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i'll be renting an apex nano 193bhs single axel rv with 3500lb dry / 4700lb gross weight for a upcoming camping trip. i've already installed this brake controller.


i understand there is debate about using wdh but as alramos mentioned there doesn't seem to be any adverse effect towing a larger tandem axel travel trailer. i'm in FL so no hills or curvy roads to put excessive stress on the towing system. i was going to just go with bare hitch setup without wdh as per the manual but now have 2nd thoughts. rental comes with this ez hitch wdh and would this be a problem with the atlas? Also would there be too much issues pulling this trailer with bare hitch?


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just a follow up...until now i wasn't quite sure how wdh worked but this video explains it in detail.


i can see how wdh can put extra stress on the car hitch since it has to lower the front end. this could be amplified by hilly terrain. that said, i'm leaning towards minimizing the weight distribution by removing washers in the hitch ball mount to level it and mounting L bracket at its lowest position. that way there will be less stress on the hitch and but still benefit from sway control.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
just a follow up...until now i wasn't quite sure how wdh worked but this video explains it in detail.


i can see how wdh can put extra stress on the car hitch since it has to lower the front end. this could be amplified by hilly terrain. that said, i'm leaning towards minimizing the weight distribution by removing washers in the hitch ball mount to level it and mounting L bracket at its lowest position. that way there will be less stress on the hitch and but still benefit from sway control.
It looks like that 193 BHS will be within the specs of the Atlas, so I would not put that much tension on that EZ hitch and just use it mainly for stabilization and sway control as you are suggesting. Even if you put 500-600 lbs of cargo and tow it dry - without water in the tanks, you should be relatively stable and an easy tow in a region with less mountains and ascents and descents. You can try just the ball mount and "bare hitch" set up - and keep it to 60 mph or less and see how you do - however, I always recommend some kind of sway control device - whether you decide to use WDH or not. The occasional gust of wind can raise the hair on the back of your neck given the right situation.

Since we own our Nano, I have decided for the time being to switch completely over to a WDH rated hitch, mounted directly below the factory hitch. It's custom designed for the Atlas and rated for WDH, with a higher tongue rating. I will post more about my experience after this week. I installed the hitch today.

Good luck and enjoy that Apex Nano - we really do enjoy camping in ours.
 

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yeah its flat here in fl and i don't expect much issues. will loosen up the weight distribution part as much as possible and keep some sway control. sway control is dependent on friction and less force at the friction bar will diminish sway control but i guess some is better than nothing.

having to mount extra hitches to be able to fully utilize wdh defeats the purpose of a tow package(with exception of hd alternator and transmission cooling) and just looks odd. not to mention that aftermarket hitch itself maybe rated for wd but connected to the actual car maybe another story.
 

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2019 Atlas Highline here, setup with primus IQ brake controller (was difficult to find wiring but it was eventually found) and I have a Viking 17SBH 2968 lbs dry and around 3500 loaded. I am towing with a regular hitch ball and it tows fine. I debated a WDH based on what people say here but even in decently strong winds the sway is pretty tolerable. It is important to actually distribute the weight in your trailer and vehicle so you’re not loading it up at the middle. Big weight should be over the axle if possible. We have our family - around 460lbs in the vehicle not at the rear of the atlas. The compartments of our trailer are near the tongue but we don’t put huge weights there. Bicycles are loaded right over the Axle and are the biggest weights in the trailer. Handles nicely.
 

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Found a couple of pics I took, getting ready to depart on our last trip. These shots are when we are loaded, both trailer and passengers ready to go. Not sure if you can tell, but I've pretty much eliminated rear sag on the Atlas - the ride is just about as level as you can be towing with our rig.
Hey Alramos, I have a couple quick questions. When you have the WDH on, can you open the lift gate? Also, what is the rise you have setup on the hitch? Looks like it is at the top?
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Hey Alramos, I have a couple quick questions. When you have the WDH on, can you open the lift gate? Also, what is the rise you have setup on the hitch? Looks like it is at the top?
Just got back from a 7 day camping trip, apologies for the delay with response. Internet connection is very spotty where we go. So I've been using the WDH on the OEM factory receiver, admittedly a bit apprehensive about it - although it has given me no problems at all. To answer your question, on the OEM hitch, the lift gate will open fine - with a power tongue jack installed. I would imagine easier with a manual tongue jack. With a power tongue jack it's a close situation - gives you about 1.5 to 2 inches where it allows the lift gate to swing open without hitting anything. First time I tried it I thought it was going to smack right into it and stopped it manually with my hand, but then realized it was going to clear, within inches.

Since this last trip, I decided to go the @JohnnyUnknown route, and installed a weight distribution rated after market hitch - it's custom designed for the Atlas, with 6K on towing, and 900 lbs for tongue rating. However, I am not towing more than 5K for the Atlas, but I am close. I just did a test drive with it over 10 miles and it handled great. I haven't tried it yet on an actual trip. I will provide more details after our next outing. To further answer your original question - I had to get a larger riser for the shank - to switch the head of the original WDH that I purchased with the trailer - so that it can sit close to the original angle and height that it sat with on the OEM receiver - and it clears it now by about 3 inches or so (lift gate) - with a drop from the original ball height of about 1 inch. Negligible difference. I will report more down the road. I will add a pic here shortly of the new set up with larger shank and new receiver.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
2019 Atlas Highline here, setup with primus IQ brake controller (was difficult to find wiring but it was eventually found) and I have a Viking 17SBH 2968 lbs dry and around 3500 loaded. I am towing with a regular hitch ball and it tows fine. I debated a WDH based on what people say here but even in decently strong winds the sway is pretty tolerable. It is important to actually distribute the weight in your trailer and vehicle so you’re not loading it up at the middle. Big weight should be over the axle if possible. We have our family - around 460lbs in the vehicle not at the rear of the atlas. The compartments of our trailer are near the tongue but we don’t put huge weights there. Bicycles are loaded right over the Axle and are the biggest weights in the trailer. Handles nicely.
Thanks for sharing your experience - I agree whole-heartedly with your comments.

I've since set up a new aftermarket WDH rated hitch designed and made specifically for the Atlas. I will post some pics of new set up soon - as well as update more with my experience after our next longer trip - so far, handles great.
 

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
Here is a pic of the latest (and hopefully last major upgrade) to this set-up. Upgraded to a properly rated made-for-Atlas aftermarket weight distribution hitch that sits below OEM receiver hitch. I didn't like how low (closer to the ground) the tongue and spring bars sat on the new receiver hitch when mounted so I upgrade the shank to an extra tall (WDH rated) shank - used in the rise position - and switched the original WDH head components over to it - now it sits about an inch below the original set up that was on the OEM. Trailer is just as level, if not more level now when hitched and towing. I've only towed a few miles - but seems extremely stable. Will be on a longer trip here in a few days over two weeks - will provide any other feedback I can on the new set up - but I'm thinking it will be just as good if not better than on the factory receiver. I am now well within the specs of the new hitch and I know that the Atlas itself can tackle what I have been throwing at it already with regards to power. The beauty about this is that when we upgrade our tow vehicle eventually - I can keep the larger shank and adjust height accordingly provided I use a similar WDH from the same brand - unless of course I change to an entirely new WDH system.

Almost forgot to add: the chains and the break away emergency break line is attached to the OEM receiver loops now - providing extra redundancy in the event of a hitch failure (although I don't have a crystal ball - I believe this set up is virtually bomb proof now - but I cannot predict what another driver can cause while we are driving). So in other words - if the aftermarket hitch fails - the OEM hitch will catch the chains rated at 7,000 lbs each, and if those fail - the e-brake will engage on the trailer since the OEM receiver hitch will still be attached to the Atlas (not being used) and hopefully unaffected by any catastrophe. I have heard (very rare) of entire OEM hitches coming off vehicles - and the chains and e-brake line is attached to the same hitch - thus not doing their part in an accident and continuing to roll down the road for a bit or disconnecting entirely from the vehicle. When initially setting up the hitch and trailer, I was looking for an alternate spot on the Atlas to connect the e-brake line for the trailer. There really is no place to connect, and forced me to use the same hitch loops - which I didn't like. This new set up provides the extra safety I was looking to create. You can see what I mean in the picture and where the chains and e-brake emergency line go - to the top receiver loops.
 

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Just got back from a 7 day camping trip, apologies for the delay with response. Internet connection is very spotty where we go. So I've been using the WDH on the OEM factory receiver, admittedly a bit apprehensive about it - although it has given me no problems at all. To answer your question, on the OEM hitch, the lift gate will open fine - with a power tongue jack installed. I would imagine easier with a manual tongue jack. With a power tongue jack it's a close situation - gives you about 1.5 to 2 inches where it allows the lift gate to swing open without hitting anything. First time I tried it I thought it was going to smack right into it and stopped it manually with my hand, but then realized it was going to clear, within inches.

Since this last trip, I decided to go the @JohnnyUnknown route, and installed a weight distribution rated after market hitch - it's custom designed for the Atlas, with 6K on towing, and 900 lbs for tongue rating. However, I am not towing more than 5K for the Atlas, but I am close. I just did a test drive with it over 10 miles and it handled great. I haven't tried it yet on an actual trip. I will provide more details after our next outing. To further answer your original question - I had to get a larger riser for the shank - to switch the head of the original WDH that I purchased with the trailer - so that it can sit close to the original angle and height that it sat with on the OEM receiver - and it clears it now by about 3 inches or so (lift gate) - with a drop from the original ball height of about 1 inch. Negligible difference. I will report more down the road. I will add a pic here shortly of the new set up with larger shank and new receiver.
Hey Alramos

Looking at the Curt hitch, it doesn’t specifically say it is rated for WDH. Did you buy that model? @JohnnyUnknown, is that what you have as well? It looks like it will just bolt on, but is it a custom install if the factory hitch is still installed? What Is the difference between the factory hitch and the aftermarket one? I am not finding info on why it would be better than just using the factory one, minus that is has a higher load rating and tongue rating.
Thanks for your help guys!
 

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Hey Alramos

Looking at the Curt hitch, it doesn’t specifically say it is rated for WDH. Did you buy that model? @JohnnyUnknown, is that what you have as well? It looks like it will just bolt on, but is it a custom install if the factory hitch is still installed? What Is the difference between the factory hitch and the aftermarket one? I am not finding info on why it would be better than just using the factory one, minus that is has a higher load rating and tongue rating.
Thanks for your help guys!
I'm not Alramos or Johnny nor have I stayed at Holiday Inn lately but just chiming in - the Curt & Draw-Tite has similar specs but Draw specifically states it is rated for weight distribution, The OEM hitch does not connect to the side frame rails(tube ends short of) like the aftermarkets do. The aftermarket hitch will add weight to the Atlas so best to keep that in mind when computing for the payload(1213 lbs max)Probably can do WDH on OEM but one has to consider warranty, insurance(in case of accident) etc etc.
 

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I'm not Alramos or Johnny nor have I stayed at Holiday Inn lately but just chiming in - the Curt & Draw-Tite has similar specs but Draw specifically states it is rated for weight distribution, The OEM hitch does not connect to the side frame rails(tube ends short of) like the aftermarkets do. The aftermarket hitch will add weight to the Atlas so best to keep that in mind when computing for the payload(1213 lbs max)Probably can do WDH on OEM but one has to consider warranty, insurance(in case of accident) etc etc.
Thanks @whitevw! I see that now on their web site. Watched the install video, and it looks pretty straight forward. Are you using one as well? I was picking up the WD system today, for a short trip this weekend. But now it looks like I should get the draw tite as well.

So I have a buddy that also has an atlas without the factory installed hitch. He is looking to have the factory hitch installed on Thursday, but I feel like they only benefit he will get it having the wiring harness installed. Any opinions on this? I’m thinking of telling him to look in to a local RV place to do that work since it may be the same price, but they would install the better hitch.
 

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Thanks @whitevw! I see that now on their web site. Watched the install video, and it looks pretty straight forward. Are you using one as well? I was picking up the WD system today, for a short trip this weekend. But now it looks like I should get the draw tite as well.

So I have a buddy that also has an atlas without the factory installed hitch. He is looking to have the factory hitch installed on Thursday, but I feel like they only benefit he will get it having the wiring harness installed. Any opinions on this? I’m thinking of telling him to look in to a local RV place to do that work since it may be the same price, but they would install the better hitch.
So I was going to get the Draw Tite installed today but upon further inspection the OEM hitch actually goes inside of the frame rails with 2 bolts. Really no need for an aftermarket hitch for WDH if OEM already exists as they are mounted pretty much the same.
 

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So we recently drove our Atlas 4500 miles pulling our Winnebago Micro Minnie to CO, WY, and SD. I only had a ball mount and no sway control. I will say the trailer was all over the place. The wind in Wyoming and Kansas were brutal, and anytime a semi passed us, it was like they created a vacuum and it sucked us in like a vortex! I had purchased the husky sway control, but the adapter didn’t fit the ball mount we had, so I had to leave it at home on that trip.

Yesterday I almost bought a WD system, but decided not to for now. I already had the sway control items, but I needed to get them mounted. So I bought a new ball mount with a 6-3/4 rise, and got everything mounted for our trip. Last night we drove 3 hours from Nashville area to Chattanooga with the new setup and it was AWESOME!! The sway was gone, and my hands and shoulders didn’t feel like I lost a fight. I have the firestone helper bags, and those helped level up the back end. All that to say, I wish I had set this up before traveling all over the country, but I know now that sway control is a game changer and necessary. I hope to get the WD system at some point with the aftermarket hitch, but for now I am happy with this setup. In any case, having sway control is a must as I am sure most everyone here already knows. Also, the ball mount I had with the squatting I was getting from the trailer made the rise too short. Getting the trailer level I think was a huge part of reducing the trailer sway as well.
 

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After reading alramos early comments I did decide to use my Husky WDH system that I had from a previous vehicle (after setting it up for the Atlas) as well as a sway control.

My trailer is a light Jayfeather 16xrb that is 3200 wet plus around 500lbs of gear and 450lbs at the ball (weighted with hitch scale) and with just the regular hitch I wasn't comfortable the way it was towing. The sag was reducing the weight on the front wheels and causing slippage on slight inclines. In addition the sway and bounce was just too much for me, it just wasn't safe in my opinion.

The WDH made a massive difference and with the sway control the trailer was straight as an arrow and control was almost as good as with no trailer, which has me scratching my head as to why I wouldn't always use this setup. Of course rear sag was minimal with a good setup. Seeing now that the type of hitch installed isn't designed for WD due to its installations style and design, is very frustrating. Purchasing a tow package then getting a second hitch just seems stupid. I did purchase the air bags, but yet to install, no big rush as the WDH seems to be working well.

However that being said I'm also concerned with the use of the WDH if not recommended. I think I may install the air bags, and then weld the sway control tab on the ball hitch and run just the air bags and saw control. That's will help with the sag and sway. I just don't feel like spending another $400+ on another hitch, just because VW is cheap.

On the towing performance side, the SUV does fairly well, it could use more power but I think its performs better than expected. Low end torque is quite good and rarely have to go above 3500rpm unless Im really pushing her, and that doesnt happen often.

What is the make/model ofthe after market WD compatible receiver that you guys installed?
 

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Discussion Starter #37
So the new hitch...is it welded/bolted separately from the factory hitch? Do you have a model number you could share? Thanks!
I am responding to your longer post below.
 

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Discussion Starter #38 (Edited)
Hey Alramos

Looking at the Curt hitch, it doesn’t specifically say it is rated for WDH. Did you buy that model? @JohnnyUnknown, is that what you have as well? It looks like it will just bolt on, but is it a custom install if the factory hitch is still installed? What Is the difference between the factory hitch and the aftermarket one? I am not finding info on why it would be better than just using the factory one, minus that is has a higher load rating and tongue rating.
Thanks for your help guys!
Apologies for the delay in response. We have been traveling (with trailer) for just over a week - and continuing on for another 10 days or so. I will provide the model number and make of the weight distribution rated aftermarket hitch (made for Atlas) here. We have not had very good internet recently - until today.

I have been mounting the trailer to the aftermarket hitch now since installed. No problems at all. I have noticed that the vehicle handles slightly different - not bad or good, just slightly different - but not by much. The side-to-side movement of the trailer does feel more rigid now though. I am not sure if this is a function of the new shank I installed on the WDH, or the fact that hitch is now mounted below the frame evenly, instead of the bumper (OEM). With the exception of improved side-to-side stability - nothing has changed with how I, or how it tows.

I did NOT buy the Curt version of the aftermarket hitch as it is not rated for weight distribution - and you can tell from the back of the receiver tube it does not have a reinforced rear receiver tube vertical plate extension - connecting back to the hitch bar. You can tell the difference when you compare it to the Draw-Title version that IS rated for WDH - and has the extra steel plate behind the receiver tube to accommodate the flex and forces of a WDH. I imagine this is what VW refers to when it says "the vehicle is not designed to be used with a weight equalizing hitch". Behind the OEM receiver tube, there is no such reinforcements either. Coupled with the fact that the bolts from the hitch tube go into the frame differently - I am going with the idea that this is what they are referencing.

After researching the Draw-Tite hitch and hitch parts, I am working with the idea (another assumption) that the bolts and nuts are rated for literally 10s of thousands of lbs of shear strength - I believe they use Grade 5 bolts (silver bolt assemblies). You can do the math on that one times 4 (x4). I would imagine the bolts would stay in place with part of the hitch attached at that bolt and nut points, and the hitch would have to fail elsewhere if it ever did. They go in vertically - directly into the frame - four of them. I keep inspecting the bolts and hitch itself almost after each trailering day and they aren't going anywhere. I am no engineer - but I can tell you from experience the hitch has not moved, bent or budged a millimeter. I have driven already miles on smooth highway roads, and miles of forest roads with large pot holes.

This past week (actually last week) - the campground that we were scheduled for required us to bring a full load of water in prior to setting up. That added an extra 300 - 400 lbs near the front end. My tongue weight of course rose proportionately. The Draw-Tite WDH is rated for 900 lbs tongue, so I was less worried about the hitch, and more concerned with the rear axle and squat. You can tell the Atlas dropped another inch. But that's about it. I am guessing that my tongue weight at that point was about 550-575 lbs. I still need to invest in a tongue scale. The Atlas was probably towing at that point anywhere between 5,000 and 5,400 lbs. At that point I could tell the camper was behind me when hitting hills. I drove about 15 miles with the water in the mountains. At slows speeds you can't tell, however, at higher speeds going up hill we would slow down a bit more, than with an empty water tank. I guess this is understandable and to be expected. I would not want to drive much more than that with a full water tank, at that approximate towing weight for longer. So in short, the Atlas was working harder to maintain speeds with that kind of load.

Also almost forgot to add - the aftermarket hitch does add about 50 lbs of weight against the Atlas payload if you are tracking that.

Here are the parts:

Large shank to raise and level the trailer about to where the OEM receiver would sit. (Install WDH head using highest holes - this one works with a Curt WDH - probably would work with other weight distribution hitches - you would have to confirm)

Weight distribution rated aftermarket hitch made for Atlas.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Hey Alramos

Looking at the Curt hitch, it doesn’t specifically say it is rated for WDH. Did you buy that model? @JohnnyUnknown, is that what you have as well? It looks like it will just bolt on, but is it a custom install if the factory hitch is still installed? What Is the difference between the factory hitch and the aftermarket one? I am not finding info on why it would be better than just using the factory one, minus that is has a higher load rating and tongue rating.
Thanks for your help guys!
Hey @robtkurtz - I replied a bit longer near the bottom of thread explaining the differences in the aftermarket hitches vs OEM. Hope it helps - here are the parts:

Large shank to raise and level the trailer about to where the OEM receiver would sit. (Install WDH head using highest holes - this one works with a Curt WDH - probably would work with other weight distribution hitches - you would have to confirm)

Weight distribution rated aftermarket hitch made for Atlas.
 

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Apologies for the delay in response. We have been traveling (with trailer) for just over a week - and continuing on for another 10 days or so. I will provide the model number and make of the weight distribution rated aftermarket hitch (made for Atlas) here. We have not had very good internet recently - until today.

I have been mounting the trailer to the aftermarket hitch now since installed. No problems at all. I have noticed that the vehicle handles slightly different - not bad or good, just slightly different - but not by much. The side-to-side movement of the trailer does feel more rigid now though. I am not sure if this is a function of the new shank I installed on the WDH, or the fact that hitch is now mounted below the frame evenly, instead of the bumper (OEM). With the exception of improved side-to-side stability - nothing has changed with how I, or how it tows.

I did NOT buy the Curt version of the aftermarket hitch as it is not rated for weight distribution - and you can tell from the back of the receiver tube it does not have a reinforced rear receiver tube vertical plate extension - connecting back to the hitch bar. You can tell the difference when you compare it to the Draw-Title version that IS rated for WDH - and has the extra steel plate behind the receiver tube to accommodate the flex and forces of a WDH. I imagine this is what VW refers to when it says "the vehicle is not designed to be used with a weight equalizing hitch". Behind the OEM receiver tube, there is no such reinforcements either. Coupled with the fact that the bolts from the hitch tube go into the frame differently - I am going with the idea that this is what they are referencing.

After researching the Draw-Tite hitch and hitch parts, I am working with the idea (another assumption) that the bolts and nuts are rated for literally 10s of thousands of lbs of shear strength - I believe they use Grade 5 bolts (silver bolt assemblies). You can do the math on that one times 4 (x4). I would imagine the bolts would stay in place with part of the hitch attached at that bolt and nut points, and the hitch would have to fail elsewhere if it ever did. They go in vertically - directly into the frame - four of them. I keep inspecting the bolts and hitch itself almost after each trailering day and they aren't going anywhere. I am no engineer - but I can tell you from experience the hitch has not moved, bent or budged a millimeter. I have driven already miles on smooth highway roads, and miles of forest roads with large pot holes.

This past week (actually last week) - the campground that we were scheduled for required us to bring a full load of water in prior to setting up. That added an extra 300 - 400 lbs near the front end. My tongue weight of course rose proportionately. The Draw-Tite WDH is rated for 900 lbs tongue, so I was less worried about the hitch, and more concerned with the rear axle and squat. You can tell the Atlas dropped another inch. But that's about it. I am guessing that my tongue weight at that point was about 550-575 lbs. I still need to invest in a tongue scale. The Atlas was probably towing at that point anywhere between 5,000 and 5,400 lbs. At that point I could tell the camper was behind me when hitting hills. I drove about 15 miles with the water in the mountains. At slows speeds you can't tell, however, at higher speeds going up hill we would slow down a bit more, than with an empty water tank. I guess this is understandable and to be expected. I would not want to drive much more than that with a full water tank, at that approximate towing weight for longer. So in short, the Atlas was working harder to maintain speeds with that kind of load.

Also almost forgot to add - the aftermarket hitch does add about 50 lbs of weight against the Atlas payload if you are tracking that.

Here are the parts:

Large shank to raise and level the trailer about to where the OEM receiver would sit. (Install WDH head using highest holes - this one works with a Curt WDH - probably would work with other weight distribution hitches - you would have to confirm)

Weight distribution rated aftermarket hitch made for Atlas.
YOU ROCK! enjoy the vacay
 
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