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GTW with B+E

Aug 31, 2019
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Hi all.

Sorry fir all the questions but there appears to be a lot of knowledgable people on here so I will ask :cheer:
I understand about Mam, miro, mtplm and gtw however there is something that I have heard and want to clarify.

Last week I nearly bought an 06 Ford galaxy the one with the VW engine.
I asked the seller to send me a pic of the vin plate.
The Mam was 2510kg the gtw was 4000kg leaving 1490kg. My van is 1500kg so 10 kg to heavy.
My insurance is void if I go over gtw.
I read that the plated weights only count for B licences and for B+E they will weigh the vehicles. Is that correct as it would be hard to weigh something if it was smashed to bits and surely Vosa would just look at the plates?
I ended up not buying it for this reason.
It just seems crazy that my Passat could legally to 300kg more legally.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello dazzzzbo,

You seem to be falling into the trap that many people do untill they understand exactly what they are looking at.
The plates on the the vehicles only give information about the load limits for the vehicle, it is not what the vehicle actually weighs. Provided none of the limits are exceed, the vehicle is operating within its designed and authorised range.

If for example a car had a towed weight limit of 1500kg it is perfectly legal for it tow a part loaded trailer with an MTPLM of 2000kg provided that the trailers axle load does not exceed 1500kg. And that the total measured weight of the combined out fit does not exceed the tow vehicles GTW limit.

For the authorities to pursue a charge of excess loading, the have to have measured the suspect vehicle on a calibrated scale. Without that evidence they cannot charge a driver with an excess load offence. But where as excess load offences require measurement evidence, dangerous or unsafe loads do not, it's more of an opinion based on observation. So it is still possible to have what is considered an unsafe outfit, even though its weights are legal.

The only time that the vehicles data plate limits are used without measurements is to check the drivers license entitlements.
 
Aug 31, 2019
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Hi John
Thanks for reply it clears that up for me. Do you think I would have to ring my insurance company to check that they work this way as it is one of the exclusions in the small print that they won’t pay out if gtw is exceeded ?

Cheers
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The 1500kg MTPLM of the caravan includes its noseweight. The towload limit of 1490kg is the axle load of the caravan, not its total weight and therefore doesn't include the noseweight, so unless you have less than 10kg (1500-1490) noseweight, you would not be exceeding any limits even if the caravan is fully laden right up to its MTPLM.

Don't forget that the gross train weight is not the sum of max. gross vehicle weight and the MTPLM of the caravan, but the sum of all axle loads.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Dazzzzbo said:
Hi John
Thanks for reply it clears that up for me. Do you think I would have to ring my insurance company to check that they work this way as it is one of the exclusions in the small print that they won’t pay out if gtw is exceeded ?

Cheers
There is always the possibility that you could be called in by Police for a VOSA weighbridge check. They will check plates and weigh the outfit. It happened to me near Ringwood. There’s a post from yesterday on the Forum from an MOT tester who reports plans to check more trailers in the next year and that’s not an mot check it’s roadside checks. So yes if the vans been destroyed in an accident it would be difficult to check it’s weight.

Why would you need to tell your insurer if you don’t plan to exceed. GTW? You can load your van below MTPLM and that’s not a problem after all when you buy and collect an empty van it will be below MTPLM. So as long as your licence covers the plated weights of the outfit you are legal.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Lutz said:
The 1500kg MTPLM of the caravan includes its noseweight. The towload limit of 1490kg is the axle load of the caravan, not its total weight and therefore doesn't include the noseweight, so unless you have less than 10kg (1500-1490) noseweight, you would not be exceeding any limits even if the caravan is fully laden right up to its MTPLM.

Don't forget that the gross train weight is not the sum of max. gross vehicle weight and the MTPLM of the caravan, but the sum of all axle loads.
This comment does raise one question - what is your caravan axle limit? If you look on the axle case you will find the axle limit label. In theory it should be at the middle of the axle facing backwards but in practice it could be anywhere. Look underneath, then reach out with a camera (you may have difficulty using a phone) and take a picture of it. Most Al-Ko weights are in 50Kg steps so even though your van is rate 1490 the axle will likely be 1500.
Depending o the age of the van there may also be a duplicate (effectively) in the gas locker.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Woodentop said:
This comment does raise one question - what is your caravan axle limit? If you look on the axle case you will find the axle limit label. In theory it should be at the middle of the axle facing backwards but in practice it could be anywhere. Look underneath, then reach out with a camera (you may have difficulty using a phone) and take a picture of it. Most Al-Ko weights are in 50Kg steps so even though your van is rate 1490 the axle will likely be 1500.
Depending o the age of the van there may also be a duplicate (effectively) in the gas locker.
The plate on the axle does not quote the axle load limit that is valid for the finished caravan. That is only to be found on the statutory plate (that is the one referred to as the duplicate above). The axle plate applies to the chassis only, not for the complete caravan. The caravan manufacturer is at liberty to reduce the axle load if he thinks fit. Hence the limit on the axle may not be the same as the one on the statutory plate, but can be lower.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Dazzzzbo said:
Hi John
Thanks for reply it clears that up for me. Do you think I would have to ring my insurance company to check that they work this way as it is one of the exclusions in the small print that they won’t pay out if gtw is exceeded ?

Cheers
It's illegal to load a vehicle beyond any of its weight limits displayed on it's VIN plate including the GTW, so if you do exceed the GTW then not only will your insurance be void, you risk being prosecuted for overloading.

What you have done is to add the GVW(MAM) 2510 of the car to the MTPLM (MAM) 1500 of the caravan and got a figure for the combined MAM of the outfit of 4010kg. Remember this is the combined fully laden capacity of the outfit not not what it actually weighs. IF you had loaded both the car and the caravan to their individual limits, and you then coupled them together then you would exceed the cars 4000 GTW limit by 10kg, and the the cars 2500 GVW would be also be overloaded to a greater extent because the nose load of the caravan would be adding it's load to the the car.

But in practice and whilst it is surprising how quickly you can use up the load capacity of a caravan, it's generally more difficult to fully load a car, so the chances of actually exceeding the cars GTW figure reduces.

Lutz has added the point about how the trailers noseload has to be accommodated in the cars loading, so I won't cover that again.

You will need to be sensible about what you take with you, as you have mentioned it's a six berth caravan and the Galaxy is a seven seater. A trip to a weigh bridge when loaded with all the bits and pieces , people and luggage may be wise.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Woodentop said:
Lutz said:
The 1500kg MTPLM of the caravan includes its noseweight. The towload limit of 1490kg is the axle load of the caravan, not its total weight and therefore doesn't include the noseweight, so unless you have less than 10kg (1500-1490) noseweight, you would not be exceeding any limits even if the caravan is fully laden right up to its MTPLM.

Don't forget that the gross train weight is not the sum of max. gross vehicle weight and the MTPLM of the caravan, but the sum of all axle loads.
This comment does raise one question - what is your caravan axle limit? If you look on the axle case you will find the axle limit label. In theory it should be at the middle of the axle facing backwards but in practice it could be anywhere. Look underneath, then reach out with a camera (you may have difficulty using a phone) and take a picture of it. Most Al-Ko weights are in 50Kg steps so even though your van is rate 1490 the axle will likely be 1500.
Depending o the age of the van there may also be a duplicate (effectively) in the gas locker.
When I had a new axle fitted last year it was easier to use an iPhone to record details of the old axle and its serial number than using a camera.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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ProfJohnL said:
What you have done is to add the GVW(MAM) 2510 of the car to the MTPLM (MAM) 1500 of the caravan and got a figure for the combined MAM of the outfit of 4010kg. Remember this is the combined fully laden capacity of the outfit not not what it actually weighs. IF you had loaded both the car and the caravan to their individual limits, and you then coupled them together then you would exceed the cars 4000 GTW limit by 10kg, and the the cars 2500 GVW would be also be overloaded to a greater extent because the nose load of the caravan would be adding it's load to the the car.
What I had tried to explain is that you can't add the GVW(MAM) of the car to the MTPLM of the caravan as you would be counting the noseweight twice. The noseweight is part of the GVW of the car just as much as it is part of the MTPLM of the caravan.

otherclive said:
When I had a new axle fitted last year it was easier to use an iPhone to record details of the old axle and its serial number than using a camera.
There is little point in keeping a record of what is shown on the axle because, as I tried to explain, it is irrelevant to the end user. It there for the caravan manufacturer only and it doesn't affect the plated axle load of the finished caravan.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Lutz said:
Woodentop said:
This comment does raise one question - what is your caravan axle limit? If you look on the axle case you will find the axle limit label. In theory it should be at the middle of the axle facing backwards but in practice it could be anywhere. Look underneath, then reach out with a camera (you may have difficulty using a phone) and take a picture of it. Most Al-Ko weights are in 50Kg steps so even though your van is rate 1490 the axle will likely be 1500.
Depending o the age of the van there may also be a duplicate (effectively) in the gas locker.
The plate on the axle does not quote the axle load limit that is valid for the finished caravan. That is only to be found on the statutory plate (that is the one referred to as the duplicate above). The axle plate applies to the chassis only, not for the complete caravan. The caravan manufacturer is at liberty to reduce the axle load if he thinks fit. Hence the limit on the axle may not be the same as the one on the statutory plate, but can be lower.
Lutz, could you explain that last paragraph again please. Are you saying the caravan load can be less than the axle rating, or are you saying the axle load rating can be lower than the overall MAM of the caravan? The latter would not make sense as you could potentially overload the axle.
My U4 Seville came with a door plate of 1326Kg but the label in the gas locker was 1450Kg. When I asked for uprating I got a new door plate of 1450Kg - exactly the same as in the gas locker AND exactly the same as the label on the axle.
 
Aug 31, 2019
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Hi all thanks for replies.
I rang the DVSA and DVLA this morning and eventually got through to the towing standards section after being transferred 10 times.
I asked the question about the gtw with a B+E licence and they stated that they use the weighted plates to determine if the outfit is legal. I stated again that I was asking about the B+E licence and they confirmed that they use the vin plates not the actual weight of the outfit to prosecute if required.

I don’t fancy ringing them again lol as it’s a royal pain in the bum :cheer:
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Woodentop said:
Lutz, could you explain that last paragraph again please. Are you saying the caravan load can be less than the axle rating, or are you saying the axle load rating can be lower than the overall MAM of the caravan? The latter would not make sense as you could potentially overload the axle.
My U4 Seville came with a door plate of 1326Kg but the label in the gas locker was 1450Kg. When I asked for uprating I got a new door plate of 1450Kg - exactly the same as in the gas locker AND exactly the same as the label on the axle.
I am saying that the axle load rating set by the caravan manufacturer can be less than the axle load rating set by the manufacturer of the axle itself. Usually, however, the two are the same. Obviously, the axle load rating can't be lower than the MTPLM.
The 1326kg on the door plate is not a true MTPLM, but a calculated value based on an industry standard and arrived at by adding a standard payload to the MIRO. It is not the technical limit that the caravan manufacturer has had type approved.

Dazzzzbo said:
Hi all thanks for replies.
I rang the DVSA and DVLA this morning and eventually got through to the towing standards section after being transferred 10 times.
I asked the question about the gtw with a B+E licence and they stated that they use the weighted plates to determine if the outfit is legal. I stated again that I was asking about the B+E licence and they confirmed that they use the vin plates not the actual weight of the outfit to prosecute if required.

I don’t fancy ringing them again lol as it’s a royal pain in the bum :cheer:
Note, however, that for the purpose of a B+E licence they don't use the plated gross train weight but the sum of the plated GVW of the towing vehicle and the plated MTPLM of the caravan.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Woodentop said:
Lutz said:
Woodentop said:
This comment does raise one question - what is your caravan axle limit? If you look on the axle case you will find the axle limit label. In theory it should be at the middle of the axle facing backwards but in practice it could be anywhere. Look underneath, then reach out with a camera (you may have difficulty using a phone) and take a picture of it. Most Al-Ko weights are in 50Kg steps so even though your van is rate 1490 the axle will likely be 1500.
Depending o the age of the van there may also be a duplicate (effectively) in the gas locker.
The plate on the axle does not quote the axle load limit that is valid for the finished caravan. That is only to be found on the statutory plate (that is the one referred to as the duplicate above). The axle plate applies to the chassis only, not for the complete caravan. The caravan manufacturer is at liberty to reduce the axle load if he thinks fit. Hence the limit on the axle may not be the same as the one on the statutory plate, but can be lower.
Lutz, could you explain that last paragraph again please. Are you saying the caravan load can be less than the axle rating, or are you saying the axle load rating can be lower than the overall MAM of the caravan? The latter would not make sense as you could potentially overload the axle.
My U4 Seville came with a door plate of 1326Kg but the label in the gas locker was 1450Kg. When I asked for uprating I got a new door plate of 1450Kg - exactly the same as in the gas locker AND exactly the same as the label on the axle.
Mine was the same from Swift. You got a really useful upgrade on the Seville. Almost as much upgrade as some vans have as payload. :)
 
Mar 14, 2005
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otherclive said:
Mine was the same from Swift. You got a really useful upgrade on the Seville. Almost as much upgrade as some vans have as payload. :)
As I said before, it's not a true upgrade because the caravan was type approved with the higher value already and the higher MTPLM was on the statutory plate all along.
 
Aug 31, 2019
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Lutz said:
Woodentop said:
Lutz, could you explain that last paragraph again please. Are you saying the caravan load can be less than the axle rating, or are you saying the axle load rating can be lower than the overall MAM of the caravan? The latter would not make sense as you could potentially overload the axle.
My U4 Seville came with a door plate of 1326Kg but the label in the gas locker was 1450Kg. When I asked for uprating I got a new door plate of 1450Kg - exactly the same as in the gas locker AND exactly the same as the label on the axle.
I am saying that the axle load rating set by the caravan manufacturer can be less than the axle load rating set by the manufacturer of the axle itself. Usually, however, the two are the same. Obviously, the axle load rating can't be lower than the MTPLM.
The 1326kg on the door plate is not a true MTPLM, but a calculated value based on an industry standard and arrived at by adding a standard payload to the MIRO. It is not the technical limit that the caravan manufacturer has had type approved.

Dazzzzbo said:
Hi all thanks for replies.
I rang the DVSA and DVLA this morning and eventually got through to the towing standards section after being transferred 10 times.
I asked the question about the gtw with a B+E licence and they stated that they use the weighted plates to determine if the outfit is legal. I stated again that I was asking about the B+E licence and they confirmed that they use the vin plates not the actual weight of the outfit to prosecute if required.

I don’t fancy ringing them again lol as it’s a royal pain in the bum :cheer:
Note, however, that for the purpose of a B+E licence they don't use the plated gross train weight but the sum of the plated GVW of the towing vehicle and the plated MTPLM of the caravan.
Hi I am not sure what you mean ?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Lutz said:
otherclive said:
Mine was the same from Swift. You got a really useful upgrade on the Seville. Almost as much upgrade as some vans have as payload. :)
As I said before, it's not a true upgrade because the caravan was type approved with the higher value already and the higher MTPLM was on the statutory plate all along.
I know that but that's what the majority of UK upgrades are, just bringing paperwork into line with approval. Its pity that the makers aren't more open about the ability of owners to enhance the payload but they seem obsessed with pushing the low MTPLM, when some owners have vehicles and licences that would also a greater payload without having to make many other changes, if any, apart possibly from tyres. I had Bailey payload upgrade that took the MTPLM to 1400kg but they said nothing about the OEM tyres combined load of 1420kg.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Dazzzzbo said:
Hi I am not sure what you mean ?
The towing vehicle has a plated gross vehicle weight and a plated gross train weight. Let's say, for the sake of argument, 2000kg and 4000kg respectively. A driver with a category B licence could use this vehicle to tow a trailer with an MTPLM of less than 1500kg, thus keeping under the 3500kg limit for a B licence, even though the plated gross train weight is greater..
 
Aug 31, 2019
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Hi Lutz

I understood that bit I was thinking you were meaning that with the B+E they don’t add them together lol
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Dazzzzbo,

We seem to be going round in circles here. The issue of weights and limits is complex and you seem to be trying to link driving licence entitlements with the mechanical capability of cars in ways that they don't actually interact.

Do you have B+E?
 
Aug 31, 2019
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ProfJohnL said:
Hello Dazzzzbo,

We seem to be going round in circles here. The issue of weights and limits is complex and you seem to be trying to link driving licence entitlements with the mechanical capability of cars in ways that they don't actually interact.

Do you have B+E?
Hi John I will have the B+E shortly. I understand the capability of the car I.e max tow weight etc. What I had read conflicting information on was if you have B+E was the total weight of the outfit. The DVLA reckon the would combine the 2 weights stated on the plate and are not bothered what the outfit weighs if the plates add up to more than the gtw of the tow car.
It seems silly tbh and I do think that the gov websites should explain it better
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Dazzzzbo,

The Government web site has previously been found to contain errors when describing the driving licence entitlements. Its written by people who do not fully understand the importance of the details, and that has led to inadequate descriptions that could have led to drivers believing they are legally compliant (based on the web sites description) but in fact would be driving illegally.

In particular about three years ago the definition of a Cat B entitlement on the web site said that a cat B driver would be ok if the weight of their out fit was no greater than 3500kg. This was wrong becasue the underlying official documentation stated the cat be limit to be the combined MAM must be no greater than 3500kg

These are fundamentally different, because the reference to "weight " indicates a measured result which you could comply with by only part loading a vehicle or trailer, whereas the law looks at the combined Maximum Authorised Mass, which is an unchanging limit.

I brought this matter to the attention of the web master and it was changed.

If you look at the all licence categories you will see they usually define each category by a Maximum Authorised Mass. So its consistent for the Cat B and its sub categories such as Be or B+E to also use MAM or combined MAM as one of its limit definitions.

The calculation of combined MAM for a vehicle and trailer, has to be based on the sum of the MAM's of the individual elements that make up the outfit. That is how driving licence compliance is checked

What follows is about the compliance of the vehicles to their mechanical weight limits.

The VIN plate figures are essentially defining the mechanical weight limits of the car. It carries the cars GVW limit The Cars GTW limit and the front and rear axle limits of the car. This combination of values allows the authorities to measure the axle loads on a car with or without a trailer, and to use the measured weights compared to the VIN plate figures to determine if a vehicle has been loaded beyond its mechanical limits.

By a series of simple addition and subtractions using the measured axle loads a lot of information can be derived about the vehicle or outfit

If A is the the front axle measurement
B is the cars rear axle measure
and C is the trailers axle measurement.

A should not exceed the VIN plates front axle limit
B should not exceed the VIN plates rear axle limit
C should not exceed GTW - GVW or the trailers maximum axle load limit
A+B should not exceed the cars GVW
A+B+C should not exceed the cars GTW

Remove the trailer and re test the car D front axle and E rear axle
D and E must not exceed the cars axle limits
(A+B ) - (D+E) is the outfits nose load and should not exceed the S value of either the cars tow bar or the trailers coupling head
(A+B ) - (D+E) + C should not exceed the MTPLM of the trailer.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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ProfJohnL said:
Hello Dazzzzbo,

Remove the trailer and re test the car D front axle and E rear axle
D and E must not exceed the cars axle limits (which they will never do so long as A+B don't already exceed their limits)
(A+B ) - (D+E) is the outfits nose load and should not exceed the S value of either the cars tow bar or the trailers coupling head
(A+B ) - (D+E) + C should not exceed the MTPLM of the trailer.
That's correct, but it would be less complicated when checking the MTPLM of the trailer if one simply made sure that the jockey wheel is standing on the weighbridge at the same time. Then there wouldn't have to be any adding or subtracting to do, but one would have a direct reading.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Dazzzzbo said:
Hi John I will have the B+E shortly. I understand the capability of the car I.e max tow weight etc. What I had read conflicting information on was if you have B+E was the total weight of the outfit. The DVLA reckon the would combine the 2 weights stated on the plate and are not bothered what the outfit weighs if the plates add up to more than the gtw of the tow car.
It seems silly tbh and I do think that the gov websites should explain it better
I think you may have misunderstood the DVLA response. Yes, for a category B licence, the 2 weights on the respective plate, when added together, must not exceed 3500kg but the plated gross train weight can be greater than 3500kg. Regardless of this and independent of any licence restrictions, the actual weight of the complete outfit must not exceed the plated gross train weight limit, even if this is less than 3500kg.
 

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