towing caculation (85%)

Page 2 - Passionate about caravans & motorhome? Join our community to share that passion with a global audience!
Nov 11, 2009
16,155
4,163
50,935
The Grand Vitara came in 3 and 5 door with one substantially longer and heavier than the other. The OPs being a convertible three door adds an extra degree of uncertainty to the question. The cars weight plate will give GVW and Maximum Train Weight which would at least enable the OP to determine the cars maximum towing limit. But not where it comes in the 85% guide.Going to a weighbridge with the car empty would be the best option.
 
Nov 11, 2009
16,155
4,163
50,935
It now seems that you do not have any issue with towing a 1200kg caravan as well within the specs and any guidelines?
I’d be very surprised if the three door convertible weighed in at 1600 kg so be very careful with your decisions. That chart above does not differentiate between model variants. Just look at what your V5 stated that’s way below 1600 kg but nearer to what I would expect.
 
Jul 18, 2017
7,743
1,958
22,935
I’d be very surprised if the three door convertible weighed in at 1600 kg so be very careful with your decisions. That chart above does not differentiate between model variants. Just look at what your V5 stated that’s way below 1600 kg but nearer to what I would expect.
I never stated it was fact, but a possibility which is why I asked for a picture of the VIN plate as the V5 can be wrong on occasions.
Kerbweight is lower at about 1472kg, but legally it seems that the 2005 can tow up to 1600kg. There are no specs for the 2004 which may be entirely different.
 
Nov 11, 2009
16,155
4,163
50,935
Autotrader gives 1360 kg kerbweight for a three door hardtop 2003-5 model petrol which is akin to the OPs V5. But again is there a difference in weight between hardtop and soft top?
 
Mar 14, 2005
15,842
2,045
50,935
I use to work in recovery with a slide bed lorry with a spectacle on the back So ihave had some towing experiance.
I am quite surprised at how much debate your question has raised, and now I am doubting whether the information you have supplied is in fact the kerbweight for your vehicle, principally because the Kerbweight is not usually on the V5. Its not the same a Mass in Service. or Mass In Running Order. As Lutz has suggested its normally heavier by the weight of the driver which is assumed to be 75Kg and some fluids.

The manufacturer will normally publish kerbweights in the user manual, and even then it's not a precise figure, as it doesn't always include things like teh weight of the towbar, or different entertainment systems fitted in different models.

This is begging to expose just one of the reasons why I find the industry advice to be so inaccurate, and why it can cause so much unnecessary worry for some drivers.

The 85% is only advice, it has no legal or regulatory backing, but whilst I don't find the advice to be particularly accurate, I can't disagree with the underlying principle for the need for trailers to be ket as light weight as possible compared to the weight of the tow vehicle.

I have no idea of what your (not your car's) towing capability is. Whilst you will have some useful addition experiences from your professional driving experience, it has always surprised me how many forum members who have been HGV in some case artic drivers say that pulling a caravan is quite different and is quite different and brings additional challenges to driving.

So please do not assume towing a caravan will be a breeze from the start, be prepared to need to hone some new aspects of driving.

Back to the weight ratio, Without knowing the kerb weight, you cannot actually work out the industry definition of the towing ratio, but based on what you have told us it looks as though its likely to be perfectly acceptable and fairly close to 85% and remember it's not a precise science.

Good luck
 
Nov 11, 2009
16,155
4,163
50,935
I wonder if the OPs Vitara has a low ratio gearbox which for a small light car with a relatively modest power output gives it a high (1600 kg) towing specification? Like my old Pajero, Disco and Sorento were all 3000kgs or higher. Having been with similar Vitaras during off road trips they are tough workhorses. But they are high ground clearance, long compliant suspension travel, high aspect ratio tyres and short wheelbase. So even going with a 91% ratio of kerbweight to MTPLM may not give a good towing experience. There's very limited capacity in the rear to carry payload even with the rear seats removed. An Astra estate at the same 91% would be a reasonable match for the outfit , but I have serious doubts about a swb Grand Vitara towing. 1200 kg caravan. Yes it will tow it, but would it be good to drive with a large alloy high Center of gravity box attached????
 
Jul 18, 2017
7,743
1,958
22,935
I wonder if the OPs Vitara has a low ratio gearbox which for a small light car with a relatively modest power output gives it a high (1600 kg) towing specification? Like my old Pajero, Disco and Sorento were all 3000kgs or higher. Having been with similar Vitaras during off road trips they are tough workhorses. But they are high ground clearance, long compliant suspension travel, high aspect ratio tyres and short wheelbase. So even going with a 91% ratio of kerbweight to MTPLM may not give a good towing experience. There's very limited capacity in the rear to carry payload even with the rear seats removed. An Astra estate at the same 91% would be a reasonable match for the outfit , but I have serious doubts about a swb Grand Vitara towing. 1200 kg caravan. Yes it will tow it, but would it be good to drive with a large alloy high Center of gravity box attached????
I never knew that the convertable existed until you mentioned it and I looked it up. Going by the specs for 1999 version I doubt if much would have changed weight wise between 1999 and 2004.

I agree that towing a 1200kg caravan with a vehicle that has a kerbweight of about 1275kg could be a bit hair raising as the swb Grand would be very light at the rear. Not my idea of a safe tow even if you are very competent at towing.
 
Mar 14, 2005
9,437
415
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
I am quite surprised at how much debate your question has raised, and now I am doubting whether the information you have supplied is in fact the kerbweight for your vehicle, principally because the Kerbweight is not usually on the V5. Its not the same a Mass in Service. or Mass In Running Order. As Lutz has suggested its normally heavier by the weight of the driver which is assumed to be 75Kg and some fluids.
I stated my reservation concerning the V5 figure not because there is a difference in definition between the kerbweight and the V5 figure, but because the latter is a generic one and does not refer to the vehicle in question. The V5 figure is only valid for the one vehicle that the manufacturer submitted for type approval and that could have been one with absolutely no factory fitted options. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect the actual kerbweight to be in the order of 100kg more. I have known instances where the difference is even greater, hence my advice to get the car weighed if it is important to the OP to have an accurate value.
 
Jul 18, 2017
7,743
1,958
22,935
Have been checking my caravan towing % after doing the caculation I have a figure of 1113.5kg My caravan fully laden is1200kg so that makes me 86kg lower than my caravan max weight is this acceptable? tow car Suzuki grand vitara caravan dimensions are width 7ft 1 inch length 20ft 6inches
I think the OP was referring to the 85% guideline although the vehicle is capable of towing up to 1600kg however kerbweight is only 1275kg. As said given that it is a swb Vitara they would need to be very careful if towing anything close to 1200kg, but it can be done legally.
 
Mar 14, 2005
9,437
415
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
I think the OP was referring to the 85% guideline although the vehicle is capable of towing up to 1600kg however kerbweight is only 1275kg. As said given that it is a swb Vitara they would need to be very careful if towing anything close to 1200kg, but it can be done legally.
As I mentioned earlier and for the reason given above, I doubt whether the kerbweight is only 1275kg, even if that is a published figure.
 
Mar 14, 2005
9,437
415
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
Could be lower?
I have never come across a case where it is lower. If the manufacturer has established the mass in service strictly according to the definition one would always expect the kerbweight which, after all, is an actual, not an ex works weight, to be higher. In fact it is quite often substantially higher.
 
  • Like
Reactions: otherclive
Sep 1, 2022
80
11
85
It now seems that you do not have any issue with towing a 1200kg caravan as well within the specs and any guidelines?
I do Have issues 1st it has an alko tow hitch which requires an extended tow ball?? I am hoping that when I fit that when it arrives after cleaning all paint of tow ball as advised I am hoping to to be able to tow to the field next to our home so we can sort out the issues we will be towing around2 miles so as the aravan is empty will get an idea what it is like on the vitara does that make any sense at all?
 
Nov 11, 2009
16,155
4,163
50,935
I do Have issues 1st it has an alko tow hitch which requires an extended tow ball?? I am hoping that when I fit that when it arrives after cleaning all paint of tow ball as advised I am hoping to to be able to tow to the field next to our home so we can sort out the issues we will be towing around2 miles so as the aravan is empty will get an idea what it is like on the vitara does that make any sense at all?
Makes some sense but in 2 miles it’s not really representative. Make sure that the car and caravan tyres are at the required pressure, and noseweight is correct. Good luck.
 
Jul 18, 2017
7,743
1,958
22,935
If the caravan is empty, it may be misleading when it comes to handling. Try and put as much stuff as you would normally require into the caravan as it will be a better test although 2 miles is a bit short for a proper evaluation.
 
Nov 16, 2015
8,823
1,798
30,935
I do Have issues 1st it has an alko tow hitch which requires an extended tow ball?? I am hoping that when I fit that when it arrives after cleaning all paint of tow ball as advised I am hoping to to be able to tow to the field next to our home so we can sort out the issues we will be towing around2 miles so as the aravan is empty will get an idea what it is like on the vitara does that make any sense at all?
The difference between the standard 50mm towball, on the left and the Alko on the right, can be seen the height is slightly greater and the distance from the bolted surface to the center of the tow ball is slightly greater. A 2 mile tow will not really give you a feel for the caravan and car.

1663700948001.png
 
Sep 1, 2022
80
11
85
The difference between the standard 50mm towball, on the left and the Alko on the right, can be seen the height is slightly greater and the distance from the bolted surface to the center of the tow ball is slightly greater. A 2 mile tow will not really give you a feel for the caravan and car.

View attachment 3912
hutch thankyouif its a black towball as mine will be as your picture does the advise to remove all paint on the towball still apply?
 
Sep 1, 2022
80
11
85
Makes some sense but in 2 miles it’s not really representative. Make sure that the car and caravan tyres are at the required pressure, and noseweight is correct. Good luck.
Does noseweight always have to be at the correct setting mine is 75kg if it was less due to an empty caravan would this badly affect it over a couple of miles?
 
Sep 1, 2022
80
11
85
I am quite surprised at how much debate your question has raised, and now I am doubting whether the information you have supplied is in fact the kerbweight for your vehicle, principally because the Kerbweight is not usually on the V5. Its not the same a Mass in Service. or Mass In Running Order. As Lutz has suggested its normally heavier by the weight of the driver which is assumed to be 75Kg and some fluids.

The manufacturer will normally publish kerbweights in the user manual, and even then it's not a precise figure, as it doesn't always include things like teh weight of the towbar, or different entertainment systems fitted in different models.

This is begging to expose just one of the reasons why I find the industry advice to be so inaccurate, and why it can cause so much unnecessary worry for some drivers.

The 85% is only advice, it has no legal or regulatory backing, but whilst I don't find the advice to be particularly accurate, I can't disagree with the underlying principle for the need for trailers to be ket as light weight as possible compared to the weight of the tow vehicle.

I have no idea of what your (not your car's) towing capability is. Whilst you will have some useful addition experiences from your professional driving experience, it has always surprised me how many forum members who have been HGV in some case artic drivers say that pulling a caravan is quite different and is quite different and brings additional challenges to driving.

So please do not assume towing a caravan will be a breeze from the start, be prepared to need to hone some new aspects of driving.

Back to the weight ratio, Without knowing the kerb weight, you cannot actually work out the industry definition of the towing ratio, but based on what you have told us it looks as though its likely to be perfectly acceptable and fairly close to 85% and remember it's not a precise science.

Good luck
Thankyou for your advise and will be alert to the different driving experiences and new technics I will have to learn when towing the caravan for the 1st time. one other thing a comment came up about a No towing area zone?? or would I have been reading this wrong?
 
Mar 14, 2005
9,437
415
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
I towed my empty caravan from the dealer where I bought it over 150 miles away with only about 25kg noseweight before I was able to set it up properly when I got home. One did notice a difference and one had to be a tad more careful, but I wouldn't say it was unmanageable.
 
Nov 11, 2009
16,155
4,163
50,935
Does noseweight always have to be at the correct setting mine is 75kg if it was less due to an empty caravan would this badly affect it over a couple of miles?
The overall difference in the caravans weight between loaded and unloaded in percentage terms isn’t very much. I would try and get noseweight between 70-75 kg.. Outfits behave differently so if Your aim over a short two mile trip is to gauge how the outfit tows why not get the nose-weight to at/near the specified figure. I towed an empty van and unloaded car back from Devon and had to fill the Thetford reservoir plus place a tool bag at the rear to achieve noseweight as unloaded that caravan was nose heavy when unloaded and would have exceeded the cars maximum noseweight by a substantial margin.
Is your van nose heavy or nose light when unloaded?
 
Sep 1, 2022
80
11
85
The overall difference in the caravans weight between loaded and unloaded in percentage terms isn’t very much. I would try and get noseweight between 70-75 kg.. Outfits behave differently so if Your aim over a short two mile trip is to gauge how the outfit tows why not get the nose-weight to at/near the specified figure. I towed an empty van and unloaded car back from Devon and had to fill the Thetford reservoir plus place a tool bag at the rear to achieve noseweight as unloaded that caravan was nose heavy when unloaded and would have exceeded the cars maximum noseweight by a substantial margin.
Is your van nose heavy or nose light when unloaded?
I will check
 
Sep 1, 2022
80
11
85
I towed my empty caravan from the dealer where I bought it over 150 miles away with only about 25kg noseweight before I was able to set it up properly when I got home. One did notice a difference and one had to be a tad more careful, but I wouldn't say it was unmanageable.
Thankyou
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts