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From digest.v5.n251 Wed Sep 18 17:53:08 1996
From: "Carl Buckland" <>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 17:11:38 +0000
Subject: Trailer Hitch for M3

Joe U inquires...

Subject: E36 Trailer Hitches

>I can't be the only BMW nut out there that owns a Jet Ski water craft.
>Well....I'd like to use my M3 to haul the "Ski" out to the big lake
>(Lake Michigan). I can't seem to find anyone who sells a high quality,
>non-obtrusive trailer hitch that clears the rear apron on my "M".
>Anyone out there know of a solution?


to which Lowell responds...

I don't mean to sound rude, but you must be kidding!! Why on earth would you tow ANYTHING with your M3? Please don't do it, that car is way to good to go and put it through such torture. I doubt there would be any hitches that would clear the rear apron without bottoming out going over dips in the road. No offense intended, but please reconsider. I have a alternate car that means much less to me that will be used for towing, maybe you should do the same, even though that does mean not being in your M3. Good Luck with whatever you decide to do.


Brand spanking new 96 M3, thanks to Steve Diamond! 96 Toyota Celica GT


Dear Joe, Lowell, and all other BMW enthusiasts,

I installed a trailer hitch last July, and have gotten so much use out of it that I wish that I had done it much earlier. Lowell, I know that you think that it is blasphemous to even think of putting a trailer behind your car, but trust me, the more you use your car, the more you will realize that it has a very small carrying capacity. Faced with the decision of either towing a small trailer, or leaving the car in the garage and having to drive your father's '79 Suburban, the trailer option will start looking more attractive.

I drive all over the West for racing and BMW driving schools. I can get a lot of junk into the M3, but it will only hold 4 race tires (6 if you also put an R1 in the spare hold, and another one in the trunk). Putting tires inside of your back seat, although an option, fast becomes not only a dirty proposition, but also is very hard on your back. Plus, your wife will get tired of having the car so full of rubber that she gets claustrophobic (trust me on this one, too).

I finally decided that a small, flatbed "tire trailer" was needed. I had a whole litanny of will the hitch look on the car? How much will the trailer slow down freeway travel? How much will the weight of the receiver/hitch affect the handling of the car? I really had no choice, so I went forward.

First, the hitch. I went to Casady's, here in Salt Lake, who has a great reputation, and was once able to figure out a way for me to haul a 5000 pound Cobalt boat behind a '71 Riv' boattail (now there is a story, for another time). I told him I wanted to tow about 1000 lbs, and I wanted a hitch that "looked cool."

Scott Casady, 1-801-533-8050, gave me everything that I wanted, and more. He welded a square receiver box onto the spare tire hold, and only had to cut a very small (and not visable) hole in the bottom of the rear wind valance, thru which he ran a big bolt, up to the bumper frame. The box is black, and barely even visible (someone asked me if it was some kind of DTM ground effects tunnel). It is NOT unattractive, and will hold far more than the 900 lbs that my loaded tire trailer weights.

A trailer hitch then slides in and out of the box, to be used only when needed. I have two different sized balls, so that it will be available for multiple duty.

The trailer that I use is 66 inches wide, and about 6 feet long. It is a flatbed, with a tire rack welded in the front. It will hold 7 tires (I put the 8th in the spare hold), which is about right for a long weekend at the track. At the back of the trailer, I mounted a Truck Box, that I use to store tools, jacks, car covers, etc. It is SO nice to get to an event and not have to load and unload the car every time, plus we have a place to store our stuff during the event for security.

the trailer tires are 15", and are on leaf springs. They are adjusted for slight toe out, so that they follow the car very precisely. The 15" tires allow me to tow the car at rediculous speeds, although I am now an 80 mph -kind-of-guy, as the long arm of the law seems to really notice our ilk, and I am tired of fighting tickets. 80 seems to be "the speed limit" here in the West.

Obviously, I can't wait to dump the trailer when I get to my destination, because it IS 900 lbs, and any car will be affected by the added weight. However, you will be surprised at how little you will feel the trailer, once you are up to speed. The braking distances go up a bit, but not all that bad. My car is much lower than stock, yet I have never had the receiver box drag. It sticks out just slightly less than the valance, and is about as low as the Supersprint muffler.

Cars to are to USED, even M3's. If you have to leave it in the garage when stowage is needed, you will find the trailer a great alternative. If you race, you will really have no choice, unless you buy a tow truck and a car trailer, and that is even more of a pain. I love to drive my M3 long distances, and if I had to drive a truck with a trailer, I would miss out on the long miles of pleasureable driving. Sure it is more fun to just FLY in the M3, unencumbered with a trailer, but you have to do what you have to do.

By the way, the H&R coilovers work perfectly with the trailer. The rear end, despite the tongue weight, doesn't drop at all. the car remains basically flat, and rides just fine.


Carl R. Buckland
1000 Boston Bldg
Nine Exchange Place
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Fax 531-6690
E Mail

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