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Old 01-10-2011, 04:14 PM   #1
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Hitch bolt broke - now what?

I'm looking for a hitch expert. I was installing the OEM hitch on my VW Touareg this weekend, and something happened with one of the bolts. I threaded it in all the way tight, then suddenly it no longer would tighten. I tried to unscrew it but it would just spin in place. I gave up and took it to a machine shop and they could not remove it either.

There are 4 bolts on either side, so a total of 8 bolts fastening the hitch to the chassis. If I did nothing and left three on one side and 4 on the other, could this be a problem?

I am pulling my 31 ft Airstream. Weighs around 6,000 lbs dry (speculating based on the renovations I've made to it.) My Touareg with the OEM hitch is rated for 7,700 lbs.

Thoughts? Recommendations? I'm very frustrated.

Here's a pic of the right side of the hitch. My hand is on the problem bolt.

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Old 01-10-2011, 04:29 PM   #2
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You are pulling our leg right? You REALLY are not tring to pull a 31 ft. camper with a VW Touareg!!!!
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:40 PM   #3
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Go visit the Club Club Touareg - Volkswagen Touareg Owners Community or VW Vortex VWVortex.com - Touareg and do a search or post the question, it's all Touareg.

And I do hope you have some super anti-sway hitch, 'cause that's an awful big tail gonna be waggin' that dog!
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:44 PM   #4
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If a machine shop could not get it out, then you have a problem. Most machinist don't like to be stumped by a bolt they can't get out. Looks like you will have to grind the head off the bolt, take the hitch off and then figure on how to get rest of the bolt out. Then weld the the nut that the bolt threads into back to the frame. Looks like a real pain.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:46 PM   #5
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You are pulling our leg right? You REALLY are not tring to pull a 31 ft. camper with a VW Touareg!!!!
Hey the Touareg is rated to pull 7700 lbs. and has plenty of weight and a huge amount of pulling torque.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:10 PM   #6
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You are pulling our leg right? You REALLY are not tring to pull a 31 ft. camper with a VW Touareg!!!!
The Taureg is a stout vehicle, but I would do some research before test driving that combo.
Stay safe adwriter,
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:35 PM   #7
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...There are 4 bolts on either side, so a total of 8 bolts fastening the hitch to the chassis. If I did nothing and left three on one side and 4 on the other, could this be a problem?...
well yeah it COULD be a problem...

strike that it IS a problem.

i've posted pics and links to the t'rex receiver and bolts several times.

get access to a bentley manual, there will be a pretty good schematic of that area.

my recollection is the 'threaded' part is welded to the unibody skin on the INNER side of the skin.

any qualified vw shop should be able to confirm this or inspect it.

so you need 2 access the threaded section that is BROKEN at the inner weld.

this means getting inside that section of skin (may need 2 drill a hole on the underside) to 'lock the nut'...

then back out the bolt.
________

while the T is rated to 7700 lbs the issue is using w/d gear.

the dynamics (torque) of w/d gear REALLY stresses those lower bolts.

((actually upper and lower bolts))

towing anything of substance and using w/d bars is probably the issue...

unless you simply OVER TORQUED the bolts and broke perfect welds.

(did u use a torque wrench and what's the spec for those bolts?)

anyway the threaded piece can be re welded

but the oem receiver rating will be suspect afterward.

good luck with that and DO post it on the T forums,

since i doubt this has been documented nearly as often as it happens.

cheers
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:05 PM   #8
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Maybe I'm looking at this wrong. Are we looking at the rear end of your vehicle? I can see what looks like the end of a tailpipe.
Are you sure this hitch is rated for 7700#?
Most receiver hitches I've seen with high towing capacities bolt thru the side of the frame.
Was the nut that you screwed the bolt into already there? If so it was probably welded in place. I am assuming you can't see it and can't get a wrench on it. If this is the case the weld must have given way and the nut is just turning with the bolt.
Grinding the head off won't help in my opinion. If you grind the head off and knock the bolt (probably inside the frame) you will also knock the nut off and won't have anything to screw a new bolt into.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:15 PM   #9
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Maybe I'm looking at this wrong. Are we looking at the rear end of your vehicle? I can see what looks like the end of a tailpipe.
Are you sure this hitch is rated for 7700#?
Most receiver hitches I've seen with high towing capacities bolt thru the side of the frame...
yes the rating is 7700 lbs but the receiver isn't attached like u might normally IN-vision...

pix here (zOOOM the R pic) @ post # 35...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...tml#post212056

the unibody has hydroformed? rails withIN it and the receiver bolts to the ENDs of them...

it's sorta a 'bottle cap' arrangement so the bolts and attachment are stressed at 90 degrees from the typical set up.

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Old 01-10-2011, 06:18 PM   #10
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My Fellow "T-Rex" brother - although your tongue weight on your 31 footer is most likely less than mine on my Classic 25FB - even with a P3 hitch I'm fearful you don't have a long enough wheelbase to keep that long, long trailer from swinging....

I can only tell you this - my Airstream 25FB Classic, with the "Optional Windows" up front over the hitch, upgraded aluminum propane tanks (yes I keep them at 40 lbs vice the full 80lbs) and nothing under the front storage section of the bed (maybe fifteen pounds of stuff under there) which is in the FRONT of the trailer (get it, FB?) tows like a Champion with zero wiggle, wither it be big rigs or screaming plains winds, up and over the highest peaks & back down, across winding two lane mountain roads and at speeds perhaps too fast for others....

Now remember - that is with my Airstream as light as possible (especially in the front end), fridge and pantry are full, dishes and stuff under the sink - but any clothes and minor additional items are kept in the middle section of the trailer in duffle bags and NOTHING is in the "T-Rex" other than two adults and some camera equipment, computer, lead and lead delivery device
and that's it. Nothing, and I say NOTHING is in the back trunk area.... Oh, and don't even think of going anywhere with your tanks filled up (grey or black) let alone any water in the fresh water tank....

So, if you tow your Airstream pretty much empty (like I said, I bet you my 25FB tongue weight is about the same or a little more than your 31 footer) then your only concern is going to be that long, long trailer of yours....

The P3 is good as is the HaHa - I just don't know how comfortable I would be with an additional 6 feet of trailer behind me after all - physics is physics...

As for your stripped bolt - take it to a VW dealer and see what they can do. Do you need all those bolts? If your using your weight distribution hitch on such a big trailer,
I Would Say Yes....

The "T-Rex" is a mighty awesome vehicle - but even "SuperDub" has her limits....

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Old 01-10-2011, 06:25 PM   #11
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Being unfamiliar with the details of unibody construction. There must have been a way they welded the nuts on. Perhaps before they assembled and welded the unibody; if that is what they do. Just by chance did you look under the mat in the rear of the vehicle to see if there might be some access to this area inside the unibody. A removable cover or something.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:34 PM   #12
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Wow. Lots of response. Let me see if I can provide more details:

1. The VW dealer tech told me that there is a weld nut on the back (he thinks) and that must have broken loose. There is no access to the back of the holes. I would have to create an opening to reach it.

2. The machinist I took it too did the minimum he could do to try to remove it without "major surgery".

3. VW says NOT to use a W/D hitch, maybe because it is too much torque on these bolts. I guess because you are relying on the threads to hold together versus the strength of the bolt that a traditional Reese or Curt hitch setup on a Chevy or Ford might be, right?

4. I did post this same question on the Touareg forums, and not much info provided there. I knew there were a lot of knowledgeable towing people on here, so I thought I'd ask.

5. As for towing a 31 ft. Airstream, I did a lot of research and there are others towing the same length trailer with short-wheelbased vehicles: BMW X5, Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne and Mercedes ML. I have not towed it with this vehicle yet, so we shall see.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:29 PM   #13
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4. I did post this same question on the Touareg forums, and not much info provided there. I knew there were a lot of knowledgeable towing people on here, so I thought I'd ask.
Answer to number 4. - You didn't get any responses on the Touareg forums as I've been over here lately...

As for VW & weight distribution hitches - go search the Touareg forum.

Seriously - I am curious how you get this resolved so please let us know!

And Good Luck - I'm sure it can be fixed - just gonna take someone to think outside of the box...

As for lots of folks towing trailers 31 feet in size with SUV's whose wheel base is equal to ours... - I know of no Touareg or Cayenne owners who are towing that size - maybe heard of one Mercedes that had custom hitch work done up in Canada - just be careful and make damn sure you get a HH or P3 hitch!!!
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:42 PM   #14
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I have a 09 Touareg TDI that I never have towed with, but I just got back from new Orleans and there was a generic SOB trAiler being towed by a t-reg v8 from Canada. I am going to guess 32 footer, owner says it tows really good (he had Hensley) just wish it got a bit better mileage.

I have a bunch of kids so I tow with my suburban, but the VW does impress me.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:58 PM   #15
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I have a 09 Touareg TDI that I never have towed with, but I just got back from new Orleans and there was a generic SOB trAiler being towed by a t-reg v8 from Canada. I am going to guess 32 footer, owner says it tows really good (he had Hensley) just wish it got a bit better mileage.

I have a bunch of kids so I tow with my suburban, but the VW does impress me.
Good to hear! I know of at least two others with a v8 Touareg towing 31 ft. I know of a third person towing a 2008 25 ft. model with the V6, without a W/D hitch (obviously 6 ft. shorter, but still.).
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:01 PM   #16
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Hi, you need to take it to a body shop and hopefully they can gain access to this area without weakening it by drilling, cutting, or torching it. An access hole from the inner panel may work for installing a new nut.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:10 PM   #17
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adwriter73,

Please come visit your fellow "Touareg & Cayenne" owners either at "Rennlist" under the "Cayenne" forum or at "Club Touareg" on their forums.

I have the same user name on both - have been towing with both a V8 Cayenne S with air suspension since 2004 and upgraded to a 2010 TDI Touareg with steel suspension just last January.

If you have found "install" instructions for brake controllers for either vehicle, chances are my name rings a bell.

I am hopeful that you can come visit us on either forum, lots of information that will be very helpful to you as you contemplate towing your new 31’ Airstream trailer with your Touareg.

Best Wishes,

John
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:29 PM   #18
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To answer one of your questions, YES, you do need all those bolts. They are designed for all of them to be there, and all properly torqued. You will be putting 25% more strain on the remaining bolts, which can overstress them. They can and probably will stretch, loosen, or break at the most inopportune moment.
If you can get no help from VW, try one of your better auto body shops for help. They deal with damaged fasteners all the time.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:45 PM   #19
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Adwriter73,

I had a similar issue with my E46 BMW (323ci). There is a very common issue with weak welds in the mounts of the subframe where over time the welds fatuige and break causing the mounts to pull through the body. These mount are threaded in the middle and the bolts are then installed. I ask a body shop about fixing this and was quoted $5k. I said no way. In a first attempt I welded the mount back in but that only lasted about 4 months because the metal is 3/32" thick. I decieded to see if I could bolt all the way through the frame and in to the trunk with long bolt. After careful measuring I gathered supplies. The original bolt was 5" and 5/8" diameter but it was aluminum for weight savings. I purchased a 12" long 1/2" shank grade 8 bolt and drilled up in to the trunk. I used a 2"x2" 1/4" aluminum plate that I had lying around and drilled a matching hole in the plate. I installed this from the inside so that the nut was on the bottom. This setup has worked fine for 6 years and even the shop thought that was a great way to do it.

The location of the hole for me was in the trunk under the carpet near the spare tire well. Unless I have a flat tire you would never know about this. I know the grade 8 bolt is 10x stronger than the original bolt. I hope this might work for you.

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:03 PM   #20
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I cannot bvelieve they would use aluminum bolts to hold a hitch. Sal.
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