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V W Factory Fitted Towbar, Possible Problem ?


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#1 Tandem Man

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:49 pm

A liitle while ago I e-mailed Westfalia regarding the provision of an anchoring point for the breakaway cable as we have an Alltrack on order with a factory fitted towbar.

 

This matter was resolved,but today I unexpectedly received further e-mail which I quote below :-

 

Good Morning,

 

Have you now received your new Passat?

How did you find the towing set up?

I have come across another issue that may affect use of your AL-KO 3004. In the attached photos you can see 50 mm vertical clearance, from centre of ball to top of socket (IMG_0208), where AL-KO want 60 mm (Fig 2 of attached pdf).

There is no solution for this known, however I have a VW dealership investigating the issue presently.

 

Please let me know if you have encountered any issues yourself.

 

I have attached the photos and .pdf that are referred to :-

 

Attached File  IMG_0198.jpg   165.94KB   18 downloads

 

Attached File  IMG_0208.jpg   135.76KB   18 downloads

 

Attached File  AKS-3004-handbook.pdf   1.46MB   38 downloads

 

I find it hard to believe that Westfalia/VW have produced a set up that is not compatible with the hitch that is most common in use.

 

Has anyone suffered any problems with this tow bar and restricted clearance as described.

 

Ian


Edited by Tandem Man, 14 May 2014 - 06:50 pm.


#2 CommanderDave

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 09:27 pm

Could change the hitch to a winterhoff 3000 might solve the problem if VW can't ?

Dave

#3 thensum

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 06:18 am

I have just taken delivery of my new Passat estate with exactly this tow bar fitted and towed my caravan last weekend with an Alko 3004 hitch head stabiliser fitted and yes whilst the clearance is only mm's from the rear bumper it did not hit the bumper. When I did get home though I noticed some hairline grazes/scratches on the bumper, not overly pleased as car is only 3 weeks old! Hoping the scratches will come off with T-Cut and wax and I am planning on sticking some self adhesive thin foam pads on the 'nose' of the Alko stabiliser so to create a softer buffer. Longer term a Winterhoff stabiliser is the answer but quite annoyed that VW have seemingly made a big oversight here! I may well take it up with my local dealer to see if any spacers could have been installed to extend the gap between the centre of the ball and rear of the car?

#4 Lutz

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 06:22 am

I have just taken delivery of my new Passat estate with exactly this tow bar fitted and towed my caravan last weekend with an Alko 3004 hitch head stabiliser fitted and yes whilst the clearance is only mm's from the rear bumper it did not hit the bumper. When I did get home though I noticed some hairline grazes/scratches on the bumper, not overly pleased as car is only 3 weeks old! Hoping the scratches will come off with T-Cut and wax and I am planning on sticking some self adhesive thin foam pads on the 'nose' of the Alko stabiliser so to create a softer buffer. Longer term a Winterhoff stabiliser is the answer but quite annoyed that VW have seemingly made a big oversight here! I may well take it up with my local dealer to see if any spacers could have been installed to extend the gap between the centre of the ball and rear of the car?

 

I'm afraid spacers are out of the question unless that is an approved fix issued by Westfalia themselves. Without their consent, it would be illegal.

 

I don't know who is responsible for the mistake. Is it Westfalia or did VW supply Westfalia with incorrect information?


Edited by Lutz, 15 May 2014 - 06:24 am.


#5 thensum

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 06:23 am

Just re-read your post, are you suggesting there is an issue with the distance/height between the ball and electric socket? My caravan coupled on to the ball as normal with all green indicators showing once the hitch and stabiliser are connected. I'm towing all the way from West Sussex to Cairngorm on 31 May so that'll be a test but at the weekend we towed approximately 70 miles and apart from the hairline grazes everything else was ok.

Edited by thensum, 15 May 2014 - 06:45 am.


#6 Tandem Man

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 09:55 am

I have received an update from Westfalia this morning:-

 

Good Morning,

VW maintain the line that they do not support 3rd party products, so not a great deal I can do to alter that unfortunately.

The VW modification is shown in the attached PDF. I do hope this modification suits your application, if it is indeed required.

I will certainly keep you up to date as and when I hear anything.

 

Kind Regards

 

Tamzin Halpin

Technical Advisor

 

From the attached .pdf the problem appears to centre around the orientation of the 13-pin socket.

 

If the flap hinges DOWNWARDS all appears to be OK but if it hinges UPWARDS then a modification is necessary.

 

I will bring this to the attention of my dealer,at the prices new cars are I will leave any adjustments up to them.

 

Attached File  VW Towbar Workround.pdf   257.71KB   94 downloads

 

 

Ian

 

 


Edited by Tandem Man, 15 May 2014 - 09:56 am.


#7 dreadly

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:02 am

So basically they have fitted the socket the wrong way up?

#8 Tandem Man

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:05 am

So basically they have fitted the socket the wrong way up?

 

That would appear to be the top and bottom of it,yes.

 

Ian



#9 CommanderDave

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:35 am

By the pictures I thought the ball looked close to the rear bumper/Number plate and not the 68 mm needed to miss the car when the head swivels . The same problem that thensum was saying on his new Passat .

 

 

 

Dave



#10 IainM1970

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 06:19 pm

I have a similar bracket on my Tiguan R Line . ... since collection in December it has been on 7 trips (so towed 14 times).  

 

The Alko hitch does sit closer to the bumper than I'd prefer, no sign the hitch has ever come in contact with the bumper in my case thank goodness, in fact my caravan dealer watched while I drove slowly and put the car into full lock to check it wouldn't . .. the he drove the car so I could have a look NB on his forecourt not on the road!! The electrics are a fiddle (the top of my socket is at about 7 o'clock if that makes sense).  I was talked into it as the dealer said (I know, I know!) it was the best and cheapest option.

 

Since I never fold it away - I prefer a fixed bracket - I really wish I'd gone for an after market fixed swan neck bracket.

 

Good side is the electrics are all wired as they should be 'fridge, battery charger, ATC all workng as they should, stop/start doesn't work when towing etc.

 

Overall though I would say avoid avoid avoid . .. it is spoiling my enjoyment of my new car.



#11 ascmarley

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 08:46 am

Hi Ian
We picked up a new Tiguan on Monday with a factory fitted swivel towbar, see attached photos. Ours does not appear to be a Westfalia, had a good look at it and there is no brand name stamped on it.
As you can see the electrics are set further back from towball, not tried it yet (paint still to be removed) and I want to run the engine in.
Love the idea of the swivel towball very neat, can't wait to use it.

Attached File  image.jpg   253.89KB   10 downloads
Attached File  image.jpg   172.29KB   7 downloads

Edited by ascmarley, 17 May 2014 - 08:47 am.


#12 beejay

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 05:11 pm

It would be interesting to know who fitted the tow bar and where it was done as very few car manufacturers "factory fit" tow bars but farm it out to contractors or dealers.  Many cars imported into the UK have factory option equipment fitted at the port of entry.

 

The phrase "VW maintain the line that they do not support 3rd party products"  raises questions as a factory fitted tow bar i.e by WV should  carry VW  support and warranty.



#13 Tandem Man

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 07:14 pm

It would be interesting to know who fitted the tow bar and where it was done as very few car manufacturers "factory fit" tow bars but farm it out to contractors or dealers.  Many cars imported into the UK have factory option equipment fitted at the port of entry.

 

The phrase "VW maintain the line that they do not support 3rd party products"  raises questions as a factory fitted tow bar i.e by WV should  carry VW  support and warranty.

 

I would imagine,although I don't know for sure,that the tow bar in question is fitted at the factory as it folds out of the way behind a removable flap in the bumper.

 

Probably too much work for an after manufacture fitter possibly ??

 

It certainly isn't the dealer.

 

The tow bar comes under the VW warranty,I think what they are probably trying to say,rather clumsily,is they are not responsible for the design.

 

Was down at the dealers this morning and they had two Alltracks in with the 13-pin socket fitted the "correct" way but it still seemed that there was only 50mm of clearance instead of 60mm.

 

The design of the Tiguan bar as in the photos above seems much more practical as it moves the socket farther towards the car than the Passat one.

 

Anyway I have left it to the dealer to sort out,that's what I am paying them for.

 

Ian



#14 Jdo330

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 09:26 pm

Any updates on this saga? Got me concerned as I'm literally about to commit to buying a pre reg VW Tourareg (no option for a factory fit tow bar) so am looking at getting something aftermarket. I was drawn to the Westfalia but not so sure now?

Hope you get sorted.

Regards, Jon.

#15 JamesF

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 06:34 am

Hi There

 

I went through  looking for a correct de-mountable tow bar for my (second user) C220 CDi sport with AMG kit ( some people said there wasn't one available!!) and these people came up trumps:

 

https://www.towbars-...20219&x=54&y=29

 

Their Customer Care andf communications are great and the fitting instructions are as well. I did check that fitting it myself didn't affect my warranty but this may differ with different companies.

 

I also got the vehicle specific wiring from them and it all fitted a treat  - no propblem with clearance and all the electrics work fine. Only thing I couldn't do was the re-setitng on the Mercedes software and a local Tow Bar company (Bermick Leicester) did that for me.  

 

Jim


Edited by JamesF, 03 July 2014 - 06:35 am.


#16 paulthomas

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:55 pm

Any updates on this saga? Got me concerned as I'm literally about to commit to buying a pre reg VW Tourareg (no option for a factory fit tow bar) so am looking at getting something aftermarket. I was drawn to the Westfalia but not so sure now?
Hope you get sorted.
Regards, Jon.


I have a 2013 Touareg and had an aftermarket Westfalia detachable fitted (strongly recommended by fitter,who also fits aftermarket towbars for local VW dealer).No problems in terms of the gap between bumper and hitch.The 13 pin socket is mounted well below the bumper and is a little fiddly to operate as you need to lie down to do it (!) but it's fine.
The Touareg is the best towcar I have ever had.
There is some debate as to whether you should have the engine fan upgraded from 600w to 850w as this is done as part of the factory fitted pack.Many owners tow happily without it but I had it done (cost £800!) because I tow a fairly heavy 'van in Spain and Portugal where it can get very hot and there are some long ascents en route.Check with your dealer as to impact on warranty if you decide not to upgrade it.
Some very useful advice on the Mytouareg forum.




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