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Fitting a Tow-Bar and 13 Pin Electrics to a RAV4 PHEV


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I purchased my used 71 plate RAV4 PHEV just over 1 month ago.  I have a small trailer and so needed a tow-bar.  I did a lot of caravanning when I was a bit younger (!) and have fitted tow-bars and electrics (12N and 12S and 13 pin) to various cars previously including Audis 80 and A4 and Volvo XC70.  I was able to do some research to help my purchase decisions thanks to Toyota-Tech.eu (lists Toyota OE accessories and fitting instructions) and on line resource from the tow-bar manufacturers including Brink (who make the Toyota OE tow-bar), Witter and GDW.  I initially wanted a Westfalia tow-bar (good design and reputation) and they are now part of Witter's parent company group, but they are hard to find at the moment.  I looked at Witter but eventually decided on GDW, a Belgian company.  I was attracted by the design, quite similar to Westfalia, and also the fact that the tow-bar could be fitted without removing the rear bumper.  It is not that difficult, but they never quite go back on the car as they were before removal.  The GDW tow-bar I chose to buy is vertically detachable and a robust piece of engineering.  For the 13 pin electrics, I decided to go with the Toyota OE wiring kits.  I say kits as the part numbers needed for the full install are 

PW5D0-42567 13 Pin Towbar Wiring Kit

PW5D0-42562 13 Pin Electrics Fitting Part

The fitting instructions can be found on Toyota-Tech.eu.  At first glance they appear very complicated, but a lot of the work involved is removal and refitting of trim parts.  The electrics kit itself is of very good quality so what did I learn when fitting the towbar and the electrics kit:

For the tow-bar.  The design of the fixing points on the car makes fitting reasonably straightforward.  All of the fixing points are covered with removable sticky tape covers.  You need to make sure that mating surfaces are clean and that all bolted fixings are torqued up the required setting.  That itself is not completely straightforward due to the restricted access but otherwise the GDW bar fitted perfectly.

For the electrics.  The Toyota OE kit provides everything.  The fitting instructions are very detailed even down to the placement of each snap tie securing the wiring.  Taking care with this and wrapping connectors and other parts liable to rattle or squeak with the supplied foam strips is worthwhile.  Careful fitting of the wiring loom is necessary otherwise trim that has been removed may not fit back in place.  Having seen how the car is put together, I was very impressed with the neatness and quality of the fixings.  As I said the removal and replacement of trim panels and some seat-belt fixings particularly requires care but the design of the car helps a lot.  There is one wire/cable connection that is tricky, which is the fog light by-pass wire which fits into an existing removeable 36 pin connector behind the glove box.  It requires a wire to be removed and another one to be inserted in its place whilst the removed wire is placed in another connector.

I haven't tried the car towing yet but it will not have too much trouble with my 750 kg trailer.

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Hi Andrew, A good account of what you done and the problems you came up against. It will be helpful to anyone else who is looking to install a similar tow bar.:smile:

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Did you get on okay with the tiny little pin that goes into the little connector which powers the relay for the 13 pin electrics? I had a nightmare with the dealer fitted one, fridge/charging would not work, took back 3 times and they said all was well until I took the left hand panel off and found a very bad attempt at popping the little crimp inside the 13 pin loom!

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Bob, Thanks

Jamie, Interesting.  There are 2 locations where pis have to be inserted into connectors.  The first is where pin A10 joins the main 13 pin A loom to the AC loom, located near the rear n/s wheel arch, then both go forward to the front bulkhead and have connections there.  One of the connections at the front bulkhead is straightforward as there is a female connector waiting for a male plug.  The other requires a single wire (fog lamp by-pass connection) to be removed from an existing 36 pin connector which can be unclipped behind the glove box, and then the removed wire inserted in another male connection block for connection.  I looked at that but what concerned me was the prospect of damaging the 36 pin connector as I inserted my 'needle' type tool 1mm x 1mm to free the terminal from the connector.  After looking at it I decided to ask the local dealer (Stephen Eagell) to do it and pay the relatively small cost involved for peace of mind.  Luckily one of the technicians there saw me when I went in to ask about the job and explained how it was done.  I think this is common to a number of Toyota model's towing wiring looms.  I still paid to have that connection done though.  I had found when doing the single A10 terminal insertion that it needed a little force to push home in the terminal block.  Anyway, everything works really well, including the car fog lamp cut out when towing and I had the satisfaction of being able to do 95% of the work myself.  I think if you have the terminal release tool or a good copy of it that it can be done, but then the technician was clearly very familiar with the technique required.  The type of terminal involved in both cases is a Toyota 0.64 non waterproof type and can be seen in a document published in 2007 all about toyota wiring connectors, which has 450 odd pages but is amazingly detailed, I found it by searching with Google.  The document also gives dimensions to make a tool.  There is also a very useful and current document called PZ415-0JGB9-00 'All Models Pin Removal Tools' which is very short and more specific to this issue.

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