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https://youtu.be/GS3GsvcOVW8

I made a Video of me hooking up a prodigy 3 brake controller using a plug n play wiring harness, I put the links to all the products installed in the description. Enjoy!

I haven't towed yet but seems like everything is operational.
Great video walk through, made setting it up a breeze. Used the same prodigy P3 brake controller and wiring harness.

I do have a question... when I shut the vehicle off, the brake controller doesn’t shut off.... is this normal? Or am I just not waiting long enough?

Don’t want to kill the battery while out camping!!
 

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Atlas HItch, 2018 SE without factory installed hitch

irhutch,

Did you ever find a solution? I am is the same boat. Bought a Atlas SE assuming that with an installed hitch I can tow 5,000 lbs. VW should be MUCH more clear on this. I essentially bought a massive vehicle that is kind or worthless to me.
Sorry I missed your question earlier. This is what I found out:


I have a 2018 Atlas without the factory installed 5,000 lbs. trailer hitch with the 3.6L engine and 4Motion. I went to my VW dealership and asked them to order the hitch for me and install it, they began the installation but called me and told me that representatives from the factory said no, that hitch could only be installed at the factory. The representative said there was additional bracing on the vehicles with the factory installed hitch and it would be a liability issue to install the hitch on my vehicle.

I looked around on the internet and asked people and got a lot of information on what these differences might be. I was told everything from oil coolers, to transmission coolers, cooling fans, alternators and louver delete. I doubted that there was a great deal of difference since the factory installed hitch is a 550 dollar option and the price of the hitch itself ate up most of that. I corresponded with one person who told me he took the hitch off of his wrecked Atlas for later use on another vehicle and did not see any additional bracing, there was no difference that he could find. If you look at both the 2K and 5 K hitches they look the same with the same mounting points, for all I know they are the same hitch but one has a plate that says 2,000 and the other 5,000 but I have not done a side by side comparison.

With all the conflicting information I wanted to get the right answer and wrote the executive offices of Volkswagen Corporation of America and finally got an answer. I was told that aside from the hitch itself and the fact that the 5K factory hitch was only put on the vehicles with 3.6 L motor not the 2.0 there were 3 differences.

1. Lower louver delete to allow for better air flow.
2. Alternator 150 to 180 amp.
3. Cooling fan motor.

The louver may not be much of an issue, depending on the weight of your trailer you might not have a problem with airflow and if you do I imagine you could take them off yourself. I would need to go back and look but I think the 2019 with factory hitch has the louvers if so perhaps later they determined that the fan change was enough and went back to the louvers which are a good feature for people living in cold climates.

The alternator I am guessing was changed to accommodate the charging of trailer batteries for people pulling campers. Though I guess if the sizing was tight the different fans might draw more power but it seems more likely that the bigger alternator was to accommodate the electro hydraulic trailer brakes.

Not being a trusting person and having been fed so much BS over the differences I checked the fans myself. I checked the part numbers on my Atlas fans and consulted the parts catalog, mine are different. I did a parts search for that and there are 4 motors listed 2 right side motors and 2 left side motors, same part number with a different designation at the end, 2 were listed for an atlas without factory tow option and 2 were listed for an Atlas with the tow option. They cost $321 each.

They said nothing about any additional bracing.

After studying the manual and combined vehicle and trailer weight restrictions I would never tow a 5,000 lbs trailer with my Atlas but it should have no problem exceeding the 2,000 lbs if properly equipped. I do have a motorcycle trailer that when loaded is just under 2,000 lbs. and I do entertain thoughts of a small camper in the 2,500 to 3,200 range. I had the wiring module installed to accommodate hitch without trailer brakes and intend to installing the 5,000 hitch. Should I buy a trailer that weighs over 2,000 lbs. I will reassess things. I don't want to go to the expense but it might be cheaper to buy the fans, alternator, delete the louvers than buy a new vehicle. In the case of a 2,500 lbs pop up camper you might need do nothing but change the hitch to the 5K one, with that small air stream they show an atlas pulling in the brochure you probably need to do all those things.

The wise thing for me to have done would have been not to be an early adopter and not bought the Atlas, had I waited I would have had no problem finding a SE with the factory installed 5K hitch. When I bought mine you had to get the model with all the options to get one with the hitch. VW also should have been crystal clear about the towing capabilities at purchase, you should not have to comb through a thick owners manual to find the answers.

I have my 5K factory hitch and now I need to figure out where all the bumper fasteners are so I can remove it to install the hitch.

Another thing, it is very expensive to go with an after market factory hitch, the hitches are more expensive than the after market ones, the install kit is more expensive, the lower valance that has to be replaced with one that has a hole in it for the hitch retails for $360 for my vehicle. They have one for $195 but that is for vehicles with the black painted trim, most have the textured black plastic trim. It would make more sense to go with the EcoHitch® , it has the same ratings as the 5K factory hitch and only requires a small cut in the bottom of the valance, it won't change ground clearance at the rear and has a neat appearance. I just happen to like the way the factory hitch looks and attaches and am willing to pay more for it.
 

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Sorry I missed your question earlier. This is what I found out:


I have a 2018 Atlas without the factory installed 5,000 lbs. trailer hitch with the 3.6L engine and 4Motion. I went to my VW dealership and asked them to order the hitch for me and install it, they began the installation but called me and told me that representatives from the factory said no, that hitch could only be installed at the factory. The representative said there was additional bracing on the vehicles with the factory installed hitch and it would be a liability issue to install the hitch on my vehicle.

I looked around on the internet and asked people and got a lot of information on what these differences might be. I was told everything from oil coolers, to transmission coolers, cooling fans, alternators and louver delete. I doubted that there was a great deal of difference since the factory installed hitch is a 550 dollar option and the price of the hitch itself ate up most of that. I corresponded with one person who told me he took the hitch off of his wrecked Atlas for later use on another vehicle and did not see any additional bracing, there was no difference that he could find. If you look at both the 2K and 5 K hitches they look the same with the same mounting points, for all I know they are the same hitch but one has a plate that says 2,000 and the other 5,000 but I have not done a side by side comparison.

With all the conflicting information I wanted to get the right answer and wrote the executive offices of Volkswagen Corporation of America and finally got an answer. I was told that aside from the hitch itself and the fact that the 5K factory hitch was only put on the vehicles with 3.6 L motor not the 2.0 there were 3 differences.

1. Lower louver delete to allow for better air flow.
2. Alternator 150 to 180 amp.
3. Cooling fan motor.

The louver may not be much of an issue, depending on the weight of your trailer you might not have a problem with airflow and if you do I imagine you could take them off yourself. I would need to go back and look but I think the 2019 with factory hitch has the louvers if so perhaps later they determined that the fan change was enough and went back to the louvers which are a good feature for people living in cold climates.

The alternator I am guessing was changed to accommodate the charging of trailer batteries for people pulling campers. Though I guess if the sizing was tight the different fans might draw more power but it seems more likely that the bigger alternator was to accommodate the electro hydraulic trailer brakes.

Not being a trusting person and having been fed so much BS over the differences I checked the fans myself. I checked the part numbers on my Atlas fans and consulted the parts catalog, mine are different. I did a parts search for that and there are 4 motors listed 2 right side motors and 2 left side motors, same part number with a different designation at the end, 2 were listed for an atlas without factory tow option and 2 were listed for an Atlas with the tow option. They cost $321 each.

They said nothing about any additional bracing.

After studying the manual and combined vehicle and trailer weight restrictions I would never tow a 5,000 lbs trailer with my Atlas but it should have no problem exceeding the 2,000 lbs if properly equipped. I do have a motorcycle trailer that when loaded is just under 2,000 lbs. and I do entertain thoughts of a small camper in the 2,500 to 3,200 range. I had the wiring module installed to accommodate hitch without trailer brakes and intend to installing the 5,000 hitch. Should I buy a trailer that weighs over 2,000 lbs. I will reassess things. I don't want to go to the expense but it might be cheaper to buy the fans, alternator, delete the louvers than buy a new vehicle. In the case of a 2,500 lbs pop up camper you might need do nothing but change the hitch to the 5K one, with that small air stream they show an atlas pulling in the brochure you probably need to do all those things.

The wise thing for me to have done would have been not to be an early adopter and not bought the Atlas, had I waited I would have had no problem finding a SE with the factory installed 5K hitch. When I bought mine you had to get the model with all the options to get one with the hitch. VW also should have been crystal clear about the towing capabilities at purchase, you should not have to comb through a thick owners manual to find the answers.

I have my 5K factory hitch and now I need to figure out where all the bumper fasteners are so I can remove it to install the hitch.

Another thing, it is very expensive to go with an after market factory hitch, the hitches are more expensive than the after market ones, the install kit is more expensive, the lower valance that has to be replaced with one that has a hole in it for the hitch retails for $360 for my vehicle. They have one for $195 but that is for vehicles with the black painted trim, most have the textured black plastic trim. It would make more sense to go with the EcoHitch® , it has the same ratings as the 5K factory hitch and only requires a small cut in the bottom of the valance, it won't change ground clearance at the rear and has a neat appearance. I just happen to like the way the factory hitch looks and attaches and am willing to pay more for it.
I just had the factory hitch installed by a dealer. I ordered the hitch receiver, bolts and clips and wiring harness with 4 pole connector. I had initially told them to just cut out the hole on the lower valance but after looking at the Altas' on the lot with the tow package, they looked a lot cleaner to me so I decided to order the rear valance with the cutout already on it. I am glad I did. They were able to match online pricing for all the parts and charged me $400 for installation. The other thing that I liked about it was that all these parts are now covered under the factory warranty, versus myself doing the install and no coverage for these parts.


I will be doing my first tow next Monday with a small trailer and about 15 bags of manure. That is pretty much the extent of my towing necessities with the Atlas.
 
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