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Subject Topic: Towing caravan with VW Transporter Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by Median04/9/2021 at 6:43pm
Outfit:  Bailey Ranger 510 4     Location:  None Entered
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Hi all,

thinking about getting a VW Transporter as a daily vehicle, not a camper conversion, however five seats and a massive boot to take the increasing amount of gear that my family appears to need to go on holiday. Also, the kids appear to be taken with the idea of 'Van Life', and I must say that there is a certain appeal!

The question is how well do they tow? We have a single axle Sprite Major 6 (1435 MTPLM) which it will need to haul all over the place and it is important that it is a capable tow vehicle. The weight isn't an issue and the engines on the later models appear to have enough punch, and can be remapped if required.

I've done the usual searches and the feedback is mixed. From they are excellent and are never a problem, to being skittish if unladen. It's a lot of money so will need to be spot on before I give up my hard-earned cash.

Any UKCampsite wisdom out there?

Message posted by marg604/9/2021 at 8:13pm
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the main issue you will have is, do you have a pre 1997 licence? or have you passed a towing test? if the answer is yes then your ok, but if you havent then you will be exceeding 3500kgs max licence allowance by approx kgs

Message posted by Median via mobile 04/9/2021 at 11:30pm
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Fortunately I am old and have a licence from before 1997.

So many Transporters on the road, someone must be towing too??

Message posted by Median09/9/2021 at 10:19pm
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I suppose the lack of responses answers my question - people just don't tow with them!

Any other recommendations for similar vehicles, or at least ones with big boots? I have a Passat Estate at the moment so it would need to be bigger that or there's no point getting a new car.

Message posted by Broadside via mobile 10/9/2021 at 8:58am
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VW Transporters are very capable vehicles and people obviously do tow with them from heavy utility and plant trailers through to twin axle caravans. I have a Transporter LWB T32 (3.2 tonne gross weight) and know a lot of other Transporter owners, I have never heard the point about them being skittish.

There is an excellent website called T6 Forum where you will find a wealth of info about Transporters, that would be a much better place to ask your question, I know there are a number of people on there who tow twin axle caravans regularly.

Transporters are quite amazing load luggers but for towing you should consider the 150ps engine or upwards as they are easily mappable with a 6 speed or DSG gearbox which can handle the additional torque. The lower output 104ps engines and below have a 5 speed gearbox which can be problematic and the turbos have been known to fail after a remap so I would avoid that. The 150ps when remapped is surprisingly powerful.

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Message posted by bessie500 via mobile 10/9/2021 at 8:59am
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Median I think the lack of response here is due to the age range of members,
I’ve seen plenty of vans on sites so I presume they must be quite good.
If my kids were young again I wouldn’t hesitate to look at a van with rear seats, as you pointed out they are great for lugging everything including the kitchen sink.
I was at clumber park over bank holiday and a guy rocked up with a new transit sport van. In the back he had a complete workshop with 2 very expensive electric mountain bikes

Bessie

Message posted by bofs via mobile 10/9/2021 at 10:18am
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A Kia Sorento or Ford Galaxy (or the same by other manufacturers) with the 3rd row of seats down give massive amounts of boot space and we have found them to be excellent tow-cars. The Kia has the advantage of being easier to source 2nd hand and the benefit of a comprehensive 7 year warranty. We managed to get a 6 month old demonstrator with less than a thousand miles on the clock and a huge discount on the new price, so worth keeping an eye open for something like that.

Message posted by SamandRose10/9/2021 at 2:07pm
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Provided it has a suitably powerful engine in it I can see no reason to suppose that the Transporter wouldn't tow very well. The least powerful version is (I think) 85bhp which you should rule out - that's barely enough to move the van itself never mind a heavy caravan as well.

Next up is a version with about 100bhp (1.6 or 1.9 litres depending on model year) which will probably also be underpowered although I know of people who have fitted performance chips to them. I can't comment on the reliability of the turbos or 5-speed gearboxes as per Broadside's reply.

The 2.0 TDI (140bhp pre-2015, 150bhp 2015-on) shares its engine with the Passat and is the one to go for. There are more powerful twin-turbo versions but these are comparatively rare and expensive.

The "skittish if unladen" thing is a subjective opinion. However, the vans are designed to carry payloads of about a tonne which means that the rear suspension has to be stiff enough to cope with it. If there is no weight on the suspension at all, it will inevitably be that little bit harder and 'bouncier' because the laws of physics prevent any alternative.

It's possible that the "skittish" comments have been made by people (including journalists) who are more used to driving cars. Best thing is for you to test drive one yourself and see how it feels for you - however, you'll probably get used to the characteristics being different in any case.


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Message posted by nande2000uk18/10/2021 at 11:20am
Outfit:  Wynnster Jupiter 5     Location:  North Wales
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I bought a new T6.1 150 DSG SWB Kombi van in March.
My prev tow vehicle was a Touareg 204 which was a phenomenal tow car, but too small for my growing family.
The temptation was to go for the top of the range 204 4motion Transporter van, if you go to the forums everyone will egg you on to go for the top of the range, but you are talking serious money. The 204 engine really is only needed if you are towing commercially on a weekly basis.

It ended up for me being a choice between the 150 4x4 manual or the 150 fwd DSG as they don't do a 4x4 DSG in the 150. I chose the latter after trying a manual which i found very van like (notchy), the DSG is a world away from the manual in normal driving and towing.


I tow a 1.6Tonne Coachman Amara and so far the transporter has been faultless. Thats with the van being fully loaded with Kids and junk.

The only changes really from the T-reg is that i have to be much stricter with nose weight and i avoid soft pitches. Oh and the speed limit difference with a commercial vehicle.

All in all a cracking vehicle and much cheaper on fuel than the t-reg.





Message posted by dk16818/10/2021 at 12:13pm
Outfit:  MWB VW Crafter PVC     Location:  Devizes Wiltshire
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I have seen T5 and T6 with caravans at the back on campsites and on the road, however they are van conversions in their own right.

DK

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Message posted by shreik06/1/2022 at 8:40pm
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I have a lwb shuttle with the 3 rd row seats out for a dog crate.i tow a 1800 kgs Adria isonzo with my transporter 140bhp. great tow car and plenty room.


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