MTPLM & Kerbweigths

Mar 14, 2005
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Hi all.

The caravan I'm buying has a MTPLM of 1400kg's. I am looking at buying a VW Passat TDI 130 saloon which has a kerbweight of 1402kg's and a max braked towing limit of 1500kg's. Now, I know this is not an 85% match, and have read all the advice about this. I have had plenty of experience of towing, from glider trailers, to arctics, so in my mind, as long as the vehicle is heavier than the caravan, and I tow 'sensibly', everything will be ok. The passat has a cavernous boot, so porch awning and luggage will go in the car, and anything else I can fit in, to keep the caravan weight to a minimum.

Anyone offer any advice or tips? Would this combination be dangerous?

Thanks in advance.

Sean
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I note, with some interest, that in this months magazine, on page 31, Alex was towing an ABBEY GTS Vogue, MTPLM 1439kgs, with a Toyota RAV4, kerbweight 1485kgs !! Hardly an 85% match, and considering how much importance seems to be placed on this 85% figure, seems, to me, slightly ironic.

Another factor with my original post is that the Passat will have 2 adults + 2 teenage children in. An additional combined weight of 250kgs, which brings the 'outfit' within the 85% 'guideline'!!

Sean
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Sean, I am sure that from your experience with articulatd lorries, you will be awear of the penalties for overloading, they apply equally to caravans as to HGV's. Your choice seems to be close to the margin, and whilst on paper it seems just ok, I would be concened that the caravan may creep up over its MTPLM when loaded. The other factor that you must check is VW's max. train weight, which is usually less than the sum of the the cars max. weight and the traielr s max. weight. Considering the outfit, An artic has its fith wheel within the wheel base of the tractor unit, thus any load applied by the trailer is shared positively by all tractor wheels. This helps to keep the rig controllable and the trailer weight can exceed the ractors weight by up to 4:1. Cars have thier tow hitch quite a distance behind the rear wheels. This arrangement tends to make an outfit less stable as the trailer has greater leverage and can start to lift reduce the down force on the steered wheels. I would watch your weights very carefully.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Just one point Sean. Did you take the kerbweight from the manufacturers details. Very often they are based on the bog standard model. I've got a tdi130 se estate. The figure given was 1425kg, I took it to a weighbridge and it was 1545kg. My van has a mtplm of 1472. It's as steady as a rock. The estate is slightly better than the saloon though. I've had both.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Sean

The 85% is only a guide line, as far as I am aware you can tow up to 1:1 but I have also heard that if you tow 1:1 that the maximum speed is reduced to 50mph not sure how true this is though.

Also just remember the more you put in the boot the lower the back of your car will be perhaps a roof top box would be a better option as to distribute the weight more even over the car.

JON
 
Mar 14, 2005
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For facts on towing guidelines go to the National Trailer Towing Association web site which will explain everything. If you passed your test before January 1997, you can legally tow up to the manufacturers maximum towing limit or maximum train weight (whichever is lower), if you passed after this date you can only tow up to the tow vehicles kerbweight or a gross train weight of 3500kgs (whichever is lower). It is recommended that a trailer with high centre of gravity (caravan, horsebox etc) is always lighter than the towing vehicle to keep it stable in cross winds etc. However, it is safe and legal (in some instances) to tow in excess of the vehicles kerbweight (car transporter trailer, trailer full of sand etc) as the centre of gravity of these is considerably lower than that of a caravan. As everyone has said, try to keep the caravans MTPLM lower than the vehicles kerbweight and you will be fine PROVIDING it is loaded correctly.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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John L.

Thanks for the reply, but surely if the vehicle kerbweight is 1400kg's and max braked towing limit is 1500kgs, then the 2 added together is the GTW.

Sean
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Good point about the quoted and actual kerbweight. I have used the quoted figure, so would be interested to find out the cars actual when I get it.

Sean
 
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Response to JON. you are correct about the 85% figure being guide line, and not part of a statute, but the other figure you qoute of 1:1 is a little different, and obscurley is dependant on when you passed your driving test!. All new car licences only permit the driver to tow car up to the 1:1 figre or the manufactures MPTLM which ever is lower. Prior to that date a car driver could tow a trailer up to the full MPTLM stated for the car provided no other weight limitation is exceeded (e.g. axle loads, gross train weights etc)
 
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Hello Sean, No you cannot assume that the GTW is equal to the kerb weight plus the MTPLM you must check the actual figures from the manufacturer. Equally it is highly likely that the Gross Vehicle Weight added to the MTPLM will exceede the Gross Train weight, so you must be aware of both conditions. This is particularly important if you are working close to the limits of either the trailer or the tug.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I noted with interest that on the NTTA site, they quote the kerbweight of the vehicle as being the manufacturers kerbweight PLUS a full tank of fuel PLUS 75kgs for driver. That would make my Passat kerbweight as 1550kgs, which has put my mind at rest about towing a 1400kg caravan.

Thanks for all replies.

Sean
 
Mar 14, 2005
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My advice ...listen to john L, he knows what he is talking about. Those max loading figures he talks about are not given for guidance or discussion. They are the law, and the police do carry out spot checks in the summertime. Sad day for you if you're over the limit. Could spoil a pleasant holiday....

j
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The gross train weight is NOT sum of the weight of the towing vehicle and the total weight of the trailer (or caravan). It is the weight of the car plus the axle load of the caravan. The towball load is treated as part of the payload of the car and is consequently included in its overall weight.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Having now obtained the Passat, the GTW is stated at 3370kgs. So a fully loaded van of MTPLM 1400kgs, and max vehicle kerbweight of 1900kgs are within the GTW. I don't think I'll get anywhere near the max vehicle kerbweight, so am happy with this combination.

Thanks for all the replies.

Sean
 

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