Andrew, I have a Volkswagen Touareg and my Escape 21 is scheduled for completion in March 2014. As you know, VW and Audi share a lot of engineering. The Touareg is a little more capable tow vehicle with a 3500kg/7700lbs rating, but the same issue exists regarding WD hitches. The manual states "Never install a 'weight distributing' or 'load equalizing' trailer hitch on your vehicle. The vehicle is not designed for this kind of trailer hitch
I've spent a lot of time researching this topic on the net. Everyone who uses the Andersen hitch with the Touareg comments favourably on the combination. However, there are a lot of naysayers (who have never actually used the hitch) out there too. I finally gave up on reading forums and asked Andersen directly. I didn't bother with contacting VW since everyone who's asked gets a typical non-answer and I wouldn't expect my experience to be any different.
I'm purchasing an Escape 21 RV (21 Foot Escape
) to tow behind our 2012 VW Touareg. Escape offers your hitch as one of their two weight distribution packages. I'm just trying to make sense of VW's strange towing recommendations and whether I can/should get your WD hitch for towing my RV.
VW's specs are for 3,500 kg max trailer weight and 280 kg max tongue weight (7,700 lbs / 616 lbs). The manual states "Never install a 'weight distributing' or 'load equalizing' trailer hitch on your vehicle. The vehicle is not designed for this kind of trailer hitch". I know that the Touareg's braking system performs some anti-sway control and I think that they don't want a lot of weight distribution because of the unibody construction. I still think that your hitch would provide for less sway and that combined with the braking system would be a good combination. As for the weight distribution, my impression is that the amount of weight distribution is controlled by how tight the chains are set, correct? If I keep the weight distribution on the low side, I'm thinking this should be ok?
If this should work, The other odd VW spec is the dimensions for the ball mount:
A. The drop height from the center of the ball to the center of the hole for the securing pin on the ball mount must be at least 1.25" and at most 2.875" inches. Will the 4" drop kit do this (doesn't look like it) or will I need the 8"drop?
B. The pin-to-ball distance from the center of the ball to the center of the hole for the securing pin on the ball mount must be no more than 6.125". I'm guessing here, but your distance looks to be more than 6.125". Can another hole be drilled or a custom shank be made?
I look forward to your reply. Users on both the Escape trailer forums and Club Touareg forums rave about your WD hitch so I'm hoping that this will work out. Ultimately I just want what's safest for my family and other road users.
Thank you very much for contacting us in regards to towing your travel trailer with a VW Touareg. We have had many customers with this vehicle domestic and internationally use our hitch now with an enjoyable towing experience. Our hitch is a true ride control hitch which is so much more than a Weight Distribution Hitch. I will try to go through your questions and concerns and if I confuse you in the process I apologize and feel free to call or email with any clarification you need.
VW really does not want the added stress to the frame of the vehicle and the attachment points of their receiver hitch to the frame is why they mention never installing a Weight Distribution hitch. Most WD Hitches add a huge amount of stress to the frame of the tow vehicle enough you can lift the rear tires off of the ground of certain vehicles. Our hitch is adjustable in in the amount of weight you decide to distribute and by design can not fully distribute all of the tongue weight to a negative tongue weight situation like spring bars can.
You are correct you control the amount of Weight Distributing you are doing by simply adjusting the nut behind the red spring. Some people engage the red spring by one full turn and all that does is control the bounce control and control the sway and if an owner manual states "Never install a 'weight distributing' or 'load equalizing' trailer hitch on your vehicle" we recommend you do not damage your vehicle by fully engaging our weight distribution which is up to 6 full revolutions on the red spring.
The drop and the distance specs are wild to say the least. In order to tow safe the trailer MUST be level and that is why so many ball mounts and adjustable ball mounts exist. The mfr. recommending only the drop they did means that you technically need to customize your trailer to make sure when level the coupler is the height they recommend. Our 4" drop will fall within the range listed but I hope the trailer is not nose too low or nose too high at that level.
The center of ball to receiver pin distance is 10-1/2" on our hitch and to get to the 6.125" could be accomplished by drilling a hole where you need it. It appears if we drill a hole at that distance the shank will not go far enough into your receiver to be pinned so the best bet would probably be install our hitch into your receiver and push it in as far as the vertical U-channel piece will allow you and mark where the pin belongs. You will be further than 6.125" from center to center but you will be as close as you can get.
At the end of the day safety is more important than anything else and the following insures safe towing:
1 - Level towing....keep the tow vehicle and the trailer as level to the ground as possible.
2 - Make sure everything is well within weight ratings especially the safety chains.
3 - Control bounce, our hitch is phenomenal at making sure once your trailer begins to bounce it eliminates it immediately.
4 - Control the sway, speed, wind and passing vehicles causes this and to control it using our Anti-Sway hitch solves it.
I appreciate you reaching out to us and I wish we had the perfect hitch for your setup but it seems VW has made it so we have a little bit of grey area with the center of the receiver pin to the center of the ball distance. Obviously they want the least amount of leverage affecting the vehicle's structure.
Keep me posted as I will assist in any way.
Ultimately I decided to opt for safety first and will be getting the Andersen hitch. I like the fact that it will provide sway control and I can dial-in only a little weight-distribution.
I hope this helps.