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Old 02-20-2004, 08:29 PM   #57
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You're right, Marvin. I took a look at the RV Lifestyle website. The Airstream they tested is the 30'. The dinette is visible in one of the pictures, so it's got to be the 30'. The Airstream website lists this trailer with a hitchweight of 730# (w/o options or variable weight) and a dry weight of 7320#. I have a Hensley arrow and I would guess the added weight is close to 100# more! So it looks like this was quite a bit over the hitch weight but still under the allowable towing weight. What does it all mean? I'll wait for others to comment. Thanks for the reply!----Dallas
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Old 02-25-2004, 06:16 AM   #58
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The article below is from the current issue of RV Lifestyle Magazine:

The Volkswagen Touareg for 2004 ... by Garth W. Cane

This is not your father’s Volkswagen Bug- that had a rear air cooled engine and terrible heater. This premium luxury SUV frees you from the obstacles of travelling in areas that have difficult road surfaces for ordinary cars to manoeuver. The Touareg name means "free folk" and is the name of a nomadic tribe from the Sahara. With a full-time four-wheel-drive system and room for five passengers with lots of cargo (31 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 71 cubic feet when folded), the Touareg boasts a trailer towing rating of 7,716 pounds in both V6 and V8.

Since the trailer hitch for the Touareg is a $1000 dealer installed option, we took our test vehicle to CedarBrae Volkswagen on Markham Road where Mike Bruene dropped the rear bumper, bolted on the hitch, installed the lighting control unit and re-program the lights, re-installed the bumper, then wired the Tekonsha brake control under the dash. This process takes about three hours to complete. I would like to think that this would be done at the factory where nothing would need to be taken apart, but VW considers that the dealers should do the installation.

The permanent four wheel drive system is called 4XMOTION™ and automatically shifts power between axles to match driving conditions, such as pulling your trailer up a gravel hill to the campground. The 4XMOTION system includes an adjustable multi-plate clutch of the center differential that is automatically controlled by the Differential Control Module. During normal operation, torque is distributed from the engine to the front and rear axles (on a 50/50% split) by the automatic transmission and center differential. The multi-plate center differential lock is allowed to disengage whenever the Differential Control Module determines a power differential between the front and rear axles is required. A transfer case, equipped with off-road reduction, delivers power to drive the wheels via electronically controlled differentials. With the option rear differential lock, up to 100% of the torque can be used by any wheel that still has traction.

Touareg’s standard independent suspension contributes to the vehicle’s outstanding on-road and off-road capabilities allowing the vehicle to navigate very difficult terrain on the way to your favorite lake. Our test vehicle had optional air suspension and Continuous Damping Control that adapts the suspension to driving conditions and vehicle speed. The damping characteristics of the shock absorbers are adjusted from the input of sensors that monitor road conditions through vehicle movement. The air suspension will raise the body in two different stages to provide more ground clearance for off-road driving. The Touareg also features a Hill Climb Assist that prevents the vehicle from rolling back on a steep incline. Not only does it keep the vehicle steady, it makes it easier to accelerate up the hill from a standing stop after photographing the scenic view from the lookout on the mountain road.

The Touareg’s body has a completely new, self-supporting construction and provides as much static and dynamic rigidity as possible. The body does not flex or twist, even in the most tortuous off-road driving conditions.

The body’s high dynamic torsional rigidity contributes to Touareg’s stability and driving comfort. The rock-solid chassis allows the doors, hood and tailgate to close without problems, even with the tightest gap tolerances. The body structure also provides optimum design for the running gear properties, and the Touareg’s front mud wings are made of a flexible plastic material for added durability. The bumpers are made of thermal-resistant, extremely rugged plastic that protects them from heat emanating from the engine compartment and exhaust system, and they are flexible enough to protect against parking lot dings.

The center console provides quick, convenient access to the controls, including the gear shift selector, mirror adjustment switch and the switch for running gear and height adjustable self-levelling suspension. All controls are positioned ergonomically, in easy sight and reach of the driver, including a knob for dampening control. Our Touareg had the standard AM/FM radio with CD player, but for Rvers, the Navigation package would be ideal for travelling in unfamiliar country.

The large tailgate with an independently opening window guarantees optimum accessibility and convenience. The two-piece tailgate, opened by invisible spring absorber units, also offers a high degree of technical details and tactile luxury. The tailgate is unlocked electronically by either the keyfob or a switch on the driver’s door and an adjustable roof rack is standard.

Touareg’s luxury character begins with world-class dual-zone Climatronic™ air conditioning system with separate temperature levels for the right and left side. An available four-zone "Climatronic" system provides two individual temperatures, air flow and air distribution zones for the front as well as the rear passengers. Both systems feature residual heating function, activated charcoal dust and pollen filter, and an air-conditioned glove box.

Touareg offers exceptionally comfortable front seating with standard eight-way manual adjustment on the V6 and standard 12-way power adjustment on the V8. The 12-way power front seats are adjustable to longitudinal position, height, seat and backrest angle by means of buttons directly on the seat. Integrated lumbar support and electrically adjustable (up/down, front/back) controls conform the seat to the best anatomical, fatigue-free position. All front seats are heatable.

The noise and comfort level of this luxury sedan are guaranteed by the acoustically insulated subframe, with double wishbone construction of the front axle and four-link suspension of the rear axle. The enhanced Traction Control System prevents the drive wheels from spinning on snow or loose gravel with braking action or engine torque. The standard Electronic Differential Lock makes it easier to drive when one wheel is on the pavement and the other on the shoulder of the road, where different surfaces have different friction, by braking the spinning wheel.

The standard engine is a V6 3.2L 24-valve that produces 220 hp at 5400 rpm and has 225 pounds-feet of torque at 3200 rpm. The optional V8 in our test vehicle produced 310 hp at 6200 rpm with 302 pounds-feet of torque at 3000 rpm. A deeper oil pan and a spraying tube facilitate oil distribution in off-road situations. More belt-to-pulley contact prevents the accessory belt from slipping when driving through water.

The six-speed automatic transmission reduces fuel consumption , and reduces emissions for quieter operation than five-speed units. The "Tiptronic" transmission allows manual-style shifting by moving the gear selector from "D" to the right and gently moving the lever forward or backward to shift the gears up or down. A Sport position automatically selects gears at higher engine speeds, resulting in quicker acceleration. This transmission is one of the smoothest shifting we have driven. It effortlessly shifts down from 6th to 5th on steep hills without losing speed, and the upshifts can hardly be felt.

The air suspension will raise the body in two different stages to provide more ground clearance for off-road driving. These variable settings give Touareg an advantage in off-road situations by providing outstanding approach angles, departure angles and breakover angles to permit the vehicle to easily negotiate hills, rocks and other rugged terrain that many conventional SUVs cannot handle.

Going down a steep hill is easier for Touareg because of Hill Descent Control. At speeds of less than 15 mph on a decline of 20 percent or more, this control automatically cuts engine torque to slow the vehicle and enhance engine control. If necessary, the brakes will be applied automatically. The sporty Touareg V8 (228 kW / 310 bhp ) develops no less than 302 pounds-feet of torque accelerating the Touareg to 100 km/hr in just 8.1 seconds.

The Touareg can climb a 45% incline and also remain stable when crossing the side of a hill. The door seals prevent water from entering, and with waterproof headlamps and connectors, special air intake ducting, the Touareg can ford water up to 500 millimeters ( 580 millimeters with air suspension) without a problem.

The key, that is like no other key, is a flat bar with grooves engraved in each side instead of notches along the edges, and has a transponder to recognize its driver.

We borrowed a 30-foot Classic Airstream travel trailer equipped with a Hensley hitch from Andy and Kirk Thomson at Can-Am RV in London for our test of the Touareg. We weighed the combination at the Flying "J" scale on Highbury Ave in London to be sure that we were within the 7700 pound design limts of the Touareg’s towing capacity. The Airstream came in at 6700 pounds giving us another 1000 pounds of load carrying capability for food and clothing.

This SUV was a delight to drive, both solo and with a trailer in tow. I had to watch that I did not accelerate too quickly with so much power available at the wheels. The Touareg handled the trailer very well in sudden lane changes at highway speeds with no body roll or diving in the corners. This is one fantastic tow vehicle that can tow a substantial trailer like the Airstream without any effort and in complete comfort.


My one disappointment was the placement of the cup holders for the driver and passenger. It was necessary to place your wrist in an unnatural position to insert the cup or remove it from its position at the rear of the console. Base price for the V8 Touareg in Canada is $60,550. Our test model equipped with Bi-xenon headlamps, winter package, 19" alloy wheels with summer tires, four corner air suspension, and rear differential lock was $69,350. The V6 will sell for $52,000.

Garth W. Cane
Technical Director
RV Lifestyle Magazine
Taylor Publishing Group
1020 Brevik Place,Ste 5
Mississauga, ON L4W 4N7
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Old 02-25-2004, 07:58 AM   #59
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I just don't agree towing a 30' Classic with that car. It's like the folks that tow with the Intrepids.

I have a very meaty V8 body on frame car and I am even kind of uneasy with towing my 25' Safari. I can tell you first hand that my car when it towed a 19' Bambi 4600lb wet weight you sure as heck knew it was back there. I've modded my tow vehicle in many areas too to compensate. My point, good VW, bad idea........ I feel the car does have merit, but I would not tow more than a 22' coach with it and most likely would only tow 19' with it. I think towing larger, regardless of what VW or the rag sheets say is really suicide.

Other than towing it's a really great SUV. As a matter of fact, you could spend more on it's Porshe sibling....but way?

Eric
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Old 02-25-2004, 08:46 AM   #60
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I think this is a good setup, as I said before it is not my choice, but I like a truck.
I have went to Can-Am and towed a 34ft trailer with the Dodge Intrepid it works great, good acceleration and handling got up to 70 mph very easy, tows better than my 25ft Tradewind with the truck.
I see on this fourm and others statements like, "That would be suicide" and "Let me know what road you are going to be on so I can stay off the road.
I would like to know the difference in towing a 7000 lb trailer with a VW going down a 6% grade and having the brakes go out on the trailer or towing a 15000 lb trailer with a 2500HD going down a 6% grade and having the brakes go out on the trailer? I think the end result would be about the same. Marvin
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Old 02-25-2004, 09:45 AM   #61
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The difference is that the brakes on the trucks are larger and designed with towing upwards of 10k in mind, plus the the trucks use the trans as a brake as well.

I think also you have neglected to mention some other important factors other than a trailer brake failure senario. There is wheelbase, GVWR (which in the Intrepid and the Touareg's case is pretty well overshot IMHO w/30+' coach let alone a 34'), wear and tear, heat, general braking, large hitchweights on a unibody car vs a body on full parimeter robust frame. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those get the biggest truck you can, heck, I have already exceeded my cars capacity, but I also spent about 2-3k on upgrades to help soften the issue. Is it the right thing to do, maybe not, but I'm big enough to admit that fact. Some Intrepid folks seem to be indifferent to the fact that although it can do it, it might not be "within spec" or a wise choice. I bet if I called Dodge up and asked what they thought, you'd hear the laughter from them where you are.

Why is it that most of the folks that do the Intrepid thing are from Canada?

Bottom some of the folks that do these types of things will be on Real TV for me to get a laugh at...and at the very least Darwinism will be in full effect!

Eric
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Old 02-25-2004, 09:57 AM   #62
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Dodge Intrepid

I have owned a 1996 since new. I noticed once this came up it says it can carry over 2000 pounds in passengers and luggage on the placard in the door post.

It is a good car -- except for front suspension. I have had lots of problems with worn parts on it...could not imagine adding the stress of even a vintage Bambi to it...

Mine has 120K on it -- engine runs great, but the front end needs work again...

Replaced significant number of suspension and steering parts in 1998 and 2001, and it feels as though it is due again.

I am a drive them till they drop type of guy...and the dodge has a ways to go, even with its three year cycle of suspension replacement...

This comment is independent of if I think it is a good idea to hook up an AS to an Intrepid, in general -- the front end is a weakness, and that will not be improved by more forces acting upon it...
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:29 AM   #63
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Eric

1. The brake surface on the two vehicles are compariable for what they are towing.
2. The GVWR on the Touareg is 6493 lb. A Chevy 1500 is 6100
3. There is no standardized test for establishing tow ratings.
4. I don't know why most of the folks that tow with Intrepids are from Canada. I am from the US and have lived here 3 years. I can check around for you!
I do know a lot of people here towing 22ft to 34ft A/S with Chev and Ford vans and say they are very happy with them. Have you ever considered towing with a Limo?
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:44 AM   #64
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Eric

One thing I forgot, you can use the tansmission to help brake on any vehicle. The VW has one that does that automatic
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:54 AM   #65
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Not to feed the flames, but this is what I have been told regarding THE can am SETUP.

He does not just bolt a receiver to the rear Sub Frame. There is an engineered frame that attach es to both the front and rear Sub Frames to make it a frame mounted hitch. This in theory reduces the stress on the unibody construction and helps to stop the car from ripping itself in two. .

I can understand the idea, especially in Canada where they have 3.5 months that they can use a trailer, but need to drive a car that gets decent mileage 12 months of the year.

I personally would not want to pull a 34 footer with this setup. I would also assume that the liability laws in Canada are different than here regarding the limitations of the towing vehicle should an accident occur. Lastly if you do the mod, and then have a failure in warranty of a drive train component I doubt that MB/Chrysler will fix it for free.
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:12 PM   #66
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I for one wish I had the Touareg's brake and peformance on my Suburban
" the ulitmate tow vehicle".
I know that for a 6500lb vehicle with a V8 coming out of Europe, the brakes must endure repeated 130mph to zero stops, or else you die.
So, the braking performance of the Touareg would be the least of my worries.
Neither would the rigidity of the Unibody. This vehicle is extremely stiff, according to all the tests and reports I have read about it.
The relatively short wheelbase might be an issue with a bigger trailer. My biggest issue with the Touareg would be the lack of a track record in reliability.
BTW, what prompted me to even respond to this was the fact that someone parked a Touareg next to me yesterday, and i was surprised on just how big and beefy this VW is next to the Suburban.
I really think it boils down to trying the combo for a good stretch of mixed driving, and seeing how it behaves. I tried towing my 25ft Tradewind with a ML320 a while back, and it was an eye opener for me. I liked the ride a lot.
I like the Suburban as well, and it gives me the room I need for my business.
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:53 PM   #67
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I didn't get underneath the Intrepid but I was told the only thing they did was put a trans cooler on it. They also had an 85 Olds that had 200,000 miles on the original drive train, that they used before the Intrepid.
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Old 02-25-2004, 02:40 PM   #68
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Lightbulb always interesting...

It's always interesting to read everyone's opinions on tow vehicles size vs. trailer size.

In a nutshell, I have come to be of the opinion that many of these issues boil down to 'can' vs. 'should' tow. It's obvious that the Intrepid 'can' tow a 34'. Can-Am has proven that ably. The question is whether or not, in the real-world, it's a reliable combination that 'should' be driven.

I'm equally certain that the Touareg has the capacity to tow, so it 'can' do it. The question again is whether it 'should'. I guess it will take some intrepid (pun intended) trailer owners who are gamblers at heart to give it a try in the real world and report back.

As I've said in several posts, I think that my Excursion is almost too small to be towing the Behemoth... I couldn't imagine doing it with anything smaller or lighter, but towing it with the Touareg would undoubtedly be an interesting experience!

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Old 02-25-2004, 02:45 PM   #69
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Marvin,

My original comments regarding your post are for the 2500HD which I believe has larger brake rotors as they have different axles shaft as well. I would agree that the 1500 might be the same, but I wasn't referring to the 1500, I was referring to the 2500HD you were first talking about. As for the tow ratings, the 2500HD has significantly higher tow ratings than the 1500. If you ask Moe, he'll clearly tell you that tow ratings in general are way off, so I don't take a bunch of stock in the fact that the Touareg is a good tow for more than a 22' Airstream. I agree though that it is one heck of a ride and it is fairly meaty.

You might not believe this, but I had condered the Buick or Chevy wagon as well as a Fleetwood which is the D platform I believe. Those three cars have an even larger center frame section compared to my car. So, the answer is I sure did, but I already had my "B" platform car.

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Old 02-25-2004, 03:11 PM   #70
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Sorry for the confusion, as I said the VW towing 7000 lb opposed to the 2500HD towing 15000 lb has approximately the same stopping ability. What I was referring to on the 1500 (which is what I tow with) is that is about the same as the VW.
You are right on the older wagons. I had thought about the same thing as the late 70s full size Buick, Olds I know had the same supension as a 3/4 ton truck. Especially the Olds with the Vista View.
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