Passat Wagon? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-16-2011, 10:15 AM   #1
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Passat Wagon?

Hi everyone,

We are in the process of searching for a travel trailer. We've been looking at 13' Bolers or Trillium 1300, but I just found a 4500 that looks awesome. I know the Passat could handle the smaller trailers, but would it work with the 4500, which is a bit heavier? (I've been searching for the estimated weight and seems to be about 1500 lbs?).

Thanks!
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:02 AM   #2
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Many people don't put a lot of stock in European ratings, I do. Here's the European view of a Passat as a tow vehicle.

In Europe advised tow load for a VW Passat is rated to tow between 1200-1300Kg or 2640-2820#s depending on the model I assume all ratings are with electric brakes.

The factory ratings are even higher. You can see the numbers on the site listed below.

Happily towing at 23 mpg with a Honda CRV,
Norm


http://www.whattowcar.com/review.php...n&serie=Passat

The next site shows actual user comments. Very often people choose the TDI (diesel) versions for all brands in Europe because of the better low end torque.

What TowCar.com - Volkswagen Passat as Towcar
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:07 AM   #3
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Many people don't put a lot of stock in European ratings, I do. Here's the European view of a Passat as a tow vehicle.

In Europe advised tow load for a VW Passat is rated to tow between 1200-1300Kg or 2640-2820#s depending on the model I assume all ratings are with electric brakes.

The factory ratings are even higher. You can see the numbers on the site listed below.

What TowCar.com - Volkswagen Passat as Towcar

The next site shows actual user comments. Very often people choose the TDI (diesel) versions for all brands in Europe because of the better low end torque.

What TowCar.com - Volkswagen Passat as Towcar

Happily towing at 23 mpg with a Honda CRV,
Norm
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:29 PM   #4
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I'm curious as to your trailer weight on the Scamp vs your car's 1500# tw capacity? Are you concerned with warranty issues or insurance companies not covering you in the event of an accident? I would love to buy a new Outback but the numbers do not add and I looked at the Honda CRV and saw it was less than the Outback!
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:32 AM   #5
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The issue is not what the car can or will tow. It is solely with what it says in the owner's manual. If you go overweight and have an accident, your insurance company will drop you, the police will arrest you, and if someone is seriously hurt, you will end up working for them for the rest of your life; and if someone is killed... just don't think about it.

Proper Tow Vehicles A Must! - GlamisDunes.com

There is a lot of discussion on this forum. Search "tow overweight"
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Old 03-17-2011, 08:38 AM   #6
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Harley and Roger,

I agonized over writing this because it's so contrary to the prevailing attitudes and beliefs.

Our insurance company insures our trailer and our tow vehicle (our only vehicle). We have already had a small accident while towing. (Tow Vehicle hit on the side by another car while towing.) Our insurance company fully covered us.

No matter what you are towing with you always face liability issues in this country.

As far as I can see most tow accidents are usually caused by preventable driver issues, improper loading, hitches becoming 'unintentionally unhitched', driving too fast, driving in poor conditions, improper trailer tire maintenance,... All conditions that open you to legal suits no matter the size of your tow vehicle. If you lose control of your trailer, it is your problem no matter how big your tow vehicle is.

(I was amazed to read that something like 15% of the people in a recent survey admitted to becoming 'unintentionally unhitched', now that is really scary.)

In my mind there is no reason for sway to take over and less reason for the driver not to stop it with the brake controller.

My little trailer weighs about 70% the weight of my tow vehicle, a very comfortable, safe weight. Another interesting property of our Tow Vehicle is that with two front passengers, 57 to 60% of the TV weight is on the front wheels and our Honda tows very flat without a WD hitch.

Even though we're gone 6-7 months at a time we are never overloaded, or near overloaded. Our Casita 16 weighs 2785#s including a hitch weight of 230#s, 70% of our Honda's 2 passenger weight. I expect our new Scamp 16 to weigh less.

It's fairly obvious from reading this and other blogs when people write about wanting 'hill speed' and about exceeding their tire's top speed limit, that some, if not many, drive at speeds where any small problem can become magnified.

I admit we are slow drivers, never exceding 60, and rarely more than 57 mph. We are amazed to see small and large rigs flying by us doing 70 on the occasions we are on interstates. Yes we are always in the right hand lane. Yes we avoid the insanity of the Interstates. Yes we love Interstates because that's where most of the traffic goes so we can more comfortably drive the now more deserted, more interesting, non-interstates that criss-cross our country.

The key element of towing is the driver. I have attempted to look at the cause of accidents. Certainly most occur with 'proper' tow vehicles. Why?

In four years of towing, and we're typically on the road seven months of the year, I have never had a single instance where we have had an out of control trailer. We did have one time that we had some sway when we had placed a small generator on our bumper. Sway was immediately stopped by tapping the brake controller. We stopped at the first rest area and moved the generator inside and sway gone.

We've had one highway emergency stop where an extended cab pickup pulled into the highway blocking both lanes. We had to slam the brakes on at 55 mph and just missed clobbering the side of his truck. The trailer, impressively stayed perfectly straight, though with smoking tires, We did have an anti-sway bar, I imagined it helped but don't know if it would have stayed straight without it.

When one looks at the list of trailer accidents, the largest number seems to be with utility trailers, not RVs, which probably says a lot more about loading and driver experience than anything else.

As well many RV accidents are caused by trailers getting hit by careless drivers, particularly in lane switching accidents. I feel sorry for those in these accidents. This is one of the reasons we tend to be in the right hand lane. We realize that the driving game is different when towing, different for us and different for other drivers who do not understand towing. It is also the reason that when we change lanes it is a two person action for driver and passenger. My alert level changes dramatically in these situations as it does in every merge situation.

I treat towing like I treat passing some one riding a bike on the side of the road. As a kid I always felt safe on my bike when riding on a road with cars. In retrospect I say 'yikes'. I know non-trailer drivers lack respect for the job of people pulling trailers, as a result I try to minimize our exposure by selecting roads, driving at reasonable speeds, counting on my partner for additional information, (also partner has responsibility checking and re-checking the hitch and tires).

In all our RVing experience all the people I've met that had a trailer rollover accident we're towing with Tow Vehicles that were large enough. A large tow vehicle is no quarantee of success. Interesting to me none of the people I've known had small trailer accidents, probably not surprising because big trailers are way more popular with the mostly long term travelers we meet.

My next safety item is tire pressure monitors for my trailer and tow vehicle, to me a more valuable tool than a large Tow Vehicle.

It interests me that one of the justifications for a large tow vehicle is the ability to carry a lot of camping stuff in the tow vehicle, (for many this is second to speed on hills). Our choice is not to carry all the stuff. I am truly amazed to see what some people do carry, taking as long to unload their tow vehicle as it does to setup their rig.

There is much one can do to minimize the possibility of an accident, the most important is a responsible driver. Certainly part of the equation is having an adequate tow vehicle, however every tow vehicle requires a responsible and knowledgeable driver.

I have never felt unsafe towing with our Honda, it has been a tremendously safe and reliable car and tow vehicle. It gets great mileage, tows small trailers extremely well, and maintains highway speeds.

Interestingly, in retrospect, even when we drove a large motorhome, we pretty much followed these same rules, avoiding interstates, driving in the right hand lane, keeping the speed down,.....

It surprises me that more Americans feel it's OK to have two set's of standards for tow vehicle ability, one for Europe and one for the USA. I am offended by this just as I'm offended that American car companies sell cars with small diesels and six speed transmissions in Europe as do all the foreign manufacturers while we are offered less capable cars.

Norm

PS.
We recently had the opportunity to buy a 2005 Casita 17 for the unbelievable price of $6500 that was for sale in our park and did not because we have read how nose heavy Casita 17s can be, thinking it would be too much for our Honda. It subsequently sold in 5 minutes when posted on the Casita Club site for $7500. (In retrospect we should have bought it and resold it.)
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:00 AM   #7
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I agree with everything you say, these steps should always be taken while towing. But the fact remains that the car manufacturer posts a limit, a rule so to speak, that is not being followed. It will not effect anyone else but you, unless you have an accident. Then the broken rule will affect the outcome. That website mentioned above gives a good description of the consequences. Like exceeding the speed limit, no harm, no foul. But get caught and you will pay. I wanted to buy an Outback with 2700# tow capacity, but the manufacturer states a tongue weight limit of 200#. What this tells me is that they really do not want you to tow anything over 1500#. So I have to go elsewhere. Can I tow with it, like you, yes I can. Will I, probably not.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I agree with everything you say, these steps should always be taken while towing. But the fact remains that the car manufacturer posts a limit, a rule so to speak, that is not being followed. It will not effect anyone else but you, unless you have an accident. Then the broken rule will affect the outcome. That website mentioned above gives a good description of the consequences. Like exceeding the speed limit, no harm, no foul. But get caught and you will pay. I wanted to buy an Outback with 2700# tow capacity, but the manufacturer states a tongue weight limit of 200#. What this tells me is that they really do not want you to tow anything over 1500#. So I have to go elsewhere. Can I tow with it, like you, yes I can. Will I, probably not.
I understand that the towing limit is higher in Europe for Outbacks. However I do agree that no one should do what they are uncomfortable doing.

I must say that after our rugged cross Labrador trip towing with our Honda, I was asked by Honda to provide information on our Honda and sent them an account of our trip. There was no response.

A year later our air conditioner failed, I wrote to Honda stating an air conditioner should not fail at 65,000 miles and they replaced at no charge. Kudos to Honda. We're now at 140,000 miles on the CRV. (Our previous Honda now owned by a neice is over 300,000 miles.)

It will always bother me that any manufacture market rates their vehicles as to towing capacity, low in the USA and higher in Europe.

Just as it bothers me that many if not most states have both a high sales tax, a high income tax, high unemployment, and failing schools while others like NH have no sales tax, no income tax, low unemployment (5,5%) and good schools (first or second highest SAT scores in the nation).

I don't mind rules but I do 'rail' against rules without reason.

Norm

P.S. the Honda rating for no trailer brakes is about 1500 lbs in Europe.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:30 AM   #9
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You will forever remain a maverick in my book. Kudos to you and do you live in NH?
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:32 AM   #10
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never mind, that is where 03842 is located. What is their motto :"something about free"
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:08 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
never mind, that is where 03842 is located. What is their motto :"something about free"
Proudly "Live Free or Die" a strong American tradition, at least formerly.

In the last few decades we've had a large influx from our more liberal neighboring states who think we should change our state's motto, probably to something like "Peace through Submission" or the like.

In some states you buy a car and there's another $2-3000 dollar's tacked on. I'm amazed that when I travel the price tag is not the price you pay.

In general I follow rules and my wife even more so. I am only a maverick when or where logic ceases to exist.

Thank you for the good wishes.

Norm
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:43 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies! I think we will stick with a 13', which is a bit lighter. I know we CAN tow over 2000, but we are more comfortable with the lighter weight, especially since we are newbies.
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by scribbledot View Post
Thanks for the replies! I think we will stick with a 13', which is a bit lighter. I know we CAN tow over 2000, but we are more comfortable with the lighter weight, especially since we are newbies.
One disadvantage of many 13s is that they don't have electric brakes and as a result depend on the tow vehicle's brakes to stop.

Norm
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Roger C H View Post
The issue is not what the car can or will tow. It is solely with what it says in the owner's manual. If you go overweight and have an accident, your insurance company will drop you, the police will arrest you, and if someone is seriously hurt, you will end up working for them for the rest of your life; and if someone is killed... just don't think about it.

Proper Tow Vehicles A Must! - GlamisDunes.com

There is a lot of discussion on this forum. Search "tow overweight"
I have read that post before. It had been referred to on rv.net also, some time back. It is the only place I can recall seeing a claim that dire things happened to someone who was blamed for an accident due to their trailer being over the tow vehicle's rating.

I note that the last page of the referenced thread has someone posting the following, post #335:
QUOTE (kalikali @ Sep 26 2010, 02:39 AM)
Bump on this thread, what ever happened to the guy?
[reply:] Nothing, NOT proven true story...
It could happen, I suppose. But it would be unusual. First, the trailer has to be heavier than the car was rated to tow. Second, the driver has to have an accident. Third, the driver must be the one found to be at fault. Fourth, the police must find that the overly heavy trailer was the cause of the accident. Fifth, for the above scenario where the driver allegedly faced manslaughter charges, the accident must result in someone's death.

Today's smaller, more carlike vehicles (with lower center of gravity) are much more maneuverable than large trucks. Accident avoidance becomes easier when one can maneuver out of the situation. Trucks don't swerve nearly as well. I have seen videos of track trials that were done to compare the avoidance moves of both types of vehicles, and the little guys won, hands down.

The stuff about insurance companies comes down to this: they are under contract to provide coverage to the policy limits. This they must do. But in an extreme situation such as the one alleged on the glamisdunes thread, it is understandable that they could bow out of providing free legal representation at trial. But we should not be worried about getting the accident claim covered up to policy limits.

I currently tow with a Highlander, 5000 lb. tow rating. But when that gets old and tired, I am seriously thinking of getting a Jetta or Passat with diesel. They look to be quite capable tow-ers. But a CRV...that's just crazy! (Hee hee, just poking fun!)

On another note, I see that the OP intends to stick with a 13' trailer. If the one he selects happens not to have brakes, it is not a problem to add a new axle with brakes, or it may be possible to add brakes to the existing axle.
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