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Confusion about noseweight


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Many years ago, my husband and I used to tow a Swift Corniche 4-berth, then we moved to a larger but lighter American pop-up trailer, so we are not new to towing.  However we always had a powerful diesel car and so were never particularly worried about towing weights, MTPLM etc, etc and we found towing to be easy and smooth.

 

Now we're getting on a bit, and many years later, we're thinking about going back to a caravanning, but our tow car is now a Toyota Verso 1.8 V-Matic petrol model which works just fine with the pop up trailer....but with a caravan?!  We don't know.  So we have a lot less welly in the car itself.  The car has a max towing capacity of 1300 kg and kerbweight of 1540 kg so we know that we have to look for a lighter model of caravan than we had before.

 

We are interested in a used Adria Altea 542 UK which has an MTPLM of 1300.  So far so good.  However now I discover that the nose weight limit of our car is only 55kg.  This is where I get confused about what is legal and safe.  Does anyone know the nose weight of the Adria Altea 542 UK?  We haven't a clue and the seller (who lives miles away) hasn't a clue.  Maybe someone on this forum has this towing rig and can advise, or even if not, maybe someone with the same Adria caravan will know what it's nose weight is?

 

I know that you can adjust nose weight by the way that you pack it but there must a minimum nose weight that the van has even when unladen.  Does this have to be the same or less than the nose weight limit of the towcar?

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Most people establish the nose weight of their van as usually packed for a trip. Unless you wildly change what you are carrying, and you re-pack your caravan in a known way as most of us do, there is

Reading this post which started with a simple question, it's no wonder a newbie can get confused looking at towing weights, train weights etc, but what does shout out is a manufacturer gives a tow bal

When unladen some caravans have a noseweight well in excess of the towbar limit, others have almost zero noseweight. It’s always a matter of adjusting to suit.

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When unladen some caravans have a noseweight well in excess of the towbar limit, others have almost zero noseweight. It’s always a matter of adjusting to suit.

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You must never exceed the car's maximum towball loading weight. More will cause roadholding issues and possibly damage the car's chassis.

 I have seen a recommended  figure of 7% of the van weight on the towball, but the car must take priority if 7% is a higher figure (which it probably will be).

7% of my van's weight exceeds the car's towball limit. I load to the car limit and it tows just fine.

 

Load the van to suit.

Edited by daveat92
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The general rule of thumb as regards noseweight is it should be  5-7% of the actual laden weight of the caravan you will with only 55Kg not achieve this and risk instability.  Personally I would not tow a caravan of that size with  your intended car.

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Caravans don't have a noseweight as such but there is a recommendation that the noseweight to aim at should be between 5% and 7% of the caravan  MTPLM (or loaded weight if less) always subject to the maximum permissible for the car, the towbar and the hitch. 

Most AL-KO hitches are ok up to 100kg.

Most towbars are ok up to 100kg some go higher 

If your caravan weight is 1300KG then a recommended amount would be 5% to 7%  of that i.e. 65kg to 91kg, adjusted to suit.

But if your car limit is only 55kg that is what you must work with and frankly you might struggle to get a satisfactory balance and a satisfactory ride.  You're going to have to weigh everything and make sure you can achieve a suitable noseweight whilst not moving too much weight behind the axle.  It's achievable but not easily.

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Not that long ago (1980’s and 1990’s, I feel old) cars had lower nose weights than today with 50kgs for a family saloon being not unusual. However, achieving it with some modern caravans could be a challenge. The only way to tell will be to go and see it with a nose weight gauge. If it’s empty and in the 55kg region you might have a fighting chance of maintaining it when loaded.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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The thing that annoys me is Citroen just quote a seemingly arbitrary 4% of the cars towing capacity for max nose weight. Even if everything is the same on a car, chassis, engine, suspension, wheels but it has a automatic gearbox which might reduce towing weight capacity. Their nose weights are always 4% of towing capacity when clearly the car components can handle it. 

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The only advice I could suggest is maybe check with Toyota if the 55kg limit is due to the car fixing or the towbar limit or if your in luck maybe the suspension which can be fitted with assistance. 

If nothing can be improved I think you would need to look for a much lighter caravan.

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Car manufacturers noseweights aren't arbitrary and they do not take into consideration the capacity of towing equipment.

They are set to match the design and construction of the car particularly bodyshell strength, steering geometry including suspension and brakes.

Exceed the limits and risk nullifying insurance if you have a claim situation and prosecution if you get caught overloading.

I agree with PaulR

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I would’t exceed the cars stated nose weight as that’s illegal but they seemingly just decided On 4% of towing capacity. 
 

it’s just suspiciously always 4% of towing capacity. Same vehicle different gearbox different nose weight. Exactly 4%, again. 

Edited by halifaxdan
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58 minutes ago, CJ1149 said:

Car manufacturers noseweights aren't arbitrary and they do not take into consideration the capacity of towing equipment.

They are set to match the design and construction of the car particularly bodyshell strength, steering geometry including suspension and brakes.

Exceed the limits and risk nullifying insurance if you have a claim situation and prosecution if you get caught overloading.

I agree with PaulR

 

One would have to exceed the noseweight limit by so much that either the rear axle load limit of the towing vehicle is exceeded as well or structural fatigue failure has occurred for insurance to be affected.

 

1 minute ago, halifaxdan said:

I would’t exceed the cars stated nose weight as that’s illegal but they seemingly just decided On 4% of towing capacity. 

 

Please point to that piece of legislation making exceeding the noseweight limit illegal, because I'm not aware of such a thing. The only way they could catch you is if the noseweight is so high that it is deemed to constitute a dangerous loading condition, but then the rear axle load limit of the towing vehicle will have been exceeded as well, and that is an offence.

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4 minutes ago, Lutz said:

 

One would have to exceed the noseweight limit by so much that either the rear axle load limit of the towing vehicle is exceeded as well or structural fatigue failure has occurred for insurance to be affected.

 

 

Please point to that piece of legislation making exceeding the noseweight limit illegal, because I'm not aware of such a thing. The only way they could catch you is if the noseweight is so high that it is deemed to constitute a dangerous loading condition, but then the rear axle load limit of the towing vehicle will have been exceeded as well, and that is an offence.

Interesting, so you are saying it’s not illegal. I would be very happy if this were true. Do you have information about this? All my information is third hand from this forum. 

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11 minutes ago, halifaxdan said:

Interesting, so you are saying it’s not illegal. I would be very happy if this were true. Do you have information about this? All my information is third hand from this forum. 

 

I was asking you where you got your information from that it is specifically illegal because I can't find any such reference.

 

Edited by Lutz
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Thread drift but - overloading is an offence under the RTA - Andy please confirm.

Insurance could be nullified by the above if it was deemed "contributory negligence".  You'd be down to the minimum 3rd Party cover at best.

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A closer inspection of my cars manual states it’s only a recommended noseweight, not a maximum. Thanks lutz 

95F5A8EA-A730-4F61-9980-A1D500D673CC.jpeg

12 minutes ago, CJ1149 said:

Thread drift but - overloading is an offence under the RTA - Andy please confirm.

Insurance could be nullified by the above if it was deemed "contributory negligence".  You'd be down to the minimum 3rd Party cover at best.

So if I keep the rear axle within it’s specified max limit and stay within the trailers A frame max nose weight, and stay within the tow bar max weight limit I should be fine. 

Edited by halifaxdan
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24 minutes ago, CJ1149 said:

Thread drift but - overloading is an offence under the RTA - Andy please confirm.

Insurance could be nullified by the above if it was deemed "contributory negligence".  You'd be down to the minimum 3rd Party cover at best.

 

Overloading the weights shown on the statutory plate are an offence but I am not aware that the same applies to the noseweight limit.

 

Just a note on the side for Halifaxdan:

Citroen have got their interpretation of kerbweight wrong. It's not in line with the definition as laid down in The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulation 1986. Kerbweight does not include the driver and unladen weight is something else again because it doesn't include any fluids.

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As has been said, the car's recommended noseweight limit is not a legally binding figure and you can't be prosecuted for exceeding it, unless it causes you to exceed other legally binding limits. However exceeding manufacturer recommendations could result in refuted warranty claims and/or refuted goodwill if there are problems after the warranty period ends.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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3 hours ago, halifaxdan said:

The thing that annoys me is Citroen just quote a seemingly arbitrary 4% of the cars towing capacity for max nose weight. Even if everything is the same on a car, chassis, engine, suspension, wheels but it has a automatic gearbox which might reduce towing weight capacity. Their nose weights are always 4% of towing capacity when clearly the car components can handle it. 

4% of my Citroen's max towed weight (1200kg) is 48kg, but the handbook says 55kgs max towball load, so your statement is not correct for my car!

Just to confuse matters, the towing bracket (fitted after market, not a Citroen one) is marked as "100kg max".

 

I do not exceed the 55kg limit.

Edited by daveat92
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Reading this post which started with a simple question, it's no wonder a newbie can get confused looking at towing weights, train weights etc, but what does shout out is a manufacturer gives a tow ball weight of 'x' and the towbar has 'y' on it. That should not really happen in todays world the towbar manufacturers stamp should agree with the cars.

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8 hours ago, daveat92 said:

4% of my Citroen's max towed weight (1200kg) is 48kg, but the handbook says 55kgs max towball load, so your statement is not correct for my car!

Just to confuse matters, the towing bracket (fitted after market, not a Citroen one) is marked as "100kg max".

 

I do not exceed the 55kg limit.

I would check you car handbook. If it is like mine it is only a recommended noseweight. Nowhere does it mention that it is a limit (in my handbook anyway).  

If you check your handbook will you let me know if it’s max noseweight or recommended please. I am intrigued now. 

Edited by halifaxdan
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Volvo quote it as a maximum load rather than recommended, this from my V90 handbook:

E1093CDD-8ED2-4855-A066-D45E39653CA8.png

Edited by GaryB1969

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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Even if it is only stated as a recommendation, product liability will only rest with the manufacturer if the limit is not exceeded. In other words, should there be any material failure due to excessive load, there would be no opportunity for recourse action.

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  • Gordon changed the title to Confusion about noseweight
1 hour ago, Lutz said:

Even if it is only stated as a recommendation, product liability will only rest with the manufacturer if the limit is not exceeded. In other words, should there be any material failure due to excessive load, there would be no opportunity for recourse action.

The word “limit” is the key. As far as I can tell the “limit” is the towbar manufacturer. They will have tested the towbar kit on the actual vehicle and produced a safe max limit. The vehicle manufacturer has tested the axle and produced a safe “limit”. If there was a incident on the road which was investigated by the police. I am now fairly sure (almost certain) I just have to not exceed these Noseweight limits and I would be fine. 
 

And for the sake of completeness, not exceeding trailer A frame limit. 

Edited by halifaxdan
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