Advice please

Ty

Apr 18, 2018
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Hi All

Yesterday we visited a caravan dealership to do a bit of window shopping the wife looked at the buccaneer barracuda the next thing she had gone and located the salesman

To cut a long story short i explained to the wife that the caravan is to heavy for our car

The sales man tried to explain that the unit combination is fine as the car can Tow upto 2300kg

I explained that this i dont think this is the case but ior some reason i always struggle with subject

The cars kerb weight is 1880kg max tow 2300kg

The caravan
Mas in running order is 1831kg
MTLM is 1990Kg

The wife really wants to go for the buccaneer but i want to make sure that firstly the unit is safe and of course legal to tow

Any advice would be great

Thanks
Ty
 
Nov 11, 2009
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You are right in questioning the suitabilty of your car. The max towing weight of a car realties to its ability to do a number of repeated hill starts on a 12% incline, towing a trailer of some kind. Caravans by their very nature are quite different to say towing a low trailer with a boat, or small car. The caravan is susceptible to wind forces from other vehicles. its CoG is quite high relative to low trailers and how its loaded and driven can affect its stability.

Oft quoted guidance is that new caravaners should aim for a caravan that's MTPLM is around 85% of the cars kerb weight whilst those with more experience and a car that that is suitable could go higher but should not exceed 100%. There are caravan matching websites that help the user to look at the suitability of the outfit. the two Clubs have them. I use Towcar.info which over my last three outfits was pretty good in its information. But as with most things none are guaranteed 100% but they do help decision making along with other information.

I dont know the car you proposer to use but given the information provided your car doesn't look heavy enough for the chosen caravan as is MTPLM well exceeds the cars kerb weight.

PS do you have a post 1997 licence with B/E or B as with B the outfit would be illegal.
 

Ty

Apr 18, 2018
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Hi Craig

Thanks for your reply I have B+E and have been towing large box trailers for about 15 years i have been towing a caravan for around 3 years now
I have put the combination on a towcar and it comes back as not a good match so.may be a money saver
 
May 7, 2012
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Frankly the car is too light for the caravan even for an experienced tower. Other Clive is completely correct in his assessment and frankly I would regard towing the Buccaneer as downright dangerous with that Volvo. The Volvo is an excellent tow car but it has its limits.
As someone who spent many years investigating accidents, I can say that all the cases where the driver has lost control of the caravan have been where the caravan was just under or over the towcar's kerb weight, although I admit the numbers were low, but it is a fact.
The salesman looks to have been more interested in selling than anything else and I would avoid him at all costs even if you do buy a Buccaneer, find someone you feel you can trust as you clearly have your doubts about him.
If you want an alternative way of putting the other half off, tell her about the magazines surveys. The caravan is built by Eldiss, and they have come consistently bottom for customer satisfaction and when they included Buccaneer as a separate brand it was below the Eldiss models.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Ty, I think your trying to find help from others to get out of buying The Buccaneer, as you know it will involve changing the car as well.
So in response, I will say the caravan is too heavy for your existing car.
Good luck on the outcome.
 

Ty

Apr 18, 2018
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Thanks All for the replies, re the salesman i thought as much to be honest, but he was really convincing which is what made me question my original thoughts and as stated earlier this is one subject that always confuses me.

As far changing the tow car that won't be happening for quite a few more years yet.

Thanks again
Ty
 

Ty

Apr 18, 2018
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Hi All

After the above comments i spoke to the dealership and asked why the advice they were giving out was incorrect and it seamed just to be to gain a sale

The salesman explained his reason for his calculation and they were pretty much as what i found this evening on a website called tow 3500.co.uk

I have read numerous threads even on this site what seam to debate between the 85% / 100% rule the below is the extract from tow3500, not the best with IT i think its all copied through though .again as i stated to the salesman after reading plenty about this i do think he is incorrect but again not sure so i think we will play it safe.

(any thoughts)

If you read caravan magazines or look for tow car advice online you will see a lot about the “85% rule” for the caravan and car weight ratio.

According to this rule the caravan’s MTPLM ( Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass) should not exceed 85% of the car’s kerbweight.

This “rule” was invented by the caravanning fraternity before the 1997 licence restrictions, when the weight of the entire outfit was irrelevant as you could tow up to a combined (car + caravan) weight of 8250kg.

It should be made clear that the “rule” is not in fact a rule with any legal standing, it is a recommendation, and a bizarre one at that!

The idea is to increase safety by eliminating any “tail wagging the dog” pendulum effect of towing a heavy caravan with a light car. To that end they have completely ignored the practicalities of a family caravan holiday and assumed the worst ie. that the car will be towing with only a driver and zero luggage, and at the same time the caravan will be fully laden.

In reality the car would be laden with people and their luggage (ideally up to it’s GVW) and the caravan will be as unladen as possible with only the larger items inside that can’t fit in the car.

In this way the car will weigh 5-600kg more than the kerbweight and the caravan will weight less than it’s MTPLM (maximum loaded weight) and your ratio of caravan to car weight will be nowhere near 85%.

As an example, let’s take a car with a towing award from last year, the Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDi SE L DSG

it has a kerbweight of 1374kg (kerbweight is unladen weight plus driver of 75kg)

with the 85% rule it can tow a caravan weighing 1167kg – even the lightest 4 berth is 1245kg –

but it’s GVW (laden weight) is 1944kg and it’s actual towing limit is 1800kg.

To fit under the 3500kg limit you can tow a caravan with an MTPLM of 1556kg, which is a reasonable figure for a family caravan.

Now with the car laden at 1944kg and even if the caravan is fully laden to 1556kg, you have a ratio of *80%.

If you had stuck to the Caravanning fraternity “rule” you would have a ratio of **60%, which makes the 85% rule a nonsense.

*80% maths – GVW (car) 1944kg MTPLM (caravan) 1556kg = 80%

**60% maths – GVW (car) 1944kg MTPLM (caravan) 1167kg = 60%

An average family sized caravan weighs approximately 1500kg MTPLM. To be able to tow this at the 85% rule you would need a tow car with an unladen weight of 1765kg (like a Mercedes E-class Estate) but then the GVW of a car this size will be around 700kg more, giving you a GVW of approx. 2500kg. This in turn limits the size of what you can tow to 1000kg.

Update 19-9-17

Funnily enough Practical Caravan TV tested a Mercedes E class Estate on the show today and was it towing a 1500kg caravan, to stay with the 85% figure? No, it was towing a large twin-axle number from Swift, whilst they quoted the Mass in Running Order for the caravan, not the MTPLM.

You will hear a lot of noise about towing a caravan that weighs more than 100% of the kerbweight of your car being illegal. This is not true. It was written into law in but removed in 2013.

My view is that if it’s safe to tow a caravan ( as decided by the caravanning fraternity!) at 85% of the kerbweight, with no proviso that you can’t tow with an unladen car, then it’s safe to tow with 80% when the car is laden.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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When we tug our caravan , at 1645 kg and I am sure it's, at the limits all the time,. even with the Santa Fe Light so lets say 2000kg, as a fairly experienced tourer ? ( by that I mean I have had a few never to repeat towing incidents, snakes, balance, overspeeds. Etc. ) I prefer to have a heavier car.

We had a lovely 3 litre diesel Vectra V6 , lovely tow car but a bit too light to handle the caravan. We were at all most 99%But we did almost 8 k to 10 k miles every year, in Europe and although ok I wanted a heavier tow car.

Forget The club recommended rules, do as you feel happy with, the rules are way outdated. . Due o the better cars and Caravans.
Just be sensible when towing.
 
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Ty

Apr 18, 2018
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Hi EH52
We will be looking for a lighter caravan i think nearer to the recommendations from earlier , just thought i would put the salesman thoughts on to see what people thought.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Ty said:
Hi EH52
We will be looking for a lighter caravan i think nearer to the recommendations from earlier , just thought i would put the salesman thoughts on to see what people thought.

Yes thanks for that, Your comments help a lot of people in similar situations, I managed to upgrade my 2.2 Vectra to the amazing 3.0 V6 AS the boss loved the new Coachman. 545 , which we didn't bond with, to be changed for 560 3 year later. A win to both of us at that time.

Hutch.
 
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Cracking come back & result Ty ! ;)

I remember when we first started into getting the caravan and we asked the salesman about our car previously it was a Toyota Verso 7 seater 2.2 turbo diesel and he gave us the facts and figures off what it could and could not do and and he says to me that he will not sell to my wife because she was not confident on towing , but would sell to me as I was a bus driver and confident enough ; looking back now I think :huh: !!
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I’ve tended to be guided by the 85% guidance. It’s not a rule. Some outfits I’ve been at 75% others nearer 95% and am fully aware that the car will weigh more than kerbweight as load is carried in the car. Agreed this does help but I suggest most caravanners who are serious about the stability of the outfit stick to the adage “ car heavy, van light”.

I’ve never had a snake, but did have a twitch van once and believe me it’s not comfortable

The two Clubs give advice entirely consistent with what you’ve received on this thread. Can they all be wrong. I certainly think your salesman has fished the Internet for something to support a sale of an unsuitable caravan. Some of the facts/figures in the link are valid but it’s the interpretation in specific cases that’s questionable.
 
May 7, 2012
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I have read Ty's points but would like to make the point that some weight in the caravan is needed as empty they can be quite skittish and are more prone to being affected by side winds. What you need is some weight in the caravan and a car heavier than the caravan by a decent margin. Certainly the lower the owing ratio the better.
The extra weight in the caravan might look wrong in that it means more to control if things go wrong but it is more likely to mean you less likely to have a problem as the caravan is more stable.
 
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Hello Ty,

For a long time I have been concerned with the the way the industry advice has been misused. It is only advice and definitely not a rule. It is not a rule because there are cases where if you were to follow it you would actually be breaking the law. It has no sanctions so it can't be enforced, and nor should it because, it has so many flaws. It should never be called a rule as in doing so it lends a sense of authority to it which has made it become a mantra for some caravanners at the expense of other factors which arguably have a much greater impact on stability and safety.

There is a shroud of mystery as to how the specifics of the advice even came about, no one or organisation has publically admitted to being involved with its construction, yet alone provide any information on what evidence or testing was used to verify the efficacy of the advice.

However, whilst I find the advice to be flawed, and probably fails to give especially new caravanners the best advice, I do support the principle of keeping the mass of a trailer as small as possible relative to the mass of the tow vehicle, but there isn't a single ratio that is universally ideal for all combinations and drivers. In the absence of an accessible better way I see the industry advice as a starting point and not the end of setting up an outfit.

With the influence of the EU, all cars sold in the UK now come with a range of technical data which can be used to provide a sound technical basis for matching, much like some of the matching services do, but as I always point out the results of these services are only as good as the accuracy of the data they use, and we have seen reports of errors in some model specifications in their databases, so caution must be excessive do when using such services.

Ultimately safe towing is in the hands of the driver, as they are responsible for ensuring the vehicle and trailer they are driving is safe and legal. But also the driver must be capable of driving the outfit, as well as being responsible for the style of driving.
 
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It annoys me that so many people are put off having the caravan they want due to the 85% being bandied as a rule-the rule ie the law (as well as the licence restriction B+E etc) is the weight the car is stated to be able to tow as tested by the manufacturer.

If we all went by the 85% Bucaneers would be towed by so few 'cars' as to make them unviable, Artic lorries wouldn't exist ( I know axle in a different place/load etc BUT !!!)
We towed a 1450 kg Bailey Pegasus Verona with a 4x4 petrol Dacia Duster-nearly 30,000 happy miles; you had to think ahead on hills on motorways BUT other than that after 3 years of happy caravanning in every gale/ rain storm that seemed possible(avoid us folks rain follows us on hols), inc Hurricane Brian on the way up to Glen Nevis we never had a wobble or shake that in any way came near a snake.The Duster has a kerbweight of just under 1300kg and towing limit of 1500kg. And no ATC on that either. So with ATC trailer assist on many cars if you are sure your Volvo has a limit of 2300kg it should happily tow a Bucaneer at 1900kg. That said load the car rather than the van and make sure nose weight is right-v important. and tyre pressures car and van are right too.
Controversal I know, but my experience.
 
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JezzerB said:
That said load the car rather than the van and make sure nose weight is right-v important. and tyre pressures car and van are right too.
Controversal I know, but my experience.

Worth noting that the tyre pressures for towing may not be obvious. For my Kuga, the additional pressure for towing are noted in the Towing section of the manual, not the tyre pressures part...
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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JezzerB said:
It annoys me that so many people are put off having the caravan they want due to the 85% being bandied as a rule-the rule ie the law (as well as the licence restriction B+E etc) is the weight the car is stated to be able to tow as tested by the manufacturer.

If we all went by the 85% Bucaneers would be towed by so few 'cars' as to make them unviable, Artic lorries wouldn't exist ( I know axle in a different place/load etc BUT !!!)
We towed a 1450 kg Bailey Pegasus Verona with a 4x4 petrol Dacia Duster-nearly 30,000 happy miles; you had to think ahead on hills on motorways BUT other than that after 3 years of happy caravanning in every gale/ rain storm that seemed possible(avoid us folks rain follows us on hols), inc Hurricane Brian on the way up to Glen Nevis we never had a wobble or shake that in any way came near a snake.The Duster has a kerbweight of just under 1300kg and towing limit of 1500kg. And no ATC on that either. So with ATC trailer assist on many cars if you are sure your Volvo has a limit of 2300kg it should happily tow a Bucaneer at 1900kg. That said load the car rather than the van and make sure nose weight is right-v important. and tyre pressures car and van are right too.
Controversal I know, but my experience.

Wow 30000 miles of towing in three years you must have had some great places to visit, worthy of a blog.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Car had done 38k when we got rid-sorry we had the Bailey for 3 years-car (Dacia Duster) was 5 and 3/4 year old when sold, never missed a beat and now faults ever, and before that we towed an Avondale Argente-much missed but got fed up of making up the bed every night. . So yes we've done some miles towing-all very happily-weirdly the new Bailey 1450kg towed much better than the older 1250kg Avondale-maybe not so weirdly-newer tech/aerodynamics perhaps? We've done from Devon (not quite made Cornwall yet ) and up to Glen Nevis in Scotland and mostly in the wet and just love our caravan; new venture-Nissan Navara to tow a Bucaneer Cruiser which is on order! Onwards and upwards!
 
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Hope all goes well with the new Navara and caravan. Sounds a reasonable match. I accept that the Dacia may have towed well and without trouble, but that weight ratio was too high and a serious problem might have seen the caravan take control.
The weight ratio is very important when things go wrong, so it is essential to be careful. Some cars are better than others for stability though, so there can be no fixed rule on weights, but as the guy who investigated the accident after it happened, I can say that any case of loss of control I have seen involved a dubious weight ratio.
We did have an Argente at one time, and I have to say its towing was not perfect, but the two Lunars we have had since are far better.
 

Ty

Apr 18, 2018
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Thanks for all tbe reply's ,the wife has told me she is taking me out next sunday just found out we are going to the NEC not sure the buccaneer has been put to bed just yet.
 
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