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Old 03-15-2008, 08:32 PM   #15
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1995 36' Classic 36
Ottawa , Ontario
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Hi, I have been towing a 2000 Beetle with our 345 (we switched last year to an Airstream classic diesel) but we found the Beetle towed very well.

The previous owner had supposedly done some strengthening of the rear hitch receiver but I have been unable to identify anything specifically that was done. We have not made any adjustments to the hitch height.

A few comments, the Beetle is nearly 3000 lbs, although the most basic version is just under (this is the version we have). Most of the Beetles with options (such as electric windows) exceed the 3000 lb point at which a braking assist becomes legally required in most places in North America. We have towed ours in places where it is legal to tow under 3000 lbs without braking assist, but one must be VERY careful as it is already over the recommendation of Airstream for towing (although we always travel very light and with most tanks empty)

The towbar and plate we use is a Blue ox, and I have been very happy with it, especially its removable pins which make it look normal when it is not being used as a toad. The installation of the plate is VERY difficult - I am a mechanical engineer, and avid car enthusiast/restorer and found the removal of the plastic nose of the beetle to install the plate a major pain. I have been told that many shops will not touch the job as it is such a chore. If you are planning to have someone else install it, expect them to charge significantly - a shop charge of 5 hours or more is not unreasonable. When I bought mine, Blue Ox rated difficulty from 1 to 5 stars, and this was the only one rated as 5+ in difficulty !

On the plus side, the combination of the Airstream and the Beetle (ours is silver) looks great ! In spite of my swearing I would never install another baseplate on a Beetle, I have purchased a silver Beetle convertible over the winter and will be putting the baseplate onto it before summer so that we can take the new convertible along.

Good luck with yours !
John
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:41 PM   #16
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Picture I posted a few years back is here (Post #30)

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f160...w-17398-3.html
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:49 PM   #17
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Fairbanks , Alaska
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how is brake assist done? Can a Prodigy electric brake controller work? Did you see our pictyures? Was our hitch modified by PO, or is it the standard 345 hitch setup? any ideas? Thanks!
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:53 PM   #18
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Greetings GypsyChris!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsychris
we got a manual tranny, as I read it was best to have to tow on 4....is that right? I will take pictures of the underbelly of our 345, and post them here...maybe one of you guys can tell me if that setup is ok>? Thanks!!
I know that there may be differences through the various model years of the New Beetle, but for 2007, Volkswagen advises against towing (five-speed manual) more than 30 miles with four-on-the-ground -- for distances greater than 30 miles, the manual indicates that the drive wheels must be off of the ground. Based on my experience trying to find a tow dolly or car trailer to bring my New Beetle home it is quite difficult to find a stock tow dolly that the New Beetle can be driven onto without modification due to the very limited ground clearance below the front bumper/air-dam. The warnings against flat-towing New Beetles with the Tiptronic Automatic are even more restrictive than for the manual shift version.

The New Beetle is an economical fun car to drive, and I am sure that you will enjoy it for sight-seeing.

Kevin
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:11 PM   #19
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsychris
Was our hitch modified by PO, or is it the standard 345 hitch setup? any ideas? Thanks!
Your hitch is the factory hitch rated for 2000 lbs towing and 200 lbs tongue weight. In other words you're set up for a towbar arrangment with a vehicle that weighs 2000 lbs or less.

I would highly recommend you have your hitch strengthened similar to how we did ours.

Brad
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:46 AM   #20
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hi Brad, do you know where/who can get that done? Thanks! This is giving us lots of headaches and nightmares!!!
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:59 AM   #21
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I found these Class III Hitch But cannot find anything specific to the 345. Your setup looks as if it was weldedm, and the local Uhaul says they do not do welds etc....Please help :-)
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:39 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsychris
I found these Class III Hitch But cannot find anything specific to the 345. Your setup looks as if it was weldedm, and the local Uhaul says they do not do welds etc....Please help :-)
You won't be able to find an off the shelf hitch anywhere for your motorhome. You're going to need to find a welding/fabrication shop in your area to handle the job.

There are three issues with your existing hitch that need to be corrected. The first one is twisting or sagging of the receiver due to too much tongue weight. The second issue is flexing of the hitch forward and back during towing. The third issue is side to side flex of the receiver while turning corners with a heavy tongue load.

If you look closely at the pictures in the links I provided earlier you'll see how that was done. I would suggest printing out a bunch of these pictures and taking them and your motorhome to a good welding/fabrication shop and explain to them what you want done.

To deal with the side to side flex I put diagonal braces from the back of the receiver tube to the outside corners of the frame about 2' towards the front of the motorhome. The theory was side to side motion of the trailer tongue would be offset by the diagonal braces.

If you would like I can email you larger pictures of how I did the hitch on our motorhome. Just send me your email address.

Hope this helps!

Brad
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:21 PM   #23
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
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Gypsychris,
The tow bar I have is the 'Ready Brute" from NightShift Auto. It has their surge brake built into the MH end of the bar. I had to make the base plate assembly as no one tows a Porsche. If you give them a call, you will find them very helpfull. Just tell them what you want to do.
I have had our reciever beefed-up on the 345. I also tow a 7000# race trailer from time to time. With the reciever mod, our new tow limit is 10,000# with a weight distributing hitch. I would recomend having the reciever done even if you do not need that much weight. As the other guys have said, the factory limit is 2000#, and the reciver is real lame.
Do a search and you will find my post on having the reciver/hitch modified
If you want to PM me, I can give you more specific info.
Rob
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:47 PM   #24
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klattu has also posted good pics of his enhanced receiver...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/471397-post12.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:33 AM   #25
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We are the west coasters who pull the '74 VW Thing. We have not upgraded the stock hitch because the weight of the car is near the 2000 lb. limit. We have been using a Brake Buddy placed on the floor of the Thing. Yesterday we purchased a new Mini Convertible (well, almost new) which will replace the Thing. We are going to do the same upgrade on our hitch that Robfike did to his, because of the increased weight of the new toad. It may take you some time to get the right set up, but it will be worth it. Hang in there. Ron
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Old 04-02-2008, 02:45 PM   #26
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We just wrapped up a 2000 or so mile trip pulling a 2002 manual tranny beetle. Without a problem. We did have our hitch strenghen, and had a custom plate built to fit our beetle through its front grille. all looks and works well. As a tow bar we used a valley tow bar rated at 5000lbs, only $149....much cheaper of a setup then blue ox....
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