What should my unladen nose weight be?

Jul 30, 2007
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Hi.
Last week collected 2014 Bailey Platinum Pursuit 540/5.
Popped down to storage compound yesterday and decided to almost empty it and with a set of bathroom scales,measured the noseweight on level ground with the hitch very slightly lower to mimic being on car towball.
The result was 95 kilos.
This sounds very high to me for an almost empty van.(battery and gas bottle in situ with minimum water in toilet flush)
If this is the correct weight,I take it that I will have to balance things out when loading(in other vans,ive always worked from the axle and gradually worked my way out both ways then obviously,check nose weight again.
Both car and van has max.100kg.
Just seems rather high to me when empty though.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Mines of a similar order when unladen. Putting bottle and a few bits in the front makes it worse. All the caravans integral heavy fittings are on the off side front of the axle. Awful design. So most of the touring stuff that goes in the van is behind the axle and I cannot use the front underseat lockers for travelling. I get it down to 75 kg but sometimes have to put water in flush tank and/or use a 10 kg water container under a rear seat. It tows fine.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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All my Baileys have been nose heavy empty. I suspect there is some method in their madness. Maybe they think the first tow brand new , empty, needs to ensure the nose load is “safely” high enough. The final balancing we can all do on our first tour. Just a thought.
 
Jul 30, 2007
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Thanks.
My battery and gas bottle is midway either side of the van so I only have things like winders,4 pieces of plywood for under the steadies,waste pipe and a few essential tools.
Looks like theres going to be a bit of trial and error...ha ha
 
Jun 20, 2005
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GeorgeandAde said:
Thanks.
My battery and gas bottle is midway either side of the van so I only have things like winders,4 pieces of plywood for under the steadies,waste pipe and a few essential tools.
Looks like theres going to be a bit of trial and error...ha ha

More trial than error I hope Ade.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Took my coachman back to them for a new rear panel, but van was empty of Mattress and cushions. One full gas bottle in the front and spare wheel as far forward as I could get it. And got the dreaded NW down/up to about 75 kg.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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GeorgeandAde said:
Hi.
Last week collected 2014 Bailey Platinum Pursuit 540/5.
Popped down to storage compound yesterday and decided to almost empty it and with a set of bathroom scales,measured the noseweight on level ground with the hitch very slightly lower to mimic being on car towball.
The result was 95 kilos.
This sounds very high to me for an almost empty van.(battery and gas bottle in situ with minimum water in toilet flush)
If this is the correct weight,I take it that I will have to balance things out when loading(in other vans,ive always worked from the axle and gradually worked my way out both ways then obviously,check nose weight again.
Both car and van has max.100kg.
Just seems rather high to me when empty though.

There is no right or wrong to the value of an empty caravan's nose load. it is a variable and it always needs to be checked and if necessary adjusted to suit the tow vehicle that is going to pull it. That is the nature of caravans, and there is no regulation or law that says otherwise.

I also don't think there is any moral duty for manufacturers to set a lower nose load, After all how low should it be? What might be ok for Land Rover may not be right for VW Golf or any other vehicle. How is the manufacture to know whats going to pull their caravan?

Owners should not assume the nose load of a caravan is suited to their tow vehicle, they should assume the opposite and be prepared to balast the caravan to suit.

Just a reminder that the driver of an outfit is responsible to ensure the out fit is both safe and road legal.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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I thought that "Most caravans" state that nose weight limits should be between 5% and 7% Of the caravans travelling weight. . You just gave to work that out.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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EH52ARH said:
I thought that "Most caravans" state that nose weight limits should be between 5% and 7% Of the caravans travelling weight. . You just gave to work that out.

Problem with a new and basically empty van many buyers don’t take along a gauge or even ask for it to be measured. Nor do they carry the extra kit to allow the basically empty vannto have it’s noseweight adjusted. I took my 10kg water container and awning to ballast our van when we collected it.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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otherclive said:
EH52ARH said:
I thought that "Most caravans" state that nose weight limits should be between 5% and 7% Of the caravans travelling weight. . You just gave to work that out.

Problem with a new and basically empty van many buyers don’t take along a gauge or even ask for it to be measured. Nor do they carry the extra kit to allow the basically empty vannto have it’s noseweight adjusted. I took my 10kg water container and awning to ballast our van when we collected it.

I will admit that When on the three occasions I have bought a caravan, the dealer Never told me about Nose weights.

When dropping off a mates caravan for a service. A couple were picking up a caravan, I noticed they had the wrong Tow hitch for the caravan Alko hitch. I mentioned this, and the dealer said, oh bring it in next week if you want it changed. He didn't even know what I was on about. Northants area. .
 
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EH52ARH said:
otherclive said:
EH52ARH said:
I thought that "Most caravans" state that nose weight limits should be between 5% and 7% Of the caravans travelling weight. . You just gave to work that out.

Problem with a new and basically empty van many buyers don’t take along a gauge or even ask for it to be measured. Nor do they carry the extra kit to allow the basically empty vannto have it’s noseweight adjusted. I took my 10kg water container and awning to ballast our van when we collected it.

I will admit that When on the three occasions I have bought a caravan, the dealer Never told me about Nose weights.

When dropping off a mates caravan for a service. A couple were picking up a caravan, I noticed they had the wrong Tow hitch for the caravan Alko hitch. I mentioned this, and the dealer said, oh bring it in next week if you want it changed. He didn't even know what I was on about. Northants area. .
Do you mean the wrong size tow ball,
 

Mel

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Mar 17, 2007
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camel said:
EH52ARH said:
otherclive said:
EH52ARH said:
I thought that "Most caravans" state that nose weight limits should be between 5% and 7% Of the caravans travelling weight. . You just gave to work that out.

Problem with a new and basically empty van many buyers don’t take along a gauge or even ask for it to be measured. Nor do they carry the extra kit to allow the basically empty vannto have it’s noseweight adjusted. I took my 10kg water container and awning to ballast our van when we collected it.

I will admit that When on the three occasions I have bought a caravan, the dealer Never told me about Nose weights.

When dropping off a mates caravan for a service. A couple were picking up a caravan, I noticed they had the wrong Tow hitch for the caravan Alko hitch. I mentioned this, and the dealer said, oh bring it in next week if you want it changed. He didn't even know what I was on about. Northants area. .
Do you mean the wrong size tow ball,

Presume Hutch means the tow ball didn’t have a bit of a neck, as it required for an Alko Stabiliser?
Mel
 
Mar 14, 2005
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EH52ARH said:
I thought that "Most caravans" state that nose weight limits should be between 5% and 7% Of the caravans travelling weight. . You just gave to work that out.

The EU Construction and Use regulations for cars do set out the tow coupling of the car should be mechanically strong enough to cope a minimum of 25kg or 4% (whichever is greatest) nose load of the maximum towed weight. The car manufacturer will specify teh maximum nose load (or "S" Value) for their vehicle. Some vehicle manufacturers may specify a greater "S" value than 4% of maximum towed weight.limit.

Whilst it is recognised that trailer stability diminishes with reducing nose loads, the 4% figure is not a legal minimum limit for drivers. Drivers must find an appropriate nose load that allows them to retain full control of their outfit when under way. In practice its very unlikely that a caravan with less than a 4% nose load would tow very well, so it's not a big issue.

In practice, as most caravanners don't know their caravan actual loaded weight, and becasue the payload of a caravan rarely exceeds 1/8 of the caravans MTPLM, it's simply more practical to use 5 to 7% of the caravans MTPLM as the guide figure for nose load, with due regard for S value limits for both car and Caravan..

The UK caravan industry guidance suggests you should aim for a nose load of 5 to 7% of the caravans weight, but as with the tow ratio, it's only guidance, and it's up to drivers to select a nose load that provides a controlled safe outfit, within the tow vehicle's or the trailer's "S" values.

We do know that using 7% of caravan weight can often exceed the tow vehicles S value. So nose load it has to pared back slightly, and this is where attention to good loading practice pays dividends as that can also reduce the tendency to instability.

Whilst there is no regulation of law that tells caravan manufacturers that they must produce caravans at the factory gates with any particular nose load, I do agree that it is morally wrong for them to produce any models that exceed the caravans own specifications even if its is in Ex works condition as they are often towed to dealerships in that condition.

Similarly there is no just cause for caravan owners to willfully ignore and exceed the "S" value of car or caravan when towing. At beast it will accelerate wear on components, and at worst the extra loading may impair or even stop the caravans braking system from deploying or releasing properly, or components may be permanently damaged.
 
Jul 30, 2007
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Just a reminder that the driver of an outfit is responsible to ensure the out fit is both safe and road legal.

I do agree with you Prof.,but I do feel that maybe the selling dealer should state the unladen nose weight of the caravan to enable the prospective buyer to be prepared to bring ballast with them to be able to adjust the weight depending on the vehicle they will be using.
If the dealer is unable to do this,then maybe prospective buyers should be allowed to take their own gauge with them to check before purchasing.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Yes folks the hitch wasn't suited to the AlKo hitch as the Hitch throat was not correct. . Someone will have a piccy..
 
Mar 14, 2005
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GeorgeandAde said:
...

I do agree with you Prof.,but I do feel that maybe the selling dealer should state the unladen nose weight of the caravan to enable the prospective buyer to be prepared to bring ballast with them to be able to adjust the weight depending on the vehicle they will be using.
If the dealer is unable to do this,then maybe prospective buyers should be allowed to take their own gauge with them to check before purchasing.

I must warn you that for reasons of caravan geometry that have been discussed elsewhere in the forum very extensively, the real nose load is only known when it is measured at the specific height the coupling rests at when its coupled to the car that's about to tow it. so that another reason that neither manufacturers or dealers can give a specific nose load figure.

I'm pretty certain that if you told the dealer you will only consider a caravan if you knew its nose load, then subject to the limitations mentioned above, I'm sure the dealer will get a nose load gauge and measure it for you. But there is absolutely nothing stopping you from using your own gauge if you wish, If a dealer has a concern they should tell you, but their not the ones towing, you are. If you have bought the caravan then it's up to you as the driver to make sure its set up correctly - not the dealer's.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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EH52ARH said:
Yes folks the hitch wasn't suited to the AlKo hitch as the Hitch throat was not correct. . Someone will have a piccy..
56755-B0-D-C2-A8-42-F4-B39-B-F57-BAFC557-B2.jpg

5-DEDA024-AC02-4744-B2-D3-0-A58-BAAF4-B60.jpg

Note the different throat sizes and how the actual ball is further away from the tow bar bolt holes.
 
Jul 30, 2007
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Just out of interest.
When the caravan hitch is lowered onto the cars towball and clicks into place(locks),
underneath,should the "half moon"metal plate be completely under the collar of the cars towball?
Hope ive explained that right
 
Jun 20, 2005
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GeorgeandAde said:
Just out of interest.
When the caravan hitch is lowered onto the cars towball and clicks into place(locks),
underneath,should the "half moon"metal plate be completely under the collar of the cars towball?
Hope ive explained that right
Yes . That's what basically stops it slipping off.
 
Jul 30, 2007
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Oh dear.....think I may have a problem here.
The caravan hitch is Alko and my detachable towbar on car says Witter.
Not sure if this is actually a problem but at the compound I noticed that when im hitched up,the "half moon"locking mechanism(which you say should be completely under the collar),isnt quite under that lip although the small handle is down as far as it will go.
Ive tried lifting the jockey wheel pretty high and the car stays firmly attached to the hitch
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Don't panic. Witter tow bars and associated tow balls are fine as long as the ball is Al-ko style. See my pics. Once hitched and clicked into place does the pop out indicator indicator on the top of the hitch directly above the tow ball area show green?
The safest test for adequate safe hitching is to do as you have, ie wind the jockey wheel down thus lifting the rear of the car. If you are still uncertain ask a tow bar specialist or mobile caravan engineer to check for you.
 
Jul 30, 2007
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Thank you dustydog.
Mine must be the black Alko one in your picture.
The pop up button on the front shows just a little bit of green but the indicator by the small handle still shows red which makes me think the hitch isnt seated and locked correctly.
Trip to my local towbar fitter I think
 
Nov 11, 2009
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GeorgeandAde said:
Oh dear.....think I may have a problem here.
The caravan hitch is Alko and my detachable towbar on car says Witter.
Not sure if this is actually a problem but at the compound I noticed that when im hitched up,the "half moon"locking mechanism(which you say should be completely under the collar),isnt quite under that lip although the small handle is down as far as it will go.
Ive tried lifting the jockey wheel pretty high and the car stays firmly attached to the hitch

You do the correct thing by winding the jockey wheel to check that the hitch is correctly latched on. The fact that the hitch is. Alko and towball is Witter is irrelevant. What is important is that you have the towball that is dimensionally compatible with the Alko stabiliser hitch. The picture above shows the correct type.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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GeorgeandAde is saying his tow hitch is detachable, so it will not be like the ones DustyDog posted.

Is it a Swan neck one. ?
 

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