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Nose Weights - A Thought


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I have had my 1997 Swift challenger now for just over a year, my first caravan. I towed it with a 1996 Espace Diesel. Earlier in the summer I thought I would measure the nose weight of the van with basic kit just for interest. This was with the spare wheel bolted in the designated position in the front locker and two 7Kg gas cylinders strapped in their designated position also in the front locker and an 85 Ah leisure battery in the side battery locker. In this state with no extra load the nose weight was 110Kg!! The towcar max is about 75 Kg I think. Removing the Gas and wheel got the weight down to 70Kg. Over the summer the gas and wheel travelled in the car (with the awning wife and three kids) abit of a pain really.

Do manufacturers think about nose weight when they design stowage arrangements, or do they intend you to remove all the heavy stuff and find space elsewhere!?

I now have a LR Disco with n/w capacity of 150kg. Is it ok to put the stuff back in the locker or should I still try to keep the n/w down?

 

Any thoughts

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I would put the wheel etc. back - as reasonable a noseweight makes for better towing.

Others may have different views.

How do you like the Disco. - any niggles?

Mike

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I would put the wheel etc. back - as reasonable a noseweight makes for better towing.

Others may have different views.

How do you like the Disco. - any niggles?

Mike

42841[/snapback]

I've had it 2 months towed th evan down to minehead last week, lots of hills, no niggles tows great, much better than the espace, just a bit more thirsty round town :rolleyes:

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Hi Jon,

 

You will find that the majority of vans have an extreme noseweight in ex works MRO form. Whether this is the manufacturers covering themselves for stable towing during delivery;who knows.

 

One thread contained the contents of a letter from a major manufacturer which stated that the caravan in question was designed to have items placed well behind the axle,to reduce the noseweight. This is usually asking for trouble due to the dumbell effect. A uniformly ditributed load (UDL) is a much safer scheme.

 

You ideally need to measure the noseweight before each tow and remember that the caravan has a drawbar download limit as well as the towing vehicles hitch limit. For Swifts this is usually 100kgs. The noseweight should not exceed the lower of the 2 limits.

 

Frank

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  • 1 month later...
Hi Jon,

 

 

 

You ideally need to measure the noseweight before each tow and remember that the caravan has a drawbar download limit as well as the towing vehicles hitch limit. For Swifts this is usually 100kgs. The noseweight should not exceed the lower of the 2 limits.

 

Frank

42853[/snapback]

 

As Frank has already indicated, neither the towbar's 'S' value nor the caravan's noseweight limit should be exceeded. Except for the heavier drawbar couplings used on commercial trailers, the coupling limit is almost always 100 kgs. The 'S' value of a type approved towbar varies from vehicle to vehicle but *must* be shown on the type approval label fixed to the towbar.

 

With caravans, the most popular imported versions (Hobby, Hymer, Eriba Etc) would typically have an ex-works noseweight of around 40 kgs whilst with British built, I've come across some that will sit on their bums till paving slabs are fitted under the front bunks, and at least one other that was around 150 Kgs unladen.

 

Advice about measuring noseweight each trip is very sound. I tow a twin axle transporter with a Renault Clio on it behind my Hymer Motorhome. At 55-60 kgs noseweight, it is *lively* to say the least. At 70-75 kgs, I almost forget it's there!

 

Regards

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Guest Hobbybod

I agree with all that Tony M advises and why UK 'vans seem so prone to these inordinately high noseweights can only be due to cr@p design. (And short A-frames).

 

In filling in my questionnaire for the first CC Quality & Reliability Survey I (and many others, at the time) complained about high noseweights (noteably on our Swifts)!! Little seems to have been done in the interim.

 

In a test on a Hymer caravan in the CC mag. a few years back, the reporter made great note of the fact that the Hymer sported a noseweight of barely 40kgs.

Similarly my Hobby has to be positively 'loaded' near the front, to get to such a noseweight.

 

It's far more 'sensible' to do the above to get a decent noseweight, instead of 'back loading' the 'van to reduce the noseweight to a sensible level. Why UK designs can't manage it is beyond me!!

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I agree with all that Tony M advises and why UK 'vans seem so prone to these inordinately high noseweights can only be due to cr@p design. (And short A-frames).

 

In filling in my questionnaire for the first CC Quality & Reliability Survey I (and many others, at the time) complained about  high noseweights (noteably on our Swifts)!!  Little seems to have been done in the interim.

 

In a test on a Hymer caravan in the CC mag. a few years back, the reporter made great note of the fact that the Hymer sported a noseweight of barely 40kgs.

Similarly my Hobby has to be positively 'loaded' near the front, to get to such a noseweight.

 

It's far more 'sensible' to do the above to get a decent noseweight, instead of 'back loading' the 'van to reduce the noseweight to a sensible level.   Why UK designs can't manage it is beyond me!!

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Hi all,

 

for my two peneth, a caravan that comes from the manufacturer ex works with a nose weight that is even slightly over either the caravan's recommended nose weight or the "S" value of the draw bar is breaking some kind of law.

 

Perhaps the Sale of Goods Act as it is clearly "not fit for the purpose it was intended" in that you could not legally tow it on a UK road.

 

Imaging the scenario; You are on your way home from collecting your new caravan, an officer of the law pulls you over and check out your new caravan, your nose weight is checked, found to be over the limit, "Who would be held responsible?

 

Also, surely there must be some kind of legislation that governs the design and building of caravans. ............. or am I being naive.

 

I would not mind, but by bringing the caravan axle forward just slightly would move the fulcrum point at which the caravan pivots.

This would to relieve the down force applied to the draw bar.

Steve :unsure::unsure:

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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Dear Mr Hobbybod - if you were a little less gleeful in your damning of all things British people might just take your other remarks a little more seriously :o

 

Does it make any difference if you move stuff forward or backward to gain your ideal? I just see it as a matter of emphasis, that is, as I understand it, a tradition of the manufacturers and of course the design demand of the British public.

 

I am new to caravans this year BUT I have towed all sorts of trailers with all sorts of vehicles for the last 50 years and have had no problems with my Swift Group short A frame heavy nose weight 'van. :)

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Dear Mr Hobbybod - if you were a little less gleeful in your damning of all things British people might just take your other remarks a little more seriously :o

 

The thing is. ....hes right

Does it make any difference if you move stuff forward or backward to gain your ideal?  I just see it as a matter of emphasis, that is, as I understand it, a tradition of the manufacturers and of course the design demand of the British public.

 

Yes it does make a difference, design demands by the British public? yer havin a laugh, the British public get what the manufacturer gives them, not what they want, if the European manufacturers can easily make caravans with low noseweights, do you seriously believe that the british public WANT canravans with high noseweights ??

 

I am new to caravans this year BUT I have towed all sorts of trailers with all sorts of vehicles for the last 50 years and have had no problems with my Swift Group short A frame heavy nose weight 'van. :)

47386[/snapback]

 

I have never had a problem with any trailer I have towed either, that doesnt make it right though

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why do we always deflect from the topic which in this case was about nose weight.

 

as a matter of safety and comfort I always measure my van prior to hitching up to to make sure that the maximum nose weight recommended by the car manufacturer is achieved.

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I too have no wish to join a slanging match that is why I in my initial post I:-

 

1/- Made a constructive observation.

 

2/- Asked a genuine question.

 

3/- Posted a little of my experience.

 

You (Mavrik) then proceeded to rip my post to pieces, without answering my question, and seemed intent only on taking the mickey.

 

And as a final BTW the nose weight of my Swift Group van may be heavy compared to continental vans - I say maybe because I have no idea of the nose weights of foreign vans - but it is still within the legal and recommended parameters as published by various bodies. So it does make it right AND here I am talking about towing with my previous car - a Peugeot 406 which had an 80kg limited even 'righter' (as Alice would say) with the Kia Sorento! :rolleyes:

 

So come on folks let's lighten up a little, have a look at the emoticons used - they are supposed to reflect what you would see in a persons eyes if having this sort of discussion in a pub - and remember that the public does not have to buy British if it does not want to especially if we believe what we are told that German vans are better and cheaper than British :P

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I too have no wish to join a slanging match that is why I in my initial post I:-

 

1/- Made a constructive observation.

 

2/- Asked a genuine question.

 

3/- Posted a little of my experience.

 

You (Mavrik) then proceeded to rip my post to pieces, without answering my question, and seemed intent only on taking the mickey.

 

Ok then, first off, your first line was a direct attack on a member of this forum who IS very pro European, insuating that he has no time for anything British, an by that view his posts are worthless, which they are not, they are HIS opinion (and also mine to a degree)

 

2/ your "genuine question" was answered previously in this same thread, and many others prior to it (the "dumbell effect") counterbalanceing a high noseweight by putting more weight at the back does not work

 

3/ I too posted a little of my experiences, which range for small trailers to 40 tonne trailer and everything in between, over some 20+ experience, and as I said, just because your or I have had no problem, does not mean to say a problem doesnt exist, it is possibly down to our experience that we have averted problems

 

And as a final BTW the nose weight of my Swift Group van may be heavy compared to continental vans - I say maybe because I have no idea of the nose weights of foreign vans - but it is still within the legal and recommended parameters as published by various bodies. So it does make it right AND here I am talking about towing with my previous car - a Peugeot 406 which had an 80kg limited even 'righter' (as Alice would say) with the Kia Sorento! :rolleyes:

 

As you say, you have no idea of noseweights of foreign vans, but your happy to comment on them, I would suggest you go look some of them up, you may be very surprised, a 40kg noseweight is not that unusual,

im also happy that your noseweight is well with parameters set by various bodies, but unfortunatly, not everyone is as lucky as you, some people struggle with noseweights, and have to do quite a bit of juggling to get them close, personally, and it is only personally, im not that bothered what noseweight mine has, if it "feels" right, I will tow it, if it dont, i wont

 

So come on folks let's lighten up a little,  have a look at the emoticons used - they are supposed to reflect what you would see in a persons eyes if having this sort of discussion in a pub - and remember that the public does not have to buy British if it does not want to especially if we believe what we are told that German vans are better and cheaper than British :P

47420[/snapback]

 

I absolutly agree with you 100% perhaps it was my bad by not using emoticons in my original post, but I will assure you of this, my post was NOT intended to "rip" yours to pieces, it was my observations, opinions, experience and also a bit of humour (as in the "yer havin a laugh" although there is an element of truth in what i said)

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Guest Hobbybod

Eerh Gentleman. . . . . please, can we 'lighten up' as Ted says, and also thanks to those who are basically in agreement with the points I made in response to Tony M.

 

Didn't realize I was being 'gleefully' over-critical of UK 'vans, sorry. :(

I'll be less gleeful and more pointed next time! :P

 

{Ted, if you had read some of my previous posts from some time back, you'll realize that I am exceedingly frustrated at not being able to buy a UK 'van that satisfies my rather critical needs. I wish I could. It's this 'frustration' you may deduce from my posts; certainly doesn't give me any 'glee' at all.}

 

Mavrik has pointed out the problems involved in 'back-loading' the 'van and Tony M has emphasized that there is a ~100kg load limit on the 'vans hitch coupling, which many don't realize.

 

As well as the points I've previously made, I've also been to a CC 'Question Time' event a couple of years back.

And this question of high nose weight of UK 'vans came up. No trade representative on the panel (including the then MD of Swift, Tony? Haley) could give a satisfactory reason, preferring to make out that the problem was being exaggerated and wasn't a 'problem'!

 

Others in the audience then quoted the lower noseweights of various continental 'vans, asking why UK makers didn't do likewise, but again no reason given, and the Chairman 'Swiftly' (sic) moved to another question! :lol:

 

I'd certainly endorse the practice of regularly checking the nose weight, especially when taking delivery of a new 'van.

 

If Tony M comes back here perhaps he can relate his tale of excessive noseweight on a new 'van about to be towed from the dealers!!

 

And if Tall Limey is around perhaps he'll make some points on caravan chassis and their use in the UK 'van industry.

 

And a Happy Christmas to all! :)

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One can be Pro European without being Anti British.

 

I merely stated that his remarks would be taken more seriously - there were no insinuations - that is your imagination - but a remark like

<can only be due to cr@p design. (And short A-frames).> tends to influence peoples thinking - it certainly does mine! :o

 

An answer to a question should normally include a qualification. Surely the movement of weight from back to front or front back has the desired effect, and that is certainly what is promoted in the various hand books that I have read. The main thing is not to exceed the legal weight for the van as a total. :o

 

And I agree humour is very important but normally to say to someone <"yer havin a laugh"> means the opposite - or at least it does where I come from. <_<

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I think this topic has degenerated into a bit of a slanging match. I did close the subject but have re-opened it to enable the genuine discussion to continue.

 

Please stick to the subject Ladies & Gents and no personal attacks :unsure:

 

Martin W

(Wonky)

Discovery D3 HSE + Coachman VIP 575/4 2016

www.pennplanning.co.uk

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Thank you Martin for re-opening this topic.

 

I have been involved in the Caravan and trailer industry for over 40 years and have towed extensively during that time. I have never experienced a snake and I put that down to ensuring a sensible nose weight, correct loading and driving sensibly at all times according to the weather conditions prevailing at the time.

 

Part of my current work involves trailer inspections and accident investigations. I have seen many accidents that have been caused by snaking due to a badly set up outfit. I found a nose weight recently on a trailer of 485kg! I was called in to investigate why a towbar had ripped open. It was a large steel tube section that had torn apart. With that nose weight you can understand why it happened. I then examined all the trailers in this fleet and almost all were being loaded incorrectly with nose weights way over the limit.

 

The problem was that due to the nature of the load (Machinery and plant) it was virtually impossible to get the nose weight down under 100kg (the coupling limit) without putting the load right at the back i. e behind the axles. This you should not do as the pendulum effect could have you off the road very easily. The reason for this problem was a high unladen nose weight averaging 75kg due to the use of short drawbars and the axle position. To get an unladen nose weight of around 10-15kg you need a longer drawbar and ensure that the axle(s) are in the right place. This nose weight then allows you to put 2 gas cylinders, spare wheel etc in the front locker and put other items on the floor at the front of the van and ensure that you are within the nose weight limit of either the car or caravan and you will have excellent towing stability. A towball at the right height also helps here.

 

I sold caravan chassis for a living many years ago and we found that some caravan companies would make two versions of the same size model i. e. an end kitchen as well as a centre kitchen. This required two versions of the chassis as the axle position was different for each layout. The problem was that if the caravan company's sales were more for one version than the other and they had a surplus of the other chassis they would use that instead. The consequece was that the nose weight would increase considerably if an end kitchen chassis was used on a centre kitchen van because the axle was now in the wrong place.

 

I was recently told by a caravan industry person that this scenario could still happen but I find that hard to believe.

 

The reason for British vans having shorter drawbars is, historically, due to the ferry companies charging by the length of a caravan on the most expensive sea crossing in the world. If you can save a foot it will be cheaper.

 

Hobbeybod is not against buying British. He would like to buy a British van as he prefers the style, layout, interior design etc but would like them with German build quality, longer drawbars and dampers fitted as standard. He also is a two van man, the other is a Swift! I bet you didn't know that.

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I always thought that the reason for the longer continental drawbars is that they like to put their bicycles on there (which of course increases the noseweight). For this reason, it may appear that the drawbar is longer. UK vans tend to use this space for larger front lockers.

 

The real factor controlling noseweight is the position of the axle relative to the centre of gravity. Moving the axle position forward at the design stage will reduce noseweight and vice versa. As they are all design with the aid of a computer, it should be possible to calculate the exworks noseweight. It would be very helpful if manufacturers quoted this figure and also the noseweight when all the essential items like battery, gas bottles, spare wheel have been put in their designated locations.

 

I would agree that extending the drawbar, if this was a practical solution, would reduce noseweight if nothing else was changed.

 

Do the continental caravans have a low exworks noseweight as they know that two bicycles will be put on the drawbar? If not, then two bikes would add considerably more.

 

Brian

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I recently had to remove everything from my van to take it in for repair, and I mean everything!

When hitching up, it was interesting to note that the noseweight was very, very small, in fact it nearly tipped backwards! I would guess itr was around 5 - 10kg at most. We have a twin axle coachman.

When I load the van back up with everything, my noseweight is usually around 90kg.

I wonder if the double axle helps?

 

Martin W

Discovery D3 HSE + Coachman VIP 575/4 2016

www.pennplanning.co.uk

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If Tony M comes back here perhaps he can relate his tale of excessive noseweight on a  new 'van about to be towed from the dealers!!

 

 

 

And a Happy Christmas to all! :)

47434[/snapback]

 

 

I think Hobbybod is referring to an incident a couple of years ago. I had supplied Witter towing equipment to a customer for fitting to his new Ford Mondeo (ST24 IIRC) and in line with Ford's requirements, the towbar had a plated 'S' value of 75 kgs.

 

My customer goes to collect his new Lunar Solar Eclipse caravan from the dealer. He thought the towball went down excessively and insisted they checked the noseweight. It registered at around 150 kgs Ex-works! Note that this is without spare wheel or gas bottles, all of which had a dedicated storage in the front locker.

 

In the end, he demanded a refund of his cash and went away a very disappointed man. He no longer caravans.

 

This appears to be a case where a chassis designed for an end kitchen caravan had a revised design fitted to it. .....

 

Regards

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I recently had to remove everything from my van to take it in for repair, and I mean everything!

When hitching up, it was interesting to note that the noseweight was very, very small, in  fact it nearly tipped backwards! I would guess itr was around 5 - 10kg at most. We have a twin axle coachman.

When I load the van back up with everything, my noseweight is usually around 90kg.

I wonder if the double axle helps?

 

Martin W

47557[/snapback]

 

Hi Martin,

 

With double axle trailers/caravans, towball height is critical. Fitting an adjustable height coupling would allow you to have an ideal noseweight laden and unladen.

 

At least you have a vehicle where the towbars are approved for use with adjustable height couplings!

 

Regards

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Hi Martin,

 

With double axle trailers/caravans, towball height is critical.   Fitting an adjustable height coupling would allow you to have an ideal noseweight laden and unladen.

 

At least you have a vehicle where the towbars are approved for use with adjustable height couplings!

 

Regards

47624[/snapback]

Hi Tony and thanks for your reply.

 

When all coupled up and sitting on a level road, the unit looks perfect (but then, I biased) :P . No, seriously, the van looks lovely and level, not nose up, or down. Perhaps this is why it tows so well :D

 

The factory fit towbar has a series of holes, presumably for vertical adjustment of the tow ball? I have never moved it - didn't see the need!

 

Refering to the gent who bought a Lunar Solar Eclipse. My last van was the big one of these and I never experienced any noseweight problems with this one either - perhaps I am a lucky one!!! Surely this problem could not have been a one off? Surely others had the same situation? I wonder what model it was, perhaps we ought to ask the Lunar forum?

 

Regards,

 

Martin W

Discovery D3 HSE + Coachman VIP 575/4 2016

www.pennplanning.co.uk

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Hobbybod
I think Hobbybod is referring to an incident a couple of years ago.   I had supplied Witter towing equipment to a customer for fitting to his new Ford Mondeo (ST24 IIRC) and in line with Ford's requirements, the towbar had a plated 'S' value of 75 kgs.

 

My customer goes to collect his new Lunar Solar Eclipse caravan from the dealer.   He thought the towball went down excessively and insisted they checked the noseweight.   It registered at around 150 kgs Ex-works! Note that this is without spare wheel or gas bottles, all of which had a dedicated storage in the front locker.

. . . . . . . . .

47623[/snapback]

Further to our Noseweight discussions, here in 2005, the topic has recently arisen on another forum, and I supplied a link there, to this discussion here!

 

I am returning the compliment here as there some important points discussed there; including a further example of illegaly excessive noseweight on a newly delivered caravan (a Swift as it happens!).

 

It really is time that manufacturers produced 'vans with sensible (~40kgs) ex-works noseweights. Now that ALKO and Knott are producing load-sensing jockey-wheels (in-built noseweight gauges) it will become more noticeable as to what the ex-works noseweight is; the makers will have to do something then! . . . . . . . hopefully.

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Guest Hobbybod

As there are two Noseweight-related threads running, forgive me if I post this in both, but it is rather important.

 

Right, further to this VERY important, but oft ignored, aspect of towing I have gleaned a few more snippets of info. . . . . . . from my 'industry' pal!

 

1) he confirmed that if you tow outside any of the stipulated limits for the towbar, car, hitch, or caravan (including noseweight), you are towing illegaly and therefore UNINSURED. You could be personally liable for any consequential damage following an accident and liable to prosecution.

 

2) Caravans with noseweights in excess of 100kgs are outside the limits of the hitch and do not conform to the construction and use regs. Consequently they are not fit for sale! And most likely, illegal for sale!

 

3) Check the noseweight of any 'van you buy and refuse it, if it is outside any of the legal limits. You could try to make a maximum 'delivered' noseweight a condition of sale so that you know it will suit your towcar.

 

4) He was told by an industry guy that ALKO have been trying to get the UK makers to fit their new load-sensing Jockey Wheel (to check noseweight) as O. E. As yet, all UK makers have refused. I wonder why!!!! Continental makers are already starting to fit them (the Knott version anyway)!!

 

5) Also, seemingly there is a dearth of caravan chassis engineers who can calculate the noseweight, given the weight and position of all the fittings in the 'van etc. As someone pointed out, . . . this is not difficult!

 

I have got two tickets to the CC Question-Time event at the East Midlands airport in March. (We're both going!) Looks like 'Noseweight' will come up again, as it did at the last event I attended, a couple of years back!

 

The CC, (and other clubs) should really be more pro-active on this issue for the benefit, and safety, of its membership.

 

Nothing will change on this important safety matter, until we customers all make a fuss and insist on having 'sensible' and legal noseweights on ex-works caravans.

 

Happy & Safe 'vannin' and . . . . take care out there!

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