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Nick Charles

Another Towbar Wiring question - where to drill?

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After some minor tribulation installing a towbar on my "new" Focus Zetec 2010 Hatchback I'm ready to replace the bumper but before doing that I probably need to drill a hole to run the towbar cable in from the 7 pin socket.

So the question is, is there some preexisting hole to use I cannot see or do I drill a hole. If drilling where is the preferred location to drill?

For anyone interested the problems so far were the reversing light and fog light falling to bits, the lenses dropped off (fixed as good as new with Humbrol Poly Cement) and the bolt on the near side under the rear wheel arch had to be cut off. In my haste to repair the bolt I cut off I managed to do some more damage drilling out the rivets, first couple I drilled too fast and the rivets spun around and cut their own over sized hole, but that's old news fixed with new larger rivets and washers. Its all a new learning curve 😕

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So a follow up question? Can I put the bumper back on and drill the hole later? My concern is the bumper might need removing again to run the cable?

Looking at a PDF from P F Jones for a Focus Mk2 Hatchback you drill on the left hand side of the boot after removing the trim? However I'm wondering if there is a route that follows the run of either the reversing light cable or fog light cable without the need to drill?

I'd be outside looking for myself but there's a storm blowing atm and more wind and rain forcast tomorrow and I'd like to get the bumper back on in a hurry in a dry spell. Don't have the electrics yet.   

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I passed the cables through am existing hole which carried the reverse sensor cables through a rubber grommet on the lhs (looking from behind the car).  From memory the reverse and fog light cables pass through another hole on the rhs.  I think I did the cabling after fitting the bar itself and refitting the bumper, but it was 10 years ago so I may have forgotten that part.

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The only reason I'm bothered about the bumper is that because I had problems taking it off the first time I don't want to go through that again. It was easy to cut the bolt in under the wheel arch but if my patch needs redoing its another 5 rivets to drill out and replace plus work out a new way to fix the bolt, I worried my replacement might spin (but it is stainless steel and I left a nut on the back I should be able to get to with a spanner). Then of course I could have the problem on the other side also and need to do twice the work. Ever the glass half empty pessimist 😩

Anyway looks like its back on with the bumper as soon as there is a break in the weather.

Actually I really don't know why I'm so bothered to get it done as I haven't even got the ownership documents back from Shannon yet (I'm in Ireland) 🙄

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As south_bound said - use an existing hole.  the towbar wire will squeeze through the existing grommet - might want to add a little lube (a spritz of WD40 on the rubber grommet can help it become more pliable - just be careful as it is more prone to tearing...yes, there speaks the voice of experience!)

Stick the bumper back on once the bar is installed - you can do the wiring later without having to take it off again.  The bumper should just come off with a few bolts, a couple of plastic clips and a bit of gentle persuasion. 

All in all, should only take a few hours to do the whole lot - including the wiring.  A set of ramps does make life a lot easier!

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If everything came off and went back on as expected then I guess three hours max would cover it but as I mentioned I had a few issues with one bolt having to be cut off necessitating some work on the inside of the bumper and both lights in the bumper fell to bits.

Bumper went back easily so now to pull the inside of the boot apart. 

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I remember it being a bit fiddly to get the bolt holes lined up well enough to push the bolts through, but didn't have to cut anything like that!  As it happens I have the boot trim all removed at the moment to help find a leak through the boot lid so have rediscovered the wiring I installed 10 years ago for the tow bar.  It wasn't very tidy though still works as it should and I even labelled up each cable to help trace them if needed.  The only thing I would do differently is put some foam around the indicator buzzer to reduce its volume, so worth checking it before you bury it behind the trim..

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On 2/8/2020 at 10:53 PM, SeanW said:

As south_bound said - use an existing hole.  the towbar wire will squeeze through the existing grommet - might want to add a little lube (a spritz of WD40 on the rubber grommet can help it become more pliable - just be careful as it is more prone to tearing...yes, there speaks the voice of experience!)

Stick the bumper back on once the bar is installed - you can do the wiring later without having to take it off again.  The bumper should just come off with a few bolts, a couple of plastic clips and a bit of gentle persuasion. 

All in all, should only take a few hours to do the whole lot - including the wiring.  A set of ramps does make life a lot easier!

Still not finished the job, its either too cold too wet or windy to work outside atm + I couldn't find the massive cache of connectors I have somewhere left over from some work I did years back.

I did feed the cable back through the grommet for the reversing light. For anyone else wanting to do this I made a small second hole by cutting a small cross in the grommet about half way in from the side. The grommet of course came out when I tried to push the cable through but that just made the job easier and the grommet goes back in easily. I might fill it with some black high temperature silicon gasket sealer I have left over from a Honda lawn tractor engine repair. 

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