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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.

Possible solutions:
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.
 

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Don't use any sort of WD with an air suspended touareg. the air suspension is already doing the job of weight distribution...if you use WD you fool the suspension into thinking the weight up front is heavier than it really is, and the weight out back lighter than it really is...the suspension adjusts height and damping to compensate, and you're left with a handling mess.

A basic friction system is fine...the Touareg already has stability control built into it via ESP.

I towed my Jayco 25 over many many miles with 1 side friction anti sway and never got into anything near a sway condition. Unless you're towing something bigger than that TT (which you shouldn't) then you'll be fine.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Agreed!

Always appreciate it Nick!

As far as the weight distribution on the Husky Centerline, the trunnion bars can litterally be set to zero (loose) leaving them acting only as sway control. When I said to put some pressure on the trunnion bars it was meant to keep them only from making noise not to create any substancial weight distribution. However, this is an relatively expensive fix to a problem that I might not have.

But perhaps I should try towing our trailer (Star Stream SS19RB) with using our current setup and the Treg before going way overboard. I take it using two friction brake control bars is also overkill?

I was trying to be mr. safety/mr. prepared for trailer season.
 

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Agreed!

<<snip>>

However, this is an relatively expensive fix to a problem that I might not have.

But perhaps I should try towing our trailer (Star Stream SS19RB) with using our current setup and the Treg before going way overboard. I take it using two friction brake control bars is also overkill?

I was trying to be mr. safety/mr. prepared for trailer season.
An expensive fix to a problem you don't have is right.... Honestly you won't feel the SS19, I had a starcraft 21CK which I towed with my 3.2 V6 and a couple of times with the V8..I didn't have air suspension on either and honestly I didn't use anything (just hooked up to the hitch and that's it)...it felt like a utility trailer back there.

1 friction unit should be fine (worked well on my Jayco, 28ish feet long, >6000lbs loaded up) should work fine on your starcraft which is approx 10' shorter and significantly lighter.

Don't let the fear mongers convince you of the need for overkill on everything...these are the same people towing tent trailers with F350 dually diesels.

In your touareg you have better brakes, better suspension, MUCH better stability control and electronics, as much weight as, and a better transmission than most pickup trucks out there...you wouldn't hesitate to tow the starstream with a pickup, so don't hesitate to haul it around with the Treg.
 

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As a follow up I tow my latest camper (a Cougar 304 BHS...>33', >10,000lbs) with an F250 diesel. No WD (doesn't need it as the F250 doesn't compress at all under this load) and 1 friction unit.

To be honest with you I'm still unconvinced of the effectiveness of any anti-sway system, do you really think a couple of little bars will stop >10K lbs from swaying?

I think its all in proper setup (make sure your hitch height is correct for your ball height, that you distribute weight properly, that you have >15% of total weight as tongue weight) etc..
 

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As a follow up I tow my latest camper (a Cougar 304 BHS...>33', >10,000lbs) with an F250 diesel. No WD (doesn't need it as the F250 doesn't compress at all under this load) and 1 friction unit.

To be honest with you I'm still unconvinced of the effectiveness of any anti-sway system, do you really think a couple of little bars will stop >10K lbs from swaying?

I think its all in proper setup (make sure your hitch height is correct for your ball height, that you distribute weight properly, that you have >15% of total weight as tongue weight) etc..

Having been in the "sway control" business for the last 13+ years I can tell you you're right on about friction sway controls. Enough friction cannot be applied to overcome the sway forces once the trailer starts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm really glad you chimed in Sean.

To me, this is a topic many Touareg owners have faced. Some are more comfortable towing trailers than others (i'd put myself in a little more nervous) but I believe most just want to ensure safety. Where the issue becomes sticky is despite the Touareg having stability control it does have a shorted wheel base. Further and another plus, compared to many SUVs, its tow hitch is relatively close to the rear tires (or pivot point). For me, its more about peace of mind (ensurance and perhaps insurance) that while towing in varying conditions I know I am properly setup.

I agree with Nick that my original idea/solution may have been overkill, but I have never been a fan of the brake bar in function or form (noise).

Is there a better solution for sway control for vehicles that do need or should not have weight distribution but are interested in some form of active sway control?
 

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Sean, very glad to see you here from AirForums. I'd be curious to see if you have experience with your ProPride hitch (or an older Hensley) and the Touareg both with and without air suspension. I have run the Equilizer hitch in the past on the Touareg (and currently on my Dodge RAM) but I find it crude, noisy and heavy.

On the general topic of weight distribution, I think it is in correct to say that air suspension eliminates the need for weight distribution. Yes, it does level out the load and ride height when hitched, but the full weight of the trailer tongue is still primarily on the rear axle which can leave the steering a little light, especially when you are bumping down the road. A weight distribution system projects the tongue weight and distributes them between the front and rear axles.
 

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The rear hitch close to the axle is an ADvanatage not a DISadvantage...the whole point of 5th wheels is to get the load directly over the axle (its impossible for a 5th wheel to sway). Some designs work exactly on this principle -moving the pivot point as close as possible to the rear axle. Of course commercial trucks use a 5th wheel, placed directly over the rear axle(s)

Wheelbase is 110", which according to Ford white papers, makes you good to tow up to 25' in length.
 
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Propride

I have one of Seans hitches and all I can say is that I can really tell a difference from my previous equalizer hitch.I have only towed it about 3000+ miles in the last 4 months.
I have played with the W/D and done some of my own testing.(I have Air in mine.)It seems that it does not or really so far in all these miles have not had any conflicts with the Air.
Here are a few pics.(Note that these were when I finished putting it together.I have tweeked things better since these picture were made.)
Also I did have a V6 Touareg and pulled a 19' Bambi without air on the vehicle and used the Equalizer hitch.I had to use the tool to get the bars on and never had a problem with sway .


I used this one with the Equalizer hitch years ago.No Air in this one.
 

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Devoman, great to see you on the forums again. Sorry I haven't replied to your PM from a few days ago. Much going on here. I have contacted Sean at ProPride earlier today asking him to contribute a little more technical knowledge to this discussion. I look forward to his reply. I will say, I hate my Equalizer hitch. I should have never cheeped out when I bought my new trailer and if I start towing it with my Touareg, a Hensley or ProPride seem a no brainer to me, besides the price.
 

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Hey Air

It has been a while.I still lurk around though to get some info every now and then but my Touareg has been great considering my first one when they first came out.
Sean is great and knows his stuff he will be a huge help for sure.
I also P.M.ed Can Am RV in Canada and hopefully he will help out some since he has set up vehicles with Air.He is a very wise one in the hitching world like Sean and has hooked up many vehicle as you already know.

I will say this though.Compared to the Hensley.It is the upgraded version.All weaknesses that were on the Hensley were fixed thru this company with a better version.it is the same concept with better and easier use.A very user friendly hitch.I recommend Propride Hitch to everyone.

I will try and hook up the vehicles together with the the new setting I have now with the W/D bars tightened up once I get a chance to take some pictures of close ups for everyone to look at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow,

This is excellent. I really hope we get some expert answers.

I sent Husky an email today with the same invite to chime in on this thread and hopefully shed some additional light on this topic.

I will also follow up with Volkswagen tomorrow as although I'm pretty sure they won't reply and likely they know about this issue, perhaps we'll get lucky and get some kind of official response.

Volkswagen has conflicting information regarding their own vehicles (W/D or not W/D) as well as certain transportation safety requirements (personal, state, provincial ,federal). It seems like a fair issue to be resolved.

Further, I re-read my last posting and would like to restate my question:
Is there a better solution for sway control for vehicles that do not need or should not have weight distribution but are interested in some form of active or better sway control?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Below is the email I sent this morning to VW.

I am a member of an online forum called Club Touareg.
There has been an ongoing debate regarding Sway Control without Weight Distribution (http://www.clubtouareg.com/forums/f66/sway-control-without-weight-distribution-34061.html).

The Volkswagen manual states:
“WARNING
Never install a "weight distributing" or "load equalizing" trailer hitch on your vehicle. The vehicle was not designed for these kinds of trailer hitches. The hitch attachment can fail causing the trailer to tear loose from the vehicle."- Owner's Manual 3.4 pg. 11.

However, several people have reported seeing/having a HITCH PLACARD (sticker) stating the weight capacity the hitch with use of a weight distribution system.

As it is very difficult to find a robust sway control device that is not combined with a weight distribution system, this leaves many owners in a grey area wondering what is the proper or best thing to do for safety.

Some people on Club Touareg have reported that some RV dealers have insisted the use of a weight distribution setup primarily for SWAY application even requiring some people to sign a waiver before allowing them to take their trailer without weight distribution system (to be consistent with the owners manual). In California, RV dealers are liable for any safety issues if the trailer is not installed properly on the vehicle (including weight distribution and/or sway control). One individual claims to have received a fax from VW USA stating it was fine to put a weight distribution system on the vehicle.

I would like to invite Volkswagen to clarify and provide some definitive answers for two reasons. First, Club Touareg is about sharing and improving Touareg knowledge and with this particular issue there have not been definitive expert answers beyond personal opinion. Secondly, if you search Club Touareg you will quickly find out many people have sought out the Touareg because of its 7700 lb towing capacity. With this towing capacity and resulting tongue weight, many feel a weight distribution is imperative to travel safety. Further, most people believe in having sway control.

Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Below is Andy's response. I would like to personally thank Andy for his timely detailed response.

Hi Graham

Go ahead and post this if you like.

We had a set up several Touareg's and Cayennes which share the platform. It is a vehicle I really like for towing, very stable and comfortable one of the few SUV's I would personally own. Now that they have the 3.0 Litre diesel we are doing a lot more of them. Most of our customers are towing 26 - 34' low profile light trailers with torsion axles or Airstreams in the same size range. Be careful of the trailer you choose measure the height of the floor off the ground it should be around 20", it should have torsion axles radial tires and be as aero as possible. There are some really bad towing trailers available. Length and weight are not the primary considerations.

With larger trailers weight distribution should absolutely be used! Air suspension may keep the vehicle level but it does not transfer weight to the front wheels which is necessary to keep from overloading the rear axle but more importantly for handling stability and safety. In Europe there are not equalizing hitches or electric brakes. They were both banned there 40 years ago to keep out American trailers. This means that the German VW engineers do not understand equalizing hitch systems so it is much easier for them to say don't use one than to try and understand them and all the various factors involved in them. In their defence when I see the lack of understanding and professionalism in the hitch industry I can't blame them for not wanting to be involved.

We connected an Airstream to a Touareg with 1000 lbs of hitch weight using a 1000 Pound Eaz-Lift hitch system and we were not able to flex the receiver at all the receiver is very solid but my concern is the steel may be brittle and prone to fatiguing over time. 40 years ago the conventional wisdom was you made a hitch using mild steel and enough of it to make it solid that the higher strength steels would be more likely to fatigue over time. This is something we see regularly on many other hitches.

What we do then is we strengthen the VW hitch by adding a centre bar to it that reaches up under the vehicle and fastens between the rear wheels. The way you get strength from a hitch is with distance to spread the leverage over. This may not be necessary but I don't want one of my customers to be the one to find out that it is. I don't have a picture of a Touareg reinforcement but there is a picture of one similar attached.

We use friction sway controls all the time just you need one of the better quality ones and you need to keep it dry so it does not rust then they stay quiet. It is fine to tow in the rain just dry off the bar before you store it. With thousands installed I have never seen a frame damaged. the little ball would break off first. We install two on trailers over 25' actual overall length. The Pro Pride hitch works very well and does all that the advertizing says it does. It is not absolutely necessary on the Touareg as it is a very stable tow vehicle if it is connected to a stable trailer but no matter what the combination is it still the safest set up. I would not recommend the Equal-i-zer brand hitch on one because the torsion bars have too little travel when you go through dips etc. We use Eaz-Lift 1000 lb. hitches on most of the ones we set up because I like their torsion bars, they wear less and they allow the closest ball to bumper measurements.

If you cannot find someone local to strengthen the hitch receiver we can make it up here and ship it to you for installation there.

I hope this helps you out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
VW repsonded with a canned response suggesting one should speak with their local dealership as dealerships have knowledgeable and trained service departments. I have replied with an email detailing the fact that dealerships have provided mixed answers as well as dealerships suggesting one speak with VW.
 
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