Preparing a Vehicle for Towing Feedback

Question on Tow ball weight & Caravan weight. Thanks for reading! I'm about to take delivery of a Peugeot 308 with a max towing weight of 1650kg. We figured this would go well with a caravan we've recently been looking at; the Adria Altea, which has a TARE of 900kgs and a ATM of 1300kgs. However I'm concerned about this thing called "Tow Ball Weight". I'm used to towing a moving trailer with my old Volvo 240GL (tough old bat that it is!), and have never thought about towing weights and tow ball weights. So I have no idea about these things! As far as I can tell, a Peugeot's tow ball weight is 60-68kgs. (Looking into whether I can get an alternate tow ball.) Apparently the Adria's have a very light tow ball weight, but I can't find it anywhere. Can someone help me with some advice about this?
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Reply By: Tony - Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 07:21

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 07:21
As far as I can tell, the "Ball weight" is the downward weight on the towing point. Not just the tow ball.

I would first look at the down weight of the caravan hitch, then seek advice from someone like Hayman Reese, for towimg equipment needed to support the van weight.
AnswerID: 356241

Reply By: Dazmit - Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 07:48

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 07:48
Generally it's recomended that the tow ball weight be 10% of the van weight fogood stability - this would put the van towball weight at approx 130kg - this depends on how you load the van's boot etc. If Peugot have a max rating of 68kg then it is illegal to go above this figure.
Hate to say it but I suspect the Peugot is not real suitable for a caravan.


AnswerID: 356245

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 08:19

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 08:19
If the figures you quote are correct it would actually be illegal to tow a normal trailer as it woul logically have a ball weight of at least 75kg.

Eg 10% of its allowable 750kg.
Check with Peugot before you sign the papers.

AnswerID: 356252

Reply By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 10:36

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 10:36

It is not unusual for many modern vehicles to have a low maximum allowable tow-ball weight which restricts the amount you can tow, as this needs to be 8% to 12% of the ATM.

Where do you live? Go to and see if there is a course near you. Do the course prior to purchase of you van, and you will quite a bit that will assist you in your choices.
AnswerID: 356294

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 14:41

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 14:41
Australian van manufacturers generally recommend a Ball Weight (Vans downward weight on the Tow Ball) of 10% of the Gross Weight (Loaded weight) of the caravan to prevent the van swaying and causing accidents (injury or death).
European vans are designed to be towed with lighter Ball weights to suit their smaller lighter tow vehicles. These newer Euro vans have Anti - Sway Friction Pads built into the van Ball Coupling to overcome the sway problem. However the light Euro vans still can't handle our corrigated roads.
AnswerID: 356337

Reply By: Splits - Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 19:34

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 19:34

I noticed there are a few van dealers advertising the Altea on the Trading Post. (see link below) They list the tow ball weight as between 65 and 100kg. This means when the van is loaded there should be at least 65 kg pressing down on the tow ball but no more than 100. If you go outside that range, the van may not handle like it was designed to.

The car has been designed to have a maximum of 68 kg on its tow ball. Anything over that will also affect its handling. This gives you a tolerance of 3kg which is cutting it a bit fine but still possible to achieve.

The best and possibly only way to do it is to place bathroom scales under the towing coupling of the van while loading it. You have to carefully place all of your gear inside in such a way that you have between 65 and 68 kg showing on the scales.

That is easy to do but keeping it that way as you add or consume things on a trip could be an interesting exercise. If you do it though, everything will work well as per the design specifications of both the car and van.

If it was me I think I would be inclined to find a car with a higher ball weight.


Site Link
AnswerID: 356404

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 22:11

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 22:11
The above advice is misleading in the extreme.

By doing what is said could lead someone who doesnt know any better to load the van tail heavy to get the required ball weight.

This would be exceedingly dangerous and could lead to serious consequences once it starts to weave all over the road as it will do.

It seems the vehicle you have chosen is totally unsuitable for what you want to do.

If you buy it please keep me informed of your whereabouts when towing so I can be somewhere else when you come around a corner out of control. LOL

Cheers and good luck
FollowupID: 624500

Follow Up By: Splits - Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 20:47

Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 20:47

When you are working with a van that has a minimum tow ball weight so close to the tow car's maximum, how else are you going to get it right? You either use scales or guess. If you start overloading the rear, your scales are immediately going to read under the manufacturer's minimum and you will correct it.

The only reason I mentioned bathroom scales is because the weights involved are well within their capacity. Many people with larger vans use a weighbridge. What is the difference? They are both scales.

FollowupID: 624709

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 20:59

Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 20:59
True but still very dicey with a towball weight that low.
All right when you leave home but when travelling things get moved around and would be very easy to upset things.

I wont have to worry with a towball weight of 305kg LOL

Still think the tug is far too light for the job.

FollowupID: 624715

Follow Up By: Splits - Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 22:19

Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 22:19

There is some information about tow ball weights on the link below. It mentions European weights being low and it appears the design of the car has a lot to do with it.

Maybe a European van on a non European car may not work as well as it should.Site Link

FollowupID: 624726

Reply By: Out and About - Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 09:30

Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 09:30
We have an Adria Altea. Its a fantastic little van that tows really well. Its towball weight is 65kg unloaded. As far as I know it has the lowest tow ball weight of any van on the market.

However, it would be just about impossible to keep it quite this low when loaded. Anything you put in the boot and in the front of the under bed storage area will add to this weight. And with the toilet right at the front the weight of the water in the toilet tanks (I think up to about 35kg if they are both full) will impact on it as well.
AnswerID: 356533

Reply By: Tenpounder - Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 17:24

Friday, Mar 27, 2009 at 17:24
Hi. Graham H from Qld raises an interesting point. We're used to the 10% rule for towball weight in Oz. But the design of this van is for a towball weight between 65 and 100 kg (ie between 4% and 6% of ATM). I don't know why the van manufacturer does not want the owner to put more than 100kg (perhaps we shouldn't ask!) on the drawbar.
So either we're old fashioned, and the 10% rule is out of date, and modern engineering has overcome the old stability problems, or else we're facing an onslaught of unstable rigs whose owners can proudly show all weights in spec - in this case, the van at 1600 kg, 4% on the drawbar; the Pug with a load with specs and with the ball weight held to 68kg.
I don't think the 10% rule has any legal standing, but I could be wrong.
I for one feel a need for an engineering explanation of th stability of a rig with 4% nominally on the towball (hit a bump; back of the car goes up, flicks the drawbar up with it; what's the drawbar weight now???)
It really is an issue that needs to be resolved.
Chris (SA)
AnswerID: 356612

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