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Old 09-18-2013, 08:55 PM   #1
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Default Balancing the 189FDS tongue weight in Real Life

We are about to buy the 189FDS and chose it for the size and weight. Since we will be towing with a Diesel VW Touareg and a maximum tongue weight of 617 lbs we have had to learn tons about what all this means. The 189FDS has a TW of 420 with the 2 Propane tanks so we know it will be close when the trailer is loaded. Anyone that tows this vehicle and might have any tips with how hard it is to load up considering there is so much front storage, closets and bunk would be appreciated.
We believe we can balance the load to keep under the max rating but not really sure ......Any thoughts by fellow owners of this model???
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:30 AM   #2
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I don't own that trailer, but, I need to caution you on "balancing" your rig. Travel Trailers (TT) are designed to be safe with a tongue weight of between 12 and 15% of the trailer's gross weight. Below 12% and your odds of the "tail wagging the dog" increase exponentially and leave you with a very unstable and unsafe towing rig.

Your trailer is going to be over your hitch weight, even with the minimum 12%. The gross weight of the 189FDS is 6025 lbs and that would equal a tongue weight of ~724 lbs. Storage space on virtually all trailers is found in front of the axles to make sure that the tongue stays heavy enough to be safe and that is the biggest problem with toy haulers; very hard to make them tow-stable when you load the toy area with heavy toys.

My recommendation would be to get a Sherline Scale and load your trailer up with what you would expect to be taking. Keep the heaviest stuff closest to, but, on the forward side of the axles. That keeps the tongue weight, but, transfers the least amount to the tongue. Once you are loaded, take your weight measurement with the Sherline scale. You may find you are over loaded on the tongue weight as allowed by your Toureg. At that point, you need to decide what you want to leave at home. You don't want to start moving stuff to the back. You aren't going to lighten the overall weight of your trailer by doing so, but, unloading the tongue at that point will be lowering the percentage of tongue weight which leads to dangerous handling / safety issues. That's why trailers designed to carry really heavy loads always have their rear axles at the back and not towards the middle; it forces the tow load to be placed on the tongue.



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Old 09-20-2013, 03:22 PM   #3
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Default be carefull

I have a 2010 FDS. the tongue weight is a LOT higher once you load up the trailer. Working from the front hitch towards the back of the trailer each item listed splits more weight onto the axles as you move back:

-75lbs of propane(2bottles at 38lbs full)
-54lbs of type 27 RV battery
-Large storage compartment under bed: ~150lbs
-water heater (6gallons) inside same compartment: 55lbs
-fresh water tank in front of front axle: 270lbs

While not all that can be added to the hitch weight, my actual tongue weight when loaded up with full tanks was right at 680-700lbs. That is very high for a total trailer weight of under 4000lbs with all our stuff in it.

In an attempt to move some weight back, I installed a hitch onto the frame at the back and have carried our bikes on the rear(120lb hitch, 25lb bike rack and 60lbs of bikes).
The FDS is still relatively tongue heavy regardless of what you do. Can the toureg use a WDH? That would help keep things level.
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:33 PM   #4
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Default Thanks for the input

So we did purchase the Trailer in Lethbridge and tow it home today into high winds and had a few issues with the Anderson Hitch that I purchased. Actually the problem was that the brackets for the trailer frame would not fit because of the location of the battery support between the two sides. That meant we dove with the 2" ball without the WD active. The back end had about 3/4" of sag with a measured tongue wt of 460 with an empty trailer. I am beginning to realize we will need to be careful when we actually load it and likely may seldom carry Freshwater in the Holding Tank. I had not even thought of the hot water heater being full so that's more weight. We want to carry our mountain bikes too so I hope we can find a way to put the 25# bikes on the back. We have a receiver bike rack from Yakima already but not sure how we would mount in at the back. The Touareg towed the trailer very easily with the 407 ftlbs of torque although the fuel economy has dropped by about 35% to 18-20mpg. At any rate thanks for the tips we are going to get the actual tongue weight so we can track where we are as we begin to outfit the unit. ......
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:11 PM   #5
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Default hitch

The battery mount can be moved or removed by any welding shop and then you can drive with the WDH set up. It will run much better that way. Your engine definitely has the torque required and 18-20 is very good. I used to tow ours with our sienna and always got 12mpg(20l/100kms) and get the same now towing with our F150(19l/100km). I bought ours in medicine hat in november 2010. As far as adding a rear hitch, you will need some fabrication work to make it happen. The I-beam frame rails are behind the panel across the back and you need to cut slots in the panel to access them. Read my post in this thread for some info:

http://www.funfinderclub.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=888

and some pictures:

https://picasaweb.google.com/tompreusser/NewTrailer

Since you're in Calgary, If you want to have a closer look, please let me know.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:34 PM   #6
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DarMark-
I am interested in your Toureg as a tow vehicle. You said that the mileage dropped "to 18-20 mpg." Now that you have had your unit for a few days, have you checked mileage with it loaded? Is it still that good?
My wife and I have talked a lot about possibly getting an Audi Q7 with the same TDI engine (we really could use the third row seat which the VW does not offer) and would like to use it in place of our 4Runner (12 mpg!) as our tow vehicle for our 2012 189FBS FunFinderX.
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