Fitting towing electrics

Frequently asked technical questions and common modifications/improvements
User avatar
Dollywobbler
Over 2k
Posts: 3940
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:25 pm
Location: Wales

Fitting towing electrics

Post by Dollywobbler » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:40 am

Ok, so no-one has dashed forward with the plug-in towing electrics. Given that I now urgently need to recover a 2CV resto project, I guess it'll be hacking into the loom.

I found this quite tricky when fitting the high-level brake light, so thought I'd see if anyone has any recommendations for the best way to go about it. It doesn't seem an overly pleasant section of woring to cut into to. I did a proper job with the brake light - solder and everything - but it seemed very easy to make an utter balls up of it.

With the brake light, I scraped off the insulation of the necessary wire exposing the copper. Then looped the brake light wire around it tightly, before soldering (and trying not to melt the plastic!). Certainly works, just wondered if there was a better way. I'm not going to bother fitting twin electrics as I have no imminent plans to tow a caravan.

citronut
Over 2k
Posts: 2781
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:55 am
Location: EAST SUSSEX UK

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by citronut » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:04 am

Dollywobbler wrote: but it seemed very easy to make an utter balls up of it.
just trace each lighting wire and do one at a time Ian it'll be fine,
curent ride
K reg BX 17TD TZD est
also own
K reg D special

no longer have
H reg CX saffari 2.5 TRI (now gone to Malaysia)
R reg xantia 1.9TD est (gone to meet its maker)

User avatar
BX Bandit
Backslash Bandit
Posts: 2583
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:46 am
Location: Closet boozing...normally under bonnet
x 1

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by BX Bandit » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:13 am

Or use Scotch locks. Some people slate them, and they do have their problems if used twice! i.e. the aluminium part that cuts through the insulation to connect with the wire can spread. So if you re-use them on thinner wire, they may not make contact. So either buy new or close up the aluminium bit a tad.
I have asked Hilary if I could buy it, but I've not heard from him yet, although I did stress there was no rush. If you are desperate, then you can use the loom on the proviso I can have it back. If you do use it, I'll pay Hilary for it, but you must please please post it to me or hand it over at a meet some time. Promise? ;-)
have some balls
1990 BX 16V Platinum Grey
1990 BX TZD (with A/C) Pink
1990 BX TGD White
2003 Audi A6 2.5 TDi
1960 Morris Minor Clarondon Grey
1971 Triumph 2000 Auto Valencia Blue

User avatar
Dollywobbler
Over 2k
Posts: 3940
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:25 pm
Location: Wales

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by Dollywobbler » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:59 am

Thanks folks. New electrics purchased so I'll dig away and see how it goes. Annoyingly, I had to take the car when bus driving today so I'm now at home with time to kill, but no BX!

User avatar
BX Bandit
Backslash Bandit
Posts: 2583
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:46 am
Location: Closet boozing...normally under bonnet
x 1

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by BX Bandit » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:39 pm

Ooooh are they still available? Link poo?
have some balls
1990 BX 16V Platinum Grey
1990 BX TZD (with A/C) Pink
1990 BX TGD White
2003 Audi A6 2.5 TDi
1960 Morris Minor Clarondon Grey
1971 Triumph 2000 Auto Valencia Blue

Defender110
Over 2k
Posts: 5861
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:02 pm
Location: Radcliffe, Gt.Manchester
x 19

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by Defender110 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:00 pm

Very simple to do; If you take the rear light plug from the n/s light it has a plastic back on it that can be prised out leaving similar fastenings as the scotch lock that you can directly piggy back off for each feed required. I'll send some pictures later when I get home to help explain.
Kevan
1987 Citroen BX MK1 diesel estate.
1997 Mercedes C230 W202 - daily driver.
2010 BMW X1 SE 2.0D Auto - Her indoors daily driver.
2003 Land Rover Discovery TD5 - hobby days and camping.
1993 Land Rover Discovery 300tdi 3 door - in need of TLC

User avatar
Dollywobbler
Over 2k
Posts: 3940
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:25 pm
Location: Wales

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by Dollywobbler » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:15 pm

Thanks Kevan. That'll be useful.

Bandit - just standard generic wiring.

KevR
1K Away
1K Away
Posts: 1756
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Normandy
My Cars: It's all in my signature
x 3

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by KevR » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:15 pm

Nooooo, not Scotchloks.... They do indeed get a slating - because they're feckin' awful. Towbar wiring inevitably involves long term hassle as when you come to use it there's nearly always a problem either in the socket, plug or light units. Why make life even more miserable by introducing potential problems into the wiring loom on the car itself....?
Proper solder joint as described in the original post, that's the way to go. Then taped up with self-amalgamating tape.
1990 BX TZD Estate ('the grey one', 1991 BX TZD Estate ('the white one'), 1982 2CV6 Charleston (in bits), 1972 AZU Serie B (2CV van), 1974 HY72 Camper, 1990 Land Rover 110 diesel LWB, 1957 Mobylette AV76, 1992 Ducati 400SS, 1966 VW Beetle, 1990 Mazda MX-5, 1996 Peugeot 106D, 1974 JCB 2D MkII, 1997 BMW R1100RS, 1987 Suzuki GSX-R1100, 1978 Honda CX500A, 1965 Motobecane Cady, 1988 Honda Bros/Africa Twin, 1963 Massey Ferguson 825, and a lot of bicycles!

User avatar
BX Bandit
Backslash Bandit
Posts: 2583
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:46 am
Location: Closet boozing...normally under bonnet
x 1

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by BX Bandit » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:23 pm

I agree that's better, DW seemed reluctant to do the soldering bit! I've honestly never had problems with them, but you're right about there always being a problem with trailer/caravan lights/sockets.
Come to think of it, the standard rear lights are prone to an earth fault as they are!
have some balls
1990 BX 16V Platinum Grey
1990 BX TZD (with A/C) Pink
1990 BX TGD White
2003 Audi A6 2.5 TDi
1960 Morris Minor Clarondon Grey
1971 Triumph 2000 Auto Valencia Blue

User avatar
Dollywobbler
Over 2k
Posts: 3940
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:25 pm
Location: Wales

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by Dollywobbler » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:41 pm

I've no problem with soldering - I just don't like the BX wiring very much. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the electrics yet. I often fit them loose in the boot then trail them out of the boot aperture when actually needed. Which isn't that often to be honest. Not sure how 'soft' the closure is on a BX boot though. Otherwise the plug just sits next to the towbar, collecting muck and slowly rotting.

User avatar
citsncycles
Over 2k
Posts: 3224
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:14 pm
Location: Dursley, Gloucestershire

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by citsncycles » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:53 pm

The tow electrics on Timex were some of the most interesting I'd ever seen - those screw down block connectors, fitted to the wrong side of the car (ie RH light), with a total disregard to the standard wiring codes. I fitted a new socket and cable at the tech weekend, but wired it into the same side on the car as it had already been cut about there.

The tow bar I fitted to the 14 came with a genuine wiring kit - dead easy to fit in theory but still gave trouble, as it effectively doubles the number of connectors between the power supply and the rear lamp unit. I ended up having to bypass a couple of connections as the tow electrics worked better than the rear light!

Soldering is fine depending on how well it's wrapped later. I've been told that a lot of the off road boys don't like it because winter road salt followed by fording a river (for example) can wash the solder in a salt solution that apparently breaks down the connection!
Mike Sims
BX 19RD Estate Mk1 - Timex!
BX 4X4 Estate - Oh god, I've done it again!
BX 17RD MK1 - it called to me!
BX14 TGE, - SOLD
XM Turbo SD,GS Club Estate,Visa 17D Leader,HY Pickup,Dyane Nomad,Dyane 6,2CV AZL,Falcon S,Trabant P50,3x Land Rovers (88" series 1,109" series 2a FFR,series 2a Marshall ambulance),DKW F7, Lambretta LD150 x 1.5,Mobylette SP93,Ural Cossack,Ural M63,CZ 250 Sport,Honda Varadero 125,lots of bicycles & tricycles including (but not only) Sunbeams,Higgins & Bates!

User avatar
Dollywobbler
Over 2k
Posts: 3940
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:25 pm
Location: Wales

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by Dollywobbler » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:16 pm

I'd hope that the boot of the BX never fills up with salt water...

rutter123
1K Away
1K Away
Posts: 1990
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:54 pm
Location: South Lincs
x 40

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by rutter123 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:38 pm

i have just fitted a towbar on the tzd a few days ago, used scotchlocks but separated the flat loom into individual wires about 2 inches from the connector and staggered the scotchlocks so they dont all clump up together, soldered all bare ends and an extra ground wire to chassis. also extra sealant around the towbar electric socket, all seems good.
90 BX Tzd turbo 294k SORN undergoing major surgery
90 BX Tzd turbo estate 46k awaiting surgery
65 Peugeot Boxer Van the new workhorse
52 Toyota Rav4 180k Bulletproof Jap reliability

Defender110
Over 2k
Posts: 5861
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:02 pm
Location: Radcliffe, Gt.Manchester
x 19

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by Defender110 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:20 pm

Remove the rear nearside rear lamp & take the plug out, prize out the black plastic wire cover out of the back.(this will need modifying slightly to make room for the extra wires)

Image

This will reveal splice clamps similar to scotch locks

Image

To modify the black plastic backing plate, turn it upside down & cut partial little slots out of each wire groove to make room for the extra wires

Image

You can see the slot cut out of the 6th from the right here, repeat this for each wire slot.

Image

Put the unstripped tow bar wires in in this order from the left: Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Green, GAP, Blue which is n/s & o/s side lights (black & brown), brake light (red), L&R indicators (Yellow & green) and fog lamp (blue)

Image

Press the backing plate back in using a pair of pipe plyers and a piece of wood

Image


Refit the plug into the lamp and wire the white tow bar earth to the earthing point shown here behing the lamp.

Image

All wired into the car without actually splicing the vehicle wiring :wink:

If your plug isn't pre-wired then wire it like this;
Image
Last edited by Defender110 on Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kevan
1987 Citroen BX MK1 diesel estate.
1997 Mercedes C230 W202 - daily driver.
2010 BMW X1 SE 2.0D Auto - Her indoors daily driver.
2003 Land Rover Discovery TD5 - hobby days and camping.
1993 Land Rover Discovery 300tdi 3 door - in need of TLC

KevR
1K Away
1K Away
Posts: 1756
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Normandy
My Cars: It's all in my signature
x 3

Re: Fitting towing electrics

Post by KevR » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:44 am

=D> =D> =D> Now THAT's what I call a how-to guide! =D> =D> =D>

Shame to fall at the last fence by using a choc block instead of soldering on the earth wire though... :wink:
1990 BX TZD Estate ('the grey one', 1991 BX TZD Estate ('the white one'), 1982 2CV6 Charleston (in bits), 1972 AZU Serie B (2CV van), 1974 HY72 Camper, 1990 Land Rover 110 diesel LWB, 1957 Mobylette AV76, 1992 Ducati 400SS, 1966 VW Beetle, 1990 Mazda MX-5, 1996 Peugeot 106D, 1974 JCB 2D MkII, 1997 BMW R1100RS, 1987 Suzuki GSX-R1100, 1978 Honda CX500A, 1965 Motobecane Cady, 1988 Honda Bros/Africa Twin, 1963 Massey Ferguson 825, and a lot of bicycles!