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VW B5 Passat TDIs This is a general discussion about B5 Passat(>98 (2004-2005 in North America)). Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old August 8th, 2006, 15:51   #1
vw4life
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Default Vehicle for towing

Although this may be a little off topic I'd appreicate the advice from 'like-minds' on this forum. I currently drive a golf 18t and its time to plan for a new vehicle. It must be versitle, stylish, fun, unusual/sleeper , and have better than SUV fuel mileage- also it must have some ability to tow a trailer. I love the passat wagon TDI but its crazy that they are pulling in higher than new prices on the used market.

Ok, so I'd like to tow a 2000 lbs sportboat on a trailer with a passat TDI. I know ppl here on the forum tow more, I know the euro regs, I know the NA recommendations, I know I need the euro tow bar, air bags, and to monitor the egt, tranny, oil temps etc... Its not ideal, but it is doo able. I don't really want a big old pickup or a SUV.

I am pretty much opposed to SUVs- but here is my list of possible vehicles and I'd like to pole this forum of their opinions since although I don't own a passat TDI, I'd like to and I like to hang out on this forum.

Passat Wagon TDI. great fuel economy. so-so on towing 2000 lbs is pushing it. I'd have to be very careful. My #2 desirable vehicle.

Passat Wagon V6 4 motion, used ~ 2003-4 - better for towing, fuel ecomonmy reasonable comparted to others, price reasonable compared to below

Jeep Liberty CRD - fuel economy is nothing special, space in the back nothing special, its a SUV

Audi allroad, used prices similar to used passat TDIs, very good towing, very good space and utility, very good on the styling, power, and my #1 desirable car. Unforunatly I'm sure there would be my fair share of pricey repairs. Worst fuel economy of the bunch

Any other suggestions for a wagon/crossover type vehicle that is super verstile and reasonable on fuel that will tow 2000 lbs several times per year? Thanks
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Old August 8th, 2006, 15:58   #2
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How 'bout a W8 wagon?
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Old August 8th, 2006, 16:28   #3
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The Passat TDI is the best towing vehicle I have ever had, period. Remember you have a little more torque with the Passat TDi than a new Dodge/Mercedes Sprinter Van. I can't imagine feeling more comfortable and confident while towing my boat. I previously towed this same outfit with a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 six cylinder. It towed okay (although not as easy as the Passat) but acheived about 11 MPG at BEST!

The Passat TDi tows so well it's almost unreal, even with four people in the car, I can two the boat at 80 MPH if I want (I don't because I like to be able to stop), which it also does quite well and I don't have trailer brakes. I always tow using the tiptronic, but it does fine in auto mode.

The last Passat gasser 4 motion V6 that I looked at only had 206 lbs. of torque, maybe the new ones are better?

What about the slick boat ramps you wonder, while pulling her out of the water? Not a problem I have honestly never slipped once or spun a wheel.

I tow my 1960 Dorsett Catalina on a 1958 dual axle Tee Nee trailer (which has coil springs and shocks at each wheel). Fully loaded the trailer and boat weigh between 2000 and 2500 lbs. with fuel, coolers and gear. The dual axle trailer greatly reduces tounge weight and does so safely. I have no sway or jerk ever.

I average between 20 and 23 MPG while towing. I have a EURO hitch but I started out with a class one that actually worked fine. They are expensive to have shipped to the states, about $600 for the whole package. It took me a whole weekend to install the hitch.

I run the airlift airbags at 15 PSI while towing and have not had any issues with them. I have new Firestones if they wear out.

The transmission on this car is adequately cooled for towing IMO. I have towed this whole rig from Arizona to Ohio and from Ohio to Canada several times without any issues at all.

People stare as if I am crazy as they drive past in their Dummers and Chevy 2500 4X4's towing similar loads. I just smile and drive on.

Let the bashing ensue....

http://home.woh.rr.com/embs/passat_boat.jpg

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Old August 8th, 2006, 16:39   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseldorf
How 'bout a W8 wagon?
Well it would definately hit the sleeper requirement, perhaps not the fuel mileage requirement though...
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Old August 10th, 2006, 20:53   #5
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How much towing do you plan to do? Is it worth considering getting a cheapy SUV just for towing, and a slightly cheaper than you were planning on spending Passat TDi for daily use?

I'm amazed that a used Allroad is the same price as a used Passat! An Allroad is my number one choice too, but in the UK they are about twice the price of a Passat!

The accepted safe limit for towing anything with brakes is about 80% of your towing vehicles weight. The lower the %age the better. "Is the dog wagging the tail, or the tail wagging the dog?"
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Old August 11th, 2006, 17:43   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Embs
. Let the bashing ensue....
Bash my foot. I certainly wondered about it, but you have done your homework very well, and have tested it and proven it.

I am more amazed (and impressed by the pure ballsiness) of it than anything.

I figured 1500 max and you are doing better with at least 1,000 more. Yee hah.

It sounds like it drives like an old sedan with a load leveler hitch (which I now understand are not so good), but I only tow with a ball, and that is seldom and with the ton pickup).
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Old August 12th, 2006, 08:32   #7
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So, am I to believe that the following trailer would not pose a threat to the integrity of my 2002 Jetta TDI? That the car wouldn't notice the presence of said trailer?

One Canoe or Kayak Carrier
TRAILER WEIGHT: 125 lbs, TRAILER CAPACITY: 200 lbs
This is the oldest and lightest most unique boat trailer/dolly in our extensive line. Its unique rubberized suspension eliminates road bumps and shock to your small boat, canoe, or kayak.
*For boats up to 17' in length and 200 lbs. maximum weight.
*Maximum stern width 36".
*Maximum mid ship width 4'6".
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Old August 12th, 2006, 10:22   #8
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The best info I could find quickly was that a passat sedan weighed in at about 3300 lbs. Lets assume 3400 for the wagon.

The trailer and boat we are looking at are about 1950 lbs together.

1950/3400= trailer is 57% of the weight of the passat wagon. This is probably getting in the territory of installing brakes on the trailer with this car. Also, no other luggage loads are accounted for.

There are other passat'ers here towing more though!

Amount of towing per year? Probably 2, maybe three trips to the cabin on the lake aout 400 km each way. Elevation gain = 3000 ft, about 2000 ft over the last 150 km.

Other towing will be local lakes on mostly flat roads within 150 km. Figure, 3-4 times per year, maybe more.

So thats about 1600-2400 km of hilly highway and about 1000 km of flat highway per year.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 12:06   #9
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Provided there are brakes on the trailer, at that weight ratio, 57%, it should be a piece of cake for the Passat. The torquey TDI will pull that weight quite fine up the hills, but pay attention to the turbo. If it's operating at full load for a long period of time, it could overheat. Don't use full throttle up the long hills if you can help it.

A friend of mine pulls a caravan that is 80% of the Passat wagons weight. It has brakes. He finds that it's adequate with that weight. His advice is to NOT push the engine as you would when not towing, even when you are on the flat. Don't go above 60 MPH, and don't tow if the car is already behaving oddly.

I've said somewhere before that many EURO passats had transmission bearings that were insufficently greased by the supplier. Also, some have weak springs on the clutch. It's well known in europe at least, for the gearbox to blow, and the flywheel to sheer off. This may not be the case in the US, but is likely to be even more expensive to fix. The parts are in short supply in europe, with long waiting lists. It would be a very long wait in the US. Most common on 6 speed cars.

The symptoms are a change in the noise when using clutch, but more noticeably, the car begins to judder as the clutch takes up drive. If you notice it, get to the workshop straight away!

With care, the passat will be just great...
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2001 Passat Wagon 1.9 TDI PD 130 SPORT (Climatronic, leather/alcantara seats, sunroof, lower/stiffer suspension, tinted windows etc...) 55k
1998 Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 litre LS petrol - Stock (Comfy, reasonably cheap) 67k
1998 Seat Ibiza 1.4 litre SXE Petrol - Stock (Slow, but cheap) 72k
1992 VW Golf MK2 1.8 litre Driver Petrol - Lower Springs/Shocks (Superb engine, extremely strong) 128k
1983 VW Golf MK1 1.1 litre C Petrol - Lower Springs/Shocks (Quick little car, and really handled well) 167k
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Old August 17th, 2006, 16:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Face
So, am I to believe that the following trailer would not pose a threat to the integrity of my 2002 Jetta TDI? That the car wouldn't notice the presence of said trailer?

Honestly, I don't think you would realize it was there. The Jetta should tow this with no problem.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 17:25   #11
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bump for any lingering passat tow advice.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 01:16   #12
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Attach trailer, drive ON!
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Old August 20th, 2006, 10:38   #13
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Well, I gotta bite on this one. I did a LOT of research before I got my rig set up to tow. I have a TDI wagon and I have the euro hitch and airbags. My Passat is currently towing a 3100lb popup camper. See my photobucket page for photo's of what I tow...

In short here's what I have done to my rig to get the best towing performance... And I get 24MPG by the way towing without the bikes on top of the car, and 21MPG with the bikes going about 70mph.

- Euro hitch (a MUST in my opinion)
- Airbags (only if you have a high tongue weight, which I am running upto about 300lbs tongue weight. Yes I'm overweight on the tongue, but I need the TW for the stability of the trailer, otherwise it has a tendency to sway)
- ELECTRIC BRAKES (I have brakes on the trailer and a Prodigy brake controller installed in the car. The Prodigy is one of the best out there in that it senses your rate of deceleration and applies the trailer brakes accordingly)
- tire pressure (I keep my rear tires on the car at 50PSI, as that is the max PSI they allow for the max weight. The fronts I keep a bit lower as there is more weight on the back)
- Drive carefully
- Enjoy!

I have done no mods to the engine or trans for towing, as what I have read tells me that the car is OK for what I'm doing. I also have RC2 which makes the car peel out the tires pretty easy when towing.

I have taken my car to the scales, and fullly loaded with the bikes on top, the car was 4600lbs with the trailer attached, and the trailer axle was about 2800lbs. There was about 300lbs of Tongue weight on the car.

I could tell I was heavy, but the car handled it quite nicely. The rear of the car was a little bouncy on some roads, due to the high weight on the rear and having the airbags up at about 25psi. (stiff)

Anyhow, good luck and I HIGHLY reccommend the Passat TDI for towing.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 21:40   #14
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Well, I gotta bite on this one. <clip>

Thanks new guy, I was hoping you would share you perspective in a fresh light.

Thanks
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Old May 26th, 2007, 21:43   #15
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Well, I have come full circle. I have been a VW owner since 1997 with a Jetta 2.0 GT, then a Golf 1.8T and now since Sept 2006 a Passat TDI variant. I had been very interested in the TDIs since I actually purchased the 1.8T in Dec 2000. I was really interested in the passat TDIs since they were first announced some years ago.

If you were to read my posts here back to 2004 I was asking a lot of questions about towing moderate loads a fair distance. There are only a handful of members here that have done similar. Now it is my turn to make a report.

The passat TDI is a phenominal tow vehicle! Well, maybe I am biased, and I don't have a lot of previous towing experience to make comparisons with but.... This spring we bought a seadoo sportboat. As a prelude to that I purchased and installed the european westfalia tow hitch for its robust capacities and its OEM mounting points and ultra hidden install.

Last weekend I towed the boat 420 km to the lake where my family has a cabin. The road there consists of some 4 lane divided highway and canyon carved and high country two lane highway with infrequency passing zones, narrow canyon areas, and moderate grades.

The passat towed my boat up there with ease. A number of the hills it was beneficial to initiate a downshift to 4th gear, but the TDI happily turned 2400-2600 rpm and pulled us up those hills without any sign of breaking a real sweat. The boat specs out at 2100 lbs dry. There were two of us and maybe 150 lbs of gear in the passat. The tongue weight may not be as high as a utility trailer but we were being careful in the amount of weight we packed anyway.

The car+trailer handled very reasonably. I would have liked to have trailer brakes for a <much> increased safety margin, but we travelled at night when there is less traffic and we drove very cautiously.

Overall it was a very successful trip, the Passat towed the rig very smartly. The only downside was I really wished I had 4motion quattro as the lake's concrete ramp was closed for spring maintenance and I had to lauch on the sand- in the rush of things it was difficult to locate the passats front tow hook when the FWD and nokian WRs didn't grip the wet compacted sand with the empty trailer in the water. Luckily our neighbour was very willing to pull the boat out of the water with his truck when the time came. I have launched the boat at a number of concrete ramps previously and passat performed admirably there.

Through out several years I asked many questions on TDI club and other MB's regarding how good of a choice the passat is to tow. It may not be a tourag or a duramax but with the right hitch, careful driving, and reasonable loading I'll reiterate what a few others said that the Passat TDI is a very decent tow vehicle for those with small - moderate tow needs that do not want an SUV type vehicle. I say this as there have been several nay-sayers when I ask these questions. Now, no I wasn't monitoring EGT, trans temp and I don't have longer term data, but I really didn't have to run balls to the wall with this tow so I don't feel like I am in an mechanical danger zone.

I averaged ~ 80 km/h over a 5 hour drive (including a bit of slow-and-go traffic) and the MFA said my average fuel consumption was 8.8 L/100 km. Using my lifetime MFA correction average of 6.1 % I netted 9.33 L/100km or 25 MPusG or 30 MPimpG. Not shabby at all!

Tow on!

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