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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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I got my 2013 7P 4 weeks ago and had a TAG towbar fitted with Towpro electric brake controller. I also have a Raptor adjustable tow hitch to achieve whatever towball height I need.
Hitching up to my caravan for the first time, I noticed quite a bit of sag on the rear of the Treg and the nose of the caravan pointing down as a result. Is the sag an issue as I have steel springs and no air suspension. Reading other threads most seem to think sag is acceptable and putting in stiffer springs is not recommended as it makes the ride jittery when not towing.

I have the Alex G 2” lift kit on order to get more clearance for sand driving. This will lift the car and I may also raise the Raptor hitch to lift the nose of the caravan. The rear will still be sagging and front pointing skyward but I can get the caravan level. Will this work?
 

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Camper MUST be level. Bring the hitch up another inch and test again. Might need another 2 inches to be level. Single axle trailers suck and this is part of the problem, more tongue weight.

How much does camper weigh and what's the tongue weight
 

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Looks like the axle on the dunny bucket carrier should be where the side door is for starters though I see from their website that they appear to be claiming a towball tongue weight of 300 kgs?

What's in the tin lean-to on the front?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Camper MUST be level. Bring the hitch up another inch and test again. Might need another 2 inches to be level. Single axle trailers suck and this is part of the problem, more tongue weight.

How much does camper weigh and what's the tongue weight
Camper is 1400kgs unladen with a massive towball weight of 280kgs which doesn’t change when I get the 220 kgs of dirt bikes in, plus gear, fuel, genset etc. no matter what I have that 280kgs of towball weight. I am looking long term to get a dual axle toy hauler but for now this is it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like the axle on the dunny bucket carrier should be where the side door is for starters though I see from their website that they appear to be claiming a towball tongue weight of 300 kgs?

What's in the tin lean-to on the front?
The front is a slide out kitchen but it’s empty while travelling except barbecue and gas bottle
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Camper is 1400kgs unladen with a massive towball weight of 280kgs which doesn’t change when I get the 220 kgs of dirt bikes in, plus gear, fuel, genset etc. no matter what I have that 280kgs of towball weight. I am looking long term to get a dual axle toy hauler but for now this is it.
Lift the hitch another inch and see what happens
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Was it loaded with all your bike kit when you took the photos?

What's in the car when you travel?
In the picture it is empty of bikes. Genset 32kgs and fuel can behind the axle inside plus 2 wheel chock stands on top of the axle.
Car will have a Waeco fridge freezer when travelling plus 2 adults including driver. Other than that all the gear is inside the van
 

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Part of your problem is the hitch. That height adjustable device is moving the towball what looks like about 150mm further back, and that magnifies the already high ball weight effect on the rear axle and worsens the sag. And then there is the weight of the height adjustable hitch itself. It's also possible the towbar itself has the receiver further back than optimal. Dunno about the 7P, but the CR owners manual specifies how far back the towball should be, and the towbar itself has a placard that shows the max distance the ball can be from the pin. Might be worth seeing if the 7P has similar info.

Is it possible that your 9 year old springs are a bit soft/sagged - maybe new springs at the standard rate would be a start.

If the ball weight is not changing with loading the camper, the scales might be dodgy.

Also, presumably the bikes load over a ramp on the back of the camper and their mass is behind the camper axle? That will help reduce the ball weight and ultimately the sag that's most relevant is when the bikes are loaded ready for travel but Unfortunately any load in the car is only going to make it sag a bit more.

You might want to try it without the adjustable hitch just to see how much effect the extension and its weight has.

Unfortunately through the geometry of your camper with the axle so far back is going to make your life difficult.
 

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Part of your problem is the hitch. That height adjustable device is moving the towball what looks like about 150mm further back, and that magnifies the already high ball weight effect on the rear axle and worsens the sag. And then there is the weight of the height adjustable hitch itself. It's also possible the towbar itself has the receiver further back than optimal. Dunno about the 7P, but the CR owners manual specifies how far back the towball should be, and the towbar itself has a placard that shows the max distance the ball can be from the pin. Might be worth seeing if the 7P has similar info.

Is it possible that your 9 year old springs are a bit soft/sagged - maybe new springs at the standard rate would be a start.

If the ball weight is not changing with loading the camper, the scales might be dodgy.

Also, presumably the bikes load over a ramp on the back of the camper and their mass is behind the camper axle? That will help reduce the ball weight and ultimately the sag that's most relevant is when the bikes are loaded ready for travel but Unfortunately any load in the car is only going to make it sag a bit more.

You might want to try it without the adjustable hitch just to see how much effect the extension and its weight has.

Unfortunately through the geometry of your camper with the axle so far back is going to make your life difficult.
Good point on hitch length. OEM hitch is like 1.5" long
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I agree on the hitch length. I queried it with the towbar company as well as it is 140mm further back than a std hitch. By my reckoning that adds 14% to the overall axle to towball distance which increases leverage as me also reduces max towball weight. They said it wouldn’t affect it… but laws of physics says it will. I’ll need to establish the ideal ball height for both the caravan and the boat and then buy 2 std hitches of different heights. When the caravan is level the ball needs to be 51cm off the ground once loaded. For the boat it needs to be 43cm off the ground.

My towball scale works fine. What I’m saying is that no matter how I try I cannot get towball weight below 280kgs. The bike engines are virtually over the axle and has little effect on the towball weight. Packing everything else into the back makes little difference. 50 kgs of fuel cans, genset, camp chairs and tools.

I’ll try a std hitch to see effect on sag but it won’t be high enough for the van.
 

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I agree on the hitch length. I queried it with the towbar company as well as it is 140mm further back than a std hitch. By my reckoning that adds 14% to the overall axle to towball distance which increases leverage as me also reduces max towball weight. They said it wouldn’t affect it… but laws of physics says it will. I’ll need to establish the ideal ball height for both the caravan and the boat and then buy 2 std hitches of different heights. When the caravan is level the ball needs to be 51cm off the ground once loaded. For the boat it needs to be 43cm off the ground.

My towball scale works fine. What I’m saying is that no matter how I try I cannot get towball weight below 280kgs. The bike engines are virtually over the axle and has little effect on the towball weight. Packing everything else into the back makes little difference. 50 kgs of fuel cans, genset, camp chairs and tools.

I’ll try a std hitch to see effect on sag but it won’t be high enough for the van.
Sucks when the people at the towbar company who should know this stuff well BS you, but hey, a sale is a sale :rolleyes:

Sounds like you already understand this but the biggest impact on towball load with the geometry your hauler has with the axle so far back will be getting weight off the drawbar, most of which will be pretty inconvenient if not impractical, but the sag (and highly likely vehicle rear axle weight) you have at present doesn't look viable. For example moving the BBQ out of the kitchen to the rear of the hauler while you're travelling and switching to a removable jockey wheel you can also put in the hauler. A more extreme option would be to ditch the kitchen altogether and store it all in the hauler. By rough eyeball from your photo, anything from the kitchen forward you move to say right over the axle will reduce ball load by around 2/3 of that item's weight, and if instead you move it to the rear of the hauler, the reduction in ball load will be near 100% of the item weight.

I feel your pain though. Caravan so-called engineers are not my favourite people. My caravan has a bloody stupid compliance plate that specifies a max ball load of 208kg. To get there I have to fill the rear water tank, empty the front and remove one of the gas bottles - so I have no useable water and can put bugger all in the boot, wardrobes or under the bed :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sucks when the people at the towbar company who should know this stuff well BS you, but hey, a sale is a sale :rolleyes:

Sounds like you already understand this but the biggest impact on towball load with the geometry your hauler has with the axle so far back will be getting weight off the drawbar, most of which will be pretty inconvenient if not impractical, but the sag (and highly likely vehicle rear axle weight) you have at present doesn't look viable. For example moving the BBQ out of the kitchen to the rear of the hauler while you're travelling and switching to a removable jockey wheel you can also put in the hauler. A more extreme option would be to ditch the kitchen altogether and store it all in the hauler. By rough eyeball from your photo, anything from the kitchen forward you move to say right over the axle will reduce ball load by around 2/3 of that item's weight, and if instead you move it to the rear of the hauler, the reduction in ball load will be near 100% of the item weight.

I feel your pain though. Caravan so-called engineers are not my favourite people. My caravan has a bloody stupid compliance plate that specifies a max ball load of 208kg. To get there I have to fill the rear water tank, empty the front and remove one of the gas bottles - so I have no useable water and can put bugger all in the boot, wardrobes or under the bed :mad:
Yes I totally agree on caravan engineers. I upgraded from my Prado to the Touareg because I needed better tow capacity for my next caravan which will be full height no pop top. Every single van out there nowadays is 3500kgs GVM and I see people towing with dual cabs that just bend their chassis. I am encountering issues with the Touareg that I was not expecting but I will overcome them with everybody’s help here I’m sure. Perhaps I should have gone with air suspension but I was put off by the extra complexity and inevitable failures that would happen out whoop whoop
 

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Yes I totally agree on caravan engineers. I upgraded from my Prado to the Touareg because I needed better tow capacity for my next caravan which will be full height no pop top. Every single van out there nowadays is 3500kgs GVM and I see people towing with dual cabs that just bend their chassis. I am encountering issues with the Touareg that I was not expecting but I will overcome them with everybody’s help here I’m sure. Perhaps I should have gone with air suspension but I was put off by the extra complexity and inevitable failures that would happen out whoop whoop
At least your Touareg has a bit more margin in the towball limit. My CR is either 240kg or 260kg max, depending on which supplement you read. May never buy another van, but I've been collecting links to van manufacturers who appear to be designing for lower ball weights - but the problem is always getting from a quoted tare/empty ball weight to a realistic loaded ball weight. It appears that rear door layouts in the same range start out with lighter ball weights. But realistically it's going to be hard to get anywhere until the industry evolves from a fixation on 10% + ball weights at high GTM
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Having done some more thinking and talking to towing and suspension specialists there are a few options to think about. Assuming I ditch the Raptor hitch I can

1) use a WDH which VW say don’t. This seems to be the solution the engineers favour as it redistributes weight over the front. I’ve no idea why VW say don’t use one but I’ve read other members here have used them for years with no issues

2) fit stiffer springs which most here recommend against as it ruins the ride when not towing

3) fit coilovers that have adjustable preload and damping. This means I can go with a smaller increase in spring rate to maintain comfort and use preload as the means to reduce sag under load, possibly use ride height adjustment as well to get the car level, like the air suspension does. Doesn’t fix the weight distribution but simulates what air suspension would do without WDH
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here’s what I’ve decided on…

The shock absorbers are tuned for the heavier springs so the ride is not compromised like it is if you just put stiffer springs on the std shocks.
They are adjustable for preload and ride height can be raised or lowered. In effect I can have a lowered car one day and a lifted one the next.

The only thing I didn’t think through is whether the AlexG lift kit I’ve also got coming will be compatible… 🤔

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I would stick with bc racing or Ceika personally, if this is the road road you're wanting to take
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here’s what I’ve decided on View attachment 250985

I would stick with bc racing or Ceika personally, if this is the road road you're wanting to take
I tried BC Racing but couldn’t find any listings for Touareg at all. I didn’t know about Ceika but I rang all the usual suspension specialists and they sort of laughed when I said VW 😡
 

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Here’s what I’ve decided on View attachment 250985


I tried BC Racing but couldn’t find any listings for Touareg at all. I didn’t know about Ceika but I rang all the usual suspension specialists and they sort of laughed when I said VW 😡

Ceika, rated extremely well over the years

Bc I forgot might not actually sell Touareg anymore you'd have to browse around
 

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I'm just going to add my 2c here and ask if changing the car over to one with air suspension and stock tow bar might also be an option? A lot of time and expense to go to with new suspension, lift kits, etc etc. Is there something special about this car? Air suspension will fix your problems, and when you upgrade the toy hauler (as you suggest) you won't run into a whole new set of issues. You'll also gain the extra HP as air suspension usually accompanies the 180kw engines. Anyhow, at the very least I'd try a WDH as they will help, but I'm not certain they'll get rid of that much sag.
 
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