Towball weight

G'day all,
Have a diesel Volkswagen Passat and currently tow a lock up trailer with all our camping gear in it. Recommended tow ball weight is 80kg max.
We are looking at getting a small van like Goldstream Storm or similar whose draw bar weight is 155kg.
Is it just a matter of packing the van correctly to get the weight down to 80kg's or do I need another tow vehicle?
Any thoughts greatly appreciated.


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Reply By: Notso - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 09:28

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 09:28
If you lighten the ball weight too much you risk the van getting the death wobbles. This is basically when it sets up a swaying motion that magnifies and can quickly throw the vehicle. Also the insurance companies would not like the practice.

Better off getting something that can handle the van as it's set up.
AnswerID: 527682

Reply By: 671 - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 10:08

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 10:08
I agree with Notso. You will get a lot more information from these two links.

http://www.caravanandmotorhomebooks.com/pdf/vehicle_dynamics_complete.pdf

http://rvsupertramp.com.au/Portals/0/galleries/articles/caravan_dynamics_cw.pdf
AnswerID: 527686

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 13:38

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 13:38
You do need another tow vehicle.

Messing wit ball weights in the manner you suggest is a short cut to disaster. The 10% ball weight rule is a good rule of thumb. Some say it is too heavy but in my experience it is a safe bet.

Everything depends on your budget of course, you are not alone in that, however as you are upgrading to a small van then can I suggest that another upgrade to a bigger van again is somewhere in your future. With this in mind I would get a vehicle which can tow about 2.5 tonne or better. Overkill for the moment but capacity for the future. They are a vehicle designed to tow unlike the Passat which are a very good vehicle for their intended use.

A good second hand Turbo Diesel Prado would be a good choice considering you are a diesel person.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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AnswerID: 527696

Follow Up By: Member - phantom - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 15:20

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 15:20
Thanks Notso, 671 & Bruce,
I was afraid of the answer but pleased for the information as safety is paramount.
Don't plan on getting a van for a couple of years and just after info at this stage.
Next year, we are taking the trailer and camping gear for a couple of months from Melbourne to the West Coast as we did the centre and East Coast in late 2012. This will complete our camping trip around OZ and then would like to get a small van for future trips.
I will upgrade the tow vehicle before hand though.
Once again, thanks for your input.
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FollowupID: 810123

Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 19:13

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 19:13
While,any enforcement of light trailers is...um...irregular and the criteriour are a litle vague.......most of the enforcement is done after the fact....that is after the accident..and most of the peanalty is appied by the insurance company.

Current vans will have both the ATM and the drawbar weight stamped on the Compliance plate.

Your vehicle will have the towing capacity and the permissable drawbar weight declared and published somewhere if it is not stamped on the towbar.

Regardless of the practical realities...if you are towing a trailer with a declared drawbar weight on 155KG with a vehicle with a declared maximum drawbar weight of 80Kg.......there IS a compliance issue.

After the rig has jackifed, rolled over and burned...they ( both authoroties and insurers) will not be much concerned about how the vehicle was loaded.....the first thing they will do, is compare the declared capacities, as published......they wont need to look any further for avreason not to pay.

cheers
AnswerID: 527717

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 19:47

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 19:47
Rob, Kim and Will,
The VW recommendations are a little peculiar and IMO are more suited to Germany where towing speed is restricted to 80kph. Our Tiguan has a 2000kg tow capacity (huge for a small vehicle!) but only 100kg ball weight. We've towed the TVan (1250kg) on odd occasions but had to do a major weight redistribution to get the ball weight down to 100kg. The Tig towed it fine, but we kept the speed down.
I think if you were to use the Passat to tow a bigger van through hilly country, at reasonable highway speeds, you'd get the death rattles as mentioned above if your towball weight was only 80kgs.
AnswerID: 527720

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 22:11

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 22:11
Phil,

You gotta a draught horse casually munching it's weight in oats sitting in the stable and you make the Shetland pony drag the cart??? (;-)).

Cheers
Pop
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FollowupID: 810153

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 22:27

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 22:27
Hehe .... you're right Pop!
Up until a year ago, we occasionally used the Tig to tow the Tvan when we took our first grandchild away camping - needed the back seat.
Then I thought, bugger that, sold the traytop Landcruiser and bought the 200series. So we no longer need the Tig for towing. But its a great vehicle, so we're hanging onto it.
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FollowupID: 810159

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 23:01

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2014 at 23:01
Yeh, no worries mate, just being a smart arse.
Got a couple of grandies myself putting the pressure on Gran and Pop to take them away camping. Break me heart to sell my cherished old hzj-75 ute with the 1HD-FT insides....lol
The good lady wife's RAV just wont cut it (:-((

Cheers
Pop
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FollowupID: 810171

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