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Bitterly Disappointed - New Swift Eccles 480 and Cycle Carrier


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I've just changed my van to the Eccles 480 and brought it home a few days ago.  

I live on a hill and I wondered why unhitching was quite difficult - I found out when the van released and tipped backwards.  Luckily I was quick enough to hold down the hitch and my wife held it down as I manoeuvred onto my property with the mover. 

There was nothing in the van except a battery so I could expect a sensible nose weight but I was gobsmacked to find that it was negative! 

A sleepless night wondering just how things might look with a couple of bikes on the back - the main reason we changed to a Swift.

I managed to get the nose weight up to 70kg by putting the spare wheel,  aquaroll. waste-master, full gas cylinder, heavy jack, levelling blocks and a few other odds and ends in the front locker.

Bike rack now fixed to van and with two 13.2 kg bikes (total with rack around 36kg the nose weight was 45kg.  Removing one bike brought it up to 55kg.

The inherent stability issues that come with hanging any heavy weights off the back of the van would, I fondly imagined, be overcome with loading the hitch to as close to 100 kg that I could.  I've always towed with around 95kg and believe extra weight improves stability. 

I've uprated the chassis on the van to 1500kg which gives a payload of 248 kg. 

The closest place inside the van to the hitch is around 6 feet behind it - that's floor immediately in front of the front locker/cupboard. 

We have 99% of our equipment in place but NOTHING in the fridge which is behind the axle nor in the wardrobe which is against the rear wall of the van. 

I use a Caravanstore canopy and have no heavy awning to add weight although anyone with some physics can work out just what weight must be added to bring the nose weight up to a sensible figure.   

To add insult to injury we have also just bought the bikes especially to take with us on the van.

Surely Swift should publish nose weights that would warn people off from carrying bikes.  Yet they still put the carrier supports on the rear of the 480!  In the blurb they warn of the need to add more weight to the nose weight when carrying cycles but I'm sure with some vans that can be easily achieved. 

I said we are bitterly disappointed and we are.  But perhaps anyone reading out tale of woe might be forewarned of the issues that this particular model brings.

Any advice from others on the forum welcome.  Bottom line for me is that no way will I tow with a nose weight of 45 kg (maybe even less with wardrobe and fridge in use ) and two bikes hanging a couple of feet from the rear of the van. 

Thank God bringing the van home didn't involve motorway driving with a negative nose weight! 

 

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

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I too find it surprising that a new van has a negative noseweight ex factory, as you live on a hill, have you checked it on level ground?

 

If Swift made an exfactory van with a heavy enough noseweight to counter bikes on the back, they’d surely annoy people who load their van more conventionally, who would then struggle to get their noseweight low enough.

 

Adding noseweight to counter a heavy weight on the back sounds unstable to me, like loading both ends of a seesaw. At least on a relatively short van, the leverage will be less than on a longer one. And your chosen bikes are particularly heavy, which is only going to make things more difficult. 

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This may be a totally daft idea but can you get a bike carrier that fits on the A Frame so you could at least put one of the bikes there?  I know there is one for my make of van but no idea if one is made for Swift which has the more common short A Frame.

 

Hope you find some sort of solution.

 

Michael

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Very much internal layout dependent. I've had four Swift Caravan's and they have all had very different ex-works nose weights.

 

I once swapped a little end bathroom 2 berth for a fixed bed 4 berth. 

 

The small van had a nose weight of 80kg empty, with gas bottles and a few bits in the front locker I had to actively load behind the axle. 

When I picked up the fixed bed 4 birth I only had to tow if a few miles but could feel the instability. I was shocked to find the nose weight was 15kg and even less when the battery was fitted under the rear bed.

Once I'd found a good way to load the van stability wasn't a problem.

 

Yeti 2.0TDi DSG 4X4 L&K, Octavia TSi Manual, Citigo ASG, Swift Challenger.

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1 hour ago, John_b_45 said:

There was nothing in the van except a battery so I could expect a sensible nose weight but I was gobsmacked to find that it was negative! 

 

I have difficulty in understand why you did not notice when you hitched up ....... 0r did you not hitch up?

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Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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This needs checking on level ground and loading on level ground. If it left the factory rear end heavy how was it even moved in factory to transporting and how did the dealer manoeuvre it about. I think the hill is the problem.

Swift Archway Ruby.   Santa Fe Auto

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Agreed, there is no way it can be negative when empty, otherwise the 480 would be known as the caravan that needs a jockey wheel at the back!

 

I would have thought that if you can balance it to 50kg that would be fine, but I have often wondered how practical the rear mounted carriers on Swift vans are!

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Well - Yes the 45 kg figure was with van level and bikes on back.   55kg with just one bike on. 

 

The hill will have added to the apparent weight distribution which is why I mentioned it.  In all my years I've never ever had a caravan with negative nose weight when on a hill or a mountain side! This van has without gas in locker.  The spare is under-slung and the removal saves around 6k behind the axle for the carrier.  The wheel now resides in the front locker.

 

I didn't hitch up or doubtless I would have noticed it.  Noticing it would not, of course, solve the problem. 

 

Yes, roughly speaking I have worked out the extra weight required to bring the nose-weight up to sensible figures.  I've also wondered what to move forward knowing that anything behind the axle when moved the same distance forward in front of the axle will double its effective weight.

 

I was surprised to see that the A frame seems quite significantly longer than my Lunar Clubman.  Much more room behind the jockey wheel.  Whilst there is fairing to deal with I do wonder if a bike would fit and solve the problem instantly.  Only worry - apart from fitting - is manoeuvrability (turning) .  

 

Plan is to fix spare holder to front bulk head and shift gas to other side of front locker.  Then add weight to see if I can get a nose weight of around 70kg at least.    Of course, as soon as the wardrobe is filled and the fridge..........................! 

 

To be honest I never gave a thought to this sort of an issue and, as I said, if Swift published nose weight figures for empty van maybe a penny would have dropped.  Why fit a cycle carried to such a caravan? 

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

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Not wanting to sound clever here but I never collect and tow a caravan with out checking the nose weight, or asking the dealer to check before buying.

 

Some caravans don't  give a decent NW with bikes on the back with out substantial  front loading, with proves in practice  difficult or inconvient. 

 

I front load to get 85kg on the nose with 40kg on the back rack, 29kg bikes, 10kg rack.

 

If I collect from  the dealers after warranty work  I need to take water containers for front  ballast to get a good NW towing empty. 

 

You can't  blame  the dealer, but I agree publishing  the ex works NW would help, I once had an Avondale  with a ex NW of 35kg!

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8 hours ago, xtrailman said:

Not wanting to sound clever here but I never collect and tow a caravan with out checking the nose weight, or asking the dealer to check before buying.

 

Some caravans don't  give a decent NW with bikes on the back with out substantial  front loading, with proves in practice  difficult or inconvient. 

 

I front load to get 85kg on the nose with 40kg on the back rack, 29kg bikes, 10kg rack.

 

If I collect from  the dealers after warranty work  I need to take water containers for front  ballast to get a good NW towing empty. 

 

You can't  blame  the dealer, but I agree publishing  the ex works NW would help, I once had an Avondale  with a ex NW of 35kg!

 

If I can achieve 85kg after adding all the weight I can to the front then I'll be content.  Nice to know you manage it although maybe you have a different van.

I don't blame  the dealer - without cycles and with spare moved I had 70kg and could have added a bit more.  But if Swift add the carriers to a 480 then you'd expect them to be functional.

Next idea is to move the outer bike carrier inwards to where a 3rd carrier would be fitted.  I'll need to drill a couple of holes but should be a straightforward job.  Hopefully this will gain another 5kg of nose weight. 

I didn't actually measure the nose weight with the van level - the wife was busy adding stuff and I hadn't the heart to ask her to take it out. In reality whatever it was is irrelevant since a loaded figure is all that matters.

I posted a very similar post on Swift Talk (Joined since now have a Swift van but, (someone, please tell me how to change my profile here since I've already added the Swift but it does not appear on my posts) amazed at a few of the responses which range from disbelief to almost mockery!  

Maybe I'm too sensitive. Can't think why having been on this forum for quite a while. 

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

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Your outfit details do not appear on your post. I added nine to my signature lines. 

 

Asthe caravan was not designed purely for those wanting to hang bikes on the back it is hardly surprising that doing so makes the caravan node light really. The vast majority of users will not hang a bike or two on the back. If the caravan was designed such that the noseweight was (say) 70kg with two bikes on the back then those without bikes would be struggling with weights over 100kg to reduce.

 

Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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Assume you've already changed to one or two of the larger 13kgs Propane gas bottle to assist as this adds about 10kgs each initally close to nose and is cheaper per kg.

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Do our caravan builders actually apply any engineering design in their products?

Sadly, I feel the only design elements throughout, start to finish, are styling, styling, styling and possibly production.

Engineering, let alone the discipline of dynamics, don't seem to come into it, otherwise there would be no provision for rear mounted cycle racks on most if not all vans.

 

 

Edited by JTQ
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I would have thought that on a two berth the extra weight of the larger bottles, the bikes and the rack would have taken up nearly 40% to 50% of the payload - hopefully upgraded though

Edited by Easy T

Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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28 minutes ago, Easy T said:

Your outfit details do not appear on your post. I added nine to my signature lines. 

 

I tried and changed in my profile but it doesn't seem to appear here. 

 

15 minutes ago, montesa said:

Assume you've already changed to one or two of the larger 13kgs Propane gas bottle to assist as this adds about 10kgs each initally close to nose and is cheaper per kg.

 No.  But have considered other possible ways forward.

 

I've joined Swift Talk now I have a Swift and posted there too.   If you have the time and patience this sets out my thought from this point on.

 

Having slept on this here are my immediate thoughts (thanks for the interest Yorkguy)

 

The carrier has provision for a 3rd bike.  I am intending moving the outer current "channel" inwards to the place where a 3rd channel would fit.  I will need to do a bit of drilling but hopefully straightforward. This will move the outer bike back towards the van by around 6 inches - not been out to measure it yet. Obviously doing this makes fitting the bikes rather more difficult but once a loading pattern is achieved it will be easy to replicate.  The bike holder "grasp the frame thingy" will , of course, now be too long but I will either angle it up or down to grab the bike somewhere plus, a few extra webbing ties to complete the job.

This I hope will add another 5kg approx to nose weight and reduces overhang by 6 inches.  Not a massive gain but anything is worth having.

 

Second job is to remove the contraption that holds the spare to the now redundant AlKo carrier.  This should easily screw to the bulkhead at the front right (few more holes for extra screws easily made).  Reasoning is that the spare will be rarely used and shifting stuff to get at it quick and simple.  Outer right facing van because that side of the van is lightest when taking account of fittings and the spare will be a constant weight.

 

Third job, having ordered a long pigtail, is to remove the existing clamps and adapt one to fit the wider base of my Safefill.  This will then be placed to the extreme left of the gas locker.  Reasoning it will balance the spare to some extent when full but more importantly it leaves a large area for other items including the wastemaster and the aquaroll.  (Amazed that these fit in but glad they do since firstly the shower door is too narrow for the aquaroll and secondly carrying both in shower would only add to rear weight.

 

Fourth job is to literally check how things fit and if need be move the second gas bottle clamp to accommodate.  I was hoping to be able to leave the second bottle behind. The massive advantage of Safefill is, of course, that I can fill it at any stage and always leave home full.  Perhaps now the second bottle will stay or other "ballast" will be used.  Suck it and see time for this one!

 

Fifth job is to re-arrange a few things inside the van although little will be gained by this I'm afraid.

The next day or so will show just how successful I've been. 

 

Failure to achieve a decent nose weight will be disappointing to say the least.  I will not go away for 6 and more weeks to Europe and live out of suitcases to leave the wardrobe fairly empty. 

 

I might leave a single bike on the rack and carry one inside the van but this will be a last resort.

 

I will not carry the bikes on the roof of the car for a number of reasons not least of which is the risk of damage when putting them into place.  13.2 kg at arms length leaning over the roof (SUV high roof) is not going to happen. Oh, and no, I won't be buying one of the expensive slide on carriers either. 

 

Phew - Thanks for reading. 

 

Will report back after doing the above if you can stand more from me. 

 

And someone please tell me why my profile does not match the current van. 

 

 

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

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11 minutes ago, John_b_45 said:

I tried and changed in my profile but it doesn't seem to appear here. 

 

The details from the profile do not appear on posts. My details shown are from my signature line!

Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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I have 570.

I moved the spare further forward under the bed. Carry both water roll's upfront with two fold up chairs, all the wardrobe clothing upfront onto the berths, jack and everything with any weight either in the gas locker, or under the berths.  Only have the wheel and waste hog under the bed.  And I have a upgrade worth 64kg.

 

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According to Swift Talk the 2016 van was shorter than mine.  There were no issues with nose weight.

 

This van is around 2 feet longer and has the tall fridge.  

The opinion seems to be that adding the extra - and with cooker, fridge and wardrobe all behind the axle, this has caused the light nose weight.

 

It's worth noting that without my upgrade to 1500 kg there is no way I could have added sufficient weight to counter the effect of two bikes on the rear.

I hope no-one wanting a "lightish "  van  and towing with a smaller less powerful car,  and wishing to carry bikes reads this post!  

 

In a nutshell my gripe with swift is that there should be no rear mounts if the van cannot handle them.  It should NOT be necessary to have to upgrade the MTPLM to 1500 kg to get a satisfactory nose weight. 

 

On 16/02/2019 at 08:58, Easy T said:

The details from the profile do not appear on posts. My details shown are from my signature line!

 

Errr  -  Not sure where to find the "signature file!  

 

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

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Go to your Profile then select Account Settings, then Signature and then edit it.

Alan

After more than 35 years caravanning changed to motorhome for 5 years and loved it but now back in the fold of caravanning but still miss our motorhome.

Kia Sorento KX3 Auto - sold our 2018 Coachman VIP and now await our 2021 Coachman Laser Xcel 575 Special Edition

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Your new  Eccles  480 is 6660 cm total on length our 2016  Swift Conqueror 480 is 6540 cm so there is only a small difference of 120 cm, the Conqueror is slightly heavier, however both layouts are virtual identical including the tall fridge, apparently these caravan were designed with the rear cycle carrier in mind.

 

Our Swift Conqueror 480 is very nose heavy we have to load the bathroom awning on the floor and 2 aquarolls and the wastewater in the shower, bathroom wardrobe full loaded courtesy of the wife. We have one calorlite gas bottle, a few bits and bobs in the front locker and bedding under front seats giving approximately 85 - 90 kg.

 

 

 

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2020 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4  PHEV and 2016 Swift Conqueror 480 HT

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43 minutes ago, John_b_45 said:

According to Swift Talk the 2016 van was shorter than mine.  There were no issues with nose weight.

 

This van is around 2 feet longer and has the tall fridge.  

The opinion seems to be that adding the extra - and with cooker, fridge and wardrobe all behind the axle, this has caused the light nose weight.

 

It's worth noting that without my upgrade to 1500 kg there is no way I could have added sufficient weight to counter the effect of two bikes on the rear.

I hope no-one wanting a "lightish "  van  and towing with a smaller less powerful car,  and wishing to carry bikes reads this post!  

 

In a nutshell my gripe with swift is that there should be no rear mounts if the van cannot handle them.  It should NOT be necessary to have to upgrade the MTPLM to 1500 kg to get a satisfactory nose weight. 

 

 

Errr  -  Not sure where to find the "signature file!  

 

 

I still fail to see how it's  Swift fault and not your own.

 

IMO you didn't  apply common sense, check your own NW,  both of which you should have done.

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In theory there is nothing wrong with the caravan, it  just not designed to carry cycle on the back. Swift would be better of not fitting the Thule cycle rack fittings.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4  PHEV and 2016 Swift Conqueror 480 HT

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12 hours ago, Oscarmax said:

In theory there is nothing wrong with the caravan, it  just not designed to carry cycle on the back. Swift would be better of not fitting the Thule cycle rack fittings.

 

Yes, agreed.  Certainly on this van. :(

But they do and with a decent nose weight to start from then not an issue. 

Hey Ho.  I've amended, rearranged and modified to get something that hopefully works so all is well.

 

12 hours ago, xtrailman said:

 

I still fail to see how it's  Swift fault and not your own.

 

IMO you didn't  apply common sense, check your own NW,  both of which you should have done.

 

I'm not going down the road of trivia and point scoring but suffice it to say that:

 

1.  In my stupidity I presumed that Swift would not fit a cycle carrier to a van that is patently not balanced for one and certainly could not be made safe without the upgrade to 1500 kg.  It beggars belief what weight issues would arise with 3 bikes on the rack. 

2. Secondly I had no opportunity to weigh the nose weight when initially viewing the van - of course you would have asked for a gauge and checked I know - but I didn't.

3.  As a matter of fact I do check my nose weight as a matter of course.  But that's on my drive and not at a dealer. 

 

Of course when I next buy a van I'll take my Milenco  with me just like every other customer arriving at the dealership has one tucked under their arm. :(

 

 

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Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

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