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Having to look at UK heavy weight caravans


Ukzero
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(Admin: This is not all about Swift, so please don't move to Swift section).

 

Our single axle 2019 Swift Elegance 560 with all my additions and a MTPLM increase to maximum just scrapes under the limit if we carry a lot in the car (I mean an actual weighed limit as opposed to believing the spec and weighing additions).

We still love our'van and may keep it, but have been toying with the idea of buying something bigger for more "spacious" extended touring.

The big problem for us is that I would add AWD motor movers, E&P and A/C, etc.

In the "good ole days" twin axles would have higher payload "headroom", but the desire to be able to sell big caravans that can legally (this is not a discussion about safely) be towed by as many vehicles as possible has meant smaller and smaller scope for upgrading weight limits.

Take the new Elegance Grande 835 for 2022. Details are sketchy, but it has more equipment than the 2021 model and it looks like its standard MTPLM will rise from 1905kg to 1976kg.

Not a problem for me, but for 2021 the upper limit was 2000kg.

If unchanged that's a 24kg maximum upgrade.

If you opt for the optional E&P from the factory, and then add AWD MM you are down to a payload of well under 100kg. If you add A/C and/or a roof awning............

 

Swift may raise the upper limit slightly, but even so we are now seriously looking at alternatives such as the UK's 5th Wheel Celtic Rambler (MTPLM 3600kg) and the Inos (MTPLM 2800kg). Very very expensive, as in "there go the life savings" expensive  - yes. Means buying a pickup truck - already happening.

 

Surely the mainstream manufactures could up-spec the axle chassis combos for their largest vans without a huge cost increase?

They could still offer a lower starting MTPLM to keep the lightweight pullers on board, but then offer much bigger upgrades to keep the many on here with heft tow vehicles who bemoan the measly UK payload norm. Could be a win/win?

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Your post tells us a lot but do you have a question you want a response for?

 

It seems the points you have raised needs to be posed to the manufacturers, what input are you wanting from the forum membership?

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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we're always having a moan at the low payloads and there are quite a few threads on here regarding  this subject.  Apparently there is a lower limit  that the makers have to adhere to but no upper limit as I understand it, so your guess is as good as mine as to why the makers wont make vans with a bigger payload, especially when there are so many add on's to be had. 

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10 minutes ago, joanie said:

Apparently there is a lower limit  that the makers have to adhere to but no upper limit as I understand it,

No, there is an upper limit dictated by the axle rating, which in many cases is higher than the advertised limit which is why some vans can have an upgrade , but not normally by  a lot.

 

Vans advertised with the lower limit is to attract buyers with smaller engine vehicles which generally have a lower towing limit.

Edited by Brecon
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The lower limit isn't a legal limit but one that the NCC insist all their members comply with.

 

The industry has become fixated on 'low weight is good' and so they'll fit the lowest axle weight they can get away with and boast about how low their caravan weights are. 

 

I suspect they won't offer heavier duty axles because the UK caravan makers want as simple and 'clean' production process as possible with the bare minimum of inventory. If the UK manufacturers believed there was substantial demand for much higher weights I'm sure they'd provide it if it was profitable. Otherwise, with an eye towards government restrictions on vehicles etc, they really don't want to rock the boat and generate bad publicity about encouraging gas guzzling 'monsters'.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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I agree Ukzero.

 

Our Bessacarr 845 starts life as a Swift Elegance Grande blinged up with a theoretical MIRO of 1745kg and a MTPLM of 2000kg so a possible :unsure: payload of 255kg.

 

I have had a 4WD mover and aircon added wiping out 100kg the two so leaving an on paper payload if 155kg.

 

I estimate that we are running 'very very' close to this remaining payload which concerns me and would have been prepared to pay an extra premium for more, after all Vanmaster manage to achieve a 400kg payload with a 2200kg MTPLM similarly styled twin axle unit to the Elegance Grande and on an AL-KO chassis.

Stay safe - Griff.  :ph34r:

Wheels at the front Green Oval Towing Machine

Wheels at the back Bessacarr 845

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The maximum weight will be what ever swift have type approved to.   This could the same as or less than the axle maximum loads is.  

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I went the other way on this, I chose a lightweight twin axle that was built on an 1800kg chassis/axles and was able to have an MTPLM upgrade from 1624kgs to 1800kgs.  I certainly cannot speak for any model other than ours BUT it appeared that Swift (in 2018 anyway) used the same underpinnings for it's lightweight Sprite range as the mid-range Challengers hence I could get a really good upgrade.  I hasten to add that we don't use it but it's good to know that we've got a greater safety factor should we go over the edge.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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2 minutes ago, Scarab said:

Buy an Australian export Swift - you can have a 460kg payload on a single axle then!

 

https://www.swiftrv.com.au/swift-explorer-mk3

 

Wow, they have got some impressive payloads!  I notice they have raised suspension so I guess they might have uprated axles capable of the higher payloads.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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2 minutes ago, GaryB1969 said:

 

Wow, they have got some impressive payloads!  I notice they have raised suspension so I guess they might have uprated axles capable of the higher payloads.

Pretty sure it's still the Euro axle (not Delta) but with a higher payload. I don't know how they get the raising

Also higher payloads for South Africa

 

https://www.loftuscaravans.co.za/new-products/swift-caravans/swift-coastline

 

And who wants a Sprite Alpine with a payload of 370kg? 

 

https://www.jankrul.nl/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2021-Sprite-Brochure-NL-DE-FR.pdf

 

 

Perhaps the question is...which dealer is going to take the plunge and ask Swift for a Dealer Special range with high payloads as it's USP? These caravans are all coming out of Cottingham...

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2 hours ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

The lower limit isn't a legal limit but one that the NCC insist all their members comply with.

 

The industry has become fixated on 'low weight is good' and so they'll fit the lowest axle weight they can get away with and boast about how low their caravan weights are. 

 

I suspect they won't offer heavier duty axles because the UK caravan makers want as simple and 'clean' production process as possible with the bare minimum of inventory. If the UK manufacturers believed there was substantial demand for much higher weights I'm sure they'd provide it if it was profitable. Otherwise, with an eye towards government restrictions on vehicles etc, they really don't want to rock the boat and generate bad publicity about encouraging gas guzzling 'monsters'.

 

I can't quite understand why inventory should be an issue in this day and age. The caravan manufacturers can order the chassis that they need to be delivered in production sequence, so only a bare minimum of inventory is needed, regardless of whether they only offer the caravan with optional axle ratings or not.

Edited by Lutz
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3 hours ago, Brecon said:

No, there is an upper limit dictated by the axle rating, which in many cases is higher than the advertised limit which is why some vans can have an upgrade , but not normally by  a lot.

 

Vans advertised with the lower limit is to attract buyers with smaller engine vehicles which generally have a lower towing limit.

on a previous thread somewhere in the distance on payloads, I was corrected and told that there was a  minimum limit as set by the NCC, but no upper limit  as they can use whatever size axle  they want.   We have always had an upgrade as the UK payload is really far too low, 

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4 hours ago, Steven said:

Your post tells us a lot but do you have a question you want a response for?

 

It seems the points you have raised needs to be posed to the manufacturers, what input are you wanting from the forum membership?

 

My post was a "thinking out loud discussion starter".

I thought perhaps some forum members might contribute and help me gauge whether my thoughts resonate at all - or are strictly a solo aberration. :)

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German spec Sprite Cruzer SR models show that Swift Group can provide a decent weight upgrade if you are continental buyer. 150kg upgrade available on at least 3 single axle models. It's not a Sprite model as we know it, more a Swift Challenger.

 

John. 

Edited by John19
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9 minutes ago, Ukzero said:

 

My post was a "thinking out loud discussion starter".

I thought perhaps some forum members might contribute and help me gauge whether my thoughts resonate at all - or are strictly a solo aberration. :)

 

I'm wondering if you have considered an EU van, given that the UK manufacturers won't (not can't) give you the payload you need?

 

An Adria Alpina Mississippi can bbe had with 292kg payload or a Hobby DE LUXE 540 UFf can have a payload in excess of 400kg.

 

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How much payload do you need? We went for a lower spec caravan (Pegasus GT65 Bologna) but it's still very nice and has everything we need.
MRO 1443kg
MTPLM "upgraded" to 1800 kg
that gives us 357kg payload. Only taking one gaslight cylinder and removing the rubbish AL-KO spare wheel carrier gives back almost the weight of the single motor mover (yes, two would be better but we cope)

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32 minutes ago, Scarab said:

 

I'm wondering if you have considered an EU van, given that the UK manufacturers won't (not can't) give you the payload you need?

 

An Adria Alpina Mississippi can bbe had with 292kg payload or a Hobby DE LUXE 540 UFf can have a payload in excess of 400kg.

 

 We have looked at several EU vans, but haven't found the layout/style we want. We are also conscious that if we roll up in our new Nissan Navara pickup towing a giant Tabbert or similar we might be turned away from some sites......

For a few seconds we even thought about selling ourselves on the streets to afford a "base spec" Tabbert Cellini - but it's more than 8ft wide and still has a plastic concertina door to the bedroom. This is why we are booked in to have a good look at the various "fifthwheelco" offerings in N.Wales.

 

 

5 minutes ago, mimo said:

How much payload do you need? We went for a lower spec caravan (Pegasus GT65 Bologna) but it's still very nice and has everything we need.
MRO 1443kg
MTPLM "upgraded" to 1800 kg
that gives us 357kg payload. Only taking one gaslight cylinder and removing the rubbish AL-KO spare wheel carrier gives back almost the weight of the single motor mover (yes, two would be better but we cope)

Having spoiled ourselves with top spec and then "up-specced" from there with our caravan ( see here), we are locked into the sad trap of not wishing to feel as though we are "downgrading". Please note the """".

There is clearly a UK market for caravans to have at least the option of greater "payload headroom" even if it was priced per kg.......

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As I posted earlier I'm sure that if UK manufacturers believed there was a buck to be made selling heavyweight vans they'd do it.  The fact that four independently owned mainstream businesses don't supply suggests that four boards of directors believe it's a minority sports that can be ignored.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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Lunar before they passed away, used to build a range of UK Van's (Quasar I think) with a minimum payload for the UK market, and then a German version of the same van with around a 500 kg payload. 

The AL-KO chassis was different ( Four extra crossmembers) , the drawbar was slightly longer, the AL-KO axle was higher capacity, but all AL-KO axles have range they can be plated within and the tyres had a higher limit. 

 

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This may be a cunning ploy....

I'm considering a change of caravan after fighting with an almost non existent actual payload on my Lunar - purchased secondhand.

A new, downspecced caravan, in a layout not perfect to my wants but with sufficient extra (I.e, extra cost) payload is looking slightly attractive. 

Whilst loading the car up does make it a touch more stable at speed, it seems counter intuitive to have all but 2 cupboards and all under bed storage empty, but the car stacked up to the roof with food, clothes, shoes, awning, caravan kit, and yes, a gas bottle or maybe two.

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1 hour ago, Ukzero said:

 We have looked at several EU vans, but haven't found the layout/style we want. We are also conscious that if we roll up in our new Nissan Navara pickup towing a giant Tabbert or similar we might be turned away from some sites......

For a few seconds we even thought about selling ourselves on the streets to afford a "base spec" Tabbert Cellini - but it's more than 8ft wide and still has a plastic concertina door to the bedroom. This is why we are booked in to have a good look at the various "fifthwheelco" offerings in N.Wales.

 

Fair point, but as I understood it, you were only looking at a twin axle to increase payload. There are definitely single axle vans out there with the high payload --just not made by UK manufacturers for the UK market.  With those, you might escape some of the stigma...

 

we certainly find some of the EU vans a bit questionable on decor (either blingy or too dark) but I think Adria and Knauss have come a long way towards UK specific tastes in recent years. Nothing I've seen in 5th Wheel territory has made me envious other than the space on offer. Hopefully you have more luck!

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I know it can be annoying to have a low payload, but I'm genuinely puzzled at the desire to have extremely large payloads too.

 

Generally to have such such weights the van's MIRO also increases, so overall you tend to be dragging much more weight about and this, in turn, generally means a much heavier and more expensive tow vehicle, more fuel burned, more CO2 released into the atmosphere.

 

And for what?

 

A few weeks away.

 

And what needs to go into such a caravan for those few weeks away that weighs so much that it requires such a payload?

 

Or is it just because there's a need to kick against something, or because you can, or can't, or that the weight of the caravan reflects manhood?

 

 

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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The paltry payload of British vans in particular played a large part in our eventual choice of a Knaus Starclass 695 twin axle van when we bought last year. Our requirement was for a twin fixed single bed van with or allowing upgrade to include quad mover, air con, wind out sun canopy and E&P (compact) levelling and leaving a decent payload for long trips in Europe. Apart from not being impressed with the quality of most Brit vans  we couldn't find one with a decent payload. We quite liked the Buc but after adding air con, quad mover, and sun canopy (E&P already fitted) remaining payload was minimal.

The Knaus offered 355kg and even after adding our required extras left decent personal payload.

I wish manufacturers would offer higher spec chassis (and increased MTPLM) to order (not pathetic plate upgrades!) for those of us prepared to tow a heavier caravan.

Life is not a rehearsal . . .:)

Porsche Cayenne S Diesel & Knaus StarClass 695. Previously Audi S4 Avant & Elddis Super Sirocco

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2 minutes ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

Or is it just because there's a need to kick against something, or because you can, or can't, or that the weight of the caravan reflects manhood?

 

 

 

The correlation between weight of a caravan and any recognized manhood index might be a suitable PhD thesis subject. Modesty prevents further comment.....

Anyhoo, take a "hairy chested ballsy mansized tourer" caravan. Say an Elegance Grande 835.

If the current axle/chassis combo limit remains at 2000kg for 2022, you could up the payload from 160kg to a max of 184kg (new MTPLM of 1976kg before upgrade). 

Add AWD motor movers 70kg*

Add E&P Levelling 28kg*

Add A/C 28kg*

Add a decent roof cassette awning 30kg*

Now assuming the factory figures are accurate^ that would give you a payload of 28kg.

OK. One may ask why oh why would anyone want all those expensive add-ons?

Well, it would be nice to at least have the choice to add these if wanted and remain road legal.

It would be nice not to have to carry gas bottles et al in the car just to stay road legal.

 

* Approximate.

^ My caravan was 45kg above it's claimed MRO with no gas bottles fitted, but battery installed. So in this case payload would be less than zero......

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