Caravan Outfit Matching Advice

Mar 14, 2005
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Any advice on this, based on your experiences will be greatly appreciated.

I have just purchased a Moonstone Eccles, did the kerbweight checks first. However, just discovered, made a slight mistake with the figures. My gut feeling is that this will not be a problem as long as I am sensible.

Car I have is a Land Rover Freelander (3door) 2.0 Turbo diesel 2000 model.

Car Kerbweight, taken from my handbook = 1525

85% towing rule, as per recommendation = 1296 (Understand this can be increased if experienced, towed a few years ago)

Caravan

MIRO = 1214 (This is 79% of my kerbweight)

Essential habitation = 82 (This is 6% of my kerbweight)

Personal Payload = 130 (This is 8% of my kerbweight)

MTPLM = 1430 (This is 94% of my kerbweight)

Its going to be difficult to remain 85% or under based on above figures. I assume essential habitition means gas bottles/awning etc. If these put into landrover and only light items (such as clothes, toys,utensils etc) placed in van I should be 85% or slightly more.

Am I worring about something that should not be a problem. For example if I leave my caravan loaded with gas bottles etc + personal payload go up to 1430KG (94%) do you see this as a problem ? I think the first time it is loaded I will get it checked on a weighbridge.

Spoke to caravan Club, who stipulate stick to 85% rule.

What do you advise ?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Steve - the 85% ratio is not a rule, simply a recommendation. I am sure that many outfits exceed the 85% ratio by quite a margin, and some probably exceed the 100% ratio which is dangerous. What you MUST comply with is the car maker's max towing limits and gross train weight. Essential habitatition equipment includes gas bottles, battery, mains cable, water carriers. I don't think it includes the awning, which I always carry in the car to keep the van's weight down. Whatwever you do always keep the car as heavy as poss & the van as light as poss & just be extra careful if your going down long steep hills - use the same gear to descend as you would to ascend and watch out for HGV's & coaches overtaking as they can push out a big bow wave of air.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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94% is high even for a Freelander, unless you are very experienced. You would help yourself greatly by putting some of the items in the car, so long as you don't then overload the car! It is possible to tow at 100% match although this is not advisable but, given your circumstances, I would load sensibly ( car and van ) ensuring that you don't overload either and try to acheive the most favourable balance and noseweight that you can. You are going to have to go back to basics i.e. carry the least amount and lightest kit that you can find. Do bear in mind the maximum weight of the overall outfit and consider it when driving. Having said all that,don't worry too much and have fun.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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You shouldn't be overly concerned about the 85% figure. It's not cut in stone. It is just a recommendation and you need to be aware that the higher you go with the ratio, the more care you need to exercise when driving. Things don't go wrong immediately you exceed 85% - it's a gradual process and you need to assess for yourself how confident you are with handling any higher figure. 85% is just a good starting point. Having said that, it is much more important that you do not exceed the maximum permissible towload specified by the manufacturer but in the case of your Freelander, a caravan with an MTPLM of 1430kg will not be an issue.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I've been towing at 94% since the day I started caravanning (only 2 yrs ago..) Done over 5000 miles and never had a single scary moment. Depends on how you load and how you drive. 85% always assumes a fully loaded van (never been near it) and an empty car. Add 2 people to the kerbweight of the car (150kg+??) + luggage and suddenly the figures add up. By all means carry the heavy things in the car but leave the gas bottles in the van. They must be transported vertically and must be secured.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I'd concurr fully that 85% is a guide. What I'd add to the thought of loading the car with the heavy's is not to over look noseweight and Pete's right, keep those gas bottles in the gas locker, its designed for this. You really dont want them in the car in the event of a shunt!! They help with noseweight too!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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its a guide, but when things go wrong much more quickly, dramaticaly and the reaction time to correct is less. personally i think for any one who just 'hobby tows'(i count myself as one) 85% is one guide that should be followed. if however 85% is passed then one must beware of speed and breaking distances. moreover do you really want the 'tail wagging the dog' on the m25.
 
May 21, 2008
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Hi Steve. The 85% so called rule is just a guide set out as a so called safe tow limit so that anyone could tow. I'm afraid it's a total load of rubbish. I've seen wheel barrow sized camping trailers actually jack knife into the tow car and they must of been 20% of the car's kerb weight. The first thing to do is ask your Landrover dealer to tell you what the manufacturers tow limit is for your specific model. Then find out what the down force (permissable nose weight)is for the car. Then find out from the caravan manufacturer what the nose weight is for the caravan is. Use the lower of those two as the max nose weight for the caravan. Always load your heavey items over the axle of the van and preferably on the floor too. Forget all the "Bull" about towing more than the car weighs and not going over 85% of the car's kerbweight. Stay inside the law as far as tow limits for the car and the max weight for the van is concerned and load correctly then you'll be fine. You see, I am talking from experience, having towed caravans and trailers for 27 years. I also have towed with a Diahatsu 4x4 to the max for 10 years. I pulled a fully loaded Ifor williams trailer with that at 3500kgs. I currently tow a 20 foot twin axle caravan behind my Laguna estate at 100% of the manufacturer's tow limit for the car (1300kgs), and a nose weight of 70kgs. All of this has gone without a hitch, and I put that down to towing sensibly IE, not towing at break neck speed everywhere. I still do 60mph on motorways and 50mph on A class roads, but drive with anticipation (being an advanced motorist helps). The biggest causes of accidents with caravans are 1/ getting the nose weight wrong. 2/ Driving too fast for the conditions. The amount of times some idiot has passed me when I'm doing 60 on the motorway with his caravan danceing behind, and then we catch him up 10 miles on because he's turned the van over is end less. Why oh why do they have to behave like sales reps on a mission. My philosophy is, we have the bed on the back so if we don't get there on time we can still have a kip and get there in the morning. Holidays should be about unwinding and having fun, not "road rage and stress".
 

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