hitch for bike carrier

Audi A3 E-tron Forum

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Hey Everyone- I was doing some looking around the web and found a thread about people spotting A3 e-trons with hitches.

Another guy chimed in that he'd ordered his with a hitch in Spain. Here's the page that shows it as an available accessory.

http://www.audi.es/es/web/es/modelos/a3 ... orios.html

I looked on the UK site and see that the bike carrier is listed as an option, but can't find the hitch.

If these things are available worldwide, then isn't there some way to get them here?
You'd have to import one privately. You can't get them from Audi, the USA lawyers won't sign off on them.
I guess the question is how to do that. Find an e-tron owner in Spain that's willing to get his dealership to order one?

I'd really love to get this bike thing sorted. Anyone who got the CURTIS VW hitch have any followup? My Audi dealership seems to be cool with doing some modification.
I've had my Curt hitch on the car for 7-8 months. I don't have a bike rack, I use it to tow a small utility trailer. (Keeps me from having to own a truck.) I towed the trailer yesterday, as it happens.

Yes, the two side plates touch the muffler. Spacers won't help that. But I've not seen any effects from it doing so. No rattles, clunks, squeaks or change in exhaust noise when running the ICE. No ill effects at all.

Is it proper or ideal that it interferes with the muffler? No, certainly not. Yes, I'd prefer it didn't. But since it seems to work fine as it is, I give it no further thought, and if I needed to do it again I would do so.

A last thought - I installed mine myself, if you need to have a shop install it you may want to sound them out ahead of time about how they feel about the hitch touching the muffler. Some shops may refuse to install it because of that.
Thanks for the head's up arne. I've made it clear I want a hitch from the start- my guy there said that they do drill holes in the frames to put in hitches all the time, so they're certainly not adverse to things beyond basic installation. I know there was a hitch people were installing that did require drilling, but more cleanly cleared the muffler. Perhaps I should present them with both options and see how they want to go. The car is a lease so I want to make sure they're cool with whatever I do, though the likelihood of us buying this cars out are pretty good- but just in case... :D

Can you share which wiring kit you used, brand (and model/part # if you remember)? I've been trying to get a Tekonsha TCI kit to work, but it's driving me crazy (testing/identifying the rear wires -- brake, LT, RT, tail -- with a circuit tester doesn't correspond to how the lights behave when put under load and/or connected simultaneously). It doesn't help that the brake and turn signals are combined. Besides the wiring kit you used, any tips you learned to get the trailer lights working correctly would be very much appreciated. Thanks, John
@hallsvt - I won't be a lot of detailed help, as I must admit I don't have the lights hooked up yet. The regulations here don't require lights on a trailer this small unless I'm towing after dark.

I did keep the Curt powered adapter box from the Golf TDI, and it should work. But even then, my experience will be different than most, as I used OBDeleven to reprogram my rear lights to separate the turn signals and brake lights. Mine are no longer combined.

However, knowing how these converters work, and assuming your lights are going to remain combined turn and brake, I can give you a hint or two. To make it work with your lights, you only need to tap three wires, one for the tail lights (either side is fine), and one for each turn signal. The turn signal leads from the converter box should tap into any of the combined brake/turn wires. (Each outer light will have two wires that are combined brake/turn, either wire is ok for this use.) Do not connect the brake lead(s) from the converter box at all.
Thanks Arne. Your advice re hooking up the wires matches what I've even attempting. It's not really all that complicated, so I've been flummoxed by the way the lights have been acting. I've started to wonder whether it's something about the Tekonsha computer (controller box), so my next strategy is picking up a Curt wiring kit. Since so few folks are trying to put a tow bar on their eTrons (other than on this forum) there's nothing to be found on the net re hooking up trailer wires to an eTron. I'l let the forum know when I get it figured out.
I'm going to have a several week long break from my other project ('73 Porsche 914 going into paint shop), and hooking up the trailer lights is on my list of things I'd like to get done before the 914 comes back and I have to reassemble it. Since my lights are no longer North America standard, I will need to connect 4 wires to make it work - one tail (either side is fine), one brake (either side or even the center light), and a turn signal wire to both sides. Will try to remember wire colors and post back here when I do that.
Do we know if the CURTIS hitch that you guys are using on your 2016 A3s works on the 2017 as well? I seem to remember reading there were some differences...
11thIndian":3ckxuy52 said:
Do we know if the CURTIS hitch that you guys are using on your 2016 A3s works on the 2017 as well? I seem to remember reading there were some differences...

I had it on my 2017 and it barely cleared the sides of the exhaust. Way too close for my liking, so removed it.
Ferster":2v2ei23e said:
11thIndian":2v2ei23e said:
Do we know if the CURTIS hitch that you guys are using on your 2016 A3s works on the 2017 as well? I seem to remember reading there were some differences...

I had it on my 2017 and it barely cleared the sides of the exhaust. Way too close for my liking, so removed it.
But that appears to be the same way it fits on my 2016, or perhaps better. Mine presses against the muffler all the time. As I have noted previously, this is not ideal, but I've seen no ill effects so far, and I do use the trailer a lot.

Actually, the hitch I had on my mk6 Golf TDI also had some clearance issues with the exhaust, and it was designed for the car. I suspect that exhaust clearance is a bit variable from car to car.
Finished the install on my 2016 eTron. Installing the Curt 11412 hitch went very smoothly, bolt holes an exact match and easy to access. I lowered the exhaust just to give me a bit more room to fish the bolts into place and tighten everything up. As arne says, the hitch touches the exhaust at two spots, but does not obstruct or push the exhaust out of its normal position. Notably, it was easy to raise & screw the muffler back into place. Considering how rigidly the muffler and entire exhaust line is held in place on the eTron, it seemed unlikely that the muffler was doing much bouncing to begin with and doubtful it would be rattling against the hitch. And, indeed -- as arne has reported -- driving the car, even on our bumpy dirt roads in Vermont, has not revealed any rattling or new noises, no detectable adverse effects.

I also discoversed that the Curt website actually recommends the 56146 powered 3-to-2 wire trailer light converter for the eTron. Contrary to arne's advice above (though much appreciated), this time around I tapped the stop/brake wire from the converter into the (blue w/ green tracer) wire that feeds the high-mount brake light since that signal isn't shared with any of the turn signals. For anyone who winds up doing the wiring, here are the wires on the eTron I tapped into:

Stop/brake = blue w/ green tracer (found in the wire bundle & flexible rubber conduit/gasket that connects the hatch to the body of the car -- left of the hinge, just above the anchor point for the lift piston)

Left turn = Gray coming out of the eTron left rear light cluster

Right turn = Brown w/ red tracer coming out of the eTron right rear light cluster

Tail / running = Brown w/ red tracer coming out of the eTron left rear light cluster
Leaning towards getting a custom hitch made by Vangro Welding & Machine Service Ltd.

Here is a thread detailing (with photos) one person's experience with having a custom hitch made for a different make/model car. The reviews of the company are very positive. The price was approx. $400

Does anyone have any experience or have heard of anyone having a custom hitch made for their A3 etron?

Purpose of the hitch is for a bike rack only
No experience, but a competent shop should be able to do it easily. It's not difficult, since the only problem with the Mk7 Golf/GTI hitch is muffler clearance. Everything else is fine.
For the trailer wiring, what have people been using for the switched positive wire in the back of the eTron?

The negative there is a ground (brown) wiring cluster connected to the body on the left trunk behind the air compressor.

Thanks "hallsvt" for the rest of the wiring below:
  • Stop/brake = blue w/ green tracer (left)
    Left turn = Gray (left)
    Right turn = Brown w/ red tracer (right)
    Tail / running = Brown w/ red tracer (left)
Has anyone recently bought and installed a Hidden Hitch on a 2017 E-tron? wondering if that is still the only hitch that will properly fit the car.

Thank you for any suggestions and info.
Unless Hidden Hitch has come out with a new model for the A3 eTron (which I doubt, as Audi has ceased sales in North America), I don't think I'd describe it as "the only hitch that will properly fit the car." I'm pretty sure both the etrailer and Hidden Hitch websites specifically exclude the eTron Sportback from the fitment / compatibilty for the Curt, DrawTite, Reese and Hidden Hitch models otherwise sold for Audi A3 (sedans). Some folks on this forum and others report that they were able to adapt some of these hitches by drilling additional mounting holes, modifying the vertical sections or even some welding.

What we know, for sure, is that the Curt 11412 hitch (specified for the Golf & GTI) is a direct bolt-on fit for the eTron Sportback with no modification necessary -- apparently Audi built the eTron on the Golf/GTI/eGolf hatchback platform, so the frames seem to be pretty much identical.

Search on this forum for previous postings by "arne" and myself "hallsvt" for our experiences mounting the Curt 11412 on our eTrons. Also, one recent reviewer on Amazon wrote: "Fit my 2017 audi etron like a glove. No modification needed. Though it touches both side of the muffler no problem or noise. Sort of holds the muffler more securely. Looks oem. Would recommend and buy again. Well made and good finishing." Another reviewer on the etrailer website also gives the Curt 11412 an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Aside from our bike rack, we've used the Curt 11412 to pull a Little Guy Silver Shadow teardrop camper and a 5x10 landscaping trailer all over the country with our eTron -- no problems in three years!

Also, FYI -- if you do wind up buying the Curt 11412, it's hard to beat the price on Amazon

Hope this helps.
Also, take a look at the post from "jelhardt" on Mar 30, 2017 4:58 pm: "I just installed the Curt #11412 on my 2017 e-tron. No issues at all! No heat shield to trim, no extra hands needed. I think I could have installed it without even dropping the exhaust. I'm not certain what changed between the 2016 and 2017 models, but I would recommend the #11412 without reservation."