Towcar.info

Towcar.info Home Towing limits User reviews Stability About us Menu

Audi Q7 - 3.0 TDI aut. and Coachman

Michael Cass reviewed on 31-10-2018 a Audi Q7 - 3.0 TDI aut. (200 Kw/272 bhp year: january 2015 - up to now) and a Coachman Laser 655/6 of (laden) 1900 kg.

The Audi Q7 M (current model) fitted with the factory fitted Trailer Pack is, in our (horrendous) experience, a POTENTIALLY LETHAL combination - if you intend to use an Alko friction stabiliser, when towing your caravan.

This is because, the electrically operated tow-ball is fitted with "Trailer Assist".

This means that the tow ball itself has a channel cut into it's surface (horizontal to the road), in which, floats a steel braced ring embedded with magnets, that "tell" a Hall Sensor, set into the tow hitch, where it is, in it's rotation.

The information is passed to the MMI and you can (supposedly) reverse the caravan using the large control dial, next to the gear lever and viewing the manoeuvre on the pop up MMI screen.

The ring assembly is coated in plastic, with small tabs, on the bottom circumference revealing where the magnets are but at first glance it appears to be a completely plastic assembly. It protrudes, from the channel, proud of the surface of the tow ball. It does not recede, into the channel, when hitched up.

So there will never be full contact of the stabiliser pads with the ball, as intended by Alko.

Unfortunately, when hitched, the stabiliser friction pads (Audi call these clutch pads) compress the assist "ring", so it's distorted.

The normal motion experienced, when towing (a properly packed) caravan is sufficient to cause these small plastic tabs to break off. They can't go anywhere, as they are clamped in situ, so they bond themselves to the surface of the friction pads, due to the heat generated in the hitch/ball assembly.

The supplying dealer had no experience of this towing hitch, in fact when we bought the car -TO TOW A CARAVAN- there were only a few Q7's, in the country, advertised as having the factory fitted towing hitch and the dealers were not knowledgeable (and are still not, to this day) about this "innovation".

According to Audi customer services, Audi UK are "importers" and it is the responsibility of the dealers to familiarise themselves with what they are selling!

Most encouraging Audi!

So, in ignorance of the potential, undeclared, risk- due to the car having this "Trailer Assist" we used the car for the purpose for which we had bought it - to tow our van.

In our case, on our trip to the South coast we experienced the most violent and unexpected loss of control, that we had ever experienced. The caravan and car were swaying and lurching violently and traffic behind was reacting accordingly.

HOW we escaped tragedy, I don't know - but we did, with me using the experience gained from towing, for over forty years and a massive slice of good luck.

It really was the worst situation we have experienced.

It must have been "spectacular" on the dash cams of following vehicles.

Why had this happened, so quickly and so unexpectedly, with no forewarning?

On examining the tow ball - the assist ring had broken apart - it came off the ball easily! Many of the plastic tabs were missing? Later, I found that the "missing tabs were embedded onto the friction pads!

The sudden lack of control, presumably caused by the tow ball floating on a film of molten plastic, on the friction pads.

No friction = no stability!

The pads could not be repaired and I had to replace them with new ones and have had to leave the assist ring off the car.

We have not used the caravan since. I have contacted Audi, who initially stated that the Alko AKS 3004 WAS compatible with their tow ball. I disagreed totally, due to the horrendous incident, that we survived. I have sent photos and a full description of the incident, to the C.E.). of Audi U.K.

The C.E.O has shown no interest and has not acknowledged receipt of my two (follow up two weeks later, after no first response) letters, (and many photographs of damaged components), in which I tried to alert Audi to the inherent danger, of using this Trailer Package with a friction pad stabiliser.

I have been in contact with my servicing (not supplying) dealer, who initially said that Audi's position was that the assist ring tow ball and Alko tow hitch WERE compatible. Their comments, made as a result of information from Audi Technical.

The value of the correct type of assistance, regarding towing, at car dealerships, depends on the representative having knowledge and understanding of towing. This has not been the case with the Audi Customer Services agent nor the dealership liaison. They are not Technical people, themselves and they rely on Audi Technical to advise them and pass this information to the customer.

I pointed out that two sets of towing components, that mutually destroy each other causing a life-threatening situation CANNOT (logically!) be considered compatible.

I then sent additional photographs - this time of the inside of the tow hitch (photographed from underneath), to the dealership and asked if these could be passed on to Audi Technical.

Within 48 hours, I had an email from the dealership saying that Audi Technical's view, NOW, was that the Alko hitch is NOT compatible and only a hitch that has: Quote:

"friction pads fitted to the sides and none to the front or rear of the unit"

Audi customer services are now denying things that have been said, to me (that necessitated the dealer's involvement) and are back-tracking, that they have said that the unit was compatible, in the first case. The unit is incompatible, based on advise from Audi Technical, so there is nothing further that they can do.

They have stated this advice declares their final position. (They are only importers, remember!)

In other words they have told me that, I spent a HUGE amount of money buying a car, that last week, they have told me is unsuitable for the purpose of towing a caravan.

And........ there is nothing that they are prepared to do!

I pointed out that the car is not fit for purpose - I bought it to tow a caravan - as implied by the presence of the, ADVERTISED, fitted tow-ball mechanism.

It was therefore mis-sold.

More to the point, the car is STILL being sold, with this towing system, and since the huge majority of new and used caravans have the Alko AKS 3004 (the 2004 has even larger front and rear pads!) , Audi are selling a car with a very substantial tow-hitch (3500Kg), that CANNOT tow a caravan!

So, if anyone buys this absolutely wonderful car (it really is a pleasure - unhitched!), to tow a caravan, they are being knowingly (not to themselves but to Audi!) being mis-sold a car that could cost them their lives!

Any person considering buying this car to tow - forget it. Read the internet forums, that describe the "oft-changing" advice, from Audi, given about this very issue and see the Practical Caravan Magazine article in which a Q7 owner (having bought the car!!!) is told it cannot tow with the Alko hitch and then after the magazine intervenes and contacts Audi, they change their minds and say it IS compatible.

This is exactly the reverse situation, that I have experienced. It WAS and now it IS NOT compatible.

Who do we trust? Who do we believe?

Spend your money elsewhere or take your life into your own hands!

More details >>>


Select

Select a car to read the user reviews

Write your review: