Volkswagen Golf - safe? - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-11-2010, 11:09 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
Actually, we do have the same laws of physics and the gravity here is very similar.....
I'll give you that Andrew! As we all know, even "laws" aren't consistent across state lines here in the U.S. But gravity does keep us all anchored...
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:00 PM   #58
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I guess you could say that I follow European driving habits -- I drive slower with a trailer, maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles, scan ahead for potential dangers, and don't really care if people behind be have to drive 5 MPH slower than they want to.

It is unfortunate that we consider these to be "European" habits and not just common sense. I will agree, however, that there is a real lack of common sense on US roadways.
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:03 PM   #59
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I towed my 13' Scamp with my '05 VW Golf TDI exactly once - to get it home so I could tear it apart and repair it. I went fairly slow - 60-65MPH on the interstate - and had no trouble towing it (in fact it towed beautifully), but that was in the flatlands of Illinois on a nice day with almost no wind. I'm still working on the floor panel replacement that turned into a complete teardown (I'll post soon) so I haven't been able to tow it since. However, it dawned on me that I'd be a fool to tow this thing without brakes and a good brake controller. The brakes on this car are small, and it wouldn't take too many panic stops to warp the front brake rotors. Long, steep downhill runs without trailer brakes? Huh-uh, no thanks. IMHO, all but the smallest trailers should have brakes when towed by lighter cars or other small vehicles. My Scamp frame is up on stands now, and I hope to install brakes this coming week.

Mk IV Golfs and Jettas (1999.5 to 2005) are infamous for scraping bottom on rough roads, even when unloaded. Besides installing a 3/16" tempered aluminum alloy crash plate under the front, I also replaced my droopy suspension with taller, stiffer springs, front lift spacers and much better struts and shocks. I just put slightly larger tires and wheels on a couple weeks ago. It rides very nicely with a 500lb cargo trailer, lots of cargo in the car and a rooftop box with 150lbs in it. (No, I didn't do all of that just for towing. I also like to go to places only accessible via semi-rough roads while still getting 45MPG.) It's still a fairly light, pretty short car, though. If the wind is up, especially it it's a crosswind, I'm going to sit it out. I know lots of other drivers will hate me, but I'm going to take my time when I tow my Scamp. It just isn't worth it to me to buy, insure, license and maintain a guzzler to tow a travel trailer around six times per year.

When I tow, I plan to put as little in the trailer as possible and put food, tools, cooler etc. in the car. I figure a lighter trailer won't push a heavier car around as much. This will work OK with two people, but it would be mighty hard to do with a family in such a small car. So, Melanie, I agree with you when you say you'll need a bigger tug if you find your Boler.
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Old 09-12-2010, 05:20 AM   #60
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I forgot to add, on the subject of different towbar mounting in Yurp and Merka, that for the last 10 years or so, towbars in Yurp must have homologated mountings - that is, the manufacturer of the vehicle specifies where a towbar is to be attached and does the calculations about what the towbar must be able to carry.

Be thankful you don't have anything similar in North America, as it means that if the manufacturer thinks towing is inadvisable, or just can't be bothered, they don't homologate the towbar mountings, so it's then illegal to fit a towbar to that model. We use such a wide range of small tow vehicles that few vehicles that have this problem but, for example, Mazda never bothered to homologate mountings for the MX5 (= Miata) so that cannot even tow a little box trailer.
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:29 AM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon W View Post
I went fairly slow - 60-65MPH on the interstate - and had no trouble towing it (in fact it towed beautifully), but that was in the flatlands of Illinois on a nice day with almost no wind.
I guess so many are used to going warp speed nowadays that the definition of slow has changed...
Here in California, the Posted Speed Limit for any vehicle towing another vehicle is 55 MPH. While I observe that the majority of drivers ignore the signs, I find that my towing fuel economy peaks around that speed and diminishes the faster I go. I now tow at 55 MPH when towing no matter where I am.
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:26 PM   #62
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checking in

Hey everyone, Just checking in after a few weeks. I never imagined my original post would spark so much 'interest'.

What's interesting (frustrating) to me is the 'talk' about me wanting to tow overweight. My car IS rating to tow 3086 lbs (with brakes) in North America and a 13' boler - fully loaded - is well within my vehicle's tow limits.

According to the manual and the dealer - our VW Golf can tow this camper safely - IF we install trailer brakes but no one here seems to think so....WHY?

Melanie

(I did buy a tent - and it's rained every weekend since! So, we're going to see a couple of bolers this weekend!)
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:56 PM   #63
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Melanie,

Thread kind of took on a life of it's own, didn't it

I think one reason that people might think your car would have been towing overweight (IF you had chosen to tow, which you did not), is that your first post in the thread includes the following:

I have a 2008 VW City Golf (2.0 litre, manual trans) with a Towing Capacity of 1321 lbs (taken from the manual) - trailer hitch Class 1 and 2.

Many people may not have kept reading the whole thread (not saying they shouldn't have) and thus did not find out that your car was rated to tow more.

In addition, as I remember it, your car (and this is not uncommon) - even though it is rated to tow 3,000+# with trailer brakes - also has requirements about total load (in the car) and tongue weight (in combination) that still would have made it difficult (or maybe impossible) for you to tow within ratings considering that you have four passengers and the gear for four passengers, plus general camping gear. These figures can be seen in post #15 on this thread.

Nevertheless, those who have followed the thread know that you decided to wait until you have purchased a vehicle with a higher rating (or one that does not require any "calculating" about vehicle loads, which larger vehicles generally don't) to purchase an egg.

Raya
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:05 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Melanie View Post
Hey everyone, Just checking in after a few weeks. I never imagined my original post would spark so much 'interest'.

What's interesting (frustrating) to me is the 'talk' about me wanting to tow overweight. My car IS rating to tow 3086 lbs (with brakes) in North America and a 13' boler - fully loaded - is well within my vehicle's tow limits.

According to the manual and the dealer - our VW Golf can tow this camper safely - IF we install trailer brakes but no one here seems to think so....WHY?

Melanie

(I did buy a tent - and it's rained every weekend since! So, we're going to see a couple of bolers this weekend!)
Perhaps too many folks are paranoid about this . YouTube - Renault 5 Caravan Crash I would be too
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:18 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Raya L. View Post
Melanie,

Thread kind of took on a life of it's own, didn't it

I think one reason that people might think your car would have been towing overweight (IF you had chosen to tow, which you did not), is that your first post in the thread includes the following:

I have a 2008 VW City Golf (2.0 litre, manual trans) with a Towing Capacity of 1321 lbs (taken from the manual) - trailer hitch Class 1 and 2.

Many people may not have kept reading the whole thread (not saying they shouldn't have) and thus did not find out that your car was rated to tow more.

In addition, as I remember it, your car (and this is not uncommon) - even though it is rated to tow 3,000+# with trailer brakes - also has requirements about total load (in the car) and tongue weight (in combination) that still would have made it difficult (or maybe impossible) for you to tow within ratings considering that you have four passengers and the gear for four passengers, plus general camping gear. These figures can be seen in post #15 on this thread.

Nevertheless, those who have followed the thread know that you decided to wait until you have purchased a vehicle with a higher rating (or one that does not require any "calculating" about vehicle loads, which larger vehicles generally don't) to purchase an egg.

Raya
But the maximum payload of 1168 lbs includes passengers, luggage, etc - and only the tongue weight of the Boler (165 lbs). The camper is only adding 165 lbs to the payload - as I read it.
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:57 PM   #66
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George, that video... while morbidly humorous... is hardly a comparison. The car is question is a super-small Renault with a 59 horsepower engine towing a caravan that weighs well over a ton. I don't know what happened to that Renault, but it was obviously having engine trouble. The driver should not have been on the road with all that smoke blowing out the back.

VW designs their cars to tow... and to tow a pretty hefty load. They do it particularly well, too. Not just the diesels, but even the "old technology" 2.0 gasser. That engine has quite a bit of torque down low. I only wish my 1.8L Toyota engine had that much torque. Mine hits max torque at 4,500 RPM... which I hardly ever see. The VW 2.0 engine in question this max torque at 2,600 RPM.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:11 PM   #67
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George, that video... while morbidly humorous... is hardly a comparison....
Agree, this panicky moment for the driver is just hilarious.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:30 PM   #68
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Okay, well let's go back to your figures from post #15. I will put numbers on the rows to make it easier to talk about.

1) Maximum Vehicle Weights (lbs):
2) Total Permissible Weight = 3,946
3) Maximum Payload = 1,168
4) Reg. Vehicle Weight = 2,778 (from the permit)
5) Max front axle load = 2,094
6) Max rear axle load = 2,006
7) Max roof weight = 165

Maximum Permissible Trailer Weights (lbs):
8 )Trailer with brakes = 3,086
9)Trailer without brakes = 1,323
10) Tongue Load = 165

11) "The tongue load increases the weight of the rear axle and correspondingly reduces the other load that your vehicle can carry."

12) "Never exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight, which is the weight of the vehicle, including the driver, passengers, luggage, trailer hitch and tongue weight of the loaded trailer."


Okay, so, in #12 we find out that we can never exceed the gross weight for the car portion, which I am presuming (?) is the same as the "total permissible weight" of 3,946.

In #4, the vehicle weight (reg.?) is listed as 2,778, so subtracting #4 from #12 we have 1,168. So you have 1,168 lbs. for driver, passengers, luggage, trailer hitch, and tongue weight of loaded trailer.

A reasonable real world weight for a "trim" Boler 13' is, say, 1600#. So tongue weight will be about 175#. Two adults probably equal about 350#. Two kids, say 100#. Trailer hitch, say 25#. Gear in trunk..... say 200# So that adds up to 850#. So far, you are okay at 2,778# for the car + 850 for people/tongue/gear, which equals 3628# You have a little over 300# of leeway here, as I see it.

Note that with a 165# maximum tongue load, and a typically recommended 10-15% tongue weight (of your 1600# Boler) you are cutting it close there. You would have to be careful of having full propane tanks or battery on the tongue. I already had 175# as an estimate, but you could probably cut that down if you were careful.

Then you have a permitted rear axle load of 2,006 lb. What we don't know is what the "base" weight of the car on the rear axle is. To that you would need to add say, the 165# tongue weight, the 200# in the trunk, and the two passengers in the back seat. So again, you might be close, but we can't say for sure.

What I don't see here is a maximum combined weight rating. That would be the maximum allowed for the vehicle and the trailer, when both are loaded. Unless I am misunderstanding something.

I think where you would be getting into a bind would be the see-saw between wanting to put more gear in the car, to keep your tongue weight down (you can't just shift weight back in the trailer as too light a tongue is dangerous), but then potentially overloading either the rear axle or that maximum vehicle weight. This is represented in #11.

It seems like you would have to get a few more facts and figures. But obviously it would be close, and I would imagine a family of four would want a cooler, ice, gear, extra clothes, etc. And then there are the various trailer items: Cords, jack stands, chairs, screen tents, etc.

There's nothing wrong with towing close to your limit, but I think with four people and being that close, it might be a bit tiring to have to be so careful about loading. I don't know if we really have enough information to know for sure though (unless, like I said, I'm misinterpreting something).

I would be happy to hear from someone who is better at making these calculations than I am (Brian BP?). My car has enough of a margin that I don't have to really sharpen my pencil (and with only one person in the car, stuff doesn't "add up" in the same way as it does with four).

Raya
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:56 PM   #69
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Raya, I may be oopening another can of worms, but I will say that I don't agree with the 10-15% tongue weight standard... at least not for small trailers and small cars. In Europe (I know you are getting tired of hearing those words) they use 5% as the standard. You will find that Euro spec hitches are almost all rated at 5% tongue weight.

Now, the problem is that Americans, as a whole, tend to drive faster and more carelessly with trailers than our European friends. I, however, tend to drive more like they do. I rarely see 60 MPH when towing. In the (nearly) 20 years I have been towing trailers, I have yet to experience any sway. I believe that most sway is caused by trailers with negative tongue weight. The 10-15% standard seems like overkill just to make SURE that there is weight on the tongue. I really can't believe the way some small trailers are balanced... I have seen 1,200 pound campers with 300 pounds of tongue weight! That is just bad planning, if you ask me.

Of course, some people are bad at judging weight, or don't check the tongue weight at all... and it doesn't help that trailer manufacturers rarely give you a weight that is accurate. The folks at Scamp told me that a trailer with the options I wanted (all options except the bathroom on a 13') would weight between 1,100 and 1,200 pounds!

Now, it doesn't make that much of a difference in your figures, but I have found that the Scamp tows perfectly well behind my little car with about 75 pounds of tongue weight. I had to move some stuff around (including relocating the battery) because the stock tongue weight was 175 pounds.

I do wish someone would make a small, easy to pack scale for weighing the tongue. I have done it plenty of times with a bathroom scale and some pieces of wood, but that's not ideal to travel with. I have seen ones made for heavy trailers that cost a few hundred bucks, but that is overkill. It seems like it could be sold for $40 or $50... I would certainly buy one for that.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:06 PM   #70
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mcbrew, you may disagree, but facts are that the recommendations are put in place for a reason. Sure it may be some corporate big wig CYA-ing it. But hey, that is the guidelines that are set for USA towing standards on the vehicle she is considering towing with. Frankly, getting any where near tow capacity with children in the car is in my opinion not worth it. Here in Colorado we have had more than one family devastated because they were told that their vehicle would tow the trailer they purchased. And the rv sales man was full of beans, all he wanted to do was sell another rv. In the end, he got his sale and the family on their first camping trip out with their new trailer had a horrible accident that ended in tragedy.

One thing that was brought up in other discussions on this subject, is that a member here has a friend who is currently facing vehicular manslaughter charges for a accident where someone was killed and the Police accident report states the trailer weight was over the tow capacity of the tow vehicle.


Melanie, yes your post kept a heart beat of it's own after you left it. No one was talking about you per-say, just laying out the scenario for the people who seem to think it's ok to push the limits. I am not saying you are pushing the limits with your car, but what I am saying is, you could be.

Have you ever weighted a ice chest full of beer and pop? And the problem isn't the ice chest, it's the bikes, the clothes, food, toy's, bedding, jacks, cords, lawn chairs, etc etc etc all adding to the weight. A good way to determine what you may be looking at as far as weight is, to put together your family's camping gear and weighting it. Everything, pot's pan's, camp stove, lanterns, dishes, lawn chairs, bikes, kids toys, clothes, bedding, etc. That will give you a great idea of what your looking at.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Raya L. View Post

Gear in trunk..... say 200#


Raya
For our camping pleasure I know our gear far exceeds 200 LBS. My easy up awning is a good 55+ pounds. I really should weight everything as it goes in this trip, ugh! I might give it a try. Just to give Melanie an idea of what she may be looking at.
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