I am Confused

Submitted: Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 19:20
ThreadID: 104776 Views:2639 Replies:8 FollowUps:4
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Hi all,

To all the caravaners out there.
Looking to buy a van, however I am confused with the ball weight issues of caravans.
I fully understand Tare weight , Gross Weight , ATM etc.. The van I are looking at has a tare of 2192 Kg, and an ATM of 2592 Kg, and ball weight of 155 Kg. My vehicle is a Pajero NT . As the van is over 2500 Kg, the ball weight of the Pajero drops to 180Kg. If we load the van up what ball weight do I have to adhere to. The van weight of 155 Kg ,or the vehicle's weight of 180 Kg. Some so called experts say the vans, and others say the Vehicle.

Please help


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Reply By: scandal - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 20:57

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 20:57
You must go with what written on the tow bar, 180 kg downforce is its maximum (over 2500kg), then that's all you can have legally, having said that, you will find it very difficult to put (upto) 400 kgs in your van and only add 25 kgs to the tow ball weight, I dont know what towball load you are permitted less than 2500 kgs, but I would think that if you are able to keep your van weight beneath the magic 2500 kgs, then you would be able to utilize the towbars full down weight.

AnswerID: 519940

Follow Up By: Member - Terry (SA) - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 10:49

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 10:49
Thanks Shane.

The Pajero is a bit of an odd ball when it comes to towing.Anything from 2500Kg to 3000Kg the ball weight is 180Kg. Below 2500Kg it is 250Kg.
If I purchase the van I am looking at (Tare 2192Kg) that willl give me 308Kg payload to keep the Gross weight under the 2500Kg mark. A bit of an ask when you take into account food ,clothing, water,bits and pieces etc.
More thinking time required

FollowupID: 800302

Reply By: muzzgit - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 21:04

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 21:04
Don't forget that any extra load you put in the van doesn't have to go to the front. If you can manage to keep the bulk of any extra weight over the axle you will be well on your way to happy travells.
AnswerID: 519942

Reply By: Notso - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 21:54

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 21:54
One other thing worth considering is that the actual tare weight of the van may well be different to what they claim on the Compliance plate.
AnswerID: 519946

Reply By: wizzer73 - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 22:34

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 22:34
If you load the van up you have to adhere to the ball weight stated by the pajero. So in your case thats 180kgs max. The van stated weight of 155kg is only a guide.

What you need to do is when you do your first run with van loaded up measure the ball weight of the van. Move stuff around in the van if you are over the 180kg limit of the pajero. Then you will know in the future how to load the van.

AnswerID: 519948

Follow Up By: wizzer73 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 09:40

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 09:40
This may help

FollowupID: 800299

Follow Up By: Member - Terry (SA) - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 10:38

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 10:38
Thanks wizzer,
That link to the RACQ page was good. It explains all the weights & measures in a fairly clear manner. Some sites I have read get very technical

FollowupID: 800301

Reply By: The Bantam - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 22:42

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 22:42
One thing to grasp is that both the vehicle and caravan manufacturers are pushing the envelope on what is permissable under the current design criteriour.

Under previous permitted criteriour, neither the van not the tow vehicle would have been rated as they are nor may have indeed existed as they do.

Seriuolsy think about how close you are pushing the towing capacity.

IF the van states a maximum ball weight...that is smaller than the tow vehicle, that is what you must comply with.

Interesting that it is very commonly stated that the ideal ball weight is 10% of the total van weight.
well look at both the figures from the van and the vehicle and that goes out the window.

OH and have a look at how the towing capacity is specified too....is there a Total Combination Mass specified.

On may vehicles to realise maximum towing capacity the load has to be reduced in the tow vehicle..sometimes to two large blokes and their lunch

Remember too the tow ball down force has to be deducted from the payload of the tow vehicle....this to reduces what you can carry in the tow vehicle.

When some of the station waggon 4wds have a total payload of around the 600KG.

Four 100Kg adults and a towball down force of 180Kg and it leaves less than a slab of beer left for payload.

it realy pays to find out all the figures and do ya maths......then maybe consider a smaller van.

AnswerID: 519949

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 12:22

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 12:22
A ball weight of 180 kg is too low for your van if it is an Australian designed one. Read this article. Take particular note of the piece under the heading "Raising Suspensions" of page 4 and continuing for the next couple of pages.

You need a lighter van or a tug with better towing capacity.
Retired radio and electronics technician

Lifetime Member
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AnswerID: 519968

Follow Up By: Member - Terry (SA) - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 18:13

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 18:13
Thanks Peter D, for the link to the article "Vehicle Dynamics". Very informative reading. I thought i has confused before, now I am more confused. I am sure I will get the idea of it all sooner or later.


FollowupID: 800345

Reply By: roger t4 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 18:43

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 18:43
G`day Terry,
For your own peace of mind, follow Bantams and Nomad navaras advice. Don`t push the envelope for towing. It`s scarey sh??t when the van & tug are incompatable, err on the "very" conservative side. Understand this doesn`t really address your question but there`s more to it than just a level rig, and braking ability should be right up there in your considerations. Try not to be working at the maximums allowable, try for less, you`ll enjoy your trips more and be more relaxed doing it.

Cheers Rog
AnswerID: 519989

Reply By: allein m - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:06

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:06
I live in Broken Hill so we do get a lot of vans out this way and some of them are so over weight I am not sure how say they are able to drive the car

today I saw a duel cab ute pulling approx 20 foot van back of the ute was way down and front was pointing up defiantly out of sink

now is that illegal can they be stopped by police
AnswerID: 520067

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