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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-21-2009, 11:10 AM
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Redshift Redshift is offline
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E39 540iT w/UHaul hitch - towing a motorcycle?

Hey all, hopefully someone here might know about this hitch. It's rated as a class 1, which is a 200lb tongue weight and 2000lb load rating...

What worries me is that my hitch is installed to the spare tire well which doesn't seem to be all that tough of a metal. Even a lightweight trailer (200-250lb) and a light bike (my BMW F800ST weighs only about 450lb) might rip that out....or am I being paranoid? I know there are stronger hitches, but as installed, will my UHaul hitch work for this setup?
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03 540iT Sapphire Black (E39) - 01 M5 LeMans Blue (E39) - 02 330Cic Orient Blue (E46) - 08 F800ST

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  #2  
Old 05-23-2009, 07:30 AM
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Redshift Redshift is offline
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03 540iT Sapphire Black (E39) - 01 M5 LeMans Blue (E39) - 02 330Cic Orient Blue (E46) - 08 F800ST

For Sale:
*** Parting out entire 2003 E39 M5 *** - TONS OF PARTS AVAILABLE


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  #3  
Old 05-23-2009, 07:59 AM
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BlackBMWs BlackBMWs is offline
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Hey Brian don't know, but interested in the answer. I'm close to the point of locating the Euro hitch setup for my 540it with the Euro Mech rear bumper panel to hide the hitch mount when not in use.

I forget, which rear bumper cover do you have on your Tour?

Let me look it up as I have similar interest...
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1999 540it - Jet Black/Sand Beige, style 5 rims, Zionsville Cooling kit
1984 533i - Schwarz/Schwarz, 17" style 65 reps
1997 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, style 68 rims
1995 318ti Sport - Schwartz II/Schwartz Anthratz, style 27 rims
1994 325i Sedan - Bostongrau/Tan
1991 318ic - Schwarz/Anthratz Stoff
1985 635CSI - Schwartz\Sand - Sold
1984 318i - Champagne/Tan, Stock - Sold

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Last edited by BlackBMWs; 05-23-2009 at 08:01 AM.
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  #4  
Old 05-23-2009, 10:44 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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You are correct to be paranoid. I would not trust a generic hitch installation on these cars.

BMW has a factory hitch available in Europe, but, it's not available here, since BMW NA forbids towing with these cars.

Consider taking the car to REAL trailer shop, and get their opinion on your installation. Perhaps they can suggest a mod that will work.
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  #5  
Old 05-23-2009, 03:54 PM
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RRsE39 RRsE39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
I would not trust a generic hitch installation on these cars.

Whats wrong w/ a uhaul hitch, hell I towed a car and many motorcycles w/ one and never had any problems w/ it.

I think the OP is worried about where the hitch it connect to on his car NOT the hitch itself.

That hitch he has is more than enough for that 250lb trailer w/ his 450lb bike.
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  #6  
Old 05-23-2009, 06:54 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Not casting asparagus on the hitch; only the way in which it was mounted.

Cars with a unitized body need a hitch designed for the app. The spare tire well is not designed to carry a hitch!
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  #7  
Old 05-24-2009, 07:55 AM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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  #8  
Old 05-24-2009, 07:59 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Don't think that's available in NA, but that's what I referring to: this hitch was designed for the Bimmer.
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  #9  
Old 05-24-2009, 07:15 PM
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DHoang DHoang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redshift View Post
Hey all, hopefully someone here might know about this hitch. It's rated as a class 1, which is a 200lb tongue weight and 2000lb load rating...

What worries me is that my hitch is installed to the spare tire well which doesn't seem to be all that tough of a metal. Even a lightweight trailer (200-250lb) and a light bike (my BMW F800ST weighs only about 450lb) might rip that out....or am I being paranoid? I know there are stronger hitches, but as installed, will my UHaul hitch work for this setup?
I have a generic hitch. It's a DaLan hitch. It'll pull a single axle trailer w/ two street bikes. I've even pulled a trailer w/ 2 jet skis. no problems.
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Last edited by DHoang; 05-24-2009 at 07:20 PM.
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  #10  
Old 05-24-2009, 08:09 PM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHoang View Post
I have a generic hitch. It's a DaLan hitch. It'll pull a single axle trailer w/ two street bikes. I've even pulled a trailer w/ 2 jet skis. no problems.
I have a similar hitch for my race bike. I find it funny how people think BMW are "too good" to tow anything!! They actually are great!!

See sig pic:
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  #11  
Old 07-12-2012, 09:53 AM
UsedBits UsedBits is offline
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Regarding towing hitch found on RealOEM.com

1. the hitch seems to be no longer listed
2. where does one find this hitch (in the USA)?
3. just how superior it is to the hitches that bolt onto the spare wheel housing?
4. the 540i seems powerful enough - but what about the clutch and transmission?
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2002 e39 (540iA) with factory 'sport package' modified with:
'03 fr. and r. bumpers, front air ducts, and spoiler
18" Staggered MPars (style 37)
Dinan exhaust
shorter springs
European center console arm rest
VECTOR radar detector (non-working)

....-------------------.
[ /.....................\ ]
.|(oOO)\(lll)(lll)/(OOo)|
. \o\0=======|=======0/o/
...|__|.............|__|
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  #12  
Old 07-13-2012, 11:07 AM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UsedBits View Post
Regarding towing hitch found on RealOEM.com

1. the hitch seems to be no longer listed
2. where does one find this hitch (in the USA)?
3. just how superior it is to the hitches that bolt onto the spare wheel housing?
4. the 540i seems powerful enough - but what about the clutch and transmission?
The BMW hitch is really nice, but not availabe in North America. It is also crazy expensive, about $1200 with shipping from Europe. The ball size is a european size, any may be troublesome for a north american trailer.

I have the DaLan hitch and it works well with my 530 towing my race bike and 4 bike carrier.

Clutch and tranny are fine... Think about it this way, four people at 250lbs each is the same to the tranny and clutch as a 1000 lb trailer. Also, when towing a trailer you should take it easy.
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  #13  
Old 07-13-2012, 01:34 PM
granlund granlund is offline
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The e39 is rated for towing a 4400lb trailer with brakes and 1600lb without brakes, so the driveline is going to be fine with pretty much whatever you can fit on a trailer. The problem is the mounting points of the hitch itself. If you don't mount it exactly to where the BMW engineers reinforced the body to handle the towing loads, chances are that you are going to rip out sheetmetal.
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  #14  
Old 07-13-2012, 03:24 PM
BMWBryon BMWBryon is offline
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I had the same concern with my 540iT but I found a guy in Vancouver Canada who installed a custom hitch like the Euro OEM model but with a Reciever. All the other hitch companies offered the one mounted to the sheet metal in spare tire well. There was no way I would trust that set- up!
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  #15  
Old 07-13-2012, 03:56 PM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWBryon View Post
I had the same concern with my 540iT but I found a guy in Vancouver Canada who installed a custom hitch like the Euro OEM model but with a Reciever. All the other hitch companies offered the one mounted to the sheet metal in spare tire well. There was no way I would trust that set- up!
The hitch is rated for 2000 lbs and bolts to a re-enforced area behind the bumper and to the bottom of the wheel well. I completely trust mine.
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  #16  
Old 07-15-2012, 09:22 AM
BMWBryon BMWBryon is offline
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Mine bolts into the two bumper strut mounts and then cantilevers down from there. If the U-haul style hitch bolts into an strong area too and uses the wheel well as a sway brace it should be fine. I looked into this a few years ago and wasn't convinced the U-haul version was as sturdy. I could be wrong as I also really wanted an OEM one if at all possible.
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  #17  
Old 07-15-2012, 12:21 PM
BruceSEA993 BruceSEA993 is offline
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The Europeans use a brand called Witter with a removable tow bar and a frame that is bolted to the frame of the car behind the bumper or on the bumper shock mounts, not the trunk pan. They are pretty common over there.

I found a Curt on eTrailer that looks like it bolts to the trunk pan only. I think this would work fine for the light loads the OP is talking about. There have been a few discussions about hitches and towing posted from time to time.

The website has an install video and seems pretty good about showing all the details. Now trailer lighting might be interesting. I do not think you want to tap into the harness as it will set off burned bulb messages. I think there is a system where the trailer lights sense the car lights...dunno, gotta look around for that part.

I searched on Google for Witter towbars and found some but it does not seem to show the install method. Plus you would have to get it here from the UK.
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  #18  
Old 07-15-2012, 12:36 PM
BruceSEA993 BruceSEA993 is offline
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Here is a nice writeup about the hitch install and why this guy went with the Witter:

http://gunsmoke.com/cars/540i/hitch/

Looks like he went with the Draw tite lighting kit.
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  #19  
Old 07-18-2012, 09:23 AM
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DHoang DHoang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UsedBits View Post
Regarding towing hitch found on RealOEM.com

1. the hitch seems to be no longer listed
2. where does one find this hitch (in the USA)?
3. just how superior it is to the hitches that bolt onto the spare wheel housing?
4. the 540i seems powerful enough - but what about the clutch and transmission?
1) Da'Lan was bought up by Curt MFG. So now CURT is selling the exact copy of this Da'Lan designed back in '99.
2) You can buy it here @ $190, and the lighting kit too.
http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitc...cleid=20035813

3) As for how superior the Curt one is...that aftermarket CURT hitch is not going to be better than the BMW hitch where it replaces the rr bumper impact beam. Hitch by BMW and others is stout, and can pull a 3500lbs trailer and 350lb tongue weight. But just b/c it can handle such a large load doesn't mean that you should load the car up to that limit, and I'll state why down below.

The CURT aftermarket hitch is rated for a class 1 load, and the hitch when it's all bolted to the car will hold up perfectly as long as you don't exceed the class 1 limit@ 2000 lb trailer weight plus the 200 lb tongue weight. Most single axle open trailers are between 300lb-500lb empty. Street bikes are typically between 500-1000 lbs per, depending on whether its a crotch rocket or Harley Heritage. So do the math, don't exceed, and you will be fine.

My Da'Lan/Curt hitch been in operation for 10 yrs now, and I pull my trailer numerous times @ 1600-1900 lbs w/ a 160-190 lb tongue weight 1800 miles each way w/out any problems, and I'm still riding on my factory original clutch & flywheel. Bolts and drill holes don't seem to show any undue stress at all, nor does the wheel well appear to be deformed. Bolting up a hitch to the wheel well is a common euro practice, one that even BMW has done on its factory hitches built for the former 3 series. So it's been proven to work. On the e39, BMW came up w/ a more elegant solution. And that's fine, but you do have to beef up the car if you are to pull loads close to the BMW limit.

4) The BMW as a tow vehicle in stock form, if subjected to pulling at or near the max load per BMW towing capacities, won't survive as a tow vehicle in the long run. At or near those BMW towing capacities, the vehicle require a transmission cooler for the automatic trans as a minimum, plus trans temp gauges to monitor. For a manual trans, unfortunately, w/ the dual mas flywheel, you'll put undue stress on the flywheel at those loads w/ every stop and go operation, and for that, it's best to never exceed class 1 rating when towing w/ a m/t. The A/T can handle the higher class 2 load, the m/t imho won't.
Also, w/ any trailer capable of hauling heavy loads, they typically have electric brakes. So, the bmw will now require not only a super h/d alternator to provide auxiliary power to the elec. brakes, but also a brake controller to sync the trailer's brakes w/ that of the bmw. So these upgrades are mandatory if/when you pull loads greater than 2000 lbs/200lbs tongue weight. But keep your haul to class 1 rating, and all's well that ends well.
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  #20  
Old 07-24-2012, 10:30 AM
ilian007 ilian007 is offline
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Here is a good video of installing believe to be a Curt hitch.

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  #21  
Old 07-24-2012, 10:50 AM
BruceSEA993 BruceSEA993 is offline
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I was poking around on the Schmiedmann web site and found this:

http://www.schmiedmann.com/5_series/...ge42.htm#17158

It is mounted similar to the factory hitch. Dunno how much shipping is from Europe...that needs to be factored in.
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  #22  
Old 07-01-2013, 05:40 PM
juststeve juststeve is offline
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I installed the Westfalia hitch # 303229 from the Schmiedmann site. With shipping it ran about $500. It's the detachable model for an M style mounted on a standard bumper.


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  #23  
Old 07-02-2013, 07:21 AM
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Redshift Redshift is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juststeve View Post
I installed the Westfalia hitch # 303229 from the Schmiedmann
site. With shipping it ran about $500. It's the detachable model for an M style mounted on a standard bumper.


Can you tell me if an M rear bumper requires any cutting? I wouldn't want to cut. My 03 540iT has the M rear bumper and I need a more solid hitch on it to carry more tongue (and overall) weight.

What are the stats of this hitch exactly? Size of plug, weight ratings, etc?
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03 540iT Sapphire Black (E39) - 01 M5 LeMans Blue (E39) - 02 330Cic Orient Blue (E46) - 08 F800ST

For Sale:
*** Parting out entire 2003 E39 M5 *** - TONS OF PARTS AVAILABLE


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  #24  
Old 07-02-2013, 09:36 AM
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Ermagerd Ermagerd is offline
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I like that westfalia detachable kit that works with the bumper hole cover.
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  #25  
Old 07-02-2013, 10:24 AM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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