Nose Weight

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Jul 18, 2017
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We are talking here about a possible inaccuracy of a jockey wheel noseweight gauge of a couple of kilos. Nobody can claim that such a small variation would suddenly turn a safe load into a dangerous one.
I was referring to the outfit if it looked like the rear end of the vehicle was being pushed down by the weight of the attached caravan.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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lutzschelisch.wix.com
I was referring to the outfit if it looked like the rear end of the vehicle was being pushed down by the weight of the attached caravan.
In that case, the rear axle load limit of the towing vehicle will be exceeded and that is an offence, but a small difference due to inaccuracy of a noseweight gauge is not going to lead to that.
 
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Mar 27, 2011
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I have to admit to not checking nose weight with any accuracy, I checked it ages ago several times and each time I lifted the A frame and mentally took note of what a reasonably ok weight was and when I could maybe add more or needed to lower the weight, not in the slightest accurate, I’m sure there will be people on here of the ilk who will give chapter and verse of how to weigh and do it by the book and will give me grief for what I’ve written here, I’m not here for that so you will be wasting your time, I’m after something easy to use or it will be on eBay after first use, what I am hoping for is suggestions of a reasonably accurate nose weight gauge, not one that’s going to cost me an arm and both legs, something that will give a fairly decent figure, so if I’m looking for 75kg it might give me 70 or 80 but will be mostly be giving the same inaccuracies, so suggestions appreciated.

BP
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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I have to admit to not checking nose weight with any accuracy, I checked it ages ago several times and each time I lifted the A frame and mentally took note of what a reasonably ok weight was and when I could maybe add more or needed to lower the weight, not in the slightest accurate, I’m sure there will be people on here of the ilk who will give chapter and verse of how to weigh and do it by the book and will give me grief for what I’ve written here, I’m not here for that so you will be wasting your time, I’m after something easy to use or it will be on eBay after first use, what I am hoping for is suggestions of a reasonably accurate nose weight gauge, not one that’s going to cost me an arm and both legs, something that will give a fairly decent figure, so if I’m looking for 75kg it might give me 70 or 80 but will be mostly be giving the same inaccuracies, so suggestions appreciated.

BP
You pose an impossible question. There’s the Reich unit that you put on the towball-hitch at £50. Or the Streetwize conventional noseweight gauge at£8 with other options between. Your choice dependent on budget and approach. Or if budget and faffing is no problem there’s the Alko jockey wheel with integral gauge.

Me I use a Milenco that I “ calibrated “ using bathroom scales and found to be within 5 kgs at 80 kgs.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The gauge was tested by either the magazines or one of the clubs some time ago. The problem is that the accuracy at the jockey wheel depends on the distance from the axle and to the hitch. The weights needed quite a bit of recalculation with a longer caravan, so on that basis I would not use the jockey wheel as it can be more than a couple of kilos out. The difference should not be enough to affect the handling in most cases but it might leave you with an illegal outfit.
What you say is correct, However once the ratio of the lever arm distances has been established i.e. Axle to Hitch divided by Axle to jockey wheel, that result is the multiplication factor you would need to work out the nose load force once you have an accurate jockey wheel measurement.
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There is one other essential criteria you would need to ensure. always have the jockey wheel pointing in the same direction relation to the caravan. Because the jockey wheel can spin horizontally at the bottom of its support shaft, the wheel can point towards the axle or away from it, and that also changes the distance to the jockey wheel's point of support and will give differnt readings accordingly.

But in all of this the OP is suggesting the outfit was very unstable at 45mph. This suggests something significant is adrift, and the first thing to check is the accuracy of the gauge. Then based on what has been accurately established rather than assumption the gauge is almost right. It might have been damaged and is thus giving a very false reading.

I personally do not recommend the scales and a stick of wood, as the hitch has been known to fall off. It is safer to lift the scales to right height on the step and magazines and rest the hitch directly on it.
 
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Mar 27, 2011
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Hi Clive when you say calibrated do you mean get a reading from the milenco and see what the reading is from the bathroom scales, if so I did think whichever gauge I get I would take a number of readings using the gauge and then noting the difference using the scales, my thought is if the gauge was regularly within a certain above or below weight I’d settle for that, re the milenco, I think I googled them recently and there were various milenco models, so I think that would be a good place to start, if you know the model number I’d appreciate it, thanks for the input.

BP
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Hi Clive when you say calibrated do you mean get a reading from the milenco and see what the reading is from the bathroom scales, if so I did think whichever gauge I get I would take a number of readings using the gauge and then noting the difference using the scales, my thought is if the gauge was regularly within a certain above or below weight I’d settle for that, re the milenco, I think I googled them recently and there were various milenco models, so I think that would be a good place to start, if you know the model number I’d appreciate it, thanks for the input.

BP
BP
yes I did a few check readings using our bathroom scales with the caravan in a number of load positions. The van was level with the wheels chocked. I used Profs method of bringing the scales to the head rather than a length of wood. While some will say that the bathroom scales aren’t calibrated they are used to weigh suitcases when we fly. A rarity these days. When weighing suitcases the scales are working quite high up the scale as I weigh myself, then weigh myself holding the suitcase. So they are in the range 95 kg +20kg or more depending on flight allowance. So for example the current Subaru has 80 kg nose weight and the scales would have been say 115kg with a 20 kg luggage. When checking in at the airport we are generally within less than 1 kg of our weighed weight. We aim to be slightly under for obvious reasons.

Sometimes on arrival home I recheck the nose weight as things will have changed over the trip. Although over the years we do have a routine to our packing. Food used from the fridge forward of the axle balances dog food used aft of the axle. We no longer carry 2x15 kg sacks of Chudleys. Those were the days 😊

In terms of my total nose weight accuracy under towing conditions I don’t know. But I’ve never had any concerns over stability with any outfit nor has there been any damage to car or van through excess loading. So in reality I don’t plan to change my approach.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Hi Clive when you say calibrated do you mean get a reading from the milenco and see what the reading is from the bathroom scales, if so I did think whichever gauge I get I would take a number of readings using the gauge and then noting the difference using the scales, my thought is if the gauge was regularly within a certain above or below weight I’d settle for that, re the milenco, I think I googled them recently and there were various milenco models, so I think that would be a good place to start, if you know the model number I’d appreciate it, thanks for the input.

BP
BP
Sorry didn’t tell you the gauge. It’s the Milenco Precision Calibrated Gauge. Due for recalibration June 2024. But since it’s had an easy life that won’t be done. 😂
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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lutzschelisch.wix.com
Is somebody seriously suggesting that scales which are not calibrated are going to make the difference between a docile and a twitchy outfit or if one stays 5kg below the noseweight limit just to make sure that one doesn't exceed it in case the scales may be giving too low a reading is going to lead to problems? I think we're in danger of going a bit over the top here.
 
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My bathroom scales have been “calibrated” against BA, Jet, Lufthansa et al, and even Druk Air The only time found wanting was on a return trip from Spain with Ryanair. Not unexpected as nearly all boarding were found to have overweight luggage ☹

I wasn’t suggesting that my approach to “ calibrating” an easy to use nose weight gauge was going to turn a twitchy unit into a docile unit. I was giving advice to BP.

What is you method for measuring nose weight.
 
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JTQ

May 7, 2005
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I’m after something easy to use or it will be on eBay after first use, what I am hoping for is suggestions of a reasonably accurate nose weight gauge, not one that’s going to cost me an arm and both legs, something that will give a fairly decent figure, so if I’m looking for 75kg it might give me 70 or 80 but will be mostly be giving the same inaccuracies, so suggestions appreciated.
Musing on this and having used digital luggage scales for weighing my LPG cylinders, it seems a pair of these ought solve the nose weight weighing issue?
I have not tried it, yet, just as said musing on the question.

The thought is make a loop of rope to go under the hitch as a strop forming two "handles" each side for use with the digital scales. Set jockey wheel to place the hitch an inch under the required tow ball height, then stood infront of the hitch with scale held in each hand, gently lift the jockey wheel just off the ground. The hitch weight will be the sum of the two scales, these ought to be quite similar. With 75 kgsthat is sub 40 kgs per scale this ought to be quite doable. These "lock" the weight reading after it settles, but the upper facing display makes reading a easy task anyway, no looking sideways, just down.
Obviously, all care is needed as in any manual heavy lift tasks.

The investment, here £14 [but there are cheaper options] is not wasted, keep one at home for the various tasks it can do, and one in the car for checking the gas bottles contents, as I do.
I would suggest avoiding the budget offerings that I have seen that use a plastic snap coupling and go for the metal hook type as in the link, again as I did, just feel it is that bit safer.
 
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What is you method for measuring nose weight.
Were you asking me? I measured the noseweight of my caravan once using the tried and tested method of bathroom scales, then lifted the hitch off the scales by hand to gauge what 80kg feels like. Ever since then I normally do it by feel, checking it every now and again whether I'm still getting it right. Nothing very scientific, but close enough because my outfit doesn't seem to be very sensitive.
 
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JTQ

May 7, 2005
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I did and do, exactly as Lutz.
All that changes than can have any real effect on noseweight is the contents of the 10 kg Gaslight LPG bottle. The fridge, Alde, kitchen slide-outs and wardrobe are inches from over the wheel's axle, and these are the only areas where what we carry vary. The "A" frame is very long compared against typical UK standards, so the change of 10 kgs of LPG does not reflect fully on noseweight.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Is somebody seriously suggesting that scales which are not calibrated are going to make the difference between a docile and a twitchy outfit or if one stays 5kg below the noseweight limit just to make sure that one doesn't exceed it in case the scales may be giving too low a reading is going to lead to problems? I think we're in danger of going a bit over the top here.
I have to agree that whether you are out by 5-10kg is hardly going to make any difference so why worry about it. Loading the caravan correctly is more of a priority to ensure that you are close to the MTPLM by a couple of kgs whether under or over.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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I’m obviously not the only one to go by feel when lifting the hitch
As caravans have got heavier and age takes its toll, some of us haven't been able to lift the hitch for years - or even decades in some cases!
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I’m obviously not the only one to go by feel when lifting the hitch
Should I be investing in shares in the British Hernia Center, or ask the British Chiropractic Association for details of a nearby practitioner?
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Feel and looks-if the back end of the car sags it is wrong and if the caravan doesn't settle on to the car it's wrong. I'm of the same ilk Beephee-we don't have anything heavy in the caravan -one gas in the front locker only and nothing behind the rear axle of any weight at all-so we're of the 'that'll do' types. And we've never had a twitchy outfit-quite the reverse to be honest.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Typically, we untrained male humans can dead lift 1.5 x our body weight, and with training more.
So taking a 13 Stone chap, that equates to 82 kg dead lift, hence my suggestion that checking the 70 kgs noseweight BP was looking to do using scales ought to be "doable", by many of us. Even an 11 Stone male individual, ought on that ratio just make it.
If the scales indicate the weight is going to be higher, then you don't have to attempt any more as already you know the hitch is overloaded so needs attention before doing the actual lift itself.

I did qualify that as ever with manual lifts care is needed.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Typically, we untrained male humans can dead lift 1.5 x our body weight, and with training more.
So taking a 13 Stone chap, that equates to 82 kg dead lift, hence my suggestion that checking the 70 kgs noseweight BP was looking to do using scales ought to be "doable", by many of us. Even an 11 Stone male individual, ought on that ratio just make it.
If the scales indicate the weight is going to be higher, then you don't have to attempt any more as already you know the hitch is overloaded so needs attention before doing the actual lift itself.

I did qualify that as ever with manual lifts care is needed.
HSE specifies a maximum of 25 kg - so any more is entirely at your own risk https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg143.PDF page 7
 
Mar 27, 2011
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Hi Clive is the milenco you use the one with 130kg limit or the 400kg, the 400 seems a bit excessive and seems to cost around an extra tenner but looking at the adverts I’m thinking maybe a newer version and the foot seems bigger so could be slightly more stable, I think I’ll order one of the 2, I’ve got by for 15 years with using my common sense in most things but I’m beginning to think maybe I need to look after our latest caravan a bit more as it didn’t come cheap.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Hi Clive is the milenco you use the one with 130kg limit or the 400kg, the 400 seems a bit excessive and seems to cost around an extra tenner but looking at the adverts I’m thinking maybe a newer version and the foot seems bigger so could be slightly more stable, I think I’ll order one of the 2, I’ve got by for 15 years with using my common sense in most things but I’m beginning to think maybe I need to look after our latest caravan a bit more as it didn’t come cheap.
It’s the lower rated. 29-130kg. Comes with recalibration date painted near to the base. Gadzooks. 😂
 

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