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post #4 of (permalink) Old 27th February 2008
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I've always thought of Towsure as 'box shifters.' They've always supplied towbars, but I didn't even realise that they fitted them until now. They've tended to do stuff that's cheap and cheerful - stick with branded stuff and you'll save money, but buy the really cheap stuff made by people you've never heard of and you'll end up regretting it. Their own brand stuff could be a bit hit and miss: Their Cyclemaster bike carrier was great. Their Snakemaster stabiliser was atrocious.

There was a time when I wouldn't have recommended their towbars for a few reasons, but having seen their more recent models (within a few months) I'd say they've got their act together and are right up there with the major brands. Think of them as the Skoda of the towbar world if you will: Decent quality kit, but people still turn their noses up at it because of its earlier reputation.

I'd have no hesitation in fitting a Towsure bar now. As for the Scotchloks, you pays your money and you takes your chance. You can botch an installation with Scotchloks or you can do it properly. Equally, you can botch a soldering operation (and the consequences of making a right dog's dinner of that are more likely to have implications on the car's wiring and even your warranty.) If they're doing these things in volume, then you can expect that they'd rather do it right than deal with lots of returns.

As for the bulb failure monitoring: The textbook approach would be to install bypass relays. These just use the power from the car's lights to switch a relay, which in turn powers the trailer lights from a separate feed directly from the battery. Without the relays, a short or bad earth on the trailer wiring could theoretically damage the car's bulb failure electronics. In practice, it tends to generate erroneous warnings but does no long-term damage.

If it gives you peace of mind, then get the bypass relays fitted. If you're doing this on a budget and want to save money, tell them not to bother and I doubt you'll have any problems.

If you have the bypass relays fitted, the bulb failure monitors will always tell you about a failed light on the car. If you don't bother, then the extra load of the trailer's bulbs will mean that the system won't notice when the trailer's connected (it'll still work normally without.) Neither possibility will tell you if you have a light out on the trailer, thought if you don't have the bypass relays, a bad earth may well be reported as side/brake light faults when you brake with the side lights turned on.
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