Setting up a Range Rover
Mark III/L322 for Towing
Basic Trailer Hitch Setup
Load Equalizing Hitches
Wiring the Trailer Lights
Wiring the Trailer Brake Controller
Photo at right: Stock hitch receiver and optional 7-pin trailer wiring harness plug on author's 2004 Range Rover.
The RR Mark III/L322 is a great tow vehicle. In advertising literature it is sometimes shown towing horse trailers or boats, and it has been featured on the cover of Trailer Life magazine (August 2003), towing a hefty 28 foot travel trailer (caravan in British and Colonial parlance) with an empty weight of 5,900 lbs. The accompaing article extolled the virtues of the near-300 HP powerplant with low speed torque that allowed the combo to ascend a 7% grade at 55 mph in 3rd gear. The authors were also amazed at the RR's ability to soak up appalling terrain while towing -- on a section of freeway with "the worst surfaces in the state" they cooed admiringly: "What would normally be a tooth-rattling experience in other vehicles turned out to be a magic carpet ride". My L322 has to tow the family 24-ft travel trailer, with a dry, empty weight of 3,400 lbs and a loaded weight (with full tanks and all our junk) probably around 4,500lbs (2,000 kg).
Like its forbears, the Range Rover LM comes equipped (in the US)
excellent built-in Class III hitch receiver, immensely strong and
cleverly designed not to interfere with ground clearance and departure
angle. Unfortunately, in the electrical department (as with past
models), US Range Rovers still lag behind such lowly makes as Chevy,
Dodge, Ford and Toyota. At least the latest trailer wiring harnesses
avoid the total embarrassment of earlier ones that used purely Euro
plugs. Thanks to the Ford takeover, at least there is now a 7 pin US
plug (complete with the Ford logo), but still no provision for the
trailer brakes, even though the owner's manual admits they are
You still have to wire these manually, or get an RV or truck shop to do
These pages are intended to guide the L322 owner in making the trailering setup process as easy as possible, in spite of the obstacles unintentionally placed in our way by Land Rover.
As if to contradict traditionalists who insist on old-fashioned body-on-chassis truck construction for a tow vehicle, the new RR's tow ratings are significantly increased over earlier models. LM tow ratings are now up to 7,700lbs for trailers with brakes, compared with 6,500 lbs for the 4.0/4.6 and 5,500 for the Classic. Maximum tongue wt is still listed as 550 lbs, which may be a limiting factor in some cases.
Basic Trailer Hitch Setup
Like its ancestors, the US version of the RR III comes with an excellent Class III trailer hitch receiver, cunningly designed to be immensely strong, integrated with the vehicle's structure, and not affecting off road clearance like the low-hanging iron of the domestic British models. In the LM, the hitch receiver is tucked up under the rear bumper, so you need a longish hitch ball mount to hook up the trailer so it clears the bumper. There is a recommended limit of 11 inches of extension from the hitch pin to the trailer ball -- referred to as the shank length.
I found several ball mounts at or around the right length. Hidden Hitch makes an 11 inch one, and Putman makes an 11 1/4 inch one that is slightly stronger. I settled on the one by Putnam with a 2 inch drop and a shank length of 11 1/4 inches. If you are towing a house trailer like I do, you will need to attach a 2 5/16 diameter hitch ball.
The rear overhang results in a distance of about 47 inches from the
rear axle to the trailer hitch ball. This means if oyu are towing a
trailer it is highly desirable to use a sway
controller. The standard friction type of sway controller (examples are
available by Hidden Hitch, Reese, Putnam and other makers) is just
a telescoping bar with an adjustment to control the amount of friction
applied. A special miniature (1 1/4 inch diameter) hitch ball is
installed a few inches to the right of
the main ball of the hitch on the tow vehicle, to use as an anchoring
for the front of the device. The other end of the sway controller, is
to a similar ball located about 2 feet back on the trailer drawbar. The
resulting friction resists and dampens turning movements between the
and tow vehicle. The stabilizing effect is quite amazing --
especially when a huge truck overtakes you and you are biuffeted by the
suction pulling you in towards it!. Overall, use of a sway control is
Many weight distributing hitch ball mounts come with the auxiliary
sway bar ball already installed. Standard hitch ball mounts can easily
be modified to accept the sway control by welding a small sway control
ball mount plate (available from the sway control makers) on one side.
The center of the sway control ball is usually positioned about 5.5
inches to the right and 1.5 inches forward of the main ball.
The sway control might need to be removed during tight manoevering
allow enough freedom of movement for the trailer.
Load Equalizing Hitches
When towing a heavy trailer, most tow vehicles require a load
equalizing hitch to prevent the rear sagging and move some of the
trailer weight to the front wheels. On Range Rovers, the
air suspension keeps the vehicle level regardless
of load. This greatly simplifies the process of hooking up a trailer
(ask my wife, whose vehicle does not have air suspension). The
suspension really does keep the rear from
even a fraction of an inch.
On earlier model Range Rovers, the owner's manual warned against use
load equalizers, presumably in case they interfered with the built-in
self-levelling suspension. On the RR III, I have found no such
prohibition, so if you are towing a really heavy trailer it is probably
a good idea to use one in order to put more of the trailer weight on
the tow vehicle's front wheels, ensuring optimal steering control and
Wiring the Trailer
Indicator, Running & Reversing Lights, and Battery Charge Line
For the first time on a new Range Rover model, there is finally a factory wiring harness with North American spec 7-pin and 4-pin plugs. It costs about $200, including an ECU and a relay that plugs into the rear fusebox. Installing it requires taking a fair bit of the loadspace apart, but is not too difficult. Full details are provided on the RR III Trailer Wiring Harness Installation page.
If you are just towing a small utility trailer without brakes, your wiring job is complete and you can use the 7-pin to 4-pin adapter supplied in the kit.
Wiring the Trailer Brake
For heavy trailers over about a ton, you should definitely make sure the trailer has brakes, and make whatever provision is needed to operate them. In the US the brakes on heavy trailers (such as travel trailers) are usually electric. Unfortunately, Land Rover is still a day late and a dollar short compared with its competitors in this regard; the new Range Rover III wiring kit still has NO PROVISION for trailer brake wiring. The blue brake wire is connected to the (Ford branded) 7 pin plug, but the instructions say "not used".
Accordingly, an electric brake controller must be purchased and
wired in by hand. Due to the electronic complexity of the new model,
this is not as easy as on older Range Rovers, but can be done with a
little persistence. Full details on this procedure are provided on the RR III Trailer Brake Controller Installation
page which depicts my own
installation (photo at right).
Watch this space
RR III Trailer Wiring Harness Installation
RR III Trailer Brake Controller Installation page.
If you have corrections, comments or suggestions, email us.
Page revised February 9, 2012