Hitch Weight and Warranty - Club Touareg Forums
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post #1 of 33 Old 02-27-2019 Thread Starter
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Hitch Weight and Warranty

Folks, I'm looking for opinions: My Treg is a 2017 V6 with 2.5 years of warranty left and with 15,000 km on the odometer. So here is my dilemma: I have paid a $500 US deposit on a Lance 1985 travel trailer that has a hitch weight of 495 lb, add to that 50 lb for the murphy bed, 40 lb for two propane tank fills, 29 lb for the battery and 14 lb for the hitch raiser to bring the trailer to level. This provides a total load on the hitch of 628 lb. (The actual dry weight of this 23 ft 8 in. LOA trailer is 3,925 lb.) The owner's manual is stating a max hitch weight of 616 lb, but the max tow weight is supposedly 7,716 lb and was the reason I bought the Treg, instead of one of those other SUVs, with a max tow weight of 5,000 lb. But, if it is expected that hitch weight will be between 10 and 15% of the GVWR that would be between 772 to 1157 lb. So, I don't understand the legal aspects around exceeding the given hitch weight and how VW can print 616 lb in their owner's handbook. This appears to be contradictory. I have read about the European measuring system, but that has no bearing on a North American certified vehicle. Moreover, the owner's handbook also states that a 2 inch ball must be used, but this Lance trailer is fitted standard with a 2 5/8 inch ball receptacle.

I know that Can Am in London have a modification which will let the Treg accept a higher hitch weight, but it is not a certified or approved modification. Furthermore, the owner's manual does not permit the use of such.

I discussed this with the assistant sales manager at Don Valley VW yesterday evening and he did not know how VW came up with a hitch weight of 616 lb. He informed that a modification to the hitch would make my vehicle warranty invalid and that VW were very "tight" on these matters. Also, there is the legal aspect: If I am involved in an accident while towing the Lance 1985 trailer and it is found that I exceeded the hitch weight and ball diameter given in the owner's handbook, would my insurance still be valid and would I be liable for prosecution for driving with an unsafe vehicle load? Such an accident in the US with their litigation practice would bankrupt me without insurance coverage.

So folks, what to do; who do I turn to? I bought the Treg (which now I love) with the intention of towing a twin-axle trailer and I made this known to the sales person at the time. The sales brochure does not make a reference to hitch weight, just the exceptional towing capacity. Do I have valid grounds to seek compensation from VW? Should I risk towing without a weight distribution hitch? Should I let Can Am install a weight distribution hitch and hope they will stick by me in the event misfortune comes my way? Should I walk away from the Lance trailer purchase and lose the $500 US deposit?
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post #2 of 33 Old 02-27-2019
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Lots of info in this section on the subject. Many of the users have towed all sorts of sizes and weights. Some believe in the Can Am mod you mentioned, other like me, don't think very highly of it..... I'd suggest you actually measure the TW on your trailer before you commit. Manufacturers seem to make up values all the time so unless you've measured it yourself, don't believe any of it. After that, think about placing some stuff at the rear instead of on the tongue. (relocate batteries, etc)

I don't think you have a leg to stand on if you try to get coin out of VW, but depending on how much you want to invest in pursuing that option, you may want to attempt it.
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post #3 of 33 Old 02-27-2019
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Ok... so I went through this same mental exercise (and exhaustion) before towing a 24' box trailer weighing around @ 5,500 lbs over 1500 miles (nearly non stop).


I have a 2013 Touareg TDI with factory hitch. I presume we are talking factory hitch.


The real question is what does your trailer weigh as you plan to tow it?


The next question is what is the actual tongue weight (I bought two 500 lb digital bathroom scales on Amazon to find out... I only ended up needing one).


One thing to note... I found a HUGE difference in weight between the jack and the wheel. In my case I built a cradle out of some 2 X 4s to evenly spread the weight on the (glass) scale top. I then used a piece of wood under the ball coupler with the trailer sitting approximately level. I measured around 400 lbs actual tongue weight.


As far as the 10% or 15% rule... well it is a rule of thumb, and technically until 2014 or so there was no official US standard for trailer tow ratings on SUVs and light trucks. it was purely up to the manufacturer to define their own tow ratings, thus it was difficult to compare. The standard today is SAE J2807. The SAE J2807 was created to help consumers compare tow ratings on light and heavy duty pickups. Not sure if the Touaregs were ever rated or evaluated to be complaint with this.


You asked where the tongue rating came from on the hitch... my guess is that VW down rated it from the 770 of the 2010/2011 hitches by subtracting the weight of the hitch itself from the rating. I almost bought a 2011 hitch to put on mine but found it had the wrong part number. After a lot of research I am 99% sure the hitch metal is the same, but the difference in part numbers (between a 2011 and 2013) is a different decal for the tongue weight rating.



When I bought my factor VW hitch to have installed on my Touareg it weighed around 80 or 100 lbs when UPS dropped it off at my house. In all honesty it was built heavier duty than an OEM GM hitch on a 2003 Chevy 2500. To say it is over engineered is a compliment in my book... but it is heavy. It also attaches with ( 8 ) 12mm bolts (not really relevant to this discussion except to say that it is well fastened).



VW actually rates the tow rating of their receiver by keeping the trailer ball center-line rather close to the hitch assembly. This is how they get such a big rating on it. Most aftermarket hitches in the US (especially those with 2 5/16" balls) have the ball center-line further from the hitch. This changes the loading and rating slightly (lots of math involved).


The simple answer is to use the VW hitch with VW receiver and 2" ball if you plan to tow a trailer close to the max weight rating of the Touarge. I've towed smaller trailers with after market hitches and don't think twice about it.



As to how to connect it... I'm not sure. The 2" ball couplers should be rated up to 8,000 lbs or so. Though VW only rates the ball to 7700 lbs or perhaps 8000 lbs (I don't actually own this receiver). According to West Marine (https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvis...s-and-Couplers), a 2" coupler is good to 8,000 lbs. If the trailer you buy has a 2 5/16" ball it may be over kill. You could look into replacing the 2 5/16" ball coupler with a 2" one (though I'm not sure that is the best option).



On the other hand it could also be designed for tow by normal pickups where a 2 5/16" ball is the 'camping' standard on bigger trailers.


Another option on heavier trailers is to use a weight distributing hitch (my recommendation).

In my case that is what I did with a 2 5/16" ball and 600 or 800 lb WD distributing hitch springs. When I first hooked up the trailer (note the ball cener-line is quite a bit further than VW recommends), the rear squatted quite a bit. Once I set the WD springs the rear end lifted almost to normal height and the front went down. I was nervous the first few hundred miles but after 1500 miles it was no big deal. In fact the Touareg pulls very nicely configured this way.


The easy answer for you is to drive your Touareg to the trailer you are considering, hitch it up let the tongue weight down and see how much the rear squats. If you feel uncomfortable with it consider a weight distributing hitch as I describe above. If it doesn't squat you might consider driving it. If you can use the factory 2" ball and receiver tube you may get slightly less rear squat.



Really it all comes down to the weight of the tongue and the trailer. Remember where you place the scale can significantly change the tongue weight reading you see....


The scale I used was from Amazon and was the "EatSmart Precision 550 Extra Wide Digital Bath Scale w/550 LB Capacity Stainless Steel ".


Also I forgot to mention I use a Tekonsha P3 digital electric trailer brake controller mounted under the dash to the factory electric brake controller wiring.




As a last note VW tends to over engineer and be overly conservative in their manual.



Take a look through the posting of tow rigs: https://www.clubtouareg.com/forums/f...57125-111.html


Post #1105 shows a bit of the squat I talk about. I didn't like that much squat especially on a 1500 mile trip, so I use a weight distributing hitch and you can barely see any squat at all in the rear.





With all that said, can you post the trailer weight?
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post #4 of 33 Old 02-28-2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NTDI View Post

Post #1105 shows a bit of the squat I talk about. I didn't like that much squat especially on a 1500 mile trip, so I use a weight distributing hitch and you can barely see any squat at all in the rear.
That's me towing my TT for the first time after purchase.... ~700 km trip back home.
The TT is supposed to only have a 373lb TW according to the manufacturer documentation..... as noted, there was some squat going on, and as such, I don't believe that figure, but I haven't gotten around to measuring it myself. I suspect it's way more than that. Other than the squat, the handling wasn't too bad, and there were only a few bumps over the 7h+ trip (nearly non-stop) over which the front end felt light at the 110kph cruising speed.
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post #5 of 33 Old 03-01-2019
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Sorry. I just referenced the picture that looked about like my tow rig before I setup the weight distributing hitch. I didn't have time to really think about it, and the trailer was already set for the weight distributors. So on they went and down went the nose. I measured the trailer at about 390 lbs tongue weight. so not much different than yours. I just felt a little nervous going on a 1500 mile trip for my first journey with the Touareg without WD hitch. But now that I've towed that trip, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
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post #6 of 33 Old 03-01-2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NTDI View Post
Sorry. I just referenced the picture that looked about like my tow rig before I setup the weight distributing hitch.
Don't be.... I was just sayin......
Based on my squat, I'm suspecting that the claimed TW is higher than what the manufacturer says. I plan to measure it myself as soon as the snow melts and I start messing around with the trailer again. Until then, I'm just going to speculate.
I will surely be installing a WD system once things warm up a little in my neck of the woods as that squat bothers me (visually mostly)
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post #7 of 33 Old 03-01-2019 Thread Starter
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Hello TurboABA,
Thanks for your reply. I am purchasing a Lance 1985, which has a dry weight of 3975 lb and a GVWR of 5,700 lb. The hitch weight for the empty trailer is 495 lb to which should to which should be added 50 lb for Murphy bed (according to dealer), 40 lb for propane, 29 lb for the battery and 14 lb for the hitch/ball assembly, giving a total 628 lb. So what do you think? Do I need a weight distribution hitch? Do I need an anti-sway bar?
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post #8 of 33 Old 03-01-2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senecio View Post
Hello TurboABA,
Thanks for your reply. I am purchasing a Lance 1985, which has a dry weight of 3975 lb and a GVWR of 5,700 lb. The hitch weight for the empty trailer is 495 lb to which should to which should be added 50 lb for Murphy bed (according to dealer), 40 lb for propane, 29 lb for the battery and 14 lb for the hitch/ball assembly, giving a total 628 lb. So what do you think? Do I need a weight distribution hitch? Do I need an anti-sway bar?
I say yes to both.
As mentioned above, in the picture shown, is my '14 with a "supposedly" (manufacturer spec) ~400lbs TW trailer.
Check out the squat! (not massive, but noticeable)
If you go roughly 1.5x that as per your specs, you will be "dragging your exhaust tips" in my books
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post #9 of 33 Old 03-01-2019
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Also, check you specs, and measure if you can instead of believing the manufacturer.
https://www.lancecamper.com/travel-trailers/1985/specs/
I see different specs in that link.....

P.S. I wouldn't spring for the anti-sway... you should be OK in my opinion with that size.
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post #10 of 33 Old 03-01-2019 Thread Starter
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Hello TurboABA

I have rechecked the specs. from the 2017 brochure and I did not misquote (I added the weight of the optional sofa/bed as given by a Lance dealer). I also note that the 2018 is different again. So now I am confused by what Lance is putting out.
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