Pulling Boat w Jetta TDI?

bhtooefr

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DO NOT TOW MORE THAN A SINGLE AXLE, TINY LITTLE CARGO TRAILER WITH A JETTA.

The Europeans are insane, that's why they make their trailer weight ratings so high.

They have factory diesel Isuzu P'ups, Chevy LUVs and S10s, Ford Rangers, Dodge Ram 50/Plymouth Arrow Truck/Mitsubishi Mighty Maxes, Datsun 720s, Toyota Pickups, and Jeep Cherokees if you need a smaller diesel tow vehicle. Or, engine swaps using VW TDIs, Toyota engines (from Europe or Japan,) and the Cummins 4BT have been done.
 

06SpiceRedTDI

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Longview, WA
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2006 Spice Red TDI Jetta, 2006.5 DSG Platinum Gray TDI
I have pulled my boat with my 81 MK1 pickup with an NA 1.6 diesel. as well as other things.:D I would be worried about the clutch in the Jetta though, it doesn't seem to be engineered as well as the one in the old truck.

 

bhtooefr

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The solution to the clutch issues is to use a G60/VR6 kit. Dual mass flywheels FTL.
 

TDIJetta99

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06SpiceRedTDI said:
I would sure love to be able to pull one of these with the jetta though. would make for some awfully fun road trips.

http://www.tab-rv.com/specs/Qfloorplan.php

Most of those things weigh less than 2000lbs... You can tow that with just about anything.. I wouldn't try it with a metro or a festiva, but the jetta would have no problem with it...
 

TDIJetta99

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Franko6 said:
Tell you what tdijetta.. you do whatever you want. But don't be comparing a vehicle set up for towing to a car that is NOT supposed to tow 1 1/2 x it's weight. What you say about saying "it's a diesel" really means nothing to me. Your attitude about traffic situations.. if you really had been into some hairy situations with a big load, you wouldn't be talking like it's not an important issue.

Sure, I know you never said that you'd drop the boat with your car, but you also never said you WOULDN'T. Since it's about as foolish to tow the boat with the Jetta to begin with, how am I to think you wouldn't try to drop the boat at the dock?

And for those who think you are ok... I DID CHECK THE WEIGHT OF THAT BOAT. YOU EXCEED EVERY LOGICAL MEASURE OF REASON.

But, it's your car and it's your boat...

I did forget the weight of the trailer itself... add about another 800 lbs. Total gross trailered weight is more like 6,000lbs. You going to put overload springs under your Jetta?

Good luck. You'll need it.
You didn't read my post did you? I doubt it... If you read the whole thing you would've realized that the comment about the diesel engine wasn't towards you... That's what I said to the guy in Georgia that rented me the dolly... Oh, and I thought that NOBODY would rent a dolly to be towed by a car??

I have a 94 full size Blazer (newer style) and the Jetta is far more stable than the Blazer with a tow dolly and my Camaro on it.. The Jetta even stops better...

Whatever, I'm done arguing about this... It's apparent that you know ALL there is to know about towing, and EVERYTHING there is to know about cars and what they can tow...


Oh, the weight of whatever boat you "CHECKED OUT" is double the weight of the boat the OP was asking about. I wouldn't think about towing a 6000lb boat or anything with the Jetta.. Get off the high horse buddy.. You don't know everything..
 

Honeydew

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Florida
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I have locally towed my 13.5" whaler w/ honda 50 on a steel trailer several times with the tdi. Never on the highway though, because I don't have the Jetta wired yet. Jetta pulls the boat out of the water w/ no traction issues at the same ramp where I have seen several 2wd fullsize pickups spin tires and barely get out. And I saw one spinning this weekend with one jet ski so it's not just boat-related. This is because the front drive wheels are above the slick tidal slime that causes traction issues for RWD, it is like standing on ice. Also, the weight of the motor probably helps compared to a FWD gasser. I believe this is a specific case where the fwd tdi has an advantage at the ramp. Usually, I use my v6 truck for towing the boat. The truck weighs about the same as the tdi ~3400 lbs. The truck has over 3x the tow rating though.
 

jcboulware

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May 27, 2007
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Florida
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2004 Jetta TDI Wagon 6-speed
Pulling boats

I've been pulling my 13' Carolina Skiff in and out sandy river shore and concrete ramp constantly this summer. The little wagon hasn't complained once. It tows down the road perfectly and pulls out of the water just as easily. The trick for not getting your bumper wet is to get a trailer with a slightly longer tounge.
My .02
 

FrankyVWQc

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2006
TDIJetta99 said:
How heavy is the boat? A Jetta TDI can safely pull its own weight without much issue.. I pull a 2800lb boat from time to time (not mine) and the car handles fine.. Some sudden maneuvers can get hairy, but that will happen even with a 1 Ton truck and a 7000lb trailer.. The TDI's brakes are adequate to stop a trailer without brakes up to about 2000lbs, any more than that you'll be safer with trailer brakes..
Also, these cars don't like tongue weights over about 180-200lbs..


I do this on a regular basis... This got towed over 100 miles at normal highway speeds... Absolutely no trouble stopping, even going downhill...
I do the same with my B4 Wagon Passat TDi pulling my race car, a 1992 2.0 16V turbo Jetta
 

jasonTDI

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The euro hitch is actually rated for 160 lbs vs 200 on all the us hitches for tounge weight. I'd never tow over 1700-1800 lbs though. Even my olds cherokee was dicey with 3000lbs behind it.
 

zulusafari

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Manning Iowa
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None, yet!
I saw a dark blue A4 Jetta launch and land a 12 foot boat with a 7 horse Johnson motor 3 times last week. I was skeptical at first, as the angle looked steep, but that combo is really light and he did have the torque of the TDI. The last ramp looked worse, as it was a rapid drop once in the water, but the little car pulled the loaded trailer right out. I didn't get the name, but it was a Wisconsin plate, pulling out of Spider Lake last Sunday, in Newbold, Wisconsin.
 

Geordi

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Jason, I've had as much as 500lbs of tongue weight on my Drawtite hitch. I'll show you how I've upgraded it on Sunday if you remind me at the GTG. Drive safe!

While I have had that much weight on the tongue, it wasn't on the car for more than a few minutes, and not at speed. The most I've had loaded on the tongue was about 200-225 worth of generator riding in a trailer tray that I built.

The same thing as those hitch-hauler trays that they sell everywhere for like $60... I built one out of 1" square steel tubing for FREE using nothing but scrap steel and my welder. It actually looks pretty good, and I'm going to sell it when I finally sell my car.
 

RichS

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05 VW Jetta Wagon 5sp
smithrep said:
Rich, how big was your boat? mine is an 18ft caravelle..1990 model. only concern there would be pulling it out of the boat ramp. also with no overdrive also scared about transmission.
The boat I was trailering was a 1996 14' 6" Sea-Doo Jet Boat "Speedster". It weighed in around 1800#s loaded. One of my most favorite toys. But, when my son came along I couldn't justify it anymore.:( I'd like to get another in about 8 years, but bigger (16'-18') to handle the family. I guess there are many factors to take in launching and taking out a boat.
  1. The grade of the ramp. Steeper the grade the more difficult it will be to pull it out.
  2. Construction of the ramp. Asphault is bad. (Can be very slippery when wet). Concrete is better, and grooved concrete is best for traction.
  3. FWD is a plus. Tounge weight really doesn't matter too much. I'm more likely to spin the wheels of my rear wheel drive truck than my FWD car when pulling the boat out.
So, do what you feel comfortable with. I'm suprised that some people (I know alot of them here at work) who think a car cannot tow anything, don't also limit the amount of passengers they haul in their vehicles. I could hear it, "Yeah, I know the car manufacturer says the car can have 5 passangers, but come on its just a car, so I really only feel comfortable taking 2.";)
 

JoeBleed

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Honeydew said:
Jetta pulls the boat out of the water w/ no traction issues at the same ramp where I have seen several 2wd fullsize pickups spin tires and barely get out. And I saw one spinning this weekend with one jet ski so it's not just boat-related. This is because the front drive wheels are above the slick tidal slime that causes traction issues for RWD, it is like standing on ice. Also, the weight of the motor probably helps compared to a FWD gasser. I believe this is a specific case where the fwd tdi has an advantage at the ramp.
This is what i was wondering. I figured FWD vehicles would do better because their drive wheels were farter away from that slimay bottom area of the ramp. I remember two times my graddad had issues pulling a little, and lite, 12' boat out of a couple of ramps because there was alge/slime near the bottom of the ramp and it was low tide when trying to load the boat. He ended up having to launch the boat again, pull the trailer foward to engague the 4wheel drive. After that the boat was retrieved easly.

While waiting in line to launch or load at Cape Hatters, i have seen many full size trucks have problems because of simular situations. Saw a couple that had to be towed out with their boat. Granted, those boats were usualy much bigger than his little 12' but simular priceables aply.

I am not advocating exceding your tow capacity, but i am willing to bet pulling that boat and maybe even launching/loading it at good ramps, will not be a problem. one other problem we had once while loading, the tide had gone out and the ramp we were using was shorter than the others for some reason. the boat trailer's wheels dropped off the end of the ramp. I got the fun job of going in the water to lift the trailer back on to the ramp. I would be a little concerend about towing near the max load for extended highway use. And remember to factor it in for service. If you end up towing alot you may need to reduce your oci for oil and tranny fluid.

You could always find some simulary steap entrence/exits of some bussiness' parking lots and try going up and down them, stoping and starting. But that depends on your area.
 

bhtooefr

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RichS said:
I'm suprised that some people (I know alot of them here at work) who think a car cannot tow anything, don't also limit the amount of passengers they haul in their vehicles. I could hear it, "Yeah, I know the car manufacturer says the car can have 5 passangers, but come on its just a car, so I really only feel comfortable taking 2.";)
The car's not designed to drag boats out of the water, though.

The car IS designed to hold 5 people.
 

DPM

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I recall one of the slips we used to launch our 17' daycruiser from had an eye-ring sunk in the concrete at the very top. It enabled you to un-hitch at the top of the slope, then move the car onto the roadway perpendicular to the ramp. Rope from hitch, through eye, to trailer, and you could lower the trailer from the safety of a dry horizontal roadway. For bigger stuff (that would be towed by a tractor from the boatyard) there was a mechanical winch...
 

DIESELprogrammer

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Franko6 said:
Tell you what tdijetta.. you do whatever you want. But don't be comparing a vehicle set up for towing to a car that is NOT supposed to tow 1 1/2 x it's weight.
This is a person who REALLY DOES NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!

While the Jetta isn’t designed to tow 4500lbs “1 1/2 x it's weight,” the mk4 chassis IS designed for towing. It has a Eurospec TOW RATING coded in the VIN. My 03MY Golf, 90hp, 5sp, GLS TDI is tested and rated @ 1320lb un-braked and 2886lb braked. It also has reinforced hitch mounts positions that are factory predrilled, and a towhitch and light harness is a dealer-installed option in Europe.

That said, with over 12k miles of towing 3 different trailers and a Jetta via-towbar with my Golf and many 100k miles towing with other vehicles, I can offer some experienced insight.

Towing a given load up to 4klbs, the Golf stops faster and handles better that my Plymouth Voyager SE 3.0 (short wheel base). At 1500lbs in a small utility trailer, the Golf stops way faster and handles way better under practice panic situations than my F350, Diesel, CC, 4x4 with the 2800lb camper and 3500lb boat in tow.

I have a custom hitch that I have tested to 500lb of tongue weight and air-bags in the rear coils to keep the load level. These are needed to keep your tow safe, but other than that, I don’t see an issue towing your boat from point A to point B – with the usual cautions in mind.

I do take my little 10’ fishing boat (500-600lb boat and trailer) to the lake with the Golf. I wouldn’t recommend more that 1k pulling up the boat ramp.



 

RichS

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bhtooefr said:
The car's not designed to drag boats out of the water, though.

The car IS designed to hold 5 people.
I guess I was trying to be a little funny there. I don't know of any vehicle that was strictly designed to be the boat lover’s tower for those hard boat ramps. I do know of vehicles that were designed with towing in mind and the TDI is one of them.
:)
 

bhtooefr

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The Europeans tow big camper trailers with subcompact hatchbacks, though.

The only reason they do that is because they can't afford to fuel trucks - if they could, what the manufacturers do would be considered illegal.

Also, keep in mind that VW has in the past done different chassis reinforcements for different markets - although it's not towing related, the A2 Golf and Jetta in the US had much more chassis reinforcements up front, and were much safer cars in collisions. I would imagine that with modern tow ratings, Euro A4s have more chassis reinforcements.

And we're still not talking about the wheelbase, the weight, or any of that.
 

RichS

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bhtooefr said:
The only reason they do that is because they can't afford to fuel trucks
I understand were you are coming from, but in the end it has to be safe. I would like to know how they (Europeans) determine a vehicles towing ability compared to us. If it was unsafe to tow with cars then they would outlaw it, and fine anyone that tried. I'm not saying that anyone should tow whatever they want with anything they may have. Some vehicles are more equipped than others, but I don't think you need a truck to be able to tow.

I guess that I've been towing with cars for so long now that I understand their limitations, and know that this one (Jetta Wagon 5sp TDI) is one of the better cars out there for towing. I would think nothing about towing 2000#s w/o trailer brakes up to 3000#s w/ trailer brakes. It appears that the Europeans also share this mentality.
 

TDIJetta99

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RichS said:
I understand were you are coming from, but in the end it has to be safe. I would like to know how they (Europeans) determine a vehicles towing ability compared to us. If it was unsafe to tow with cars then they would outlaw it, and fine anyone that tried. I'm not saying that anyone should tow whatever they want with anything they may have. Some vehicles are more equipped than others, but I don't think you need a truck to be able to tow.

I guess that I've been towing with cars for so long now that I understand their limitations, and know that this one (Jetta Wagon 5sp TDI) is one of the better cars out there for towing. I would think nothing about towing 2000#s w/o trailer brakes up to 3000#s w/ trailer brakes. It appears that the Europeans also share this mentality.
You took the words right out of my mouth here... You don't need a 1 ton truck to tow a small trailer...

I towed a small trailer with an 86 cavalier V6 4 speed... Towed OK at best.. The Jetta will tow the trailer AND the cavalier better than the cavalier towed the little trailer...
 

Franko6

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Ok, I get it... there are a few things you can't discuss...

Politics....
Love....
Money...
The best oil for a VW diesel...
and now the permissible weight a VW can tow.

There is a reasonable limit and there are obviously many that believe they can exaggerate good reason and get by with it.

All I can tell you is being responsible is the right thing to do. If a vehicle is overloaded past the manufacturer's reasonable capacities, regardless of modifications to enhance the vehicle's performance, there are safety limits that have only to do with the vehicle's weight and purpose. The VW Jetta is intented as a passenger vehilce. It is not designed or particularly intended to be used as a tow vehicle.

The 2002 Jetta handbook shows permissible limits and trailer weights.

Automatic without trailer brakes.... 1000lbs
Automatice with trailer brakes........!000 lbs

Manual w/o trailer brakes...............1320 lbs
Manual with trailer brakes...............1500 lbs

Tongue load............................... 165 lbs

Sure, you can go more than that. You may or may not come to regret it. Watch what your local laws say. Some of local codes will compel good sense and reason.
 

JoeBleed

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ahhhhhh.. That is the one i was remembering when i saw this thread. :)

He had a wee bit to big of a load for his clutch don't you think? :D
 

Honeydew

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Franko6 said:
Ok, I get it... there are a few things you can't discuss...

Politics....
Love....
Money...
The best oil for a VW diesel...
and now the permissible weight a VW can tow.

...
and why? Because there is always someone who is adamant that their viewpoint is the only one with any validity.
 

Kabin

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That's a good video and funny because of the global history of overloading vehicles. Could be due to being optimistic, misinformed, denial, macho, or just too cheap to own the correct tow vehicle. A hitch and diesel engine isn't the safety re-req for open road towing.
 

Ian F

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RichS said:
I understand were you are coming from, but in the end it has to be safe. I would like to know how they (Europeans) determine a vehicles towing ability compared to us.
Because Europeans don't have the legal-leaches we in the US have...

One can argue that the average Euro-driver is better trained and more responsbible than the average US driver (who generally receives no real training...).

This topic has been beat to death. Many times.

I've toyed with the idea of installing a hitch on my wagon... but the engineer in me that wants to put huge safety factors on everything and my overall distrust of the car in general forced me towards a '95 Cummins 4x4 for utility needs.

Still, the thought of dumping the POS truck and getting a hitch & trailer for the Jetta is still on the table... depending on how much the truck is annoying me at that moment...
 
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