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The Great US Factory Towbar (hitch) Debacle

10630 Views 17 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  LONS
Here's my first post...hoping to hit a home run (I apologize for the long story)

I purchased a 2016 GLC300 4Matic from Mercedes-Benz of Chicago back in early may. It has almost everything I want on it....except the factory installed tow bar.

Now, I'm sure most of you know there aren't a lot of aftermarket options out there for a tow bar or roof rack...yet.
For those of us that are impatient and want a tow bar now...this is your ticket.

Now down to the good news. For those who didn't get a car with a factory installed towbar you can now obtain one yourself. (this took 2 weeks of back and forth at my dealer).

here is a quote from one of the emails:

"There is a kit available 253-310-14-00 for $730 but this does not include the wiring harness. I assume the harness would be another $400 roughly and would need to be determined with the VIN in the EPC. It is a little unclear because the product description is in German! The Vehicle will then require 5 hours for installation."

So there's your information...

Part Number: 253-310-14-00 (which is just the towbar and electrical harness for the exterior of the vehicle)

Being an internet savvy person I was able to find the same part number on for $584 +52 dollars for shipping.

But there's more:

$100 OR MORE.*

So long story short I ordered it from there and it should be here today. I will upload pictures when I get home and the specs listed on the part.

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do you have a picture? or instructions? appreciate any help!!!
Hi All,
I have a factory tow Bar installed when I bought my GLC ,for the purpose of light towing like bikes and light trailer box , and its also a a throw away ( free) with negotiation .The dealer disabled the foot wave feature ,but they did not told me that . Is there any chance that I can enable this feature again without going to dealership?
Hi All,
I have a factory tow Bar installed when I bought my GLC ,for the purpose of light towing like bikes and light trailer box , and its also a a throw away ( free) with negotiation .The dealer disabled the foot wave feature ,but they did not told me that . Is there any chance that I can enable this feature again without going to dealership?
I don't know about the Australian market and I had read that if fitting an aftermarket towbar the foot wave access had to be disabled mine works perfectly when the bar is out of sight though I haven't tried it when extended.

As your bar was factory fitted, the settings would be determined at time of manufacture so why would the dealer disable the feature when he didn't fit the bar.
Very strange are you sure it was fited at the factory and not by the dealer?
Hi Lons,
It was part of negotiation when I bought the car and they throw in a tow bar for free ( I presume it was a third party did the install looks like a Hayman Reese tow bar). I checked underneath ,theres nothing I can see there that been taken off (like part or sensor), will you be able to take a photo on your free time please. I think it is only a matter of enabling it to the computer /ecu . so theres no missing part/s. I hope it can be enable as this is a good feature. someone out there probably know how .
Hi Ceasar

From my research before I bought my car I understood that there was a sensor wire running along behind the bumper so the foot wave feature was enabled however when a third party towbar is fitted this sensor wire is in the way and they have to re route it which disables the feature. I don't think, though might be wrong. that it's disabled through the software.
Factory fitted bar is different and I assume they adjust the sensor as part of the manufacturing process. My car could be unusual of course, maybe others don't work.

I'd need to get under the car to see and even then it might not be visible, could be different in Oz but I found the MB dealerships a bit clueless when it comes to towing. On my first visit I was told as a matter of fact by a salesman that a towbar can't be fitted to a GLC. He was a bit subdued when I made him look at the website to see that you could order as an option and even more shocked when he discovered that one of their own demo models had it fitted.:laugh:

What type of bar do you have? i.e. fixed towball, removable or electric folding. The factory fitted is electric.

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Hi Bob,
The tow bar frame is installed to the chassis of the car its permanent, and the tow ball is then inserted and lock by a pin, it can be taken off if not needed. When it was installed they cut the mid part of the bumper bar bottom to give way to the bar but not noticeable. Surely the sensor is where probably located. I checked it but I cannot find the wiring for it. I presume it was only a sensor in there nothing else ,maybe.... if thats the case it can be re installed either left or right side closer to centre. I really don't know why need to disable it when fitting tow bar aside from being in the same place ( tow bar and sensor) , its a matter of relocating the sensor close to centre,( I maybe wrong )...But anyway its my bad ,I didn't see that coming, I missed that part when doing my research.I will try next service if it can be install again . Hopefully....

We had towbar fitted before delivery. On VIN data sheet it lists dealer installing it. It is not Aust Reese. It’s Westfalen type with banana like Euro ball. Fully integrated, asked for install docs and kept steel inner bumper chassis, normally tossed out. Docs are about 4 pages with pics, quotes 3 hours, but dealers quote up to 6 hrs as they learn on your car, as so few have towbar.
Yes all doco stated foot waste is lost. Ours still works, go figure ! Wiring smart, if globe on trailer fails, shows as a warning on cars dash info.
Not sure why our foot wave still works, have not seen sensor or wire yet, but will re look.
No expert but if the factory fit tow bar is electric and folds under the car isn't the gesture control deactivated because the tow bar could trigger the hatch opening.
Agree, but in Oz we do not have electric option. Manual lock with key, need to lay on ground to unlock, remove and insert plastic plug to stop hole hilling with dirt, making re installing virtually impossible.
Either way dealer did not disable kick function. Works most time. Towed small 6x4 trailer and 4 wheel, 2 axle tandem trailer, each around 1000km without incident with tail gate. Kick feature good when hands full.
I've been under the car, just before we got 4" of snow, (Ozzies don't know what the white stuff is :wink2: ). Pics as below.

Wave opening function works whether ball is up or down so the sensor is clearly still there although I can't see evidence of it, presumably behind the bumper.


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Hi All,
Lons its nice to have that electric tow bar and it hide perfectly ,I did have I look at mine still cannot find the sensor it if still there but tried to trace when its been connected still no luck . Techno was yours a hayman Reese type ? Getting confuse if I have to call the service advisor guy to ask but I already ask my salesman and he said not possible . really want to have that feature but.....only if I knew about it before!!!!!! Thanks
Towbar fitted by Dealer was “Westfalia” brand.
Kick opening should have been disabled, but was not, still works.
Data still displayed on dash, incl warning if trailer globe blown.
Have photos but difficult to drag and post using ipad !
Try later on laptop.
I had Westfalia detachable type fitted to both my last 2 Audis, it's what they use anyway though had them fitted by a specialist company at half the stealer price.

I thought the quality was excellent but I definitely prefer pressing a button on the GLC to crawling underneath to plug in the towbar. Electrics are more accessible on the GLC as well.
Thanks Techno and Lons ,Photos are great before I made a reasonable explanation to the service adviser to enable mine . I'd like to see that in my dash , can you tell where can I find it please? Was it in the Vehicle, service ? Just wandering if there is a sensor/s underneath the bumper bar or using the sensor (2 sensor) at the middle bumper bar? Or its just been disable off the ECU without taking any sensor off to make way for the tow bar?
GLC 300 Hitch Directions

Does anyone have a copy of the factory hitch for the GLC that they can post?
Does anyone have a copy of the factory hitch for the GLC that they can post?
If you look on the previous page of this thread I posted 3 photos of my factory fitted electric one.
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