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Old 03-24-2013, 03:30 PM   #1
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Anybody Towing a Late Model VW TDI 6-speed Manual Transmission?

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Originally Posted by docj View Post
Although other vehicles may be towable 4-down, these are the only vehicles whose manufacturers agree with you doing it and will not attempt to void your warranty if you have problems. Lots of other vehicles are towed, but the risk is yours if the manufacturer doesn't sanction it.

Volkswagens are a good example of how you can get in trouble by assuming that everything with a manual transmission can be towed 4-down. My understanding is that 5-speed manual transmission VW's are towable, but any with the 6-speed transmission are not. Nor are any with AWD. We sold 2 VW's before going full-time because we couldn't tow them.


Is anybody here flat towing a 2011-2013 TDI VW Jetta Sportswagen or TDI Golf with a 6-speed manual transmission?

I was always under the impression that even though the manufacturer does NOT give explicit permission to flat tow, that quite a few are towing VWs with BOTH 5-speed manuals AND 6-speed manuals. In fact, I've talked to people I've met in the past year or so in RV parks and at rest areas that are towing 6-speed manual TDIs with no problem. I've also talked with quite a few VW mechanics that tell me that it is perfectly safe (I know, they won't volunteer to pay for any damage I may incur because they might be wrong) but two of those mechanics in particular are what I consider very trustworthy and one has a degree in mechanical engineering.

No disrespect to docj, but we're still going to forge ahead with our plans to buy a Jetta Sportswagen as we've not heard nor read about anybody having any catastrophic damage caused by towing a late model 6-speed manual VW. Roadmaster does make a base plate for 2011, 2012, and 2013 Sportswagen TDIs and Golf TDIs which are only available with 6-speed manuals; 5-speeds not being available on TDIs so somebody is obviously towing these 6-speed manuals.

I fully understand the concept that if the manufacturer doesn't explicitly sanction it, they will not pay for any damage done by towing should it happen during the warranty period. I'm willing to take that risk if I find that others have towed these vehicles without experiencing any problems. I know I may get lectures from some of you here on this but I do understand the risks.

What I'd like as responses in this thread are:

1. What is the difference mechanically between a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed manual that might prevent a 6-speed from being flat towed and the 5-speed having the manufacturer's blessing? Three years ago I wrote to VW of American and they did tell me it was mechanically acceptable to flat tow a 5-speed manual. I have yet written to them asking about a 6-speed.

2. Is anybody here towing a late model 6-speed manual VW? If so, have you experienced ANY problems at all? So far in all the forums I've read, including the VW TDI forums and RV forums, I have yet to hear from anybody who has experienced any mechanical problems caused by flat towing. Is there anybody reading this who has one that has had problems?

BTW, Remco has no comment on these vehicles.

Thanks so much!

-harry
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:06 PM   #2
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docj, if you're reading this, was it VW corporate headquarters that told you not to tow a 6-speed but a 5-speed was okay? Whomever it was, did they give you the reason on how the 6-speed is different mechanically from the 5-speed? Thanks.

-harry
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:36 PM   #3
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I tow a 2000 TDI 5 speed manual, no issues. I have found numerous places that state NO VW's from the past few years, manual or auto, are recommended or listed as towable. Rather than rely on 'Gunter' in the service bay, I'd want to see it in the owner's manual or have it in writing from VWoA. The difference in my '00 5 speed and a newer 6 speed could be that there is no transmission lubrication or cooling if the engine isn't running, that's why most other autos are not towable. I'm not willing to burn up a $30,000+ auto to find out especially if the manufacturer doesn't recommend it in writing.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:12 PM   #4
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Thanks for your comments, Bob. No, absolutely not, I'm not considering trying to tow an automatic. My question here is for a 6-speed manual only.

Again, if I can gather that others are successfully towing one of these, I will not mind taking the risk. Yes, before I fork over the money to buy one, I will once again try to contact VW headquarters but they may give me a "not recommended" response because they don't want to cover any damages. All I'd like to find out is from an engineering standpoint, is there a reason that precludes a 6-speed manual from being towed as opposed to a 5-speed manual. You have given a plausible explanation and that's appreciated. I'll do more research on that.

As I said before, the reason I'm asking is that Roadmaster makes base plates for both a Sportswagen TDI diesel and a Golf TDI diesel for all late model years including 2013. That indicates to me that somebody is towing a 2013 6-speed manual TDI diesel.

I'd just like to see if anybody here is towing a late model 6-speed manual TDI diesel Sportswagen or TDI Golf and if they are doing so without problems.

Thanks.

-harry



eta: *laughs* and no, these mechanics I have talked to are not the average "Gunter" in the service bay ...they are independent owners of their own VW/Audi repair shops and one has a degree in mechanical engineering. One I have trusted all my VWs and Audis to for more than two decades before going full-time RVing.
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amanda_h View Post
Thanks for your comments, Bob. No, absolutely not, I'm not considering trying to tow an automatic. My question here is for a 6-speed manual only.

Again, if I can gather that others are successfully towing one of these, I will not mind taking the risk. Yes, before I fork over the money to buy one, I will once again try to contact VW headquarters but they may give me a "not recommended" response because they don't want to cover any damages. All I'd like to find out is from an engineering standpoint, is there a reason that precludes a 6-speed manual from being towed as opposed to a 5-speed manual. You have given a plausible explanation and that's appreciated. I'll do more research on that.

As I said before, the reason I'm asking is that Roadmaster makes base plates for both a Sportswagen TDI diesel and a Golf TDI diesel for all late model years including 2013. That indicates to me that somebody is towing a 2013 6-speed manual TDI diesel.

I'd just like to see if anybody here is towing a late model 6-speed manual TDI diesel Sportswagen or TDI Golf and if they are doing so without problems.

Thanks.

-harry



eta: *laughs* and no, these mechanics I have talked to are not the average "Gunter" in the service bay ...they are independent owners of their own VW/Audi repair shops and one has a degree in mechanical engineering. One I have trusted all my VWs and Audis to for more than two decades before going full-time RVing.
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Has anyone tried towing a 6-Speed Manual VW ?
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:36 PM   #6
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Thanks for bumping this, kevinvic. We're still wondering too.

I recently asked the question though an online chat with a VW rep via their website and they just said "nope, can't be done" and didn't really give me an explanation. My next step is to send an e-mail or write a letter asking for an engineer or some other expert at VW to explain the difference between the 5-speed manual and the 6-speed manual and why they allow a 5-speed to be towed and not a 6-speed.

Again, I've seen others towing them. Baseplates are made for late model Jetta Sportwagen TDI's that have a 6-speed manual transmission.

You know what I'm thinking? I think the reps that I've talked to so far may have misunderstood and thought I was referring to the DSG 6-manual-automatic which is essentially an automatic that can be shifted manually ...no clutch pedal.

As I've said previously, VW mechanics I've talked to about this see no issue.

I do want to make sure before buying one, however.

Again, anybody towing a late model 6-speed manual VW TDI that has a clutch pedal? If somebody out there can at least chime in that they're towing one without issues, I'm willing to take the risk and do so myself.

Thanks!



-harry
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:45 AM   #7
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This is mere speculation, but most six speed manuals share same manufacturer, whether VW, Mercedes, BMW, AND some U.S. manufacturers like Chevrolet Corvette. The oil pump is driven by the front half of the transmission. I really doubt that an automotive manufacturer's engineer will certify anything for obvious reasons. The issue then becomes how far can you tow it before damage occurs? This is where the experience of owners with this set up is important. I don't mean to imply that all the above manufacturers use the same transmission, I just understand that they use the same manufacturer who uses the same generation of design for these boxes.

Our next toad will probably be a Volkswagen TDI. as these are great cars. I have towed a Mazda Miata manual for a number of years. I have had "experts" challenge my towing of this car and strongly recommend that I discontinue that practice. It has about 75,000 miles behind the motorhome. More paint damage than transmission damage. I limit my pulls to 300 miles, and I'll bet that is what a lot of VW TDI six speed toad owners are doing.

I had a Chevy dealer threaten to void my warranty on my 2008 4WD Avalanche if he ever saw base plates on it. The owner's manual included instructions on towing that rig four down!
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
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This is mere speculation, but most six speed manuals share same manufacturer, whether VW, Mercedes, BMW, AND some U.S. manufacturers like Chevrolet Corvette. The oil pump is driven by the front half of the transmission. I really doubt that an automotive manufacturer's engineer will certify anything for obvious reasons. The issue then becomes how far can you tow it before damage occurs? This is where the experience of owners with this set up is important. I don't mean to imply that all the above manufacturers use the same transmission, I just understand that they use the same manufacturer who uses the same generation of design for these boxes.

Our next toad will probably be a Volkswagen TDI. as these are great cars. I have towed a Mazda Miata manual for a number of years. I have had "experts" challenge my towing of this car and strongly recommend that I discontinue that practice. It has about 75,000 miles behind the motorhome. More paint damage than transmission damage. I limit my pulls to 300 miles, and I'll bet that is what a lot of VW TDI six speed toad owners are doing.

I had a Chevy dealer threaten to void my warranty on my 2008 4WD Avalanche if he ever saw base plates on it. The owner's manual included instructions on towing that rig four down!
Question? since when do manual transmissions have oil pumps?
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:46 AM   #9
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I've google searched "VW 6 speed manual towed 4 down" and variations of that search term. I've read a number of anecdotal accounts of people towing a 6 speed manual (not DSG) with no issues. I've not read any accounts of a VW 6 SM self destructing with towing. VWoA is playing real cagey, the manual is ambiguous at best. (Saying not to tow but it is talking about the auto trans and doesn't specifically address the 6 speed manual) VWoA doesn't seem to want to address the issue directly at all, I guess afraid of responsibility for damage.

Some brave soul needs to put a baseplate on a 6 speed and tow it around, checking with an infrared thermometer to see if heat builds up. Typically a manual trans. doesn't have a circulation pump or transmission cooler, the only heat would be from friction in the gears, not the flow of high pressure fluids.

I await your report Brave Soul.
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:57 PM   #10
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Hah, I might be the self-appointed Brave Soul and take those measurements, Bob. I'm really eager to tow a TDI so I may just take the chance.

As I say, others must be doing it as base plates are made for the Sportwagen TDI for instance.

And no, vraines, I don't expect VW's engineer to give me approval for towing. They're just not going to do that.

What I want from an engineer is for them to briefly explain the difference in the 5-speed and the 6-speed that makes the former flat-towable and the latter being questionable. The people I've talked to who are towing 5-speed VWs are telling me that there are absolutely no issues, no overheating, no limited consecutive miles to tow, and no speed limitations, etc.

I actually received an email from VW in response to my inquiry some years back (2005 or 2006) when I was considering buying a FWD VW Golf 5-speed manual and they actually responded that they could see no issue in flat-towing that particular car. I think I should still have that e-mail somewhere. However, they never did nor still have not publicly given approval for flat-towing and do not sanction it in their owner's manuals. VWs have never been on the Motorhome Magazine Dinghy Towing list because of this.

...just as Mini Coopers have never been on the Motorhome Magazine list but many tow them too.

Thanks for the responses so far. I appreciate the feedback.

-harry
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Hah, I might be the self-appointed Brave Soul and take those measurements, Bob. I'm really eager to tow a TDI so I may just take the chance.

As I say, others must be doing it as base plates are made for the Sportwagen TDI for instance.

And no, vraines, I don't expect VW's engineer to give me approval for towing. They're just not going to do that.

What I want from an engineer is for them to briefly explain the difference in the 5-speed and the 6-speed that makes the former flat-towable and the latter being questionable. The people I've talked to who are towing 5-speed VWs are telling me that there are absolutely no issues, no overheating, no limited consecutive miles to tow, and no speed limitations, etc.

I actually received an email from VW in response to my inquiry some years back (2005 or 2006) when I was considering buying a FWD VW Golf 5-speed manual and they actually responded that they could see no issue in flat-towing that particular car. I think I should still have that e-mail somewhere. However, they never did nor still have not publicly given approval for flat-towing and do not sanction it in their owner's manuals. VWs have never been on the Motorhome Magazine Dinghy Towing list because of this.

...just as Mini Coopers have never been on the Motorhome Magazine list but many tow them too.

Thanks for the responses so far. I appreciate the feedback.

-harry
Harry,
You are my hero, Without a doubt, that's the best set of b... I've encountered on any part of this website since I became a member quite a while ago. You and I have talked before on various subjects. I've been a fan of VW TDIs for a very long time now. I've owned two VW Beetles, both TDI, one an '03 and the other, an '04. The '03 had just a tad less horse power and torque than the '04. As I understand it, they both have the same motor but, the difference was the way the fuel is delivered.

Anyway, I loved those cars. Neither one EVER dropped below 42 mpg and it never mattered whether it was just me in the car or a full crew and the A/C on. And, we live in hilly country. So, I too have always wanted to get a TDI for a toad. VW of America needs to pull its head out of.... and get on the stick for the toad crowd. I too would get the stick version, be it a Beetle or a Jetta Sport wagon. The he... with VWofA. I've seen many folks with newer VW toads. I applaud them. OUTSTANDING!
Scott
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:59 PM   #12
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Hi Scott ...gads, what I'm expressing in this thread is hardly heroic but such accolades sure mean a lot coming from somebody as well respected on this forum as yourself. Thanks.

I don't know if you've been following any of the threads recently in the Toad forum here at iRV2 but there have been several instances that I've encountered severe frustration because of the opinionated views on "what can and can't be towed 4-down" so I'm trying my best to stay away from this section of the forum (but it's difficult as I still like to see what's posted).

In the past, I've tended to trust Remco and many on this and other RV forums consider Remco the experts on what can and can't be towed 4-down. But another well respected poster here disputes that and staunchly states that if it isn't on the Motorhome Magazine list, it CAN'T be towed 4-down and rhetorically states something to the tune of "will Remco pay for damage should something go wrong because you took their advice?" An excellent point in and of itself but if I can see others towing an unapproved vehicle successfully for thousands of miles over a duration of quite a few years, my feeling is it should be worth taking the chance to do so myself. And yet another member authoritatively posts this: click here ...and results in the OP to essentially shut the thread down.

Out of all these resources of what can and can't be towed, #4 would be the ultimate authority, I suppose:

1. Motorhome Magazine Annual Dinghy Guide or FMC Magazine Towing Guide both of which only list vehicles approved for towing 4-down by the manufacturer.

2. Remco ...which lists what has to be done to make a vehicle towable 4-down

3. Instructions in the owner's manual for that particular vehicle

4. A letter or e-mail from the manufacturer in response to an inquiry if a particular vehicle is able to be towed 4-down if it is not on the lists in #1. However, rarely will "permission" be given but as I mentioned in my previous post, I did get somewhat of an approval from VW to tow a 5-speed manual ...if "we don't foresee any problems" constitutes approval. Actually, it IS NOT approval as they are definitely not going to pay for any warranty work should they determine that towing caused the damage that might be attempting to be claimed.

Because of all the differing staunch positions people are taking pertaining to 4-down towing is why I'm curious to see how many are towing a VW TDI, 6-speed manual transmission with a clutch pedal (as opposed to the DSG dual-clutch automatic-manual with no clutch pedal) as I'd like to find out how long they've been towing, how many miles they accumulated, and how many problems, if any, they've encountered. If I find out there are many towing this vehicle for thousands of miles during the last few years, I may take the chance even though the manufacturer does not give explicit permission to do so.

I am in the process of composing a letter to VW requesting they explain the difference between the 5-speed manual transmission and the 6-speed manual transmission as to why they see no problems towing the former but not the latter. No, I'm not asking for permission but just curious as to the reason. Again, if I see and/or observe a lot of others towing these particular VW 6-speeds for many miles and a lot of years without any problems, I will be willing to take the risk and do so myself.

I'll let you know privately if I hear from VW and what they might say to my inquiry, Scott. Thanks again.

-harry
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Old 06-08-2013, 09:04 PM   #13
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Harry,
Roger that! You know, we've been towing Jeep Wranglers for decades and, some of them were not really made to be flat towable even though they were all, full selection, manually shifted, transfer cases. But, it was in the later years that Jeep/Borg warner/Chrysler finally pulled their head out of it's a.. and designed a very simple output shaft lube pump. It's incredibly simple and, phenomenally thin. The entire pump is about the size of a CD and about as thick as, about 6-8 CDs stacked together. It sits just inside the case, and the output shaft goes right through the middle of it and turns it.

Now here's the really "juicy" part. It turns it whether the jeep is being driven or, being towed, IMAGINE THAT!!!! The cost of that little pump has got to be seriously cheap. And, all there is, is some channeling of oil passages to critical areas/shafts/bearings.

Now, why couldn't VW, BMW, Ford, GM, and any other maker out there sit up and take notice of such a simple design and be done with it. Yeah sure, I know, it's all about money. If they can do it for 1/10 of one cent cheaper per car, they jump on it. So, adding a pump, to a somewhat "reliable" stick transmission that there really is no problems with in the first place, then why do it? Well, there really is no answer to that. Other than, if they did it, they could "Authorize" at least their manual transmission fleet to be flat towed and, that might bolster sales because a bunch of us RVrs might be beating down their doors to sign the sales slips of all the toads we wanted.

Anyway, before I get too carries away. I think you're going to be just as happy as could be. You know, information on towing, transmission lubing, 5-spds VS 6-spds etc. and more, that you're trying to find out, seems harder to get than national security secrets. All you have to do is contact an Air Force airman to get any of that. But, as I've stated before, I'd love to take on a Jetta Sport Wagon TDI as a toad. keep me informed. Thanks
Scott
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:28 PM   #14
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Harry,
I am in the same situation with a 2012VW Golf 6 speed manual TDI. Just wondering what was your final conclusion, are you pulling it.
Thanks,
Randy B.
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