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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
BMW X6 2016 F16 4.0d
Hello all.
I have an error message on the Idrive Tow hitch error. When I press the button in the boot to release the electric tow I can hear the motor trying to release the tow but nothing coming out. I have asked my local BMW garage about Reprogramming the car and taking the error out and they are advising that as the car came with a factory fitted Oem tow bar that it cannot be reprogrammed for a retro fit tow. I can see many videos on YouTube advising and showing how to take the error from the screen but BMW say it can’t be done.
Can anyone advise if they have been successful in clearing the error
 

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I have been succesful in releasing stuck electric towbars but it may not be always possible dependent on how worn/stripped the nylon gears in the mechanism are.
It could be that it is just gummed up and sticking.
What you need to do is literally grab the towbar whilst it is trying to extend from under the rear valance and pull down with some force ,this should work unless its totally fecked.
A german company did manufacture steel/bronze gears to eliminate the problem of wearing nylon gears but not sure if they are still available.
Personally once I managed to extend the electric swivelling towbar I decided to leave it in this position(i drive warning gone and green light in boot area).
Serves as a good deterrent to over enthusiastic Tesco drivers.
I vaguely recall that pressing and holding the button to enable the towbar to go through the whole range of movement re-configures the module but you will need to confirm this by research.
Dismantling and replacing gears by main agents is probably not an option as they will probably require you to bend over for the cost of full motor replacement,ouch ££££££££.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the reply. I did send away for the gears but the tow bar seems to be different from the gears and mechanic advises it’s not possible to get access. The tow bar is extended but won’t retract. Can it be programmed out of the idrive does anyone know as I have been quoted £1300 for the tow bar alone and over a £100 for the controller and this is not even for change and fitting costs 🙈
 

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Some further information which may help you understand the system.

Hall effect sensor in drive for fully automatic trailer tow hitch
The hall effect sensor is integrated into the powertrain. The entire pivoting angle of the ball head is monitored with the aid of the Hall effect sensor. The spindle's rotary movement is transmitted by the Hall effect sensor to the control unit for the fully automatic trailer tow hitch in the form of a Hall effect sensor signal. In parallel to the hall effect sensor signals, the control unit measures the current required for the pivoting movement. If the permissible current consumption of the DC motor is exceeded during fully automatic pivoting out or in, or no hall effect sensor signals are emitted, the ball head's pivoting movement is halted. The ball head is pivoted back a short way in the opposite direction (reversed).

In these circumstances if the tow ball does not reach its fully extended or fully retracted position then the i drive warning will remain.
As mentioned earlier whilst the unit is trying to extend a sharp tug on the tow ball may help the unit reach its final destination and subsequently tell the idrive the unit is locked in place and warning message removed.

It may take several attempts at button pressing and grappling with the towbar to achieve satisfactory operation.
Of course there is always the risk that any subsequent operations may end up back at square one but if you are prepared to have the tow ball either fully extended or fully retracted semi/permanently this may be your solution.

These units have a design fault from day one by using nylon gears and the only permanent answer may lie in my solution above so beware if spending out on a new unit(ticking time bomb).

50 years an engineer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Teejaybee you sound to me to be absolutely 100% spot on.As I am also getting a drive train error appear and the car can be in limp mode intermittently. Again I had it with bmw £567 later and they said that they did a smoke test and all clear. Do you think that the tow hitch error is related to the drivetrain msssage that appears now on a daily occurrence? Could you email me on [email protected] and I can explain and hopefully get the issue resolved once and for all. Thanks again much appreciated.
 
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