Towbar weight

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 11:41
ThreadID: 30348 Views:2277 Replies:6 FollowUps:1
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Hi, I have purchased my first van (16' Coromal Pop top) with a Tare weight of 1000kg. Plan on towing with EL Ford. My current towbar I beleive is too light (1600kg/90kg ball weight). Have found a used Hayman Reece towbar to suit EL which is rated at 2300kg/120kg ball weight. Having trouble getting a consistent response from 'the experts' as to whether this is adequate. I was just a little worried about the ball weight.

Will be using the old 4 bar level riders and electric brakes.

Thanks for your advice
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Reply By: 3.0turbob - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 12:22

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 12:22
Check the ballweight the van will exert, but most importantly keep within the legal limitations of the vehicle manufacturer.
AnswerID: 152493

Reply By: Redback - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 12:36

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 12:36
Also the ball weight should be no more than 10% of the vans weight (ie) van weight 1000kg, ball weight 100kg, weigh the van loaded then go from there.

If the max ball weight for the car is 120kg then you will find that once you've loaded your van you might find your ball weight won't be legal, unless you can find a way of keeping your ball weight down when van is loaded (ie) hayman reece leveling and stabilizing gear, or keep the gear loaded in the van as far to the rear of the van as much as possible, the stabilizing gear would be a must then.

AnswerID: 152498

Follow Up By: Gerry - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 16:24

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 16:24
A weight distribution hitch will not take any weight off the ball - it simply distributes the weight from the rear wheels to the front of the car to level the rig. The ball weight remains the same. Be careful when storing everything down the rear of the van that you maintain that 10% relationship as a minimum else you could end up with an unstable rig where the van starts swaying, particularly at speed .
FollowupID: 406261

Reply By: Mulga Bill - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 13:47

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 13:47
Yep - ball weight specs for the bar and ball weight specs for the vehicle would normally match if the bar is built for that particular vehicle (of course).... to be legal seems that the lower of the two figures is the one to address. Its a big subject..................I spent quite some time on it.......... conflicting advice from all quarters on what is the law and what is "safe" ......... in the end, you have to play the law game IMO......the speed at which insurance companies dump claims approaches that of light.
AnswerID: 152510

Reply By: mowing - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 21:13

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 21:13
Jackyboy, This may be a silly question but have you checked the ball weight of the van (loaded). Once you have done this then you will know if you are on the right track. Modern vans tend to have the axle offset towards the rear which assists with the towing but does as a consequence put more weight towards the front. If the "experts" haven't advised you to physically check the weight on the ball then IMHO they are not experts.


AnswerID: 152596

Reply By: atoyot - Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 23:44

Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 23:44
Most likely, with a Tare of 1000kg, fully loaded the can will probably be in the vicinity of 1300kg. Now with the ideal ballweight of 10% of the loaded weight, you could expect the ballweight to be around 130kg. You need to loadup and measure the ball weight, either by going to an expert who might have some towball scales, or using the bathroom scales and some pieces of wood (I'm sure there are links about how to work this out). Once you have your ballweight, it is just a matter of ensuring your towing gear is within spec.

One point that probably should be made here is that it is better to have a bit more than 10% ballweight than less. Lower ballweights, often with boat trailers (for example) can lead to instability more than a higher ballweight. With your setup, if the ballweight is above the rated max, be careful to not just move things around in the van to bring the ballweight down, as the lower you go under the reccomended 10%, the more the chance of stability issues.

Even though all this can be a hassle, it is worth the fiddling around and setting things up correctly, as your safety is paramount (as well as other road users) and with a well setup rig, it is much more relaxing towing as well. I can understand your statement about getting a consistent response, but reputable caravan retailers should be pretty much on the ball. Hayman Reece might be able to point you in the right direction. The only other thing might be to check the rating of the 4 bar levelers, as they may be a bit light. Next step up would be the HR 250kg hitch, but you'll need to get the correct towbar first.

Hope I haven't muddied the waters!



AnswerID: 152637

Reply By: slow mower - Saturday, Feb 04, 2006 at 00:34

Saturday, Feb 04, 2006 at 00:34
Just for info, the following is off the NRMA web site and relates to towing capacity for the EL Falcon:


Though Ford lists approved towing packs with capacities ranging from 1600 to 2300 kg, the maximum allowable towing weight in NSW represents an amount equal to the unladen (kerb) weight of the towing vehicle. In the case of a Falcon sedan, this would be 1535 kg. while a wagon could tow 1600 kg. Without the Ford approved towing pack, maximum towing capacity is 500 kg. Amongst other items, the Ford towing pack includes an automatic transmission oil cooler and heavy duty brake pads (where not fitted as standard).

From what you have stated, it would seem that you might already have the correct bar fitted to your vehicle.
AnswerID: 152858

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