Nose Weights

Mar 1, 2006
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I'm new to caravanning and the forum having just bought my first van. Getting my head around most things but I'm still not sure about how to measure the nose weight. I've been told about bathroom scales and a piece of wood but how do you actually do it? Presumably you have to wind up the jockey wheel and put all the weight on the wood. Isn't this a bit dangerous? What happens if the wood breaks? I'm probably just being dim but could someone explain please.

Lynda
 
Jul 12, 2005
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lynda

make sure the break is on when you do it and use a good piece of wood.

all caravan shops stock a special tool to measure the nose weight and its not costly, however if the wood was to break the van should not move far as you only wind up the jockey wheel,not undo it completely.

If you are unsure, then I am sure a local vanner will help you. Just ask

Steve
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Cut the piece of wood to a length that ensures that the drawbar of the caravan to stand at the same height as when it's coupled up to the car, making the necessary allowance for the height of the bathroom scales on which the piece of wood will be standing.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The page that Klarky is referring to is OK except for the statement:

"Keep the noseweight of your caravan around 100lbs or 45kg"

That is both misleading and incorrect as it does not point out the importance of staying below the specified maximum, nor does it point out that a higher figure, where permitted, is always beneficial.
 
Mar 9, 2006
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I find the best noseweight is to have as little as possible so as not to compress the rear suspension too much which retains a comfy ride.

I have put some seat belts on the rear seat in the van and put my wife and kids in there to bring the noseweight down to -20kg and this should get better as my kids get older and heavier. It also helps to put the awning right at the back as well, do this vertically otherwise the kids will put their feet all over it. Its good to put your bikes on a rack on the back of the van to make sure that your car isn't overloaded. NEVER EVER put anything of weight into the towwcar.
 
Mar 1, 2006
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I find the best noseweight is to have as little as possible so as not to compress the rear suspension too much which retains a comfy ride.

I have put some seat belts on the rear seat in the van and put my wife and kids in there to bring the noseweight down to -20kg and this should get better as my kids get older and heavier. It also helps to put the awning right at the back as well, do this vertically otherwise the kids will put their feet all over it. Its good to put your bikes on a rack on the back of the van to make sure that your car isn't overloaded. NEVER EVER put anything of weight into the towwcar.
Thanks everyone. I'll have a go at measuring it. NOt sure about the comments about getting a -noseweight by putting people in the back of the car. I've got a Vectra Estate. Only me and my son in the front and three dogs in the Estate bit. Should I leave the back seat empty? I was going to put some items there and keep some of the weight out of the caravan. Is that wrong? My noseweight should be 75kg and the awning will be in the caravan between the front seats.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Lynda,

Be aware - much of what Kanga is saying is, in fact, illegal - such as having people travel in a moving 'van.

I keep my awning over the axle or just slightly in front - awnings are quite heavy - and certainly not at the back ! !

Best not to reply to him - it only encourages him.

Mike E
 
Nov 1, 2005
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Yes, the only time I've ever had a stability problem was due to the awning and poles somehow finding their way to the back of the 'van while travelling the M18.
 
Mar 16, 2005
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I find the best noseweight is to have as little as possible so as not to compress the rear suspension too much which retains a comfy ride.

I have put some seat belts on the rear seat in the van and put my wife and kids in there to bring the noseweight down to -20kg and this should get better as my kids get older and heavier. It also helps to put the awning right at the back as well, do this vertically otherwise the kids will put their feet all over it. Its good to put your bikes on a rack on the back of the van to make sure that your car isn't overloaded. NEVER EVER put anything of weight into the towwcar.
Inexperienced caravanners please note that the advice on loading given above is a poor attempt at a joke by this member and if followed would make your outfit dangerously unstable. This could lead to a serious accident.
 
Mar 1, 2006
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OK I get the picture about Kanga! So do most people check the noseweight every time? Can't say I've ever seen anyone do it when I've been camping on sites. The more I read the more there is to worry about! There are times I think I'll sell the caravan and stick with the tent. Well maybe not, but there is a lot to consider.
 
G

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What you are seeing is correct. Many people make gross assumptions, and assume it will be alright on the night. It is good you are asking these questions and taking the time to check them out. At least you will be ahead of many of the 'pack'. Keep it up and enjoy your van.
 
Jun 29, 2004
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I find the best noseweight is to have as little as possible so as not to compress the rear suspension too much which retains a comfy ride.

I have put some seat belts on the rear seat in the van and put my wife and kids in there to bring the noseweight down to -20kg and this should get better as my kids get older and heavier. It also helps to put the awning right at the back as well, do this vertically otherwise the kids will put their feet all over it. Its good to put your bikes on a rack on the back of the van to make sure that your car isn't overloaded. NEVER EVER put anything of weight into the towwcar.
Well done moderator.

A forum like this welcomes a joke but when people new to caravaning seek advice one would hope that the real PLONKERS could stay at home.

ttfn

Norfolk Mike
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Lynda.

Noseweight, This seems to be an endless topic,

Noseweight is the, Maximum permissable downward force on the tow ball.

Purpose made gauges are expensive, so are good quallity bathroom scales, cheap one can be out by several kgs. the choice is yours,

Whichever type you use, first the van must be level, with bathroom scales place a piece of wood to cover the scales but leave the dial clear, place a piece of broom handle or simular into the cup of the hitch, make sure hand brake is fully on and all props lifted so that the van is on the jocky wheel lower it on to the scales carefully.

To calculate noseweight

It is recomended that this should be approximately 7% of the ALW

Actual laden weight of the van,

However this may be restricted by the towing vehicle manufacturer's limit, van limit or towbar limit,

The lowest of these limits must not be exceeded, as this can cause severe instability.

I know a guy that used a purpose made gauge, but fitted it just under the edge of the cupling head, when he leaned over to read the scale it sliped off with great force smacked him in the chin broke his jaw and needed 14stiches, tough way to learn.

If you counterbalance high nose weight by moveing heavy items to the rear of the van be aware that you may end up with a sea saw effect, which again is dangerous, place heavy items over the axel.In the event of accident it was found that a van is miss loaded it may affect any insurance claim.

It is not nessary to check nose weight every time you go out as once you have it right, remember how you stored all the kit keep that way all the time and it shoud be ok, If need be make a list.

Hope this helps

Jim M
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Other than making sure that one does not exceed the manufacturers' specified limits, I do not see a need to measure noseweight so very accurately. An outfit is not going to be noticeably less stable at 70kg than at 75kg. Besides, accuracy only makes sense if noseweight is measured with the coupling at the same height as when the caravan is hitched up to the car in the already laden condition and ready to go. It doesn't make sense to measure noseweight to an accuracy of 1kg with the caravan level only to find that it's, say, slightly nose down when hitched to the car. A nosedown attitude is going to increase the previously measured noseweight (and vice versa), making this figure incorrect again.
 

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