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Car Advice Needed For A Newbie Tower


nickjsmith
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I am just about to venture into caravaning having previously had 3 years of fun in my VW Trident motorhome.

 

I currently have a Skoda Octavia 1. 8 Turbo petrol (150bhp) which has a kerbweight of 1390kg. From what I've read this does not seem to be the ideal towcar and will limit my choice of van somewhat.

 

I am looking to get a 4/5 birth van (possibly an Avondale Dart 510/5) so want a car that will tow comfortably.

 

The Mazda 6 Estate seems to get good write ups all round but they are just a bit out of my price range at the moment, so my thoughts have turned to a VW Passat Tdi Estate 130 bhp. I'm looking at a 2001 model, but according to the 'cuddles' site the kerbweight is 1425 kg whereas it increases to 1618kg for the 2003 model. Is this really right ? Did the Passat really change that much or am I missing something.

 

Can anyone give me some pointers or recomend any other cars.

 

PS My budget for the car is about £9000.

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Hi Nick,

Here are my findings copied from a previous thread.

 

In 2002 when the CC Towcar of the Year article was published,it bacame apparent that the kerbweights that they where using for VAG products did not relate to those quoted in my 2002 manufactureres brochures,which stated lower weights.

 

Consequently the CCs 85% figure were much higher than those that I had obtained,

 

I contacted the CC and they confirmed that VAG had been quoting kerbweights dry (ie no fuel,water or oil!!!!!!)without driver and were the only European manufacturers not quoting kerbweights to the new Euro specifications of 90% tank of fuel + 75kgs for the driver and 7kgs for luggage.

 

I contacted Towsafe with this information and they checked with VAG and confirmed that this was the case,but that they could not alter their database until VAG had officially updated the information.

 

In 2003 I obtained 2003 brochures for Bora and Passat and the kerweights of all variants of these 2 models were now upto 200kgs heavier than in the 2002 brochures.

 

The 2002 brochure does not quote the 'Unladen' weight to any standard.

The 2003 brochure quotes the 'Unladen' weight 'In accordance with manufacturers criteria.'

 

 

If you have any doubts at all,the only certain route is the weightbridge.

 

Does this answer the question. :unsure:

 

The Passat TDI is a superb car solo or towing. Just go easy on the revs when setting off and reversing with a van on the back,if you don't like the smell of hot clutch friction plates. :)

 

Frank

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Thanks Frank, that explains matters. I'm not sure that the garages are going to be too keen on me driving off to a weighbridge on a test drive, but I think it is going to be fairly safe to assume that the correct kerbweight is going to be nearer to the new weight quoted for the 2003 models.

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Hi Nick,

 

Is the Passat that you are considering a B5 or B5. 5 current model. The brochures that I have are for the current model. The B5 could well be different,as VW stated that as far as structure is concerned the 2 models only share the roof panel and door skins. :unsure:

 

Frank

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Hi nick,

We have just upgraded our tow car last weekend and are waiting to pick it up from the dealer.

We have had an audi A4 1. 9 TDI for 3 years now and were quite happy with it.

We were interested in the VW passat 130 bhp for our new car. When we checked with our mechanic he stated that it was much the same as the audi for obvious reasons, such as same company same suspension linkage and so on. We had to replace all 8 ball joints on the front of the audi at a cost of around £90 for one ball joint.

He also told us that the major service for the passat is at 60,000 miles. To change the timing belt is a major job and the whole front end has to come off the car to do this.

Sorry to say it put me right off. We then asked him what he thought about the ford mondeo 2. 0 TDCI Zetec 130bhp. He could not paise them enough. With an engine that has been tested and found to be one of the best on the market. Ford even loaned jaguar their chassis for the X-TYPE.

servicing is at 12500 miles and the belt needs done at 100,000 miles.

Just something to think about. It's also got the 6 speed manual gear box and is a group 9 insurance.

For me and my partner, it was £290 with 6 years NCB fully comp. parked on the street outside our house.

Check it out on

www. parkers. co. uk

 

The only downside we could find is the depreciation on it which we're not too concerned with as we plan to hold on to it for some years.

Hopefully travel abroad for the first time this year with the van.

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The cambelt issue I have looked at and the main VW dealer in Bristol quoted £350 to £450 to change it (at 60,000). However, there are many smaller VW specialist garages that would do it much cheaper, so I'm not too worried about that.

 

Frank, I assume the B5. 5 is the version out this year. Looking in Parkers guide there does not appear to have been any modifications to the passat since 1999. I am pretty sure that it will be OK, but there is still a nagging doubt about the unconfirmed kerbweight.

 

I must admit the Ford Mondeo was also on my shortlist and due to their vast numbers on the market, make them quite attractive. Depreciation is a slight concern, but then again I drive a Skoda at the moment. :)

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Hi Nick,

The B5 Passat ran from 1997 to 2001 when the B5. 5 facelift was introduced. The model due out this year is the B6.

 

I have no brochures for the B5 or B6. If you are considering a B5. 5 which is the model that I run, the Eurostandard weights are as quoted in the 2003 brochure. VAGs earlier method of determining kerbweight should be ignored.

 

There were many detail changes B5 to B5. 5,see earlier post.

 

Depreciation is an issue with the Mondeo,but is an advantage if buying used. I bought the Passat as a pre-registered for 15k. Unless there is a major problem with it or I see a very attractive deal on a future model,I will keep for about 10years.

 

I expect that there will be some good deals on the B5. 5 prior to the B6 launch. :)

 

Frank

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£9,000 would also get you a 2 to 3 year old Peugeot 406 2. 2 HDi Estate.

 

At present I am running a late Y plate (early 2001) version and pulling an Abbey Freestlye 470 weighing in at 1100kg which according to WhatTowcar gives a 70% equation.

 

Pulls perfectly even OK in 5th on motorways and fuel consumption seems OK but havent done enough towing to give a really accurate reading BUT solo it averages 37. 5 mpg which includes a lot of London driving.

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Guest john1215

Nick,

 

Depreciation is not good with the Passat either this is due to heavy discounting over the last 12 months, it is on a par with the mondeo. I can speak from experience as I'm selling mine as a part ex and only being offered 11,200. Granted it has 22,000 miles on a 53 plate. I've had it advertised all over and had no takers so far at £12,500. It will go as a part-ex on 1st March.

 

john1215

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OK decided to go for a Passat Estate 130 BHP TDI.

 

Also for anyone who might be interested I have established from VW that the kerbweight for 1999 to 2003 model Passat Estates is 1600Kg.

13662[/snapback]

Hi Nick,

 

I think that 1600kgs is the manufacturers towing limit for the diesels. This and kerbweights vary depending on model. :)

 

Frank

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The model I asked for details about was the 1. 9 SE TDI (2001 model). VW gave the kerbweight as 1600kg for this, which tied up with the info given by the Caravan dealers.

 

Take your point though about the differing weights for different models.

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The model I asked for details about was the 1. 9 SE TDI (2001 model). VW gave the kerbweight as 1600kg for this, which tied up with the info given by the Caravan dealers.

 

Take your point though about the differing weights for different models.

14133[/snapback]

It just looked a bit rounded for a kerbweight.

 

Frank

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Guest Hobbybod

Right folks, forgive me if this site has been mentioned before, but http://www. whattowcar. com/ is a very useful site (Dutch) which not only gives an assessment of the match of towcar and 'van, but also gives info on kerb weights, towing weights and engine power and torque, etc. etc.

 

I find it a really good site. Engine power is in kW and torque in Nm, so you need to know these figures for your car, in terms of BHP and ft lbs as well.

 

Have a play and see what you get. Presently it's free, but there was a rumour that this may not continue!!!

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Frank, as you put a doubt in my mind I thought I'd ring another Caravan dealer and ask them to check their database.

 

The spec I gave them was 1. 9 SE TDI 130BHP. 2001 model.

 

The kerbweight they gave was . ......................................

 

1618 Kg

 

So now I'm as certain that I can be that the passat is the right car for job. Now I've just got to find the right one. :angry:

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I am just about to venture into caravaning having previously had 3 years of fun in my VW Trident motorhome.

 

I currently have a Skoda Octavia 1. 8 Turbo petrol (150bhp) which has a kerbweight of 1390kg. From what I've read this does not seem to be the ideal towcar and will limit my choice of van somewhat.

 

I am looking to get a 4/5 birth van (possibly an Avondale Dart 510/5) so want a car that will tow comfortably.

 

The Mazda 6 Estate seems to get good write ups all round but they are just a bit out of my price range at the moment, so my thoughts have turned to a VW Passat Tdi Estate 130 bhp. I'm looking at a 2001 model, but according to the 'cuddles' site the kerbweight is 1425 kg whereas it increases to 1618kg for the 2003 model. Is this really right ? Did the Passat really change that much or am I missing something.

 

Can anyone give me some pointers or recomend any other cars.

 

PS My budget for the car is about £9000.

12020[/snapback]

Hi

there seems some good reviews about the mondeo 130bhp models tdci i have a 2001 model (not 130bhp i,m afraid) but they seem to be on par with the passat

and may be a more cost attractive to you, i would imagine with your car as a trade in you would get quite a good deal on one :)

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The 'official German VAG' empty kerbweight of a current Passat 1. 9 TDI 130 Estate 6-gear (basic model) is 1461 kg. In Holland there's the empty-weight stated on the car papers and that's 1384 kg. .... Nowhere on the German Press site is mentioned according to EU standards etc. , so I assume it is the _empty_ weight without driver.

 

The truth is I'm sick and tired of those 'weights'. Some countries like The Netherlands tax is kerbweight based so importers like to give low figures. O. t. o. h. most cars are in fact heavier than in the brochure. ... So, also in our database are not-consequent figures given. ... (Sorry) <_<

 

But, I must say it is of much more importance that a car has a good stability (rear axle location, dampers etc.) and car and van are good loaded and have the right tire pressure than the 'golden rule' (in the Uk that is) of 85% - 100%. Those percentages are theory and gives the driver the idea that when his outfit is 84% nothing can happen. False of course.

 

Btw, 1600 kg is the permissible towing weight of this Passat.

 

Regards, Bert

www. whattowcar. com

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Guest Hobbybod
. . . . . . . .

But, I must say it is of much more importance that a car has a good stability (rear axle location, dampers etc.) and car and van are good loaded and have the right tire pressure than the 'golden rule' (in the Uk that is) of 85% - 100%. Those percentages are theory and gives the driver the idea that when his outfit is 84% nothing can happen.   False of course.

 

Btw, 1600 kg is the permissible towing weight of this Passat.

 

Regards, Bert

www. whattowcar. com

14377[/snapback]

I totally agree with Bert's point of view (emphasized in bold).

 

There is too much concentation, in the UK, on the 85% guidleine and insufficient on the car's characteristics such as, rear overhang (distance from rearwheels to towball); size of wheels, the type of tyres, as well as their pressure; suspension, damping, self-levelling, ride height, etc.

 

Bert's site appears to take (some of?) these important features into consideration when coming up with an evaluation of the outfit; excellent Bert.

Keep up the good work, and thank you.

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My last outfit was around 93% (passat & coachman genius) and it seemed to tow ok the car was pretty steady whilst towing, up steep hills were a bit slow but it still towed ok, i know 85% is reccomended but its not always achievable and i feel sure when iv'e been on some sites the outfits iv'e seen on them they must be way over 85% :mellow:

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The 'official German VAG' empty kerbweight of a current Passat 1. 9 TDI 130 Estate 6-gear (basic model) is 1461 kg. In Holland there's the empty-weight stated on the car papers and that's 1384 kg. .... Nowhere on the German Press site is mentioned according to EU standards etc. , so I assume it is the _empty_ weight without driver.

 

The truth is I'm sick and tired of those 'weights'. Some countries like The Netherlands tax is kerbweight based so importers like to give low figures. O. t. o. h. most cars are in fact heavier than in the brochure. ... So, also in our database are not-consequent figures given. ...  (Sorry)  <_<

 

But, I must say it is of much more importance that a car has a good stability (rear axle location, dampers etc.) and car and van are good loaded and have the right tire pressure than the 'golden rule' (in the Uk that is) of 85% - 100%. Those percentages are theory and gives the driver the idea that when his outfit is 84% nothing can happen.   False of course.

 

Btw, 1600 kg is the permissible towing weight of this Passat.

 

Regards, Bert

www. whattowcar. com

14377[/snapback]

This looks to me like a classic case of Brussels handing out a directive which we in the UK attempt to abide by while the rest of Europe ignore it on the grounds of profit.

 

The CC uncovered this bag of worms in 2002,even the trade sites such as Towsafe where unaware of the situation. When they checked with VAG the differing standards where confirmed. The following year VW for one updated it's brochures. I have the 2002 and 2003 brochures for Bora and Passat and can vouch for this.

 

Obviously kerbweight is not the only factor effecting stabilty but is as good a baseline as any and certainly better than some others.

 

I am in no way attempting to deride Berts efforts which are an important addition to static data, but until we all start using the EU directives as intended,it is best to use UK quoted kerbweights. If in doubt check with the CC or as I have said before put it on the weighbridge.

 

Frank

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Guest Hobbybod
. . . . .   i know 85% is reccomended but its not always achievable and i feel sure when iv'e been on some sites the outfits iv'e seen on them they must be way over 85%  :mellow:

14386[/snapback]

Dead right cb,

 

Went over to the CC storage site, yesterday and the new warden has a big twin-axle Hobby 650 (which he wants to sell, BTW) and he was telling me that, at his last CC site, he saw an even bigger Hobby come in, . . . . being towed by an Astra Van!!!

 

He thought the guy was having a joke, but no, he'd gone round the M25

and M1, I think, and never been stopped; He couldn't see a problem!!!!

 

That sort of thing is what gets caravanners a bad name.

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he saw an even bigger Hobby come in,  . . . .  being towed by an Astra Van!!!

He thought the guy was having a joke, but no, he'd gone round the M25

and M1, I think, and never been stopped; He couldn't see a problem!!!!

14410[/snapback]

Are you sure the Hobby wasn't towing the astra. TIC

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. . . . .   i know 85% is reccomended but its not always achievable and i feel sure when iv'e been on some sites the outfits iv'e seen on them they must be way over 85%  :mellow:

14386[/snapback]

Dead right cb,

 

Went over to the CC storage site, yesterday and the new warden has a big twin-axle Hobby 650 (which he wants to sell, BTW) and he was telling me that, at his last CC site, he saw an even bigger Hobby come in, . . . . being towed by an Astra Van!!!

 

He thought the guy was having a joke, but no, he'd gone round the M25

and M1, I think, and never been stopped; He couldn't see a problem!!!!

 

That sort of thing is what gets caravanners a bad name.

14410[/snapback]

There was a letter in one of the caravan magazines last year from a couple who stated that they had walked round a CC site one evening noting what was towing what. They reckoned that 80+% of outfits were towing at over 100% ratio. :blink:

 

Does anyone remember which magazine it was in?

 

Frank

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