FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The following lists questions and answers to the questions most frequently posed to our Customer Service team. Your question might be included, giving you a quick and uncomplicated solution to your issue.

If you as an end customer still haven't found an answer to your question, then please contact your local specialised dealer. As a manufacturing-only company, we can only provide support to our direct trading partners. Thank you for your understanding.

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Towbars

Replacement of trailer couplings after accidents
For a vehicle with a fitted towbar and with damage to its rear, it is suspected that the towbar was also damaged through overloading. As a general rule, damage can be identified by permanent deformation.  Other characteristics could for example be: Surface damage, any unnatural notches or displacements in the fastening area and, for towbars with a detachable ball-head suspension rod, also excessive backlash of the removable parts. 

We examine towbars that are sent to us for inspection by inserting them into a specific test gauge.  If this is not dimensionally stable, it can be assumed that damage has occurred due to overloading.  Such trailer couplings must no longer be used.

Checking for dimensional accuracy alone does not provide information about possible cracks or the beginning of cracks which, during trailer operation over time, can result in complete equipment failure.

Micro cracks can be overlooked when examining using the dye penetration process or ultrasound.  However, in the majority of cases, the x-ray method does not seem economically viable. In cases of doubt, we generally recommend the replacement of such couplings, although the final decision does of course fall to the technical expert.
Do you need a new type plate?

We are also happy to send you a new type plate as soon as we have received a statutory declaration from a repair shop containing the identity of the towbar, amongst other details.

The Federal Motor Transport Authority a ruled that the direct delivery of type plates to the vehicle owner is unfortunately no longer permitted.

To simplify this process for you, you will find a statutory declaration for your repair shop below which you should then fill out and send via fax back to the mentioned numbers in the document (please note: different numbers for OE and aftermarket business). 

As soon as we receive the completed form containing a legally binding signature, we will immediately dispatch the type plate to your repair shop.

The handling fee for this service is 49,- € including VAT.

Statutory declaration

I have lost the key to my detachable coupling. What has to be done?

Generally, upon delivery of an automatically detachable towbar, you should make a note of the key number. This can be found engraved in the key head, or as a five-digit number on the lock. You can request a new key from us at any time through your specialist workshop, using this key number.

If you have not made a note of the key number and there is only a three-digit number on the lock, then please request a universal key set from your specialist workshop. This contains all possible keys. In their own premises, your specialist workshop will then check which key fits and will send the complete key set back to us. Please then order the required key(s) separately through your repair shop or dealer by providing the selected number.

As an end consumer it is also possible to order the keys on Amazon:

Keys detachable towbars on Amazon

 

 

Which trailer couplings can I install for vehicles with parking assistance (PDC)?

In this instance, we generally recommend a detachable trailer coupling.  When installing a rigid trailer coupling, the ball head can extend into the sensors’ detection area, resulting in the parking assistance (PDC) constantly detecting an obstacle despite this being the ball head of the trailer coupling. 

Which trailer coupling is suitable for bicycle racks?

For bicycle racks, we recommend a rigid or fully automated detachable trailer coupling.  These trailer couplings are designed for heavy loads.

What is a rigid trailer coupling?

For rigid trailer couplings, the ball head is firmly attached to the crossbar (screwed or welded together), and therefore always remains visible. Even if the ball head of the trailer coupling is screwed in place, it must not be removed because this will cause the operating license of the vehicle to expire.

What is a detachable trailer coupling?

For a detachable trailer coupling, you have the option to remove the ball head. In doing so, it should be noted that the ball head must always be removed when not in use.

It is possible to distinguish 2 detachable systems.  The hand and lever system on the one hand and the fully automated system on the other hand.

 

 

What is meant by a fully automated system (see product overview)?

Disconnecting the ball rod is carried out by using a rotary control or a locking lever. By pulling it out or pressing down on it, the rotary control can be turned until it locks in place. Only then is it possible to remove the ball rod.  When reattaching the ball rod, it is pressed into the slot using the wound rotary control until the rotary control jumps back and therefore locks in place. The advantage of the fully automated system is that it is lockable and suitable for all types of trailers. In addition, the fully automated system stands out due to it being very easy to use and having an especially high load capacity and service life. 

What is meant by hand and lever system?

For this mechanism, removal of the ball rod is carried out by unlatching or releasing a lever or union nut.  Only then is it possible to remove the ball rod.  To reattach the ball rod, it must be re-introduced into the slot, the lever engaged or the nut firmly re-tightened. This system is only suitable for small goods trailers. In some cases, this system can also be locked using accessories.

What is the difference between a hand and lever system and a fully automated system?

Advantages of the fully automated system include its ease of operation, its long service life and the fact that this system is lockable and suitable for all trailers. The lever systems are suitable for occasional use and for goods trailers. An advantage is the low price.

What is a pivoting trailer coupling?

For pivoting trailer couplings, the ball head is always firmly attached to the crossbar.  This system is equipped with a handwheel which must be operated in order for the ball head to fold down.  Light pressure applied to the ball head will lock it into its final position.  The handwheel is used to swing it out of the way, and the ball head is removed by gently lifting it out of the lock.  Now, the ball head can be locked in place again under the vehicle.

What is a trailer coupling inserted from behind?

This is a low-priced version of the detachable trailer coupling.  For some vehicle models, an opening must be made in the bumper which cannot be concealed. Therefore the ball head slot is visible if the ball head is detached.  You can refer to the trailer coupling item details to find out whether this is the case for your vehicle. 

What is a ball rod?

The ball rod, together with the ball head, is the part of the trailer coupling which is necessary for retaining the trailer or goods trailer.

What is a ball head?

The ball head is the part of the trailer coupling to which the dog clutch, for example, of the trailer or goods trailer is attached. The standard dimension is 50 mm. If the diameter of the ball head is less than 49 mm it must be replaced.

What is a flanged ball valve?

The function of the flanged ball valve is similar to that of the ball rod of a tow coupling. In many cases, for a hitch block, this can be replaced by another flanged ball valve. If this is less than 49 mm it must be replaced.

What is a hitch block?

A hitch block is a special type of trailer coupling where there is no ball head fitted, but rather a flanged ball valve. For hitch blocks, different flanged ball valves can be used.  For transporters, this type of trailer coupling is recommended because the height on the trailer can be adjusted in the optimum way by using different flanged ball valves.

What is a bar coupling?

A bar coupling plays a similar role to the ball rod or the flanged ball valve of a trailer coupling or a hitch block.  It is therefore the coupling point for trailers with coupling rings.

For which vehicles can I use a bar coupling?

We are happy to clarify whether it is possible to use a bar coupling on your hitch block.  In order to do this, we need the following details: manufacturer, manufacturer number and the mark of conformity of your hitch block. 

What is a changing system?

A changing system represents the connection between the hitch block and the flanged ball valve or bar coupling.  It is possible to attach the flanged ball valve and the bar coupling to a changing plate. This makes it very easy to switch between the flanged ball valve and bar coupling.  The flanged ball valve and the bar coupling do not always have to be screwed on.  It is possible to replace this with a changing system in a few simple steps. 

Wiring kits

What is the difference between a 7-pin and a 13-pin wiring harness kit?

As a general rule, the 7-pin wiring harness kit is used for smaller goods trailers. It is not possible to connect the reverse light.

For the 13-pin wiring harness kit, the reverse lights, continuous current and charging cable on the trailer can be used. This wiring harness kit is suitable for horse box trailers, bicycle trailers and caravans.
As a general rule, the 7-pin wiring harness kit is used for smaller goods trailers. It is not possible to connect the reverse light.

For the 13-pin wiring harness kit, the reverse lights, continuous current and charging cable on the trailer can be used. This wiring harness kit is suitable for horse box trailers, bicycle trailers and caravans.

 

 

What is the advantage of a 13-pin wiring harness kit?

The 13-pin wiring harness kit is already required for many new trailers (rear light is visible on the trailer). With this wiring harness kit, the possibilities are endless. You can use bicycle racks, caravans and, with a 7-pin adaptor, also small goods trailers. In addition, there is the option of for example using the interior lighting of a horse box trailer or a fridge in a caravan, by using the extension kit for continuous current and earth.

What is the difference between a universal and a specific wiring harness kit?

The universal wiring harness kit is suitable for many vehicles without prepared wiring harness.  For this, each cable must be individually connected to the vehicle’s rear lights with cable quick connectors. Every light function must be measured to the respective reverse light cable.  The cable lengths are not tailored to the vehicle. In contrast, as a general rule, the vehicle-specific wiring harness kit is tailored to the respective vehicle in its cable lengths and cable plugs, Assembly of this wiring harness kit is simpler because the installation guide has been created for the vehicle and, generally, the plugs can be connected directly to the rear lights or particular nodal points.

What is a universal wiring harness kit?

It is a wiring harness kit that is suitable for several vehicle types and can be connected to the rear lights by means of cable quick connectors. In doing so, there are no prepared plugs available.  For this, each individually required rear light cable must be connected to the cable harness of the wiring harness kit by means of cable quick connectors. The socket's pins must be individually bolted to the cables of the wiring harness kit. The universal wiring harness kit is suitable for nearly all vehicles that do not have a prepared wiring harness. The cable length is thereby sufficient for nearly all vehicles.

What is a specific wiring harness kit?

This wiring harness kit is directly tailored for the respective vehicle. It generally has compact plugs which are connected to the corresponding rear light plugs on the vehicle, or connected at corresponding nodal points. In many cases, the socket is already completely connected. The cable length is always designed for the respective vehicle and the installation guide is specifically created for the vehicle.

What is an electric pre-fitting or preparation?

Vehicles with a pre-fitting have a plug which is generally located horizontally at the rear of the vehicle.  Here, the wiring harness kit can be directly adapted.

What is a wiring harness kit?

A wiring harness kit establishes the electrical between the trailer and vehicle. 

(FIN) Are the indicators at the rear of the vehicle and on the trailer not working?

If you have used a wiring harness kit and the error indication mentioned above appears, the reason for this is usually a lack of continuous power supply from the additional relay.  Please check this.

Was no C2 indicator light contained in the scope of delivery of my wiring harness kit?

The C2 lights function is generally included in the delivery scope of the cable set. However, if it concerns a Westfalia installation, these are not necessary and there also not included.


For electrical or data bus wiring harness kits, a C2 indicator light is no longer necessary as this is operated through an increase in flashing frequency.

Therefore, this is also not contained in the scope of delivery.

 

 

What to do if the control unit of my wiring harness kit buzzes?

Here, it is necessary to check whether your trailer has a rear fog light, as the control unit recognises the trailer via the rear fog light.  If this is not present on the trailer, it must be retrofitted.

What to do if everything on the diode test device is illuminated “in colours” when inspecting the wiring harness kit?

The diode test device is not suitable for inspection purposes due to its low load bearing capacity being too low.  It must be loaded with 21 watt. For this, one example of what we offer is a vehicle tester with a trailer simulation of 12 volts (900 001 300 198). 

Cycle carriers

How do I wire the BC 60?

The BC 60 is placed sideways on the ball head. To do this, it is best to take hold of the bracket with your left hand and the wire lever with your right.  Before the lever can be pressed down, the clamp collar of the bicycle rack has to fall through the tow coupling.  This is possible if you use your left hand to gently lift the truss on the bracket by 5°. Subsequently, using your thumbs, pull just the release lever towards your body (a red box will appear), and press the clamping lever down.

Starting from when can I use a rear carrier for my car?

Primarily, it is essential that a towing capacity and tongue weight for your car has been approved by the vehicle manufacturer.  How heavy your bicycles are allowed to be can be found in the respective table.  (T=Tongue weight)

Tongue weight

Weight biklander

Weight for 2 bicycles

40 kg

17,2 kg

max. 22,8 kg

50 kg

17,2 kg

max. 32,8 kg

60 kg

17,2 kg

max. 42,8 kg

70 kg

17,2 kg

max. 52,8 kg

75 kg

17,2 kg

max. 57,8 kg

>80 kg

17,2 kg

max. 60,0 kg


  

Tongue weight

Weight BC 60

Weight for 2 bicycles

40 kg

18,4 kg

max. 21,6 kg

50 kg

18,4 kg

max. 31,6 kg

60 kg

18,4 kg

max. 41,6 kg

70 kg

18,4 kg

max. 51,6 kg

75 kg

18,4 kg

max. 56,6 kg

>80 kg

18,4 kg

max. 60,0 kg

 

 

The tyres of my bicycle protrude beyond the end of the rocker. Are the wheels still held securely?

Yes, as long as the wheels have a wheel base of up to 1300 mm, they can be transported on our racks without any problems.

What is the maximum speed that the bicycle rack is designed for?

Yes, as long as the wheels have a wheel base of up to 1300 mm, they can be transported on our racks without any problems.

I would like to readjust the adjustment screw. How many times should I turn it?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer.  In order to adjust the correct manual force, when clamped, the screw can be adjusted to 63 Nm (by means of a 18 mm torque wrench). An additional inspection of the manual force now available can now be carried out again with a set of scales. For inspection, stand on the scales whilst pressing down on the clamping lever.  The correct manual force is 35 kg. The manual force is the difference between your body weight and the weight indicated at maximum manual force. (E.g.: Body weight 80 kg, Manual force 35 kg=Scales display 45 kg)

The screw is adjusted correctly if you are able to press the clamping lever down and your manual force is at least 35 kg. If you require less than 35 kg then the screw must be readjusted further. 

 

 

Are there spare parts?

Yes. Except for the basic framework, you can reorder every part.  You can find an overview in the installation manual.   

Only one reverse light is illuminated, is the other one faulty?

No, there is generally only one reverse light (on the right). The rear fog light is located on the left side.

Can I hang the rack in the bag on the wall bracket?

Yes, you can.  You can also clamp both bicycle racks in the bag on the trailer coupling or pull the bag over the clamped rack after use.

What do I do I have lost a key for my BC 60/ bikelander?

There is a 3-digit number on the lock as well as on the keys.   The last 2 digits are required for the spare part number.  The replacement keys can be ordered through a specialist dealer.  To do this, you must specify the part number 950 000 513 3xx. (For example, if your lock shows the digits “006”, the spare part number is as follows: 950 000 513 306.) You can find a specialist dealer near to you on our website. 

For the bikelander, what are the 4 rubber parts in the bag?

These are wheel rim protectors. These go around the toothed belt.

Which direction do I have to turn the adjustment screw?

If you wish to reduce the contact pressure, turn the screw to the left.  For a higher pressure, turn the screw to the right.

Do I need any tools for the assembly?

No. If you would like to tighten the adjustment screw, you only need an 18 mm combination wrench (torque wrench).

The clamping lever cannot be pressed down. What can I do?

The racks are adjusted for a ball head with average tolerance position in our workshop in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. In general, this adjustment fits our ball rods.  However on rare occasions, the tension may have to be readjusted.  The adjustment screw is located under the clamping lever.  To reduce the contact pressure, this must be turned anti-clockwise.  If the screw is turned loosely, place the rack on the ball head and re tighten using a torque wrench with 63 Nm.  Alternatively, bathroom scales can be used as a reference point.  For this reason, you should slightly readjust the screw first of all.  For inspection, stand on the scales whilst pressing down on the clamping lever. The manual force is the difference between your body weight and the weight indicated at maximum manual force. (E.g.: Body weight 80 kg, Manual force 35 kg=Scales display 45 kg)

The screw is adjusted correctly if you are able to press the clamping lever down and your manual force is at least 35 kg. If you require less than 35 kg then the screw must be readjusted further.

 

 

Can I install a bicycle rack on my towbar?

Some bicycle rack manufacturers stipulate the use of trailer couplings for which the ball rod has been manufactured using the material St 52-3 or an equivalent material.  In general, Westfalia towbars are suitable for the operation of bicycle racks.  Exceptions to this are trailer couplings for Audi 80/100/A4/A6 which were made up to around the mid-1990s.  In this instance, the material GGG 40 is used.  Ball rods made from this material are not suitable for the operation of bicycle racks.  The material GGG 52 has been used from around 1996. This is similar to St 52-3 and can be used for the operation of bicycle racks without any concern.  The respective identification mark, GGG 40 or GGG 52, is engraved sideways on the ball neck.  Ball rods without an identification mark are generally manufactured from St 52-3. If your tow coupling is an aluminium version, we will happily send you a certificate approving its use with bicycle racks.

What must be considered when purchasing a bicycle rack for the trailer coupling?

It is important to check what the tongue weight of the trailer coupling is and what the minimum tongue weight or D-value necessary for the bicycle rack assembly is. This data can be found in our installation instructions under the item details.  Please also note the dead weight of the bicycle rack.  To calculate the maximum weight permitted for the bicycles, you have to subtract the dead weight of the bicycle rack from the tongue weigh of the trailer coupling.  The result of this is the maximum load that the bicycle rack is allowed to carry.

Why is a 13-pin wiring harness kit necessary for bicycle racks?

According to Section 49a of the German Road Traffic Act (StvZo § 49 a), it is essential that all lights present on the vehicle are completely reproduced on the load carrier when using one.  This function can only be met using the 13-pin wiring harness kit.

Others

Micro switches in the plug socket

Most cable sets no longer have any micro switches installed in the plug socket for trailer recognition.

Trailer recognition is carried out by the control unit by taking a resistance measurement of the trailer’s rear lights, or with test equipment.

 

Does the trailer coupling have to be approved by the German Technical Inspection Association (TÜV)?

For all trailer couplings which have already been tested according to European standards (mark of conformity begins with an “e”), TÜV approval is no longer necessary.  It is sufficient if the trailer coupling installation guide is carried in the vehicle.  This serves as a general operating license. 

For trailer couplings with a German mark of conformity (M or F), it is necessary to have TÜV approval, as well as to immediately record the installation of the trailer coupling in the vehicle documents.

The trailer couplings with an individual approval (TP marks of conformity) posses a separately provided approval certificate for each tow coupling.   After installation of the trailer coupling, a TÜV approval is necessary, as well as making a record in the vehicle documents. 

 

What is meant by check control?

Equipment in a vehicle which monitors the lights and indicates any possible malfunctions is referred to as check control.  This notification either takes place visually or acoustically and can be contained in information displays or car computers.  Because, for these vehicles, the trailers must be operated independently from the vehicle lighting, so-called wiring harness kits for check control or extendable wiring harness kits with check control interfaces are necessary in order to rule out damage to the vehicle electrics.  Wiring harness kits with check control interfaces must, in the presence if a check control system, be expanded with an extension kit. 

What is automatic level control?

If a vehicle is equipped with automatic level control, it consistently pumps itself back to the starting height during loading. This back pumping can commence straight after loading or after a short drive.

What is meant by REC?

For models such as Opel Astra H and Zafira B built in or after 2004, the so-called REC (Rear Electric Centre) is located under the left side panel in the boot. This is a control unit pre-fitted for the insertion of a trailer control device.

For models from the Ford range, this denotes a preliminary set-up of the CAN cable ex works, which is located on the right at the rear under the cladding.

If this is not present for Ford models, then you also need an additional cable set.

Please contact your dealer for this. 

It is always important to check whether your vehicle possesses the preliminaries mentioned above, as some cable sets are different, or additional cable sets are required. 

 

What is meant by trailer stabilisation?

The electronic trailer stabilisation is a sub-function of the electronic stabilisation programme (ESP) (also DSC, DSCT ...). The system identifies a vehicle instability caused by an accompanying trailer at a non-adapted driving speed.  Through the targeted reduction of the engine torque and suitable deceleration of particular wheels, the trailer is steadied.  The trailer stabilisation thereby significantly contributes to an increase in driving safety. 

What is meant by ESP?

ESP refers to the electronic stability programme.

What is a Parktronic System (PDC)?

Parktronic is also referred to as EPH, PDC, APS, or simply as parking assistance.  The space behind, and often also in front of, the vehicle is monitored and possible obstacles are visually or acoustically indicated as soon as the reverse gear is engaged.  In the event of an acoustic signal, the frequency is increased (amount of time between sounds) the nearer the vehicle gets to the obstacle. 

When do I need an extension kit for continuous current or continuous current and earth?

You need this extension kit if you would for example like to tow a horse box trailer with interior lights or a caravan with fridge operation.

Optionally, there are extension kits for continuous power and charging cable. This is suitable for caravans with their own battery.  This makes it possible to charge the battery during the journey.

 

What is a flasher unit?

The flashing units, often also called “flasher relays”, controls the flashing impulse to the vehicle’s indicators and, where applicable, to those of the trailer.  Errors in their function are indicated through a change in the flashing frequency on the indicator lights.  As a general rule, the flasher unit is incorporated into the central electrics, but can also be combined with the hazard warning switch and other control units.  For operation with trailers, the original flasher unit is, in combination with a relay wiring harness kit, replaced with a flasher unit with C2 function and an additional control is installed.  There are flasher units with the various connection assignments which, in the event of the installation of a C2 flasher unit, must be partly adjusted using adaptors. 

What is a C2 indicator light?

The C2 indicator light must be installed within the driver’s field of vision, or is already integrated into the vehicle’s dashboard. It is responsible for monitoring the trailer’s direction indicators in correspondence with the statutory provisions.  The function and failure of the trailer’s direction indicators is signalled by it working together with the original indicator lights. 

What is a ground switched rear fog light?

If the voltage-carrying cable which leads to the rear fog light has a voltage of 12 V after the light has been turned on, then the rear fog light is ground switched. For cars manufactured by Suzuki, Chrysler and Pontiac, a ground switched rear fog light may be present. You can check this by turning on the ignition and light and checking that the cable to the rear fog light already has a voltage of 12 V, whereas the rear fog light itself is turned off. 

What is meant by towing capacity?

The towing capacity is the load that the vehicle and the trailer coupling of a trailer are permitted to tow.  This is different depending on vehicle type.  The trailer load permitted for your vehicle can be found in your vehicle documents, namely:

 

[1] old vehicle registration certificate

- trailing load with brakes under number 28

- trailing load without brakes under number 29

 

[2] new vehicle registration certificate 

- trailing load with brakes under O.1

- trailing load without brakes under O.2

 

The maximum permitted trailer load of the trailer coupling is noted in the installation guide.

The weights recorded in the vehicle documents must not be exceeded.

 

What does tongue weight mean?

This is the load that is allowed to act vertically on the ball head from above. The tongue weight is generally between 40 and 200 kg, depending on vehicle type.  The tongue weight of the trailer coupling and the vehicle must not be exceeded.

The acceptable tongue weight can be found in the vehicle manual.  The tongue weight of the trailer coupling is noted on the type plate and in the installation guide. 

The maximum tongue weight as specified by the vehicle manufacturer must not be exceeded.

 

Where can I find the tongue weight of the towbar?

Indication of the tongue weight of the towbar can be found on the type plate and in the assembly instructions, given in kg. Please note that the specifications of the vehicle manufacturer must be observed. These can be different!

What is the D-value?

The D-value of a trailer coupling is the basis for calculating the acceptable towing capacity. Once defined and tested using a suitable design, it remains fixed.

The D-value is determined as follows:

D [kN], GA (towing capacity) [kg], GF (acceptable total weight)[kg]

 

D Value Calculations

Where can I find the D-value?

The D-value is given in kN and can be found in the assembly instructions on the type plate.  The assembly instructions can be reviewed and downloaded on our homepage.

What is meant by data bus (CAN)?

For a data bus (CAN) system, the wiring harness system is connected directly to the existing data bus system (CAN) in the vehicle.  A defect on the trailer is displayed by the system already present in the vehicle.  Through activation, other systems can be used such as PDC deactivation for trailer operation or trailer stabilisation. Installation of an indicator light is not necessary. 

The data bus wiring harness kit is a digital system.  Its function is similar to a computer network.  The wiring harness system is connected to the “network” of the vehicle.  In most cases, coding/activation is necessary.

 

 

What is meant by activation or coding?

Activation means that this must be unlocked so that all of the functions of the wiring harness system can be used.  This can generally be carried out through diagnostic tests in any specialist garage.  Generally, functions such as rear fog light or PCD deactivation are only possible after activation. 

Does my vehicle have to be activated?

You can see whether your vehicle’s wiring harness kit has to be coded or activated by referring to the assembly instructions or online catalogue.