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The 85% Problem


CarlT
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Sorry to bang on about weights, but. ....

 

 

 

I currently tow with a 2. 7L Nissan Terrano, pulling an Abbey Avantage. With a truck of this size (2. 5 ton), weight ratio is simply not an issue and I’ve never given it much thought. However, I want to get rid of the old Terrano and change to something which is a bit more economical and easier to drive for the majority non-tow driving. I’m keen on the new shape Mondeo, specifically the 2. 0L TDCi which has been so well reviewed as a towing car. However with the Mondeo, the weight ratio now becomes an issue for my caravan, and I’m confused. The figures are as follows.

 

 

 

Mondeo kerbweight = 1559 kg (the driver only, no luggage and 90% fuel level)

 

Caravan delivered weight = 1209 kg

 

Caravan max allowable weight = 1500kg

 

 

 

Now according to the CC definition, the ratio calculated for car kerbweight and ‘van max load is 96% - way above the recommended 85%. But this is where the confusion comes in – the 96% figure is based on me driving on my own with no luggage and pulling a fully loaded ‘van. I cannot envisage this scenario, short of me doing a midnight flit!. I know the weight of the stuff carried in the van (I’ve weighed it all down to the last teaspoon) and the likely weight of people and stuff in the car. On a typical trip, the car will be about 1750kg and the van 1330kg, giving a ratio of 76%.

 

 

 

So must the 85% figure be based on the kerbweight of the car? Or the actual travelling weights of the van and car?

 

 

 

Anyone else faced this conundrum ?

Edited by CarlT
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Yes, the Towing Ratio is always calculated using the lightest loading for the car and heaviest loading for the caravan - this gives a worst case figure to use for comparisons but is consistent and will always give the same figure for a specific outfit.

 

The 85% recommendation is made specifically for new caravanners. There is a further recommendation that no caravanner tows at more than 100% as higher combinations may be legal but are intended for goods or agricultural trailers.

 

The German Tempo 100, which permits towing at 62mph (100kph) has a ratio limit of 100% (plus some other conditions) - other outfits in Germany are limited to 50mph (80kph) including those exceeding 100%.

 

Far be it for anyone to actually recommend towing at 100% - but many of us have towed well loaded and balanced outfits between 95-99% - my last outfit was 97% although a heavier car has reduced it to 80%, the next change of caravan will be limited to 100%.

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The 85% is a guideline for people new to towing, all the organisations that publish safe towing guides sugest that 85% is a good starting point but stress that up to 100% is perfectly acceptable for an experienced driver with a car that has sufficient power. As to the Mondeo, my mk3 has a kerb weight of 1496kg and I tow a 1450kg Hymer Nova, and it is the most stable and responsive outfit I have had in 17 years, it would be hard to imagine that any other vehicle would improve the stability.

Bill

 

Growing old is compulsory, growing up is not.

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As has been said the 85% guidline is a safety recommendation. I am actually towing at nearly 96%.

Car new Mondeo 1558KG

caravan maximum 1499kg

 

and I am more that happy with my combination.

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Sorry to bang on about weights, but. ....

 

 

 

I currently tow with a 2. 7L Nissan Terrano, pulling an Abbey Avantage. With a truck of this size (2. 5 ton), weight ratio is simply not an issue and I’ve never given it much thought. However, I want to get rid of the old Terrano and change to something which is a bit more economical and easier to drive for the majority non-tow driving. I’m keen on the new shape Mondeo, specifically the 2. 0L TDCi which has been so well reviewed as a towing car. However with the Mondeo, the weight ratio now becomes an issue for my caravan, and I’m confused. The figures are as follows.

 

 

 

Mondeo kerbweight = 1559 kg (the driver only, no luggage and 90% fuel level)

 

Caravan delivered weight = 1209 kg

 

Caravan max allowable weight = 1500kg

 

 

 

Now according to the CC definition, the ratio calculated for car kerbweight and ‘van max load is 96% - way above the recommended 85%. But this is where the confusion comes in – the 96% figure is based on me driving on my own with no luggage and pulling a fully loaded ‘van. I cannot envisage this scenario, short of me doing a midnight flit!. I know the weight of the stuff carried in the van (I’ve weighed it all down to the last teaspoon) and the likely weight of people and stuff in the car. On a typical trip, the car will be about 1750kg and the van 1330kg, giving a ratio of 76%.

 

 

 

So must the 85% figure be based on the kerbweight of the car? Or the actual travelling weights of the van and car?

 

 

 

Anyone else faced this conundrum ?

 

Hi,

 

I think you’re over estimating the weight of your Terrano at 2500kg, I think its more like 1820kg.

Swift Challenger 490

Sorento + Fabia to help the Sorento up hills!

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So must the 85% figure be based on the kerbweight of the car? Or the actual travelling weights of the van and car?

Yes it must be based on the kerbweight of the tow vehicle. The ratio of caravan laden weight to tow vehicle kerbweight is used to give a measure of the stability of any given unit. Thus it enables you to determinine which tow vehicle will give you satisfactory stability for towing your caravan and you can compare one vehicle against another. The industry could have used the loaded weight of the tow vehicle but then the recommended ratio would have to be a much lower figure, so there would be no benefit.

 

Brian

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An added problem is that different manufacturers quote kerb weight differently. Some include the driver (My Mazda does) others don't. I note in the current Practical Caravan mag, they add 75kg for the driver when calculating the kerb weight.

Remember % is one parameter, there are things like towball to rear axial distance (shorter the better) and suspension characteristics. My Mazda 6 estate was rock steady towing 80% at 60 mph, but I now tow 90% and the rock steady figure is about 50 mph.

Chris in Warwickshire, Elddis Odyssey 482 (2008), Mitsubishi Outlander diesel, 2017

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I'd be happy towing your van with the new Mondeo.

 

It's below 100% and it's a very large and very sure footed saloon car. I'd expect a very stable outfit with good loading.

 

I've towed my 1460kg caravan with a Mondeo TDCi 1530kg and 3. 0V6 Petrol 1495kg. Both outfits towed stable but I always load what I can in the car and load the caravan correctly for the maximum noseweight (75kg on the last Mondeo)

 

Cheers

Lee

Yeti 2.0TDi EU6 150 DSG 4X4 L&K, Octavia TSi Manual, Fabia TSi DSG, Swift Challenger.

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Thus it enables you to determinine which tow vehicle will give you satisfactory stability for towing your caravan and you can compare one vehicle against another.

Brian

 

I have a problem here Brian because yes it's supposed to but it only looks at one part of the equation for safe towing.

 

I've towed with some cars at 80% and have had my buttocks clenched all the way (Early Laguna), the back end was so soft and the handling poor and every pump or gust of wind sent the thing all over the place.

 

Some other outfits I've towed around 100% and they feel rock solid even if you have to do an emergency direction change.

 

Cheers

Lee

Yeti 2.0TDi EU6 150 DSG 4X4 L&K, Octavia TSi Manual, Fabia TSi DSG, Swift Challenger.

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