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I purchased a 2019 Atlas with the factory tow package with the intention of towing a travel trailer. Looking at the weight ratings, I purchased a Coleman LT17B. It weighs in at 3,000 lbs dry and has a tongue weight just under 500 lbs. I took my trailer camping around a dozen times the year I purchased it as well as taking it on a 500 mile trip. I used the standard hitch that came with my Atlas. The only modification I made was adding an electronic brake controller and I used a hitch tightener. I never had an issues with sway or porpoising. I was concerned about sway, especially in Oklahoma winds, but never had that issue. The trailer does squat the rear of the Atlas somewhat, but there were no issues with the suspension nor any safety issues while towing. The Atlas was able to tow my trailer with no problems or issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I purchased a 2019 Atlas with the factory tow package with the intention of towing a travel trailer. Looking at the weight ratings, I purchased a Coleman LT17B. It weighs in at 3,000 lbs dry and has a tongue weight just under 500 lbs. I took my trailer camping around a dozen times the year I purchased it as well as taking it on a 500 mile trip. I used the standard hitch that came with my Atlas. The only modification I made was adding an electronic brake controller and I used a hitch tightener. I never had an issues with sway or porpoising. I was concerned about sway, especially in Oklahoma winds, but never had that issue. The trailer does squat the rear of the Atlas somewhat, but there were no issues with the suspension nor any safety issues while towing. The Atlas was able to tow my trailer with no problems or issues.
Thank you this is great info. So you did not use a weight distribution hitch? What’s the gross weight of your trailer?
 

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Let me jump in....We bought an Atlas V 6 last year and towed a 4000k - ish trailer (loaded weight) with zero problems...except we SHOULD have gotten 4Motion...so we sold THAT Atlas (to a family member and they love it!) and got a 4 wheel drive Atlas...I went through the same scenario of "what to do" about using a WDH on our car. There are three schools of thought about this: (1) Ignore the recommendation but stay within maximum weight - and DO use a WDH if desired... (2) follow the weight guidelines and use ONLY a non-weight distribution hitch (the factory recommendation) or (3) use an aftermarket hitch WITH WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION and ignore the factory provided hitch.

I have yet to find any validation of any of these three options...

I have asked this forum and my dealer, and many other "experts" if they have EVER known of anyone who had suffered a claim loss - or even had a claim - over the results of using a weight distribution hitch on an Atlas?

Supposedly, towing WITH a weight distribution hitch can twist the unibody of the vehicle. Supposedly.

No reports...Crickets...I have asked dealers, parts managers, insurance people....everybody... NO reports of problems arising from using - or not using - any weight distribution hitch. (Some people have speculated that VW has the warning vis-a-vis WDH to avoid more litigation...a topic that VW-USA has reason to fear.)

In our case, we have both types of hitches but have only used the non- weight distribution hitch...again out of fear founded or unfounded of having a claim denial. We sold our FWD Atlas and bought a 4WD version of the exact same vehicle because we want extra traction in slippery conditions such has hilly, wet grass...ask me how we learned that lesson! Our next camper will be about the same size, but will have a slide out for a little extra room. Only pull (over 2000 lbs) with a V6, period.

I hope this helps and welcome to this Forum!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Let me jump in....We bought an Atlas V 6 last year and towed a 4000k - ish trailer (loaded weight) with zero problems...except we SHOULD have gotten 4Motion...so we sold THAT Atlas (to a family member and they love it!) and got a 4 wheel drive Atlas...I went through the same scenario of "what to do" about using a WDH on our car. There are three schools of thought about this: (1) Ignore the recommendation but stay within maximum weight - and DO use a WDH if desired... (2) follow the weight guidelines and use ONLY a non-weight distribution hitch (the factory recommendation) or (3) use an aftermarket hitch WITH WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION and ignore the factory provided hitch.

I have yet to find any validation of any of these three options...

I have asked this forum and my dealer, and many other "experts" if they have EVER known of anyone who had suffered a claim loss - or even had a claim - over the results of using a weight distribution hitch on an Atlas?

Supposedly, towing WITH a weight distribution hitch can twist the unibody of the vehicle. Supposedly.

No reports...Crickets...I have asked dealers, parts managers, insurance people....everybody... NO reports of problems arising from using - or not using - any weight distribution hitch. (Some people have speculated that VW has the warning vis-a-vis WDH to avoid more litigation...a topic that VW-USA has reason to fear.)

In our case, we have both types of hitches but have only used the non- weight distribution hitch...again out of fear founded or unfounded of having a claim denial. We sold our FWD Atlas and bought a 4WD version of the exact same vehicle because we want extra traction in slippery conditions such has hilly, wet grass...ask me how we learned that lesson! Our next camper will be about the same size, but will have a slide out for a little extra room. Only pull (over 2000 lbs) with a V6, period.

I hope this helps and welcome to this Forum!
Let me jump in....We bought an Atlas V 6 last year and towed a 4000k - ish trailer (loaded weight) with zero problems...except we SHOULD have gotten 4Motion...so we sold THAT Atlas (to a family member and they love it!) and got a 4 wheel drive Atlas...I went through the same scenario of "what to do" about using a WDH on our car. There are three schools of thought about this: (1) Ignore the recommendation but stay within maximum weight - and DO use a WDH if desired... (2) follow the weight guidelines and use ONLY a non-weight distribution hitch (the factory recommendation) or (3) use an aftermarket hitch WITH WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION and ignore the factory provided hitch.

I have yet to find any validation of any of these three options...

I have asked this forum and my dealer, and many other "experts" if they have EVER known of anyone who had suffered a claim loss - or even had a claim - over the results of using a weight distribution hitch on an Atlas?

Supposedly, towing WITH a weight distribution hitch can twist the unibody of the vehicle. Supposedly.

No reports...Crickets...I have asked dealers, parts managers, insurance people....everybody... NO reports of problems arising from using - or not using - any weight distribution hitch. (Some people have speculated that VW has the warning vis-a-vis WDH to avoid more litigation...a topic that VW-USA has reason to fear.)

In our case, we have both types of hitches but have only used the non- weight distribution hitch...again out of fear founded or unfounded of having a claim denial. We sold our FWD Atlas and bought a 4WD version of the exact same vehicle because we want extra traction in slippery conditions such has hilly, wet grass...ask me how we learned that lesson! Our next camper will be about the same size, but will have a slide out for a little extra room. Only pull (over 2000 lbs) with a V6, period.

I hope this helps and welcome to this Forum!
Thank you for your response. I agree with all you have stated. VW has provided no response or follow up. I have a V6 4 motion as well. When you were towing the 4000lb trailer with your previous Atlas, did you use a WD hitch? If not how did you find the way the Atlas was positioned? Did you find it squatting much?

Using a WD hitch with this vehicle is just not a risk I am willing to take. Regardless of whichever way you try to get around it, your warranty will be voided. People say to install an after market hitch but then the manual also states that this significantly decreases the towing capacity. Additionally, installing an after market hitch does not change the amount of weight that is distributed with the WD hitch. This does not solve the problem….

My trailer dealer is going to install a different hitch ball and some sway control to avoid using the WD hitch but we’re concerned about the weight on the ball. Won’t know till next week.

I’m confused about the last thing you said….

“Only pull (over 2000 lbs) with a V6, period.”

what do you mean by this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Thank you for your response. I agree with all you have stated. VW has provided no response or follow up. I have a V6 4 motion as well. When you were towing the 4000lb trailer with your previous Atlas, did you use a WD hitch? If not how did you find the way the Atlas was positioned? Did you find it squatting much?

Using a WD hitch with this vehicle is just not a risk I am willing to take. Regardless of whichever way you try to get around it, your warranty will be voided. People say to install an after market hitch but then the manual also states that this significantly decreases the towing capacity. Additionally, installing an after market hitch does not change the amount of weight that is distributed with the WD hitch. This does not solve the problem….

My trailer dealer is going to install a different hitch ball and some sway control to avoid using the WD hitch but we’re concerned about the weight on the ball. Won’t know till next week.

I’m confused about the last thing you said….

“Only pull (over 2000 lbs) with a V6, period.”

what do you mean by this?
Never mind….haha…after re-reading this I see what you mean now sorry haha
 

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Ahhh so **** frustrating. We purchased this vehicle specifically because we eventually wanted to get a travel trailer. VW can’t even give me an explanation as to what my options are. Not happy about this at all.
We considered towing our dry weight 3k lbs habitat trailer with a wdh but ultimately decided against it after a brief online conversation with MrTruck on YouTube. On stock suspension I had a squat approaching 2.5” in the rear and 1” lift up front, which is not good as our tounge weight is close to 475 lbs. A suspension lift kit got our squat to 1.5” in the rear, and .5” lift front. This helped A LOT with better front traction and breaking.

Overall our 2018 4motion Atlas does fine with towing our trailer through out the Mid Atlantic, and our MPG isn’t too bad at around 11-13 MPGs.

The picture below is when we had the stock suspension and tires.
 

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Thank you this is great info. So you did not use a weight distribution hitch? What’s the gross weight of your trailer?
I agree, but have found it is better to not put weight in the rear of the Atlas when towing, for example I take a case of water but put it on the floor. Of course with a dozen kids that doesn't always work. What I am suggesting it always better to give extra thought to what you bring and where is will go. Many of us over load, just because you can doesn't mean you should. Have fun!
 

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We considered towing our dry weight 3k lbs habitat trailer with a wdh but ultimately decided against it after a brief online conversation with MrTruck on YouTube. On stock suspension I had a squat approaching 2.5” in the rear and 1” lift up front, which is not good as our tounge weight is close to 475 lbs. A suspension lift kit got our squat to 1.5” in the rear, and .5” lift front. This helped A LOT with better front traction and breaking.

Overall our 2018 4motion Atlas does fine with towing our trailer through out the Mid Atlantic, and our MPG isn’t too bad at around 11-13 MPGs.

The picture below is when we had the stock suspension and tires.
I also have a TAXA Mantis, but haven't towed it with my Atlas yet. I did install airbags in the rear coils, however. I will eventually get around to towing with it later this summer and will test the squat and lift accordingly, including the tongue weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Update:
Trailer dealership installed a hitch and sway control set up. Just got home from a weekend away and towing without a weight distribution hitch was a breeze. While adjusting the sway control will take some time to figure out what’s best, I am very comfortable with this set up.
Squat isn’t so bad, we compared with a WD hitch and without and to be quite honest I didn’t see much of a difference visually.
Everything went well, however I will have some air bags installed just to make me feel better.
 

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Update:
Trailer dealership installed a hitch and sway control set up. Just got home from a weekend away and towing without a weight distribution hitch was a breeze. While adjusting the sway control will take some time to figure out what’s best, I am very comfortable with this set up.
Squat isn’t so bad, we compared with a WD hitch and without and to be quite honest I didn’t see much of a difference visually.
Everything went well, however I will have some air bags installed just to make me feel better.
Awesome, I knew there would be a way to do it without that other hitch. Awesome you found a good alternative!
 

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Well, I have run into a new problem....I sold my 2021 Atlas (to our son and his family) And bought a new 2022 Atlas, but this time with 4-Motion. Can't find any Firestone air-bags (anti-squat inflatable bags) that fit the 4-wheel drive model.

Does anyone know a solution to this??
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Well, I have run into a new problem....I sold my 2021 Atlas (to our son and his family) And bought a new 2022 Atlas, but this time with 4-Motion. Can't find any Firestone air-bags (anti-squat inflatable bags) that fit the 4-wheel drive model.

Does anyone know a solution to this??
What a nightmare eh? So frustrating. I just found these ones for mine…..wonder if they’d work for yours? Or if this place can help you?
Automotive tire Liquid Font Line Cylinder
 

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Dropping my experience here. I'm a travel nurse and I own an Atlas Cross Sport 2WD. I tow an R-Pod 192 which weighs around 4100 lbs loaded with a tongue weight of 485 lbs. I'm from Texas and traveled all the way around the us with my travel trailer and my atlas. The first few times I towed without the airbags and I can tell you that you need the airbags in the back. It really helps with the bounciness and maybe an inch of rear tire clearance. I don't have a WDH or sway bars and we have towed to and from Flagstaff many times which is a 5 or 6 thousand foot climb from other parts in Arizona with 6 degree inclines . I've never experienced over heating. Yeah, it's not a diesel or a hemi but it pulls the trailer well.
Cloud Sky Tire Wheel Vehicle

Tire Wheel Sky Car Vehicle

Sky Vehicle Car Tire Vehicle registration plate
 

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One thing to note you really have to have the factory installed hitch for the full 5k tow weight. Apart from the hitch the car comes with a bigger fan, and higher amperage alternator as well as the transmission cooler.
 

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I also have a TAXA Mantis, but haven't towed it with my Atlas yet. I did install airbags in the rear coils, however. I will eventually get around to towing with it later this summer and will test the squat and lift accordingly, including the tongue weight.
Previously I was using a uhaul 1” rise hitch ball but it was too low for the Mantis. I replaced it with a weightsafe adjustable hitch not knowing how much rise I would need after my lift. It turned out I no longer need any rise but it is nice to have the tounge weight scale under the ball mount.

I will be taking out the Mantis to Pennsylvania next week and will capture some pictures of my setup.


Since it is rarely mentioned I will reiterate my initial experience towing with the Atlas before I installed a spring lift and beefy tires.

I expected the Atlas to squat but what I was not prepared for was that the front of the car rises when hooked to a semi heavy trailer. We experienced several times were our 4motion Atlas struggled to get front traction when on a slight incline at slow speeds, thus putting all the stress on the rear. When braking it felt like the rear of the Atlas was being pushed downwards. The ride also felt bouncy as expected. We also noticed that the headlights shinned upwards, or away from the road. Luckily these issues were mitigated by a few modifications in the suspension.
 

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As promised, I did some squat/rise measurements with my otherwise empty and completely unladen Atlas.

Tongue weight of the Mantis, loaded: 475lbs.

I measured from the ground to the center of the wheel arch before, after, and with airbags.

No trailer:
Front: 32 3/4"
Rear: 33 3/4"

With trailer (no airbags):
Front: 33 9/16" (0.8125" lift)
Rear: 32 3/16" (1.5625" squat)

With trailer (airbags at 30psi):
Front: 33 1/2" (0.75" lift)
Rear: 32 7/16" (1.3125" squat)

As you can see, the airbag doesn't visually change the squat much, but I believe that the stiffness will be increased dramatically (haven't towed with it yet).

As it turns out, I just came into possession of a 2005 Ford F-150 CrewCab Lariat with a 30 gallon tank that I will likely be using to tow my trailer instead of the Atlas. Similar 500lb tongue weight limitation, but actually certified to work with a (probably unnecessary) WDH and towing capacity of 8700lbs. The Atlas' small fuel tank is my chief complaint—I just can't tow very far between refills, and if you're in the middle of nowhere in the desert country of Utah, a 150 mile range just doesn't cut it. Plus, towing this rig with the Atlas gets me 12mpg to 13mpg at best, with 11mpg being altogether too common. The Ford should match or beat that (potentially getting 14mpg while towing) but with nearly 2x the range because of the bigger fuel tank.

I want to love towing with the Atlas as much as I love driving it, but the diminished range just makes that nearly impossible for me.
 
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