Towing with FWD V6 vs a Jetta TDI - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-10-2013, 11:44 AM   #43
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The better VW tow vehicle is the Tiguan, I'm finding (see my post on that, here). But it doesn't come with a TDI. If you tow frequently, into rough places, try a Tig. It's a mid-20s MPG sort of vehicle, with plenty of power.

If you drive most miles unhitched, the TDI gives great mileage. Unfortunately, it takes back most of those savings at 100,000 miles with the scheduled timing belt change. Tiguan engines use a longlife chain, so you miss that expense. You might check the forums at TDIclub.com. They have the best discussion of the 2.0 TDI engine's strengths and weaknesses. Many folks there are looking forward to the next generation of TDIs, hoping they'll improve maintenance and reliability issues.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:56 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Angela,

Since you're from NS I suggest you go the Baddeck Vintage Fiberglass Rally, July 19-21. The last one I attended had about 20 Bolers among other small trailers. On Saturday they have an open house and you can talk to actual owners.

To me a Boler can be towed by just about anything if you are conscious of how to load your Boler.

The people at the rally were, like most of these events, very friendly.
Norm and Ginny are the experts at minimalism in towing and tow vehicles. Anything they recommend for you is a good idea.
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:12 AM   #45
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If I was towing with a small car, a diesel/manual would be my first choice for the torque off the line and fuel economy.

I am a huge fan of VW diesels. I nearly bought a Sportwagon the year before last and I may buy one still. Diesels are wonderful for towing. I've owned many and my maintenance costs have been minimal for all of these cars. My Rabbit had 378,000 on it when sold, the K5 Blazer had 265,000,and finally my current K3500 Silverado has 108,000 with nothing but brake work, batteries, tires and oil changes so far.

The VW definitely can tow more than they are rated for, with a manual transmission and avoiding 6th and perhaps 5th gears. (with good judgement and caution)

The fuel economy will take a hit but still beat out just about any other platform on fuel economy while towing.

I towed a snow mobile on a relatively heavy home made steel trailer with a 1981 Rabbit (48 HP) diesel and it was slow up steep hills in the mountains. Still it did surprisingly well on the freeway and I went everywhere with that combo using full throttle accelerating from a stop, and down shifting more frequently too. I pulled over often to let people pass me in the mountains. The sled weighed over 500 lbs and the trailer was heavier still. If a 48 HP Rabbit can tow 1100-1200 lbs, then a more powerful new VW can do better.

The front wheel drive worked very well for towing. I would be to add trailer brakes and a load leveler (LL) hitch. I hope there are smaller and lighter versions than what I have because my LL weighs too much for a small TV.

In any event, I evaluated the VW Sportwagon and in my opinion 2000lbs is practical for towing with trailer brakes.

You won't be driving fast. In my Rabbit whije towing I was able to avoid a 19 car pile up on black ice with this because I was driving slow and the trailer and front wheel drive was a good combo for those conditions. Everyone wrecked but me. I was able to sneak through all the carnage and continue on my way. Cars were stack next to rack other door to door.

With the Sportwagon I might consider trying as much as 2500 lbs for short distances, and see how it handled it. It might surprise you and pull even more safely.

I'd probably mod the hitch mount to make it very secure also as put in an aux tank in the spare tire well. I'd also use the same tires and wheels on the trailer and carry the spare for both tow and TV on the trailer.

It is your responsibility when making decisions like this. There is risk of course. The biggest danger in my opinion is the slow acceleration and merging with traffic. At times with my 48 HP Rabbit I had to wait patiently at on ramps coupled with full throttles acceleration.

If you drive fasts while towing you are asking for and shall receive trouble.
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:40 PM   #46
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Well here's my problem with the tow ratings from VW.
1) the Tiguan and GTI are the same chassis, same engine, same manual transmission, BUT VW does not recommend towing with the GTI and does with the Tiguan.
2) they used to have higher ratings on the Jetta and Golf, but changed their official policy a couple years ago "we did not build our cars to tow, so don't". They only put a perfunctory tow limit in there for tiny trailers.

To those concerned, I work on these cars and have spoken to factory reps about these limitations. Now, like all lawyer fearing corporate employees, they won't go on record. But they do admit that there really isn't much difference between a Jetta Sportwagen and a Tiguan as far as their abilities to tow a small trailer.

Now my big disclaimer! IT IS MORE ABOUT THE DRIVER AND HIS/HER ABILITIES THAN IT IS ABOUT THE CAPABILITIES OF THE TOW VEHICLE AND TRAILER. This is my strong opinion and should be treated as such.

Jason

PS TDI makes a great tow vehicle for me.
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:45 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post

As you will soon see, any mention of exceeding mfgs. tow ratings (did I say CanAm?) with over engineered hitches, only opens the gate to significant liability and warrantee issues. Such suggestions, unless one is a authorized representative of that manufacturer, are usually best kept to ones self hereabouts.

And now..... back to the original topic(s)
By proper I mean factory authorized and engineered hitch made for this specific model. I am not speaking of that monstrosity that a certain Canadian RV dealer builds and installs.

Jason
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:18 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverGhost View Post
Well here's my problem with the tow ratings from VW.
1) the Tiguan and GTI are the same chassis, same engine, same manual transmission, BUT VW does not recommend towing with the GTI and does with the Tiguan.
2) they used to have higher ratings on the Jetta and Golf, but changed their official policy a couple years ago "we did not build our cars to tow, so don't". They only put a perfunctory tow limit in there for tiny trailers.

To those concerned, I work on these cars and have spoken to factory reps about these limitations. Now, like all lawyer fearing corporate employees, they won't go on record. But they do admit that there really isn't much difference between a Jetta Sportwagen and a Tiguan as far as their abilities to tow a small trailer.

Now my big disclaimer! IT IS MORE ABOUT THE DRIVER AND HIS/HER ABILITIES THAN IT IS ABOUT THE CAPABILITIES OF THE TOW VEHICLE AND TRAILER. This is my strong opinion and should be treated as such.

Jason

PS TDI makes a great tow vehicle for me.
Good information Jason. Thanks for sharing.

The VW Combi type camper is an example of under powered, over loaded camper. The issue with those is over heating and blown hoses. So a reliable cooling system is important, along with gearing down and going slower with a TDI is part of the driver responsibilities.
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:46 PM   #49
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Jason,

While in Newfoundland I got to see the Can AM hitch on a VW TDI and it did not look like a monstrosity.

Basically the one I saw was T shaped with the top of the 'T' parallel to the bumper and the stem of the 'T' Running to the front of the tow vehicle. A relatively light W/D system attached to the top of the 'T'. The owner seemed very happy with the tow vehicle and hitch.

What did the one you see look like?
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:47 PM   #50
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By proper I mean factory authorized and engineered hitch made for this specific model. I am not speaking of that monstrosity that a certain Canadian RV dealer builds and installs.

Jason
LOL, This is the first time I have heard the Can RV dealer's work called that.

Normally one reads comments like "engineered art work" or "state of the art" custom hitch building.
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:50 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by SilverGhost View Post
PS TDI makes a great tow vehicle for me.
For many other's too.....
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:55 PM   #52
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MCI,

Often when I read comments about the VW TDI people talk about the expensive maintenance. Do you find this to be the case? Thank you.
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Old 07-11-2013, 04:16 PM   #53
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LOL, This is the first time I have heard the Can RV dealer's work called that.

Normally one reads comments like "engineered art work" or "state of the art" custom hitch building.
From the CanAm people, yes. What I see generally looks crude and far from optimal, although there is some logic apparent in the design.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:14 PM   #54
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TDI maintenance 101

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MCI,

Often when I read comments about the VW TDI people talk about the expensive maintenance. Do you find this to be the case? Thank you.
There are a few special considerations with the current TDIs. First, they require timing belt and water pump changes at 100k miles (a figure that I seem to hit with startling frequency). Expect to pay about $1200, more at a dealer.

Second, diesel fuel filters are more costly (on my older '20 TDI, that was about $80 every 25k miles).

Third, perhaps most worryingly, a significant number of owners have experienced sudden failure of the High Pressure Fuel Pump, with destructive metal shrapnel spread throughout the injection system. So far, dealers have replaced this at VW's expense, even beyond the warranty period, but there's concern this may not continue at higher mileage. Dealer's invoice for the job runs around $8,000, believe it or not.

The older ALH TDI engine (1998-2004) I owned in my two cars was considered most reliable, though dirtier. Each car lost their fuel pumps at 160,000 miles, but it was a simple replacement costing about $1600 each to fix. The "pump deuse" engines in Jettas and Beetles from 2004-2006 are reviled by my VW mechanic, and best avoided.

On the plus side, you'll never need a spark plug or a coilpack. The other thing to consider is resale value. VW TDIs sell new for about $3000 more than gassers, but they retain that premium value at high mileages. I just sold a 10-year-old Beetle TDI to a guy who flew from out of state, paying $4700. He wasn't worried about the 200,000 miles on the odometer. Why do diesel engines last longer? Maybe because we expect that, so we maintain them better..

You can find all knowledge about VW diesel engines at tdiclub.com. The two forums should share more info. They often have questions about towing.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:25 PM   #55
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Norm, Sorry, I'm not that informed on the VW line. John seems to be know lots about them. Some of the service costs are scary.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:30 PM   #56
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Thanks for the real-world experience, John. It's even relevant to one of the vehicles in the original question of this thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by John McMillin View Post
On the plus side, you'll never need a spark plug or a coilpack.
That was important when I was young. On the other hand... the normal spark plug life for my 2004 Toyota Sienna is 192,000 km (120,000 miles), and my 1984 Toyota Tercel went to the scrap yard (due to body damage) at 353,000 km (220,000 miles) with the original coil (and cap, and rotor). Avoiding ignition maintenance is no longer a meaningful diesel advantage.

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Why do diesel engines last longer? Maybe because we expect that, so we maintain them better..
Yes! The design, construction, and maintenance of a specific engine are far more important to engine life than what type of fuel it burns.

In the original comparison of a 2003 Hyundai Sante Fe or a (unknown year) VW Jetta TDI, the specific Hyundai engine (one of two choice, apparently) versus that particular VW TDI variant is the issue, not gas versus diesel.
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