Agreed wholeheartedly. Although ours is 'just' a wee two-berth, I live in a rural area and choose to use mainly limited facility CLs rather than commercial or Club sites. I've travelled Europe and thankfully my commute isn't very long so the numbers stack up. Yes, a bit of 'man maths' is required now and then (just had the cambelt done... ) but it is by far the best towcar car I've had. Next time, I might think about a motorhome with a trailer to tow my classic behind, but that's going to have to wait a looooong time, and possibly involve a lotto win!
We used to tow with a Passat. ('99 110BHP estate) Is yours an estate or a saloon? We used to suffer some slight instability when following tankers etc because of the buffeting - the car was low and relatively aerodynamically sound so there was a lot of turbulence hitting the front of the 'van. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the saloon version was far worse for this.
Assuming you're not overloading the Lunar, (load it up, and pop along to your local weighbridge: they'll often give you a verbal reading for free and a printout for about a fiver) and you can get the noseweight to 75kg (I thought that the noseweight on a 97-05 Passat was 85kg, but I can't be certain) then the car should have enough power; that's why you're better off going uphill. I tried running at 70-75kg with previous 'vans and they didn't like it with the Passat, but moving things forward to get it up to 85kg worked wonders. Two 4x4s down the line and I've towed the new van at 90kg with both. It likes that.
As others have said, try putting the heavy stuff (awning etc) in the car.
Check that when hitched up, the 'van sits slightly nose-down.
On a nice flat motorway (I'd suggest France... but you might find a bit of one of ours that isn't ruttted to b*ggery) try it at 50 and see how it feels, increasing speed in 5mph increments until you find the 'sweet spot'. Our Passat liked 58mph better than 55. No idea why. Perhaps it wanted to get to its holidays quicker?
It's difficult when roadsigns and road markings don't give the same instruction.
They've just widened part of the relief road around Worcester and there has been uproar over the swift reduction from two lanes into one at a roundabout. If the road markings made it clear on the island that only one lane was suitable for that exit (and that any lane-changing should take place on the island itself, not on the exit) there would be no problem. But coming from the motorway, what are we faced with? A dual carriageway which splits into three lanes, the rightmost pair being marked as Straight-On! Idiocy. If you know the layout, and are familiar with the exits, it's obvious what to do. If you aren't, (or you follow the markings), you can end up in trouble quite quickly.
We are a community, Maurice. If you need us to listen, we are here. And I think you need us to listen, just as much as we need you; you are part of the T&T community. It is the people (and yes, I remember - and miss - Harry, Doc, EvansOfSprot et al.) who make it T&T what it is; as a part of it, you too make T&T what it is.
Spring is coming. Your 'van is ready in the barn. When you feel up to it, take it out. You don't have to go far. There is bound to be a CL nearby, or a Club Site within 30 minutes. It might not seem worth the effort, but when you're sitting behind the triple-pane front end, looking out at the world, what could be wrong?
I know it's hard to make plans; anything could happen, the plans may change. Well so what? Make plans. Change them if you need to. Changing plans costs nothing; the greatest cost comes in not making plans. If nothing else, you get the enjoyment of dreaming.
Apologies if I am teaching you to suck eggs, but here goes. The common link with the other failures could well be the gas - it's been jolly cold of late and Butane doesn't respond well to cold temperatures. For winter caravanning you need to use Propane.
Unless of course you're already using Propane, at which point I am totally out of ideas.
The great leaps forward in engine design mean that we are now in the position that was familiar to lucky owner-drivers in he 1930s, i.e. that it is possible to obtain more power and more torque from a smaller displacement. Yes, it takes some getting your head around, but it makes sense really. I think the old rule of >2ltr is outdated.
The only concern I would have in towing with a smaller capacity model (if power and torque were greater or at least comparable) would be the longevity of the engine. So many larger engines run at an unstressed level for most of the time whereas the smaller engines aren't. But then, if the engine has a greater power output, perhaps it doesn't matter how it does it.
I wouldn't worry about it. If a 1.2 has the correct power-to-weight ratio for your 'van, there's no problem. So says the man who tows at about 62% with a 3ltr diesel!
I didn't notice any font changes, but that certainly made me laugh! Thank you!
As for the original question, I prefer to have the fridge mounted away from the awning (like all services: electric entry, battery box, toilet cassette etc). Why? I think it's more logical to have the 'amenity' side of things concentrated on one side of the pitch.
Our previous 'van was a side-dinette layout which had the 'fridge on the awning side. It was not as effective in hot weather as our current 'fridge which is mounted on the opposite side. But then, the 'fridge is a newer design and so perhaps better.
Ours was the old-technology 2.5 diesel. 138bhp and a 5-speed auto.
I managed to get 36mpg on a long run to Norfolk once. That was solo, with the air-con etc turned off and travelling at whichever speed it was happiest at in 5th. Can't remember the speed; was either 56 or 62mph. Probably 56. God it was boring.
Towing was hilarious - usually managed an average of 18-22mpg on the autoroutes (rig was over 3500kg so knew to stay at the French lower speed limit) but that long hill out of Boulogne was a killer - the first run on French soil (which included that long-vehicle-lane slog) returned 16mpg!
I believe the newer one is better on perfomance and fuel but the old bus served us well.
She'd be 10 years old this year and I don't for one moment regret last year's decision to trade up. 245bhp and 30ish mpg solo with 20-25mpg while towing.
Out of the choices of towcar, I'd go for the A6 estate, preferably with the 3ltr v6 diesel rather than the 2ltr. They did a quattro version too which, although it doesn't have the ground clearance etc of a full 4x4 would be useful on muddy CLs and fishin tracks. Just a thought.
Have you thought bout a 2006-2009 Kia Sorento?
A great wallowy beast with a largeish boot (albeit with a prodigious thirst, towing or solo) but you should take a look inside; it might fit the bill for you. Ours was great off-road and in snow; just a bit agricultural on-road.
Plans are afoot for France 2014 (with the 'van) and I'm hopeful for an Easter break perhaps in Yorkshire. Perhaps a few weekends, if I can manage it.
France is won't be the five-week marathon of this year but nearer three-four on the Dover-Dunkerque sailing. Don't know how far down we'll travel. The Dordogne is lovely and, if I'm honest, my favourite place out of all we visited this year (although Carcassonne came a very close second) but we've really exhausted everything there. It's lovely, beautiful, full of charm and really quite a comfortable place. There again, after 20+ years of holidays (with a few breaks in between) it's bound to feel like an old pair of slippers. I love it but it's so full of memories I find that I'm either forcing new experiences to challenge the memory or I'm stalked by ghosts.
During this year's extended sojourn, I stayed for a couple of nights at a very nice (and equally expensive! ) site just outside Bidart / Biarritz. Thankfully it was a couple-of-night's halt before trailing further south into Spain for a few more days and the ferry. Everywhere seemed to be so busy - the queues to get in anywhere were, as I had been warned (and remembered from a family holiday when about 7) awful. I'm thinking of perhaps going to the Vendee for 2014 - I've never been, but I'm concerned that in Augutst it will be equally packed. I'm used to the Dordogne where a busy day means not being able to find a parking space immedi