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Nose weight


Versa11
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Hi All,

Got another question as still new to this. I am lucky to have my caravan at the side of the house so can work on it and try things out. I am messing with the nose weight today, trying to put things in different place to change th nose weight. To my supprise when you load up the gas compartment the weight goes up very quickly. My question is what is the best nose weight or is that a silly question.

 

Thanks in advance

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The nose weight should be somewhere in the 5-7% range of the MTPLM weight of the caravan but I find the heavier the better. However, you have to factor in the maximum nose weight (or tear axle weight with the car loaded with kids and caravan stuff!) of the tow car and the chassis of the caravan. Most caravans are @100kg but cars vary a lot and need checking. I hope this helps

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As your car handbook in specifications, the max. the towball/bracket will take is on the approved label.

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The best nose weight is as heavy as possible BUT not exceeding any limits of car, towbar or caravan.

 

The 5-7% "optimum" that's often quoted is simply because many combinations can't get higher than that.

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Most AlKo chassis’s have a 100kg limit, but your car may have a lower limit.  Check the handbook. 
also check your tow bracket / swan neck to see what that is rated for. I think it’s the S rating 

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As my Applied Maths master used to say, every couple has its moments.

 

You can work out how weight change will affect the noseweight. Think of a seesaw with a central pivot. Put two children of equal weight on either end and it will still balance. Where would you need to place a child if that child - lets say 2 - were twice the weight of child 1? Simple. Multiply the weight of child 1 by the distance of that child from the centre, then divide that number by the weight of child 2 and the answer you get will be half way along the length of the side on which child 2 is sitting. It doesn't matter what units you use so long as they are the same for both sides.

The same applies to your caravan: if you put a gas bottle in the front locker, multiply the weight of that bottle by the distance between it and the axle - the axle being the pivot. Then divide the answer by the distance from axle to ball hitch and it will show you the effect of the weight of the gas bottle on the noseweight.

You can calculate the effects of a weight change across the axle or on the same side as the axle, just keep the units the same.

 

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Because it's dangerous to put the gas bottle(s) in the car, I leave it (them) in the locker, where they are strapped and secure, but take the spare wheel out and put that in the car. That weight moved out makes quite a big difference.

 

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2 hours ago, Versa11 said:

is that a silly question.

Versa.  There are no silly questions.  This forum welcomes any question.  Some jokers will post silly answers, but just for fun.  If you put the gas bottle intheback of thecaravan you will see how the nose weight is much less.  But it should be in the gas locker as this is safer - it's outside the caravan and well ventilated.

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5-7% of MPTLM,  the higher end is preferable provided you remain within your cars permitted noseweight preferably with some leeway.

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31 minutes ago, compact said:

5-7% of MPTLM,  the higher end is preferable provided you remain within your cars permitted noseweight preferably with some leeway.

 

Why do you say "with some leeway" ? I maintain that if your car allows 100kg noseweight then the closer to that the better, without exceeding it.

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Check it with the caravan in it’s fully laden state rather than just the front locker loaded, it will vary considerably depending how it’s loaded. Personally I would weigh every single item the first time you load it as it’s so easy to exceed the maximum technically permissible laden mass very easily! Keep heavy items low down and near the axle then play around with positioning to optimise nose weight.

 

As others have said, there’s no such thing as a daft question when you’re starting out. Daft answers cannot be ruled out though! :D

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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Hi All, Thanks for the advice. I also put the awning i have over the axle to see how that went and it was about 90 but when i put it on top of the bed near the back of the van it went to about 77. I also have 2 bikes that i put in the van whilst traveling but it is going to be a bit hard to put them over the wheel axle as well as the awning as there isnt much room. Taking from the replies am i right in saying that going for about 85 to 90 as the max is 100kg.

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Be careful with the awning. Unless it’s a small porch awning it’s weight could take up a huge chunk of your payload, to be honest you don’t want it at the back as weight right at the rear really goes against advice for stability. Getting the optimum nose weight isn’t easy and some of the gauges aren’t accurate. Don’t forget that clothes weigh quite a bit collectively so by the time they’re loaded it could shift the nose weight again.

 

Good luck, you’ll get there in the end!

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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A lot depends on your caravan weight, I'm sorry to disagree with what has gone before but nose weight can be too heavy, even if it is within the limit of your car, towbar and caravan hitch. If it is the caravan will tend to see-saw and the rear of the car will bounce up and down excessively. Never try and adjust the noseweight by loading the rear of the van, do it my moving items from the front to the center. I always used to put the awning in the car rather than the van, as the only suitable storage for it in the van, other than literally lying on the floor was under the front or rear beds which didn;t make for good loading, and we like to be able to arrive on site and get the kettle on without having loads of stuff to unload from the van. 

 

Now we have the twin axle with the large underbed storage it goes in there, right behind the axles. Even so, I tend to leave the gas locker just for the gas bottle and items of bulk but little weight, like a plastic watering can for filling the toilet flush. The spare wheel has gone in a bag and lives under the bed with the awning and deck chairs. 

 

11 minutes ago, GaryB1969 said:

Getting the optimum nose weight isn’t easy and some of the gauges aren’t accurate.

 

that's a really good point. I have three nose weight gauges and none of them agree. When we bought the new van we bought a new posh stick type to replace the old red plastic version that the dealer gave us as part of our first time buyer pack with our first van, years ago. 

 

When I collected the new van I didn't bother about nose weight as unladen didn't see it being an issue.  I checked it a couple of days later standing on the drive after I put a new gas bottle in and the smart new silver metal gauge sank instantly to it's maximum of 100kg, beyond the limit of our tow car. Out came the old red one, it said 65. So I borrowed a digital one and that said 72kg. Putting it on a bathroom scale it was actually 84k, hence moving the spare wheel, tool kit and plastic box with awning pegs and toilet chems etc into the underbed storage. It now sits at 75kg, the limit for our car. We only put the kids clothes in the front lockers. Food goes in the kitchen which is right over the twin axles and our clothes in the rear bedroom offset any clothes in the front

Edited by PMW
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Find the MTPLM of your caravan, possibly around 1500kg depending on the exact year and model.  The 5-7% gives you - ball park 90kg.

Also check the max noseweight for your caravan and the max tow hitch load of your car. You should be at or less than the lowest of these figures.

For your info, some caravans have a heavy noseweight before loading and others a light noseweight. (Ours is difficult to get down to the max permitted of 100kg).

You are doing well to be checking it - keep up the good work.

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Most ALKO hitches, but not all are rated at a maximum of 100kg which you should not exceed.  As said the 5-7% of MTPLM is a good guideline.

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1 minute ago, Durbanite said:

Most ALKO hitches, but not all are rated at a maximum of 100kg which you should not exceed.  As said the 5-7% of MTPLM is a good guideline.

 

In countries like USA and Australia where vehicle noseweight limits are higher, they use a 10% MINIMUM guideline despite towing heavier trailers - and don't have reduced speed limits for towing vehicles.

 

Perhaps if our cars had higher noseweight limits, we could increase the towing speed limit?

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Aim for 90Kg and you wont be far out.

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3 minutes ago, Ern said:

Aim for 90Kg and you wont be far out.

 Unless your car has a 50Kg limit, yes they are out there! ;)

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If they've got a 50 kg limit , they shouldn't be towing ?  My car is In the book 100kg , best I could do was 107 kg , im still here and the cars still going ? No one weighs us in our country !

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31 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

 

In countries like USA and Australia where vehicle noseweight limits are higher, they use a 10% MINIMUM guideline despite towing heavier trailers - and don't have reduced speed limits for towing vehicles.

 

Perhaps if our cars had higher noseweight limits, we could increase the towing speed limit?

The nose weight of our caravan is 145kg and the maximum load on the rear of the tow car is 175kg so well within spec and legal.

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3 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

The nose weight of our caravan is 145kg and the maximum load on the rear of the tow car is 175kg so well within spec and legal.

 

My car has a 140 kg limit but sadly the caravan is limited to 100 kg so I have to stick to that.

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6 minutes ago, James Donald said:

If they've got a 50 kg limit , they shouldn't be towing ?  My car is In the book 100kg , best I could do was 107 kg , im still here and the cars still going ? No one weighs us in our country !

There are, or have been cars with a noseweight limit as low as 50Kg and this often went with a tiny towing limit making the car only suitable for extreme lightweight caravans and small trailers. Not a statutory limit though, but insurance companies can frown on any misuse.

Most cars will happily tow over their specified towing limit (which is not statutory anyway) provided that you do not go over the (statutory) Maximum Train Weight, potentially unwise, but not illegal.

Vehicles are sometimes weight checked in this country, but often they will only do a weight check if it looks overloaded. I have been pulled into a spot check, but they did not put mine over the weighing equipment because "it looks fine"!

48 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

 

In countries like USA and Australia where vehicle noseweight limits are higher, they use a 10% MINIMUM guideline despite towing heavier trailers - and don't have reduced speed limits for towing vehicles.

 

Perhaps if our cars had higher noseweight limits, we could increase the towing speed limit?

Different countries have different regulations, Road death statistics suggest that overall, the UK regulations are about as good as they come. (Still room for improvement though!).

You may have a point about noseweight, but this would probably need more attention to axle loadings rather than MAM of the car.

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The specificatio of what looks to be the same car does in fact vary from country to country. You would expect the sus penmsion and possibly the body to be beefed up for the Australian outback roads so a higher noseweight and towing limit might be justified.

I would assume that cars specified for the USA also have a different spec but as all countries have their own regulations on towing some differences in towing limits may be affected.

Here you will find that the towing limit is based on restarting on a 12% slope, in Switzerland it is based on power to weight ratios for example.

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 We used to have a 2011 Kia Rio 1.5 diesel. 50Kg noseweight limit, actual towing limit of 1100Kg, towed a 1050 Kg 'van admirably well. Once we got the noseweight sorted we towed for 6 years with no problem whatsoever. :)

Edited by Flat_at
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