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Hello all. We are looking to change our van fairly soon from a 4 birth (front double side bunk) and rear washroom layout to something more family orientated to house a dog a 4 years old and 5 year old girls. Current  van is a 520 1350MTPLM single axle. Iv been looking at the rear fixed singles coachman vips 565 but to be honest the nose weight is too heavy for my car which can only take 75kg despite having a kerbweight of 1700kg. 
 

I am now looking at fixed rear bunk alternatives. Does anyone know any models within the last 3 years or so that would suit as I’m drawing a blank and am continuously finding fixed island beds that take up half the van and obviously not suited to a family van.

 

ideas on a SAE to here please.

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We had a 2014 Swift Challenger 586 with fixed rear bunks. Great layout for kids with a reasonable sized side bathroom , negatives in our experience were the kids will be too big for the bunks when they reach teenage years and the blown air heating output is poor at the rear of the caravan.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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What's your budget? 

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2 hours ago, swirly182 said:

What's your budget? 

£20k

 

i have just seen a Sterling Elite 565 2017 MY which does tick all the boxes and is £19500 private sale which seems a bit cheap. Nose weight might be an issue but the vans MTPLM is coming in around 1510 so on a car 1690kg I’m happy with that although it’s getting to the limit.

2 hours ago, GaryB1969 said:

We had a 2014 Swift Challenger 586 with fixed rear bunks. Great layout for kids with a reasonable sized side bathroom , negatives in our experience were the kids will be too big for the bunks when they reach teenage years and the blown air heating output is poor at the rear of the caravan.

Great intel. Was that twin or single axle?

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Posted (edited)

caravanfinder - have you had a look on here, you can filter it to your requirements.

 

We had a Sterling Elite, good solid van, only upgraded as we wanted a twin axle.

 

Perhaps a Swift Sprite major 6td may fit the bill as these are a bit lighter and have rear bunks?

Edited by junglejim
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Posted (edited)

I'm with junglejim - Sprite Major 6td - shop around and you could be looking at brand new van  for £20,000 (see Quality Caravans - Sheffield and Torksey)

 

Has benefit of possible family expansion!

 

Be very careful if buying private, especially at a knock down price. Have it inspected professionally and check legal ownership

Edited by Lagerorwine
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I had a quick look at my Towsafe results for our Swift Challenger 565. The max towbar load is 100kg which is the same as our car (RR Evoque). You don't have to load it up to that amount, but a load of 5% of MTPLN (1516kg) is recommended. That is 76kg, so I think you would be struggling with this van and car combination. You could just squeak in if you don't have Alde heating as the MTPLM reduces to 1492 kg. You would have to buy a tow hitch load gauge to make sure you didn't exceed your cars capability, else your insurance could be invalid. You would have to pack your van very carefully too, empty your water tank etc.

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I think there are some misleading posts on here. Just because the caravan chassis has a nose weight limit of 100kg doesn’t make it too heavy for your car. You do not say what the tow weight limit is of your car nor if you have a B+E driving license. Personally i would be concerned about having sufficient payload in the van too. 

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I think the only one is the Weinsburg. Not for everyone because they are very basic but they are light enough and well built.

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3 hours ago, Flatcoat888 said:

I think there are some misleading posts on here. Just because the caravan chassis has a nose weight limit of 100kg doesn’t make it too heavy for your car. You do not say what the tow weight limit is of your car nor if you have a B+E driving license. Personally i would be concerned about having sufficient payload in the van too. 

I have a B + E licence and work for the police so fairly clued up on weights, kerb weight of my car is 1690kg although likely much heavier and my max towing weight on the plates is 1800kg. My worry is more the nose weight of a Sterling Elite 565 with the Alde heating against my cars Max nose weight of 75kg. Obviously it’s single axle so I can always play with the loading but the gas bottles are always going to have to go in the front and there is only so much stuff you can stick rear of the axle. Il pretty interested in this caravan so will be going to take a look. Anyone know of any problem areas in particular to look for on MY2017 Sterling Elite? I know it is constructed with the new HT timberless construction technique.

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8 hours ago, Pembssurfer said:

Great intel. Was that twin or single axle?


It was a single axle with a MTPLM of around 1475kgs.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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I've just done a internet search on the Sterling Elite 565 and its MTPLM is 1654. If Pembssurfer sticks to his 75 kg nose weight limit then that is only 4.5%  so below the recommended 5% minimum. This is not a legal requirement but a recommendation for stability. I've no personal experience of having low nose weight to know what difference it makes. I would suggest that he sticks with a Swift Challenger as its the same van but lighter presumably less trim inside. (probably cheaper too). He really needs to keep below 1500 kg MTPLM.

As a 2017 would it have been part of the recall for the front locker separating from the Chassis. Put your head in the front locker and check all the screws in the corner are in place.

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I had not checked the Sterlings details but at 1654 kg it is very close to the cars kerb weight and is not a good match. It is the MTPLM that counts and not the unladen weight quoted originally.

The only potential problem for that model may be the front locker cover as stated earlier.

The Swift Challenger may work, but if it has ALDE heating the weight saving may not be there. Alde was an extra you could order and many are fitted with it. The Truma blown air was the standard fit and is lighter and effective unless you are going to be out in the ski slopes in the middle of winter. 

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27 minutes ago, PaulHo said:

If Pembssurfer sticks to his 75 kg nose weight limit then that is only 4.5%  so below the recommended 5% minimum. This is not a legal requirement but a recommendation for stability. .


Bailey of Bristol recommend a figure between 5 - 7 %
 

Bailey of Bristol Nose Weights

Jaguar E-Pace 180D HSE R Dynamic - 2008 Swift Conqueror 540

 

"Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk"

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30 minutes ago, Wildwood said:

I had not checked the Sterlings details but at 1654 kg it is very close to the cars kerb weight and is not a good match. It is the MTPLM that counts and not the unladen weight quoted originally.

The only potential problem for that model may be the front locker cover as stated earlier.

The Swift Challenger may work, but if it has ALDE heating the weight saving may not be there. Alde was an extra you could order and many are fitted with it. The Truma blown air was the standard fit and is lighter and effective unless you are going to be out in the ski slopes in the middle of winter. 

 

...not good match for 85% issue but I towed for the previous 3 years at 115% with no issue whatsoever.  I don't think the OP is a vanning newbie?

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21 hours ago, Pembssurfer said:

Anyone know of any problem areas in particular to look for on MY2017 Sterling Elite? I know it is constructed with the new HT timberless construction technique.

This would have been part of the Swift recall for bulkhead detachment issues. Need to be sure this was fixed properly.

 

It should be a GRP rear panel bit do check and if it's ABS then look all around it for signs or cracking.

 

A technique I use for cars is to find the previous owner and call them up (if buying from dealer). It's truly amazing what you find out about the car they just shifted on. Don't know how viable that is with a caravan. Ask to see the current CRiS document maybe??

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Posted (edited)

I would think 75 kg nose weight would tow ok. Our car kerb is 1610 kg, nose weight limit 75 kg, caravan MTPLM 1499 kg and it tows without problems. When first collected new the caravan nose weight was well under 60 kg and I did notice it but once adjusted to 75 there were no problems. Car we had then was 1485 kg kerb weight with the same nose weight limit and we used it for a year before getting the heavier one.

Edited by Paul1957
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9 hours ago, P101 said:

This would have been part of the Swift recall for bulkhead detachment issues. Need to be sure this was fixed properly.

 

It should be a GRP rear panel bit do check and if it's ABS then look all around it for signs or cracking.

 

A technique I use for cars is to find the previous owner and call them up (if buying from dealer). It's truly amazing what you find out about the car they just shifted on. Don't know how viable that is with a caravan. Ask to see the current CRiS document maybe??

Thanks for that. Iv checked and apparently SMART HT builds are not part of the front bulk head recall.

11 hours ago, SamD said:

 

...not good match for 85% issue but I towed for the previous 3 years at 115% with no issue whatsoever.  I don't think the OP is a vanning newbie?

Hi yup correct Iv towed many big trailers mostly with an L200 but with no stabiliser or fancy gadgets. I bought the Elite today and towed it 20 miles homes on A roads at 50mph and it seemed to behave itself  although I could definitely feel the added weight behind the car especially  going down hills but my car has very big AMG disc brakes all round so not too much of an issue. Playing around and nose weight could be an issue. I got it down to 75kg but I think I may have to get the smaller propane 3.9kg bottles for the front.

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7 minutes ago, Pembssurfer said:

Thanks for that. Iv checked and apparently SMART HT builds are not part of the front bulk head recall.

I don't think the Sterling Elite 565 is made using the Smart HT process.

 

I think that was only for the Elegance (a current model) and the Continental (now discontinued).

 

The Elite 565 was using Smart Plus technique which again I believe was part of the recall as it uses the traditional screw securing.

 

I may be wrong, and for sure all this is very confusing and often the dealers knowingly or otherwise aren't very clued up...

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12 hours ago, SamD said:

 

...not good match for 85% issue but I towed for the previous 3 years at 115% with no issue whatsoever.  I don't think the OP is a vanning newbie?

Sam, as the guy who investigated accidents for the insurance I cannot condone a ratio that high. The only accidents I have come across  where the driver lost the caravan are ones where the towing ratio was high. The problem is that in most cases you will get away with it, but in the event of a serious problem a bad towing ratio means there is a serious danger of the tow car not being able to control the caravan. Cars with a better towing ratio can still have problems, but the higher the towing ratio the more likely it is that you will not be able to save the outfit in an emergency. I would have to say that three years is nowhere near long enough to say that your set up was safe.

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20 minutes ago, Wildwood said:

Sam, as the guy who investigated accidents for the insurance I cannot condone a ratio that high. The only accidents I have come across  where the driver lost the caravan are ones where the towing ratio was high. The problem is that in most cases you will get away with it, but in the event of a serious problem a bad towing ratio means there is a serious danger of the tow car not being able to control the caravan. Cars with a better towing ratio can still have problems, but the higher the towing ratio the more likely it is that you will not be able to save the outfit in an emergency. I would have to say that three years is nowhere near long enough to say that your set up was safe.

I’d agree with being uncomfortable at over 110%. Think my rig will be somewhere in the region of 94% with final weights all said and done. I intend to keep my speed down and when the time comes in a few years to upgrade the wagon il prob opt for something heavier with less overhang like a 4x4. Until then Iv got a fair bit of experience and a bit of common sense to fall back on. Instability normally starts as a result of excessive speed for the road conditions so in that respect im fairly happy common sense will prevail.

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18 hours ago, P101 said:

This would have been part of the Swift recall for bulkhead detachment issues. Need to be sure this was fixed properly.

This is the important bit - check if its been recalled and rectified

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I think they key is the HT construction. That wasn't part of the recall. 

 

I found conflicting marketing material about the Elite being Smart Plus or Smart HT but the last post by the OP said it was Smart HT which would be brilliant news.

 

Always thought Smart HT was the way to go and it's a real shame Swift appear not to have stuck with it. I think only the Elegance is now Smart HT.

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Probably down to cost.

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Pemsserfurer seems a sensible chap and is aware of the limitations of his unit. Probably a good move to put heavy items in the car rather than the van. It will be substantially above the curb weight when laden with fuel and passengers anyway. Being experienced at towing and cautious he should be OK if his ratio is below 100%. He must comply with the nose weight limit though. I only carry one propane bottle. If we run out of gas we can generally use the electric hob. (should be one in his van) I have been caught out once when off grid and all the shops were shut.

He should write to Swift asking if his van is part of the recall and if so has it been done.

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