Towing Capacity

Apr 5, 2018
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I drive a 2010 Kuga 2 Litre Diesel and want to tow a Coachman 545/4 by my calculation this is within the max towing weight (2100kgs) but outside the recommended 85%. Is my calculation correct please and what effect will this have, I am loath to replace the Kuga as the options - Discovery are so much more expensive
 
Nov 11, 2009
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legin1710 said:
I drive a 2010 Kuga 2 Litre Diesel and want to tow a Coachman 545/4 by my calculation this is within the max towing weight (2100kgs) but outside the recommended 85%. Is my calculation correct please and what effect will this have, I am loath to replace the Kuga as the options - Discovery are so much more expensive

What are the kerbweicgt of the Kuga and MTPLM of your caravan? Also what licence do you hold? Do you have any previous experience towing a caravan? The cars max tow weight is not a good indicator but 85%,is a guide but many other aspects affect overall safety and suitability for towing. The Kuga is an accomplished towcar so given a bit more information I am sure that you will get the advice re your outfit.

I also use the matching website "Towcar.info" Like most things it's not absolute but it's predicted my last three outfits very well.
 
May 7, 2012
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Welcome to the forum. The kerb weight and towing capacity of the Kuga does vary according to age and spec as does the MTPLM of the caravan vary according to age, so it is not possible to answer your query with out the weight information.
Basically the 85% figure is recommended for beginners but is based on very old research and with a good towcar like the Kuga might be increased a bit. Personally I would not go over 90% when starting out though.
The towing limit is based on the cars ability to restart five times on a 12% hill and is more to do with the strength of the drive line than towing a caravan. It does not take account of things like crosswinds when towing but it would work for say a smaller low commercial trailer or a broken down car in town. You should also remember that towing at the cars maximum towing capacity will generally be hard work as the car will be at its limit and will increase fuel consumption heavily
 
Nov 16, 2015
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In my own Experience, I would be happy to tow your your caravan, just be carefull. Load the car and keep your nose weight ( :evil: ) as high as the tow bar can accept. But take care. And enjoy.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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EH52ARH said:
In my own Experience, I would be happy to tow your your caravan, just be carefull. Load the car and keep your nose weight ( :evil: ) as high as the tow bar can accept. But take care. And enjoy.

Ditto . Same as hutch . Although mine is a 2o17 kuga and heavier van , yours should be fine pulling that .

Craig
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Legin, When We had our first caravan, I never even thought about weights. But having towed aircraft about thought nothing of it.
After a couple of years, realised there are "limits" but don't get to worried about them. (85% these are from years ago, )Just keep to the legal limits. And enjoy your travels.
PS. Don't overtake a HGV at 58 mph. It can be scary. . :kiss:
 
Apr 5, 2018
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in the tech spec this is the weight not the pay load which is 1630 kgs, Thanks everyone for the feedback, I have limited towing experience but a lot of driving from cars to HGV,s (not artics)
 
Mar 14, 2005
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legin1710 said:
in the tech spec this is the weight not the pay load which is 1630 kgs, Thanks everyone for the feedback, I have limited towing experience but a lot of driving from cars to HGV,s (not artics)

Hello Legin,

This latest post changes things considerably.

The accepted way of calculating the towing ratio, is Caravan MTPLM/Tow vehicle kerb weight all times 100 to produce a percentge.

With this new information you are telling us the the MTPLM (all up maximum permitted weight of the caravan) is now 1630kg

(1630/1540) x 100 = 105%

This is still within the cars maximum towed weight limit BUT it is not recommended for a caravan.

The reason is the cars towed weight limit is assessed using an ideal small trailer, Caravans are far from that ideal trailer, and present many more road going issues and forces which can unsettle tow vehicles.
 
May 7, 2012
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I agree with the Prof. The caravan is simply too heavy for guaranteed safe towing and I am afraid a heavier car is the only answer for that caravan.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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There is no such thing as a guaranteed safe towing ratio! But there is no doubt that raising the towing ratio automatically raises the risk of instability.
 
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ProfJohnL said:
legin1710 said:
in the tech spec this is the weight not the pay load which is 1630 kgs, Thanks everyone for the feedback, I have limited towing experience but a lot of driving from cars to HGV,s (not artics)

Hello Legin,

This latest post changes things considerably.

The accepted way of calculating the towing ratio, is Caravan MTPLM/Tow vehicle kerb weight all times 100 to produce a percentge.

With this new information you are telling us the the MTPLM (all up maximum permitted weight of the caravan) is now 1630kg

(1630/1540) x 100 = 105%

This is still within the cars maximum towed weight limit BUT it is not recommended for a caravan.

The reason is the cars towed weight limit is assessed using an ideal small trailer, Caravans are far from that ideal trailer, and present many more road going issues and forces which can unsettle tow vehicles.

I fully understand that it is in the best interests of the Caravan industry to try and establish and reccomend a formula to use to assist the layman in assessing the suitability of an outfit, however, in my opinion, the commonly used recommendation of a maximum 85% VAN MTPLM / Car kerbweight ratio is only relevant if your van is fully loaded and your car is empty, otherwise the figures are meaningless. Garbage in = Garbage out.

As I have a weighed van contents of 110KG, and whenever I’m towing there’s always myself, the wife, 2 kids, dog and cargo in the car, here’s the formula I would use with your van & car ...

Van Weight = 1470(MIRO) + 110 (Payload) = 1580
Car Weight = 1540(Kerbweight) + 260 (Family, dog & cargo) =1800

You need to also bear in mind that your cars total weight will be subject to a fluctuation of approx. +/- 25KG variance from Kerbweight depending on fuel tank level, as Kerbweight is normally quoted with half a tank of fuel ... (60L tank, assuming Diesel)

(1580/1800) x 100 = 87.8%.

Still quite a high ratio, but just load safely, and drive safely. Happy travels ...
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Icaru5 said:
ProfJohnL said:
legin1710 said:
in the tech spec this is the weight not the pay load which is 1630 kgs, Thanks everyone for the feedback, I have limited towing experience but a lot of driving from cars to HGV,s (not artics)

Hello Legin,

This latest post changes things considerably.

The accepted way of calculating the towing ratio, is Caravan MTPLM/Tow vehicle kerb weight all times 100 to produce a percentge.

With this new information you are telling us the the MTPLM (all up maximum permitted weight of the caravan) is now 1630kg

(1630/1540) x 100 = 105%

This is still within the cars maximum towed weight limit BUT it is not recommended for a caravan.

The reason is the cars towed weight limit is assessed using an ideal small trailer, Caravans are far from that ideal trailer, and present many more road going issues and forces which can unsettle tow vehicles.

I fully understand that it is in the best interests of the Caravan industry to try and establish and reccomend a formula to use to assist the layman in assessing the suitability of an outfit, however, in my opinion, the commonly used recommendation of a maximum 85% VAN MTPLM / Car kerbweight ratio is only relevant if your van is fully loaded and your car is empty, otherwise the figures are meaningless. Garbage in = Garbage out.

As I have a weighed van contents of 110KG, and whenever I’m towing there’s always myself, the wife, 2 kids, dog and cargo in the car, here’s the formula I would use with your van & car ...

Van Weight = 1470(MIRO) + 110 (Payload) = 1580
Car Weight = 1540(Kerbweight) + 260 (Family, dog & cargo) =1800

You need to also bear in mind that your cars total weight will be subject to a fluctuation of approx. +/- 25KG variance from Kerbweight depending on fuel tank level, as Kerbweight is normally quoted with half a tank of fuel ... (60L tank, assuming Diesel)

(1580/1800) x 100 = 87.8%.

Still quite a high ratio, but just load safely, and drive safely. Happy travels ...

I’ve always thought along similar lines as yourself, much preferring to load the car rather than the caravan. Must say your Payload is low for a family van. Does it include battery, gas bottles, mover or is it in addition to those?
 
Jun 26, 2017
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otherclive said:
Icaru5 said:
ProfJohnL said:
legin1710 said:
in the tech spec this is the weight not the pay load which is 1630 kgs, Thanks everyone for the feedback, I have limited towing experience but a lot of driving from cars to HGV,s (not artics)

Hello Legin,

This latest post changes things considerably.

The accepted way of calculating the towing ratio, is Caravan MTPLM/Tow vehicle kerb weight all times 100 to produce a percentge.

With this new information you are telling us the the MTPLM (all up maximum permitted weight of the caravan) is now 1630kg

(1630/1540) x 100 = 105%

This is still within the cars maximum towed weight limit BUT it is not recommended for a caravan.

The reason is the cars towed weight limit is assessed using an ideal small trailer, Caravans are far from that ideal trailer, and present many more road going issues and forces which can unsettle tow vehicles.

I fully understand that it is in the best interests of the Caravan industry to try and establish and reccomend a formula to use to assist the layman in assessing the suitability of an outfit, however, in my opinion, the commonly used recommendation of a maximum 85% VAN MTPLM / Car kerbweight ratio is only relevant if your van is fully loaded and your car is empty, otherwise the figures are meaningless. Garbage in = Garbage out.

As I have a weighed van contents of 110KG, and whenever I’m towing there’s always myself, the wife, 2 kids, dog and cargo in the car, here’s the formula I would use with your van & car ...

Van Weight = 1470(MIRO) + 110 (Payload) = 1580
Car Weight = 1540(Kerbweight) + 260 (Family, dog & cargo) =1800

You need to also bear in mind that your cars total weight will be subject to a fluctuation of approx. +/- 25KG variance from Kerbweight depending on fuel tank level, as Kerbweight is normally quoted with half a tank of fuel ... (60L tank, assuming Diesel)

(1580/1800) x 100 = 87.8%.

Still quite a high ratio, but just load safely, and drive safely. Happy travels ...

I’ve always thought along similar lines as yourself, much preferring to load the car rather than the caravan. Must say your Payload is low for a family van. Does it include battery, gas bottles, mover or is it in addition to those?

Thanks Clive, I really wasn’t anticipating anything other than a queue of haters in response to that one ...

Yes, all included in the weight. Nothing else other than bedding, water containers, melamine crockery and cutlery in the van.
 
Feb 27, 2011
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EH52ARH said:
Legin, When We had our first caravan, I never even thought about weights. But having towed aircraft about thought nothing of it.
After a couple of years, realised there are "limits" but don't get to worried about them. (85% these are from years ago, )Just keep to the legal limits. And enjoy your travels.
PS. Don't overtake a HGV at 58 mph. It can be scary. . :kiss:

EH52ARH - what is the problem overtaking HGVs at 58 mph? Never had a problem with that. I get past them asap, for the sake of any others in the distance behind me, and I find that the less time one spends alongside them, the less chance for any effects of bow-wave etc. However, the ones I am wary of (but with the caravans in tow have never been a problem) are car ransporters and tankers. This caution is borne from a couple of 'moments' some years ago when I brought a folding camper home after purchase. The seller had included all his gear plus a bit and to add to the problem, the camper was sitting a bit 'nose-up' which I think contributed.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Icaru5 said:
...I fully understand that it is in the best interests of the Caravan industry to try and establish and reccomend a formula to use to assist the layman in assessing the suitability of an outfit, however, in my opinion, the commonly used recommendation of a maximum 85% VAN MTPLM / Car kerbweight ratio is only relevant if your van is fully loaded and your car is empty, otherwise the figures are meaningless. Garbage in = Garbage out.

As I have a weighed van contents of 110KG, and whenever I’m towing there’s always myself, the wife, 2 kids, dog and cargo in the car, here’s the formula I would use with your van & car ...

Van Weight = 1470(MIRO) + 110 (Payload) = 1580
Car Weight = 1540(Kerbweight) + 260 (Family, dog & cargo) =1800

You need to also bear in mind that your cars total weight will be subject to a fluctuation of approx. +/- 25KG variance from Kerbweight depending on fuel tank level, as Kerbweight is normally quoted with half a tank of fuel ... (60L tank, assuming Diesel)

(1580/1800) x 100 = 87.8%.

Still quite a high ratio, but just load safely, and drive safely. Happy travels ...

Hello Icarus,

I am extensively on record for questioned the safety of the industry methods and advice for towing ratio and its efficacy. There has never been a public response to requests for information on how the advice was formulated and no corroborated evidence to support the choice of guidance given. However despite the lack of formal evidence, the concept of keeping the mass of a trailer as small as possible is sensible,

I cite the probability there must have been many incidents of towing instability arising where ultimately the driver was able to rescue the situation without it becoming another Road Traffic Incident (RTI) or insurance claim. It stands to reason that not all of these will have arisen with ratio's in excess of 85% so many must have involved ratio's below 85%! So is 85% low enough? that is definitely open to debate.

The industry advice given, has almost always majored on the towing ratio, arguably there are other factors that adversely affect stability, of which how the car and caravan are loaded producing nose load, and of course how the outfit is driven with particular attention to speed.

I can personally recall outfits where loaded in one way it proved to be fully controlled, but with a different loading regime, it had strong tendencies towards instability. The rate of build up of instability in an outfit seems to be the square of teh speed difference, so an outfit can appear to be quite stable at lower speeds but exceed its critical speed and instability become more aggressive. Hence the advice to reduce speed to bring stability back.

And in the same vein, I have driven legal outfits that were well over 100% which proved to be entirely manageable, and others that were close or below 85% that were inherently difficult. So a simple one size fits all towing stability guidance based on towing Ratio alone is highly unsatisfactory.

The towing ratio should as you rightly say reflect the actual weights of the tow vehicle and caravan in tow, and in fact I found an old Caravan Club document that did use the real weights, but the problem is it's virtually impossible for every caravanner to know their weights for every journey, so again most of the time the assessment of towing ratio will be guess work.

Again you are right that the actual ratio will change during the length of a journey or from journey to journey, and it will always be unique to that particular journey.

The current method of calculating towing ratio is a fudge, but it is presently the best we have at being able to produce a notional result. At least it is a consistent method, that does not rely on taking your outfit to a weighbridge on every journey.

It does allow a punter to make some basic comparisons between vehicle and caravan choices, and provided it is not used as a definitive indicator it does have some merit. Fortunately it is not enshrined in any law, as it would be pulled to bits by a half decent barrister.

The problem is finding practical and easy and universal to use alternative method.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Petemate said:
EH52ARH said:
Legin, When We had our first caravan, I never even thought about weights. But having towed aircraft about thought nothing of it.
After a couple of years, realised there are "limits" but don't get to worried about them. (85% these are from years ago, )Just keep to the legal limits. And enjoy your travels.
PS. Don't overtake a HGV at 58 mph. It can be scary. . :kiss:

EH52ARH - what is the problem overtaking HGVs at 58 mph? Never had a problem with that. I get past them asap, for the sake of any others in the distance behind me, and I find that the less time one spends alongside them, the less chance for any effects of bow-wave etc. However, the ones I am wary of (but with the caravans in tow have never been a problem) are car ransporters and tankers. This caution is borne from a couple of 'moments' some years ago when I brought a folding camper home after purchase. The seller had included all his gear plus a bit and to add to the problem, the camper was sitting a bit 'nose-up' which I think contributed.

You're not the only one !
HGV's no problem but I to hate going past car transportation HGV's to for that reason, it's all the gaps inbetween the cars on them which makes it even worse for the bits of wind coming through them ! :huh:

Craig.
 
May 7, 2012
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Possibly guaranteed safe towing is not quite right but a good ratio should make the outfit safe.
As for bow waves I find that they only ones that disturb our outfit to any extent are the white van men passing at speeds well over 70.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Raywood said:
Possibly guaranteed safe towing is not quite right but a good ratio should make the outfit safe.
As for bow waves I find that they only ones that disturb our outfit to any extent are the white van men passing at speeds well over 70.

a good ratio low ratio is likely to be safer than a big ratio, but that is not the same as saying it is "safe" which implies there is no danger or risk.

A solo car has its stability margins seriously eroded when it becomes a tow car, so in no way can towing be described as "safe", it requires greater attention from the driver and any lapse of that attention has a greater chance of becoming a serious incident. I place this use of the word safe in the same group a "rule " for weight ratio's as neither can be a definite outcome of the practice.
 
Feb 27, 2011
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Raywood said:
Possibly guaranteed safe towing is not quite right but a good ratio should make the outfit safe.
As for bow waves I find that they only ones that disturb our outfit to any extent are the white van men passing at speeds well over 70.

Agreed Raywood! Our outfit is extremely stable; I pay meticuous attention every trip, out and back, to loading distribution and noseweight. I don't care about the funny looks I get when I check, for example, the noseweight on departure from sites. But - white (or any other colour!) van man passing at over 70? Yes, we feel it when he goes past but only a little bit. I would think that a badly loaded caravan would suffer a more marked effect.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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ProfJohnL said:
Raywood said:
Possibly guaranteed safe towing is not quite right but a good ratio should make the outfit safe.
As for bow waves I find that they only ones that disturb our outfit to any extent are the white van men passing at speeds well over 70.

a good ratio low ratio is likely to be safer than a big ratio, but that is not the same as saying it is "safe" which implies there is no danger or risk.

A solo car has its stability margins seriously eroded when it becomes a tow car, so in no way can towing be described as "safe", it requires greater attention from the driver and any lapse of that attention has a greater chance of becoming a serious incident. I place this use of the word safe in the same group a "rule " for weight ratio's as neither can be a definite outcome of the practice.
Seriously eroded[/

Prof,
Not quite your usual stance :(
A seriously eroded performance may be crying out for some intervention like suspension aids etc?
Surely most vehicles designs take into account towing within the prescribed and recognised limits :)
I’d hate us to deter the newbies :woohoo:
 
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Just like a firearm, an outfit is only as safe as its driver, his due care and attention and his ability. There is no reason why even a novice can't make full use of the allowed towing capacity, BUT the demands placed on the driver increase as the weight ratio becomes more unfavourable and the driver must be fully aware of this and be able to act appropriately according to the prevailing conditions.
Maybe I was thrown in at the deep end but almost 30 years ago I started my towing experience with a 100% weight ratio and that was in the days before ATC, Trailer Stability Control, etc..
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Dustydog said:
ProfJohnL said:
Raywood said:
Possibly guaranteed safe towing is not quite right but a good ratio should make the outfit safe.
As for bow waves I find that they only ones that disturb our outfit to any extent are the white van men passing at speeds well over 70.

a good ratio low ratio is likely to be safer than a big ratio, but that is not the same as saying it is "safe" which implies there is no danger or risk.

A solo car has its stability margins seriously eroded when it becomes a tow car, so in no way can towing be described as "safe", it requires greater attention from the driver and any lapse of that attention has a greater chance of becoming a serious incident. I place this use of the word safe in the same group a "rule " for weight ratio's as neither can be a definite outcome of the practice.
Seriously eroded[/

Prof,
Not quite your usual stance :(
A seriously eroded performance may be crying out for some intervention like suspension aids etc?
Surely most vehicles designs take into account towing within the prescribed and recognised limits :)
I’d hate us to deter the newbies :woohoo:

I stand by my statement, but perhaps it needs a little clarification. Something that looses half or more of its potential is seriously eroded, so for example the rate of acceleration of a car and caravan is roughly half that of the solo car. This does not mean its incapable, just less able. that is the easy one, but handling with a caravan in tow puts a lot more stress through the car its suspension and tyres, again they should have been specified adequately by the manufacturer but definitely with a caravan in tow it will eat up more of the available margin.

So no its not a change of stance, and i still maintain no car requires spring assisters as per my previous posts.
 

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