VW new beetle owner wanting to start towing - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-18-2007, 10:30 PM   #1
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Hello,

I'm new to the group, and looking to learn. I have an 03 VW new beetle and want to start towing, I have considered teardrops, T@Bs, and others- now looking to learn about what the best, most suitable/safe egg shell would be (if at all), also info on the Eriba Puck is welcome.
Thanks,
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:32 PM   #2
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What is the tow rating of your VW?

Does it have a hitch?
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:50 PM   #3
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What is the tow rating of your VW?
Does it have a hitch?
Hi Mike,
The manual states towing: n/a but I am told all of the US manual state that; European manuals state that about 1500lbs can be towed 140 tongue weight, or so I am told. I don't want to go that heavy at would like to get the lightest smallest I can. A vw owner who tows a teardrop told me they feel safe towing around 900lbs. I will be getting a hitch, from what I have seen I should get a hidden hitch or a draw tite, both suitable for the new beetle.
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:25 AM   #4
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That is what I thought. VWs are NOT built to tow. If you go ahead, you may encounter issues with your insurance.

People do go ahead and tow, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The brakes and frame are NOT designed to take that kind of abuse.

I love the Beetle and think they are great for what they were designed. I wish I could encourage you. Sorry.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:38 AM   #5
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VWs are NOT built to tow. If you go ahead, you may encounter issues with your insurance.
People do go ahead and tow, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The brakes and frame are NOT designed to take that kind of abuse.
I think we are back to the "insurance versus actual tow vehicle capacity" discussion. The same vehicle is rated to tow 1500 pounds in Europe. I think that towing 900-1000 pounds would be reasonable; which opens the door to several of the small eggs. Has anyone on the forum actually experienced insurance invalidation as a result of exceeding the rated tow capacity?
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Old 08-19-2007, 10:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Hello,

I'm new to the group, and looking to learn. I have an 03 VW new beetle and want to start towing, I have considered teardrops, T@Bs, and others- now looking to learn about what the best, most suitable/safe egg shell would be (if at all), also info on the Eriba Puck is welcome.
Thanks,
Hi Heidi,
I towed my 'new' 73 13' boler this summer with my 2004 Toyota Corolla. It is rated for 1500lbs. I had a hidden hitch put on (which is rated for 2000lbs). It pulled like a dream, I was surprised. I was nervous of course the first time, but mostly because I have never towed anything at all before. Once on the open road, I travelled at a steady speed of 100klm (60 mph) and it did not feel like I was pulling anything at all. Breaking does not even seem to be an issue although I make sure to give myself lots of room just in case. And I also make sure I am NOT in overdrive.

Robin
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Old 08-19-2007, 11:15 AM   #7
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I used to drive a 1979 VW Beetle Convertible that the owner's manual at that time said had a maximum tow rating of 900 pounds. I had a Motorcycle Pop-up Trailer at the time which was adequate for me camping alone. While I have seen photos of a "New" Beetle towing a 13' Boler, I could only optimistically suggest either a motorcycle pop-up or a small teardrop.
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:10 PM   #8
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...also info on the Eriba Puck is welcome.
Welcome to FiberglassRV, Heidi!

Here's where the FiberglassRV [b]Search engine becomes your friend (it's in the second row of links down from the top of the page). Put in "Eriba" and "Puck" as keywords, include the appropriate sub-forums (e.g. the For Sale sections to find ads for Pucks, or other sections to find discussions which involve them), and allow some time for browsing!
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:30 PM   #9
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A couple of factors to keep in mind when sizing the trailer, especially when considering one near the tug's limits:

Many manuals specify a limit on the frontal area of the trailer, although it is often ignored. Large frontal area means lots of air drag, which means the tug's engine must continually work hard to keep moving at highway speeds. This can lead to, for instance, overheating problems for both engine and (if automatic) transmission, so it's a reliability issue.

Some of the smallest trailers have "pop" tops (a bit like a traditional VW camper bus) to keep the height (and thus frontal area) down while towing, while still allowing enough headroom while camped. The Compact models and the Cadet are perhaps the most common examples among our "eggs"; they are also among the smallest in width and weight. Small frontal area is an advantage of the teardrops.

Anyone applying European limits to towing in North America should be aware that, in addition to different driving conditions, they have different trailer requirements. For one thing, travel trailers essentially all have brakes, which are uncommon on very small trailers here. The published limit for Europe undoubtedly assumes that a surge (they call it "overrun") braking system is used.

One advantage of looking for a European model, such as the Puck or the Euro-designed and U.S. built T@B, is that it may have an overrun braking system. A North American style trailer will need electric brakes on the trailer (they may need to be added) and a controller and wiring in the tow vehicle (always a custom addition to small vehicles).


The brand/model links above are into the FiberglassRV Albums... see the link in the upper right corner of all FiberglassRV pages. I think it's well worth a browse of the brands to look for promising possibilities.
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:40 PM   #10
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The manual states towing: n/a but I am told all of the US manual state that; European manuals state that about 1500lbs can be towed 140 tongue weight...
While I don't have a link to the ideal example at my fingertips at the moment, we've had quite a few discussions of towing capacity, and what these limits mean. I think it is well worth reading the entire manual section, not just the one or two numbers. There are certainly more limits than these commonly quoted two... Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR), and Gross Axle Weight Ratings (GAWR, front and rear) are the most fundamental.

The 1500 lb probably includes all passengers and cargo in the tow vehicle, in addition to the trailer and its cargo. That means the 900 lb target may be close to the real trailer capacity for traveling, even if the 1500 lb limit is valid.

For instance, my van is rated for 3500 lb of trailer, or about half a ton of cargo, but not the maximum of both at the same time. My 3000 lb (when loaded) Boler and hundreds of pounds of cargo are within the limits, but I need to be a bit careful about where I put the cargo in both the van and the trailer.

After all the numbers are crunched, even if using the Euro towing limits, only the smallest eggs are likely to be allowed for the Beetle... but I think that there will still be choices.
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:17 PM   #11
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One of the posters above mentioned something like European Limits vs Insurance.

The reality is that we are all GUESSING about why a so-called 'same vehicle' is rated differently by its manufacturer in different geographical places and at the bottom line, YOU will be the one defending your decision in a court that's not in Europe or Australia or where ever.

If you strongly believe that:

1. Your VW is identical to the overseas VW,

2. That you will never get into an accident where someone questions the limits on your vehicle, regardless of initial blame for the cause.

Then you might feel free to tow a trailer with brakes.

I have driven some Ford products as rental cars in the US and in Germany, some 20 years ago, and I can assure you that although they looked the same and had the same model name, the German version was quite different from the US version in terms of both power and suspension. Things change, esp pollution standards, so my experience may not be valid today, however I personally will continue to presume that the vehicles are indeed different until proven otherwise - YMMV!

One guess is that the difference is what the manufacturer believes it can defend in a court (even presuming the identical vehicle for the moment). If US/Canadian courts in general hold the manufacturers to more stringent product liability than in other jurisdictions, and have set the vehicle limits accordingly, then the owner who exceeds those standards will be hung out to dry. This theory implies that it is mechanically as safe to tow in the US as it may be in UK, AU, DE, etc., but not as safe liability-wise.

Whether or not one's insurance may be valid if the owner does something outside the vehicle's stated capacities is a question for the insurance commission of the state or province in which the insurance policy was issued as there may be great variation.

BTW, T@B's that I have seen at RV shows were something like 1,300-1,400 lbs DRY, not very light.
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:51 PM   #12
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In the litigious U.S the worst case scenario is the other guy's lawyer will determine you purposely ignored the vehicle manufacturers recommendation of not towing, in turn your insurance company will drop you including covering you for the current accident (whether your fault or not)....read the fine print on your insurance policy... you may be surprised what it says! If you are willing to risk everything you own OR will own in the future, then go ahead and use the rig to tow. Otherwise, you should consider a proper towing vehicle. Reality bites sometimes.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:19 PM   #13
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Just to add more mud to the water, isn't it true that North American VW (Beetle, Jetta, Golf) are made in Mexico vs. European ones made in Germany? Structurally, the Mexican and European beetles may not even be the same vehicle.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:32 PM   #14
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Eriba Pucks surface on Ebay periodically - seem to sell for $2500-$3500. They weigh around 700 lbs so they should be OK to tow with the Beetle - I wouldn't go any more than that though. The pop-up motorcycle trailers would be a good option - they usually weigh under 300 lbs. I recently sold my vintage 60's tent camper - it was one of the early style with the all canvas tent (no hard roof panel) - basically a tent on wheels with some extra storage space available. It weighed around 375 pounds and could be towed by just about anything.
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