Touareg: 2006 V10 TDI
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
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Sway control without weight distribution
As we all know it is not recommended to use a substantial weight distribution system with the Touareg. Similarly to the Honda Ridgeline the Touareg’s hitch bolts directly onto the rear of the vehicle rather than various points along the frame. The force of the weight distribution system pries against the downward force of the trailer tongue to level out the rear of the vehicle and the trailer. This lever force could rip the hitch off the back of the Touareg. In fact in talking with hitch specialists they had just seen a RAV4 with a grossly over matched weight distribution system that ripped the entire hitch assemble from the RAV4. They mentioned over leverage (that is a weight distribution system rated for more tongue or hitch weight), in very rare cases, have even been known to bend the frame of the tow vehicle. The same hitch shop also mentioned they had matched several weight distribution systems to both the Touareg and the Ridgeline without issue. However, they had never seen a Touareg with 4 corner AS.
A Touareg with air suspension really has no need for weight distribution. As for most, safety while travelling is paramount and although (knock on wood) I’ve never experienced trailer sway, those that have experienced it will tell you it is not something they’d never like to experience again. For me, the travel part of our adventures has been the least enjoyable and that’s one of the reasons I bought the beast. Now that I have an über capable TV, I want to ensure the trailer sway is at bay. With being said, I have searched high and low on the internets seeking some kind of sway control without weight distribution. From what I have gathered, you can easily find weight distribution with or without sway control but it is difficult to find sway control without weight distribution. Further, there appears to be two kinds of sway control, passive and active. Passive serves only to prevent sway control where active not only attempts to prevent sway control as well as attempts to correct sway in the event it occurs.
The most readily available sway control without weight distribution is the friction sway control bar which is available from almost every manufacturer. Generally, these are attached to one side of the tongue and control sway by friction on a brake bar. I currently have one of these and the downfalls are:
1. They are a passive sway controller (they do not help to correct sway control as they only attempt to stop it by locking your trailer in line behind your vehicle
2. They are very noisy as it is the binding/friction force holding the trailer in place. In order to turn, the friction has to be overcome and that makes noise
3. It was recently recommended to me that having only one of these units on one side of the frame can be very hard on the frame and in some circumstances has shifted the frame out of alignment. Therefore it was recommended to have two friction sway control bars – a LH and a RH.
Other weight distribution systems rely on the weight distribution to create the force that serves as sway control. For instance with the Equal-i-zer, it is the downward force of the trunnion bars in the bracket that create a friction brake to control sway. As good as this particular system is, I cannot detune the weight distribution and still have significant sway control. In addition, it is also passive sway control.
Blue Ox and Henlsey may have solutions but the cost of these hitch systems is cost prohibitive. Further Blue Ox made a shock system that they have discontinued that may have worked.
So, what did I discover? I found the Husky Centerline system. It appears to be very new to the market which means there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about it on the internets. What I have learned is that it is an active sway control unit that can be detuned for weight distribution such that the weight distribution works to keep the system quiet (that is, keep the trunnion bars from rattling) rather than creating significant counter tongue weight force. It is more expensive than the friction sway bar setup but nowhere near as expensive as Blue Ox or Hensley.
Although I plan on buying one of these, does anyone have any experience with one and a Touareg?
Does anyone have any opinions or research they would care to share?
If/when I (guinea pig) purchase the Centerline, I plan on installing and setting it up myself. Further, I will report on its capabilities, operation, and handling such that other owners of Touaregs might have an über towing option/solution.
Sold: 2006 Touareg V10 TDi