Nose Weight

May 10, 2022
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Hello

I'm new to caravanning and picked up our first caravan ( a Lunar Eclipse 19/4 2014) a few days ago.

I bought a cheap nose gauge and it read over 100kgs, so bought another one and it was also reading about 95kgs, I've now used a set of bathroom scales which confirmed they were about right at 97 kgs.

Our tow car nose weight is the limiting factor at 75kgs. However, my problem is I'm getting this reading with absolutely nothing in the van, no gas bottles etc in the locker and I also took everything stored in the front.

So I'm confused as to why its reading this high, are Lunars well known for a much heavier nose weight?

Thanks in advanced for any advice.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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My last van was nose heavy when empty. You need to load it iaw guidance then see what the noseweight comes out at. I coukd not get mine down to 85 kg with anything under the front seats or between them. Minimal stuff in front locker and then loading towards the Center and rear. On occasions I deliberately had to put a couple of holdalls and tool bag towards the back. It towed very well.
 
May 10, 2022
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My last van was nose heavy when empty. You need to load it iaw guidance then see what the noseweight comes out at. I coukd not get mine down to 85 kg with anything under the front seats or between them. Minimal stuff in front locker and then loading towards the Center and rear. On occasions I deliberately had to put a couple of holdalls and tool bag towards the back. It towed very well.
OK thankyou. So if I was to put more weight in the back, it's to essentially counter balance the weight at the front?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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OK thankyou. So if I was to put more weight in the back, it's to essentially counter balance the weight at the front?
Yes BUT... there is an added danger of placing a lot of extra weight at the rear of a caravan, as that feeds the conditions that can lead to the onset of instability.

The best approach is to load as much heavy gear over and just behind the caravan's axle and them, then trim it to find the optimum nose load.

I have towed many different caravans ( as one of my jobs) in all sorts of conditions and I have never yet been unable to achieve a suitable nose load.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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OK thankyou. So if I was to put more weight in the back, it's to essentially counter balance the weight at the front?
Yes but please don’t think I just put the holdalls and took-bag right at the back on day one. It was after quite a bit of measuring nose load and experimentation with load. And as Prof says my aim was to keep heavy items over the axle or in lockers or floor just behind it. So the holdalls and tool back weighing 20?kg approx were low down on the floor in the van Center line.

The van had a payload of 190 kg but I aimed to keep it around 170 kg with the principal being car heavy van light.
 
Last edited:
May 10, 2022
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Yes but please don’t think I just put the holdalls and took-bag right at the back on day one. It was after quite a bit of measuring nose load and experimentation with load. And as Prof says my aim was to keep heavy items over the axle or in lockers or floor just behind it. So the holdalls and tool back weighing 20?kg approx were low down on the floor in the van Center line.
Thanks both for the advice. I just found it rather strange it was sat at 90kg with no gas in front locker also with absolutely nothing inside the van. I will experiment with our camping gear more to the rear to see if this brings it down enough to put 1 gas bottle in the front..
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thanks both for the advice. I just found it rather strange it was sat at 90kg with no gas in front locker also with absolutely nothing inside the van. I will experiment with our camping gear more to the rear to see if this brings it down enough to put 1 gas bottle in the front..
At that weight you shouldn’t have too much trouble. I only rarely carried two gas bottles as in U.K. we tended mainly to EHU even in CL or CS and you get a feel for your gas usage. Our cadac I would run in a smaller Camping Gaz cylinder. A bit more expensive but in the grand scheme of things not a problem.
 

Sam Vimes

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Sep 7, 2020
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A couple of things that are easy to overlook, although I guess this may not be your problem......

1. Our hot water tank is at the front and I always drain it after use but if you forget it could add another 8kg or more to the front.
2. The toilet cistern is at the rear and I always drain this after use but it could counter act the front loading. This could be another 8kg or more if full. Ditto any material left in the waste cassette.
3. Both of the above if forgotten will be part of your payload.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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A couple of things that are easy to overlook, although I guess this may not be your problem......

1. Our hot water tank is at the front and I always drain it after use but if you forget it could add another 8kg or more to the front.
2. The toilet cistern is at the rear and I always drain this after use but it could counter act the front loading. This could be another 8kg or more if full. Ditto any material left in the waste cassette.
3. Both of the above if forgotten will be part of your payload.
My last van had a lot of its weighty stuff forward of the axle and to the offside. It was estimated that the transverse weight difference was 43% to 57%. Forward of the axle were spare wheel in front locker. Water inlet, pump and pipework plus hot water tank. Then power supply unit and battery. Worktop/sink and half the cooker. Movers were front mounted too. Only the cooker was aligned with the axle line. To increase payload I removed one high level rear bunk at 13 kg but that exacerbated noseweight. As did removing the heavy dining table stowed behind the axle in the wardrobe for some summer trips. . So putting 2 litres in the flush and 2 litres in the cassette was possible and helped manage the noseweight. It’s all a case of trial and hopefully no error. The OP is tackling it sensibly.
 
May 10, 2022
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At that weight you shouldn’t have too much trouble. I only rarely carried two gas bottles as in U.K. we tended mainly to EHU even in CL or CS and you get a feel for your gas usage. Our cadac I would run in a smaller Camping Gaz cylinder. A bit more expensive but in the grand scheme of things not a problem.
OK, in what way shouldn't I have too much trouble? In the sense of the car rating or the actual towing? Just concerned obviously that if I go and put more weight in the van, if it makes the nose heavier, our car is only rated to 75kg as nose weight. Although the witter towbar fitted does take up to 135kg.
 
May 10, 2022
9
1
15
A couple of things that are easy to overlook, although I guess this may not be your problem......

1. Our hot water tank is at the front and I always drain it after use but if you forget it could add another 8kg or more to the front.
2. The toilet cistern is at the rear and I always drain this after use but it could counter act the front loading. This could be another 8kg or more if full. Ditto any material left in the waste cassette.
3. Both of the above if forgotten will be part of your payload.
Good point, thanks Sam. Mind you, when we left the last site I did open up the drain down tap and a lot of hot water came out the pipe underneath, so I am assuming the hot water tank is empty. But I'll check to make sure there isn't a different way to drain it to make sure its not that (its a truma boiler I believe).
 
Nov 16, 2015
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OK, in what way shouldn't I have too much trouble? In the sense of the car rating or the actual towing? Just concerned obviously that if I go and put more weight in the van, if it makes the nose heavier, our car is only rated to 75kg as nose weight. Although the witter towbar fitted does take up to 135kg.
Another thing to think about, is maybe instead of buying a 6kg propane bottle, go for the 3.9 kg one that is lighter, it is only a few Kg. But it all helps.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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OK, in what way shouldn't I have too much trouble? In the sense of the car rating or the actual towing? Just concerned obviously that if I go and put more weight in the van, if it makes the nose heavier, our car is only rated to 75kg as nose weight. Although the witter towbar fitted does take up to 135kg.
The limit will be your cars specified noseweight of 75 kg. My Superb 4wd estate had the same noseweight limit and by trial and error I got the caravan noseweight down to within 5 kg under the 75 kg. Within 70- 75 kg was okay for me and the outfit never gave any concerns re stability. You need to weigh your payload items and then look at your caravan layout and work to the general principles of loading. When travelling our caravan had stuff located nowhere near where it would be used when on site. It was located for stable travelling. So if en route we wanted a lunch stop we had to negotiate an assault course to get to the toilet. 😂

My comment relate to your achieving noseweight. Not knowing your car or van combination I can’t comment on towing suitability as it’s a feature of the outfit and your loading of both.
 
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Sep 24, 2008
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Our front locker is packed with two 6kg bottles ,ramps extra long water and waste hoses, hook up cable few spanners and last time out had to put our porch awning up front to get a nice 75kg
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Our front locker is packed with two 6kg bottles ,ramps extra long water and waste hoses, hook up cable few spanners and last time out had to put our porch awning up front to get a nice 75kg
You lucky, lucky person. My old Sterling Eccles Jewel, was like that, 2 gas bottles and a spare wheel.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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OK, in what way shouldn't I have too much trouble? In the sense of the car rating or the actual towing? Just concerned obviously that if I go and put more weight in the van, if it makes the nose heavier, our car is only rated to 75kg as nose weight. Although the witter towbar fitted does take up to 135kg.
When it comes to nose load, your limit is always whichever component has the lowest value so in your case it's just 75kg. But you must also be wary of the other limits that apply such as axle loads, so you cant willy nilly just add more weight to the caravan, you have to use a strategy that keeps all limits satisfied.

With regards nose load, repositioning loads in the caravan rather than adding extra is usually sufficient. Don't forget that if you have a 5kg load ahead of the axle, if you move it behind teh axle by the same distance you have twice the effect on the turning moment. so redistribution shold be your prime trimming method.
 
May 10, 2022
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The limit will be your cars specified noseweight of 75 kg. My Superb 4wd estate had the same noseweight limit and by trial and error I got the caravan noseweight down to within 5 kg under the 75 kg. Within 70- 75 kg was okay for me and the outfit never gave any concerns re stability. You need to weigh your payload items and then look at your caravan layout and work to the general principles of loading. When travelling our caravan had stuff located nowhere near where it would be used when on site. It was located for stable travelling. So if en route we wanted a lunch stop we had to negotiate an assault course to get to the toilet. 😂

My comment relate to your achieving noseweight. Not knowing your car or van combination I can’t comment on towing suitability as it’s a feature of the outfit and your loading of both.
Thanks all for clarifying. My problem is though, its around 90Kg's with absolutely nothing at the front and with only a few kitchen things in the cupboards above the axel. I don't even have a gas bottle in the front locker at the moment and don't particularly want to travel with it in the car as per the suggestion from the dealer.

We are towing with a Vaxuhall astra which looking at the handbook it has a kirb weight of around 1700 kgs but from what I can see online it obviously has the 75kg nose weight restriction - the witter tow bar has a limit of 135kg. So with nothing in the van as it stands and still weighing 90kgs at the nose, I don't see any option as you mentioned earlier, than to put some bits over the axel to see if this makes a difference.

As we've had the van (Lunar Eclipse 19/4 - 2014) less than a week I'm waiting for the dealer to get back to me with their suggestions also, as they advised when we bought it that it has an approximate nose weight of around 70-75kgs, if I can't get it any lower with a bit of weight in the back, I suppose I have no choice but to take it back to the dealer.
 
May 10, 2022
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What is also confusing is the Lunar handbook, the wording is:

"Towing nose weight should be a minimum of 50kg and heavier for twin axel models ."

The way I take that rightly or wrongly is that the nose weight would surely be lower than 50kg when unloaded?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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What is also confusing is the Lunar handbook, the wording is:

"Towing nose weight should be a minimum of 50kg and heavier for twin axel models ."

The way I take that rightly or wrongly is that the nose weight would surely be lower than 50kg when unloaded?
For caravans the recommended noseweight range is 5-7% of MTPLM. What Lunar are doing is ensuring that an owner does not drive around with too low a nosewight. But for stable towing the advice is to get your nosewight around the cars maximum. The towbar limit itself is irrelevant, there are two limits the lower of which has to be used. The two limits are the cars limit (75kg) and the caravan makers chassis limit mainly 100kg, or for larger vans IE TA will be above 100kg. Your limit is 75kg.

Putting some load into the caravan will change the noseweight measurement and as most have found by moving stuff around they get at or close to the cars limit. In my front locker there was one Calorlite (10 kg when full) some odds and ends like chocks, a ramp, trakmat and that was it. Other stuff went into the caravan. We carried food/drinks in the fridge even though it was in front of the axle, and kitchen ware too. But they were not that far from the front of the axle so the rest of our payload went over or behind the axle in underbed lockers, wardrobe, toilet/shower and on a side bunk, etc. plus a few litres (4 litres in total) of water in the toilet and flush. 40 litre Aquaroll and waste container (not big heavy Wastemaster went into the toilet shower area. And as I said holdall/toolbag would be used as required to achieve the noseweight required by the car.


PS your caravan is around the same unladen and laden weight as my last one was, but nearly 0.75 metres longer.
 
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Jul 23, 2021
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One other point - sometimes overlooked. You can only get an accurate measure of noseweight when the caravan is level (on flat ground, not on a slope or hill), and the hitch is at hitch height for the car. If you have the van on a slope, nose downhill, the nose weight will read heavy, and light if the nose is uphill.
Just in case you are measuring on a sloping drive.
 
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May 10, 2022
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Thankyou for that Tobes. It is on a slight slope (caravan isn't quite level left to right, but is perfectly level front to back), but the slope didn't seem drastic enough I thought to cause a problem.
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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One other point - sometimes overlooked. You can only get an accurate measure of noseweight when the caravan is level (on flat ground, not on a slope or hill), and the hitch is at hitch height for the car. If you have the van on a slope, nose downhill, the nose weight will read heavy, and light if the nose is uphill.
Just in case you are measuring on a sloping drive.
I measure my caravans nose weight on a sloping driveway, with the floor angle, of the caravanat the same as when the caravan is hitched up, caravan wheels chocked.
Nose down or nose up, will only give you a "big" ( 5 to 10 kg) difference, in nose weight if you have a short caravan with a lot of weight directly over the axle high up in the caravan.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Thankyou for that Tobes. It is on a slight slope (caravan isn't quite level left to right, but is perfectly level front to back), but the slope didn't seem drastic enough I thought to cause a problem.
I have avoided going into the detail about nose loads, becasue its been discussed at length previously. However inyour reply to tobes, you tell us the caravan is level but that is not the needed criteria.

The measurement must be done on horizontal ground, ( not only for accuracy but also for safety) and strictly the hitch of the caravan should be at the same height from the ground as when it is hitched to the car loaded and ready to roll. Note that does not mean the caravan will be level. Due to the geometry and weight distribution in the caravan, if its done at any other hitch height you will get a different reading. Because of this height variability its best to use a set of bathroom scales supported on the caravan step with a few magazines to get the hitch height correct.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Whenever I changed caravan or tow car I would use our bathroom scales to measure nose load as per the above post. But when I had done that I would use a Milenco "calibrated" noseweight gauge effectively calibrating it against my bathroom scales measurement. Thereafter it was the Milenco every time that I checked noseweight before going on a trip.
 
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Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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Do you take an awning away with you? If you do and you have enough payload, positioning that a little behind the axle may just do it. Again if within payload, canned goods and beer 😲in a box on the floor behind the axle rather than stowed in cupboards, could do it.
Our first van was a Swift double dinette job and even when completely unladen the noseweight was around a hundred kg. The layout meant that most of the kitchen, battery and washroom was just forward of the axle and the rear was just the dinette. We still got the nose weight down to 75 kg even with a gas bottle in the front locker. I would stand on the step outside the van and reach in and gingerly and gradually drag the awning and box of tins backward while OH kept an eye on the gauge! Don’t be tempted to just chuck a load of weight at the back though, not good for stability.
Good luck
Mel
 

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