Jetta towing issues.... caution - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-27-2011, 09:59 AM   #29
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I also had mine professionally installed, ......from Uhaul and they only used washers on the inside of the sheet metal, ....I replaced that with 1/8" 6"X6" square plate drilled holes in it for the bolts and then put it all back together, ........


but yes, the metal there is not very strong at all, ............


maybe i should upgrade to a westfalia or Bosal???, .HMMMMM, i do plan on keeping both trailer and car for a long time, .......so might be worth the investment, ..........not sure if it is worth $900 though, .....
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Old 09-27-2011, 01:28 PM   #30
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It is interesting that this problem seems to justify European law - which says that you can only fix a towbar to mounting points that the vehicle manufacturer has specified. It would appear in this case that the North American practice of allowing the towbar manufacturer to do what they like may be the cause of the problem. So this might be a justified extra bit of regulation - and it doesn't seem that often one can say that!
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Old 09-27-2011, 01:42 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
It is interesting that this problem seems to justify European law - which says that you can only fix a towbar to mounting points that the vehicle manufacturer has specified. It would appear in this case that the North American practice of allowing the towbar manufacturer to do what they like may be the cause of the problem. So this might be a justified extra bit of regulation - and it doesn't seem that often one can say that!
I think you hit the nail on the head so to speak. If the vehicle manufacturer did not install the hitch, nor has it available there maybe a reason for that. Then comes along aftermarket companies which fabricate hitches for the vehicle, like Curt,Drawtite,UHaul and create their own market for their product. But is the combo desirable? In this instance it was not.
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Old 09-27-2011, 01:53 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
It is interesting that this problem seems to justify European law - which says that you can only fix a towbar to mounting points that the vehicle manufacturer has specified. It would appear in this case that the North American practice of allowing the towbar manufacturer to do what they like may be the cause of the problem. So this might be a justified extra bit of regulation - and it doesn't seem that often one can say that!
Apples and oranges, towbars are not hitches and the front of cars tend to have fewer hard points than the rears. Also the reputable hitch manufacturers have proven that they can make hitches which meet or exceed both the capacities and the safety records of the OEMs.
This kind of thing can be warned against but not prevented by more bureaucracy.......
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:06 PM   #33
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Hi,
I read in Trailer Life (at least that's where I think I read it) that you should follow the 70% rule. If your TV is rate at 3,000 lbs don't tow more than 2,100 (loaded trailer and vehicle cargo weight). I'm a bit horrified at people who push beyond their TV ratings--especially with smaller cars. The tail wagging the dog, so to speak. Stay safe folks!
Phil
We all agree we need to be safe, first and foremost. However, lets be practical too.

A tractor trailer pulling the limit, 40,000 lbs does not need to weigh 57,142 lbs. Have you ever seen a tandem trailer? That demonstrates that while it is smart to have a heavy tow rig, it is not exactly practical. Lighter tow vehicles make a lot of sense for maneuvering big tows. I wish I had a Jeep sometimes backing my boat up to the hoist. It is never easy with my long wheelbase dually. I put a tow hitch on the front, just for maneuvering in tight spaces.

Practically speaking many people have tows bigger than their TV. Typical TV's have body on frame instead of unibody, feature larger engines, better brakes, and wiring to support trailer brakes--just like the tow vehicle in a Tractor/Trailer.

For egg type campers we can be careful, and inspect our hitches, brakes, lights, frames, wiring, etc, and make sure we safe.

Barry could probably have beefed up his Jetta to hold that hitch. I know of people who have welded in frames and support metal to Unibody cars. However, one would never be faulted for going to a beefier safer tow vehicle--that is why there are so many dually's on the road.

Have you seen Suburbans with dual rear wheels? It is not a factory option. It was a common mod some years ago--people would add dually fenders and two more wheels to 3/4 ton Suburbans, and solve trailer sway problems with heavy horse and stock trailers. This is a good example of someone taking extra time and money to ensure a safe tow with a TV lighter than the tow. I don't know what a three or four horse trailer with a living compartment weighs, but I assure you it is more than the tow vehicle. People understand the issue, and that is the reason so many purchase lighter aluminum trailers.

My dually is rated to two 15,200 lbs on a gooseneck or 5th wheel, and 12,000 on a tag along trailer. My truck only weighs 6500 or so. The 70% rule makes no sense except perhaps for small grossly underpowered cars, as Phil stated.

It think it is best to look at the Manufacturers rating, and consider any modifications that can be made for safer towing--for example, bigger springs, air springs, adjustable shocks, load leveling hitches, bigger brakes, and trailer brakes. All it takes is one good scare and you will believe in going overboard on products that improve trailer safety.

Can you tow with more than the rated capacity? I think you can, to a very small degree, but only if you make serious modifications, include trailer brakes, and test and validate your rig. I know people who a very fussy about brake pads, trying 3-4 brands for cold and hot performance. Some people update to larger rotors, calipers and pads. It all comes down to a person decision, and no one chooses the unsafe option. In any case modifications are a wise choice even if you are under your limit. No one will ever fault you for being extra safe. On the contrary, people will be impressed.

I think it is great that Barry has documented this issue. I would still consider a Jetta. I like the idea of a diesel Sportwagon as a TV for a small light trailer, but after reading his post, it would not be without some body modifications to enure the hitch stays attached. I think improved fuel economy in campers is an area that will be explored and tested in the future as fuel prices continue to rise.

If you can post some pictures of this issue, Barry, that would be a big help for anyone towing with a Unibody TV. Thanks for coming forward. You set a good example for others.
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:08 PM   #34
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Apples and oranges, towbars are not hitches and the front of cars tend to have fewer hard points than the rears. Also the reputable hitch manufacturers have proven that they can make hitches which meet or exceed both the capacities and the safety records of the OEMs.
This kind of thing can be warned against but not prevented by more bureaucracy.......
Floyd,
I think "towbar" as mentioned here by Andrew, the member from England is referring to a hitch, the issue at discussion here.
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Old 09-27-2011, 04:53 PM   #35
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...slight misunderstanding Night Sailor, it's 70% of the vehicles tow rating that's referred to in the Trailer Life article, not the weight of the tow vehicle
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:35 PM   #36
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Tow rating

Tow rating calculation is not as simple as it appears in the manuals: Once you are finished calculating the recommended max capacity of a tow vehicle, you must remember that...

Safe towing capacity is also conditionnal to:

Maximum Tongue Weight, closely related to the hitch type, state regulations, and quality of installation. This is also limited by the frame type and suspension capacity that may or may not be adapted to keep the hitch safe and the vehicle level. This is critical for safety and control. In rough terrain or under sudden braking, a flimsy hitch and car combination will fail.

Maximum towing vehicle tire load capacity: often overlooked. It is usually calculated for a fully loaded trunk with passengers: extra weight applied on hitch by tongue weight can exceed tires and wheel bearing capacity. Usually, rear tires pressure must be increased to the pressure recommended for load limit. If this limit is too low, the tires may fail, period.

Brake capacity of tow vehicle alone is usually not sufficient for towing an RV. In most cases, you must have functionnal brakes to be within the safety guidelines. It is one thing to be able to tow, it is even more important to stop !!! Light RV with short wheel base will benefit of the best brake controllers (proportionnal to inertia, not time controlled or dumb). Better be safe than sorry, especially under hot climate or in mountanous terrain. Overheated brakes are not efficient. Maintenance of trailer brakes is usually a fraction of the cost of replacing the brakes prematurely on the tow vehicle anyway.

Automatic transmission capacity is often sufficient, but most tow vehicle need an extra transmission radiator to prevent oil and internal components to degrade prematurely. The Automatic transmission oil must also be changed more often because it will work at much higher temperatures than normal. One thing to remember: never use the overdrive when towing.

Such basic guidelines are essential for safety, no matter what tow vehicle you consider.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:34 PM   #37
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You can make lots of laws to prevent things from happening but if people choose to ignore them there isnt a whole lot you can do about it.

There are already laws that should have prevented this situation from happening. The car in question is not rated to tow anything legally here in North Amercia. If the driver was ever stopped in a tow weight spot check (which they do here in BC from time to time) they would have had the trailer impounded and had to pay to have it towed and the impound fee along with a *big* fine. Not only that but you can be sure their insurance company would do everthing it could to walk away from the situation should they have an accident with a tow that was not legal.

What I find more suprising is that that there are companies out there who are willing to risk installing a hitch on a car that is not legally to tow with. I have no doubt that if someone was to report them for doing so they at the very least would loose their rights to being the local dealer or installer for the hitch manufacture in question.

In this case its clear it is not the same car design as what is sold in Europe - case in point is the bumper style/design that comes with it in NA which is different from the car sold in Europe - which prevents & makes it against the law to install a european style hitch to the car.

To those who suggest more could have been done to beef up the car and make it safer to tow with. Really and why risk it? Backer plates where added, rear shocks beefed up and brakes added to the trailer. Yet it still failed after less than a year. What more do you need to confirm the car is not designed or safe to tow with in North Amercia?

Bottom line for me is that it makes me scratch my head. Why put your family or friends at risk by towing with a car that the people who built it dont think it is safe to tow with and doing it with the knowledge that if something happens they probable will not have an insurance to cover them for what ever happens.

IMHO it just doesnt make a great deal of sense!
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:38 PM   #38
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Well said Carol and that's it in a nutshell, it should not have existed in the first place.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:04 PM   #39
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There are already laws that should have prevented this situation from happening. The car in question is not rated to tow anything legally here in North Amercia. If the driver was ever stopped in a tow weight spot check (which they do here in BC from time to time) they would have had the trailer impounded and had to pay to have it towed and the impound fee along with a *big* fine. Not only that but you can be sure their insurance company would do everthing it could to walk away from the situation should they have an accident with a tow that was not legal.



You make the eronious assumption that manufacturers ratings are codified throughout North America. While that may be true of Canada (I can't say)... it certainly is not the case in the U.S. for light trucks or cars.
Are you refering to national Canadian law, or just BC?
Would one pound over be enough for a draconian reaction ?
Do they go by actual weight, license plate, or the trailer's axle capacity?
I have met several Canadians who were towing fiberglass trailers with Streetrods, Hotrods, and custom built vehicles. How would they get a tow rating?
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:57 PM   #40
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What I find more surprising is that that there are companies out there who are willing to risk installing a hitch on a car that is not legal to tow with.

There are more ways to get around things than you would beleive. A guy I used to work with had a humongous hitch with 2 inch receiver installed on his teeny-tiny Yaris, by telling the installer that he was going to use it for carrying a bike rack

The other thing that cracks me up is that my son's "Disease-el" Jetta is not rated to tow ANYTHING, but the owner's manual allows for up to 3,500 lb (if trailer has brakes) if it has the gas engine. (and 1,000# if no trailer brakes) Now THAT has to be related to the drivetrain, not the car itself. Yet when he was looking to buy one, every single one that we saw had a hitch on it already!
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:09 PM   #41
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tow ratings

"How do streetrods etc get a tow rating?" They don't. I am not sure but I "think" (well, sometimes I do, even though it never does any good!) that the concept of "tow ratings" is relatively new. I doubt that a '37 Chev ever had a tow rating, nor a '23 model "T"

I have never been able to find any reference to a tow rating on my '57 Chev, or even on my '76 LeMans or my '80 pickup. My '92 GMC was rated to tow up to 10,000#, BEFORE I swapped out the 3/4 ton rear axle and susp for a one-ton rear end, and now it has a rating of ???????? I still use the 10,000 as a guideline and seldom haul anything much over than that

I am wondering if the insurance industry instituted "tow ratings" at some point between 1980 and 1992?

Woodall's Camping Life Magazine has an on-line, searchable data base of towing capacities for "all vehicles" from 1991 to present which can be found here: http://www.campinglife.com/towrating/index.cfm
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:15 PM   #42
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"How do streetrods etc get a tow rating?" They don't. I am not sure but I "think" (well, sometimes I do, even though it never does any good!) that the concept of "tow ratings" is relatively new. I doubt that a '37 Chev ever had a tow rating, nor a '23 model "T"

I have never been able to find any reference to a tow rating on my '57 Chev, or even on my '76 LeMans or my '80 pickup. My '92 GMC was rated to tow up to 10,000#, BEFORE I swapped out the 3/4 ton rear axle and susp for a one-ton rear end, and now it has a rating of ???????? I still use the 10,000 as a guideline and seldom haul anything much over than that

I am wondering if the insurance industry instituted "tow ratings" at some point between 1980 and 1992?
So how are they allowed to tow in Canada without a tow rating to get past the tow weight spot check?
The insurance industry doesn't set tow ratings in the states.
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