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Subject Topic: Towing questions…. Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by Orkney Fire on 27/1/2017 at 2:30pm
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Hi, looking for advice….

I've been camping in a tent for 20 years but my fiance isn't up for it and we are about to venture into the world of Caravanning…… we already have a car (Mercedes E320 cdi) and a caravan (Compass Rallye 634) and as the car is so powerful I'd assumed it would be ok- it has a towing capability of over 4000kgs.

I've spent a lot of time reading up on this and it appears that the car and the caravan both weigh around 1600kgs unladen (caravan 1,599 and car 1,635).

Some websites list the car as being a bit heavier, which is better - but I understand the caravan still shouldn't weigh more than 85% of the car…. is this the same even when the towing capability is over 4000kgs, or does this change things - and would it be a better idea to get a smaller caravan?

Sad thing is we had a Discovery which was sold 2 years ago due to lots of electrical issues…. but we are keen to keep the Merc.

The caravan has never even been used really, except as a spare room. Fiance bought it new 11 years ago. It's currently having all the necessary stuff replaced and a good service…

Any advice on this topic much appreciated.

Cheers

Fiona


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Message posted by Rob and Tina on 27/1/2017 at 3:49pm
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Check the V5 for the car, it should show the kerbweight and the max trailer weight. Also check the weight plate that should be just inside the door of the car.

The general guide is that the max weight(MTPLM) of the caravan should not be more than 85% of the kerbweight of the car. It should not ever exceed 100%. In the example you have quoted the unladen caravan weighs almost as much as the car when unladen, this would not be a good match, especially for a novice, and if the MTPLM is higher than the max tow weight listed by the manufacturer it would probably leave you without insurance and a driving licence.

I expect your car has a max tow around the same as the kerbweight, only things like big 4x4 have a max tow of 4000kg.

I have also assumed that your licence was obtained before 1997, if it was a later licence you will need to take an extra test to tow that sort of weight.

It looks like you may need a bigger, heavier car or a lighter caravan. Check the figures of the car and MTPLM of the caravan and get back to us, we should be able to work out the suitability for you.

Rob

Message posted by Rob and Tina on 27/1/2017 at 4:21pm
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I've just looked at the caravan specs for a Rallye 634 2005 model. Unladen weight(MIRO) is 1599kg and max weight(MTPLM) is 1875kg.

To get around the 85% match you need a car with a kerbweight around 2200kg. A caravan around 1400kg MTPLM would match your car as long as the max tow limit allowed it.


Rob

Message posted by Orkney Fire on 27/1/2017 at 6:04pm
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Hi, thanks -

Car is in Shetland just now so can't check the V5 'til later but I have a photo of the plate…..

numbers off the car plate:

2260kg max permissible gross vehicle weight
4160kg max permissible towing weight (I know it seems massive!)
1120kg max front axle load
1185kg max rear axle load

Tried to see a way to put a photo up but it appears there's no option for that.

However I think the car is too light for that caravan, very sadly we are thinking to get a lighter model of caravan.


I passed my test rather annoyingly just after the 1997 date but it would be my older other half driving and he's got towing experience.

Thanks for your help and advice!


Message posted by Orkney Fire on 27/1/2017 at 6:05pm
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By the way I was born in Stroud and we're getting married there soon - know Gloucestershire well! Forest of Dean is lovely!

Message posted by Opensauce on 27/1/2017 at 6:11pm
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The 4160 is the gross train weight. This is maximum permissable weight of car & caravan together. subtract 2260 from 4160 gives you 1900kg max tow weight unless a lower max tow is indicated anywhere else, ie car handbook.

Provided caravan has a mam, ie max allowed weight aka mptlm of 1900kg or less you are legal to tow it but most would suggest a midrange 4x4 to tow a caravan of that weight.

Message posted by Rob and Tina on 27/1/2017 at 6:47pm
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As Opensauce has said your car has a max tow limit of 1900kg. The max tow weight is the heaviest trailer that the car can tow to perform a hill start on a certain gradient, it is not suggesting that it is safe to tow a caravan of that size. When the caravan weighs more than the kerbweight of the car it is very hard to control any sideways movement of the caravan (snaking), you will often find the expression "tail wagging the dog" mentioned to describe this. That is why the 85% guideline is used, your outfit is nearer to 115%.

You need to change either the car or caravan to get a safe match.

We are not from these parts Fiona but after 26 years we are now tolerated by the locals! We don't know Stroud very well but we do have a daughter in Avening so we do pass through from time to time.

Rob

Message posted by Orkney Fire on 27/1/2017 at 6:50pm
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That's great, good to have it cleared up, will certainly be getting a lighter caravan. It may be technically legal but I want to be safe and sensible as well! Thanks for the advice folks.

p.s. I've been here in Orkney since the age of ONE and I still don't feel like a local!!

Message posted by ROG. on 28/1/2017 at 12:28pm
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There is no law or rule which states that the towing capacity of a vehicle must be able to accommodate the MTPLM/MAM of what it is towing

Legal example
Max vehicle tow capacity 1800
Caravan MIRO/empty 1600
Caravan MTPLM 1900
Max load for caravan 200

The 85% is advice and means that AT THE TIME OF TOWING the caravan actual weight should not be more than 85% of the vehicle actual weight
CC only use the worse case scenario of a fully loaded caravan (MTPLM) with a totally empty (KERB) vehicle weights

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Message posted by diesel steve on 28/1/2017 at 12:54pm
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Quote: Originally posted by ROG. on 28/1/2017
There is no law or rule which states that the towing capacity of a vehicle must be able to accommodate the MTPLM/MAM of what it is towing

Legal example
Max vehicle tow capacity 1800
Caravan MIRO/empty 1600
Caravan MTPLM 1900
Max load for caravan 200

The 85% is advice and means that AT THE TIME OF TOWING the caravan actual weight should not be more than 85% of the vehicle actual weight
CC only use the worse case scenario of a fully loaded caravan (MTPLM) with a totally empty (KERB) vehicle weights



the law does state that each axle on car and caravan does not exceed the plated weights and that the gross train weight is not exceeded

Message posted by ROG. on 28/1/2017 at 6:21pm
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Quote: Originally posted by diesel steve on 28/1/2017
Quote: Originally posted by ROG. on 28/1/2017
There is no law or rule which states that the towing capacity of a vehicle must be able to accommodate the MTPLM/MAM of what it is towing

Legal example
Max vehicle tow capacity 1800
Caravan MIRO/empty 1600
Caravan MTPLM 1900
Max load for caravan 200

The 85% is advice and means that AT THE TIME OF TOWING the caravan actual weight should not be more than 85% of the vehicle actual weight
CC only use the worse case scenario of a fully loaded caravan (MTPLM) with a totally empty (KERB) vehicle weights



the law does state that each axle on car and caravan does not exceed the plated weights and that the gross train weight is not exceeded


Not quite ....
It states that each separate weight must not be exceeded so take each weight one at a time and check it off to see if that weight is legal



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