Touareg: 2006 V10 TDI
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
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Well, I wished I had something significantly more and better to report.
After significant time, phoning, and emailing I have gotten absolutely nowhere. The simple fact is that regardless of reasoning, VW will not expend any resources justifying or expanding on their statement in their owner’s manual regarding weight distribution. Further, VW acknowledged there may be a grey area between their owner’s manual and experienced recommended towing safety options. VW could not or would not provide an opinion or option for sway control although they did say sway control was acceptable. Beyond the owner’s manual VW said they, “do not recommend” using a weight distribution system and that recommending infers that an owner “can” do anything they want with a vehicle. Whether or not doing anything with is within warrant and safety is another thing.
From a towing/trailering supplier stand point I believe it comes down to “cover thy assets” rather than providing demonstrated evidence. My primary hitch choice came back with an unfounded statement that their hitch is not a good match for the Touareg. Others just simply have not responded.
I even started looking up and researching lever physics to understand why VW is against a weight distribution system. Here’s the problem, depending on the weight distribution system used and the person using it, the weight distribution system has the ability to produce considerable forces beyond what I would believe to be acceptable tolerances (and by considerable I mean multiples of acceptable spec). However, as I personally wanted the “active sway control” that comes integrated with some better weight distribution systems and I do not need weight distribution, I still believe a weight distribution system that would allow a user to fine-tune the counter force of the weight distribution system should be able to stay within the tolerances (acceptable forces).
That is, generally levers produce calculable force ratios, if one correctly calculates and understands the ratio and measures the force applied correctly, one should be able to safely stay within Touareg specifications. For instance, let’s say the Touareg has a tongue weight capable of 700lbs (to round numbers). For simplicity, VW cleverly specifies and designs the hitch ball to have a equal fulcrum distance from hitch and attachment point meaning there is no leverage per se (or rather 1 to 1). Therefore, 700lbs tongue weight = 700lbs of force on the attachment point. Now if we change the ratio (that is the distance to the fulcrum) to a distance or ratio of 7 to 1 by adding a weight distribution system it means that for every lb of force exerted on the weight distribution bars equals 7 lbs of force at the attachment point. A conscientious person would know that if they carefully apply only 100 lbs of force through the weight distribution system it will equal 700 lbs force at the attachment point – not only is this within specified tolerances but this would actually leave the attachment point at a lever force equilibrium point. That is, the 700 lbs of tongue weight force acting on the attachment point would be equally counterbalanced by the opposing 700 lbs of force applied by the weight distribution system. This is not to say the weight distribution system has leveled the vehicle (countered the tongue weight). It has only countered 100 lbs of tongue weight. Because at the lever force equilibrium point the lever forces cancel each other, only horizontal forces (pulling and pushing - accelerating and decelerating) and vertical (up and down - tongue weight) would remain. I believe this would be a good thing. Because the hitch is vertically bolted on to the Touareg, the hitch is best suited to handle horizontal and vertical forces (not lever forces). All of that theory being said, putting the full (imprudent) counter balancing force of 700 lbs (equaling tongue weight) through the weight distribution system to level out the vehicle would equal 4900 lbs of force at the attachment point (yikes!).
If there’s someone out there that would like to model this with me, I would absolutely welcome the challenge. In fact I have started a model within excel to calculate Touareg specific towing forces. I would still be open to providing an opinion/use at your own risk calculated procedure/set up for certain better weight distribution systems with “active sway control”.
But for now I will simply tow my trailer in the void between VW’s owner’s manual and available safety options knowing that I made every attempt to ensure the safety of my family to the best of my ability but unsatisfied that I believe there is a better, safer answer out there.
On a side note I am awaiting my new hitch sticker from VW stating that my vehicle is capable of a 770 lb tongue weight. I will post a picture if/when it arrives. The question is, the Touareg can tow a 7700 lb trailer with a tongue weight but should it tow that much? Will the Touareg carry the same tow rating with new tow rating standard coming out?
Sold: 2006 Touareg V10 TDi