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I think it all comes down to the way the factory hitch is mounted to the vehicle. I think a WDH changes the way forces are applied to the hitch in a way that VW engineers did not determine it could safely withstand. They designed and installed a hitch that could support 500# on the tongue and straight pull 5000#. They didn't design for the force that a WDH imposes on the hitch/vehicle. Obviously they could have, but perhaps being a German company that typically operates under european guidelines, it wasn't even considered despite this vehicle being designed and built for the US.
 

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I am getting the hitch reinforced for WD next week... and picking up the Nano on the 22nd! This is exciting!

ok math-wise i don’t think i am doing it right. Can someone help me? My tow vehicle tires are rated 105XL so I am good for 2000lbs/tire so I know i’ll be good here. (Tow vehicle plus cargo will be around 7000lbs)

my Atlas weighs 6019lbs (2730kg) per the driver door jamb sticker and it’s almost the same axle rating (close to) 3000lbs at each axle (slightly more on the rear axle).

the tire sticker (also on the same door jamb) says no more than 1113lbs tow vehicle cargo, and the owner’s manual says max combined weight of 10150lbs (TT + TV).

the dry weight of the nano TT is 3950lbs.

i am 240lbs.

So: 6019+3950+240=10209lbs

i am not sure if i am supposed to add the 519lbs hitch weight, but i will definitely be above the max 10150lbs when my wife, 2 boys, and all the cargo (800-900lbs) get loaded in the TT.

What am I doing wrong in the calculations?

cheers!
Ginga
 

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I am getting the hitch reinforced for WD next week... and picking up the Nano on the 22nd! This is exciting!

ok math-wise i don’t think i am doing it right. Can someone help me? My tow vehicle tires are rated 105XL so I am good for 2000lbs/tire so I know i’ll be good here. (Tow vehicle plus cargo will be around 7000lbs)

my Atlas weighs 6019lbs (2730kg) per the driver door jamb sticker and it’s almost the same axle rating (close to) 3000lbs at each axle (slightly more on the rear axle).

the tire sticker (also on the same door jamb) says no more than 1113lbs tow vehicle cargo, and the owner’s manual says max combined weight of 10150lbs (TT + TV).

the dry weight of the nano TT is 3950lbs.

i am 240lbs.

So: 6019+3950+240=10209lbs

i am not sure if i am supposed to add the 519lbs hitch weight, but i will definitely be above the max 10150lbs when my wife, 2 boys, and all the cargo (800-900lbs) get loaded in the TT.

What am I doing wrong in the calculations?

cheers!
Ginga
Nice! Please post pictures if you can of the hitch reinforcements once completed. I’m no expert, but from putting all my calcs in a spreadsheet a few days ago based on a YouTube tutorial, I think you should start with ~4500 for the Atlas (mine is 4,502), which is the curb weight which I believe includes gas and all the oil etc, and then add people and cargo to get your estimated loaded weight. That’ll put you in a better spot. I watched the video by Keep Your Daydream and copied his spreadsheet. It was helpful especially showing how cargo and tongue weight interact with overall capabilities.

One question I came up with during the calculations was was why the payload rating for the Atlas is only 1,113 but the difference between gross and curb weight is nearly 1,500 (5,997 - 4,502 = 1,495). Doesn’t that mean the payload is actually higher than 1,113?
 

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I am getting the hitch reinforced for WD next week... and picking up the Nano on the 22nd! This is exciting!

ok math-wise i don’t think i am doing it right. Can someone help me? My tow vehicle tires are rated 105XL so I am good for 2000lbs/tire so I know i’ll be good here. (Tow vehicle plus cargo will be around 7000lbs)

my Atlas weighs 6019lbs (2730kg) per the driver door jamb sticker and it’s almost the same axle rating (close to) 3000lbs at each axle (slightly more on the rear axle).

the tire sticker (also on the same door jamb) says no more than 1113lbs tow vehicle cargo, and the owner’s manual says max combined weight of 10150lbs (TT + TV).

the dry weight of the nano TT is 3950lbs.

i am 240lbs.

So: 6019+3950+240=10209lbs

i am not sure if i am supposed to add the 519lbs hitch weight, but i will definitely be above the max 10150lbs when my wife, 2 boys, and all the cargo (800-900lbs) get loaded in the TT.

What am I doing wrong in the calculations?

cheers!
Ginga
congrats. Yes take some pics of the reinforcement I’m curious! I also found this file on the apex Facebook group that’s very handy to calculate weights

 

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Nice! Please post pictures if you can of the hitch reinforcements once completed. I’m no expert, but from putting all my calcs in a spreadsheet a few days ago based on a YouTube tutorial, I think you should start with ~4500 for the Atlas (mine is 4,502), which is the curb weight which I believe includes gas and all the oil etc, and then add people and cargo to get your estimated loaded weight. That’ll put you in a better spot. I watched the video by Keep Your Daydream and copied his spreadsheet. It was helpful especially showing how cargo and tongue weight interact with overall capabilities.

One question I came up with during the calculations was was why the payload rating for the Atlas is only 1,113 but the difference between gross and curb weight is nearly 1,500 (5,997 - 4,502 = 1,495). Doesn’t that mean the payload is actually higher than 1,113?
Thanks @Davethefree103 that makes more sense. Is there a sticker or reference in the owner’s manual ref curb weight? The pictures i included only refer to gross weight and i guess that’s where my mistake was. I am tempted to say that curb weight is dry weight (without liquids in) and then the 1,500 difference could be better explained?

i’ll take pictures and post here for sure when the hitch reinforcement is done. I still don’t understand how an aftermarket manufacturer (two of them?) can have a WD rated hitch made for the Atlas when the car is still the same once that hitch is installed, and the connection points are pretty much on the same OEM frame/car (bolts are in differently, and the fact the receiver has a metal plate reinforcing the hitch). I guess we’ll never know and as others have suggested, it’s all about our tolerance to deviate from what the book says.
 

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I am getting the hitch reinforced for WD next week... and picking up the Nano on the 22nd! This is exciting!

ok math-wise i don’t think i am doing it right. Can someone help me? My tow vehicle tires are rated 105XL so I am good for 2000lbs/tire so I know i’ll be good here. (Tow vehicle plus cargo will be around 7000lbs)

my Atlas weighs 6019lbs (2730kg) per the driver door jamb sticker and it’s almost the same axle rating (close to) 3000lbs at each axle (slightly more on the rear axle).

the tire sticker (also on the same door jamb) says no more than 1113lbs tow vehicle cargo, and the owner’s manual says max combined weight of 10150lbs (TT + TV).

the dry weight of the nano TT is 3950lbs.

i am 240lbs.

So: 6019+3950+240=10209lbs

i am not sure if i am supposed to add the 519lbs hitch weight, but i will definitely be above the max 10150lbs when my wife, 2 boys, and all the cargo (800-900lbs) get loaded in the TT.

What am I doing wrong in the calculations?

cheers!
Ginga
You are likely going to exceed the capacity of the vehicle.

Atlas specs
GCWR 10,150
Curb weight 4,502 (2019 SEL w VR6 AWD)
Payload 1,113

Payload INCLUDES tongue weight. So your trailer not only EXCEEDS the mfg tongue weight limit of 500lbs, but that reduces your payload. So the actual payload is 1113-519= 594lbs. Take out your 240lbs and your remaining payload for family and cargo is now 354lbs.

I would seriously reconsider trying to tow this trailer with the Atlas and a family on board. Modifying the hitch, using WDH and Sway control won't help with your payload limitations.

You can either tow this trailer or bring your family but you can't do both.
 

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Thanks Tim. Yes we will do like @alramos and be careful of putting all cargo in the TT as much as possible.

Fyi i completed the Firestone airbags this afternoon and the install wasn’t too bad. Hardest part I found was to fold the airbag and then slide them into the coils. I did not lube them, and did remove the lower bolt of the shock to gain about a 1/2 inch extra clearance. I then routed the lines away from the exhaust, used a T junction and drill the back plate right of the receiver the attach the air valve. Looks and ride nice (not too harsh a ride with 30lbs pressure).
 

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Good morning everyone. Just posting an update on the VW Atlas OEM hardening work done this week. The shop did an awesome custom job from what I can tell that does not reduce (much) the ground clearance (the steel bar was custom made to hug the exhaust components). I am no expert but the welds seem pretty thick with good puddling along the seams. The bar is also custom and comes in the back of the hitch to reinforce it in a way which reminds me of the Curt/DrawT. I posted a fee pics here. The added weight is 25-30lbs.

i went out for a walk with the family last week and I took a picture of this DrawT hitch installed on a minivan that I saw in happenstance: that hitch is VERY similar to the Atlas’ OEM in that it’s the same thickness metal, with round bar (and welds similar to the Atlas OEM). It also attached to the frame with two horizontal bolts (although I could see or take the time to carefully look beyond these quick observations).

i also took a picture of the hitch specs/warning sticker because i was a bit surprised there was a rating for WD on that hitch. The ratings were in fact the same for WD or standard pull (notice how close to the Atlas 5k# that hitch is rated for, and for more tongue weight than the Atlas, granted that hitch receiver on that minivan is not as low as the Atlas’ so the torque in WD application is probably a bit less applied to the round bar in these two applications).

So anyways, i am a LOT comforted that with the trailer I’ll be towing will be much better handled by the Atlas. Of course I am NOT going to load the Apex to more than the 5,000lbs load, and I will be carefully managing the cargo in the Atlas to ensure I am not over the payload capacity. When I get the trailer (scheduled for Apr 22nd) i will be taking it to a scale to carefully measure everything and use that spreadsheet to keep track of everything.

Have a great weekend.
 

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Good morning everyone. Just posting an update on the VW Atlas OEM hardening work done this week. The shop did an awesome custom job from what I can tell that does not reduce (much) the ground clearance (the steel bar was custom made to hug the exhaust components). I am no expert but the welds seem pretty thick with good puddling along the seams. The bar is also custom and comes in the back of the hitch to reinforce it in a way which reminds me of the Curt/DrawT. I posted a fee pics here. The added weight is 25-30lbs.

i went out for a walk with the family last week and I took a picture of this DrawT hitch installed on a minivan that I saw in happenstance: that hitch is VERY similar to the Atlas’ OEM in that it’s the same thickness metal, with round bar (and welds similar to the Atlas OEM). It also attached to the frame with two horizontal bolts (although I could see or take the time to carefully look beyond these quick observations).

i also took a picture of the hitch specs/warning sticker because i was a bit surprised there was a rating for WD on that hitch. The ratings were in fact the same for WD or standard pull (notice how close to the Atlas 5k# that hitch is rated for, and for more tongue weight than the Atlas, granted that hitch receiver on that minivan is not as low as the Atlas’ so the torque in WD application is probably a bit less applied to the round bar in these two applications).

So anyways, i am a LOT comforted that with the trailer I’ll be towing will be much better handled by the Atlas. Of course I am NOT going to load the Apex to more than the 5,000lbs load, and I will be carefully managing the cargo in the Atlas to ensure I am not over the payload capacity. When I get the trailer (scheduled for Apr 22nd) i will be taking it to a scale to carefully measure everything and use that spreadsheet to keep track of everything.

Have a great weekend.
That looks beefy. Thanks for the Pics. How did they attach it to the other side behind the muffler? (Towards the middle of the car? Did they weld it to the body or just put it up against it? Bolted the reinforcement to something?
 

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Oh sorry @Brancozorus i thought i had included pics from the other end of the reinforcement. Yes they welded the end to the rear part of the crossmember with a reinforced plate to (where both left and right independent lower control arms of the rear suspension are connected) and then welded at about 3” to the front of the same cross member with another reinforcing plate. I thought at first that it could be bad if ever there was too much WD applied to the WDH and that could bend the crossmember but after close examination there is no way that it could bend anything.
Another earlier concern I had (referring to the Touareg hitch reinforcement picture i posted earlier post in this thread) was muffler removal if ever needed: there is still enough clearance to do any future work there by sliding the muffler to the side and angling it towards the ground to remove. So no major issue there anymore either!
 

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to add to the discussion.... here is a great video with real time measurements using WDH or Air Bags. As you will see in the video, the AB help with ride, however they put more stress on your rear "axle" than no AB. The WDH numbers are astonishing, It makes me think, though they recommend no WDH, whats worse for the unibody? the use of WDH and putting more weight onto the trailer axle, or having all that on your rear axle and tires.

 

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Thanks for sharing that video. It’s one of these that i also found a couple of weeks ago when i was still trying to figure the difference between both and realized that with the Atlas (or any other vehicle) both technologies bring something.

Another video that i liked and will follow when setting up my TT next week is this one:


It complements the one you shared @Brancozorus
 

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Hey all, for those with the airbags and the fill valve(?) in the receiver. I tested my bags the other day and found leak. The leak was coming form the threads that went through the hole in the receiver. The salt and dissimilar metals caused a very small pin leak that took days to empty out.

I replaced the fill valve and put some grey anti seize on the threads and bare metal of the hole I drilled. thought I would let you know before you went leak hunting!
 

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Hi All, on the topic of airbags, I have a Firestone Coil-Rite 4175 kit that I don't need anymore (bought a truck) that I'd be happy to give away if anyone can use them. The bags are new and never installed, the lines and valves all slightly used in SoCal and in good shape. I don't need them but don't want to throw them away. This is a great forum and discussion thread. Let me know if anyone wants them!
 

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EDIT -- looks like I have a taker and these are gone. Thanks to everyone for all the good info in this Forum!

Hi All, on the topic of airbags, I have a Firestone Coil-Rite 4175 kit that I don't need anymore (bought a truck) that I'd be happy to give away if anyone can use them. The bags are new and never installed, the lines and valves all slightly used in SoCal and in good shape. I don't need them but don't want to throw them away. This is a great forum and discussion thread. Let me know if anyone wants them!
 

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I'd like to jump in here with some feedback and a few questions, as it looks like this is where the experts hang out.

My wife traded in her 2019 Tiguan for a 2021 Atlas (V6 SEL with factory towing) so we could pull this:

2076


Which is a 2021 Flagstaff E-Pro E20BHS (which we absolutely LOVE). The dry weight of the camper is 3513 pounds, so we felt (and still feel) pretty confident that we are OK pulling it with the Atlas. I did not like the amount of sag that we experience with the camper loaded and hitched, so we bought These but I am not sure they are the correct model, and are waiting on delivery of the correct Firestone model.

We've done some light camping around Western NY the past month, including one "longish" trip to Delta Lakes State park, which was about 3 hours for us and included some highway driving. I added mirror extenders and the RV dealership gave us a Friction Sway bar, which I feel like once properly tightened (I went hard, then backed off a 1/4 turn, is this correct?) made a huge difference. The Atlas pulled the camper with no problem at all. I felt a bit of "pull" when semi's went by at 75 mph, but I kept the Atlas at like 64-66 mph, and the RPMs rarely went above 3000.

I am still not crazy about the amount of sag, and would be really interested in adding a WDH. I've read through all six pages here and understand the arguments for and against. I think I am leaning for, but I also think I am worried about the OEM receiver.

2077


So here is the real question...

We have a few longer trips planned for later in the summer. Including possibly camping our way down the east coast, ultimately making our way to the Outer Banks for a wedding. I am not worried about any aspect of the trip except, in order to get to the beach house and wedding venue, there is some sand driving. Two separate questions:

1. If I deflated the tires to 15-ish PSI, should I be worried about the Atlas on the sand if we left the camper at a campground for the day?

2. If I deflated the car and camper tires, am I insane for considering pulling the camper on the sand? I did some searching but couldn't find any answers and I thought the experts here might have some input.
 

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I'd like to jump in here with some feedback and a few questions, as it looks like this is where the experts hang out.

My wife traded in her 2019 Tiguan for a 2021 Atlas (V6 SEL with factory towing) so we could pull this:

View attachment 2076

Which is a 2021 Flagstaff E-Pro E20BHS (which we absolutely LOVE). The dry weight of the camper is 3513 pounds, so we felt (and still feel) pretty confident that we are OK pulling it with the Atlas. I did not like the amount of sag that we experience with the camper loaded and hitched, so we bought These but I am not sure they are the correct model, and are waiting on delivery of the correct Firestone model.

We've done some light camping around Western NY the past month, including one "longish" trip to Delta Lakes State park, which was about 3 hours for us and included some highway driving. I added mirror extenders and the RV dealership gave us a Friction Sway bar, which I feel like once properly tightened (I went hard, then backed off a 1/4 turn, is this correct?) made a huge difference. The Atlas pulled the camper with no problem at all. I felt a bit of "pull" when semi's went by at 75 mph, but I kept the Atlas at like 64-66 mph, and the RPMs rarely went above 3000.

I am still not crazy about the amount of sag, and would be really interested in adding a WDH. I've read through all six pages here and understand the arguments for and against. I think I am leaning for, but I also think I am worried about the OEM receiver.

View attachment 2077

So here is the real question...

We have a few longer trips planned for later in the summer. Including possibly camping our way down the east coast, ultimately making our way to the Outer Banks for a wedding. I am not worried about any aspect of the trip except, in order to get to the beach house and wedding venue, there is some sand driving. Two separate questions:

1. If I deflated the tires to 15-ish PSI, should I be worried about the Atlas on the sand if we left the camper at a campground for the day?

2. If I deflated the car and camper tires, am I insane for considering pulling the camper on the sand? I did some searching but couldn't find any answers and I thought the experts here might have some input.
@Terry4505 nice camper, an E-Pro was the other camper I was looking at before I purchased my Winnebago and one of the reasons was because of weight. You mentioned the dry weight of your camper, but not the tongue weight. The dry tongue weight of that camper is 455 lbs. That does not usually include propane tanks, batteries, or anything else loaded in front of the axle. You're most likely over 500 lb tongue weight limit of the Atlas with just propane tanks and batteries and then if you load anything in front of axles you're just going over more. I'm currently towing a Winnebago Micro Minnie that has around a 3600 lb dry weight and a dry tongue weight of 382 lbs and I'm pretty sure I'm right at the limits. I have the firestone air bags and they definitely help with sag, but you can only do so much and depends how much weight you have on the hitch. Other thing to remember is tongue weight goes against cargo capacity of the Atlas. If you are exceeding tongue weight you are probably over gvwr and/or rear axle weight rating as well. I know many on here will say a weight distribution hitch (wdh) can be used if you add an aftermarket hitch, but the paperwork with the aftermarket hitch says you must still follow the automobile manufacturer's specifications which says not to use wdh. The Atlas has not done a bad job pulling my camper, but I wouldn't feel comfortable towing it every where so I will most likely be getting a truck by the end of the year for towing purposes.
 

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To touch on deflating the tires to 15, you’ll be surprised how flat that is and you may destroy the tires on both suv and trailer. Would I drive the atlas on sand without inflating yes, the AWD is amazing, I’ve had it buried in snow almost to the doors and she pulls through. I just got home from pulling a 2000lb boat out of the water, on an incline, sand covering rear tires and bumper in the water. Put it into off road mode, went slow at first, car slipped for half a second then easily grabbed. I was blown away. The amazing thing about the atlas is it’s able to distribute 50% to front and back unlike other “AWD” that’s like 80-20 to the front. I would be reluctant to tow a trailer if that size in the sand though.

on the trailer side, my Nano 194 is close in apex to yours and tongue weight and overall payload is the challenge. I’ve been to the scales and weighed myself and being well equipped with no water in the tanks I’ve only got a couple hundred pounds to spare. It’s certainly possible and tows fine just take your time, adjust your brakes well, leave lots of space for stopping. The air bags and sway control make a massive difference but I still think WDH is the way to go. I’m still torn if I’ll get a second, as adding that cuts another 100-120lbs into my payload. Ugh...
 
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