Nose Weight - rough check

Sep 4, 2017
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Ok buffs, correct me if you think differently.

The issue of forces is very simple, a force = distance x weight. So in a van, using the axle as a fulcrum and as is the case with my van from axle to hitch is roughly 4 meters and backwards to basin area is 2.4 meters.

Now in order to have roughly 75 Kg force down on hitch to balance that I would need ROUGHLY 125 Kg standing in the bathroom.

So if I stood in the bathroom it would almost balance and if not be very easy for someone to lift the hitch.

Quick easy test.

Nose_weight.JPG
 
Jan 19, 2002
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Maybe ok for a see-saw but the caravan furnishings and fittings give it a noseweight on manufacture, for example the position of heavy items like fridge and oven. Then add to this the gas that may well be in the front locker that is a variable according to how full the bottle is.....
 
May 24, 2014
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But you need around 75kg or more for a safe tow, what you are talking about will cause a zero noseweight wont it? Put your theory to the test, leave the legs up and go stand in the bathroom :cheer:
No prizes for guessing what will happen.
 
Sep 4, 2017
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Gentlemen, lets just clarify something. Notwithstanding everything in the van, fridges canopy and everything else, all pilled on the "beam" you goal is to have 75 kg roughly pressing down on the hitch. Well for my van that is. So any calcs will assume all that all that is sitting on the chassis. Accepting all that you still want the manufacturers recommended weight on the hitch and as I said in my case 75 kg. so if my chassis fully loaded has 75 kg downward force on the hitch if someone weighing roughly 125 kg stands in the bathroom it should balance. I imagine a large number of people travel with heavily overloaded hitch weights and this is an easy way of at least making sure you are roughly OK.
 
Sep 4, 2017
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Thingy Quote
But you need around 75kg or more for a safe tow

Yes you do. am not suggesting someone travels in the van standing in the bathroom. Just a simple quick method of ensuring you are not grossly overloading the hitch.

Having it too light and equally having it too heavy affects towing and mechanical stresses.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Grey13 said:
Ok buffs, correct me if you think differently.

The issue of forces is very simple, a force = distance x weight. So in a van, using the axle as a fulcrum and as is the case with my van from axle to hitch is roughly 4 meters and backwards to basin area is 2.4 meters.

Now in order to have roughly 75 Kg force down on hitch to balance that I would need ROUGHLY 125 Kg standing in the bathroom.

So if I stood in the bathroom it would almost balance and if not be very easy for someone to lift the hitch.

Quick easy test.

Nose_weight.JPG

It’s not that revolutionary Grey I have used the same approach to off load my jockey wheel when needing to extract the van from a wet/muddy pitch using the mover as the 4wd just span all wheels (Sorento on AT Tyres and XC70 too). My wife nips into the van and carefully moves to the back. Although she’s not 125kg so all the noseweight doesn’t come off but it worked for us.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Grey13 said:
Gentlemen, lets just clarify something. Notwithstanding everything in the van, fridges canopy and everything else, all pilled on the "beam" you goal is to have 75 kg roughly pressing down on the hitch. Well for my van that is. So any calcs will assume all that all that is sitting on the chassis. Accepting all that you still want the manufacturers recommended weight on the hitch and as I said in my case 75 kg. so if my chassis fully loaded has 75 kg downward force on the hitch if someone weighing roughly 125 kg stands in the bathroom it should balance. I imagine a large number of people travel with heavily overloaded hitch weights and this is an easy way of at least making sure you are roughly OK.

125kg is 19+ stone in old money. Your next problem is when that person gets into your car passenger seat the extension mirror will drop and all you will see is ground. :)
 
May 24, 2014
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I see your point, but if you get it wrong your caravan will be sat on its backside looking for all the world like Thunderbird Three. And he called me a gentleman, I have never done anything gentle in my life. :whistle: Overwhelming force gets the job done. Where is my big 'ammer.

Isnt it far simpler just to stick the noseweight tool under for an equally rough guide?
 
Oct 8, 2006
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That is exactly the formula that I used calculating how to get pretty well any noseweight on my Unicorn S4 Seville. It comes of the heading of couples and moments - or as my old Applied Maths master use to say
"Every couple has its moments!"
When we got home with the van from new I weighed the nose - 33Kg. We loaded the van and had 20Kg on the nose. Why? Because the cooker, gas bottle cabinet and all food/crocks storage is at the back - not near the back but at the back!
After much pushing and shoving things around - not least descending to using a 3.9Kg Propane - the absolute maximum we have ever managed to achieve on the nose is 53Kg. I even got my son who weighs 76Kg to stand inside the van as far forward as possible and we still only got 71Kg but with his weight would have been well over (uprated) MPTLM of 1450Kg.
Hence we are stuck with what we can manage to dream up and weighing the nose every time we set off.
 
May 24, 2014
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That is exactly the formula that I used calculating how to get pretty well any noseweight on my Unicorn S4 Seville.
When we got home with the van from new I weighed the nose - 33Kg. We loaded the van and had 20Kg on the nose. Why? Because the cooker, gas bottle cabinet and all food/crocks storage is at the back - not near the back but at the back!
After much pushing and shoving things around - not least descending to using a 3.9Kg Propane - the absolute maximum we have ever managed to achieve on the nose is 53Kg. I even got my son who weighs 76Kg to stand inside the van as far forward as possible and we still only got 71Kg but with his weight would have been well over (uprated) MPTLM of 1450Kg.
Hence we are stuck with what we can manage to dream up and weighing the nose every time we set off.

Now to that there may be an answer. Whilst away we always carry a drinking water container, quite a large one with a tap that stands in the awning as I have never been comfortable with water through the caravans system.
Stand one of those in the front locker full, you would be surprised at the difference. It wont slosh about full, and its no different to carrying the large steel gas bottle.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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This proposed method is far from precise which I know the OP made that point, but equally even as a rough guide it is very very rough, and it certainly wont suit every caravanner, not only becasue not all caravanners are 19stone, and not all bathrooms are in the correct position. Also it will depend on the assessment of the lifter, and humans are notorious inadequate at assessing distances, weights, speed etc with any good accuracy.

So I could not recommended it without some detailed checks for its suitability.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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My problem is getting noseweight down. En route nothing goes in the front underbed lockers. Only one gas bottle and spare in front locker. Gear goes aft of axle as dies tool bag and 10 litre water container(full). I can get down to 75 kg. Must admit I’ve exacerbated the issue slightly by taking out an upper bunk. Van travels well with no concerns over stability. But Swift installed most of tthe heavy kit in front of the axle and mover didn’t help.
 
Mar 27, 2011
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I have a rough check of my nose weight which I find has worked well for me for last 10 years, my van tows well with a rough nose weight of 70kg, I’m well aware of how easy/hard it is for me to lift 70kg by having an old toolbox in my garage which I’ve filled to the brim with all sorts of old tools, a roll of lead flashing etc which I weighed on bathroom scales until it’s at 70 kg, I load my caravan pretty much the same for each trip and I always give the hitch a lift with legs raised and occasionally I might make minor adjustments if it feels either light or heavy, seems to have worked for me, it probably helps that when I’m towing I can honestly say I always drive well within the reduced tuggers speed limits, I regularly get overtaken by other people towing but my motto is always I’d rather get there in one piece than get there 15 minutes quicker or not at all.

BP
 
Sep 4, 2017
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Beehpee

have a rough check of my nose weight which I find has worked well for me for last 10 years, my van tows well with a rough nose weight of 70kg, I’m well aware of how easy/hard it is for me to lift 70kg by having an old toolbox in my garage which I’ve filled to the brim with all sorts of old tools, a roll of lead flashing etc which I weighed on bathroom scales until it’s at 70 kg

In principle the net result of what you do is exactly the same as what I suggested. It is another way for and old chap like me with a hernia to test the weight without actually lifting anything.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Grey13 said:
Beehpee

have a rough check of my nose weight which I find has worked well for me for last 10 years, my van tows well with a rough nose weight of 70kg, I’m well aware of how easy/hard it is for me to lift 70kg by having an old toolbox in my garage which I’ve filled to the brim with all sorts of old tools, a roll of lead flashing etc which I weighed on bathroom scales until it’s at 70 kg

In principle the net result of what you do is exactly the same as what I suggested. It is another way for and old chap like me with a hernia to test the weight without actually lifting anything.

I think I will stick to using my much maligned Milenco “calibrated” gauge, which I calibrated using the bathroom scales method, which themselves have been checked against airline check in scales up to 25 kg and my health center scales at up to 100kg!!! Two points and I assume a straight line characteristic as I’m not humping 40-50kg bags around just to get a mid point.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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I passed an old X-Trail today pulling an old Bailey Pegasus and you couldn't see the back wheels on the car and what a gap at the front of between the front wheel and the arch ! Mine is not that bad when I've got 2 weeks worth of kit and clothing in !!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I find it easier to straddle the hitch and lift it so that the jockey wheel just leaves the ground. I know that I can lift 75kg like that reasonably comfortably at least for a few seconds, I've measured it, just to make sure, so I've chosen that method.
 
Mar 27, 2011
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Hi Lutz, That’s what I meant I’d done, I had the toolbox I weighed so I knew what 70 kg felt like to lift so I’d have an idea, very rough I agree but nonetheless an idea of what I was looking for when lifting the hitch, it seems to me that any of the readily available devices for measuring nose weight are so far out that using my own judgment is probably not much more inaccurate, I still say that nose weight is just one of the factors to take in to account when loading the caravan, sensible driving, and taking into account all road conditions etc being just as important.

BP
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Lutz said:
I find it easier to straddle the hitch and lift it so that the jockey wheel just leaves the ground. I know that I can lift 75kg like that reasonably comfortably at least for a few seconds, I've measured it, just to make sure, so I've chosen that method.

Same here,every now and then I'll check with bathroom scales to check that what "feels like" 80 kg is around that mark.I know this method is not acceptable to some on here,but it works for me.
 
May 24, 2014
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I agree with Ray. I can just imagine bending over, legs staright to lift 75kgs and pop goes the back, trip ruined. There are usefull tools there to be used, why not use them. They may not be wholly accurate but they are a lot closer than "mmmm, that feels like 75kg."
Remember also the fulcrum effect, are you holding the caravan at the same height it would sit on your towball.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The human scales method is far from accurate. And where accuracy is required such as with a car with a relatively low nose load capacity this method is highly unsatisfactory.

However where nose load capacity is much greater than 75kg, then any error in the humans scales method is unlikely to cause the coupling to be overloaded.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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As a fit and healthy 43 yr old,I'm quite aware that lifting heavy weight incorrectly will cause injury and the method I use would not be suitable for say someone over 70 or in poor health.The method of checking nose weight will be debated on long after I've stopped vaning.
All ask yourself this,most people get check nose weight before a journey(which ever method you use) but in 5yrs and being a nosey get on site I have NEVER seen anyone load up and check nose weight before a return journey.
 
Mar 27, 2011
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I can’t say I’ve ever thought about it before but now it’s been mentioned I’ve never seen anyone check nose weight on return journeys either, but then I can’t say for sure whether I’d notice or not, but I shall be looking in future purely out of interest.

BP
 

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