Audi Allroad: the ultimate tow car? - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-28-2012, 11:21 PM   #43
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
Colorado
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Thanks for the advice. My trailer is set up with a 7-pin. I wouldn't be without my Prodigy electric brake controller, though I'm often surprised at how little I use the brakes in normal towing. Engine braking and air resistance are usually enough, with proper planning.

Another vote for the Curt from someone who tows a similar rig (my Scamp has never weighed more than 2200 lbs loaded, but that's taken attention to the gear I carry-- no iron pots!).

I just went out and inspected my Forester. It's Class II hitch is a Draw-Tite, not a Curt. It bolts to the subframe supporting the rear bumper, like the Bonsal. Hmmm...
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:29 AM   #44
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
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I just want to make it clear: I am a big fan of Curt hitches. I have had six of them on different cars and vans. I have never had an issue with them. They seem to be better built than most of the competition. What I have a problem with is the lack of proper mounting points on the VW.

Bill: I personally know two people who have had hitches ripped out of their VWs. Keep in mind these are class 1 hitches that bolt to thin sheet metal that can be dented by hand.

In my Sprinter, there are nice, beefy frame channels to bolt onto... Same with my Chevy van and my Subaru Outback. My Scion had existing weld nuts, and the hitch also bolted to the shipping tie-downs. VWs and Audis make great tow vehicles. They design them to tow. They just don't design them with a place for American-style hitches to mount securely. Maybe the Touareg does, but the cars don't.

EDIT: Just looked up the Curt hitch for the Touareg, and it mounts like the Euro hitch, by bolting to the existing holes in the ends of the frame rails. I'm glad they went that route.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:36 PM   #45
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Trailer: Li'l Hauley
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Here's an alternative aid to the EZ Hitch:
Trailer Alignment Kit - Magnetic Trailer Alignment Kit
I use some similar to these, and they work very well.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:56 PM   #46
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
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That's pretty cool-- I hadn't seen that. Looks like a good plan B!
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:57 PM   #47
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
Colorado
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Bosal-- installed!

Today I made the choice, and did the deed. After spending seven hours and $400 at the shop, my hitch was installed. My wife was puzzled, though: "The car looks just the same." Right-o, because I installed the Bosal, whose removable tongue and ball are tucked away in the trunk.

The installation was no small matter. The job took about seven hours for an experienced tech, but he only charged me for four. He had to grind away a small part of the rear bumper reinforcement to fit it back on over the hitch. The instructions list 12 steps, but he seemed to find some hidden ones.

The finished product seems massively strong. It makes the thin steel-strap, H-shaped Curt hitch seem like a fly rod. I wanted to like the Curt hitch for its convenience. I tried not to be swayed about the $600 I could save by using it. What could I spend that on-- the repair bill for that dying hard drive last week? A set of winter wheels? Cleaning my dog's bad teeth? But once my main mechanic told me about seeing the same hitches tearing free from the spare wheel-well mounting, plus mcbrew's tales, I couldn't put that doubt out of mind.

Imagination activated, I considered the possible consequences of hitch failure. At the least, I'd be stranded on some remote Indian reservation with a trailer I couldn't tow any farther, meaning a ruined vacation (isn't that what RV stands for?), and paying to flatbed the trailer home, do body repairs and install a Bosal. A worse failure at high speed might mean the trailer wasn't worth bringing home, in pieces. There are even worse scenarios, too. Even if nothing happened, I'd still be uneasy...

Vacations aren't time for any such thoughts. Instead I'll be thinking about how this is the best tow car I've ever had, with a hitch that's as rugged as the car itself. No weak links -- that's the goal. I'm sorry that I had to spend $1,000 to get this far, and I still have to put $300+ into the brake controller & installation. The whole tow conversion will cost about $1300-- about twice what I spent on the Forester. But you get more, too. I know I'd rather sit in the Audi on a long, long drive.

Thanks for the advice. I'll keep you posted. I hope to be writing in early April that the allroad really is the ultimate tow car.
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:29 PM   #48
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wise choice.. son't think of it as spending twice what you wanted to. think of it as saving money in the long run. after all, Replacing the trailer would cost more than double what you spent for your new hitch..
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:59 PM   #49
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Peace of mind is worth some extra bucks, for sure.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:07 PM   #50
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Name: John
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Originally Posted by Voodoo View Post
wise choice.. son't think of it as spending twice what you wanted to. think of it as saving money in the long run. after all, Replacing the trailer would cost more than double what you spent for your new hitch..
I dunno, my Scamp is pretty skimpy and it came real cheap! But what price peace of mind?
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:49 AM   #51
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The tow-hitch issue seems to be one place where US and Euro legislation differ quite a bit.

In all European countries a tow-hitch (not a receiver, since we only use one ball size and height) must not only pass strength tests, but it must also attach to the tow vehicle exactly as and where the vehicle manufacturer specifies. If the vehicle manufacturer decides not to bother doing this, as for example on my Mini, any tow-hitch is illegal, even just to carry bicycles. There are no classes of tow-hitch - if you sell a hitch for a particular vehicle, it must be good for at least the full tow rating for the vehicle.

My understanding, mostly from posts on this forum, is that US tow-hitch manufacturers must pass similar strength tests, but the test tow-hitch is bolted to a test rig which may be much stronger at the attachment points than the real vehicle. It seems to be entirely the tow-hitch manufacturer's decision about how to attach the hitch, though clearly if the vehicle manufacturer has made a provision for attaching a hitch, like vacant holes in chassis rails, the hitch manufacturer is likely to use them.

So this matches mcbrew's comments about vehicle, not tow-hitch, failure.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:19 AM   #52
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So what we get in the US is a tested hitch product that's adapted to various vehicles in untested ways. Some would call that "jury-rigging." It works out in most cases, because 90% of us tow with trucks and SUVs that were built with frame or subframes readily accessible for accessory attachments. The Curt hitch looks like a standard design, adapted to mount to the Audi at the only available point that's not cluttered with dual exhausts and other hardware. That just happens to be a weak point on the body structure.

Safe towing behind cars demands a more holistic look at the car-hitch relationship. That's what the European regs demand, and it's probably wise.

Folks look at me like I'm crazy when I say I tow a one-ton trailer behind a car. That's what trucks are for, they're taught. (No, I try not to say out loud-- trucks are like elevator shoes and shoulder pads for timid and aggressive motorists who want to lord over other drivers and throw their weight around in traffic.) If all I wanted to do was tow, I might choose a truck. But since I can't afford or park a large number of specialized vehicles, I wanted a sporty, comfortable and versatile vehicle that could tow now and then. I think that's what I found. (I also wanted a MINI, but how would you hitch it with those exhaust pipes in the middle?)

If you go back and look at the history of egg trailers, you find a similar founding concept. These small, lightweight trailers were intended to be towed behind ordinary cars. I bet few were using heavy-duty pickups to tow their brand-new Boler or Perris Pacer, back in the Johnson Administration. We've lost touch with that original intention today, and that's kind of sad...
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:55 PM   #53
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Andrew I can see where the comments made by McBrew may have created some confusion for you as to what the normal practices are in regards to installing hitches in North America.

Just like in Europe the hitch company's do build North American style hitches that are designed specifically for each vehicle type and manufactures attachment points and towing capacity - although as you point out we have three classes of hitches so in a few cases you may have a hitch installed that is rated a bit higher than what the tow capacity set by the vehicle manufacture but in that case you are still limited to towing to the manufactures tow cap - you can also put a hitch on that is rated lower but of course you would be limited to the hitch tow capacity rating in that case. It is also not the common practice of a hitch manufacture to build a class of hitch for a specific vehicle that is greater than the class that has been set by the vehicle manufacture. For example if the tow capacity of the vehicle falls into a Class II hitch they will not build a Class III hitch for that vehicle. Just like in Europe we are suppose to attach the hitch where the vehicle manufacture has made provisions for it on the chassis- such a pre drilled holes etc.

If a person installs on a North American built vehicle a North American style hitch that was specifically designed for their vehicle and its attached per the vehicles manufactures attachment points - there should be no issues with vehicle failure - providing the owner maintains the hitch and the person is not towing something over the vehicles &/or tow hitches set weight capacities.

The problem is that some people want to use a style of hitch such as the Euro style that the vehicle manufactures in North American do not design their cars to use. As a result many of the Euro style hitches do not match the attachment system that North American vehicle manufactures do put on their vehicles at the factory. Additionally in many cases in order to install a Euro style tow hitch on a North American car they actually need to cut away parts of the car - most often structural components of the rear bumper area - components that are required by law to be built into all North American cars for safety reasons. It is my understanding that what McBrew is suggesting is due to the fact people need to beef up attachments points etc & cut parts away to use the Euro hitch on a North American built car - its the cars failure not the hitches. I suspect that a few car designers in North America may not totally agree with that analogy of the problem.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:11 PM   #54
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 RB and Bigfoot 21RB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John McMillin View Post
If you go back and look at the history of egg trailers, you find a similar founding concept. These small, lightweight trailers were intended to be towed behind ordinary cars. I bet few were using heavy-duty pickups to tow their brand-new Boler or Perris Pacer, back in the Johnson Administration. We've lost touch with that original intention today, and that's kind of sad...
Actually we have NOT changed. Back during the Johnson Administration, "an ordinary car" was a V8, rear-wheel drive with body-on-frame construction. That is the type of vehicle these were built to be towed with. I still tow with a V8 rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame vehicle. To get one of those I must now select a vehicle with a pick-up truck body on the frame.....
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:24 PM   #55
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Name: John
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Carol discusses the issues of putting Euro hitches on American cars. That my indeed be problematic. But how often does it happen? American car buyers have a huge range of American trucks and SUVs to choose from, that would tow better. German car fanciers don't. We have to hunt down rare Euro hitches to fit our unusual vehicles. So my problem was just the opposite: I rejected an American hitch offered as the safe, mainstream option for my Euro car.

Regardless of national origins, I'd be suspicious of any hitch that braces against up and down motions by a simple T bolted to the spare tire well, as the Curt does. I imagine that T-design is offered for a range of cars besides the Audi Allroad (a pretty rare model). I don't think it would be any safer bolted to a Ford of Chevy sedan. I bet mcbrew will second me on that...
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:43 PM   #56
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Name: John
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16, 2013 VW Tiguan SEL
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Now this is funny...

I just came across a site called autoanything that advertises an "Audi A6 Fifth Wheel Hitch." Probably not useable with my station wagon, do ya'thiink? But they'll sell it to you to bolt on back of your sedan.
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