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Subject Topic: Tow car recommendations please Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by Paul1507 via mobile 03/11/2021 at 10:00pm
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Hi, I'm relitvely new to towing, I am currently towing with a 2.1 diesel c class Merc and it's horrendous! Im looking to buy a new tow car for £25-30 grand. What does everyone recommend and why?
Thanks

Message posted by marg604/11/2021 at 4:34am
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without knowing why its "horrendous" or what caravan your towing it is impossible to suggest anything other than buy a proper 4x4 which would normally cover you for towing just about anything depending on when you passed your driving test as you may be too heavy for the 3500kgs limitation if after 1997

Message posted by Rob and Tina via mobile 04/11/2021 at 7:54am
Outfit:   Swift Major 4SB     Location:  Royal Forest of Dean Gloucestershire
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It would be helpful if you could tell us the MTPLM of your caravan. What is horrendous about the Merc?


Rob

Message posted by Paul1507 via mobile 04/11/2021 at 8:00am
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Really sorry rob what is MTPLM?
It feels like the car is too light for the caravan but I checked it out before I bought the car and it said itís a good match 🤷🏽‍♂️ If I go over 40mph it starts swaying

Message posted by Rob and Tina via mobile 04/11/2021 at 8:20am
Outfit:   Swift Major 4SB     Location:  Royal Forest of Dean Gloucestershire
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MTPLM is the max permitted loaded weight of the caravan, this should be on the weight plate by the door and in the handbook etc.

Where did you check that the outfit was a good match? The recommendation for novices is that the MTPLM should not exceed 85% of the kerb weight of the car so you need these weights to check for a good match.

Swaying could be caused by many things such as poor loading, incorrect nose weight, incorrect tyre pressures on the car, these need to be checked before you go any further. Has the caravan been serviced recently? If you check these out you may find that you don't need to change the car.

Rob

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Message posted by jim oldham04/11/2021 at 8:57am
Outfit:  VW Sharan.BaileyChampagneSeries7 2010.     Location:  Wigan
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If you put in your location someone may be able to pop around and give you some advice.

When starting off, new owners can be put off/confused by what seem jargon, but is necessary to understand the basics for safe towing.
Your present car "may" be OK.

Message posted by philip 2204/11/2021 at 12:31pm
Outfit:  Abbey Caravan     Location:   Lincolnshire
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What caravan have you got then ?

Message posted by SamandRose04/11/2021 at 1:11pm
Outfit:  2019 VW Arteon + 2002 Avondale Dart      Location:  Midlands
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Hi Paul

OK, deep breath (and maybe another) ...

Firstly, as Rob says, you need to tell us more about your car and caravan. Key info is the 'mass in service' of the car which should be on the V5 document, and the weights of the caravan which should be on a metal plate, either by the bottom of the door or on the drawbar.

Was the caravan empty or loaded when you towed it? If loaded, what did you have in it? Many modern caravans are only rated to carry weights of about 150kg or so which you can easily exceed. How that load is distributed can also have a huge impact - there are various video clips on Youtube which illustrate this.

Also check both the car and caravan tyre pressures. The required pressure on a caravan, particularly if it's a single axle is much higher than for a car - typically around 55-60psi but there are various online guides that can help you narrow it down. I've included a link to one that I have previously used. The pressure of the rear tyres on the car may also need to be increased to accommodate the extra weight on the tow bar.

Other questions are whether the caravan has been serviced recently - a service for a single axle should cost about £150 plus parts - and whether any part of the rear suspension of the car is worn and needs replacing. Any local garage should be able to check this.

There are a huge number of good towing cars you can buy for £25-£30k particularly if you're happy to buy lightly used. However, without knowing the weight of the caravan you intend to tow it's impossible to give any sensible suggestions.

https://www.tyresafe.org/caravan-tyre-pressure/

-------------
"Don't wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect."

Message posted by Paul1507 via mobile 04/11/2021 at 2:59pm
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Thank you all for your feedback, my caravan is a 2000 swift accord. The weight is 1300.
When I tow the caravan is loaded with awning and aqua rolls but nothing too heavy. When itís loaded I load on the axel.

Message posted by marg604/11/2021 at 3:29pm
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ok so when you have loaded the caravan what is your noseweight? to get a table tow you need to be at the max for your car and caravan, which i would think was 70kgs

you then need to look to see why its swaying, it could be the stabiliser isnt working, or something to do with tyres such as age, in need of tracking/blancing so once again a bit more info is needed such as the circumstances as to when it starts to sway

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Message posted by Colin2104/11/2021 at 4:16pm
Outfit:  1992 Elddis Wisp 450CT + X Trail     Location:  East Herts
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Noseweight is highly critical. I always go by the maximum my car will allow, as long as it is within the specifications of the trailer. I also try to avoid having anything heavy anywhere near the rear of my caravan.

When I first bought the caravan I have now I just hooked it up to my car and drove home. It wasn't very far, no more than 15 miles, but it did involve using a fast dual-carriageway. On that journey I was quite surprised to find that it did sway occasionally, much more than my previous one ever had, especially when being overtaken by the occasional coach or truck. However, on my first proper trip out with it, loaded as I usually would, it was a totally different story. I barely knew it was on the back. On that journey when I bought the caravan it was completely empty and I had no means of measuring the noseweight, so in all probability is was too light on the front end. Getting some load in it and getting the noseweight right transformed it completely and I have had no problems with it ever since, despite the fact that I never use any kind of stabilising device. I know others will disagree with me but I always think that if you need a stabiliser there is something wrong somewhere with your outfit. Many years ago I used to tow all sorts of trailers in the course of my work and I never used any kind of stabiliser then either. Few trailers had them, or the facilities to fit them anyway, and I never had a problem as long as the trailers were loaded right.


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Best Regards,
Colin

Message posted by SamandRose05/11/2021 at 1:58pm
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Hi again Paul

Thanks for the info but you miss one critical point, which is whether the 1300kg weight is the 'mass in running order (MIRO)' - meaning the weight of the empty caravan as it left the factory, or the 'maximum technically permissible laden mass (MTPLM)' - meaning the maximum that your caravan can weigh when fully loaded.

If it's the MTPLM that's 1300kg, your Merc SHOULD be absolutely fine with it. Assuming that the caravan tyres and wheel balance and your car's suspension are OK it might be as simple a case as redistributing the weight inside the caravan as Colin has suggested. I also find that my caravan (which is of a similar age and weight to yours) feels more stable with a bit of weight over and in front of the axle than it does when empty.

If, however it's the MIRO that's 1300kg, this will mean that the MTPLM is most likely somewhere between 1450kg and 1500kg. My best guess is that this isn't far off the weight of the car itself and therefore a little on the heavy side, particularly if you're new to towing. That's not to say that your car isn't still capable of towing that weight, but all of the issues that others have highlighted regarding weight distribution and noseweight will become that bit more critical.

-------------
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Message posted by bobmel06/11/2021 at 8:05pm
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SPEED

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Robert (BoB)

Message posted by jeepster196122/12/2021 at 7:29pm
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hi, may have already been mentioned but here goes, you caravan will have a empty weight and a max weight

find out the weight of your towcar, normally called mass in service and its shown on your v5, this may also tell you what weight you can tow

then find out the empty weight of the van and weight each item before loading it into the can. these figures are normally shown on a plate by the carvan door. tow safely and you will enjoy your holiday, i went to exeter with my work in june and saw a shogun tip over after the van started to sway so be safe


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