ATC and towing weights

Oct 27, 2019
4
0
10
Visit site
With caravans getting heavier with more equipment i find that my SKODA SUPERB 2.0 TDI CR 170 Elegance 4X4 will not be suitable for towing many caravans, even single axle caravans. The kerb weight is 1557 kg the Gross weight is 2196 kg and the max weight braked is 2000 kg. Certainly with 170 BHP there is sufficient power and the auto 4 wheel drive improves traction.
I am looking at a Swift caravan with MTPLM 1650 kg and MRO 1496 kg and has Alko ATC Stability system fitted. We will only be using as a couple so not lots of kids gear etc
I hold driving licence which is class BE.
Does having ATC fitted allow for greater towing weight as i assume the reason for the suggested is for caravan without ATC.
Your help urgently required before purchasing this van.
Danny
 
Jan 19, 2002
1,532
439
19,935
Visit site
You might find this article interesting with regard to MRO and MTPLM.
http://swift-owners-club.com/support/payload-margins.html
Although you might be considering loading the caravan lightly to be less than the kerbweight of the car I think many seasoned caravanners would be surprised in how much 'personal effects' actually weigh!
 
Mar 14, 2005
17,854
3,227
50,935
Visit site
Falkirkdan said:
With caravans getting heavier with more equipment i find that my SKODA SUPERB 2.0 TDI CR 170 Elegance 4X4 will not be suitable for towing many caravans, even single axle caravans. The kerb weight is 1557 kg the Gross weight is 2196 kg and the max weight braked is 2000 kg. Certainly with 170 BHP there is sufficient power and the auto 4 wheel drive improves traction.
I am looking at a Swift caravan with MTPLM 1650 kg and MRO 1496 kg and has Alko ATC Stability system fitted. We will only be using as a couple so not lots of kids gear etc
I hold driving licence which is class BE.
Does having ATC fitted allow for greater towing weight as i assume the reason for the suggested is for caravan without ATC.
Your help urgently required before purchasing this van.
Danny

Hello Falkirkdan,

The history and creation of the industry towing ratio advice is shrouded in mystery. So I can't tell you exactly how the advice was derived, but by date it did precede the general availability of ATC or equivalent systems.

Prior to the introduction of ATC it was very important that caravanners did all they could to prevent the onset of instability, but occasionally even the most diligent of drivers might experience a problem when a range of conditions conspired to cause a problem, and ATC was created to try and help prevent these extreme conditions catching drivers out. ATC should not be used to manage a poorly matched outfit, it's in the same class as seat belts, Airbags and ABS - a safety net not general preventative.

The industry advice is widely criticised for not being realistic for not taking into consideration the new developments in cars and caravans, and whilst it suggests novice caravanners should not exceed 85%,(MTPLM/Kerbweight) and experienced should never exceed 100%, it is only advice, and has no legal force.

However, I do subscribe to the principle that it will be safer to keep the mass of any trailer as small as possible, and the tow vehicle as great as possible, but that is only part of the conundrum of maximising the safety margins of towing, other factors are the way the load is distributed and the nose load it creates, proper vehicle and trailer maintenance, good tyres at the correct pressure, Driver competence at appreciating road and weather conditions, and driving style.

So considering the cars 1557 kerbweight and the caravans MTPLM of 1650, it certainly exceeds the industries recommendations, and it's not a combination I'd advise even though it would be legal.
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
7,510
936
30,935
Visit site
Quote " Does having ATC fitted allow for greater towing weight "

The ATC is a dumb piece of equipment in as much as it does not matter what weight is being pulled, it only responds to sudden changes in direction, such as when entering a snake situation, in which case it applies the caravan brakes briefly to pull the van back into line.
 
Mar 14, 2005
9,810
705
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
Obviously fitment of ATC increases the safety margin, but its prime objective is not to increase towload limits. However, weight ratio issues aside for a moment, you already have a substantial margin between the MTPLM of the caravan and the maximum permissible towload of 2000kg which many caravanners on the Continent use to the full as there is no such thing as a weight ratio recommendation over there.
Besides, how confident are you with your quoted kerbweight of 1557kg? Have you weighed the car or are you relying on a published figure? If the latter applies, you may be in for a surprise. It probably weighs more than you think.
 
Nov 11, 2009
20,824
6,492
50,935
Visit site
In the Practical Caravan test of the 2014 Elegance model kerbweight was quoted as 1554 kg including 75 kg for the driver. The 4x4 sytem adds approximately another 80 kg to the vehicles kerbweight. Yours being L&K will weigh heavier given the additional kit. Mines a 170 ps DSG 4x4 with a V5 Mass in Service if 1656 kg. And I believe Mass in Service includes 75 kg for the driver.
 
May 7, 2012
8,598
1,816
30,935
Visit site
You should not rely on ATC to allow you to tow at higher weights. It is a safety device like a stabiliser and is there to help if things look to be going wrong. It should never be used to increase the towing ratio and certainly at the weights you are suggesting it would be way out of its depth.
Sensible matching is the best bet, though I appreciate the problem having found myself getting more and more limited by lighter cars, your safety and that of your family is the most important point. From my dealings with motor accidents, any caravan loss of control claim I have come across has involved a dubious towing ratio.
Trying to load it lightly to a safe level looks impossible to me. You have only about 150 kg to play with and that is very little in real life. If you fit a mover you will lose about 30 kg of that which makes it borderline for most people to even stay under the MTPLM.
The ATC is a good idea, but in an emergency where it cannot cope, the caravan could easily take control of the car resulting in a disaster. given the weights you quote.
 
Mar 14, 2005
9,810
705
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
otherclive said:
In the Practical Caravan test of the 2014 Elegance model kerbweight was quoted as 1554 kg including 75 kg for the driver. The 4x4 sytem adds approximately another 80 kg to the vehicles kerbweight. Yours being L&K will weigh heavier given the additional kit. Mines a 170 ps DSG 4x4 with a V5 Mass in Service if 1656 kg. And I believe Mass in Service includes 75 kg for the driver.

Mass in Service can be substantially lower than kerbweight although, by definition, kerbweight does not include the driver but Mass in Service does.
 
Mar 14, 2005
17,854
3,227
50,935
Visit site
Raywood said:
...The ATC is a good idea, but in an emergency where it cannot cope, the caravan could easily take control of the car resulting in a disaster. given the weights you quote.

I think Ray is painting the situation much blacker than it needs to be.

A caravan would have to vastly overloaded to render the ATC ineffective, but of course there could be other reasons why the ATC may not work, for example if its power line is not connected, or it it develops a fault. But all this falls into proper maintenance of both tow vehicle and trailer.

The weights you have quoted do exceed the industry advice, but that does not automatically make an outfit unsafe. I have towed several outfits where the trailer was substantially heavier than the tow vehicle (but always within the vehicles towed load limit) without issue, and I have found some outfits which were below 85% that were incredibly twitchy. So simply sticking to the weight ratio advice is no guarantee of a good tow. You have to bear in mind the other factors I listed previously. As Lutz points out there are no such advisory restrictions in many countries, and there aren't piles of smashed caravans littering foreign highways.

It's about being sensible. HIgh weight ratio's do erode any safety margins an outfit has.
 
May 7, 2012
8,598
1,816
30,935
Visit site
I possibly look at things differently given I have dealt with the results of things going wrong. At the end of the day though, the ATC is a safety device and is there to reduce the chances of a loss of control and is not a substitute for getting the weights, loading etc. right.
I do accept that some outfits can behave better with a worse towing ratio than others that on paper look better. The problem is that you cannot be sure of this before you buy and it can only be when in an emergency situation you that you really find the answer. It is therefore foolish in my opinion to risk at the level proposed here. The ATC may mask a potentially serious problem and that should be appreciated.
 
Nov 16, 2015
10,747
3,052
40,935
Visit site
Having had a situation When the ATC on my Coachman 560 activated, and brought me from about 60 mph (ish) to about 50 mph on a motorway after a big snake, I think it takes quiet a large lateral sway to initially activate the ATC. Speed is not dependant as it can happen if you turn to tightly on a roundabout. The ATC detects the lateral movement.
My motorway snake was caused by my badly Balanced internal . Items, too much stuff stored under the rear bed.
 
Nov 16, 2015
10,747
3,052
40,935
Visit site
I would also recomend Take your car, to a weigh bridge, Local scrap yard , about £10. To check your weight , load it with your normal caravan gear, 1/4 tank of fuel and see what the weight is, and go from there.
 
Oct 27, 2019
4
0
10
Visit site
Hi folks thanks for all your comments. I am taking car to a local weighbridge. It appears that Kerb weight includes 90% full fuel tank. Will get back once I have done this.
Danny
 
May 7, 2012
8,598
1,816
30,935
Visit site
EH52ARH said:
I would also recomend Take your car, to a weigh bridge, Local scrap yard , about £10. To check your weight , load it with your normal caravan gear, 1/4 tank of fuel and see what the weight is, and go from there.

The weight you want is not the loaded one as the 85% figure allows for loading, the correct weight to get is the kerb weight which is often a bit higher than the manufacturers figure. It does allow for the driver to be in it as well though.
 
Nov 11, 2009
20,824
6,492
50,935
Visit site
Raywood said:
EH52ARH said:
I would also recomend Take your car, to a weigh bridge, Local scrap yard , about £10. To check your weight , load it with your normal caravan gear, 1/4 tank of fuel and see what the weight is, and go from there.

The weight you want is not the loaded one as the 85% figure allows for loading, the correct weight to get is the kerb weight which is often a bit higher than the manufacturers figure. It does allow for the driver to be in it as well though.

Assuming it’s the BS/ISO standard driver of 75kg weight. So in our tow car I form part of the payload :)
How much though is classified information.
 
Mar 14, 2005
9,810
705
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
Raywood said:
The weight you want is not the loaded one as the 85% figure allows for loading, the correct weight to get is the kerb weight which is often a bit higher than the manufacturers figure. It does allow for the driver to be in it as well though.

Actually, kerbweight, in UK legislation, is specifically defined without the driver and with a full fuel tank.
 
Mar 14, 2005
17,854
3,227
50,935
Visit site
Lutz said:
Raywood said:
The weight you want is not the loaded one as the 85% figure allows for loading, the correct weight to get is the kerb weight which is often a bit higher than the manufacturers figure. It does allow for the driver to be in it as well though.

Actually, kerbweight, in UK legislation, is specifically defined without the driver and with a full fuel tank.

This just shows how the industry advice nowhere near a copper bottomed solution. The car and caravan industry have messed around with weight definitions so much, its very difficult for the inexperienced to get a clear understanding of what their getting into.

No wonder we get a steady stream of contributors who clearly have got lost in the myriad of acronyms and their definitions. Why the industry is so insistent on trying to make its self a special case, rather than using the tried and tested legal definitions from the regulations is a mystery?

I suspect that given the non scientific approach the industry advice has used, the weight and location of the driver is not going to make any practical difference to its efficacy in relation to safety or towing stability.
 
Nov 11, 2009
20,824
6,492
50,935
Visit site
Lutz said:
Raywood said:
The weight you want is not the loaded one as the 85% figure allows for loading, the correct weight to get is the kerb weight which is often a bit higher than the manufacturers figure. It does allow for the driver to be in it as well though.

Actually, kerbweight, in UK legislation, is specifically defined without the driver and with a full fuel tank.

Lutz
I’m a mite confused as back in June this year you posted this on another forum.

On 08/06/2019 at 20:45, Lutz said:
Kerbweight is not documented anywhere so I don’t know where the sources get their information from.
 
Mar 14, 2005
9,810
705
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
otherclive said:
Lutz said:
Raywood said:
The weight you want is not the loaded one as the 85% figure allows for loading, the correct weight to get is the kerb weight which is often a bit higher than the manufacturers figure. It does allow for the driver to be in it as well though.

Actually, kerbweight, in UK legislation, is specifically defined without the driver and with a full fuel tank.

Lutz
I’m a mite confused as back in June this year you posted this on another forum.

On 08/06/2019 at 20:45, Lutz said:
Kerbweight is not documented anywhere so I don’t know where the sources get their information from.

Yes, I know. I do wish that everyone would stick to what the law actually says because then there wouldn't be such confusion with everyone using their own interpretation of weight terms. Fact is that no manufacturer is obliged to quote kerbweight and they don't. Normally, what they actually quote is mass in running order, but they choose to call it kerbweight.
 
Oct 27, 2019
4
0
10
Visit site
I have had my car at the local Docks weighbridge so properly certified. Kerb weight includes a full tank of fuel.
My Skoda Superb 4 x 4 weighed in at 1780 kg.
I am with Towergate for caravan insurance and they will not cover if the van MTPLM is more than 95% of kerb weight of the car. Spoke with them and as i have a proper weighbridge certificate then that would be accepted as proof of car weight should there be a claim.
So looks as though i can pull up to 1691kg MTPLM.

Thanks everyone for your replies.
Danny
 
May 7, 2012
8,598
1,816
30,935
Visit site
I think the confusion over kerb weight definition stems from the 85% recommendation being made earlier than the legal definition. Possibly the NCC and clubs should revise this to add the driver and fuel to the legal kerb weight definition or at least add that this may differ from the makers figure because they will not normally quote these.
 
Mar 14, 2005
9,810
705
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
Raywood said:
I think the confusion over kerb weight definition stems from the 85% recommendation being made earlier than the legal definition. Possibly the NCC and clubs should revise this to add the driver and fuel to the legal kerb weight definition or at least add that this may differ from the makers figure because they will not normally quote these.

Neither the NCC nor the clubs have the authority to change the legal definition of kerbweight and even if they did one wouldn’t know whether a published figure referred to the old or the new definition. Definitions should therefore never be changed. If necessary, and to avoid potential confusion, a new term should always be used.

Besides, even if you add the 75kg for the driver to the manufacturer’s published MIRO and make a correction for the amount of fuel you still wouldn’t have the true kerbweight.
 
Oct 27, 2019
4
0
10
Visit site
If in doubt get your car weighed. I was surprised but make sure it is a proper certified weighbridge and get a proper weigh bill.
Cost me £4.74.
 
May 7, 2012
8,598
1,816
30,935
Visit site
Lutz said:
Raywood said:
I think the confusion over kerb weight definition stems from the 85% recommendation being made earlier than the legal definition. Possibly the NCC and clubs should revise this to add the driver and fuel to the legal kerb weight definition or at least add that this may differ from the makers figure because they will not normally quote these.

Neither the NCC nor the clubs have the authority to change the legal definition of kerbweight and even if they did one wouldn’t know whether a published figure referred to the old or the new definition. Definitions should therefore never be changed. If necessary, and to avoid potential confusion, a new term should always be used.

Besides, even if you add the 75kg for the driver to the manufacturer’s published MIRO and make a correction for the amount of fuel you still wouldn’t have the true kerbweight.

I was not suggesting that the NCC or clubs should change the legal definition, but they should adjust their advice to take account of this. On looking at my post I can see it could be read differently tough.
 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts