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heavy empty caravan

Jan 5, 2020
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The dampers of my hobby 460 UFE are heavy pressed but the caravan is new and is empty.IMG_0399.JPG
i have air conditioned, movers and awning and nothing else.
Is this normal (photo)?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The dampers of my hobby 460 UFE are heavy pressed but the caravan is new and is empty.View attachment 36
i have air conditioned, movers and awning and nothing else.
Is this normal (photo)?
What about battery and gas bottle(s) too? There is bound to be some preload into the dampers as otherwise they would rattle and wear. Are the both the same compression?
 

Hobbyt600

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There are currently two Hobby 460 UFE caravan models - one in the “Excellent” range and the other in the “De Luxe Edition” range. Both have a single-axle configuration with (as standard) a technically permissible gross weight (TPGW) of 1350kg. The mass in running order of both models is around 1200kg, and the consequence is that payload will be fairly limited (and will be quickly eroded if heavy extras are specified) so Hobby offers a TPGW upgrade from 1350kg to 1500kg.

The manufacturer of a 460 UFE chassis is KNOTT and Jojo’s image is of a green-colored “Premium” damper shown by a photo in this advert

https://www.knott-trailer.co.uk/suspension_damper_premium-1.html

The advert says that the damper is intended for a single-axle caravan and the weight range is given as 1300kg.

It might be worth Jojo confirming what his Hobby caravan weighs to check that it does not exceed the 1350kg figure (assuming it does not have the 1500kg upgrade) but I expect the fact that the dampers appear well compressed is not ‘wrong’. If the dampers should be longer, then the problem will lie with the caravan’s springing.
 
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Jan 5, 2020
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So many thanks people.

This is what i have in the caravan (460 UFE edition 1350 kg axle) in winter park:
- Dometic air conditioned fj2200 - 32kg
- Thule 6200 awning - 30kg
- easydriver mover - 30kg
- microwave - 12kg
- 2 gas bottles - 12kg

my doubt is the dampers seem to be on edge and do not perform their function, and the axle is already at the position of fully load (almost in horizontal position).

Hobby don't give a margin for the torsion rubber?
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Going on what has been said so far it seems that with just what you have you may be close to max before adding anything else.

Max MTPLM 1350Kg
MRO 1200
Your list of items 116Kg

Spare available: 34 Kg

However, as the damper is rated at 1300Kg with just the MRO and your items listed you are at 1316Kg, already 16 Kg overload, with the extra 34Kg the overload would be 50Kg
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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This is all hinting that these extras have been fitted to the lighter rated chassis, not the uprated chassis.

If these were fitted pre delivery by the supplying dealer, then IMO there is a case against the dealer for the transaction to be covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 legislation. As a package, it is not fit for purpose, and the supplying dealer had an obligation to point out the kit requested was not viable on the base caravan.


If it was a single transaction I would seek legal advice from Citizens Advice or your own solicitor.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Going on what has been said so far it seems that with just what you have you may be close to max before adding anything else.

Max MTPLM 1350Kg
MRO 1200
Your list of items 116Kg

Spare available: 34 Kg

However, as the damper is rated at 1300Kg with just the MRO and your items listed you are at 1316Kg, already 16 Kg overload, with the extra 34Kg the overload would be 50Kg
Don’t forget 21-25kg fir a battery too.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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This is all hinting that these extras have been fitted to the lighter rated chassis, not the uprated chassis.

If these were fitted pre delivery by the supplying dealer, then IMO there is a case against the dealer for the transaction to be covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 legislation. As a package, it is not fit for purpose, and the supplying dealer had an obligation to point out the kit requested was not viable on the base caravan.


If it was a single transaction I would seek legal advice from Citizens Advice or your own solicitor.
I privately bought a pre owned French caravan that was imported via a specialist company. It turned out when I took it to a weighbridge that it’s “MRO” left me virtually no payload. It had been fitted with cooker, hot water sytem, shower, Propex heater, fridge,mover. Yet I thought it had a 240 kg payload. Very careful journey back from the weighbridge on the A40/470 junction. Fortunately I had fitted new tyres that covered its 1240 kg weight. But its axle was only rated 1000kg. The only saving grace was that my self weighed payload was quite accurate😱
 
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Hobbyt600

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Jojo lives in Portugal, so probably did not purchase his new Hobby caravan in the UK where the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is in force.

Assuming that Portugal was where he obtained the caravan, consumer guidance is here

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/shopping/guarantees-returns/portugal/index_en.htm

Hobby’s website provides a fair amount of detail about the weight of their caravans in standard form and the weight of add-ons that can be factory ordered, and it’s plain from those data that a 460 UFE model on the standard chassis (which Jojo’s caravan has) would be close to the 1350kg maximum technically permissible gross weight when the items he has listed are taken into account.

As the following link shows, Knott offers a number of caravan chassis dampers

https://www.knott-trailer.co.uk/chassis_damper.html

with the two ‘green’ dampers (Part numbers 990201 or 990205) both quoted as being appropriate for single-axle chassis with a 1300kg weight range. The ‘blue’ dampers are intended for an 1800kg weight range, so MIGHT be used if a 460 UFE has the 1500kg chassis. However, none of these dampers are spring-type, so replacing the green dampers on Jojo’s caravan with blue dampers would not change the ‘compressed’ length of the dampers once they had been fitted - all it would do is stiffen up the caravan’s damping.

Jojo has said

“...the axle is already at the position of fully load (almost in horizontal position).

Hobby don't give a margin for the torsion rubber?"

It MAY be, if the 1500g version of the 460 UFE model is specified, stronger rubber ’springing’ and stiffer dampers are provided to cope with the higher maximum weight - so it MIGHT be POSSIBLE that Jojo’s caravan’s springing could be adjusted so that the caravan rides higher and the dampers will have more available downwards movement.

Jojo is clearly uncomfortable over the axle’s position and the dampers’ length, and the logical course of action is for him to contact the caravan’s vendor and ask what can be done to address those issues.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Jojo lives in Portugal, so probably did not purchase his new Hobby caravan in the UK where the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is in force.

Assuming that Portugal was where he obtained the caravan, consumer guidance is here

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/shopping/guarantees-returns/portugal/index_en.htm

Hobby’s website provides a fair amount of detail about the weight of their caravans in standard form and the weight of add-ons that can be factory ordered, and it’s plain from those data that a 460 UFE model on the standard chassis (which Jojo’s caravan has) would be close to the 1350kg maximum technically permissible gross weight when the items he has listed are taken into account.

As the following link shows, Knott offers a number of caravan chassis dampers

https://www.knott-trailer.co.uk/chassis_damper.html

with the two ‘green’ dampers (Part numbers 990201 or 990205) both quoted as being appropriate for single-axle chassis with a 1300kg weight range. The ‘blue’ dampers are intended for an 1800kg weight range, so MIGHT be used if a 460 UFE has the 1500kg chassis. However, none of these dampers are spring-type, so replacing the green dampers on Jojo’s caravan with blue dampers would not change the ‘compressed’ length of the dampers once they had been fitted - all it would do is stiffen up the caravan’s damping.

Jojo has said

“...the axle is already at the position of fully load (almost in horizontal position).

Hobby don't give a margin for the torsion rubber?"


It MAY be, if the 1500g version of the 460 UFE model is specified, stronger rubber ’springing’ and stiffer dampers are provided to cope with the higher maximum weight - so it MIGHT be POSSIBLE that Jojo’s caravan’s springing could be adjusted so that the caravan rides higher and the dampers will have more available downwards movement.

Jojo is clearly uncomfortable over the axle’s position and the dampers’ length, and the logical course of action is for him to contact the caravan’s vendor and ask what can be done to address those issues.
My caravan has Alko running gear and chassis. Some 18 months ago the service center noticed that the offside axle bushes had extruded and that side had dropped. It was well out of warranty but even there UK experience seemed to show extreme difficulty in getting a warranty claim approved. So I had to arrange the fitting of a new axle as Alko had stopped refurbishing axles on an exchange basis. I thought I might go for the upgraded axle that had exactly the same dimensions. Alko required Swifts approval in order to supply an upgraded axle but Swift declined. So I had no realistic alternative but to replace like with like. But my payload was still intact unlike the OPs possible problem.
 

Hobbyt600

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I'm doubtful that the specific technical information needed can be provided here regarding Jojo's brand-new Hobby caravan's suspension and what might realistically be done to increase the travel of its dampers.

The first port of call should be whoever sold the caravan, but I notice that there is a dedicated UK forum for Hobby caravans that Jojo might try for advice on the damper/axle issue based on practical experience and/or knowledge of Hobby products.

 
May 7, 2012
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My advice here would be to contact Hobby direct and see if they can advise the best way forward.
 

Hobbyt600

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Best of luck with that.

It was never a productive approach for me (you’ll note my avatar) and Hobby’s expectation was clearly that, once a leisure-vehicle had been purchased, if its owner had complaints or required warranty work carried out or advice, the Hobby dealership that had sold the vehicle should be contacted initially.

However, contact details are here:

https://www.hobby-caravan.de/en/contact/
 
Jan 5, 2020
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I'm enlightened, i have to change something, i will contact Hobby.
When buying the seller did not alert me to excessive weight.

thank you very much
 
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Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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I have a question about the gas cylinders.
You state that you have 2, but what size are they or are you quoting the contents , i.e 6Kg x2

If that's the case, then the actual weight will be a lot more as the cylinders weigh around 7Kg each plus the 6Kg
gas, making 13Kg each, x 2 = 26Kg
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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i'm sorry, gas bottle are 6kg each.
Yes, I gathered that , but is that the gas weight or the whole cylinder weight?
There should be a metal collar around the outlet valve assembly which gives the Tare weight of the cylinder.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Jojo, what Damian is asking is,are the bottles 6kg, total weight when full, or are they 6kg of gas plus the weight of the empty bottle , ie plus another 4kg .total of 10 kg. As Le cube in France.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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I have a question about the gas cylinders.
You state that you have 2, but what size are they or are you quoting the contents , i.e 6Kg x2

If that's the case, then the actual weight will be a lot more as the cylinders weigh around 7Kg each plus the 6Kg
gas, making 13Kg each, x 2 = 26Kg
Sorry Damian, i didn't notice your posting.
Hutch.
 

Hobbyt600

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Sep 20, 2011
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I'm enlightened, i have to change something, i will contact Hobby.
When buying the seller did not alert me to excessive weight.

thank you very much
Jojo

When you first posted to the Practical Caravan forum on Sunday 5 January 2020 you said

"i'm from Portugal and i have a hobby 460 ufe towed by a mercedes 250 GLK"

I assumed from that statement that you live in Portugal - is that correct, please?

Assuming that you lived in Portugal, I then guessed that you would probably have bought your new caravan from a Hobby dealership in Continental Europe and not from a Hobby dealership in the UK. Is that the case and, if so, in which country did you obtain your Hobby caravan?

And may I ask why you seem to be so reluctant to contact the seller of your caravan about the damper/axle issue?

It is with the seller that you have a purchase contract, not with the Hobby factory in Germany.
 
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Hobbyt600

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Sep 20, 2011
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I have a question about the gas cylinders.
You state that you have 2, but what size are they or are you quoting the contents , i.e 6Kg x2

If that's the case, then the actual weight will be a lot more as the cylinders weigh around 7Kg each plus the 6Kg
gas, making 13Kg each, x 2 = 26Kg

The specification of a De Luxe Edition 460 UFE is provided in some detail on this Hobby website’s datasheet.

https://www.hobby-caravan.de/en/caravans/de-luxe-edition/model/modeldetails/showPdf/Model/460-ufe-4/

It will be seen that a 460 UFE’s gas-locker can accommodate two bottles and (as the caravan is German-built) the bottles can be the usual Germany-norm 11kg-capacity type.

JoJo has said that he has 2 x 6kg bottles and - assuming these are Portuguese bottles - each will weigh 13kg to 17kg when full. (A 6kg-capacity Portuguese bottle may contain butane or propane gas and may be metal or composite construction, but the weight of the bottle when full won’t differ much whatever gas is in it or what the bottle is made of.)

It should also be evident from the Hobby datasheet that the basic specification of a 460 UFE is a lot less comprehensive than might be appreciated when compared to UK-built caravans, and that the addition of ‘invisible’ heavy extras (spare wheel, autonomy package, 47-litre inboard fresh water tank, etc.) will rapidly gobble up the already limited payload of the 1350kg-chassis version.
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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The specification of a De Luxe Edition 460 UFE is provided in some detail on this Hobby website’s datasheet.

https://www.hobby-caravan.de/en/caravans/de-luxe-edition/model/modeldetails/showPdf/Model/460-ufe-4/

It will be seen that a 460 UFE’s gas-locker can accommodate two bottles and (as the caravan is German-built) the bottles can be the usual Germany-norm 11kg-capacity type.

JoJo has said that he has 2 x 6kg bottles and - assuming these are Portuguese bottles - each will weigh 13kg to 17kg when full. (A 6kg-capacity Portuguese bottle may contain butane or propane gas and may be metal or composite construction, but the weight of the bottle when full won’t differ much whatever gas is in it or what the bottle is made of.)

It should also be evident from the Hobby datasheet that the basic specification of a 460 UFE is a lot less comprehensive than might be appreciated when compared to UK-built caravans, and that the addition of ‘invisible’ heavy extras (spare wheel, autonomy package, 47-litre inboard fresh water tank, etc.) will rapidly gobble up the already limited payload of the 1350kg-chassis version.
Thats alreaady been said in previous Postings.
 

Hobbyt600

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And your point is?

Much of the previous discussion in this thread (IMHO) lacks focus and the backstory to Jojo’s enquiry (eg. where he lives and where the Hobby caravan was purchased) has yet to be resolved. Apparently there are three Hobby dealerships in Portugal, so - if Jojo lives in that country and bought the caravan from one of those dealerships - plainly he should contact the Portuguese vendor. Perhaps he has already done this, but if he has it would be helpful if he said so.

Although the Hobby website provides a good deal of technical detail, the ‘formula’ Hobby uses to calculate a caravan’s empty weight does not appear to be stated. I don’t know what weight-allowances caravan manufacturers normally include in their empty-weight datum. The 460 UFE is capable of carrying 2 x 11kg gas bottles, but I don’t know whether Hobby allows for the weight of two full 11kg bottles (probably not) or one full 11kg bottle (perhaps) or includes no weight-allowance for gas bottles (it would not surprise me). Jojo has said that the bottles he carries are 6kg each and equated this to a 12kg weight: this would be possible if Campingaz 907 bottles were being used (as these weigh roughly 6kg when full) but it’s more likely that Jojo’s two bottles are 6kg-capacity and (as Damian touched on ) the two would then weigh around 30kg when both were full. But that’s really incidental to the dampers/axle issue.

There’s a strong possibility that Jojo’s caravan when empty exceeds its 1350kg maximum authorised weight but - as I said earlier - to confirm if that’s the case the caravan would need to be weighed. Concentrating on single factors like gas-bottle weight won’t be productive in resolving Jojo’s overall problem. - it first needs to be established what the caravan actually weighs.

If a weight-check reveals that the caravan does not exceed the 1350kg threshold, it may be that the dampers of all Hobby 460 UFE will have the same ‘compressed’ look that Jojo’s photo shows. If a weight-check proves that Jojo’s caravan is overweight when empty (or when empty has no realistic payload) there’s no certainty how that could be remedied - but it is certain that any remedial action must involve the caravan’s vendor first and the Hobby factory second.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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lutzschelisch.wix.com
Gas bottles are in the front locker so, regardless how many and how big they are, they will affect the noseweight more than the axle load. Even two filled 11kg gas bottles, which is about the maximum for which locker storage is provided, will probably exert less than 20kg at the axle and that should hardly make any appreciably difference to the standing height.

If there is any doubt whether the dampers are allowing sufficient suspension travel one can always remove and compress them until they reach the end stop and measure their fully compressed length in that condition. Then compare that length with the length as installed on the caravan.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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"Jojo lives in Portugal, so probably did not purchase his new Hobby caravan in the UK where the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is in force. "

First, I was unaware from reading the OP that he lived outside the UK, however as Portugal is also within the EU and our CRA 2015 has its roots in an EU directive, the "Consumer Rights Directive", it remains a valid point, much in his interest, that they also would have implemented a very similar law as ours.

If he neither purchased the Hobby in Portugal or the UK, there remains the very high probability it was purchased in an EU country where such consumer protection legislation from mis-selling is in place.
 
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