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Old 03-08-2012, 12:19 PM   #1
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Shorter wheelbase TV + longer trailer

I'm looking at a VW Touareg diesel as a tow vehicle for an eventual travel trailer (I don't have a trailer yet). I like rear lounge trailers and the one that's caught my eye is 30'10" in total length. It's a Bullet ultra-light, only 4600 dry pounds, and it has two "wide-stance" axles that it claims provide added stability. Bullet says that the trailer is designed to be pulled by more fuel-efficient SUVs and half-ton pickups, and the Touareg SUV is rated to tow 7700 pounds (while getting 25-28 hwy mpgs!). But with a wheelbase of 112.4 in., would you be concerned that a 30' trailer - despite its light weight and wide-apart axles - would jerk the Touareg around dangerously?
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:53 PM   #2
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There is one glaring mistake in your assumptions about the Touareg--it will NEVER get 25-28mpg towing--I think you have mis-read something somewhere. It is listed as getting 19-28 mpg, I don't think any ads will put out mpg while towing, unless it is an actual road test.
It does sound like a very nice SUV, but you are correct to be concerned about short wheelbase. If you were to end up with this combo, strongly suggest you also get either the Hensley Arrow or the ProPride hitch to tow it.
What does 'wide-stance' actually mean? Do other trailers have 'narrow-stance' axles? Just about every trailer I have ever seen has the wheels as widely spread as the trailer body will allow...
You should do more checking around the trailer forums to see if anyone has one of the VWs and/or the Bullet--feedback from them would be valuable.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:51 PM   #3
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Oops - didn't mean to suggest it could get 28 mpg while towing. What I meant to convey was the ability to tow 7700 lbs. and also be an everyday vehicle with a 19/28 mpg rating (17/25 for 2010 and earlier). Though I read a review of it that claimed 19.9 mpg while towing a 4200 lb. trailer.

The axles are called Wide Stance E-Z Lube Axles - may be something significant or may be vacant marketing talk, IDK. Looking at a side-view picture of the Bullet 278 RLS on my screen and measuring the axle placement compared to the overall trailer length, I'm calculating a ratio that suggests that the axles may be placed about 3.5 feet apart - would that sound particularly unusual?
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Old 03-08-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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Sorry, misunderstood two things you are asking about: mpg while towing and the wide-stance axles. As to the axles, I was thinking about the width of the axles, not front-rear placement.
Thus, have no real idea about what good having the axles farther apart would do except accelerate tire wear in tight turns.
Back to the VW--sounds like a great SUV.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:41 PM   #5
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Count on 10-12 MPG

We had a Jeep GC and due to it having a short wheelbase, we traded it for a F-150 Lariat with 5.4 Triton engine. We are towing a 24 foot TT, and still use the wieght distribution hitch, and sway bars.

I think you will find that the VW has too short of a wheelbase for anything over 24 foot.

Good Luck
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:02 PM   #6
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Boy if you are just looking at TV (which you should before buying your TT) why do you want an SUV? Get something that can easily tow whatever you decide to get. I don't recommed any short WB as a TV. I had that issue 2 years ago when we had the TT under the tow weight, but the short WB made the trips whiteknucle. The DW didn't like the ride so we went MH. Do it right and get a truck or a large size SUV as a TV and then go get the TT you want.

JMHO
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:43 AM   #7
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"if you are just looking at TV (which you should before buying your TT) why do you want an SUV?"

OK, gotta divulge some family dynamics here. DW is a locally-renowned environmental activist who's committed to fuel economy. I found her a great deal on a used Camry hybrid when she last got a car; she turned it down for a Prius because the Camry "only" got 34 mpg. She's not too excited about owning a TT either, so the 28 mpg diesel would score me points on that front.

My next choice is a Ford Expedition, which is probably the correct choice to tow a larger trailer and accommodate the two of us + two labrador retrievers, occasionally 1-3 grown kids, and perhaps some grandkids one day. It's 14/20 mpg though, which probably drops to 12/18 once it's equipped for max. towing, and perhaps 10/14 with a trailer in tow. Whew - this is gonna be a tough sell.

Buckeyes, when you recommend 24' and under, are you referring to the length of the living space or the overall hitch-to-bumper length?
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:00 AM   #8
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The dynamics of a short wheelbase tow vehicle and an almost 31' trailer is really dangerous! It will be a case of the tail wagging the dog. You will notice handling issues (white knuckles!!) on any gently sloping downhill turn. The trailer will want to pass you. It will not be a relaxing or safe drive. Don't do it!!

By the way, unless you are driving on perfectly flat highways with no wind at all expect towing mileage to be well under 17 mpg and more likely closer to 12 mpg. An example to prove this is the motorhomes built on the diesel Sprinter chassis with a maximum GVW on 11,000 pounds only get 17 mpg at best.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:20 AM   #9
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The VW Touareg has a 112" wheelbase with the V-6 diesel.

I tow a 24' tt with a 110" wheelbase Toyota V-8 (gas) 4-Runner. The tt I just sold was 24' 6". I used just a sway control. The TV has a 7k towing cap and the tt was about 4600 loaded. The new tt I have on order is 25' and should come in at 5k loaded. On this one I'm getting a weight distribution hitch. It was very easy to get into any site....with the short wheelbased tow vehicle. The 4-Runner has a coil-link suspension which gives it a softer ride. I wouldn't say I really noticed any problems towing this set-up....It would get a little swirly above 65mph....I got my best gas mileage at 58-59 mph....in the range of 11.5 to 12.5 mpg. Not towing I would get 23-24 highway 16-17 city. For a V-8 I thought that is very good.

I would never tow anything over 25' .....31' would be out of the question..

4600 lbs for a 31' tt seems too low.....

We were also looking at a 31' Kodiak tt that had a dry weight of 6200 lbs and that is a ultra lite tt. This one I would have had to move into a Tundra to tow.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:09 AM   #10
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Nothing over 24' for short wheelbase

I was referring to overall length. By all of the ratings found online, anything with a short wheelbase, i.e. 109-113" should not exceed 24' in length.
As so apted stated, by previous respondent, " it would be like the tail wagging the dog".
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:33 AM   #11
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I have a friend with a trailer that has the "wide stance" axles, he is an experienced tower. His job consists of towing a 24' box trailer. He says the tt rides beautiful, but is a bear to back up due to thr wide stance. If you plan to do a lot of camping, a shorter lightweight trailer would be my choice. Something under 4000 lbs. Good luck.
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Old 03-09-2012, 03:41 PM   #12
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OK - pretty consistent answers here. Thanks all!
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