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Old 03-14-2008, 05:55 AM   #1
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Toads - maybe a Beetle?

Hi all, so we are about to trade our beloved Navigator for a 2002 Beetle. (We cant tow our Navigator with our 345...) and I have a few questions. 1st) I read somewhere on this forum that someone else is towing a beetle with their 345, -- How is it? Does it tow well? Any tips? Things we should do/not do? <br> Tow bars...do I need to have the hitch ball dropped? By how much? <br> Also we have obviously never towed wiyth a Moho before...so I was wondering what Tow Bar should we get? The prices are SOOO different!? I just want to make sure we get the right ones, and not the most expensive...our budget has already taken a hit...anyone has used ones for sale? <br> Specific to our future vw, beetle, are the plates to attach hard to install? Anyone here has experience setting these up on the VW? Which ones should we get? Or which combo tow bar/plates should we use? These are just a few questions that come to mind right now....If anyone has input, wants to add...I would really, REALLY, apprciate it! Thanks!
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:16 AM   #2
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Tug

Get a frame mount hitch, put brakes on car, towd or dolly, and you may pull most anything.
Theres a MH pulling a 'Thing' around the country, I think they are out west.
Should be about the same set up.



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Old 03-14-2008, 07:20 AM   #3
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The factory hitch on the 345 is only rated to tow 2,000 lbs, so you will need to replace it with a genuine class IV hitch (at least class III). How you tow will depend on whether you want to go four-down (all four wheels on the ground) which uses a hitch and plate setup that will attach permanently to the Bug. That will also require some kind of braking device for the car. It's expensive, but a one-time investment. Or, like Klattu (and me) use a tow dolly that is about 1/2 the cost, can be used with any car up to the dolly's capacity, and is more of a hassle to use.

Most of the plates require some disassembly of the front-end of the car, and are NOT simple to install. The brand of tow bar you choose depends on how much you want to spend. Given the difference in cost vs. what you're spending on labor, I'd say get the best one you can afford. They'll have different draw bar mounts, depending on the height of your hitch. Contact the manufacturer for specifics.

Roger
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:42 AM   #4
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You can PM SWEBSTER. He tows a VW with his 345.
We tow a Porsche 912E with ours. We went with the NightShift Auto tow bar to tow 4-down. This tow bar has a surge brake built into it that operates the Porsche's brakes. Works great.
Rob
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klattu
Get a frame mount hitch, put brakes on car, towd or dolly, and you may pull most anything.
Theres a MH pulling a 'Thing' around the country, I think they are out west.
Should be about the same set up.
That 'Thing' is headed to the 4CU rally in Quartzsite this morning. We will have a pair of 345's, one with a 'Thing' and the other with a Tracker. I think you met them both at the Balloon Fiesta last year. They both tow 4 down.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:23 AM   #6
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We use a "Demco Tow Dolly" and with it we have towed a Ford Explorer and Taurus, my Corvette, and now primarily we tow my Wife's VW Jedda Diesel. With the tow dolly you can switch from one vehicle to another without having to install plates or eletrical to the vehicle.

The Demco has "Surge Brakes" which eliminates having to use a "Brake Buddy". Now a lot of folks say its just too much trouble to load up on a tow dolly, but I have helped friends hook up tow bars and brake buddies and I can load up a lot quicker than they can.

One caution, there are a lot of tow dollys on the market without "surge Brakes". Do not buy them. It is now illegal to tow with out brakes.

The original Airstream hitch is a joke. If yours hasn't been modified you need to do that. The original is merely a bumper hitch. Mine is welded to the frame and extends several feet foreward and attached to several cross members.

Just let me add that the only time I can tell I am towing is climbing high hills or mountains. The vehicles we have towed aren't little roller skates either. They are large cars.
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:53 AM   #7
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As Cooperhawk said you're going to want to beef up your hitch on the motorhome. Here is a link to one thread where you'll find a lot of good info.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f160...ity-37089.html

We modified our 310 similar to whats shown in the pictures. Here is a link showing pictures of how we did ours. You'll find that info towards the end fo the thread.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f310...y-35737-2.html

I installed a brake controller in the motorhome and we have towed Susan's (alumatube) Triumph Spitfire using a 14' flatbed trailer that has brakes with no issues. We have also towed our 94 Honda Civic with a towbar and NO additional brakes with no issues as well. However we do plan addressing the no brakes issue in the near future because our new toad is a 93 Mazda pickup that is somewhat heavier than the Honda.

As far as what towbar to get there are a lot of good ones out there. We have one that has arms that lock into position when towing but collapse making it easier to hook the car up initially. I would highly recommend that style. Remember you get what you pay for.

I think you'll find that the motorhome does great as a tow vehicle

Brad
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:08 AM   #8
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oh...all these answers! We were hoping to tow 4 down, robfike, your setup seems exactly like what we had in mind, could you send me a link to the direct/exact system you have in place? I see so many diff ones on their websites...confusing!! Also, do I have to get the hitch modified? Who does that? Anyone know a good mechanic/tow specialist in the Shelton CT area? Thanks a bunch...
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Old 03-14-2008, 12:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsychris
Also, do I have to get the hitch modified? Who does that? Anyone know a good mechanic/tow specialist in the Shelton CT area? Thanks a bunch...
I would definitely have your hitch modified. Look at the pictures in the links that I provided earlier and then look under your motorhome to make to see if possibly someone might have already done so. If not I highly recommend modifying your hitch as shown. I did the modification myself but if you find a good fabrication shop and take the pictures to them they should be able to duplicate the work.

Good luck!

Brad
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:09 PM   #10
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is your 2002 beetle manual or auto trans?

this is a fwd car and not all can be towed 4 down, without modifications.

my understanding is the manual trans version is ok,

but the auto trans version needs an auxiliary pump to circulate tranny fluid IF towing 4 down.

that is not an issue IF using a tow dolly.

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Old 03-14-2008, 05:09 PM   #11
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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!!
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:56 PM   #12
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What is it with AS & VeeDubs...peace to ya!)
We tow a 71-73 VW bus w/ 4 down, made the towbar myself. Wish it folded flat against front of the bus, but removes in less than 1 minute.
Also have a tow dolly. I like the 4-down better, but as mentioned, the dolly can be used for different cars and also to help a "friend" out if they break down.
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zamboni
What is it with AS & VeeDubs...peace to ya!)
...
here ya been zamboni? here's your thread!

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f368...ome-40331.html

cheers
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Old 03-15-2008, 07:16 PM   #14
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Here is our hitch setup..can someone tell us if we can tow our beetle!?

Hi, here are pics of the hitch receiver setup on our 345... I tried my best to get pictures that would show how it is attached etc...anyone can tell us if it seems fit to tow our vw beetle? Thanks! PS. As you can see from the pictures, PO had it already wired...so i assume it should be ok? Am just afraid of tow rating etc...
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Old 03-15-2008, 07:32 PM   #15
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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, 07:41 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, 07:49 PM   #17
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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, 07:53 PM   #18
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VW New Beetle as "Toad"

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, 09:11 PM   #19
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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, 04:46 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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