Bailey Phoenix 420 - balance issue?

Mar 3, 2019
Visit site
We have just taken collection of our new Bailey Phoenix 420. We love it, it's a great little lightweight van with loads of space, had no problems towing and it's so comfortable.

However, when we picked it up the dealer warned us to be careful not to go in without the feet down as it had a tendency to want to tip backwards. It wasn't until be we on site and trying to manoeuvre on and off the pitch that we realised what this meant. As soon as the feet were up and we started to nice it (with the mover) it was really unsteady. My wife had to snag at the front and push down constantly on the jockey wheel to keep it from falling over.

Has anyone else had this problem? The caravan deliberately doesn't have a front locker to avoid front loading. This sounds sensible but surely it shouldn't be this unsteady? We didn't have anything heavy at the back, just a duvet in the wardrobe an the water carrier in the shower. There would have been nothing in it when the dealer was going in and out?

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
Mar 14, 2005
Visit site
Hello Joe,

Many caravans can tip up in the way describe, if someone enters without the rear steadies being down, so that much is not uncommon, but simply trying to reverse a caravan and it tips up strongly suggests you don't have enough nose load.

No one can tell you what your ideal nose load should be, as it is different for every outfit, as it all depends on how you load the caravan. Nose load is always measured under the caravan's hitch, with the hitch at the same height from the ground as when it is coupled to the car.

Both the car and the caravan will have a maximum limit for the nose load (The "S"value), and your static nose load must not exceed the lowest of the values.

The UK industry guidance is to aim for between 5 & 7 % of your caravans MTPLM. You adjust the loading of the caravan to trim for your nose load.

Generally it's safer to trim nose load towards the top of the available range, rather than too little.
Nov 11, 2009
Visit site
I would echo Prof Johns advice. If it tips that easily just when assisting with manoeuvres then the nose load is probably too low. I’d go as far as saying it could be dangerously low and despite you saying it towed well I suspect that could be down to your gentle driving. Check it’s nose load and if requred adjust your load accordingly. Of course when you pack the van for your first trip then you will get a better idea of what it is with your kit all stowed. There are numerous threads on here about how to measure nose weight.

My van is naturally nose heavy and before we left the dealership I had to readjust what few items were in it and put water in the flush tank in order to get it down to 80kg the cars maximum static tow ball load.
May 7, 2012
Visit site
I agree with the two previous posts. It does sound as though the nose weight is very low and needs to be checked. Unlike other makes Bailey have the gas cylinders midships and you lose the weight of these. I would be inclined to weight the nose weight and see if you can get this near the cars limit for better stability.
If it helps we have twice been shown round caravans by dealers who did not have the rear steadies down and they tipped up with us in them. In neither case was any damage done as the steadied still took the impact although I do not recommend it.
Oct 10, 2013
Visit site
When i first started vanning i had a 2 berth Compass Omega and could not get a decent n/w,on advice from a Compass tech guy he advised me to fill an Aquaroll with water and carry it between the front bed boxes towards the front and secure it with a cargo bar just to get some n/w,it worked but i ended up using a full Aquaroll plus a half filled one as well,bonus being i already had fresh water when i pitched up.


Latest posts