View Full Version : Another California Caddy

23-01-2006, 04:43 PM
Hi. Just joined your forum. I have a 1981, 1.6 Diesel, 5 speed. It is 100% original, down to the Volkswagen floor mats. Belonged to a neighbor who passed away and it was stored in his garage for 14 years. I didn't even know he had it. Bought it at his estate sale. It has 134,000 miles with approx. 40,000 on a re-built motor. I believe he didn't drive it because the exhaust was not connected to the engine. (don't believe he could find the mounting hardware) and steering wheel bearing was broke. I've put a few hundred in it with finding the exhaust kit, tune-up, steering bearing, etc. The only thing missing is one hub cap cover.
The interior is in excellent condition. Had a headliner problem but solved that with headliner screws and spray adhesive. The truck bed is completed carpeted including the sides. Has the original 4 piece rear window.
I need some help from the forum. I just purchased a compact POP UP CAMPER to tow behing my caddy. It weighs just 800 lbs. Does anyone have any experiece towing with their caddy. I have the original owners manual but it doesn't say anything about towing another vehicle. I tried to include a picture of the rear bumper with the holes that were there for a hitch and the hitch I installed, but couldn't add another picture. Maybe I'll be able to add one later. I joined a pop up camper forum and asked towing questions there, but no one had experience towing with my little diesel pick up. Any help from you caddy owners would be greatly appreciated.

23-01-2006, 05:46 PM
wivrrat, Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like you scored with the old pickup-in-the-barn type deal. Sounds sweet. Yeah, the US caddys didn't have any towing info listed, I'm not sure if the european guys got this specification or not.

I'd say that 800lbs would be just right for your pickup. I wouldn't suggest towing much more than that, but it should handle that weight pretty well. If you want an easy upgrade to the front discs, you can switch to '84 gti vented rotors and their cooresponding thinner pads. The stock pickup rotors are solid. The pickup actually got bigger rear drums then the regular rabbit, so I wouldn't worry about them too much assuming you still have some meat on the shoes.

I've towed my 1300lb boat with my pickup, but just around the block to reposition it in the garage or whatnot. Probably a bit much for the pickup. If you have the same rear bumper as me it comes with 2 holes in the middle bar. I drilled a hole in the center for the ball, and use the 2 pre-existing holes for the safety chains. Assuming your pop up trailer has a 4 prong connector you'll want to get a pig tail for your pickup that converts the amber turn signal/ brake light setup to the combined red light setup.

You can kinda see where I drilled for my ball here:

Look forward to some pics of your new pickup, and again, welcome.

Iowa Caddy
23-01-2006, 06:16 PM
Welcome, wivrrat. Looks like that Caddy fell into the right hands. :thumbs_up ;) Hope you don't have visions of swapping in a 16V and different tranny, seats, lowering, etc., etc. -- keep it original. There's enough "used" (up) Caddys around to be used for modding by young-un's with no appreciation for the past & future. Hope you post pix, especially of the wheel covers -- someone on here may have one to match for ya'.

Re: towing -- there's been past discussions here of whether the Caddy has a rated towing capacity, but don't think it was ever conclusively decided. We recently had a lively towing discussion thread. You'll note the objections(s) were mostly directed toward towing more than the weight of the towing vehicle -- especially if flat-towing a vehicle (on it's own wheels w/ an attached tow-bar). http://vwcaddyforum.com/showthread.php?t=6851

I often use one of my Caddies to tow 500-1500# on a good, straight-tracking trailer, but it's mostly short local trips at less than freeway speeds. When I moved from near Seattle to Flagstaff (1500+ miles) years ago, I pulled a 1200# plus trailer with my MK1 Scirocco that weighs less than a Caddy and w/shorter wheelbase. I thought that I would be "crawling" the entire way at 40-45mph in 4th, but once on the road it proved to be entirely stable with no tendancy to tail-wag -- in fact, it would self-cancel when I would try to induce it to test stability. After getting well-accustomed to the handling and stopping response, I was soon in 5th gear -- and I'm embarrassed to admit that most of the trip was done at more than 70 mph (on open Interstates). Caveats are that I was VERY alert, especially always aware that stopping distance would be greatly increased in anything approaching a panic situation. And the 'Rocco was heavily loaded as well. I used the same trailer when later moving from Flagstaff to Iowa (another 1500+ miles) with the same results. Out of curiosity, I pulled the rig over scales. Car weight was just shy of 3000# (1000# of cargo, including me and the trailer tongue weight) and trailer axle weight was just over 1500# (total trailer weight would have been ~1700#).

In short, you shouldn't have any trouble safely pulling your 800# (loaded?) trailer with your 2100# (empty) Caddy. Be sure to have 10-15% (80-120#) of the trailer weight on the tongue. Best to carry heavy items in the Caddy, rather than the trailer. The more weight you have in the bed of your Caddy, the better -- for better towing control, but especially for better braking. With the lightly-loaded rear of the Caddy, you otherwise basically have only two-wheel brakes in a full-on panic stop. Down-shift to use engine braking, rather than brakes, when descending mountain passes/steep hills. Be sure your rear bumper and it's attachments are up to the task. Don't forget the safety chains. ;)

Happy Camping! :td :td

edit -- added following: LOL. There ya' go again, morts -- posting while I'm composing. :D

wr -- you'll notice that morts and I disagree a little bit on what max safe tow weight might be, but agree that #800 is less than whatever max safe is. I have noticed that my Caddy/trailer rig doesn't seem to be quite as stable as the 'Roc/trailer was/is. They're different trailers, but the Caddy trailer has the longer hitchball-to-axle length, which should contribute to more stable towing -- as should the longer wheelbase of the Caddy. The 'Roc had/has lower aspect ratio tires (more stable), but I think the main contributing factor may be the greater distance from Caddy rear axle to hitch ball allowing the trailer to have greater leverage. So morts may be more correct at 1300# max for freeway towing.

edit #2: Nitpick: /on. ;) I think your 4-piece slider is after-market (but maybe dealer-installed), rather than factory -- I'll let you decide whether that's "original". ;) Also, what are headliner screws?

23-01-2006, 07:16 PM
You have a nice looking caddy. I figured how to downsize and add pictures to my thread. Check them out. My bumper is similar to yours I just added a more secure hitch with ball. Man, those bumpers are tough. Had a hell of a time drilling the back bolt holes and had to stop on the front one. Will have to buy a better drill bit. Take care and thanks for the reply. wivrrat

23-01-2006, 08:05 PM
Cool pics, looks like a nice original caddy. I guess with your hitch extension you'll be able to put the trailer at a near 90deg angle when backing up but I think by ball is pretty secure without the extra? I used to have all 4 hubcaps/ chrome rings/ wheels, but I sold them with my gti, sorry.

I'll agree that you want to keep your towed weight under the weight of the pickup, about a ton. I think 1000 or under would be perfect for the long distances like I imagine you'd go on with your pop tent. :td

Iowa- 4500lbs on the 'rocco- you are the man! Just goes to show that we really do have a culture of overpowering vehicles when vehicle X would do just fine.

edit -- added following: LOL. There ya' go again, morts -- posting while I'm composing. :Dhttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v400/glen_ekstrom/bang.jpg

So did my pickup not roll off the westmoreland line with the slider either or just wivrrats? Interested to know some of the history.

Iowa Caddy
23-01-2006, 08:41 PM
...So did my pickup not roll off the westmoreland line with the slider either or just wivrrats? Interested to know some of the history.
:cheers::i_dont_kn I said "I think". ;) From discussions here on the forum a year or 2 ago, I came away with the impression that only the 3-piece was factory. I don't know that for fact -- easily could be wrong. Remember woobs on the quest for the holy grail -- a straight tailgate and a 3-piece slider? :td

Just stepped out to double-check. My '81 w/4-piece and mill-finish aluminium (looks just like your pic) is definitely not factory. My '81 w/3-piece in black anodized definitely is -- VW/Quad-circle Audi emblem & p/n on the glass(es). Can't remember what my '80 still back on BI has -- think it might be one-piece. It has a bone-yard slider lying in the bed as well, but also can't remember (:tb) whether it is 3- or 4-piece. Why don't you run up there and take a look? :D In fact, why don't you buy it? :td :td

Get that fancy-pants h2o pump torqued? :thumbs_up

23-01-2006, 08:54 PM
Sorry to jack your first thread wiv, :D
Yeah, my 4 peice is definately not a vw part. Non specific "tempered" glass and "PRESTIGE" on the latch. I didn't know if vw just farmed the work out to this company and intalled them in the factory or if it would have been a dealer installed option where they would pop out the single piece. Not that it matters much, just interesting. :td

Man, I just bought a diesel engine/ new components and I'm supposed to buy your BI caddy and your 16V rocco? Hold on to them just a bit longer for me. :D

And yes, when I used the tourque wrench (something I'm not accostomed to doing) the 7.5 lbs seemed like plenty for that H2O pump. And they were no where near tight (thanks garry).

Iowa Caddy
23-01-2006, 09:14 PM
Sorry to jack your first thread wiv, :DBeing jacked means you're already accepted, wr. :D :td

...Man, I just bought a diesel engine/new components and I'm supposed to buy your BI caddy and your 16V rocco? Hold on to them just a bit longer for me. :DIf I didn't have so many vehicles, I'd take your 4KQ on trade. Would the 16V & '80 be enuf for it?

23-01-2006, 09:33 PM
I'd take your 4KQ on trade. Would the 16V & '80 be enuf for it?
Uh let me think.. YEAH! I couldn't do that to you though. The audi is far from cherry. Here's some pics if you really want it though :D :D


Can you tell I've already thought of selling it? What would I tow my boat with though?

23-01-2006, 11:08 PM
Sorry guys, but I must have been doing TOO much studying on how to downsize my stupid pics. Anyhow, the rear window is a 3 piece VW window. Sorry bout that.