Hitch carrier cargo options for B5 Passat Wagon

tikal

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2001
Location
Southeast Texas
TDI
2004 Passat Wagon (chainless + 5 MT + GDE tune)
Hello:

I would like to get your thoughts on using a hitch cargo carrier to attach to my Passat wagon. The hitch I have installed since buying the car in 2012 is this Curtis 1.25 inch (Calss I/II). I have used it without problems to carry up to four bikes (around 120 lbs + bike rack weight):



Some of the 1.25 inch hitch options I have come up with in the order of my preference (trying to minimize weight of the carrier) is as follows.

1) Apex Aluminum Tray Deluxe Cargo Carrier weight 17.5 lbs

2) Curtis Tray-Style Cargo Carrier (Fixed 1-1/4" Shank with 2" Adapter) #18110 weight 30 lbs

My objective is to carry approximately 100 lbs of bulky stuff to be able to free more space in the cargo for our camping trips. I am thinking of cooler (62 Qrt), camping gear, stove, etc.

Anybody has experiences with these? Other options to go to the back of the vehicle to consider? FYI the clearance I have with my hitch is around 10 inches to the ground.

Thanks in advance for your inputs.
 

PickleRick

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Nov 29, 2017
Location
Greenville sc
TDI
05 GLS BHW sedan 5 speed conversion. BHW Carver SantaCruz in progress
First, your usual rear mount rack hangs low and will drag any and all parking lots entering/exiting.

To solve that i added a stepped 2inch Reece hitch to 1.25 adapter. It raises my hitch coupler a good 4 inches. Then i attach a cheap ebay foldable hitch basket. Ive never carried more than a couple 50qt coolers full of beer and ice but it works well. I've towed said coolers to the keys and back many times only attached to the back of my excursion. The stepped Reece adapter is penty strong as well and i welcome the raised ball position it allows as well as i already have tons of 2 inch reece hiftches and I didn't want to start buying more for the occasional passst tow need.

My basket weighs probably 45 to 50 lbs but the passat doesn't care. No worse than having a couple passengers and a system in the trunk. A non foldable basket weights less but i like to tuck it in when not in use. I feel less likely to get clipped when parked
 
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tikal

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2001
Location
Southeast Texas
TDI
2004 Passat Wagon (chainless + 5 MT + GDE tune)

Uberhare

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Sep 3, 2006
Location
Ontario, Canada
TDI
Too many.
I don't like any of those hitch style bike carriers. They are always loose, flopping around and putting side loads on your hitch.
 

PickleRick

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Location
Greenville sc
TDI
05 GLS BHW sedan 5 speed conversion. BHW Carver SantaCruz in progress
It looks raised in the instructions but not the pic.

These may not be ideal carriers but beats the heck out of tossing your packed coolers into the back seat.
 

tikal

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2001
Location
Southeast Texas
TDI
2004 Passat Wagon (chainless + 5 MT + GDE tune)
I don't like any of those hitch style bike carriers. They are always loose, flopping around and putting side loads on your hitch.
I understand to a certain degree. I have carried four bikes on this Curtis hitch (rated up to 200 lbs) several times for three to four hour trips with no issues (of course mileage drops noticeably). I do not think that a cargo carrier in the back with a similar total weight (around 120 lbs) would put any more stress than four bikes I carried with a bike rack.
 

tikal

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2001
Location
Southeast Texas
TDI
2004 Passat Wagon (chainless + 5 MT + GDE tune)
I found an online picture for the Apex Aluminum Cargo Carrier that shows how it would look hooked up to a 1 1/4 inch hitch (ignore the vehicle please at the moment :)). I think this is going to be my choice now for my Passat (better than the Curtis steel one I think):

 

PickleRick

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Nov 29, 2017
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Greenville sc
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05 GLS BHW sedan 5 speed conversion. BHW Carver SantaCruz in progress
That's about how my basket sits. Doesn't look pretty but very functional.
 

imo000

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
Location
Cambridge
TDI
2009 M-B ML320 Diesel & '05 Passat TDI Manual 5-Speed
That's pretty far from the receiver. The leverage of whatever you put that far out can overload the tongue rating of the receiver and you still be dragging it anytime the nose of the car pitches up. Have you thought about using a roof top carrier instead?
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
I have one I use with the Sprinter. It is great. However, the Sprinter doesn't care one bit if it has 500+ pounds hanging off the back, your Passat will. But 100 pounds shouldn't be too much of an issue. Just remember, the further away from the rear axle you get, the more the weight will have an adverse effect on the overall handling of the car. Meaning, it will LIFT the front axle. But if the car is already loaded, you may not notice much difference there.

I would consider a rooftop carrier or a small cargo trailer as alternative options, too.
 

PickleRick

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Nov 29, 2017
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Greenville sc
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05 GLS BHW sedan 5 speed conversion. BHW Carver SantaCruz in progress
I have 80 dollar set of 4 china shocks on my passat because that's what my dist. had on hand. I don't notice any handling difference with a full cooler on the back at 75 mph. I do feel it drag when entering/leaving my parents street at the lake. Its much steeper than parking lot curbs. Scrapes both loaded and empty. I have a sedan and a small speaker box in the trunk.
 
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tikal

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Joined
Apr 18, 2001
Location
Southeast Texas
TDI
2004 Passat Wagon (chainless + 5 MT + GDE tune)
Thanks all for sharing your perspective. So to give an idea of what I have been doing with this hitch so far, here is a picture I could find today of the Passat with four bikes in the bike rack. I estimate with the weight of the bike rack (which is not light) and the four bikes I have there easily 130 lbs or so. I have done many trips in this way in the hwy going 75 MPH and in hilly areas with the trunk also fully loaded to the max + four passengers (ok so I do not get 40 MPG in this way :)!



At this point with all the pros/cons I am more inclined to go the hitch cargo carrier vs cargo on the top.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Heh, you may not get 40 MPGs, but I bet you are still getting better than literally anything else that has the utility of a station wagon. Probably the only thing that *might* come close, and they are smaller, is the diesel Equinox/Terrain.


I love my B5 wagon! :D
 

tikal

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2001
Location
Southeast Texas
TDI
2004 Passat Wagon (chainless + 5 MT + GDE tune)
Heh, you may not get 40 MPGs, but I bet you are still getting better than literally anything else that has the utility of a station wagon. Probably the only thing that *might* come close, and they are smaller, is the diesel Equinox/Terrain.


I love my B5 wagon! :D
Spot on Brian! The one that might beat the B5 wagon with efficiency is the B4 wagon but I think the overall cargo+passenger space is a little bit less perhaps (no pun intended with the name of the B4 :))
 

imo000

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
Location
Cambridge
TDI
2009 M-B ML320 Diesel & '05 Passat TDI Manual 5-Speed
Your wagon already has a factory roof rack, why not use it?

I did the same 4 bike setup in the back of my sedan a few years ago and that bike rack liked to swing left and right in the receiver. Had to use some stabilizing ropes to make it a little more secure. Also, couldn't see $hit from the back and the tail light were pretty much hidden too. Didn't like it at all. I also had a roof carrier too and the trunk was full. The car was stable even at highway speeds but going in and out of parking lots was always followed by a scraping noise.
 

tikal

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Joined
Apr 18, 2001
Location
Southeast Texas
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2004 Passat Wagon (chainless + 5 MT + GDE tune)
Update: just came back with a camping trip to Big Bend National Park. Worked well. No issues except that in a couple of situations the rack hit the ground. It is a similar situation when carrying four bikes in terms of hitting the bottom. I would say that the total weight was not more than 130 lbs (including the hitch carrier which weights around 27 lbs).









Going Westbound on I-10 I averaged 35.7 MPG driving mostly 85 MPH (speed limit is 80 MPH West of San Antonio). Coming back, going 80 to 75 MPH I averaged 38 MPG. Four passengers and the Passat is fully loaded! Not bad in my book :)
 

imo000

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
Location
Cambridge
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2009 M-B ML320 Diesel & '05 Passat TDI Manual 5-Speed
I would have picked up a pair of magnetic trailer lights and strap them to the back of the carrier.
 

PickleRick

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Greenville sc
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05 GLS BHW sedan 5 speed conversion. BHW Carver SantaCruz in progress
Sits about how my rack sits. It's useful. Ive thought about adding a roof rack.
 

tikal

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2001
Location
Southeast Texas
TDI
2004 Passat Wagon (chainless + 5 MT + GDE tune)
I would have picked up a pair of magnetic trailer lights and strap them to the back of the carrier.
Thanks for the suggestion.

In general terms this solution is more optimized to me than having a higher center of gravity + noise with the roof rack. Also mileage wise I estimate I am coming ahead. I had the roof rack on my previous TDI, a 2002 Golf, and on the same route/speeds the efficiency went down more considerably with the roof rack.

Certainly there are down sides with this option too, no doubt.
 

Rxfire

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Dec 29, 2006
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Dripperley-Blanco Triangle, TX
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2 each 03 5 speed Jetta wagons, 1 NA Isuzu P'up (a keeper)
Too bad that engineers cannot "cantilever" the hitch connections, so the leverage point is behind the front seats, so the leverage would "lift" the car in the middle.

Then a heavier "Swing Away" cargo carrier could be attached. I bought a used "Swing Away" for $50 (could not resist a $700 item for $50), but it has a 2 inch insert, so I had to used my adapter, which extended it rearward a bit. It works OK, but sits too low for the VW wagon, but works well on other vehicles, and is nice at the beach, as you can swing it out of the way to access the hatch/trunk.

ROLA Swing Away (there are other brands, too):

https://www.amazon.com/ROLA-59109-A...eywords=ROLA+Swing+away&qid=1575376666&sr=8-1
 

imo000

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
Location
Cambridge
TDI
2009 M-B ML320 Diesel & '05 Passat TDI Manual 5-Speed
Thanks for the suggestion.

In general terms this solution is more optimized to me than having a higher center of gravity + noise with the roof rack. Also mileage wise I estimate I am coming ahead. I had the roof rack on my previous TDI, a 2002 Golf, and on the same route/speeds the efficiency went down more considerably with the roof rack.

Certainly there are down sides with this option too, no doubt.
I was talking about the the tail lights being completely blocked by the luggage box.
 

PickleRick

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Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Location
Greenville sc
TDI
05 GLS BHW sedan 5 speed conversion. BHW Carver SantaCruz in progress
I want a roof rack so on road trips i dont need to drive my excursion. Between a roof rack, hitch rack and trunk i don't care if i only get 30 mph. Its double my powerstroke.
 
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