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Discussion Starter #1
I plan to use my new to me 2012 TReg TDIv6 to tow my travel trailer/camper (5500lbs). I'm doing some weighing and plan to get/keep my tongue weight down with cargo management/relocations. First measure has tongue weight at the ball area before diet of hitch at 850lbs (using 4 ft beam on blocks & bathroom scale 1 to 3 ft). Currently have a spare tire, 30lb propane tanks and battery on the camper hitch. And I will have a bicycle rack on the back bumper (hitch welded to frame rails) loaded that will offset weight also, not measured yet. I plan to use Weight Distribution & sway control arm with EAZ Lift hitch.

The car came with aftermarket 20" rims that appear identical to some Q7 rims. Anybody have any experience with differences and which rims might be better for towing? Considering buying a used set of 18" rims to use for towing & winter. Would lighter or narrower be helpful?

Thanks, Tim
 

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Before looking at "lighter/narrower' being suitable/acceptable.... consider tyre availability and choice options and price for the rim size you're considering.

I went from a 21" setup to 19" Porsche Cayenne rims, same stud pattern/offset etc etc. It gave me a very acceptable and choice of available tyres, that fall within budget, especially considering availability in remote areas.

Overall width difference of these versus OEM is minimal.
 

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I tow a 24' enclosed trailer with 20" wheels on my '13 TDI. The question I have is what is wrong with the 20" tires and wheels you have?

I have Michelin Premieres (275/45R20). They are a really good all around tire that does everything I ask it to (though tread life is about 20K-25K miles). The thought of tires never crossed my mind while towing.

I've found there are some decent options for the 20" wheels. But it depends on what your needs are. If you plan on traveling roads with potholes you may want something with more sidewall and be willing to trade off a little bit of sway.

I've lately been considering All Terrain tires and there are about 3 all terrain tires I've found so far in the stock 275/45R20s (Cooper Zeon LT, General Grabber, and one or two others....). In all season or snow tires there are a lot of options for 20". My concern has been the pot holes and having a bigger selection of tires in the size and load range I want. I've found 265/60R18 to have quite a few sizes as these are popular truck/suv sizes.

I think you may want to better define what you need. Load range wise an LT which appears to closely align with 107 to 111 load rating range.....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They are aftermarket and I'm not sure of the strength like I would for the factory. Another person I talked to mentioned he had different experiences between 2 sizes when towing a large camper. Good point, I should check the load range of the current tires.
 

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Some wheels will also have the load rating usually in kg. Cast or stamped on the inner portion of the time. Often on the backside of the spokes.
 

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I plan to use my new to me 2012 TReg TDIv6 to tow my travel trailer/camper (5500lbs). I'm doing some weighing and plan to get/keep my tongue weight down with cargo management/relocations. First measure has tongue weight at the ball area before diet of hitch at 850lbs (using 4 ft beam on blocks & bathroom scale 1 to 3 ft). Currently have a spare tire, 30lb propane tanks and battery on the camper hitch. And I will have a bicycle rack on the back bumper (hitch welded to frame rails) loaded that will offset weight also, not measured yet. I plan to use Weight Distribution & sway control arm with EAZ Lift hitch.

The car came with aftermarket 20" rims that appear identical to some Q7 rims. Anybody have any experience with differences and which rims might be better for towing? Considering buying a used set of 18" rims to use for towing & winter. Would lighter or narrower be helpful?

Thanks, Tim
I think getting the tongue down "near" 770 and using weight distribution will be enough. No need for extremes. It will be fine. No racing of course :)
 

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They are just OEM Pirelli Scorpion Verde or something like that. There is nothing special about the tires. The MPG gains are because they have less rolling resistance and less unsprung weight I believe. They are narrower and lighter so you get better MPG. Its the change from OEM 20's to OEM 18's that caused the increase, not a special tire selection.
 

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What you have will probably work, the issue is sidewall height and risk of blowout. If you plan to go to 18" wheels (good used OEM's can be found for less than $100), consider the Continental Terrain Contact AT in 255/55-18. They are among the few V-rated All terrain tires that are also rated for the load and tire pressures of the Touareg. Tire Rack has the 2016 version on sale for under $160/ea. We are running these on my son's 2004 V8 Touareg and my wife's 2013 Volvo XC60. Our commute includes a road that drops 2000' in 6 miles with 108 turns. These tires are amazing in the corners wet/dry/icy, better than the the Conti Extremecontact DWS on our vehicles. Better yet, go a little larger with a set of 19" Cayenne wheels (also less than $100/ea on eBay) and mount a set of 255/55-19 Conti Terrain Contact tires. We are running these on our 2008 V10 TDi Touareg which tows our large Sundowner horse trailer with 2-3 Icelandic horses inside.
 

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Assuming your wheel and tyre load ratings are withing range, your 20" wheels will probably be fine if you are sticking to the black top.

If any of your towing will be off road or even corrugated dirt/gravel road, then I'd suggest the extra side wall height of the 18" combination will be better suited. A little more protection for the wheel, especially if you need to air down. I specifically looked for a Treg with 18" wheels for this reason (not that we do much towing off road... yet).
 

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I put nitto terra grapplers (275/45R20) on my 20 inch rims after I downgraded from 21's to 20's. Really good and strong tyre. Towed my 22ft 2.7T caravan around in Queensland Australia and they didn't miss a beat. I highly recommend them. I'm presuming you can get them in states where you are from. Check them out and save yourself having to buy new rims and tyres.
 

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All things equal 18in wheels will be more comfortable.. and are significantly cheaper.. your not gonna get extra sway properly inflated.

Personally, I'm less concerned about wheel size for towing on-road.. and more concerned about that space saver spare wheel, thats not something I would want to use w/a trailer hooked up.. so get a 5th wheel if your gonna downsize and toss a full size spare on your trailer.. or be prepared to leave the trailer behind while you go get your tire fixed.
 

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I put nitto terra grapplers (275/45R20) on my 20 inch rims after I downgraded from 21's to 20's. Really good and strong tyre. Towed my 22ft 2.7T caravan around in Queensland Australia and they didn't miss a beat. I highly recommend them. I'm presuming you can get them in states where you are from. Check them out and save yourself having to buy new rims and tyres.
How do they hold up when most of the tread is worn?

Some tires get softer rubber as they wear others become harder and have less traction. Which way do the Nitto’s wear?
 

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How do they hold up when most of the tread is worn?

Some tires get softer rubber as they wear others become harder and have less traction. Which way do the Nitto’s wear?
I have travelled about 40,000km on mine and I actually had a service done on the car yesterday and they said I still have 5mm of tread left so they are wearing quite well for all terrain tyres on a big heavy car. Look, its hard to say whether they have gotten worse or better. When you have 800nm's of torque on tap, no tyre is going to grip really well if you give it the beans around corners etc. but based on my experience, they seem to be the same as when I got them. They are two years old now. No all terrain tyre will be as good as a dedicated road tyre (in my case I had 21 inch pirelli scorpion road tyres and they are definitely better than these nittos on the road) but that's the price you pay for having a tyre that does go off road. Hope this helps.
 

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I know this thread is a bit old but the OP mentioned using Weight Distrubution for towing, I thought you did not want to use a weight distribution hitch since it's a unibody frame?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The OEM doesn't advise it. But this maybe the easy way out because they outlawed WD hitches in Europe because of a disinformation campaign by the camper manufacturers or something like that back in the early days of campers. So basically, they're saying we don't engineer for it so we advise against it. In Europe, they have much lighter tongue weights on camper/trailers and typically smaller campers. So what are we to do her in the States?

Some variations of advice I've found in my research:
1. Tow with WD, but it's best on steel spring vehicles (not air ride). This pushes some of the camper tongue weight down on the front tires and levels out tow vehicle.
2. CanAm (Canadian AirStream dealer) advises tow with WD with the ball as close to the bumper as possible, and they modify hitches by welding a support metal pipes/piping from hitch forward to the axle/suspension. If stock they go under the muffler following it's contours and attach to a plate on the suspension between the wheels. They are Canadian and possibly subject to less litigation, so American camper dealers probably wouldn't touch this with a 10ft pole due to liability. They also advise towing low center of gravity campers, kind of unique to air stream these days. They have some great information on their website and some unique vehicle combinations that you can drive test. I'm also considering redrilling the hole for my hitch pin to move my WD hitch 2" closer to the bumper. This seems to reduce the leverage substantially the closer to the bumper you get the hitch ball.
3. Put the front of your camper on a hitch diet, but be careful to avoid sway if you get less than 10% of total camper weight. Some people have moved batteries and spare tires if on the hitch or in the trunk. Caution, lead acid batteries shouldn't be inside, move to rear bumper or switch to AGM/Lithium if putting inside. Directly over camper axles is best location for reducing flex and strain on frame and camper exteriors(AirStream).
4. Don't use WD if air ride suspension. The shocks will compensate for the added weight, but will still lighten the front end with too much tongue weight and could affect steering and braking performance.

I know a person that towed a heavy large airstream (900lbs tongue weight with low CG trailer) with his TDI Touareg a lot of miles across America and had his hitch modified by CanAm. He had a great towing experience and loved his Touareg. He did experience issues with different rim sizes and types of tires, which was the point of this post to ask for other feedback about rim and tire combinations.

I plan to tow my maybe too long and too high camper with my Touareg. I typically tow 2-4 hours from home in my state without much high wind risks and I'll be testing it this camping/racing season. Your mileage may vary, I may decide to switch back to my gas guzzling HD pickup. We'll see. I would really like to use the Touareg, it does phenomenal with my small trailer with dirt bikes and barely notices them. I'm loving the gas mileage we get so far. The ball is very close to the wheels, which simulates a lot of the advantage of the Hensley/ProPride, by making that pivot close to the tires to stop sway and reduces the leverage put on the tow vehicle (tongue weight and side to side).

All, please correct any points I've regurgitated above, this what I've been able to gather and attempt to logically organize in my head from the vast amount of info on this site and others and in my limited amount of research.
 

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Flyboy,

Thanks for that detailed response, I'm pretty sure my 2012 is equipped with coil over springs and not air ride. My trailer doesn't weigh that much (3200# empty) however it does have a front toy hauler deck that when loaded puts my tongue weight over 700 pounds. I could start to load heavier items in the rear of the camper and travel with full water in the tanks which is behind the axle but I haven't checked to see if that will lower the tongue weight enough.

I have an Eaz-Lift 1000# weight distribution hitch that I use with my Chevy Trailblazer but I'll be towing with the T-reg from now on. I tow across country so it's important that I have a safe setup regardless of the hitch choice.

I guess the only way I can tell if the front end is too light is to load my trailer up wet, check the tongue weight and hook it up to the T-reg without the Weight distribution hitch to see how it sits. This is the trailer when I picked it up. If I put a heavy quad on the front then it really bumps up the tongue weight and with the trailblazer I have to have the weight distribution hitch or it was dangerous to drive:

235887
.
 

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FLA batteries are perfectly fine inside, isint your starter battery under the seat? At the low discharge/charge rates most campers see, there is virtually no risk.. now if you hook a big red shop charger up to perform a high voltage equalization at the start of the season, you should open up the camper.. but chances are you already have just to hook it up.. AGM's are terrible house batteries for campers, dont fall for that marketing BS.

Europe didnt outlaw WD hitches, they just have no need for them because of different load regulations.. the reason they have lower tongue ratings in EU is because they have very low maximum speeds for towing.. you can get away with 5% on the tongue in the UK when your max speed is 60mph on some roads, and 50mph on most others.. do 50mph out in western US and you'll get pushed off into the ditch by the big rigs passing you 35mph faster..

Weight Distribution gives you no extra tow capacity on this vehicle, unlike a 3/4ton truck with huge payload capacity you will not find separate towing ratings for With a WD and Without a WD.. the weight on the tongue stays the same, your just changing how that weight is distributed to the wheels.. so effectively you just lowered your tongue capacity by the weight of the hitch.

Just put some friction anti-sway if you feel you need it.. OEM is not taking the easy way out, they are simply not designed for this.. I've seen someone hook an airstream up to a Q5 w/a WD hitch, then procced to have the hitch ripped off going over a speed bump at 2mph in a parking lot.. YMMV, but I'd personally advise against use of WD on vehicles that dont specifically list higher ratings with its use.
 
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@p40whk I was highly considering one of those trailers.. but it got nixed off the list because of its crazy tounge requirements... your gonna need a big truck to actually use that deck on the front of it.. Hate to break it to yeh, but thats not a trailer you can fully utilize w/a Touareg IMO.. You could load that thing up over half a ton on the tongue stupid easy w/as far back as that axle is located..
 
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