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V W Electric Swivelling Tow Bar Advice/help Needed


thensum
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I have just ordered my new company car a VW Passat Estate 2. 0 TDI 140 PS Executive and I am having the electric swivelling tow bar installed, my company insisted on it. I have since being doing some investigating to ensure that the tow bar as fitted will fit my existing caravan's hitch head stabiliser. I have spoken with VW who advised on the distance of the tow ball from the rear bumper of the car, but cannot advise if the type of ALKO stabiliser will fit, they advised I contact ALKO - I have done this but await a response from them. In the meantime I thought I would ask the caravanning experts on here. Has anyone got a VW Passat with the electric swivelling towbar installed that tows a caravan with a ALKO AKS3004 stabiliser fitted, if so is there sufficient clearance between the stabiliser and the rear of the car. I have summarised below the situation, please can someone help/advise?

 

Having raised concerns with VW on the clearance between the tow ball and the vehicle they responded saying that the factory fitted tow bar complies with European Measurement guideline 94/20/EG and the minimum measurement from the bumper to the centre line of the tow hitch is 65mm. I tow a caravan with the ALKO AKS3004 stabiliser installed and after checking the advice on the ALKO technical page it states that I need a distance of 68mm from the centre of tow ball to the nearest point of contact on the vehicle. I am waiting for someone from ALKO to contact me. It would seem that there may need to be a modification to the tow bar during fitting such that sufficient clearance is provided between the caravan's hitch head stabiliser.

 

thensum

2015 Swift Challenger 530SE & 2017 VW Tiguan R-line 4Motion 2.0TDI 150BHP

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65mm is correct does seem strange for Alko not to suit at 68mm . It might be possible to change the hitch to a Winterhoff 3000 which would give clearance .

 

3mm difference is going to be close but you might be lucky and the bumper curves away just enough to give the clearance but you need to check at slow speed tight turns first or it will be expensive scratching the bumper .

 

 

Dave.

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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Worst case scenario is as Dave says, they are first class stabilisers and although I have Alko the Winterhoff is my choice. Easy to change they come with all you need. I would not attempt to have your installation modified in any way as its designed by experts and fitted by "fitters". Asking for trouble especially as its electric.

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My mate has a Passat with the manual swivelling towbar and has no problems towing his caravan with the Alko stabilizer hitch. I wouldn't expect the electric version to be any different.

Some people are just all show. I don't mind that if the show is worth watching, but . ..

 

The Chinster

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Worst case scenario is as Dave says, they are first class stabilisers and although I have Alko the Winterhoff is my choice. Easy to change they come with all you need. I would not attempt to have your installation modified in any way as its designed by experts and fitted by "fitters". Asking for trouble especially as its electric.

 

 

I would of thought they could not change it because of type approval regulations would make it illegal .

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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Thanks for all of the advice so far, I've had more sensible answers from all of you in a matter of minutes compared the calls I've had with VW. To be fair Alko responded very quickly.

 

I have just had this advice from Alko:

 

As you have quite rightly suggested, the AKS3004 (red handle version) stabiliser requires a minimum of 68mm clearance from the centre of the towball to the nearest point of contact on the towing vehicle. The revamped black handle version requires no less the 67mm, please see page 4 in the following link http://shop. al-ko. co. uk/edit/files/brochures/AKS3004HandbookDigital. pdf.

We are not able to comment on other manufacturers products unfortunately but if the dimension you have been quoted is less than 68mm (red handle) or 67mm (black handle) then there is the possibility that the stabiliser head could come into contact with the rear of the vehicle while turning.

 

chinster1957 is your mates Passat Estate the latest model, if so would you be able to find out what model of Alko stabiliser he has, is it the AKS3004 (red handle), also would you be able to ask him to confirm what the distance the centre of the tow ball is from the rear bumper of his Passat. Thank you.

 

My mate has a Passat with the manual swivelling towbar and has no problems towing his caravan with the Alko stabilizer hitch. I wouldn't expect the electric version to be any different.

 

Edited by thensum

2015 Swift Challenger 530SE & 2017 VW Tiguan R-line 4Motion 2.0TDI 150BHP

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I have the electric retractable towbar on my BMW. I have just measured it and its 90mm from the bumper to the centre of the towball. I would expect VW to be similar. There is plenty of clearance for my Al-Ko hitch on the caravan.

Brian

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Thanks Brianl for measuring it, it is VW quoting the 65mm dimensions, just hope they are wrong and the distance is greater than 68mm. Hopefully another Passat estate owner sees this thread with an electric towbar and AKS3004 stabiliser as I'd be interested in the dimensions of this set up.

2015 Swift Challenger 530SE & 2017 VW Tiguan R-line 4Motion 2.0TDI 150BHP

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I would find it hard to believe that one would encounter problems with the VW electric swivelling towbar and AlKo hitch as this combination must be very common and there should have been an alert issued long ago if a foul condition really does exist. On their home market, virtually all VW's which have a towbar have a factory-fitted one so the problem, if there actually was one, should have surfaced and been put right by now.

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If the worst comes to the worst and it really is 65mm when it arrives, you could always switch the hitch head to a winterhoff one?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Any update on this? Just come across this post and I have ordered exactly the same car with swivelling towbar. Have got the latest alko stabiliser but can't believe it is an issue though. My 3 series touring has swivelling towbar and is fine.

 

Also found this on you tube. ..looks like passat swivel towbar and alko hitch

 

http://m. youtube. com/watch?v=3fRVBkzVU_E

 

I'm sure the caravan magazines/clubs would have highlighted this especially as passat has won towing awards.

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I have the latest model Passat (Alltrack) with the electric release towbar and my van has the Alko 3004 red handle tow hitch. ..it's a great combination and no clearance problems. I've just been outside to measure the distance from the centre of the towball to the bumper and its 80mm.

 

I hope that clears up any lingering doubt.

Rob
Swift Challenger Sport 586 tugged by VW Passat Alltrack.

Burstner IT728G

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Rob, thank you for the post and clarification this makes sense and puts my mind at rest.

 

Cheers

 

Neil

2015 Swift Challenger 530SE & 2017 VW Tiguan R-line 4Motion 2.0TDI 150BHP

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have the latest model Passat (Alltrack) with the electric release towbar and my van has the Alko 3004 red handle tow hitch. ..it's a great combination and no clearance problems. I've just been outside to measure the distance from the centre of the towball to the bumper and its 80mm.

 

I hope that clears up any lingering doubt.

 

We have an Alltrack on order and was at the dealers today for something else so I looked at an Alltrack they had in stock and yes it is about 80mm.

 

What I did also notice,and wasn't too pleased about,was that there was nowhere to clip the carabiner breakaway cable.

 

The bar was stamped "Westfalia",I thought such a company would provide some sort of attachment,unless it is there somewhere and I couldn't see it although I had a good look.

 

This was a 2013 140PS car so perhaps it may be different on a 2014 model ??

 

Strange as I had a VW towbar fitted by the dealers to the Jetta ( don't know who made it ) and two clipping points are provided.

 

Looks like looping it around the ball will be the way.

 

Ian

Edited by Tandem Man
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Ian, have you discussed whether the Allroad tow bar is wired to power the fridge and permanent live for battery charger etc?

I have just got my Touareg with factory fitted swivelling towbar and paid dealer to upgrade electrics to do both of these - problem is VW's fitting instructions told them there was no need for an earth to pin 11 (earth for fridge) and to cut this wire back - which fitter did. Consequence is at mo fridge will not work and a local towbar specialist is going to sort it (at dealers expense) but cant do it until early April. This has spoilt the enjoyment of my new car.

This issue of non fully operational towing electrics on some foreign (particularly German) cars is a well documented problem I now understand. If I did it again I would get a good local towbar specialist to upgrade the electrics as opposed to the main dealer.

Powrtouch AWD Movers. E & P Compact Levelling System.

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Well according to the Passat Alltrack brochure the electrics come with ".............13-pin connection and 12 electrified poles providing vehicle lighting plus additional power supply for caravan auxiliary battery charger,internal trailer lighting and fridge".

 

When we ordered it I specified it should be wired to ISO whatever the number is but I will e-mail dealer and double check,thanks.

 

Ian

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Ian, have you discussed whether the Allroad tow bar is wired to power the fridge and permanent live for battery charger etc?

I have just got my Touareg with factory fitted swivelling towbar and paid dealer to upgrade electrics to do both of these - problem is VW's fitting instructions told them there was no need for an earth to pin 11 (earth for fridge) and to cut this wire back - which fitter did. Consequence is at mo fridge will not work and a local towbar specialist is going to sort it (at dealers expense) but cant do it until early April. This has spoilt the enjoyment of my new car.

This issue of non fully operational towing electrics on some foreign (particularly German) cars is a well documented problem I now understand. If I did it again I would get a good local towbar specialist to upgrade the electrics as opposed to the main dealer.

 

volvovanner,

 

I have just noticed that you paid to have the electrics upgraded,did it not come fully wired then as the brochure indicates ??

 

I wouldn't have thought you would have to pay if it is stated,as it does,certainly for the Passat,that it is fully wired.

 

Ian

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Ian, it is a complete nonsense, the Touareg IS NOT wired for Fridge. The Tiguan IS and now looks as if the Passat is too. Ridiculous situation but true.

V V

Powrtouch AWD Movers. E & P Compact Levelling System.

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My new Tiguan certainly is . ... wouldn't have gone for the factory option if it was not fully wired.

2018 Swift Elegance 580  towed by a 2018 Volvo XC60 D5 Power Pulse R Design

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My new Tiguan certainly is . ... wouldn't have gone for the factory option if it was not fully wired.

Iain, the next strange scenario is that if you order the factory swing bar it also comes with an uprated cooling fan, but not fully wired elecs as I have said so if you have an aftermarket towbar fitted, to keep the warranty intact you also have to have the fan uprated and this is all cost prohibitive. Why they do not have the additional wiring installed in UK models at the factory if factory towbar ordered I dont know as there can be much grief getting it done afterwards as I have discovered.

Powrtouch AWD Movers. E & P Compact Levelling System.

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The bar was stamped "Westfalia",I thought such a company would provide some sort of attachment.

Ian

Our westfalia on the mazda has a dedicated loop on the main bar at the side of the reciever. It is tucked up out the way so it maybe similar on the vw and require a good look.

 

Dave

A seemingly problem free 2010 model Adria Altea 542dk that has more than its fair share of use.

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We have an Alltrack on order and was at the dealers today for something else so I looked at an Alltrack they had in stock and yes it is about 80mm.

 

What I did also notice,and wasn't too pleased about,was that there was nowhere to clip the carabiner breakaway cable.

 

The bar was stamped "Westfalia",I thought such a company would provide some sort of attachment,unless it is there somewhere and I couldn't see it although I had a good look.

 

This was a 2013 140PS car so perhaps it may be different on a 2014 model ??

 

Strange as I had a VW towbar fitted by the dealers to the Jetta ( don't know who made it ) and two clipping points are provided.

 

Looks like looping it around the ball will be the way.

 

Ian

 

I contacted Westfalia UK about this matter and received a very prompt reply :-

 

It is sometimes difficult to get this info on Original Equipment parts as we are an aftermarket office here and do not have dealings with OE products.

I have however in this case been able to find that the retractable towbar currently supplied to VW for the Passat, has a type approval number of: ““E13*55R00*55R01*3431*00””

 

The 55R means that it conforms to the new regulations whereby it must have a breakaway cable attachment point that is tested to certain forces.

So we can tell it definitely does have an attachment point for use on the current retractable towbar.

 

This may not be true for any previously delivered towbars in the past though, a type approval number without the “55R” may not have an attachment point.

 

So it appears that any up to date Passat should have an attachment for the breakaway cable.

 

Ian

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