to make a trailer brake controller work, which is why I suggested that one that works wirelessly (dont' remember right now, but it's in one of the threads)
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Last edited by jadnashuanh; 08-27-2014 at 03:50 PM.
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  #20  
Old 08-27-2014, 03:46 PM
invisihitch invisihitch is offline
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Congrats on your 550 GT... and on taking Euro Delivery! Very nice.

Although our new, lower pricing on the invisihitch is not advertised or on the website yet, the invisihitch for your 550GT with both of the removable pieces included (ballmount & rack adapter) is now $548.

This kit also includes a plug-and-play wiring harness but, as jadnashuanh pointed out, U.S. harnesses for this vehicle do not automatically disable the rear park sensors when a trailer is electrically attached. Similarly, U.S. harnesses do not activate the vehicle's built-in Trailer Stability Control, which monitors for repetitive trailer yaw ("trailer snaking") and intercedes with vehicle braking if necessary to bring the trailer back under control.

These two advanced features are only available with Euro harnesses. But... as you would expect... the output signals of Euro harnesses assume that you will be using a European trailer. European trailers have separate bulbs for turn signals vs brake lights, whereas U.S. trailers use a single bulb on each side that serves as both the turn signal and the brake light. So to use a Euro harness to tow a U.S. trailer, you would need a wiring adapter and some significant knowledge/skill to wire things up correctly. This is what jadnashuanh did. It is the premium trailer-wiring solution on this vehicle, but it also requires some significant expense, ordering from the U.K., and a good bit of technical knowledge and patience, drilling, etc to install. You may want to quickly install the U.S. plug-and-play harness that comes with the invisihitch kit while ordering/learning/preparing for a future Euro-harness upgrade.

One advanced feature that is available via coding regardless of which harness you install is the rear-camera overhead "zoom" mode. This can be easily coded, and it enables you to select a special mode on your rear camera that looks down over the ballmount, which is very nice when you are attempting to back up to your trailer and you want to end up with the ball directly under the trailer coupler. It tends to preserve domestic tranquility compared to the two-person method!

Hope this is somewhat helpful, even if a bit lengthy.
Daryl
daryl@invisihitch.com

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  #21  
Old 08-28-2014, 07:19 AM
fredruth fredruth is offline
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Daryl and Jadnashuanh,

Thanks for the advise. It makes a lot of sense about the euro trailer lights being different then ours. My trailer with 2 snowmobiles is less then 2000 lbs so maybe I don't need the full functionality of the euro harness. I live in a rural area in Pennsylvania and doubt anyone here would we capable of installing it correctly. Perhaps Invi****ch some day would develop a plug and play full function harness. The back up sensors are going to be relatively minor since you try and put yourself in situations where you don't need to back up often. Is the zoom feature of the camera controlled form the setting menu?

I will be in Dublin in November and will contact right Connections to see if they have a supplier in Ireland.

The Euro delivery was great. This is my second 550Gt both of which were Euro deliveries. If you've never done it, it is amazing. The factory tour was like seeing "Terminator" all over again.

Was able to hit 149 mph on the Autobahn as I bought the M Sport package with my 2014 550. That was a thrill!

I'll be calling Daryl to order the hitch with both the bike mount and ball.
Fred
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  #22  
Old 08-28-2014, 10:47 AM
jadnashuanh jadnashuanh is offline
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It depends on how willing and able you are...neither the hitch nor the harness are horrible to install, and you might be able to get away without drilling a hole to pass the harness out to the rear. You do have to take nearly all of the trim out from the rear of the car to install the harness, and while not hard, it is somewhat intimidating. Getting the rear bumper cover off without breaking one or more of the tabs is much harder the first time and may be the biggest risk since if you do break one, it's new bumper cover time! Most of the stuff (all of the hitch) just bolts on. You do need to cut a hole on the bottom, black portion of the bumper cover to gain access so that the part can mate up with the hitch in there, but it cuts fairly easily with a sharp utility knife.

The bigger thing is probably the stability control. TO me, it was the rear PDC, which, while you can turn off all of it, takes a conscious effort, and then, you have to concentrate on both ends of the car...with a bike carrier, it will be going off constantly while in reverse. To solve that, I put in the harness after living with it for about a year. I also bought a bike light bar (required in many places in Europe) that plugs into the harness and makes the car think there's a trailer hooked up. The extra set of lights back there does add to the safety. The 1/4-turn Euro 13-pin DIN socket is a distinct pleasure to use. Lots of companies make the required plug, but one that I found is much nicer than most (all?) of the others...the guide slots for the cam on it start their taper at the end of the plug. All of the other brands I found, there's a short straight section which requires you to push the plug on part way, then turn. WHen it is starting that ramp at the end, it goes on easier and comes off easier. SO, can't remember the brand right now, but it was one made in Germany rather than a Taiwan or Chinese knockoff, which are slightly cheaper, but not as nice.
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  #23  
Old 08-28-2014, 03:28 PM
invisihitch invisihitch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredruth View Post
Was able to hit 149 mph on the Autobahn...
Yikes! I am a fan of Euro Delivery also, but I much prefer the winding roads through the Alps...
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  #24  
Old 08-29-2014, 06:15 AM
invisihitch invisihitch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredruth View Post
Is the zoom feature of the camera controlled from the setting menu?
I missed this question earlier. Yes, you select the zoom mode when desired, but first the zoom mode has to be added to the menu by coding the vehicle.
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  #25  
Old 09-23-2014, 12:25 PM
fredruth fredruth is offline
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Invisihitch

I got my Invisihitch and had it installed at a local auto body shop. They said it was straight forward. It is completely invisible and I have used the bike rack. Will try towing my snowmobiles in November when they go in for service.

This is a quality product and I would recommend it for anyone who wants a secure bike hitch and/or the ability to tow.

Hopefully, they will eventually make a wiring harness that will use the vehicles built in trailering programs in the future.

Fred
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