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Apr 16

Adding trailer hitch and wiring on the 2017 Volkswagen E-Golf

Hitch

After getting my new E-Golf, I’ve been searching far and wide for suggestions on a good trailer hitch. Initially I wanted it for mounting a bike/ski rack, but after some more thinking and research I wanted the wiring too, just in case.

I have to say information was scarce at best, most likely because the manual states clearly that no towing should be attempted with the E-Golf for whatever reason. So, in true Canadian fashion, I went ahead and started doing some research.

In terms of hitch I found that Curt hitches seem to be very popular, among MK7 owners anyway. I was not entirely sure which one would fit perfectly so I proceeded to lift the car and take a look underneath to see what mounting options I have. Here is a picture of what the undercarriage looks like behind the rear bumper.

E-Golf under body - Rear

I confirmed this way that what I was looking for was Curt 11412 Class 1 Trailer Hitch. The mounting points seemed to align and some suggestions pointed to the same part number. Notice the orange high voltage conduits. I heard that in some situations with other E-Golf owners these cables were too close for comfort to the mounting points, but in my case it turned out that they are quite far away.

Curt Hitch 11412 Golf MK7

In terms of pricing, the best deal I could find was on Amazon for $122. The hitch itself is very well build and appears to be quite good quality. Initially I thought that it may not clear the lower part of the rear bumper but it turned out to be perfectly sized to come out exactly near the edge of the bumper. The package arrived in a matter of days and here’s what’s included:

Curt 11412 package contents

Basically all necessary components to mount it, including the vital fish wires for the four bolts. There are a few very good videos on YouTube that show how to install it, but all in all, it’s quite easy and straightforward. Having somebody holding the bar up while securing it would help but it’s easily done by one person too, if in a comfortable position under the car. The basic steps are:

  1. Attach fishing wire to all four bolts
  2. Add each square hole spacer on the bolt
  3. Fish two of the bolts into the smaller opening in the frame by inserting them first through the larger opening (See fist picture above). Use the smaller holes closer to the rear of the car not the ones towards the front of the car.
  4. Insert remaining two bolts in the larger holes and use the square hole spacers to hold the bolts in place
  5. Mount the hitch bar
  6. Screw in and torque to specifications (110 ft/lbs)

Here are some shots during the install:

 

Package contents
Package contents
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It took about 30 minutes in total out of which I probably spent half of that fishing the wires. I had some trouble convincing the bolts through the large opening but with a little bit of patience and a large hammer they submitted to my will. (Just kidding about the hammer)

And here is the finished product. Apologies for the cleanliness (or lack of) of the car. That day rained hard and I was looking forward to installing the hitch. No time and frankly pointless to take the car to the wash.

Curt 11412 HitchCurt 11412 Hitch
Curt 11412 HitchCurt 11412 Hitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trailer wiring

As I mentioned before information on the E-Golf tail lights wiring was quite scarce at the time of writing. I had a vague idea of what type of wiring I was dealing with but not with 100% certainty. Since Curt had a somewhat universal kit for tapping into the existing wiring, I went for it, and decided to figure out the connections later. The kit that I got is the CURT 59236 Multi-Function Taillight Converter Kit. I believe the also sell the non-powered kit, but in my case, I wanted to make sure that I don’t draw power from the main lights circuit. This means that the converter works on a completely separate power source directly from the 12V battery.

This is the kit:

MULTI-FUNCTION TAILLIGHT CONVERTER KIT 59236

It also comes with several zip ties, a fuse, snap locks, butt connectors and ring connectors for the power wire. In a nutshell, all you need to install this comes in the package. It even comes with two-sided adhesive pads to ensure that the unit will not rattle on the mounting point which is by a self tapping screw, also included.

The hardest part by far was to take off the panels in the trunk in order to run the wires and mount the unit. If you’re planning to tackle this yourself, be prepared with a lot of patience and fine motor skills. The tabs of the panels used to hold them in place are very fragile and can break easily, not to mention that the metal clips can fall off in the deepest crevices of the car never to be found again and forever rattling while you drive.

This is the standard connector for the outer tail lights on the E-Golf.

IMG_0128

A good old multi-meter told me what I couldn’t find anywhere. The three wires from the bottom:

  • Brown – Ground
  • Purple/Black – Running lights
  • Red/Black – Turn signal/ Brakes

This is on the driver side. If I remember correctly, the wires for running lights and turn signals have slightly different colors, but the are in the same positions. There is a fourth wire (white/black) to the left of the running lights wire in the middle, which has apparently the same functionality as the running lights. My guess is that one of them is for the regular lights while the other is for the side red positional lights.

I mounted the converter unit on the driver side because the longer turn signal wire they provided was for the passenger side. The location was pretty good also as there was enough room to comfortably mount the unit.

MULTI-FUNCTION TAILLIGHT CONVERTER KIT 59236 MULTI-FUNCTION TAILLIGHT CONVERTER KIT 59236

The final step was to run the power wire from the unit all the way to the battery in front. Little did I know that this turned out to be the most time-consuming and not because I wasn’t sure how to do it, but because of the time I took removing the threshold panels and fishing the wire all the way to the front driver foot well. From there I knew there was a grommet in the firewall that would put the wire right behind the 12V battery under the hood. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of this but thanks to Paul Barrett from DAP I knew exactly where to find it. You can see his very informative video here.

Once all was connected and cleaned up, ran a quick test with the multi-meter on the trailer connector and everything works perfectly.

Hopefully this will help other E-Golf owners a little bit in their quest to install a trailer hitch and figure out the wiring.

 

About the author

Stefan Goilav

Stefan is a Software techie currently living in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. His interests range from novelty electronics, gadgets to electric cars, racing and ski.

2 comments

  1. Joel

    Very helpful, thanks for the write up.
    I’m curious why you didn’t get power from the cigarette lighter outlet in the cargo area instead of running the wire to the front of the car?
    Does the 2017 not have a 12V power outlet in the cargo area like the 2015 SEL has?

    1. Stefan Goilav

      It does have the 12V outlet however there are two reasons why I did not tap into that wire: First the power is cut off when the ignition is off which means if there is an emergency I won’t be able to have the hazards on and second, I believe for that outlet there is a different fuse than the one provided by curt with the wiring kit which means different power draws are expected.

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