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S max bumpy when towing

Jul 11, 2017
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Recently changed car to a 2.0tdci 2013 S max an found it to be quite jittery when towing, on A roads its quite bouncy and on motorways it gets the occasional wobble, nothing too bad just ease off the gas an it’s fine. It has plenty of power an even big hills are no problem at all even in high gears, it’s just the handling.

Nose weight is 90kg but 80kg on westfalia towbar

Mtplm is 1460

I empty the front locker, put heavy bits in car or over the axil an light stuff in the rear garage. I’d be surprised if my noseweight is even 60kg
 
Jun 20, 2005
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I’d be surprised if my noseweight is even 60kg

Therein lies one answer. Have you physically checked your nose load using a reliable method? 60kg is very light imo.

Secondly it is possible the rear springs and shock absorbers on the car are worn and not as good as they should be. I assume you have checked the obvious like tyre pressures?
 
Jul 11, 2017
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Yeah tyre pressure is good,

No I have only estimated the nose weight so Ill have to go get one of them nose weight measuring devices

It is best to load the nose weight to the max allowed, I had assumed a lighter nose weight would make the car less bouncy.

It’s due a service so I’ll get the shocks and springs looked at.

Anyone else tow with an s max, it’s rated to 1800kg so I thought 1460 wouldn’t be a problem
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
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Ads910 said:
..... It is best to load the nose weight to the max allowed, I had assumed a lighter nose weight would make the car less bouncy.
As Dustydog mentioned earlier, too little nose weight will cause inability.
Try to load the caravan with the nose weight as close to your legal limit as possible.
Heavier nose weight = more stability but don't exceed the towball or hitch limits.
 
Jul 11, 2017
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Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. My noseweight is no where near 90kg but my steering feels light so surely adding more nose weight would make that worse
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Ads910 said:
Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. My noseweight is no where near 90kg but my steering feels light so surely adding more nose weight would make that worse
Back to basics.
1 Check the actual nose load. What is it?
2. Check your vehicles suspension. Is it within Ford’s technical data?
Can you post a pic of the hitched up outfit?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The S Max has a good reputation as tow car. As said above it is vital to actually check your noseweight. If you search on the Forum then you will find a number of threads on how to do it ranging from bathroom scales to spring gauges, electronic noseweight gauges, and even hernia inducing techniques (not recommended).

You can check your cars springs statically by measuring the height from the wheel arch crown to the centre of the hub. You could probably find this out by using the owners forum. Also how are you loading the car? Is there a lot of weight going into the rear load space?

It's not unusual for some cars to feel different when towing caravan and when loaded. I had a SAAB 9000 that also felt light when towing and its rear end did sit low, but after while I got used to it and that car did many long haul trips with no problem. All I had to watch out for was a tendency to spin its front tyres if I was too enthusiastic with the throttle when pulling off. But it would do that solo anyway. :whistle:
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Like Clive says what are your front tyres like I have just renewed mine with two brand new ones I don't get no spin now when I put my foot down I just get a grunt .
 

HNB

Jan 13, 2016
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I have recently changed from a zafira tourer to a s max and i find that it tows really well, very stable and not bouncing around like you mention.

Hope you get it sorted
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I am concerned about a couple of comments Ads910 has made. The first is the apparent lightness of the nose load he thinks he has which others have commented on, But also the comment about moving all the heavey stuff to the car.

We all know its relatively easy to measure the nose load, and that is an important thing he needs to do and to the adjust it towards teh top of his available limits, but not many people have the means to measure the cars rear axle load, And I wonder if if the car is actually being over loaded, which cold certainly affact the grip of a front wheel driven car.

Condition of tyres is also important as Craig has pointed out.

The best advice is don't guess at loading values measure and check they are all within teh allowed limits.
 
Jul 11, 2017
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I’m going to get a nose weight device and then see what it is, I’ll be amazing if it’s much more than 60kg,

In the boot of the car it’s only really luggage such as clothing, maybe kids scooters few bits for the caravan. Not much weight wise

In the rear of caravan is water hog, waster hog, few camping chairs, nothing heavy.

Over the axil is gas cylinder, awning
poles, awning etc

The reviews I’ve read on the s max sound really good but I’m not that impressed. Maybe it’s me expecting too much.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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I am with The prof here, be carefull not to overload you tow car, just because it has a large carrying space the weight the car can carry might not be able to. Easy to overload, , also the same with the caravan , lots of space , load it full but keep the nose weight to the towbar limit, the balance can be totally wrong to much weight behind the axles /s, and caravan easily overloaded.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Don't splash out on a proporietry nose load gauge, Bathroom scales on the step and a few magazines to lift it to teh correct height will be more consistement if not more accurate.

Measument must be done with the caravan hitch at exactlty the same heght as when it is coupled to the car load and ready to roll.

Do it on flat horizontal land, do not use the hand brake but do chock the wheels.
 

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