Kerb weight / tow weight, were are you Lutz

Jul 14, 2005
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I think I am losing the plot here but can anyone explain this one to me. I am thinking of changing my towcar to the Volvo V70 D5 which has a kerbweight of 1585 kgs, but its towing weight is 1800 kgs, surely its not saying that you can tow something that exceeds the vehicles weight by almost 250 kgs?

I have searched the forums and found no answers to this one so anyone help?

As always thanks ....Tom
 
Jul 12, 2005
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Thats the maximum tow capacity of the car. On a discovery that weighs 2150kg its 3500kg.

You are looking for 85% of the kerbweight of the car for a safe and stable tow. But you are allowed to tow up to the max tow weight legally

Steve
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Tom,

Just to slightly confuse you further, what Sparkes writes is true, except where you passed you driving test recently, in which case your standard driving licence limits you to which ever is the lower of 100% of the cars weight or the manufacture maximum permitted tow limit.
 
Nov 1, 2005
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I think it might even be the case John that if you didn't pass your test until 1997? you can only drive a maximum train weight of 3500kg regardless of your car's weight.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Generally, everyone's got it right. If you passed your driving test before the 1st January 1997, the only restriction on what you may tow is the manufacturer's specified maximum permissible towload, even if this is more than the kerbweight of the towcar. After that date, you may only tow up to the kerbweight and the gross combination weight may not exceed 3.5 tonnes. Beyond that you will need a category B&E licence.
 
Jul 14, 2005
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Hi All

Thanks as always for your comments. Can't remember exactly the date I passed my test but it was in 1971 so just in with taht one.

Many thanks again

Tom
 
Nov 6, 2005
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The maximum towing weight published by a manufacturer doesn't just apply to caravans, it normally covers any type of trailer.

Some Range-Rovers had towing limits of 4000kg. This was to allow them to pull "agricultural trailers", which are limited to 20mph. It was never intended that they should pull a 4000kg caravan at 60mph (or higher).

Where a vehicle manufacturer quotes a towing limit higher than the kerbweight of the vehicle, caravanners should still treat 100% as the absolute maximum limit even though this isn't a legally enforcable limit.

In reality the 85% recommendation is always the best figure to use when matching a car to a caravan. If you ever get the chance to test-drive an outfit ballasted to 80, 90, 100 & 110% in quick succession at 50mph on a twisty test track, you'd understand why 85% is such a good idea!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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While there's no denying that a light low-sided trailer is more likely to be stable than a heavy high-sided one, I challenge religious adherence to the 85% recommendation. For one thing, it is rare for an unladen car, i.e. no more than at its kerbweight, to be towing a fully laden caravan, so any ratio calculated on this basis is a worst case condition. Once all family and their holiday junk is aboard the car, the ratio can easily drop from 100% to less than 70%. I also doubt whether any average motorist would notice a 5% change either way in the way the outfit handles. Other factors such as the weather (crosswinds, for example), speed and load distribution within the caravan affect stability much more. Except in the extreme, they overshadow any effect of higher weight ratio. A badly laden caravan on a windy day is a hazard even at 70%.
 
Jul 14, 2005
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Thank you Lutz, I knew I could rely on you were common sense prevails. My sentiments entirely.

My thoughts are simple, I would sooner tow at 95% @ 50-55mph than at 70% @ 80mph as some people do, that's their choice.

Also were the Caravan Club are concerned they quote noseweights on caravans at 7% of MPTLM, okay I can live with that. What I do find hard to beleive is that manufacturers do not quote noseweight figures and they make the caravans. So what gives the CC the right to quote figures when maufacturers won't. Just a thought.

Tom
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Tom, I agree with your comments regarding the Caravan Club stating 7% of the MTPLM for the correct noseweight. I stated on another thread this morning that my own van which has an MTPLM of 1500kg has a hitch limit of 100kg stated in the manual by the manufacturer (Bailey), yet 7% of 1500kg is 105kg just goes to prove how out of date the 7% rule is. Incidentally I tow my van with an Accord Tourer diesel which is very similar in weight and performance to your V70. The van is loaded to about 1420kg and I find the outfit very stable with ample power from the car. With sensible loading I also find no problem trimming the vans nosewight to match the cars 75kg limit. Richard S
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I think the 7% recommendation for noseweight is a bit anachronistic. It probably originated back in the days when manufacturers did not specify max. noseweights and, at the time, there was no other better information to go by. Besides, years ago, caravans tended to be lighter and 7% probably wouldn't have exceed the capability of most towcars.

Nowadays, though, I would always go for the maximum permitted (the lesser of the two max. figures for car and caravan, respectively), regardless of the actual weight of the caravan.
 

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