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Thank you so much for sharing this information here. I’m a newbie to Turing and find this VERY helpful. A few comments/questions:

1. Curious why you chose to do a WDH and air shocks. I understood from other posts that one or the other is all one needs to level things out. If that is correct, it seems like air shocks are a safer bet since they do not affect the frame. Is that a trainable conclusion. Though both help level off the vehicle, the air bags do not push more weight to the front, which you want for added steering. They are simply to help reduce sag. Think of it as reducing the distance the suspension can travel while still have some cushioning capabilities. watch the video I posted in a previous post on the difference.

2. If one has air shocks (with no WDH), would a friction bar provide sufficient sway control? I’ve heard of people having two friction bars one on either side of the ball on the receiver. Does that make sense or would two fight each other? Air bags will not provide any sway control, again just to help raise the back. 1 sway bar or two will depend on the length of trailer. I believe any trailer above 25' needs two sway bars. But that doesn't matter for you because you shouldn't be towing a 25'+ trailer with an Atlas, WDH or not. Your choice if you want to use a (1) sway bar, but if you use a WDH and pulling a small trailer <4000lbs you probably dont need sway conrol unless youre going through very windy conditions or speed.

3. One trailer dealer here told me that VW says no WDH because of the unibody frame but the very same dealer told me that his SUV is also a unibody frame and he used a WDH on his with no problems. Have you heard similar stories? that's the argument right now, some manufactures say its ok to use WDH, others say don't and all on a unibody. VW says not to use WDH on the Atlas, but wont say why (hitch, unibody etc), some believe this is a rule that comes over from Europe where they don't allow WDH. The Toureg is also unibody and people have been using WDH on that for a long time with no issues (albeit different platform). Use the info on here and make the decision you're most comfortable with.

4. A very experience welding/trailer dealer here told me that a WDH is fine as long as its spring bars are rated no more than the tongue weight of the factory hitch (a little less would be ok as well but never any more) because higher rated spring bars could just pull the low row of bolts on the factory hitch off the SUV’s frame. Does that make sense or sound like nonsense? Yes that makes sense, the spring bars provide the flex and allow some say when required. No matter what your WDH should be sized properly, not too big and not too small. Also set up to manufactures recommendations.

Thanks again for sharing your experience.
 

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I’m currently towing a KZ Sportsman Classic 181bh with a 2021 Atlas V6 4 Motion. I have the factory tow package and started towing straight up no friction sway bar, airbags or WDS. I previously towed with a 2005 Tundra and never felt uncomfortable towing. I’m fairly unversed in the towing engineering and weight management.

Since I never felt any issues with the tundra I didn’t pay much attention the weight on the axels. The dry weight of the KZ trailer is 3170 and the tongue weight rating is 470. I packed the trailer as I always had with the Tundra and was off.
I noticed some sway and a few uncomfortable gusts that gave me minor panics. A few times I noticed the car getting little tugs left or right. Nothing major and the trailer for the most part stayed pretty straight. Yet, I was uncomfortable.
After reading through this thread for a few days, I added a fraction sway control bar. Oddly, I didn’t notice any difference. So I went to a weigh station without the trailer and weighed the back axel of the Atlas at 2300.
I came back with the trailer attached and weighed the back axel of the Atlas again and it said 3000! 700lbs of tongue weight?! I only have the propane, battery, small bag of tools and a cooler in front of the trailer axel. Did I do this right?
Total weight of the trailer was 3650. Tongue weight was over 20% if I did it right. So I moved weight from the front of the trailer to the back and over the axel and was able to get the tongue weight down to 500 and about 16% of trailer weight.
Still no difference. So now I’m wondering if that’s just the difference in towing with a shorter wheelbase SUV compared to a truck, or am I still missing something.
I’m not sure I’ve set the sway control properly but it’s squeaking a lot now after an adjustment if that means it’s tight enough.
I’m feeling like I should go back to the tundra for towing but towing was a huge reason I selected this Atlas.
Thanks for all the detailed posts and I appreciate whatever feedback I can get. I’m heading back from Oregon to the SF Bay Area on Monday.
 

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You’ll certainly feel a difference between the tundra and atlas, not only the wheelbase but also it’s a lighter vehicle therefore you’ll feel more movement.

the only really accurate way to check tongue weight is with a tongue scale, if you’re worried, they arent too expensive. I’ve seen them as cheap as $30 and relatively accurate. I wouldn’t say you’re 700lbs tongue, you maybe are closer to 550 but once you press that down 3x’ from the rear axle the vehicle weight shifts back too. It’s a good gauge but not exact. However it’s good for measuring payload which can creep up quickly. Payload is going to include tongue weight and all occupants and cargo in the vehicle.

A WDH will help a lot with distribution and leveling off the trailer. If you decide to go that route.
Sway bar should be right, and does make noise when turning. Don’t have it on while in the city and parking the RV. Only when on the highway and gradual turns. I followed the instructions on mine and found it too tight, I backed it off until it still provided control without too tight. Then I just did it by feel afterwards
 

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You’ll certainly feel a difference between the tundra and atlas, not only the wheelbase but also it’s a lighter vehicle therefore you’ll feel more movement.
Thank you, I suppose it’s a matter of getting used to a new normal. I suppose I’m not doing anything so out of whack that I could be in one of those scary fishtail videos of what not to do.
 

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I recently installed the airbags to help level out the atlas when I'm using a receiver mount cargo or motorcycle carrier. Thanks @alramos & @Ginga73 for the tips and photos. I used soapy water and a paint brush to lube them up and found it was helpful to get the top of the bag in the spring and spin it up a half-turn or so to get it started before pushing it in the rest of the way with a set of motorcycle tire irons. Had to look up a youtube video to figure out how to get the starter tube out of the bag. Push down on the connector with an open-end wrench then gently pull the tube out.
 

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Thought I would share some recent towing experience with our camper. Camper weighs in at 4100 lbs without cargo or water (dry). We add approximately 600 lbs in cargo. This includes a 100 lb generator, 2 gallons of gasoline, a grill with it's own stand, 1 utility table, 5 chairs, tools, general RV supplies and tools, a portable septic tote (empty), fishing tackle, a few board games, a smaller side table, a propane tank (not including RVs tank), a portable propane fire pit, clothes, sheets, towels, pillows and some starter foods, juices, dog food and beer. The beer went in the trailer first as it's considered valuable cargo and cannot be thrown overboard in the event of an emergency. The mother-in-law had two bags, one larger one that seemed rather heavy for one week of camping. Not sure what was in that one. We mostly get our food supplies and the equivalent of two medium cases of water near campsites after unhooking. I still have to go to a CAT scale loaded up, but I know I am pretty close with the cargo weight. We are not exceeding 5K - however, I know I am over on tongue weight by a few lbs.

I am using a Curt weight distributing hitch (up to 6K on towing and 600 on tongue) with a Curt anti-sway friction bar and of course brake controller (Curt Echo Bluetooth). This is helping offset tongue weight. I've also installed Firestone helper airbags into the rear suspension coils (if you consider yourself handy and have a few tools laying around you can do this install yourself and save $$). I drilled the schrader valve access hole right into the steel-tow label plate next to the hitch (right side looking at hitch receiver). Perfect spot. If you want pics of the airbag install I'd be happy to add. These of course do not increase towing or tongue ratings, however, they improve the ride and rear squat with the load. We had 640 lbs of payload in the vehicle - that is all bodies, 3 Adults, two kids, and one dog. With the exception of a couple of bags of chips, some drinks, an iPad and maybe two purses - and some smaller tools with the VW first aid kit in the cubbies in the trunk, that was all we had in the vehicle. I deliberately kept it as empty as possible - with preferring to evenly distribute whatever weight we needed to bring in the trailer. This does not include tongue weight when hitched. We were probably right at or under payload with the hitch mounted. All tanks in the RV, with the exception of the water heater were empty. I added water to the trailer when we arrived to the campground and maxed the tank out - 50 gallons. That put me over the Atlas towing rating - by at least 100-300 lbs. However, we crept to our campsite from there, probably an eighth to one-quarter mile at about 10 mph once inside the campground. Even so, towed perfectly fine - however, I would not tow with 400 lbs of water in addition to our cargo - going any faster or on interstate/hwy roads at highway speeds - at least with the Atlas.

I've towed with this rig now for several hundred miles, steep hills - ascents and descents. The Atlas is extremely well powered and does not feel underpowered at all with this amount of weight - even at higher altitudes - at least as high as we have gone. In two or three instances, I can remember the Atlas hitting 4,000-4,300 RPMS. It still had tons of power left and could have gone faster uphills - but I didn't really push it at all. We kept average speeds of 60 mph (96 kph) with a max of 65 mph on a few occasions when building momentum heading towards a few hills. With our steepest and longest ascent, the oil temp hit 280 degrees for about 3 minutes, but then dropped down quick after we plateaued. This was reaching close to our destination - which was at 7,500 ft elevation, coming from Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it would slow down a bit depending on the grade we were climbing, and I would adjust the pedal back so as not to push the engine too much allowing for the Atlas to do more work at lower RPMs - which it is very good at. You can tell it has good amount of low-end torque power. With this said however, I could have easily kept the speeds higher, at the sacrifice of higher RPMS - which I was working to avoid. Again - the Atlas could have easily done this. It cools just fine - we must have passed at least 10 vehicles on the way home on the side of the road with their hoods up on uphill climbs. These were probably cooling problems. Keep in mind, we had our AC on for 3/4s of the trip as we descended into the Phoenix Valley area with temps quickly reaching 100 degrees.

While driving on cruise control - I kept Sport Mode on for the most part. I found this to be the best mode for having the engine and transmission ready to tackle the climbs as well as to use the engine and transmission to slow down, in combination with the automatic braking it performs on cruise control - which made my life easier having to just monitor the systems using the adaptive cruise and keeping my brake controller app open on my phone watching pressure being applied accordingly. We also have a rear-view camera on the trailer to monitor incoming traffic about to pass us or when we are passing, knowing when to cut back into the lane.

I've decided to post this information to assist anybody else that has thought of, or has considered towing with the VR6 powered Atlas with the tow package. Our Atlas is 4Motion equipped, and although I believe it helped me a few instances when turning over a few buckled roads (I remember one vividly) - it powers all other wheels wonderfully as you can feel it, I don't think 4Motion is required to tow with a similar set up. Additionally, I am very aware of what the manuals indicate regarding weight-distributing hitches. If you are so inclined, as friendly and cautious as you probably might be, I don't need the towing police pulling me over in here. With that said - I could not imagine towing a similar set-up without a weigh-distributing hitch or anti-sway bar assisting the system. I felt that both were doing their job wonderfully as we were going down the road. In one instance, I had a tractor trailer come up to pass, while at the same time hitting the crest of a pass and felt the trailer shudder hard behind us with a massive gust of wind, but instantly freeze in place with the system kicking in - preventing any kind of wobble or sway. I felt incredibly safe the entire time. I will put it to you this way, if you are planning on towing anything over 4K, I personally would use a weight-distributing system coupled along with an anti-sway friction bar attached - preventing any dangerous events on the highway. In other words - I strongly recommend using a WDH - if I was the driver, along with a sway-control bar system if I am towing higher weights. It boggles me that the VW Atlas manuals recommend the opposite. It's possible that they think people may try and tow higher than 5K, with also potentially damaging the frame. I personally believe that if I am towing without WDH and an incorporated anti-sway friction bar at higher weights, I am putting myself and others on the road at risk. I also have no need to go 75-85 mph when towing a medium sized camper with my family in the vehicle while on vacation. And yes, I saw other people doing just that - which to me is getting into dangerous territory. But, maybe they understand something about their vehicles that I do not.

Also keep this in mind - other pickups and larger full sized SUVs typically have non-WDH and WDH ratings as a guide - usually increasing the available capacities by a few thousand lbs if using a WDH. I am not interested in trying to tow 7,000 or 8,000 lbs using the Atlas. I am just trying to tow at or below 5K (what my Atlas is rated for) safely. I have plenty of adjustment links available on the WDH (not risking binding) and I am not overly pushing the downward or upward forces on the receiver hitch - risking damage to the unibody frame. I've continued to inspect the integrity of the weld contact points of the hitch and surrounding tube and frame points. From what I can tell, Bosal GmbH incorporates a good towing system product during the VW manufacturing process.

In case you are curious, our camper is a 24 feet long, tandem axle, hard-sided trailer rated for a gross cargo-carrying capacity of 6K. Of course - we kept our weights just at about 5K - slightly less for the main and longer leg of the trip - and then I am sure over a bit with water while we set up driving inside the campground at very slow speeds over a very short distance, never exceeding the trailers capacity. The brand is a 2020 Coachmen Apex Nano (lightest for it's kind of trailer with features offered) - model 208BHS. We are a family of 4 to 5 mainly with a 60 lb dog.

While at the campsite - I even had someone ask me how the Atlas towed - and he himself mentioned that he felt that the Atlas is probably one of the most under-rated mid-sized family-tow vehicles out there. Given my experience so far, I could not agree more.

If you have any questions on the Atlas, the set up, airbags, or the trailer - feel free to reply. This site has assisted me quite a bit with my Atlas, and I am happy to pay it forward.

Full disclosure, I am not a towing expert nor am I a Volkswagen Atlas expert and I officially do not advise going against whatever recommendations and instructions your vehicle manual provides you. I am not liable for any kind of damage or catastrophes as a result of the use or application of any recommendations or advice that you may or may not find in my post. I do not represent any companies or entities mentioned in this or any other posts I may create. What I have stated in this paragraph supersedes any previous comments in this post or other posts that I create, in the past, now, or at any point in the future.

Once I get the rig to the CAT scales - loaded, I will update this post with more accurate weights. I may have to invest in a tongue weight scale.

ar
How much of a rise on the ball did you need to get your trailer level? You mentioned the horizontal distance, but not the vertical. Just curious. Trailer I'm trying to tow has a tongue height of 28.5 inches (from the top of the tongue) when the rig is level.
 

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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!
Hi, did you ever get rid of the air bags? i'm interested if not
thanks
-jim
 

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I recently purchased a camper whose dry eight is under 3000. The RV dealer installed this for me saying it is needed for safety



Now I find out that we are not supposed to add any equalizers based on the some of the response on this forum and the manual.

I have done about 2 trips with the camper roughly around 600 miles and now I worried about the next trip as it is uphill and off road.

Should I go for the Gen-Y hitch to go with factory installed OEM hitch?

 

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Thought I would share some recent towing experience with our camper. Camper weighs in at 4100 lbs without cargo or water (dry). We add approximately 600 lbs in cargo. This includes a 100 lb generator, 2 gallons of gasoline, a grill with it's own stand, 1 utility table, 5 chairs, tools, general RV supplies and tools, a portable septic tote (empty), fishing tackle, a few board games, a smaller side table, a propane tank (not including RVs tank), a portable propane fire pit, clothes, sheets, towels, pillows and some starter foods, juices, dog food and beer. The beer went in the trailer first as it's considered valuable cargo and cannot be thrown overboard in the event of an emergency. The mother-in-law had two bags, one larger one that seemed rather heavy for one week of camping. Not sure what was in that one. We mostly get our food supplies and the equivalent of two medium cases of water near campsites after unhooking. I still have to go to a CAT scale loaded up, but I know I am pretty close with the cargo weight. We are not exceeding 5K - however, I know I am over on tongue weight by a few lbs.

I am using a Curt weight distributing hitch (up to 6K on towing and 600 on tongue) with a Curt anti-sway friction bar and of course brake controller (Curt Echo Bluetooth). This is helping offset tongue weight. I've also installed Firestone helper airbags into the rear suspension coils (if you consider yourself handy and have a few tools laying around you can do this install yourself and save $$). I drilled the schrader valve access hole right into the steel-tow label plate next to the hitch (right side looking at hitch receiver). Perfect spot. If you want pics of the airbag install I'd be happy to add. These of course do not increase towing or tongue ratings, however, they improve the ride and rear squat with the load. We had 640 lbs of payload in the vehicle - that is all bodies, 3 Adults, two kids, and one dog. With the exception of a couple of bags of chips, some drinks, an iPad and maybe two purses - and some smaller tools with the VW first aid kit in the cubbies in the trunk, that was all we had in the vehicle. I deliberately kept it as empty as possible - with preferring to evenly distribute whatever weight we needed to bring in the trailer. This does not include tongue weight when hitched. We were probably right at or under payload with the hitch mounted. All tanks in the RV, with the exception of the water heater were empty. I added water to the trailer when we arrived to the campground and maxed the tank out - 50 gallons. That put me over the Atlas towing rating - by at least 100-300 lbs. However, we crept to our campsite from there, probably an eighth to one-quarter mile at about 10 mph once inside the campground. Even so, towed perfectly fine - however, I would not tow with 400 lbs of water in addition to our cargo - going any faster or on interstate/hwy roads at highway speeds - at least with the Atlas.

I've towed with this rig now for several hundred miles, steep hills - ascents and descents. The Atlas is extremely well powered and does not feel underpowered at all with this amount of weight - even at higher altitudes - at least as high as we have gone. In two or three instances, I can remember the Atlas hitting 4,000-4,300 RPMS. It still had tons of power left and could have gone faster uphills - but I didn't really push it at all. We kept average speeds of 60 mph (96 kph) with a max of 65 mph on a few occasions when building momentum heading towards a few hills. With our steepest and longest ascent, the oil temp hit 280 degrees for about 3 minutes, but then dropped down quick after we plateaued. This was reaching close to our destination - which was at 7,500 ft elevation, coming from Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it would slow down a bit depending on the grade we were climbing, and I would adjust the pedal back so as not to push the engine too much allowing for the Atlas to do more work at lower RPMs - which it is very good at. You can tell it has good amount of low-end torque power. With this said however, I could have easily kept the speeds higher, at the sacrifice of higher RPMS - which I was working to avoid. Again - the Atlas could have easily done this. It cools just fine - we must have passed at least 10 vehicles on the way home on the side of the road with their hoods up on uphill climbs. These were probably cooling problems. Keep in mind, we had our AC on for 3/4s of the trip as we descended into the Phoenix Valley area with temps quickly reaching 100 degrees.

While driving on cruise control - I kept Sport Mode on for the most part. I found this to be the best mode for having the engine and transmission ready to tackle the climbs as well as to use the engine and transmission to slow down, in combination with the automatic braking it performs on cruise control - which made my life easier having to just monitor the systems using the adaptive cruise and keeping my brake controller app open on my phone watching pressure being applied accordingly. We also have a rear-view camera on the trailer to monitor incoming traffic about to pass us or when we are passing, knowing when to cut back into the lane.

I've decided to post this information to assist anybody else that has thought of, or has considered towing with the VR6 powered Atlas with the tow package. Our Atlas is 4Motion equipped, and although I believe it helped me a few instances when turning over a few buckled roads (I remember one vividly) - it powers all other wheels wonderfully as you can feel it, I don't think 4Motion is required to tow with a similar set up. Additionally, I am very aware of what the manuals indicate regarding weight-distributing hitches. If you are so inclined, as friendly and cautious as you probably might be, I don't need the towing police pulling me over in here. With that said - I could not imagine towing a similar set-up without a weigh-distributing hitch or anti-sway bar assisting the system. I felt that both were doing their job wonderfully as we were going down the road. In one instance, I had a tractor trailer come up to pass, while at the same time hitting the crest of a pass and felt the trailer shudder hard behind us with a massive gust of wind, but instantly freeze in place with the system kicking in - preventing any kind of wobble or sway. I felt incredibly safe the entire time. I will put it to you this way, if you are planning on towing anything over 4K, I personally would use a weight-distributing system coupled along with an anti-sway friction bar attached - preventing any dangerous events on the highway. In other words - I strongly recommend using a WDH - if I was the driver, along with a sway-control bar system if I am towing higher weights. It boggles me that the VW Atlas manuals recommend the opposite. It's possible that they think people may try and tow higher than 5K, with also potentially damaging the frame. I personally believe that if I am towing without WDH and an incorporated anti-sway friction bar at higher weights, I am putting myself and others on the road at risk. I also have no need to go 75-85 mph when towing a medium sized camper with my family in the vehicle while on vacation. And yes, I saw other people doing just that - which to me is getting into dangerous territory. But, maybe they understand something about their vehicles that I do not.

Also keep this in mind - other pickups and larger full sized SUVs typically have non-WDH and WDH ratings as a guide - usually increasing the available capacities by a few thousand lbs if using a WDH. I am not interested in trying to tow 7,000 or 8,000 lbs using the Atlas. I am just trying to tow at or below 5K (what my Atlas is rated for) safely. I have plenty of adjustment links available on the WDH (not risking binding) and I am not overly pushing the downward or upward forces on the receiver hitch - risking damage to the unibody frame. I've continued to inspect the integrity of the weld contact points of the hitch and surrounding tube and frame points. From what I can tell, Bosal GmbH incorporates a good towing system product during the VW manufacturing process.

In case you are curious, our camper is a 24 feet long, tandem axle, hard-sided trailer rated for a gross cargo-carrying capacity of 6K. Of course - we kept our weights just at about 5K - slightly less for the main and longer leg of the trip - and then I am sure over a bit with water while we set up driving inside the campground at very slow speeds over a very short distance, never exceeding the trailers capacity. The brand is a 2020 Coachmen Apex Nano (lightest for it's kind of trailer with features offered) - model 208BHS. We are a family of 4 to 5 mainly with a 60 lb dog.

While at the campsite - I even had someone ask me how the Atlas towed - and he himself mentioned that he felt that the Atlas is probably one of the most under-rated mid-sized family-tow vehicles out there. Given my experience so far, I could not agree more.

If you have any questions on the Atlas, the set up, airbags, or the trailer - feel free to reply. This site has assisted me quite a bit with my Atlas, and I am happy to pay it forward.

Full disclosure, I am not a towing expert nor am I a Volkswagen Atlas expert and I officially do not advise going against whatever recommendations and instructions your vehicle manual provides you. I am not liable for any kind of damage or catastrophes as a result of the use or application of any recommendations or advice that you may or may not find in my post. I do not represent any companies or entities mentioned in this or any other posts I may create. What I have stated in this paragraph supersedes any previous comments in this post or other posts that I create, in the past, now, or at any point in the future.

Once I get the rig to the CAT scales - loaded, I will update this post with more accurate weights. I may have to invest in a tongue weight scale.

ar
Did you add the hitch or did it come with the car.
 

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2022 Volkswagen Atlas SEL-P R (Oryx White)
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Thought I would share some recent towing experience with our camper. Camper weighs in at 4100 lbs without cargo or water (dry). We add approximately 600 lbs in cargo. This includes a 100 lb generator, 2 gallons of gasoline, a grill with it's own stand, 1 utility table, 5 chairs, tools, general RV supplies and tools, a portable septic tote (empty), fishing tackle, a few board games, a smaller side table, a propane tank (not including RVs tank), a portable propane fire pit, clothes, sheets, towels, pillows and some starter foods, juices, dog food and beer. The beer went in the trailer first as it's considered valuable cargo and cannot be thrown overboard in the event of an emergency. The mother-in-law had two bags, one larger one that seemed rather heavy for one week of camping. Not sure what was in that one. We mostly get our food supplies and the equivalent of two medium cases of water near campsites after unhooking. I still have to go to a CAT scale loaded up, but I know I am pretty close with the cargo weight. We are not exceeding 5K - however, I know I am over on tongue weight by a few lbs.

I am using a Curt weight distributing hitch (up to 6K on towing and 600 on tongue) with a Curt anti-sway friction bar and of course brake controller (Curt Echo Bluetooth). This is helping offset tongue weight. I've also installed Firestone helper airbags into the rear suspension coils (if you consider yourself handy and have a few tools laying around you can do this install yourself and save $$). I drilled the schrader valve access hole right into the steel-tow label plate next to the hitch (right side looking at hitch receiver). Perfect spot. If you want pics of the airbag install I'd be happy to add. These of course do not increase towing or tongue ratings, however, they improve the ride and rear squat with the load. We had 640 lbs of payload in the vehicle - that is all bodies, 3 Adults, two kids, and one dog. With the exception of a couple of bags of chips, some drinks, an iPad and maybe two purses - and some smaller tools with the VW first aid kit in the cubbies in the trunk, that was all we had in the vehicle. I deliberately kept it as empty as possible - with preferring to evenly distribute whatever weight we needed to bring in the trailer. This does not include tongue weight when hitched. We were probably right at or under payload with the hitch mounted. All tanks in the RV, with the exception of the water heater were empty. I added water to the trailer when we arrived to the campground and maxed the tank out - 50 gallons. That put me over the Atlas towing rating - by at least 100-300 lbs. However, we crept to our campsite from there, probably an eighth to one-quarter mile at about 10 mph once inside the campground. Even so, towed perfectly fine - however, I would not tow with 400 lbs of water in addition to our cargo - going any faster or on interstate/hwy roads at highway speeds - at least with the Atlas.

I've towed with this rig now for several hundred miles, steep hills - ascents and descents. The Atlas is extremely well powered and does not feel underpowered at all with this amount of weight - even at higher altitudes - at least as high as we have gone. In two or three instances, I can remember the Atlas hitting 4,000-4,300 RPMS. It still had tons of power left and could have gone faster uphills - but I didn't really push it at all. We kept average speeds of 60 mph (96 kph) with a max of 65 mph on a few occasions when building momentum heading towards a few hills. With our steepest and longest ascent, the oil temp hit 280 degrees for about 3 minutes, but then dropped down quick after we plateaued. This was reaching close to our destination - which was at 7,500 ft elevation, coming from Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it would slow down a bit depending on the grade we were climbing, and I would adjust the pedal back so as not to push the engine too much allowing for the Atlas to do more work at lower RPMs - which it is very good at. You can tell it has good amount of low-end torque power. With this said however, I could have easily kept the speeds higher, at the sacrifice of higher RPMS - which I was working to avoid. Again - the Atlas could have easily done this. It cools just fine - we must have passed at least 10 vehicles on the way home on the side of the road with their hoods up on uphill climbs. These were probably cooling problems. Keep in mind, we had our AC on for 3/4s of the trip as we descended into the Phoenix Valley area with temps quickly reaching 100 degrees.

While driving on cruise control - I kept Sport Mode on for the most part. I found this to be the best mode for having the engine and transmission ready to tackle the climbs as well as to use the engine and transmission to slow down, in combination with the automatic braking it performs on cruise control - which made my life easier having to just monitor the systems using the adaptive cruise and keeping my brake controller app open on my phone watching pressure being applied accordingly. We also have a rear-view camera on the trailer to monitor incoming traffic about to pass us or when we are passing, knowing when to cut back into the lane.

I've decided to post this information to assist anybody else that has thought of, or has considered towing with the VR6 powered Atlas with the tow package. Our Atlas is 4Motion equipped, and although I believe it helped me a few instances when turning over a few buckled roads (I remember one vividly) - it powers all other wheels wonderfully as you can feel it, I don't think 4Motion is required to tow with a similar set up. Additionally, I am very aware of what the manuals indicate regarding weight-distributing hitches. If you are so inclined, as friendly and cautious as you probably might be, I don't need the towing police pulling me over in here. With that said - I could not imagine towing a similar set-up without a weigh-distributing hitch or anti-sway bar assisting the system. I felt that both were doing their job wonderfully as we were going down the road. In one instance, I had a tractor trailer come up to pass, while at the same time hitting the crest of a pass and felt the trailer shudder hard behind us with a massive gust of wind, but instantly freeze in place with the system kicking in - preventing any kind of wobble or sway. I felt incredibly safe the entire time. I will put it to you this way, if you are planning on towing anything over 4K, I personally would use a weight-distributing system coupled along with an anti-sway friction bar attached - preventing any dangerous events on the highway. In other words - I strongly recommend using a WDH - if I was the driver, along with a sway-control bar system if I am towing higher weights. It boggles me that the VW Atlas manuals recommend the opposite. It's possible that they think people may try and tow higher than 5K, with also potentially damaging the frame. I personally believe that if I am towing without WDH and an incorporated anti-sway friction bar at higher weights, I am putting myself and others on the road at risk. I also have no need to go 75-85 mph when towing a medium sized camper with my family in the vehicle while on vacation. And yes, I saw other people doing just that - which to me is getting into dangerous territory. But, maybe they understand something about their vehicles that I do not.

Also keep this in mind - other pickups and larger full sized SUVs typically have non-WDH and WDH ratings as a guide - usually increasing the available capacities by a few thousand lbs if using a WDH. I am not interested in trying to tow 7,000 or 8,000 lbs using the Atlas. I am just trying to tow at or below 5K (what my Atlas is rated for) safely. I have plenty of adjustment links available on the WDH (not risking binding) and I am not overly pushing the downward or upward forces on the receiver hitch - risking damage to the unibody frame. I've continued to inspect the integrity of the weld contact points of the hitch and surrounding tube and frame points. From what I can tell, Bosal GmbH incorporates a good towing system product during the VW manufacturing process.

In case you are curious, our camper is a 24 feet long, tandem axle, hard-sided trailer rated for a gross cargo-carrying capacity of 6K. Of course - we kept our weights just at about 5K - slightly less for the main and longer leg of the trip - and then I am sure over a bit with water while we set up driving inside the campground at very slow speeds over a very short distance, never exceeding the trailers capacity. The brand is a 2020 Coachmen Apex Nano (lightest for it's kind of trailer with features offered) - model 208BHS. We are a family of 4 to 5 mainly with a 60 lb dog.

While at the campsite - I even had someone ask me how the Atlas towed - and he himself mentioned that he felt that the Atlas is probably one of the most under-rated mid-sized family-tow vehicles out there. Given my experience so far, I could not agree more.

If you have any questions on the Atlas, the set up, airbags, or the trailer - feel free to reply. This site has assisted me quite a bit with my Atlas, and I am happy to pay it forward.

Full disclosure, I am not a towing expert nor am I a Volkswagen Atlas expert and I officially do not advise going against whatever recommendations and instructions your vehicle manual provides you. I am not liable for any kind of damage or catastrophes as a result of the use or application of any recommendations or advice that you may or may not find in my post. I do not represent any companies or entities mentioned in this or any other posts I may create. What I have stated in this paragraph supersedes any previous comments in this post or other posts that I create, in the past, now, or at any point in the future.

Once I get the rig to the CAT scales - loaded, I will update this post with more accurate weights. I may have to invest in a tongue weight scale.

ar
Thought I would share some recent towing experience with our camper. Camper weighs in at 4100 lbs without cargo or water (dry). We add approximately 600 lbs in cargo. This includes a 100 lb generator, 2 gallons of gasoline, a grill with it's own stand, 1 utility table, 5 chairs, tools, general RV supplies and tools, a portable septic tote (empty), fishing tackle, a few board games, a smaller side table, a propane tank (not including RVs tank), a portable propane fire pit, clothes, sheets, towels, pillows and some starter foods, juices, dog food and beer. The beer went in the trailer first as it's considered valuable cargo and cannot be thrown overboard in the event of an emergency. The mother-in-law had two bags, one larger one that seemed rather heavy for one week of camping. Not sure what was in that one. We mostly get our food supplies and the equivalent of two medium cases of water near campsites after unhooking. I still have to go to a CAT scale loaded up, but I know I am pretty close with the cargo weight. We are not exceeding 5K - however, I know I am over on tongue weight by a few lbs.

I am using a Curt weight distributing hitch (up to 6K on towing and 600 on tongue) with a Curt anti-sway friction bar and of course brake controller (Curt Echo Bluetooth). This is helping offset tongue weight. I've also installed Firestone helper airbags into the rear suspension coils (if you consider yourself handy and have a few tools laying around you can do this install yourself and save $$). I drilled the schrader valve access hole right into the steel-tow label plate next to the hitch (right side looking at hitch receiver). Perfect spot. If you want pics of the airbag install I'd be happy to add. These of course do not increase towing or tongue ratings, however, they improve the ride and rear squat with the load. We had 640 lbs of payload in the vehicle - that is all bodies, 3 Adults, two kids, and one dog. With the exception of a couple of bags of chips, some drinks, an iPad and maybe two purses - and some smaller tools with the VW first aid kit in the cubbies in the trunk, that was all we had in the vehicle. I deliberately kept it as empty as possible - with preferring to evenly distribute whatever weight we needed to bring in the trailer. This does not include tongue weight when hitched. We were probably right at or under payload with the hitch mounted. All tanks in the RV, with the exception of the water heater were empty. I added water to the trailer when we arrived to the campground and maxed the tank out - 50 gallons. That put me over the Atlas towing rating - by at least 100-300 lbs. However, we crept to our campsite from there, probably an eighth to one-quarter mile at about 10 mph once inside the campground. Even so, towed perfectly fine - however, I would not tow with 400 lbs of water in addition to our cargo - going any faster or on interstate/hwy roads at highway speeds - at least with the Atlas.

I've towed with this rig now for several hundred miles, steep hills - ascents and descents. The Atlas is extremely well powered and does not feel underpowered at all with this amount of weight - even at higher altitudes - at least as high as we have gone. In two or three instances, I can remember the Atlas hitting 4,000-4,300 RPMS. It still had tons of power left and could have gone faster uphills - but I didn't really push it at all. We kept average speeds of 60 mph (96 kph) with a max of 65 mph on a few occasions when building momentum heading towards a few hills. With our steepest and longest ascent, the oil temp hit 280 degrees for about 3 minutes, but then dropped down quick after we plateaued. This was reaching close to our destination - which was at 7,500 ft elevation, coming from Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it would slow down a bit depending on the grade we were climbing, and I would adjust the pedal back so as not to push the engine too much allowing for the Atlas to do more work at lower RPMs - which it is very good at. You can tell it has good amount of low-end torque power. With this said however, I could have easily kept the speeds higher, at the sacrifice of higher RPMS - which I was working to avoid. Again - the Atlas could have easily done this. It cools just fine - we must have passed at least 10 vehicles on the way home on the side of the road with their hoods up on uphill climbs. These were probably cooling problems. Keep in mind, we had our AC on for 3/4s of the trip as we descended into the Phoenix Valley area with temps quickly reaching 100 degrees.

While driving on cruise control - I kept Sport Mode on for the most part. I found this to be the best mode for having the engine and transmission ready to tackle the climbs as well as to use the engine and transmission to slow down, in combination with the automatic braking it performs on cruise control - which made my life easier having to just monitor the systems using the adaptive cruise and keeping my brake controller app open on my phone watching pressure being applied accordingly. We also have a rear-view camera on the trailer to monitor incoming traffic about to pass us or when we are passing, knowing when to cut back into the lane.

I've decided to post this information to assist anybody else that has thought of, or has considered towing with the VR6 powered Atlas with the tow package. Our Atlas is 4Motion equipped, and although I believe it helped me a few instances when turning over a few buckled roads (I remember one vividly) - it powers all other wheels wonderfully as you can feel it, I don't think 4Motion is required to tow with a similar set up. Additionally, I am very aware of what the manuals indicate regarding weight-distributing hitches. If you are so inclined, as friendly and cautious as you probably might be, I don't need the towing police pulling me over in here. With that said - I could not imagine towing a similar set-up without a weigh-distributing hitch or anti-sway bar assisting the system. I felt that both were doing their job wonderfully as we were going down the road. In one instance, I had a tractor trailer come up to pass, while at the same time hitting the crest of a pass and felt the trailer shudder hard behind us with a massive gust of wind, but instantly freeze in place with the system kicking in - preventing any kind of wobble or sway. I felt incredibly safe the entire time. I will put it to you this way, if you are planning on towing anything over 4K, I personally would use a weight-distributing system coupled along with an anti-sway friction bar attached - preventing any dangerous events on the highway. In other words - I strongly recommend using a WDH - if I was the driver, along with a sway-control bar system if I am towing higher weights. It boggles me that the VW Atlas manuals recommend the opposite. It's possible that they think people may try and tow higher than 5K, with also potentially damaging the frame. I personally believe that if I am towing without WDH and an incorporated anti-sway friction bar at higher weights, I am putting myself and others on the road at risk. I also have no need to go 75-85 mph when towing a medium sized camper with my family in the vehicle while on vacation. And yes, I saw other people doing just that - which to me is getting into dangerous territory. But, maybe they understand something about their vehicles that I do not.

Also keep this in mind - other pickups and larger full sized SUVs typically have non-WDH and WDH ratings as a guide - usually increasing the available capacities by a few thousand lbs if using a WDH. I am not interested in trying to tow 7,000 or 8,000 lbs using the Atlas. I am just trying to tow at or below 5K (what my Atlas is rated for) safely. I have plenty of adjustment links available on the WDH (not risking binding) and I am not overly pushing the downward or upward forces on the receiver hitch - risking damage to the unibody frame. I've continued to inspect the integrity of the weld contact points of the hitch and surrounding tube and frame points. From what I can tell, Bosal GmbH incorporates a good towing system product during the VW manufacturing process.

In case you are curious, our camper is a 24 feet long, tandem axle, hard-sided trailer rated for a gross cargo-carrying capacity of 6K. Of course - we kept our weights just at about 5K - slightly less for the main and longer leg of the trip - and then I am sure over a bit with water while we set up driving inside the campground at very slow speeds over a very short distance, never exceeding the trailers capacity. The brand is a 2020 Coachmen Apex Nano (lightest for it's kind of trailer with features offered) - model 208BHS. We are a family of 4 to 5 mainly with a 60 lb dog.

While at the campsite - I even had someone ask me how the Atlas towed - and he himself mentioned that he felt that the Atlas is probably one of the most under-rated mid-sized family-tow vehicles out there. Given my experience so far, I could not agree more.

If you have any questions on the Atlas, the set up, airbags, or the trailer - feel free to reply. This site has assisted me quite a bit with my Atlas, and I am happy to pay it forward.

Full disclosure, I am not a towing expert nor am I a Volkswagen Atlas expert and I officially do not advise going against whatever recommendations and instructions your vehicle manual provides you. I am not liable for any kind of damage or catastrophes as a result of the use or application of any recommendations or advice that you may or may not find in my post. I do not represent any companies or entities mentioned in this or any other posts I may create. What I have stated in this paragraph supersedes any previous comments in this post or other posts that I create, in the past, now, or at any point in the future.

Once I get the rig to the CAT scales - loaded, I will update this post with more accurate weights. I may have to invest in a tongue weight scale.

ar
Thought I would share some recent towing experience with our camper. Camper weighs in at 4100 lbs without cargo or water (dry). We add approximately 600 lbs in cargo. This includes a 100 lb generator, 2 gallons of gasoline, a grill with it's own stand, 1 utility table, 5 chairs, tools, general RV supplies and tools, a portable septic tote (empty), fishing tackle, a few board games, a smaller side table, a propane tank (not including RVs tank), a portable propane fire pit, clothes, sheets, towels, pillows and some starter foods, juices, dog food and beer. The beer went in the trailer first as it's considered valuable cargo and cannot be thrown overboard in the event of an emergency. The mother-in-law had two bags, one larger one that seemed rather heavy for one week of camping. Not sure what was in that one. We mostly get our food supplies and the equivalent of two medium cases of water near campsites after unhooking. I still have to go to a CAT scale loaded up, but I know I am pretty close with the cargo weight. We are not exceeding 5K - however, I know I am over on tongue weight by a few lbs.

I am using a Curt weight distributing hitch (up to 6K on towing and 600 on tongue) with a Curt anti-sway friction bar and of course brake controller (Curt Echo Bluetooth). This is helping offset tongue weight. I've also installed Firestone helper airbags into the rear suspension coils (if you consider yourself handy and have a few tools laying around you can do this install yourself and save $$). I drilled the schrader valve access hole right into the steel-tow label plate next to the hitch (right side looking at hitch receiver). Perfect spot. If you want pics of the airbag install I'd be happy to add. These of course do not increase towing or tongue ratings, however, they improve the ride and rear squat with the load. We had 640 lbs of payload in the vehicle - that is all bodies, 3 Adults, two kids, and one dog. With the exception of a couple of bags of chips, some drinks, an iPad and maybe two purses - and some smaller tools with the VW first aid kit in the cubbies in the trunk, that was all we had in the vehicle. I deliberately kept it as empty as possible - with preferring to evenly distribute whatever weight we needed to bring in the trailer. This does not include tongue weight when hitched. We were probably right at or under payload with the hitch mounted. All tanks in the RV, with the exception of the water heater were empty. I added water to the trailer when we arrived to the campground and maxed the tank out - 50 gallons. That put me over the Atlas towing rating - by at least 100-300 lbs. However, we crept to our campsite from there, probably an eighth to one-quarter mile at about 10 mph once inside the campground. Even so, towed perfectly fine - however, I would not tow with 400 lbs of water in addition to our cargo - going any faster or on interstate/hwy roads at highway speeds - at least with the Atlas.

I've towed with this rig now for several hundred miles, steep hills - ascents and descents. The Atlas is extremely well powered and does not feel underpowered at all with this amount of weight - even at higher altitudes - at least as high as we have gone. In two or three instances, I can remember the Atlas hitting 4,000-4,300 RPMS. It still had tons of power left and could have gone faster uphills - but I didn't really push it at all. We kept average speeds of 60 mph (96 kph) with a max of 65 mph on a few occasions when building momentum heading towards a few hills. With our steepest and longest ascent, the oil temp hit 280 degrees for about 3 minutes, but then dropped down quick after we plateaued. This was reaching close to our destination - which was at 7,500 ft elevation, coming from Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it would slow down a bit depending on the grade we were climbing, and I would adjust the pedal back so as not to push the engine too much allowing for the Atlas to do more work at lower RPMs - which it is very good at. You can tell it has good amount of low-end torque power. With this said however, I could have easily kept the speeds higher, at the sacrifice of higher RPMS - which I was working to avoid. Again - the Atlas could have easily done this. It cools just fine - we must have passed at least 10 vehicles on the way home on the side of the road with their hoods up on uphill climbs. These were probably cooling problems. Keep in mind, we had our AC on for 3/4s of the trip as we descended into the Phoenix Valley area with temps quickly reaching 100 degrees.

While driving on cruise control - I kept Sport Mode on for the most part. I found this to be the best mode for having the engine and transmission ready to tackle the climbs as well as to use the engine and transmission to slow down, in combination with the automatic braking it performs on cruise control - which made my life easier having to just monitor the systems using the adaptive cruise and keeping my brake controller app open on my phone watching pressure being applied accordingly. We also have a rear-view camera on the trailer to monitor incoming traffic about to pass us or when we are passing, knowing when to cut back into the lane.

I've decided to post this information to assist anybody else that has thought of, or has considered towing with the VR6 powered Atlas with the tow package. Our Atlas is 4Motion equipped, and although I believe it helped me a few instances when turning over a few buckled roads (I remember one vividly) - it powers all other wheels wonderfully as you can feel it, I don't think 4Motion is required to tow with a similar set up. Additionally, I am very aware of what the manuals indicate regarding weight-distributing hitches. If you are so inclined, as friendly and cautious as you probably might be, I don't need the towing police pulling me over in here. With that said - I could not imagine towing a similar set-up without a weigh-distributing hitch or anti-sway bar assisting the system. I felt that both were doing their job wonderfully as we were going down the road. In one instance, I had a tractor trailer come up to pass, while at the same time hitting the crest of a pass and felt the trailer shudder hard behind us with a massive gust of wind, but instantly freeze in place with the system kicking in - preventing any kind of wobble or sway. I felt incredibly safe the entire time. I will put it to you this way, if you are planning on towing anything over 4K, I personally would use a weight-distributing system coupled along with an anti-sway friction bar attached - preventing any dangerous events on the highway. In other words - I strongly recommend using a WDH - if I was the driver, along with a sway-control bar system if I am towing higher weights. It boggles me that the VW Atlas manuals recommend the opposite. It's possible that they think people may try and tow higher than 5K, with also potentially damaging the frame. I personally believe that if I am towing without WDH and an incorporated anti-sway friction bar at higher weights, I am putting myself and others on the road at risk. I also have no need to go 75-85 mph when towing a medium sized camper with my family in the vehicle while on vacation. And yes, I saw other people doing just that - which to me is getting into dangerous territory. But, maybe they understand something about their vehicles that I do not.

Also keep this in mind - other pickups and larger full sized SUVs typically have non-WDH and WDH ratings as a guide - usually increasing the available capacities by a few thousand lbs if using a WDH. I am not interested in trying to tow 7,000 or 8,000 lbs using the Atlas. I am just trying to tow at or below 5K (what my Atlas is rated for) safely. I have plenty of adjustment links available on the WDH (not risking binding) and I am not overly pushing the downward or upward forces on the receiver hitch - risking damage to the unibody frame. I've continued to inspect the integrity of the weld contact points of the hitch and surrounding tube and frame points. From what I can tell, Bosal GmbH incorporates a good towing system product during the VW manufacturing process.

In case you are curious, our camper is a 24 feet long, tandem axle, hard-sided trailer rated for a gross cargo-carrying capacity of 6K. Of course - we kept our weights just at about 5K - slightly less for the main and longer leg of the trip - and then I am sure over a bit with water while we set up driving inside the campground at very slow speeds over a very short distance, never exceeding the trailers capacity. The brand is a 2020 Coachmen Apex Nano (lightest for it's kind of trailer with features offered) - model 208BHS. We are a family of 4 to 5 mainly with a 60 lb dog.

While at the campsite - I even had someone ask me how the Atlas towed - and he himself mentioned that he felt that the Atlas is probably one of the most under-rated mid-sized family-tow vehicles out there. Given my experience so far, I could not agree more.

If you have any questions on the Atlas, the set up, airbags, or the trailer - feel free to reply. This site has assisted me quite a bit with my Atlas, and I am happy to pay it forward.

Full disclosure, I am not a towing expert nor am I a Volkswagen Atlas expert and I officially do not advise going against whatever recommendations and instructions your vehicle manual provides you. I am not liable for any kind of damage or catastrophes as a result of the use or application of any recommendations or advice that you may or may not find in my post. I do not represent any companies or entities mentioned in this or any other posts I may create. What I have stated in this paragraph supersedes any previous comments in this post or other posts that I create, in the past, now, or at any point in the future.

Once I get the rig to the CAT scales - loaded, I will update this post with more accurate weights. I may have to invest in a tongue weight scale.

ar
I appreciate the information and well thought out description of your experiences! Had to laugh …”the tow police” 🤣😂 . Again though, thank you for the wealth of info., very helpful.
 
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