So after all the spreadsheets, test drives, sorting insurance and towing electrics, emails and telephone calls, the end was in sight. We had a collection date, the 28th July. Apart from our very first brand new car… a racing red MG Metro back in the early 80’s, Sue had always been the one to collect our cars from the showroom, however this time, it was Sue that was working so I was on my own. It took around half an hour to go through all the paperwork and sign on the dotted line several times. Despite the Manchester drizzle the walk round was in-depth and covered all sorts. Inside, Jessica went through all the systems and paired my iPhone to the audio system, even storing some of my most often used radio stations in the memory.
Handover done, everything explained I said goodbye to Jessica who had been so helpful through the whole process, I turned the key, slipped it into drive and pulled out of the forecourt. The odometer showed exactly 48 miles as I turned “Project Wolf” on to Village Way.
My experience with a Commercial Vehicle Dealer
I have mentioned this before, one of the things a few people expressed concern about was actually dealing with a commercial vehicle dealer. Well having dealt with Manchester Van Centre VW I can only comment on my experience. The customer service on first contact was excellent. The whole buying process was handled by one person, Jessica, who did everything. We weren’t passed off from one person to another through different stages of the buying process. I know we are not (well me actually) easy customers… I like to know the in’s-and-out’s of everything and do like getting into the details and asking awkward questions. Through our initial contact with Manchester Van Centre VW to driving out of the forecourt with our new vehicle took a total of 10 days and I either spoke to Jessica or exchanged emails nearly every day over that period and we were kept fully informed throughout the process. My dealings over a few months with VW UK while doing all the research was not as good, emails often going unanswered. Dealing with VW GmbH in Germany was excellent however and they went the extra mile (or kilometre!) to provide information requested.
Are all VW Commercial Dealers the same? I can’t answer that one. Can I recommend Manchester Van Centre VW? Based on my dealings with them, yes. I’ll let you know how it all goes at the first service and if I need to change my views.
On the way back home I had to call in to the North West Towbar Centre in Stockport. When they originally fitted the tow bar, they were two terminals missing and needed to order them from Westfailia. They did contact me directly to let me know before I picked up the Amarok and I arranged to drop in.
While they were fitting the missing terminals, I had another chat with the guys there. I had already had a look underneath at the tow bar and the standard of fitting… you can tell a lot by the way cables are routed and fixed into place, and these guys had done a good job. Everything was routed away from anything that could chafe the loom, the loom was enclosed in a flexible PVC conduit and secured firmly to the vehicle.
While I was there I also checked out the fittings I’d need for the bike racks. They have a full display of Thule products and I was able to check exactly what bits I’d need. Heading home, I called in to fill up with diesel… 52 miles on the clock and 65.74 litres to fill up. I can now start another spread sheet to record mileage and fuel.
So What’s Next?
Well we have a few bits to fit:-
- Roll N Lock cover for the pickup bed.
- Antec Sliding Bed Tray.
- Thule Bike Racks.
- Charging station for the two-way radios.
- Fire Extinguisher.
- Additional truck bed lighting.
… and of course I need to get the thing weighed on a VOSA weigh-bridge.
The figures given on the V5C are a Mass In Service of 2197 Kgs and a Maximum Permissible Mass of 3170 Kgs. On paper, based on a MIS of 2197 Kgs, the 85% ratio is a trailer MTPLM of 1867 Kgs. Our current caravan calculates at 68%. All that is subject to what it weighs on the scales though.
Our first trip towing will be in a few days and I’ll let you know how we get on and my thoughts. I’ll also show you some of the bit’s that we have added.
L. Eric Leathley-Andrew said:
Happened on your blog while looking for something else battery related . . . . . Read with interest your search for a truck which made me wonder if I might not return to Blighty just yet. Seamed like more of an adventure than I had imagined. Went through a similar task here in the US and may be embarking on an upgrade in the next year or so. Seams things have changed over there significantly since I left in Y2K Leaving behind a Volvo 240 estate and an Avondale 20ft six birth twin axle van.
Colonial thinking drove me toward the smallest SUV with a factory tow package. That be a Chevy Traverse LTZ 3.6 v6 six speed auto. intelligent four wheel drive. Seems this guy with an aftermarket tow bar is rated to pull about a ton but with the factory package is rated @5200lbs ish. Makes me wonder how much the software on board is responsible for the difference.
So That was a relatively boring experience having everything work “out of the box” and not even a mumble from insurers. . . …might stick with GM.
Alan Portchmouth said:
Will look forward to your next report in a couple of months when you have had a chance to get some mileage under your belt and hopefully had a chance to report on how it tows.
Simon Barlow said:
It will be sooner than that… we are off to Leek in a few days time for the first shakedown run.
I’ve already had the caravan plugged in to the Amarok and electrically everything works perfectly first time. All the coding changes in the Amarok seem to be correct too.
Re the Kerbweight, aren’t you in danger of perpetuating the misapprehension about 85%?
As car’s very rarely, if ever, weigh the manufacturer listed Kerbweight, even when brand new and loaded exactly to the specified parameters for measuring Kerbweight. It is therefore self evident that the 85% recommendation is purely a statistical exercise to help in initial tow car selection but is relatively invalid once a car is in use when it it has an Actual Weight which will not be Kerbweight. When loaded ready for towing the Actual Weight will be even more and hence any ratio between Actual Weight and MTPLM will be much reduced.
From memory my V70/Rimini rig has a ratio of about 86% when Volvo’s Kerbweight is used, but when loaded for towing the ratio is about 65%, with around 100kg of loading still available before hitting GVW and, a further 100kg of MTPLM before GTW would be reached.
Simon Barlow said:
Agreed. That’s why I prefixed my comments with “on paper” and finished off with “All that is subject to what it weighs on the scales though”.
Very nice vehicle and hope you get many years enjoyment out of it.
Great looking vehicle Simon! Enjoy!
And do look up a VW forum and about all the lovely things someone can change on your car with a VDGS laptop! I had many setting on my car changed to suit me rather than what VAG thought is best. For example the car’s leaving home and coming home lights would use the Xenons – which is a waste in my book so via the VDGS I changed that to be the fog lights. Far cheaper to replace one day. Other things you can do (if your car doesn’t have them) is to just buy the heated door mirror glass, plug them into the ready cables inside the mirrors and just enable them via VDGS. Etc, etc, etc…
Looking forward to your first tow report. Going from your slightly over 85% to 68% will make a huge difference in how the tail wags the dog I suspect. So it will be a great tow I suspect.
Dave Croker said:
Be careful with fog lights they are supposed to be used only when viability is reduced to 100 meters.
Erm that is why I said “coming home and leaving home lights”… I’m sure you know what they are and they are used when the car is locked and unlocked and not when it is driving… 🙂