towball weight

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 01, 2012 at 23:46
ThreadID: 90945 Views:2596 Replies:8 FollowUps:10
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I have recently bought a 23'6 Traveller that has a tare weight of 2800 kilos and then fully laden in excess of 3200 kilos. My understanding is that for towing and safety reasons you should always have a min of 10% (pref slightly more) of the vans weight on the towball (I tow with a 2007 100 series turbo diesel Landcruiser). I am very concerned that the compliance plate on the van shows the towball weight as 180 kilos whatever that means. I have not yet weighed the van, when coupled up, to show how much weight is on the towball but I am sure that it is more than 180 kilos. Any technical info out there would be greatly appreciated. PS I have noticed that the tandem wheels on the van are located somewhat to the rear of the van and perhaps this is a consideration, I don't know.
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Reply By: crd patrol - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 00:47

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 00:47
First of all I would take it to a weighbridge and check the actual weight of it empty. Because if you have added any extras this will bring that tare weight up. It is suprising how much the extra stuff can weigh. Ask the guys at the wieghbridge how to check your towball weight as well.

Next I would weigh it fully laden with all your stuff on board including clothes, crockery, cutlery, water, food and anything else you take away with you. And also check the towball weight again.

I would reckon that once you load up the van with all your gear that the 180kg ball weight will rise pretty quickly. And if you want the 10%, with the 3200kg when fully laden, will put 320kg onto the rear of the cruiser. If you don't have airbags in the rear srpings then I would seriously consider getting some put in.

Also the amount of towball weight will depend on how much gear you take and how you load it into the van.

AnswerID: 473827

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 00:59

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 00:59
If the tow ball overhang from the rear axle is 50% of your wheelbase, for every 100 kg of ball weight you put on the ball you will put 150 kg on the axle (simple lever action.) You should not beef up the rear suspension to carry an overload like that. You should employ a weight distribution hitch (WDH) to spread the ball load over both the axles of your Cruiser.

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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Jan 03, 2012 at 07:49

Tuesday, Jan 03, 2012 at 07:49
Agree Peter

What people forget is that all the air bags do is lift or lower the body. They do not change the weight distribution at all.

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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 00:52

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 00:52
It is not the empty ball weight of the van that counts, it's the loaded ball weight that you should be concerned about. By all means weigh the van now and check that the tare weight is reasonably correct. However you will need to weigh it when loaded ready for your first trip. All the vans I have had carry more loading in the front (I have never had a rear kitchen model.) Hopefully when you load it there will be enough forward of the axle group to add the 175 kg or so to your ball weight. The weight in the boot will go a fair way towards that.

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Reply By: ozjohn0 - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 09:39

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 09:39
With a TARE of 2800Kg I'll bet my family jewels that the fully loaded weight of the van (Including 2 or 3 full water tanks) will be in excess of 3200Kg.
If the ATM is 3200Kg then a replacement VIN Plate maybe required from the manufacturer.
A loaded ball weight of around 10% of the total loaded weight of the van is a good starting point, but owing to the length of the van 12% plus maybe in order. That's assuming that nothing except one spare is attached to the rear bumper.
Cheers, Ozjohn.

PS> The Tow Ball weight on the VIN Plate should be disregarded as it's the unladen van ball weight.
AnswerID: 473839

Follow Up By: Member - Carl- Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 20:11

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 20:11
OzJohn. I have to disagree with the first part of your post. I think that Mally's number look pretty good.

Assuming tare to ATM difference as being, water+ filled LPG bottles + personal effects. I think that 400kg to 500 kg is about right. I weighted everything we carried at it was almost 100kg of personal effects. I was surprised it was this low. so water 300kg (at most but likely less) personal 100kg and gas 90kg.

I agree with your other comments however.

Traveller are one of the best vans and you are towing with almost the best possible vehicle but I would look at some rear (firestone) airbags.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 04, 2012 at 20:34

Wednesday, Jan 04, 2012 at 20:34
All the airbags do while you're towing is make the rear very tight. All the shocks from rough roads or corrugations will be more severe with airbags and that will put much more stress on your tow hitch.

That is something you do not want.

Get a good WDH system and forget about airbags.

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Reply By: PeterInSa - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 11:38

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 11:38
To my knowledge the 100Series TD can tow up to 3400Kg with 340Kg on the tow ball, BUT you need to check to confirm the actual figures.

If I owned your Traveller, I would up the ATM to the Chassis Max Carry weight (GTM?) this weight could be around 3400Kg, there should be a plate on your chassis detailing the weight. You need to see an Engineer to get it certified could cost around $500 and an RTA check to make it legal another $250 or so.

Well worth doing.

AnswerID: 473851

Follow Up By: PeterInSa - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 11:42

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 11:42
Should have said have the Tow Ball weight of the van changed by the Engineer at the same time as the ATM.


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Follow Up By: ozjohn0 - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 16:15

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 16:15
The LC 100 has a max tow capity of 3500Kg with a max ball weight of 350Kg.
Toyota also recommend that a WDH be used. Check the vehicle Handbook for additional information re: weights etc.

How can an engineer change the ball weight?
Ball weight is a non fixed weight detirmined by the distribution of load.
It will be different every time the van is loaded or something is taken out or used (Food, LPG, water in tanks etc).
Cheers, Ozjohn.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 13:11

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 13:11
There are some varying views about how much ball weight is required.
Some of the "creditable sources" recomend as little a 5%......between 5% & 10% is commonly referenced.

Simple maths shows that the at least 10% concept is only marginably creditable....on most of the big vans if you put 10% on the ball the ratings of the common tow vehicles would be exceeded.

Not all tow vehicles have 10% of their towing capacity as their specified ball weight.

if the van tares at 2800 and the declared ball weight is 180, scratch ya head over the 10%.

Then consider the effects of a weight distributing hitch

But the bottom line is that soo often we are trying to tow vans that are pushing the or exceeding limit of the very generous towing limits on the modern tow vehicles.

here are a couple of questions.
what is the GTM ( gross trailer mass) of the van, what is the ATM ( aggrate trailer mass) and you have the ball weight and the tare weight.

All those are " engineered at source " and legally binding.

GTM + ball weight =ATM.

ATM - tare = much stuff including fluids you can pack.

All this should be docmented and there should be enough on the VIN plate to fill the spaces.

Remember too that many of these vans we be engineered to be barely within the legal limits.

No matter which way you look at the van in question, unless you are towing it with a truck, it will be pushing the legal limits some how.

You will have to be very carefull how you load it to keep it within the legal limits and even more to keep it safe.

Then I ask many of these vans & tow vehicles are safe when within legal spec's...AND how many vans & tow vehicles are actually loaded and running within the specifications that apply.

Unless you put it over a scale, you cant have a clue.

AnswerID: 473855

Reply By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 14:34

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 14:34

You must also remember that whatever the tow ball weight is, it comes off the vehicles GVM.

So on average you will have 750 kg of payload, minus fuel, passengers and any luggage then minus whatever tow ball weight you have for your van.

Worse case 320kg tow ball weight leaves you with 430kg. minus fuel 140kg and 2 passengers 150kg leaves you with 140kg for luggage and personal stuff.

Oh yes.. If you have a bull bar, winch, roof racks etc.... that also needs to be taken into account as well...
AnswerID: 473864

Follow Up By: Fatso - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 15:47

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 15:47
Don't forget Tony that he still has to take off his towbar & bull bar & drawer system & engel & jerry cans & honda gennie & second spare & the list goes on & on.

Like the Bantam said Mally, you have to go to a weigh bridge to have any idea of what your weights realy are.
You have obviously made a serious investment in this rig. It would be a shame to not get it right.
FollowupID: 748720

Reply By: lindsay - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 17:16

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 17:16
As someone who owns a weighbridge and has weighed heaps of vans ect it is frightening to see what people tow around. What we do is to place vehicle front wheels only on the bridge with the van attached, this will tell you how much weight on the front wheels. Note the weight. Then place the whole vehicle on the bridge with the van attached to it (but with the van off the bridge) and note the weight.
Unhitch the van and lift it clear of the tow bar WDH removed with the jockey wheel. Make sure the jockey wheel is off the bridge. Note the weight and deduct this from the first weight and the difference will be the weight on the towball. Then recouple and weigh again without the WDH attached, this weight will tell how much weight the WDH is taking off the tow bar. Drive all on bridge and it will give you the Gross combination mass. You can then drive the car off and leave the van on and it will give you the weight on the van wheels. Some simple maths can tell you all that you will need to know.
Bit of a mouthful but quite simple. We have peolpe then playing around with their loading to get it right.
AnswerID: 473886

Follow Up By: Fatso - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 20:59

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 20:59
G'day Lindsay.
Just out of curiosity, what would the average cost for this service be?
It's been a while since I paid to have a vehicle weighed.
FollowupID: 748750

Follow Up By: Member - Mally (WA) - Wednesday, Jan 04, 2012 at 18:49

Wednesday, Jan 04, 2012 at 18:49
Thanks Lindsay,
In your answer you suggest that I first take the weight on the front wheels, 2nd - take the weight of the L/Cruiser on the weighbridge with the van off the bridge still attached to vehicle and then 3rd weigh the car on the bridge with the van not attached. You say to take this weight from the "1st" weight and the diff will be the towball weight. I would have thought that you would take the diff between the 2nd and 3rd weights. Am I wrong? Finally I have been told that you can place the van fully laden on the weighbridge and still attached to the vehicle and then detach the van from the car and the difference if your ball weight. Is this also wrong? Any help greatly appreciated.
FollowupID: 748921

Reply By: lindsay - Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 23:46

Monday, Jan 02, 2012 at 23:46
Because of our weighbridge is a private bridge and not a public one we can only legally use it to weight product that we sell and not to weigh for a fee. We can't and don't charge on weighings. You would need a weighbridge that is fairly quiet to do what we do as it would take about half an hour and a public bridge would not like to have others waiting. If you lived near Bendigo Vic I would do it for you.
AnswerID: 473911

Follow Up By: Fatso - Tuesday, Jan 03, 2012 at 14:17

Tuesday, Jan 03, 2012 at 14:17
Thanks for the offer Lindsay.
That is very generous of you.
I don't need anything weighed at the moment & was just curious about the cost.
FollowupID: 748772

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