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18 Posts
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.
Unfortunately I did not get a chance to retake measurements this weekend when towing our Mantis but here is a picture.

Tire Wheel Land vehicle Car Vehicle

28 Posts
Hi All!
My family and I have a 2019 Atlas and we’re in the process of buying a travel trailer. With all the weight requirements considered we are ready to make the move, and have been advised to purchase a WD hitch however, VW advises in the manual to “Never” use a WD hitch with the vehicle. Now we’re stuck.
I have no experience with towing and owning a travel trailer. Can anyone provide recommendations for an alternative? My main concern is sway. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there.
Thanks all!
Just joined because I bought a 2019 SEL 4M Premium with 30,000 miles and 4 years/unlimited m. warranty total. My experience comes from towing trailers with a 6 cyl. 2007 4Runner SR5 (5,000 lbs. tow cap.) for 15 years and probably 10,000 miles total The trailers actual fully loaded weight were from 4,800 to 6,100 lbs. and none were equipped with WD or SC. Speeds were up to around 70 MPH. I did put on AirLifts in the rear springs with individual control mostly to keep it level so the lights were pointing to were they were suppose to. The individual control was so one side load (cornering, etc.) will not affect the other. I NEVER ENCOUNTERED UNCONTROLLABLE SWAY but when I did consistently all I needed to do was to stop and re-arrange the weight towards the front of the trailer . That's it. Air Lift does not list parts for the 2019 Atlas but Firestone does. Leveling the lights on the Atlas is almost mandatory because of the extremely bright LED's.

6 Posts
Yep so after some serious digging and contacting a million people it’s looking like I will have to purchase rear air bags and anti sway bars. Everyone that knows anything about vehicles and the VW atlas has said that you absolutely can NOT tow anything with a WD hitch. It will void your warranty, can damage your vehicle, and even worse, cause a major accident and harm your most precious cargo - your family, and not to mention the safety of others on the road. Im glad that there are other options and we can still go through with the purchase of this trailer.
Thanks for your feedback guys.
Can you tow with a WDH hitch but not use the WD bars?

13 Posts
I am right there with you.
I have a 4,000 lb trailer and it drives really nice with the weight distribution hitch (WDH).
I too read in the owners manual not to use a WDH, I think the issue is since the Atlas frame is a "unibody" construction,
no chassis the body sits on, you run the risk of bending your car frame if you use a WDH.

I did meet another Atlas owner at the dump station and he had a WDH on his trailer and I was asking him about it and he said he had not had any issues.

I think the underlying issue is despite the VW ads that the Atlas is a tow vehicle, it really is not.

I think pulling a single axle feather weight would be ok or get a pop up tent trailer.
Something with a dry weight of 2500 lbs +/-

I have been kicking around getting "air bags" for the rear axles, but have not found anything at the moment.

Then I have been looking at getting a truck to tow with....
You definitely should not use the weight distribution hitch on a Volkswagen it has a unibody it will bend the frame all you need is a sway bar
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