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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I am a new Sportwagen owner, and also a new member to the forum. My [indestructible] 1995 Volvo 850 finally bit the dust...

I have been struggling to find a straight answer to this question: will installing a tow hitch void my powertrain warranty? The literature with my vehicle isn't useful, and I have been reading conflicting answers... Saleswoman says no, forums say yes, VW USA says screw off...

In any case, I'd appreciate your experience. There is a 1300-pound glider trailer which I occasionally need to move... My apologies if this has been covered elsewhere.

Best,

Phil
 

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I don't understand why VWoA has no towing specs even though the car has a cutout for a hideaway hitch like you can get in Europe (plus Europeans actually tow small campers with their GSW). VW Germany has towing specs and so does VW in other countries. With that, I translated and converted the specs to American. This way most people can understand.

They don't sell a GSW in Germany with the 1.8l 170hp TSI engine with an automatic or a 5 speed. So, this is as close as it gets:

GSW (150hp TSI 7sp DSG) (Comfortline)

Weight (Empty): 2991 lb
GVWR: 4166 lb
Weight (Cargo): 935 – 1340 lb
Axle Load Front / Rear: 2094 / 2182 lb
Max Weight of a braked trailer at 12% / 8% grade: 3306 / 3748 lb
Max Weight of an unbraked trailer: 1477 lb
Roof Load: 176 lb


GSW (150hp TSI 6sp manual) (Comfortline)

Weight (Empty): 2936 lb
GVWR: 4122 lb
Weight (Cargo): 939 – 1351 lb
Axle Load Front / Rear: 2050 / 2182 lb
Max Weight of a braked trailer at 12% / 8% grade: 3306 / 3748 lb
Max Weight of an unbraked trailer: 1455 lb
Roof Load: 176 lb

In Germany they don't sell an Alltrack with a manual or a 4 motion GSW at all (the manual and 4 motion are US and Canada only). At least the German Alltrack is pretty much a dead ringer for the US version (it shows 10hp more):

Alltrack (180hp TSI 6sp DSG)

Weight (Empty): 3388 lb
GVWR: 4497 lb
Weight (Cargo): 926 – 1274 lb
Axle Load Front / Rear: 2293 / 2314 lb
Max Weight of a braked trailer at 12% / 8% grade: 3306 / 3748 lb
Max Weight of an unbraked trailer: 1653 lb
Roof Load: 176 lb


Just for kicks, I took the cheapest GSW you can buy in Germany with the smallest engine and then the most expensive with the most powerful engine:

GSW (110hp TSI 6sp manual) (Trendline)

Weight (Empty): 2854 lb
GVWR: 4078 lb
Weight (Cargo): 983 – 1389 lb
Axle Load Front / Rear: 2006 / 2182 lb
Max Weight of a braked trailer at 12% / 8% grade: 2866 / 3306 lb
Max Weight of an unbraked trailer: 1410 lb
Roof Load: 176 lb

GSW (310hp TSI 7sp DSG 4motion)

Weight (Empty): 3511 lb
GVWR: 4651 lb
Weight (Cargo): 1076 – 1305 lb
Axle Load Front / Rear: 2337 / 2425 lb
Max Weight of a braked trailer at 12% / 8% grade: - / -
Max Weight of an unbraked trailer: -
Roof Load: 176 lb

Looks like they don't want you to tow with the GSW R.

As for a hitch and your warranty. I don't see how a hitch can void your warranty. This is because in America we love receiver hitches and use them for cargo boxes and bike carriers. Neither one is going to exceed the overall weight the car can haul because if you didn't put it on a hitch, you just put it on the roof. It would be a tough argument for them to void your warranty because of a receiver hitch. As for the European hitch that is not a receiver, they might just because you are most likely not hauling a bike on it. If you are in Germany, then you are fine.
 

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In case anyone is wondering, the cheapest VW Polo in Germany can tow this:

Polo (60 hp 1.0l TSI 5 sp manual)

Weight (Empty): 2314 lb
GVWR: 3395 lb
Weight (Cargo): 928 – 1193 lb
Axle Load Front / Rear: 1807 / 1697 lb
Max Weight of a braked trailer at 12% / 8% grade: 1763 / 2204 lb
Max Weight of an unbraked trailer: 1146 lb
Roof Load: 165 lb

The VW UP! (the cheapest VW made) is not rated for towing. At least the second cheapest VW is rated for towing.
 

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I'd say 1500lbs unbraked trailer is safe to tow. I wouldn't worry about the warranty b/c the dealer can't prove what your hitch is being used for. I was going to get a hitch for a bicycle rack. From what I previously researched you can go up to about 150lb tongue weight on a 1 7/8" hitch on our cars which is good for 2 bicycles but not 4 (can always use the roof for more).
 

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I'd say 1500lbs unbraked trailer is safe to tow. I wouldn't worry about the warranty b/c the dealer can't prove what your hitch is being used for. I was going to get a hitch for a bicycle rack. From what I previously researched you can go up to about 150lb tongue weight on a 1 7/8" hitch on our cars which is good for 2 bicycles but not 4 (can always use the roof for more).
Until they see the wiring and connector for the trailer lights...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the responses so far.

I am not at all concerned about the capability of my vehicle to tow this trailer... To be clear, I have towed it with far-inferior vehicles--notably a 2000 Ford Explorer (drum brakes have earned a special place in Hell).

I am really tempted to buy an eco-hitch... I can't say I'm thrilled about the bolt-on design (I feel like these bolts really should be in shear), but it certainly looks overbuilt enough to withstand occasional use with a CATI trailer.

Looking forward to hearing other peoples' thoughts...

Happy Monday from PA.

Phil
 

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Yeah, I'm interested in a similar hitch. I'd really like to get/pull a small camper that weighs about 1500 pounds, would seem insane if the alltrack weren't capable of pulling that load....Just cant figure out why they wouldn't give it a tow rating of some kind. My only disappointment with the otherwise stellar vehicle.
 

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If you install the ECO hitch, don;t use the bolts that come with it. Upgrade them to 12.9 (they only include 8.8). You can buy the bolts at McMaster Carr. I think I figured it out and the cost upcharge for a 12.9 bolt would be no more than $5. If I had to do it over again, I would have welded on two pieces of 2" angle iron to line up with the bottom of the frame rails and then put 4 bolts in those.

Again, look what you can do in Germany. Trust me, those Europeans will tow lots of things with regular cars. Then look what they do in England with those GSW's and many others:
http://www.thetowcarawards.com/tow-car/volkswagen-golf-estate-3/

As for the light connection. I'm building a 2nd swing away cargo box for my Eurovan. It'll have lights and a place for the license plate. It'll also work on the Alltrack. I am just using the typical 4 prong trailer light connection. I guess if my Alltrack gets the warranty voided, I'll just bring my cargo box and show them.

In case you are wondering, here's the official VW hitch for a GSW:
http://www.oemepc.com/vw/part_single/catalog/vw/markt/RDW/modell/GOLF/year/2016/drive_standart/746/hg_ug/071/subcategory/71010/part_id/3706179/lang/e

Also, Google: "5G0092155A"
 

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Personally, I'm not interested in getting a bolt on trailer hitch due to associated risks....

What welded trailer hitch would people suggest for the GSW?

smithmal
IMO, in this application, with thin metal in the unibody car structure, you are probably less likely to cause issues or have problems with a bolt-on than trying to weld something on.

Back in the days of separate beefy frames, welding was often better, but that is not usually the case for thin unibody construction.
 

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Personally, I'm not interested in getting a bolt on trailer hitch due to associated risks....

What welded trailer hitch would people suggest for the GSW?

smithmal
Buy the official VW factory hitch. It was designed work with your GSW and will carry a load in excess of what your GSW can handle. As for welded, you better listen to Dave.
 

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There is no available US VW OEM Hitch for the GSW. Yes they can void your powertrain warranty if it gets to that point and they see the hitch. Now if you remove it then you are good to go. If u leave it on, be prepared to put up a fight. They will use it against you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
For those who care: here is my most recent progress.

I stopped by the VW dealership yesterday to inquire about the whole hitch debacle. The parts guy suggested a few local places for hitch installation. When I asked him about my warranty, his reply was "Hmm, interesting question. Ask the service department..."

I walked over to the service department, and explained my dilemma. I received a chorus of "Hmm, interesting question... they are approved in Europe because they don't have F-150s in Europe.... You shouldn't run into any trouble towing a 1500-pound trailer.... About your warranty? Ask corporate. Here is their number."

I called corporate when I got home, and explained the situation. After holding for 15 minutes, I received the reply: "That is an interesting question... I need to talk to my tech team. I will get back to you later this week."

This evening, I received a call from corporate. The dude read me the first section of the "trailer-towing" chapter, which basically describes that the GSW is not designed for towing. He informed me that the trailer cannot exceed the max-axle load limits and max payload limits specified on the driver's door. About the warranty: putting a hitch on the vehicle will not void the warranty. Any damage that the hitch causes can void the warranty. However, if I bring my vehicle in to the shop after 30,000 miles with a bad clutch or a broken gearbox, they will not immediately point to the hitch and say "well, there's your problem. sorry buddy. no warranty for you."

I asked him if any trailer load limits are published for the vehicle. He said he would look and get back to me on Friday. I also asked for a copy of what he told me in writing. Assuming his search for weights does not open a new can of worms, I will post this letter here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As far as I can tell, the load limits for each axle and the max permissible payload are published on the driver's door jamb. The trailer load limits are a mystery, at least on my vehicle. These are the numbers which I asked him to search for, even though I have a feeling that they do not exist.

Thanks,

Phil
 

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Thank you

Phil,
Really appreciate you sharing this information. The one bummer about the alltrack for me is the lack of towing rating. Would love to pull a 1700 pound camper with this vehicle and your updated feedback is super helpful, so thank you. I look forward to hearing any follow up from VWoA.
Aaron
 
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