Teardrop Trailer – The Tow Vehicle

2008 VW GTI

2008mkvgtiIT’S A MINI SUV, REALLY.
I plan to tow my mini-trailer with a 2008 VW GTI. This is also my lumber hauler/work truck, it fits dozens of 8 foot boards quite nicely. Handily, it has disk brakes all around and stops pretty well too.

My owners manual is missing (long story) but I have it on good authority that the US-spec JSW SEL (2.0T 6MT drive train) can tow up to 1650 lbs w/o trailer brakes or 2000 lbs with and up to 200 lbs tongue weight. My little trailer should come in well under 1,000 lbs, hopefully even lighter, I think this should work.

I’ve a few slight mods to the GTI, the most helpful for towing is probably the APR stage 1 tune which brings the car up to 252HP and 303TQ. Though geared better for the job I’ve had trucks with far less.

I also have a thicker rear sway bar, the APR pendulum mount, BSH engine and transmission mounts, a short-shifter and aluminum shift-link bushings, R8 coil-packs, a PCV revamp, and some other stuff.

I’m using a 1 ¼ inch 2000 lb Hidden Hitch. It’s a good light duty hitch that fits my car. I will lose a little clearance in the rear but my car isn’t lowered, I should still clear speed bumps okay. Well see…


I could probably have pieced this all together but I went with the kit for ease and time. This will wire up the car lights to the trailer so people know when I’m turning or stopping. Communication is key to any good relationship.

I decided to install some rear axel air helper springs. My car doesn’t have a lot of clearance (compared to a regular tow vehicle) and the trailer is bound to sag the butt.

And of course, before I take my first road-trip with a trailer in tow I plan to get a fresh set of tires and brakes, I’m going to need some soon anyway.