Caravan Weight. Carefull.

Nov 16, 2015
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The horrible subject of your caravan weight, Going out this weekend for a week, and decided it's time for "My own annual " caravan weigh. Off to the local weigh bridge, ( £ 10 , for a certificate, but if I just wanted the weight it was free, ) local scrap yard.
SHOCK Horror, With the fridge empty and no clothes in the caravan , it was 35 kg above the Max MPTL. So back home, drained Water heater, removed extra, BBQ plates, Aqua rolls and waste master will be in the car as will the spare parts and extra hook up leads and water hoses for Serviced pitches. . And The lounger chairs. . So I have saved 55 kgs. From the van, so when away next we will "just " be OK for weight.
New Caravanners, ( Newbies) please watch your max weights. And have save and happy touring / holidays.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Hutch

I suspect your experience is actually not that uncommon. And as a result its quite likely that quite a few caravans are indeed overloaded. :(

Most caravans only have a "Pay Load" or loading margin in the order of about 10% to 15% of the caravans MTPLM, which is not usually a great deal. :eek:hmy:

Its all too easy to underestimate the mass of the ALL the items you add to a caravan, and it can be surprising how quickly it gets used up. :sick:
 
Feb 25, 2017
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We did the same with our Venus 320/2. Took it to the local weighbridge and shock horror was 60kg over. After a major thinning out and another visit managed to get it spot on. IIRC the quoted payload figure is before items like battery and motor mover etc. are added, so in reality the payload can be very small. I check the nose weight at 7% every time we go out, as even small changes make a difference to the balance a feel of the van. I think it should be mandatory to obtain a certificate of some sort, to prove that the caravan is (at least on the test day) not overloaded.
If you type "public weighbridge" into Google, it should tell you where the nearest one is. I used two different ones, both very helpful and did not cost a bean. Good luck.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Morning all , we are away at next May bank holiday for the Friday Saturday Sunday and Monday at the Yorkshire rally so I think on the way down there about 20 minutes from where we live there is a public weighbridge free of charge so with a full tank of of diesel , us + 2 kids in car and a bit of clothing in the van I think I'll take it over the bridge and see what I come out with.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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EH52ARH said:
The horrible subject of your caravan weight, Going out this weekend for a week, and decided it's time for "My own annual " caravan weigh. Off to the local weigh bridge, ( £ 10 , for a certificate, but if I just wanted the weight it was free, ) local scrap yard.
SHOCK Horror, With the fridge empty and no clothes in the caravan , it was 35 kg above the Max MPTL. So back home, drained Water heater, removed extra, BBQ plates, Aqua rolls and waste master will be in the car as will the spare parts and extra hook up leads and water hoses for Serviced pitches. . And The lounger chairs. . So I have saved 55 kgs. From the van, so when away next we will "just " be OK for weight.
New Caravanners, ( Newbies) please watch your max weights. And have save and happy touring / holidays.

Hutch,
And you an aircraft engineer too!
As Prof says you were probably not alone, and hwhen I see what some outfits rolll up with yours was a very minor contravention. When we bought our caravan the dealer took it to a local weighbridge and weighed it empty apart from mover and battery. I then asked Swift for details of what comprised the MIRO and after removing carpets I set a baseline weight, and I then paid Swift for the load upgrade applicable to this caravan. I then removed the rear bunk arrangement and some other non required bits and my usable payload is 152kg, but its amazing how quickly even this can be used. I use a spreadsheet which contains a variety of "standard" trips ie winter, summer, long weekend, Europe, grandchildren etc. The van is loaded against the spreadsheet list. However on long trips we now take a roof box as I don't like having the load area of the car totally packed as if you have a puncture its not good extracting the full sized spare among all of our life's detrius.

When away for longer trips in summer we take a lightweight table for the awning and use the caravans rear dinette table if we need to sit inside. I've commented before that UK caravans have quite (very) low payloads and that a large percentage of owners must be over the MTPLM. Also the increase in the use of roof boxes for couples is a reflection, I think, of low payloads.

Our local weighbridge closed last year, and there is another one in Longleat but its a raised unit not the normal ro-ro type and requires quite a bit of care to manoeuvre a caravan onto it as its not for long artic/HGVs. But before this summers long haul to places hot (minimal clothes) I will weigh the caravan with its load as near to going away weight as I can get.

Mind you its not only the caravan that has this weight creep affliction. :woohoo:
 
Oct 12, 2013
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After reading clives post we to have stripped bits out of the caravan, we've taking all the bits out that would make up the extra 2 bunk beds , that we don't and will never use as well as the dining table that we also got with it , and just by lifting them up into the loft , they weighed quite a bit. :eek:hmy:
 
May 11, 2017
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We had the same experience last year. After the weight bridge shock, we pulled everything out of the caravan and weighed it all individually. I couldn't believe how much extra weight we were carrying in simple things - extra cutlery, children's colouring books, toys etc. We're now very strict on weight and load as much of the heavy stuff into the car (when not taking the dog who takes up most of the boot). It's mainly Cadac, toolboxes, water hose, metal pegs, electric leads, table benches, awning (if taking) that go into the boot.

You think you have loads of weight - we upgraded so have nearly 200kg to play with - but when you compare to a 2 week holiday on a plane where all four of you would take 20kg each (clothes, washbags, suncream, hair dryers etc) and then think of all the heavy caravan kit you need to take (food, crockery, cutlery, tools etc) it adds up very quickly.

It's a constant source of debate in our house. I'd be interested to know how many people have actually been pulled over and sent to the weighbridge by the police/highways people? I seem to recall it's a significant fine if you're so much as 1kg overweight. My view is that if I was a cash-strapped gvt agency and could make money on the M2 just before Dover for every overweight caravan, I'd be doing it...........
 
Sep 5, 2016
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I also go on a local weighbridge but in my case there is only myself and Mrs C in the car so the car could in fact take a fair bit of kit if you have the room.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Harby said:
We had the same experience last year. After the weight bridge shock, we pulled everything out of the caravan and weighed it all individually. I couldn't believe how much extra weight we were carrying in simple things - extra cutlery, children's colouring books, toys etc. We're now very strict on weight and load as much of the heavy stuff into the car (when not taking the dog who takes up most of the boot). It's mainly Cadac, toolboxes, water hose, metal pegs, electric leads, table benches, awning (if taking) that go into the boot.

You think you have loads of weight - we upgraded so have nearly 200kg to play with - but when you compare to a 2 week holiday on a plane where all four of you would take 20kg each (clothes, washbags, suncream, hair dryers etc) and then think of all the heavy caravan kit you need to take (food, crockery, cutlery, tools etc) it adds up very quickly.

It's a constant source of debate in our house. I'd be interested to know how many people have actually been pulled over and sent to the weighbridge by the police/highways people? I seem to recall it's a significant fine if you're so much as 1kg overweight. My view is that if I was a cash-strapped gvt agency and could make money on the M2 just before Dover for every overweight caravan, I'd be doing it...........

I don’t know what the fine would be for an overload in some areas but in Wiltshire the vehicle checks tend to let you reallocate weights if above the limit but not grossly so.

I have been flagged by a police motorcycle rider and had to follow him to an official weighbridge check. The caravan and Car were both weighed and the outfit given a good going over too. This was on the dual carriageway near to Ringwood. So drivers shouldn’t just think that they can cram stuff into the car and onto its roof as gross and axle weights were checked. My outfit was okay.
 
May 11, 2017
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Agree re overloading the car, it's all quite complicated really. My biggest concern is that with our old Swift we had a (heavy) bike carrier plus 3 bikes on the back, now I know more about caravanning I would never do that again!
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Harby said:
Agree re overloading the car, it's all quite complicated really. My biggest concern is that with our old Swift we had a (heavy) bike carrier plus 3 bikes on the back . . . !

3 !!? :eek:hmy: At least I only get 2 on the back and that's not every trip !!
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Craigyoung said:
Harby said:
Agree re overloading the car, it's all quite complicated really. My biggest concern is that with our old Swift we had a (heavy) bike carrier plus 3 bikes on the back . . . !

3 !!? :eek:hmy: At least I only get 2 on the back and that's not every trip !!

Gosh I assumed the three bikes were on the back of the car. An older Swift unlike yours would have no fittings for a bike carrier on the rear.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Just thinking about it , my caravan can be used as a 6 berth , as can probably a few of us on this forum, if it went away packed for a family of 6 , there would be a really good chance they would be well over the limits if you just packed "thinking" you were ok ! (And that's without the two bikes on the back) :p
So mine is going in on Monday for servicing, how much does it cost to upgrade your payload should anyone know ?
Craig .
 
Nov 11, 2009
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From memory I think around £50 done via a Swift Dealer. Think if you look on Swift Talk or Swifts own website it may come under discussion or Accessiries/support. Failing that I’ve always found Swift helpful if I call them.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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PHOENIXFLIER said:
...I think it should be mandatory to obtain a certificate of some sort, to prove that the caravan is (at least on the test day) not overloaded...

Hello PF,

Whilst it would certainly be good idea if every driver knew exactly how heavy their vehicle is for compliance, but like an MOT its only a statement of the condition when test wast made. The reality is, it would need to be done on every trip as whats loaded does change each trip.

As to the accuracy needed, Public weighbridges are usually designed for the weighing of HGV's, so that could be up to 44 Tonnes. Systems with that capacity are unlikely to be able to be able to give a legal result with an accuracy of better than +/-20kg.
 
Jun 26, 2017
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Personally speaking,, I don’t think trying to update your vans payload is the answer, unless you’re towing with a 2000KG plus heavy 4x4.

The thin lats and aluminium ladder that complete the bunk above the dinette really don’t weigh much at all either, and we keep the bits in the van just in case. Especially as there’s the potential for other kids from our extended family excursions to want to stay in our van some time.

With regards to the number of occupants, when travelling, the contents of our van remain the same whether there would be one or six people sleeping. Clothes, food, shoes, bikes etc. are all car payload, except for a small number of perishables which travel in the fridge. I also drain the water system before leaving site (minimum of 10KG), and also the toilet flush. May sound a little excessive, but again, up to the best part of another 10KG there. We only ever carry a single gas bottle in the front locker. Carrying two would push our noseweight into 3 figures, unless we counterbalanced that with some ballast at the rear (maybe a bike rack ! :p !), which would undoubtedly push us over the MTPLM.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Icaru5 said:
Personally speaking,, I don’t think trying to update your vans payload is the answer, unless you’re towing with a 2000KG plus heavy 4x4.

The thin lats and aluminium ladder that complete the bunk above the dinette really don’t weigh much at all either, and we keep the bits in the van just in case. Especially as there’s the potential for other kids from our extended family excursions to want to stay in our van some time.

With regards to the number of occupants, when travelling, the contents of our van remain the same whether there would be one or six people sleeping. Clothes, food, shoes, bikes etc. are all car payload, except for a small number of perishables which travel in the fridge. I also drain the water system before leaving site (minimum of 10KG), and also the toilet flush. May sound a little excessive, but again, up to the best part of another 10KG there. We only ever carry a single gas bottle in the front locker. Carrying two would push our noseweight into 3 figures, unless we counterbalanced that with some ballast at the rear (maybe a bike rack ! :p !), which would undoubtedly push us over the MTPLM.

The level of payload upgrade for British caravans rarely exceeds if ever 50kg, often around 30-35kg so it hardly puts you in big 4x4 territory but it does allow you to recoup the motor mover weight. So it is an advantage fir a reasonable cost. However it would be much better if UK caravans adopted the same approach as Dutch, German and French makes which will allow heavier payloads and not without putting you into silly territory. Some are upgraded by the first buyer but others can be upgraded by a replating up to the maximum for the axle/chassis. For any upgrading owners need to consider the effect on tyre load index. I had a Bailey where the load upgrade took it to 1400 kg and the tyre combined max load was 1420kg. So I put on higher load index tyres from a premium maker which wasnt the case for the OEM tyres supplied at that time.
 
Jun 26, 2017
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Craigyoung said:
So my Major 6 Td is 1297kg empty , max off 1518 kg , so am I right in assuming I got 221 kgs payload ?!

Yes, it is quite generous actually. Although based on the same van, with the extras, our MIRO is quite a bit heavier at 1349KG, but the MTPLM remains the same, or almost the same at 1515 according to the plate, so we have a reduced payload of 166KG. I still want to keep this to an absolute minimum as our car has a kerbweight of 1505KG, but then again, with the exception of a non-motorway, 10 minute trip to the local dealers, whenever we’re towing, the car is fully loaded.

Like Clive says though, it does soon add up. Battery, gas bottle, motor mover, Aquaroll & waste account for the best part of 95KG, depending of course on type and specification.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Craigyoung said:
So my Major 6 Td is 1297kg empty , max off 1518 kg , so am I right in assuming I got 221 kgs payload ?!

Do you mean empty or MIRO? The two are different.
I ignored the MIRO and had it weighed by the dealer with its battery and mover in. No water, no electrical cable but including the step. As I knew this weight my effective payload was MTPLM less the weighed weight. The load upgrade just increased the MTPLM by a given amount which then became my new maximum payload. Then anything further that I did to lighten the caravan such as OEM carpets swapped for lighter washable ones, and bunk arrangements exiled to loft etc add to my usable payload without exceeding MTPLM.
I find the industries definition of payload bizarre with its various sub divisions into personal, essential, habitation etc. Then you need to have the things that define MIRO identified. Mine include step, cable, 1 gas bottle, water filling hose, handbooks/instructions. Much rather have empty ex works caravan and MTPLM and then sort out my own carried on board stuff as payload.
 
May 11, 2017
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I found it very frustrating that the upgrade to the payload made absolutely no change to the caravan whatsoever - it was about £60 (plus postage!) for a new sticker allowing us an extra 50kg (from memory). That's for a Bailey Pegasus twin axle. I simply contacted their product dept and they sent one out. Daylight robbery?

For us it was a no brainer, with the double motor mover we simply didn't have enough extra payload to cover our requirements (especially when the boot's taken up by the dog). We tow with a Range Rover Vogue so no issues or concerns about the car's towing capability. Getting the bikes on the car roof - that's another story :lol:
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Thanks steve .
The last time I weighed us was last year but that was coming back after a weekend away on the way back to storage.
I rolled the car and caravan over the scales and combined came out at around about 33oo kg

Craig .
 
Jun 26, 2017
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otherclive said:
Craigyoung said:
So my Major 6 Td is 1297kg empty , max off 1518 kg , so am I right in assuming I got 221 kgs payload ?!

Do you mean empty or MIRO? The two are different.
I ignored the MIRO and had it weighed by the dealer with its battery and mover in. No water, no electrical cable but including the step. As I knew this weight my effective payload was MTPLM less the weighed weight. The load upgrade just increased the MTPLM by a given amount which then became my new maximum payload. Then anything further that I did to lighten the caravan such as OEM carpets swapped for lighter washable ones, and bunk arrangements exiled to loft etc add to my usable payload without exceeding MTPLM.
I find the industries definition of payload bizarre with its various sub divisions into personal, essential, habitation etc. Then you need to have the things that define MIRO identified. Mine include step, cable, 1 gas bottle, water filling hose, handbooks/instructions. Much rather have empty ex works caravan and MTPLM and then sort out my own carried on board stuff as payload.

Interesting one there Clive. What was the difference between the measured weight with the battery, mover and step, and the manufacturers official MIRO ?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Icaru5 said:
otherclive said:
Craigyoung said:
So my Major 6 Td is 1297kg empty , max off 1518 kg , so am I right in assuming I got 221 kgs payload ?!

Do you mean empty or MIRO? The two are different.
I ignored the MIRO and had it weighed by the dealer with its battery and mover in. No water, no electrical cable but including the step. As I knew this weight my effective payload was MTPLM less the weighed weight. The load upgrade just increased the MTPLM by a given amount which then became my new maximum payload. Then anything further that I did to lighten the caravan such as OEM carpets swapped for lighter washable ones, and bunk arrangements exiled to loft etc add to my usable payload without exceeding MTPLM.
I find the industries definition of payload bizarre with its various sub divisions into personal, essential, habitation etc. Then you need to have the things that define MIRO identified. Mine include step, cable, 1 gas bottle, water filling hose, handbooks/instructions. Much rather have empty ex works caravan and MTPLM and then sort out my own carried on board stuff as payload.

Interesting one there Clive. What was the difference between the measured weight with the battery, mover and step, and the manufacturers official MIRO ?

Right i have consulted the records, here we go:

MIRO 1079kg but subject to tolerance which I believe could be +/- 5%
MTPLM ex upgrade 1264kg
MTPLM post upgrade 1300kg
Weighed weigh with step, mover and battery and OEM carpets. 1160kg.

So if I look at the weight of mover, carpets, battery and step and add that to MIRO it would come to 1144kg compared to the weighbridge weight inclusive of those items of 1160kg.

So given the weighbridge could be +/- 20kg and the MIRO could vary +/-5% there is bound to be a variation in the starting point. But I've taken out the effects of tolerance on the Swift MIRO. But even a fully loaded van on a weighbridge will see the weighbridge tolerance applied to it. As will a DVSA/VOSA site too.
 
Sep 5, 2016
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Having to pay for an upgrade to a caravans payload is just one big money making exercise, in the first place which ever way you look at what weights a caravan can legally carry comes down to what weight the axle is plated for , so just paying £60 you can then put more on your payload doe's not seem right. To make comparison with L G V,s, I have driven many lorries that have been down plated from their maximum gross because the nature of the work that they do doe's not justify the higher rate of road fund licence they have to pay, more weight an L G V carries more money you cough up, a 17 ton lorry pays far less than a 44ton lorry, HOW the caravan industry get away with is is just bizarre, because in the first place you don't pay an road fund tax on a caravan or any other type of trailer be it an L G V or horsebox.
 

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