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85% guideline with MRO or MTPLM


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Hi there 

We've been thinking of trying caravaning for the first time for a few years. I can tow up to 3500kg.

I am confused if I can chose a caravan thinking more about the MRO weight or MTPLM.

We have a towbar already on one of our cars:

Merc C220 CDI SE  auto coupe 2007

Max vehicle train weight: 3470kg

Max vehicle gross weight: 1970Kg

Max braked trailer weight: 1500kg

Vehicle kerb weight: 1515kg

85% rule = 1280kg

For example I have found an Abbey Vouge, the MRO is 1195kg and the MTPLM is 1430kg. 

The 1430kg is quite far over the 85% kerb weight rule but if we were to put very little luggage in the caravan and most in the car (as only 2 of us) this may keep the caravan weight to below 1280kg. Would this be safe and legal? 

The MTPLM and Gross vehicle weight of this combo = 3400kg which is under the vehicles Gross Train weight and under my 3500kg license limit. 

Should I be looking for a caravan with a MTPLM of below 1280kg or can I buy one with a higher MTPLM and just not laden it up to this to keep it near to the 85% safety rule. Many thanks Oscky

 

 

 

 

Edited by Oscky
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  • Oscky changed the title to 85% rule with MRO or MTPLM

No your last sentence is correct, you can load the car not the caravan. But the 85% isn't a rule just guidance based on ,,mm mm a safe start for beginners, towing up to 100%is OK once experienced , but there is no guidance on what experience is, and if the car legally can tow 1500kg as rated by the maker that is the absolute limit. A 1280caravan sounds a good choice you'll always have a heavier car than the maker s say anyway.

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Through extensive research (starting a thread on here). I think we concluded that the only thing experience brings to the table is “that was a close call, I won’t do that again”. If you stay around the same speed as normal lorries on the motorway and take it really steady when slowing down, especially going down steep hills, make sure the AL-KO friction pads are good if you have them, make sure tyres are good, tyre pressures are good, nose weight is good, caravan load distribution is good then that seems to be about the best you can do. 

Edited by Grandpa Steve
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I don’t know where you got the kerbweight figure from but if it was out of a brochure, handbook or database, chances are that the actual kerbweight of your particular car could be quite considerably higher, so you’d have a bigger safety margin than you think.

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85% is not a rule, it's just guidance for the inexperienced.

85% is not a magic number with safety below it and disaster above.

85% has no need for precision, I defy anyone to tell the difference on the road between 80% and 90%.

In fact, some of us do not believe that it is even good guidance!

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I tow a 1420kg MTPLM van with a 1468kg car. Did this from day 1 as a novice and, so far, no issues. But I do use the advice obtained from this site - correct car/van loading, correct nose weight, sensible driving etc.

 

The weights stated are 'worst' case and in reality I am confident the van isn't 1420kg and the car weighs more than 1468kg when loaded up. Of course visiting a weigh bridge would confirm it.

Edited by swirly182

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2 hours ago, Stevan said:

85% is not a rule, it's just guidance for the inexperienced.

85% is not a magic number with safety below it and disaster above.

85% has no need for precision, I defy anyone to tell the difference on the road between 80% and 90%.

In fact, some of us do not believe that it is even good guidance!

Well yes I have read about this too, and this is good to hear. I just want the caravan to be as light as possible compared to the car.

2 hours ago, Lutz said:

I don’t know where you got the kerbweight figure from but if it was out of a brochure, handbook or database, chances are that the actual kerbweight of your particular car could be quite considerably higher, so you’d have a bigger safety margin than you think.

Off various sites on line, it's hard to find as so many different models. The  car handbook says 1540kg but that's for the saloon, the handbook doesn't give the weight of the coupe. If the kerb weight is heavier than 1515kg then thats great.

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Would you say my car and this van match ok in terms of the weights? 

I would just make sure I keep the van as light as I can by putting heavy stuff and most stuff in the car.

Does MRO include all fixtures and fittings the the cooker etc? But no the spare wheel, battery and gas  bottle?

The max nose weight for the car is 75kg, would I need to put a full 75kg of weight in the front of the van for this or might the van have some of it's own natural nose weight? 

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40 minutes ago, Oscky said:

Would you say my car and this van match ok in terms of the weights? 

I would just make sure I keep the van as light as I can by putting heavy stuff and most stuff in the car.

Does MRO include all fixtures and fittings the the cooker etc? But no the spare wheel, battery and gas  bottle?

The max nose weight for the car is 75kg, would I need to put a full 75kg of weight in the front of the van for this or might the van have some of it's own natural nose weight? 

Most caravans have some "natural noseweight", sometimes it's too little, sometimes it's too much. It's up to the driver to adjust it to his/her requirements.

 

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5 minutes ago, Miggs said:

75kg doesn't sound much. I would give serious thought to either a lighter van or a heavier car.


75kg sound average for a standard car.

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8 minutes ago, Grandpa Steve said:


75kg sound average for a standard car.

 

Agreed, I was actually reading the Practical Caravan magazine tow car of the year article yesterday and even some of the more robust SUV style vehicles were in the 90 to 100kgs bracket.  Cars/estates seemed to be in the 70 to 80kg range.  My Volvo has a 100kg limit but the rear end sags considerably if this limit is used.

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I'd say you have a Good match and I would have no qualms towing with your outfit if tyre s are all Good pressures etc nose weo'ight at 75kg or the car's limt. 

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34 minutes ago, Miggs said:

75kg doesn't sound much. I would give serious thought to either a lighter van or a heavier car.

 

Towed for years at 70-75kg, 75kg was the limit for the car which worked well then.

 

Present car is 150kg although the caravan hitch is ony 100kg, I aim at 90-95kg.

                      Stay safe - Griff.:ph34r:

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36 minutes ago, Grandpa Steve said:


75kg sound average for a standard car.

Yes I thought 75kg was pretty normal. I just don't want to have to add lots more weight to the MRO to get to the right nose weight.

 

18 minutes ago, Jezzerb said:

I'd say you have a Good match and I would have no qualms towing with your outfit if tyre s are all Good pressures etc nose weo'ight at 75kg or the car's limt. 

Thanks so much that's good to hear!

Cars GVW 1970kg and vans MTPLM 1430kg = 3400kg. Which is below the cars GTW of 3470kg. Although I would never to loading the van up to the MTPLM, only adding the necessary nose weight to the MRO of 1195kg. So interms of the weight and laws and also safety you think this is sound? Many thanks everyone. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Oscky said:

So interms of the weight and laws and also safety you think this is sound?  

 

 

Yes.  My only advice would be to start with the caravan empty and then weigh everything that you put inside it, it's surprising just how much weight all of those inconsequential bits & pieces add!

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2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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The combo sounds fine and I suspect you'll be surprised at what you 'need' to put in the van. Going out in the pouring rain to get clothes, a towel, saucepan or teacup is a mugs game (sorry).

 

Don't forget that the van's battery any motor mover fitted and any gas cylinder over the amount used by the manufacturer in setting MIRO are all eating up payload.

 

To obtain your van's noseweight, load as if you were going for a trip, then weigh the hitch and adjusting loading for and aft to get the weight you require. 

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14 hours ago, Oscky said:

Vehicle kerb weight: 1515kg

"Kerbweight" quoted in a brochure or manufacturers specs can be misleading at best. Look in your vehicle's V5 for the "Mass in Service" figure and work out your percentages and the vehicles own payload (Gross Vehicle Weight minus Mass in Service) from that.

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35 minutes ago, Flying Grandad said:

"Kerbweight" quoted in a brochure or manufacturers specs can be misleading at best. Look in your vehicle's V5 for the "Mass in Service" figure and work out your percentages and the vehicles own payload (Gross Vehicle Weight minus Mass in Service) from that.

 

Even the Mass in Service figure is no more reliable than a published kerbweight. Both are generic values which are not specific to the vehicle in question, but serve only to give a rough idea. Differences from actual weight of up to 100kg (sometimes even more) are to be expected.

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  • Gordon changed the title to 85% guideline with MRO or MTPLM

Just been through this with my Mitsubishi Outlander, handbook stated 1510kgs or 1610kgs with all accessories! No idea what all accessories meant so called Mitsubishi and they quoted with towbar 1845kgs. They very kindly sent me a PDF headed note paper quoting Reg, model and VIN just in case required for insurance claim. Might be worth calling Mercedes for the actual weight of your vehicle.

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Is the Mitsubishi quoted figure the actual weight of the particular vehicle, or the CAD based probable weight? If the latter, then the vaguaries of possible variances in material thicknesses in thousands of components can still mean the actual weight is a fair bit different.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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hello 

 

from this site which makes sense to me 

 

https://blueskyrecreation.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/85-of-kerb-weight-law-guide-or-myth/

 

is there a website where I could find the Gross Combination Weight for vehicles and the kerb weights

 

I am using https://towcar.info/outfitmatch.php  which gives a reading on 85% 

 

thanks

Edited by angie2020
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do you know , the amount of times the weights are discussed on here  it could have a forum of it's own.  However saying that it is an important subject. If you take the 85% as a starting point at least it  gives you a bit of leeway, it never surprises me how the contents of a caravan seems to nudge the payload weight in no  time at all.  :)

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On 23/09/2020 at 07:46, Stevan said:

85% is not a rule, it's just guidance for the inexperienced.

85% is not a magic number with safety below it and disaster above.

85% has no need for precision, I defy anyone to tell the difference on the road between 80% and 90%.

In fact, some of us do not believe that it is even good guidance!

Maybe not, but I defy you not to notice a difference between 70 and 100.  And that being the case you would have to acknowledge that it is a progression ....the closer you get towards a caravan being heavier than the vehicle, the less stable in adverse conditions the outfit will be.  Having towed thousands of uneventful miles at 100%, switching to under 70% (same) caravan there is a noticeable difference in strong winds.  As the 85% myth blowing article (linked above) concedes in its conclusion “.....Obviously, the heavier the car, relative to the trailer, the better,....”.
 

Whilst the guideline may be outdated, in the absence of any other guide for new caravanners it’s a good start. I would hate to think we might promote the notion that it’s was ok for inexperienced towers to tow with any size car.

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1 hour ago, ericfield said:

Maybe not, but I defy you not to notice a difference between 70 and 100.  And that being the case you would have to acknowledge that it is a progression ....the closer you get towards a caravan being heavier than the vehicle, the less stable in adverse conditions the outfit will be.  Having towed thousands of uneventful miles at 100%, switching to under 70% (same) caravan there is a noticeable difference in strong winds.  As the 85% myth blowing article (linked above) concedes in its conclusion “.....Obviously, the heavier the car, relative to the trailer, the better,....”.
 

Whilst the guideline may be outdated, in the absence of any other guide for new caravanners it’s a good start. I would hate to think we might promote the notion that it’s was ok for inexperienced towers to tow with any size car.

Have you any evidence at all that "it is a progression"?

Have you any evidence at all that the "noticeable difference" was down to the weight ratio, not other characteristics of the car?

I have towed a caravan at around 120% with complete stability and suffered instability at 75%. Whilst I do not doubt your experience I take your unverified conclusions with a large pinch of salt.

 

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