CRV Towing Jayco Campervan

Submitted: Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 08:51
ThreadID: 130015 Views:4407 Replies:5 FollowUps:10
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Newbie here. Just wanting to check that my (extremely poor) understanding is correct.

We have a 2006 CRV auto. Looking to buy a Jayco campervan. It will be a Swan or a Dove (or similar), and will probably be around mid 80's (looking to spend under $8000). The van will only be used over the summer holidays, where it will be towed 200 km's max (mostly along freeways) to the Mornington Peninsula.

Whilst I realise the CRV is not an ideal tow vehicle, given that towing will be minimal, and on freeways and sealed roads, I think it should be ok.

Max towing capacity for Auto is 1200kg's, with a 120kg ball weight. Based on newer model Jayco specs, the Swan (unloaded) would be within these limits, but the dove is slightly over on towball weight. I have no idea how to find out the weight of the 80's models though.

Does it sound reasonable to tow one of these with a CRV (in my scenario)?

I assume that these older models have override brakes, not electric. Is there any cause for concern with 30 year old override brakes (again, in my scenario)? Anything I should look out for?

I appreciate any advice from the experts.

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Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 08:54

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 08:54
I'm told older Jaycos are more solidly built than current ones so best to ring the factory and get the figures on weight.

And of course tare weight is less than loaded so if it's already over your allowable ball weight the idea's not going to fly.
AnswerID: 589346

Reply By: TomH - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 09:00

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 09:00
Forget the unloaded weight You are towing the loaded weight so what is that Its called the ATM and is on the compliance plate Its also usually 300kg more than the Tare so all would be out of the CRV's legal capacity

Would be getting the van checked over before buying and have the brakes checked to ensure they do work.
AnswerID: 589347

Reply By: 934 - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 10:00

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 10:00
Thanks guys. From what I've gathered from some brief web searching, the older Jayco swans were actually lighter than the newer, fibreglass ones. Whether the 'older' portion of this statement applies to the period I'm looking for I'm not sure.

Thanks for the info re ATM weight. I knew that there would be additional weight when loaded, but wasn't sure how much. I've come across some rough figures of 300kg, which includes gas and water. Does this sound about right?

We won't be taking any water, and probably won't be loading much inside the van either, so hoping I can get it to 200kg's or less, which might just get it into the legal limit. I am assuming this ATM weight limit is variable, and if caught, the actual weight of van and contents will be determined, rather than some arbitrary figure (e.g. 300kg) added to the tare weight?

Knowing nothing about brakes and vans in general, I'll be getting an inspection done on any purchase. At this point I'm just trying to work out if it's feasible and legal to tow with our current car before getting too far in, as changing cars is not an option at this point.
AnswerID: 589350

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 10:14

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 10:14
For two people easily allow 200 kg.
You'd be surprised how it adds up.
Don't forget your vehicle has a payload limit too. Luggage, bodies, ball weight etc.
There is a legal weight and a practical weight which is usually much less.
Do you want to be revving the guts out of the engine up every steep slope? Or taking it 20-30 kms slower than the column of cars backed up behind you?
FollowupID: 857206

Follow Up By: 934 - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 10:47

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 10:47
For previous trips in a tent we've been able to fit everything inside the car, so beyond the gas bottle, we won't have much or anything to add to the van. But I hadn't considered the overall payload limit of the car. This is getting tricky.

As for the practicality of towing (hills, holding up traffic etc.), 95% of the journey is 2 lane freeways on flat ground. There's only about 20 km's of single lanes with hills.

FollowupID: 857209

Follow Up By: TomH - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 14:11

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 14:11
The ATM is the MAXIMUM loaded weight the camper can be and is stamped on the Compliance plate.

Whether you load it to that or not is another thing but your tug cannot legally tow more than 1200kg as you say then thats all the camper can weigh regardless..
If its Tare(unloaded dry weight ) which will be on the Compliance plate
is, say 1150kg You will only be able to load your lunch and a gas bottle to stay legal.

I think you have a boy trying to do a mans work in this case.
Your tug will have a GVM limit which when towing has to include the Ballweight. So if the car has a 400kg payload you take off 120kg for the ballweight 200 for you and mum and that leaves you with 80kg for the rest.

Get the idea.
FollowupID: 857227

Reply By: 934 - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 13:13

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 13:13
I'm looking at an ad for an '87 Swan (which is about what I'm after) that lists the tare weight as 810 kg's. I've noticed similar weights on all the mid 80's vans swan's I've seen listed, so I think it should be within the limits even when fully loaded.

The newer model swan's have a tare weight of 1067 kg. I would have assumed, like an earlier poster, that the older models would be heavier, but it seems that it's not the case.
AnswerID: 589356

Follow Up By: TomH - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 14:23

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 14:23
The best idea is to weigh it empty before buying as very few caravans etc are the weight on the plate. If a previous owner has added stuff after new it could be quite different .

Have known of full size vans being more than 100kg more than the Tare on the plate.

Also it would be inadvisable to load car an camper to the max as an extra 1200kg on the bag could severely overstress it.
FollowupID: 857228

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 14:42

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 14:42
The tare weight on the plate may represent the unit as designed and prototyped, not the one that rolled off the line.
My current CT was advertised as 920 kg tare, the factory said after I bought it that it was 1060, and I weighed it (twice) at 1240.
So the bottom line is that for several reasons you have to leave a significant margin.
My first CT was 500 kg tare. Modded and loaded to the gills it would have been 800-850. I towed that widely with a Forester that was rated good for 1400 ATM and 140 on the ball and I wouldn't have gone heavier. The dog should wag the tail.
FollowupID: 857232

Follow Up By: 934 - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 15:07

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 15:07
I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to weigh one before purchasing. Is it normal to tow it to a weighbridge before buying?
FollowupID: 857234

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 15:15

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 15:15
Ask the seller for a weighbridge print-out.
If they're keen to sell they'll do it.
Look up Public weighbridge in the Yellow Pages for a location.
FollowupID: 857236

Follow Up By: TomH - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 15:16

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 15:16
Its your money but I would be doing it as its too late after you get it home and find its too heavy.
We have given you good solid advice, its up to you if you take it or not.

Get on the Caravanners forum and search on overweight vans.

Will keep you reading sob stories for hours
FollowupID: 857237

Follow Up By: 934 - Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 15:25

Monday, Aug 17, 2015 at 15:25
Ok. You've convinced me :) I came here for advice, and I'm going to listen to it.

FollowupID: 857239

Reply By: nickb - Wednesday, Aug 19, 2015 at 18:23

Wednesday, Aug 19, 2015 at 18:23
I reckon you will be fine with an older 80s Jayco. Most I have seen are around 800-900kg tare, so by the sounds of it you would have it loaded no more than 1100kg. The crv will tow it easily, you don't need a big 4x4 to tow it. Take one for a test behind the crv, you will be surprised! A serious seller would let you try it, I know I would if it meant a sale...

The more important issue would be tow ball weight as the jayco camper trailers are known for having high towball weights. My 2005 outback dove has a tare of 1050kg, atm of 1309kg and an empty towball weight of 139kg.
AnswerID: 589439

Follow Up By: 934 - Monday, Sep 07, 2015 at 13:08

Monday, Sep 07, 2015 at 13:08
Thanks. I've found out by reading my physical car manual, rather than trying to find it online when I'm at work, that my max tow weight is 1500 kg's, not 1200kgs. I'm confident that I'll be under this. The tow ball weight is still 120kg, and I have about 500kg of payload in the car, so I should have enough there too. Looks like the towball weight on the swan is much less than the dove (96kg for base swan on current models) so I should be ok there too.

But now that I understand all of these weights I feel more comfortable with what I'm doing.

FollowupID: 858069

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