This post is meant to provide a supplementary guide to installing the OEM hitch, OEM 'tow bar module', and the aftermarket brake controller for your Jaguar F-PACE.
For my 2017 F-PACE, I called a Jaguar parts dealer to make sure that I got the factory hitch kit
that matched my model year and options, for $1232.00 at Jaguar Norwood. It looks like the price has come down a bit since I bought it a few months ago. There are plenty of little differences between years and options - some do not fit the SVR, others include expensive parts you don't need. Just give your VIN to your dealership's parts guys so you can get the right stuff the first time. If they seem overpriced, take the part numbers down and shop around. Be friendly to your dealer even if they are jerks - when you are done installing your hitch you have to take it to them for programming or else the lights won't work!
The Land Rover dealership in Hanover, MA was able to program my tow bar module in less than two hours, for $220. They were kind enough to squeeze me in early during a very tight schedule, and since they don't usually do this programming very often, I think their price was fair.
You could shop for a used hitch - there's a Jaguar OEM hitch on eBay right now asking $600, but the guys at the junkyard didn't include the reinforcing steel inserts, which to me is one of the most important parts of the OEM kit.
I also had to buy a brake control module wiring adapter "for Ford"
and a brake controller, (I am very happy with my Tekonsha P2
Even after reading some great posts on this forum, watching YouTube videos, and following the Jaguar F-PACE Towbar - NAS FITTING INSTRUCTION
, I found there was critical information missing!
FIRST, THE WARNINGS I WISH I HAD BEFORE I BEGAN:
THE OEM JAGUAR HARNESS KIT IS MISSING THE BLUE WIRE THAT CONNECTS THE BRAKE CONTROLLER TO THE TRAILER'S BRAKES.
You must re-route and connect this wire to have working brakes! Don't worry, it's easy. It's the solid blue wire
below, all you need to do is connect it to the solid blue wire in the 7-pin connector
. Notice that there is not a blue wire coming out of the terminal on the other side! Oh, and DON'T GET IT CONFUSED WITH THE NEARBY BLUE WIRE WITH RED STRIPE!!
DO NOT USE AN IMPACT GUN TO REMOVE FACTORY BOLTS.
These are captive nuts hidden inside the frame of the car. If you are dumb like me you will ignore this advice and lose many hours trying to get the captive nut straightened out. You will likely need to drill a hole in your car to straighten out the nut after your impact gun reorients the captive nuts. Just use a socket wrench or breaker bar with gently increasing pressure, and save yourself hours/days of stressful repairs!!
Be prepared: in addition to the obvious tools, you will need:
-WD40 or soapy water, strong hands &/or exhaust hanger remover
- you will need to remove three rubber exhaust hangers (more if you have dual exhaust!)
-Large torque wrench
that can accurately reach at least 170 Nm / 125 ft-lb
-Long breaker bar
-Something to mark the bolts with in order to correctly torque the fasteners.
-A bunch of small extensions and/or different lengths sockets to get to some of the smaller fasteners.
-$200-$250 for Jaguar or Land Rover to program your Tow Bar Control Module after installation
If I were to do this job over again, I would put the back of the car up on jack stands and remove the rear wheels to get easier access to around a dozen moderately annoying fasteners and difficult to reach electrical terminals. Here's a picture of where the F-PACE jack & jack stand locations. A small mistake working under a car can quickly kill you - if you are at all unsure of what you are doing, seek professional guidance. And if you're experienced - this is a reminder to always use extreme caution and place back-up supports when working with jack stands.
Understanding the allowed towing weights:
Though the "max tongue weight" is 220 lbs, the real
actual maximum tongue weight is 385 lbs, which is listed as the 'maximum static vertical load mass'. But here's the catch: each pound of tongue weight over 220 lbs must be removed from the vehicle's payload. If the static tongue weight is 385 lb, you must subtract 165 lb from the vehicle's payload. When possible, try to move heavy cargo to the middle and front of the car, and/or increase tension to the springs of your weight distributing hitch.
The tow ball should not be any farther than 9" from the hitch pin. Trailer brakes are mandatory over 3000 lbs, but the F-Pace is light weight - only ~4000 lbs! Using this lightweight tow vehicle, I prefer brakes on trailers of 2000 lbs or more.
Once you get to a range of 2500-3500+ lbs., it really makes sense to use a weight distributing hitch. I have been using this $240 Harbor Freight Weight Distributing Hitch
for several years now, which has dramatically improved the stability of my towing setups. These devices help transfer weight to the front axle of your tow vehicle. This levels your vehicle, keeps your headlights on the road, provides much better control, and reduces sway.
The weight of a load distributing hitch does not need to be factored in as additional tongue weight, because it is considered to be part of the hitch. You will need to count it as cargo weight when factoring your GVWR. I believe that the 9" maximum ball-to-hitch distance rule does not apply as strictly to load distributing hitches, which are typically around 12" between pin and ball. (This is because the load distributing hitch counteracts the torque on the hitch, which reduces the stress on the hitch mounting points and fasteners.)
Choosing the hitch: (why OEM is much better & much more expensive):
- The OEM hitch comes with substantial, solid steel inserts strengthen the rear frame rails:
They attach with 8 additional bolts not found with any of the aftermarket hitches I have seen.
- From Jaguar: "The F-PACE bespoke towing system is optimized to work alongside the Trailer Stability Assist traction control system. This system detects when a dangerous trailer sway situation is developing and helps to regain control by gradually reducing speed through cutting engine power and applying the brakes." (This system was designed to apply a brake bias to one side of the tow vehicle in order to dampen and hopefully stop a sway condition before there is an accident.)
- (I will edit the following if an aftermarket hitch manufacturer can prove otherwise): I believe the Jaguar Tow Bar Control module is required in order for the F-Pace to 'know' that a trailer has been hooked up. So, if we do use an aftermarket hitch, we must still buy the OEM Tow Bar Control Module and have it programmed at a Jaguar or Land Rover dealership AND do custom wiring to replace the harness that comes on the OEM hitch, or else we lose the F-PACE's ability to detect and intervene in a trailer sway situation
. The transmission will also choose gears that better match the load if it knows there is a trailer back there.
- For a vehicle rated to tow 5291 lbs, the F-PACE has a short wheelbase
- it's only 8 inches longer than a VW Jetta, and three feet shorter than the average half ton pickup. Short wheelbase vehicles are less stable for towing than long wheelbase vehicles. The max rated tongue weight is low relative to the F-PACE's towing capacity. The 385 max vertical load is only 7.3% of the maximum trailer capacity of 5291 lbs. Most manufacturers recommend a tongue weight of 10-15% of the trailer's weight. All of these factors lead me to believe the OEM electronic stability system is extremely important for this vehicle to tow heavy loads safely.
I watched this installation video from Curt
that was helpful for finding fasteners and identifying the correct disassembly techniques so that I didn't break any plastic clips, etc.
As you read through the Jaguar hitch installation guide, you will notice that there are steps where the guide shows a little icon that means "we can't be bothered to explain this part, look it up in your Jaguar service manual, hahaha."
For example, in Step 4, you will remove two Allen head bolts, two (or three?) plastic Phillips head screw clips, those two black plastic hangers on the side, and 1-2 tricky, hard to find fasteners. I never removed this piece entirely, I just got it loose enough that I was able to install the tow bar module:
Another example of bad instructions. Instead, watch how to remove the rear bumper in the Curt Installation Video
And here in Step 9, as mentioned earlier, you will need WD40 or soapy water + strong hands &/or exhaust hanger remover
- you will need to remove three rubber exhaust hangers (more if you have dual exhaust!). Note 1: do not attempt to remove the hanger without lubrication, it will fight to the death and likely tear the rubber. Note 2: I have never used an exhaust hanger remover and I don't know how well they will work in this application. I used various screwdrivers and pliers, creatively searching for leverage over the rubber, which was very challenging.
Step 10 is easy, just a few nuts and bolts that are easy to find. If your car is a diesel, you don't have any exhaust on the passenger side.
Step 12 is very easy, but the orientation of this picture can be confusing. You are looking at the back left corner of the vehicle, from over the spare tire well:
I had my maiden voyage last night with an enclosed car hauler that maxed out the F-PACE's capacity. My little diesel engine had no trouble doing 65mph, and acceleration was functional. I am still really excited about what an incredibly cool little tow vehicle this is... that handles like a sports car and gets over 40mpg unloaded, and tows as much as my last half-ton truck. Fantastic.