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Old 11-20-2020, 10:55 PM   #1
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2021 23fb

So our dealer said that the positive and negative of the 2021 23FB is the light tongue weight. He indicated that depending on the two vehicle the light tongue can cause swaying and itíll be good to use a weight distribution hitch (WDH). At least one of the tow vehicles Iím looking at wonít allow the a WDH the Audi Q7.

Please advise the positive and negative of the light tongue weight on this AS and the challenges we might have with towing.
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:50 AM   #2
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To tow any trailer that size you should have WD and sway control, regardless of the tow vehicle. With those, the 23FB will be well behaved, unless you load up the rear and remove the essential items on the tongue. (In other words, you’d have to work at it to make this trailer unstable, given the rear bath configuration.)
Choose a tow vehicle that doesn’t have you worrying before you even drive off the RV dealer’s lot. Don’t drive 80 mph in traffic with ANY recreational trailer. Enjoy the trip!
Happy camping!
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:21 AM   #3
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I have a 2017 FC 23FB behind a 2017 F-150. I would never dream of towing without a WD hitch and sway control.
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbo View Post
I have a 2017 FC 23FB behind a 2017 F-150. I would never dream of towing without a WD hitch and sway control.
Same configuration here, although we tow with a GMC 1500.

I find the 23 FB to be quite stable towing with a WDH.
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Old 11-21-2020, 11:40 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies... Confused and surprised why Audi wonít let the Q7 use a weight distribution hitch..?? Ughhh
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Old 11-21-2020, 03:14 PM   #6
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Before you completely toss out the Q7, you may want to reach out to Canam for some information (https://www.canamrv.ca/towing-expertise/) or also search for threads here on the Airforums site for them. I am in a similar situation where I plan on getting a 25fb and would prefer to use a Q7, Cayenne or maybe a Grand Cherokee vs. go the pickup truck route.

When I reached out to them for advise here was Philip's response, specifically on how they would set it up
"Thanks for writing. The Q7 and Cayenne are better than competent, they're among the absolute best tow vehicles for mid-sized Airstreams. We've set up more than 400 Cayenne/Q7/Touaregs for towing Airstreams. Everything from a Basecamp to a 34 Classic.

Any model will work. Our preference is for the steel-spring suspension, but the air ride will work too. These 23-25s are the easiest-towing trailers on the road. I drive German vehicles every day, and I find the Audi rides nicer, while the Porsche handles better. But these are very small differences.

The receiver will need to be reinforced to tow the 23Fb or any of the 25 models. We would set things up with an Eaz-lift elite weight-distributing hitch with 2 friction sway controls. We'd install a Tekonsha Prodigy P2 electronic brake controller. There is a wireless option, the Prodigy RF model."
Good luck with however you go.
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:32 PM   #7
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I may be wrong, and someone on here will surely point it out if I am, but, if the Audi is a unibody, it doesn't have a frame to mount to and take the stresses of the WD hitch. A unibody vehicle is not stiff enough for that.
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Old 11-22-2020, 07:28 AM   #8
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We are very familiar with towing with your Q7. We have been setting them up for almost 20 years and have done a couple of thousand.

In Europe there are no weight distribution hitches or electric brakes. Both were outlawed in the early 70ís as a protectionist measure. So with all their advanced cars their trailers are like ours were in the 1940ís.

European vehicle engineers do not understand weight distribution and you will never get an engineer to recommend something they dot understand.

The Audi hitch will handle the 23 hitch weight easily with the correct weight distribution system. If you would like more information send me an email andy@canamrv.ca

These two articles might help.

https://rvlifemag.com/built-to-tow-or-marketed-to-tow/

https://rvlifemag.com/towing-with-a-uni-body-vehicle/
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:39 AM   #9
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the Audi Q7 and nearly all similar midsized and small European performance touring SUVs are optimized for cornering when they are not towing a trailer and have relatively low static understeer gradients. Addition of a trailer on an overhung ball hitch dramatically reduces understeer gradient (the difference in tire slip between front and rear axles). Addition of Weight Distribution tension further reduces understeer gradient and on the Q7 and many other vehicles when towing near, at or over the recommended trailer weight limit, the combination crosses over into oversteer in hard corners and at high speeds. A towing combination with positive oversteer is described as "unstable". Oversteer is a significant problem when towing because trailer yaw inertia will compound oversteer faster than the driver can correct for it, the combination will lose control (loss of control occurs when the vehicle no longer correctly responds to driver input) and will quickly jackknife and roll. Experienced drivers can avoid amplifying oversteer on an unstable combination by managing trailer yaw to low levels during hard cornering so that oversteer does not compound. This is why you often hear people successfully tow overloaded performance vehicles for tens of thousands of miles without a problem.

European Engineers as a whole are neither ignorant nor misunderstanding of WD (though it would not be hard to find an exception to support a false narrative). They generally know full well how WD tension can contribute to unstable oversteer. Automotive engineers understand that a vehicle cannot excel at everything and trade offs must be made. They also understand that when a combination is well below towing limits, some modest WD tension can improve handling and ride quality, but the corporate consensus at Audi and in fact most in the automotive industry is to keep instructional material simple and generally apply it to the worst case (this is a best practice going back many many years). So most manufacturers provide clear simple guidance at towing limits only. It prevents misinterpretation and misapplication at the margins where safety is paramount.

So as Andy advised, in the case of a 23' trailer and a Q7, modest WD will improve towing experience. It is not in contradiction to the spirit of the Audi guidance since the guidance from Audi best applies at the upper limits. If you are a literalist, then by all means forgo WD for the Q7, it will still tow safely, though a bit less comfortably.

Edit: As to light tongue weight, travel trailers are naturally most stable for sway with tongue weights well over 15%. Unfortunately, trailer yaw inertia and thus oversteer is minimized at 0% tongue weight. So there is a trade off that depends on the vehicle as the dealer indicated. If a vehicle has issues with oversteer, 10-12% tongue is better and then heavy sway control is advised. If the vehicle does not have an oversteer issue, 15% is ideal. Too much tongue weight on an overhung hitch will induce oversteer in nearly any vehicle so 15% is the industry max guidance for overhung towing. By comparison, Fifth Wheels usually have 20-22% tongue weights.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
the Audi Q7 and nearly all similar midsized and small European performance touring SUVs are optimized for cornering when they are not towing a trailer and have relatively low static understeer gradients. Addition of a trailer on an overhung ball hitch dramatically reduces understeer gradient (the difference in tire slip between front and rear axles). Addition of Weight Distribution tension further reduces understeer gradient and on the Q7 and many other vehicles when towing near, at or over the recommended trailer weight limit, the combination crosses over into oversteer in hard corners and at high speeds. A towing combination with positive oversteer is described as "unstable". Oversteer is a significant problem when towing because trailer yaw inertia will compound oversteer faster than the driver can correct for it, the combination will lose control (loss of control occurs when the vehicle no longer correctly responds to driver input) and will quickly jackknife and roll. Experienced drivers can avoid amplifying oversteer on an unstable combination by managing trailer yaw to low levels during hard cornering so that oversteer does not compound. This is why you often hear people successfully tow overloaded performance vehicles for tens of thousands of miles without a problem.

European Engineers as a whole are neither ignorant nor misunderstanding of WD (though it would not be hard to find an exception to support a false narrative). They generally know full well how WD tension can contribute to unstable oversteer.


So from your perspective, what role do the trailer tires play? Given that trailer tires generally have less section width, a harder compound, and less traction than tow vehicle tires, what happens if the trailer starts sliding first? More mass means more traction, but only to a point.

A comment: heavy understeer isnít enjoyable in a daily driver, and it can make for a sluggish and poor handling vehicle with poor evasive capabilities. The worst I ever experienced was a mid-90s Buick Roadmaster. An ugly car to drive.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:15 AM   #11
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Trailer cornering plays a significant roll and tires are where most of the action is as you alluded. More tire slip on the trailer axles can help reduce and especially delay onset of tow vehicle oversteer, but It also increases onset of sway by reducing trailer yaw damping.

Tire slip is not the same as tire traction, and you don't want the tires to ever lose grip with the road surface. Slip is a divergence between the tire direction and actual path. It is caused by sidewall flex and interply sheer where the tire footprint deforms due to the lateral stresses and the tire takes a track slightly angled from the direction the tire is pointed.

Reducing trailer tire pressure will decrease sidewall stiffness and increase slip, but generally also improves traction. So on vehicle combinations prone to oversteer, running the trailer tires closer to the pressure required to support the load can be safer. There is an increased risk of tire failure due to overheating from the interply sheer, and increased sway tendency, so there are trade offs.

I agree with you about excessive understeer and it is a big reason I advocate healthy WD for combinations that are not close to the towing limits. WD, set correctly makes the ride and driving much more pleasant. My truck has excessive understeer when empty, so much so Ram recommends 15 psi less pressure in the rear tires relative to the front when empty and 15-17 psi more when loaded (a 30 psi difference!)
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