Nose weight and load distribution

Apr 12, 2020
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Hello All

New member here and also new to caravanning
I have a Bailey 420 which we purchased at the NEC show last autumn, I have a2013 BMW 320d sport touring as my tow car.
We are yet to use the caravan due to the current situation but I have been weighing all of the sundry equipment we have purchased to ensure I don’t exceed the total max payload as per the plate on the caravan, my question is , is it preferable to move the accessories that I will be carrying in the caravan whilst towing forward of the axle to achieve a better nose weight or is the priority to keep the weight over the axle leaving a lighter nose weight?
I have a nose weight gauge and have measured a weight of about55kg with the awning forward of the axle but not to the very front of the van.
The max nose weight for my car is 75kg

Thanks in advance

Mick
 
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Best to load near to your cars maximum noseweight then load heavier items around axle and low down as far as is practicable. But maximising noseweight to suit cars maximum will aid stability.
 
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Damian

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If you put Noseweight in the search box at the top (next to the PC Logo) you will come up with over 10 pages of information on your question......Good luck reading all that !!!
 
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I should also say that a useful mantra is “ car heavy, caravan light”. You will find that most caravans can accommodate so much gear that it’s very easy to exceed the MTPLM. When you have weighed and stowed your kit it’s always useful to take the caravan to a weighbridge. Locations of these can be found under the Local Authority web pages/trading standards. Or via searching U.K. Governments site and entering your county details.
 
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To the OP, for the record most (but by no means all) Baileys can be MTPLM uprated. This is done so that the supplied MTPLM looks low and can be thus towed by a lighter car. We had a Pegasus which could be uprated by 123Kg, and our present Seville was upated by a similar amount.

Look inside the gas locker and you will find a plate which shows the true MTPLM and to which you van can be uprated. This should equate to about the same as the axle maximum load which you will also find on a sticker on the axle case - usually on the back of the casing near the centre or nearside. (A camera (as distinct from a mobile phone) can be quite useful to get a picture of it.)

No-one, as far as I know, has yet tested as to whether the legal plated weight is that on the sticker by the door or that in the gas locker. If you want to legally uprate then it will cost you £66 through your dealer and (for you) comprises a new MTPLM sticker to fit on the side panel and a black Bailey 'extra load' decal to replace the usual blue oval. Bailey will update their own records and notify CRiS.

I note the OP says he can get 55Kg noseweight. I wish I could. When we brought our U4 Seville home with only a mover and battery fitted the nose was 31Kg. The absolute maximum we have ever managed to get it to (and stay within the uprated MTPLM) is 53Kg!
 

JTQ

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Thank you for all the replies
I will try the search function

Studying all that should keep you occupied through the duration of the "lockdown" ;)

Though I suspect not leave you better informed.

____________________________________________________________

IMO also I agree, it is sound advice to load the noseweight up well to near to in your case, the car's limit of 75 kgs. The whole issue here is about maximising the overall set up's towing stability whilst within loading limits.
The most important things to avoid are weight significantly aft of the axle, or high up in the van, the two combined being the more disturbing.
With your blessed low inherent noseweight, placing much aft will not be a requirement simply to get down to a tolerable value.
 
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Studying all that should keep you occupied through the duration of the "lockdown" ;)

Though I suspect not leave you better informed.

____________________________________________________________

IMO also I agree, it is sound advice to load the noseweight up well to near to in your case, the car's limit of 75 kgs. The whole issue here is about maximising the overall set up's towing stability whilst within loading limits.
The most important things to avoid are weight significantly aft of the axle, or high up in the van, the two combined being the more disturbing.
With your blessed low inherent noseweight, placing much aft will not be a requirement simply to get down to a tolerable value.


Why do you consider 75Kg a "low noseweight" I've had Mondeos, Skodas with such nsoeweight and never had any stability concerns. Both Mondeo and Superb won Towcar of the Year awards with such "blessed low noseweight'. Its almost part of the "you need 4x4 to tow safely" !

75kg with a sensibly loaded caravan and car heavy, caravan-light approach combined with a good driving attitude works wonders.
 
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Thank you for all the replies
I will try the search function


I had an axle replaced a couple of years back and found it best to use iPhone rather than either of my two compact cameras. Heres what you should look for on the axle bar.

Also when the Covid restrictions are lifted I would recommend applying for one of the Clubs' caravan courses they cover so much more than just towing.

Axle label.jpeg
 
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I agree you need to try and get the noseweight up to near the 75KG mark. You refer to it as a 420, I take it that it is a Phoenix, this is a very light model and should be well within the capability of your caravan. Do remember though that the load allowance includes clothing, bedding etc. if you have not included them in the things you have weighed. The load allowance is fairly low and I would be tempted to upgrade that to give you a better margin for error.
The awning should be on the floor and the exact position may need to be found by trial and error if you use this to increase the nose weight but in general near or over the axle is the best bet.
Best of luck when you can finally use it.
 
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I agree you need to try and get the noseweight up to near the 75KG mark. You refer to it as a 420, I take it that it is a Phoenix, this is a very light model and should be well within the capability of your caravan. Do remember though that the load allowance includes clothing, bedding etc. if you have not included them in the things you have weighed. The load allowance is fairly low and I would be tempted to upgrade that to give you a better margin for error.
The awning should be on the floor and the exact position may need to be found by trial and error if you use this to increase the nose weight but in general near or over the axle is the best bet.
Best of luck when you can finally use it.

Yes it is the phoenix, You are right about the load allowance, it is only 127kg if I only carry one gas bottle.
According to the caravan manual the factory weight includes two bottles @ 10kg each.
I have got a 37 kg motor mover fitted , leisure battery and a 9kg solar panel reducing my additional load by even more.
There will be some less bulky items I will have to put in the car, hitch lead etc.
I will have to make sure my wife doesn't take too many clothes!
And just to confirm the nose weight of the caravan measured with the gauge is around 55kg with the awning over the axle, the max nose weight for the car is 75kg.
I will play around with the position of the awning to increase the N/W
In any event I think I am going to be pretty close to Max weight, I will get over to a weigh bridge when possible.

I have had a 4 hour towing lesson locally along with a taster at the NEC last year, I also had to tow the van home from Bristol to Essex but I will be looking to get on a club course when possible.

Once again thanks for all the replys.

I cant wait to actually use the van!
 
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To the OP, for the record most (but by no means all) Baileys can be MTPLM uprated. This is done so that the supplied MTPLM looks low and can be thus towed by a lighter car. We had a Pegasus which could be uprated by 123Kg, and our present Seville was upated by a similar amount.

Look inside the gas locker and you will find a plate which shows the true MTPLM and to which you van can be uprated. This should equate to about the same as the axle maximum load which you will also find on a sticker on the axle case - usually on the back of the casing near the centre or nearside. (A camera (as distinct from a mobile phone) can be quite useful to get a picture of it.)

No-one, as far as I know, has yet tested as to whether the legal plated weight is that on the sticker by the door or that in the gas locker. If you want to legally uprate then it will cost you £66 through your dealer and (for you) comprises a new MTPLM sticker to fit on the side panel and a black Bailey 'extra load' decal to replace the usual blue oval. Bailey will update their own records and notify CRiS.

I note the OP says he can get 55Kg noseweight. I wish I could. When we brought our U4 Seville home with only a mover and battery fitted the nose was 31Kg. The absolute maximum we have ever managed to get it to (and stay within the uprated MTPLM) is 53Kg!

That's a great piece of info, I will check it out, that will really help me out as I am over the MTPLM if I carry everything I would like in the van, as things currently stand I will be carrying less bulky items in the car instead.
 
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That's a great piece of info, I will check it out, that will really help me out as I am over the MTPLM if I carry everything I would like in the van, as things currently stand I will be carrying less bulky items in the car instead.

I have just checked the labels, the one in the gas bottle locker shows 1300kg and the axle is rated the same, next stop Bailey.
 
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I have just checked the labels, the one in the gas bottle locker shows 1300kg and the axle is rated the same, next stop Bailey.
The reason that you now see so many couples in their outfit who are using a roofbox is because do many caravans have payloads that are too low to be practical. You will see higher spec models where on a two berth the payload is around 125 kg. As you point out in your post that can be quickly used up with battery, mover, as well as the miscellaneous bits that will be carried to help touring go smoothly.
 
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If you should be able to upgrade the payload make sure that the new MTPLM is within the specification of the Load Index if the tyres. I had a Bailey upgrade which took my van to 1400kg. The load index of the tyres would accept 1420kg. So I uprated the tyres to a higher load index. A rule of thumb used is MTPLM plus 10%. And the replacement tyres were Light Truck or more commonly “C” rated.
 
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The reason that you now see so many couples in their outfit who are using a roofbox is because do many caravans have payloads that are too low to be practical. You will see higher spec models where on a two berth the payload is around 125 kg. As you point out in your post that can be quickly used up with battery, mover, as well as the miscellaneous bits that will be carried to help touring go smoothly.

I saw a review in one of the club mags a month or three ago which looked at a 6-berth single axle and it had a payload before battery, mover, etc of 119Kg for SIX people!!!!

Appalling does not come near the reviewers comments!
 
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I have just checked the labels, the one in the gas bottle locker shows 1300kg and the axle is rated the same, next stop Bailey.

Prima Leisure but AFAICS they don't list the Phoenix 420 so you may have to go to a dealer - if there are still any around!
 
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I think most dealers will be able to answer correspondence and if so should be able to get things moving if you are going to uprate the MTPLM. I appreciate the argument that the chassis limit and the fact that Bailey will uprate the MTPLM without any change to the caravan means that there should be no problem if you get stopped and are over the MTPLM, but I would not want to risk it.
 
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I have ordered the up rated plate through the Prima Leisure site although they are currently closed until 21st April. Not much chance of getting stopped as I don't think I will be going anywhere in the near future!
The fact that I can up rate in this way has made sorting the loading of caravan and car so much easier now.
A very successful result from my first post.
Thank you all once again.
 
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If you should be able to upgrade the payload make sure that the new MTPLM is within the specification of the Load Index if the tyres. I had a Bailey upgrade which took my van to 1400kg. The load index of the tyres would accept 1420kg. So I uprated the tyres to a higher load index. A rule of thumb used is MTPLM plus 10%. And the replacement tyres were Light Truck or more commonly “C” rated.
Just checked my tyres and they are good for 1420 kg so I should just about fall into the 10% rule.
 
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Just checked my tyres and they are good for 1420 kg so I should just about fall into the 10% rule.
I up-rated mine from 1235 to 1350, and my tyres appeared to be rated for the axle weight and not to the original 1235 weight. that seems true to form.
 
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It’s more a “rule of thumb” as some while back caravans seemed to have a spate of tyre problems and most mainstream makes then decided to fit tyres with around a 10% margin and tyres made by more mainstream brands. Mine would have come fitted with Hankook Vantra LT which are a tyre designed for light trucks and vans. So if they are good enough for WVM to drive them at high speed then bang them up the kerb they will do me fine. 👍
 
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