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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
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.
I hear you. I got the car very cheap and willing to put money into it for now. By the time I’m finished it’ll owe me $32k which is still a bargain.
I agree air suspension would be nice but I’d want a much younger car if it had air suspension for reliability.
I have a stage 2 tune on mine which puts it at 200kw and 550Nm so it will pull nicely. The $$$ I save on a car will go towards the new caravan which ain’t gonna be cheap !!! I’m just happy not having to buy a similar year Landcruiser for $85k that people are asking! The Touareg is a bargain in comparison even with the mods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Sounds like the rear axle load is the thing to watch. Does anyone know the load rating? I don’t have a manual with the car. Where can I get it weighed to check I’m not overloaded?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I don't have a 2013 model. It varies from model to model. I think the value for my 2015 model is about 1530 kg?
2015 is different but I would imagine mostly cosmetic. Is yours steel springs or air suspension?
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Several Pages from the Touareg manual describing Weights for various models
Thanks for posting those pages. Mine has rear axle limit of 1530kg so next question is what’s the load on the rear axle unladen? That will give me some idea of what payload is possible.

Kerb weight is 2153kg, would it be reasonable to assume 55/45 weight distribution? 968kgs on rear axle? That leaves 562 kgs of payload over rear axle, take away 280kgs towball weight and 80 kgs of fuel, leaves 202kgs for rear passengers or 400kgs in the cabin spread over both axles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I was so convinced with the GCM figures that the Touareg would be a good tow vehicle and everyone says it is! This rear axle weight limit seems to be a much bigger limitation and you may as well forget GCM, GVM. I’m now wondering if I reconsider my choice of tow vehicle or will it all come good when I upgrade to a twin axle van with lower towball weight? I fear I’ll still be in strife with towball weight as the new van would be close to 3500 GTM. I’d want to be fully laden with 4 passengers…
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
My coilovers arrived in the post and so did the Alexgee lift kit. Unfortunately the coilovers are very different to the OEM coilovers so I won’t be able to use the Alexgee kit with them. I will be selling the kit complete with the OEM coilovers once they’re out. If anyone is in the market for shocks and lift kit, PM me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
My new coilovers are being fitted and hoping to get the car back today. They’ve been having difficulties with the rear ones with sketchy installation instructions. I’m having the ride height set to maximum since the lift kit won’t fit. This should give me 20mm lift which is better than nothing. I’ll be hitching up the caravan and heading up to my mates to test his Towpro brake controller on my van. I’m on another thread about that!

I’ll post pictures of the caravan hooked up with the new springs and without changing the hitch height we’ll see if it sits better with the increase in ride height and stiffer springs. Once I get the desired towball height established I’ll then look for a standard (shorter) hitch of the right height to reduce the leverage and rear axle load. It may have to be custom made.

Anyone know who makes custom hitches?
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Small hiccup with coilovers. The damping adjusters cannot be accessed while shocks are mounted and need to drill holes in the floor 🤔
Won’t get the car back today
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Interesting thoughts. I have heard Landcruisers can get GVM upgrades, I’ll look into how they get certified.
My thinking is that increased spring rates means you won’t sag as much under the same load and can therefore avoid bottoming out due to reduced travel. If that’s the limitation to rear axle load then the spring upgrade should increase GVM.
What else would limit rear axle load? Would it be the build strength of the car in some way?
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
I spoke to an engineering company that certifies GVM upgrades. Unfortunately cars with monocoque bodies cannot be recertified so we’re stuck with what we’ve got. I’ll just get the rig weighed so at least I’ll be able to work out how to stay legal.
The certification code is LS11
 
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