Caravan questions

Submitted: Friday, May 08, 2009 at 19:31
ThreadID: 68646 Views:5407 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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My car is a Totaota Camry with a towing weight max. of 1,200 kg's, someone told me that when buying a caravan l should look for one weighing around 800kgs becasue after all the gear is loaded in it would come to around 1,200 kgs, is this correct?
Also he said that l should defenently get a caravan with breaks as my towing weight max is only 1,200, is that correct should l only get one with breaks. Do most caravans have breaks , do caravans from the early 80's to early 90's have them, how do they work? when you press down your car break does it cause the caravan to put on its breaks at the same time?
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Reply By: cranswick - Friday, May 08, 2009 at 19:44

Friday, May 08, 2009 at 19:44
Also l'm interested in a viscount Aeroilite 1985 model which weights aroung 840kgs, does anyone know if this is a good van to get or if this model has brakes?
AnswerID: 363919

Follow Up By: disco driver - Friday, May 08, 2009 at 23:33

Friday, May 08, 2009 at 23:33
The Viscount Aerolite caravans have a bit of an adverse reputation in regard to structural integrity.

The chassis was superlight, almost pressed sheet steel, but was suitable for on road use only. there are recorded instances of chassis failure. Their walls and roof construction was basically two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a polystyrene foam with almost no framework in it and held together with pop rivets. The interior fittings, cupboards etc provided a little rigidity.

In plain speak, they have been known to implode/explode when being passed by large vehicles (long high and wide semitrailers) going in the opposite direction. Not a pretty sight.

There are other caravans of the same vintage, including other Viscount models, with either timber or aluminium frames and still coming in at similar weights suitable for your Camry. Most would be a better buy than an Aerolite and most would have over run brakes fitted as standard and be legal with them.

Over run brakes are quite adequate for these lighter vans but electric are better. However retro fitting electric brakes would be fairly expensive in a lower priced secondhand caravan.

Sorry this was a bit long but I hope it helps you.

FollowupID: 631597

Reply By: Pat (vic) - Friday, May 08, 2009 at 19:53

Friday, May 08, 2009 at 19:53
Hi cranswick

Yes you should look at a caravan that weighs 800kg or less when empty once you load it up it will get to 1200kg very quick.
Anything that can carry more than 750kg including the weight of the van or trailer must have brakes, there are mechanical and electric brakes and yes they do come with them.

Cheers Pat
AnswerID: 363920

Follow Up By: Pat (vic) - Friday, May 08, 2009 at 20:27

Friday, May 08, 2009 at 20:27
Also check the ball weight of the car and make sure the caravan does not exceed that either.

Cheers Pat
FollowupID: 631581

Reply By: HGMonaro - Friday, May 08, 2009 at 20:02

Friday, May 08, 2009 at 20:02
what state are you in? Although I think this applies Australia wide, sometimes it matters so best to say so people can answer accordingly. Anyway, if it weighs over 750kg you must have brakes. Modern caravans generally have electric brakes. Older vans (and trailers) can have 'override' brakes (usually Hydraulic... don't know if there's other sorts but someone will say so if there is!). With override brakes when the weight of the van/trailer pushes against the car (which is slowing down) it activates the brakes. Electric brakes activate when you put your foot on the brake (they are usually wired into the brake light wiring)

Lots of info about if you do a search.

Cheers, Nige
AnswerID: 363924

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:26

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:26
Single axle vans normally have a load allowance of not more than 300kg which is not much if going on an extended trip as this includes any gas, water, and anything else you carry in it.

Is your Camry a 4 or a 6 cyl cos a 4 will be working pretty hard towing that close to maximum and will drink fuel faster than you can fill it up.

When you look at vans they should have a plate which states

Tare weight ( the unloaded dry weight)

The GTM The loaded weight on the wheels but not the towball.

Total Legal loaded weight.onwheels and jockey wheel which should not be exceeded as if so it may negate any insurance claims.

The ball weight is usually the difference of the ATM minus the GTM

The ATM should not exceed the towing capacity of your car or towbar whichever is the lesser.

EG yor car may be able to tow 1200kg but it MAY have an 800kg towbar on it.

If so thats all you may tow unless you buy a heavier rated one.

Observe all of this and you will be ok legally as far as weights go.

AnswerID: 364029

Follow Up By: cranswick - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:08

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:08
Thanks my car is a 4 cylinder toyota Carmry, l have'nt got a tow bar insatlled yet , it says my towing capacity is 1,200 kgs, can l get a 1,200 capacity tow bar, if l buy a 800 taree van how difficult would it be to tow? how may km's roughly would l be able to travel on a full tank, l think its 800 km's without towing anything. If l put some of the heavy stuff like water containers in the back seat would that help?
FollowupID: 631737

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:56

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:56
How long is a piece of string.

Your fuel usage will depend on lots of things.

Is it an auto.

Where are you going

How many people in the car

How much stuff in the van

Your Toyota dealer or a reputable Towbar retailer can tell you that part of it.

Personally I wouldnt tow at full capacity in a normal car.

Remember you cant just load up the car till it bulges to save weight in the van as the engine still has to move the lot.

Would be a pain in the proverbial to carry your water in the car and gas is technically illegal inside a car anyway.

Perhaps a larger capacity car or a camper trailer is more suited to the cars capacity

There is a weight limit to the car as well and remember


Have a good think about what you really want and whats available thats suitable.

FollowupID: 631751

Reply By: cranswick - Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 19:06

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 19:06
With a 4 cylinder Toyota Camry 1,200 kg tow capacity can l comfortably tow a 750-800 taree caravan or would it be too difficult and l'm better off buying a more powerful car if l want to own a caravan?
AnswerID: 364193

Reply By: kingswoodwagon - Monday, May 11, 2009 at 20:52

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 20:52
In response to how much additional weight you add to your van - a technique I have seen to lighten the load is - always stay in caravan parks on powered sites and cook in camp kitchens - this means you don't need to carry gas bottles, water, van battery, axes, shovels etc.

I know much of my additional weight is due to camping remotely.

I also met someone who doesn't even carry tinned food - to cut down on weight. I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities to get the 400kg down to 200kg.

have fun - you'll find people towing with Camry's.
AnswerID: 364378

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