[Vwdiesel] Towing boat with 85 Jetta

Doyt W. Echelberger doyt at buckeye-express.com
Sun Oct 26 11:13:15 PDT 2008

Posting your question on the list is a tribute to your sense of personal 
responsibility and good sense about safety. You got some good answers.

You didn't mention the hitch between the trailer to your tow vehicle. I'd 
try to discourage any kind of temporary system that isn't bolted to the 
frame and trunk of your vehicle, and only depends on an attachment to the 

If I towed it, I'd consider detaching the motor and carrying it in my trunk 
or in another vehicle, to reduce the tendency of the heavy motor to create 
an upward thrust on the hitch when bouncing over train tracks or sharp 
bumps.....this is called pitchpoling, and can destroy vehicle control 
temporarily. Also, it would reduce the tendency to swerve from side to side 
at speed.

You might consider how your particular tow vehicle has responded to heat 
loads in the past. If your vehicle has shown a tendency to run near the 
upper end of the coolant gauge in hot weather, on big hills or any other 
time, then it might do the same thing or worse when towing the boat. I'd 
also check the condition of the coolant hoses, and replace any spongy or 
deteriorated/questionable hoses. And I'd review the condition of the belt 
that drives the water pump.

Use the history of your own vehicle as a baseline for predicting how the 
coolant system will behave in the described situation, and figure for sure 
to be taxing the cooling capacity heavily if the trip includes long hauls 
on steep grades.

The other caution would be to do a trial run on low traffic roads with some 
hills, to get a feeling for how things will go in the main trip.  Use the 
trial run to eliminate unexpected problems, like how the electrical 
flashers work, and how it handles emergency stops....yes, I'd test for 
that. Also do some backing up, just to get the kinks out of your technique. 
And don't carry stuff in the boat that might fly out or off and wreck 
somebody behind you. Secure everything and plan for the worst. Then you 
will have done your best.

And if you aren't comfortable with the trial run, consider getting the job 
done some other way.

Doyt Echelberger

At 04:02 PM 10/25/2008, you wrote:
>This is a long shot, but I'm hoping someone here has experience towing a 
>14'-16' boat with
>their Jetta. Specifically, I'm looking at this boat:
>I've towed a 14' aluminum with 35hp, and a 14' fiberglass with 75hp, but 
>that was years ago,
>the fg boat I only pulled once, so I don't remember it much. The 90HP 
>outboard on this boat
>is 170kg on (nearly 400lbs), and the trailer is probably 300lbs, with the 
>boat at perhaps 900-
>1500lbs. So I'm looking at 1600lbs at least. Long term I would probably 
>put a hitch on my
>Westy to pull it, but I'm curious if anyone has tried a similar boat/motor 
>combo on a Jetta  (a
>tired NA diesel at that...)
>Shawn Wright
>'88 Westy 1.6TD 5 speed
>'85 Jetta Diesel 1.6NA
>Vwdiesel mailing list
>Vwdiesel at vwfans.com

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