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  #1  
Old 08-24-2009, 01:17 PM
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Question Tow bar on a 107! or not?

Hi all

I'm debating whether to fit a tow-bar/tow-hitch on my 107 300SL auto.

I want to leave the aesthetics for now and just concentrate on the practical stuff, then when I've sorted that out I'll be able to make a rational decision.

Any views from the UK or Europe would be really useful as the Euro's are somewhat different in power and towing laws but view from all will be most welcome.

It's all because we're getting a caravan and my daily driver ( Renault LAGUNA ) is fairly lightweight therefore ( in the UK) I can only tow a caravan up to about 1070kgms.

My 3 litre 107 would easily tow and the box should be fine, but I wondered if anyone had experience of :

a: fitting tow-bar and electrics to a facelift 107
b: towing with one ( what's the balladeer like - is the Gearbox cooling OK etc)

Cheers

Jim

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Old 08-24-2009, 07:14 PM
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I personally think it would be a hoot to see a tow-bar on a 107. It would sort of like seeing James May and Oz Clarke with tow-bar (and Chavtastic caravan) on the back of a Rolls Corniche!

In fact, I was just asking about fitting one on another Benz forum, in a thread about hauling all kinds of unsavory stuff in one's SL/C. My wife, you see, has a tendency towards using our SL as a surrogate pick-up truck, and being able to have her haul all her stuff on a utility trailer hitched to the back, instead of in her boot (or worse yet in the passenger cabin) would be a much better idea in my mind!

Besides, I'm a firm believer in having a tow-bar on the back of standard saloons (and coupes). I have one on the back of my Focus and one on the back of a Mini (classic, not MINI). The Focus I could probably tow a smaller caravan. The Mini I just use the hitch on it for a small trailer which carries the awning, camp chairs, cooler, etc.... for car shows.

Edit: Here are a couple of pictures - the Focus and the Mini with the little storage trailer on the back. I changed the fenders (mudguards) from white plastic to black plastic between the two pictures being taken, and I have an idea to make a wooden bed and stake-sides for more utility - I have the hardware parts already, just need the wood and the time. I also have the parts to build a hitch/tow-bar for the MGB, again with time.

I know there is a commercially available tow-bar for the 107 from US hitch supplier Curt, so it is definitely on my mind.




Last edited by mwalsh; 08-25-2009 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:58 PM
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Mmm

I think the mini looks kinda' cute, though the old 850cc Mk1 I used to have in the late 60's wouldn't tow much at all - even with it's twin SU's, H/C head, straight through exhaust and wheel spacers etc (that was good for then!).

Anyway back to MB's - My handbook states that my 88 300SL auto can tow up to a 1500 kgm braked trailer with up to 75kgm nose weight, but I'm not absolutely sure about the cooling - specifically the tranny oil cooler!

Any thoughts or experience

Also I could use a UK supplier of towbar - especially the type with a removable or hideaway tow-hitch - a carrier from the US for a towbar would be an awful lot of dosh!!

Cheers

Jim
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coleyjf View Post
Also I could use a UK supplier of towbar - especially the type with a removable or hideaway tow-hitch - a carrier from the US for a towbar would be an awful lot of dosh!
It's looking a bit doubtful. I'm pretty good with the ol' Google, and I haven't been able to find one.

Even if you decide to go with the US tow bar, there are a couple of obstacles.......

We don't use bolt-on tow balls here. We use a detachable draw bar that takes a threaded-post type ball. You also won't be able to use a US tow ball, because ours are generally either 1-7/8" or 2", which is not 50mm.

On the plus side, your side of the pond you can get a 50mm tow ball with a 19mm threaded shaft, which is close enough to being the right size to fit the 3/4" hole you'll find on a US draw bar. I use this type of setup for the draw bar I use with the Focus and the Mini trailer (which has a UK coupling). I don't know how it works over there for heavier weighted trailers and caravans, but if you need to go with a 22mm or 25mm threaded ball you do generally have plenty of meat on a US draw bar to be able to open up the hole some.

Or you could fab-up a custom draw bar to take a bolt-on tow ball. I dare say that welding a length of 50mm X 10mm (or thereabouts, I don't know the specs of UK metals) steel bar (edit: properly gusseted, of course) to the end of it and drilling holes to match those on the tow ball would do the trick.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:09 PM
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I just looked up the Curt hitch for you. It's Class 1, which is made out of 1-3/4" box steel and good to 2500lbs. Since 1070kgs is 2350lbs and change, you should be alright there. How heavy is your caravan?
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  #6  
Old 09-01-2009, 12:55 AM
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to tow or not to tow that is the question?

Hi there

I'm looking at a caravan with a max weight of around 1325 Kgms - the tow-hitch on all caravans in Europe are a 50mm ball as you state and I want to keep to around 85% ratio 'van : car.

I've seen one advert for a tow-bar assembly for a 107 but that was ages ago and I wasn't looking then! Typical.

I'll try a local supplier/specialist of tow hitch stuff and see if they fabricate or modify an existing model.

Thanks for your info

cheers

Jim
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  #7  
Old 09-01-2009, 01:16 AM
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My Euro 500SL had a tow bar at one time because the rear valance had the cut outs for it.
I still have the tow bar on my W113 280SL California coupe.
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  #8  
Old 09-01-2009, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coleyjf View Post
I'm looking at a caravan with a max weight of around 1325 Kgms
Ooh, that's overweight for the Class 1 hitch, so that's no good for you. Sounds like getting hold of the local supplier and seeing what they could do is the best idea.

Please post pictures of the whole rig, if/when you get it sorted!
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  #9  
Old 09-01-2009, 02:40 PM
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To tow or not to tow

Hi

I've found several people who use or have used tow-bars on a R107. There is a specific Euro set-up which includes a "plug in " electrics system and a 50mm ball - all OK to 1500kgms so I'll keep looking

Cheers

Jim
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  #10  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:27 AM
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There is a tow hitch for a 107 on ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/87-88-89-MERCEDES-SL-Trailer-Hitch-11617_W0QQitemZ180402599619QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20090901?IMSfp=TL0909011710002r3435
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  #11  
Old 09-02-2009, 08:51 AM
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US - Euro!

Hi

There could well be a problem with this one - as it's a US model it fits to the floor pan and BUMPER BEAM. On a US model that's quite a serious piece of ironwork - on the Euro model it's not capable of taking towing weight so I think I'll check this out more thoroughly before I use a US tow hitch.

Thanks

Jim
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  #12  
Old 09-02-2009, 09:05 AM
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So that's what the Curt hitch looks like. I'm kinda dissapointed it's a fixed draw bar (which would mean a fixed ball) - I like to just have the one and swap it from car to car as needed, and that way I can plug the hitch with a cover when it's not being used.

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