Ball Weight of new Off Road Van

Submitted: Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 19:42
ThreadID: 91844 Views:2146 Replies:11 FollowUps:16
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Hi All
I have just had an Off Road Custom Built van designed and delivered and have been advised the ball weight is 350Kgs.
A bit high for an empty van???
The manufacturer has said its legal and can do nothing about it.
Tare mass is 2840 and that's OK.
Problem is if I add the 2 full gas bottles it goes to 360Kgs ball weight.
Add the mattress, clothes and water in the two forward tanks and the ball weight heads to 5oo+ kgs.
Any suggestions??
Fit for Purpose
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Reply By: BigPixie - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 20:11

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 20:11
Are you planning on stacking all these directly over the tow ball?
AnswerID: 477681

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:01

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:01
No not at all. They are all placed in front of the axles.

has a simple ft/lb calculation.
Sorrt Kg/Met
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FollowupID: 752945

Reply By: disco driver - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 20:15

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 20:15
Hi Geoff,
Sorry, but if you had it designed and built to your specifications you will have to wear it and probably will have to buy a F truck or similar to tow with.

If it was an off the shelf "Custom Build" and you informed the builder that it had to be suitable to tow legally behind your existing tug, you may have a case as long as you have some supporting documentation.

It MAY be possible to move the suspension set up slightly forward and thus reduce to tow bar load but this would require some engineering certification and expense to be anything like legal.

Whatever you do, don't try to compensate by overloading behind the wheels, it would be very dangerous and probably a real pig to tow.

Sorry to hear about your problem, I hope you can finish up with a satisfactory outcome.

Disco.
AnswerID: 477682

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:08

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:08
Hi Disco
When I had the van finalised it has always had a 3500 kg tow bar
The design was just my layout and I have no experience in designing caravans.

I saw a sample layout and had it modified to suit my/our interior layout and equipment placement.
The manufacturer was then tasked with the overall design and to ensure all the weights and carrying capacity came within the usual ADRs and some basic guidelines.

Move the suspension is another issue and it cannot be moved.
It is independent suspension on all 4 wheels.

load stuff in the rear ??
That was their suggestion when I asked them how I should load the van.

These guys have no idea on design. Think it was just Control 'C' Control 'V'



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FollowupID: 752946

Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 14:18

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 14:18
So Geoff, you are telling us you or they copied and pasted a design? You just said you wanted one like another one? You can't copy and paste intellectual property mate. The other caravan builders may have built thousands that allow them knowledge that is their intellectual property. They then have the capacity to strengthen their frames and bulkheads or indeed lighten them off. Some will only build particular caravans if you have a vehicle big enough to cope and that you have the experience to tow. Indeed other manufacturers are likely to have copywrite protection on their design and plans.

In deciding to bypass all of that have set out on your own
Cheers,
Who?
John

Member
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FollowupID: 753031

Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 20:19

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 20:19
G/Day Geoff

If the Tare is 2840kg what is the ATM?

Cheers
AnswerID: 477683

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:09

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:09
ATM is 3500
GTM is 3160
Tare MAss is 2820
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Reply By: murrayman - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 20:54

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 20:54
Hi geoff, as i also live in s.a. i would be interested to know who built your van iff it was built in s.a. Iff you dont want to put it over the forum i understand. cheers mark
AnswerID: 477687

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:10

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:10
was built in SA

Place in Salisbury
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Follow Up By: murrayman - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:18

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:18
hi geoff, was it built by a couple of young fellas names leigh and andy. Iff so are they still in buisiness as i know a couple of people who are keen to catch up with them, cheers mark
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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:21

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:21
nope was built by a company with Michael as the MD
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Follow Up By: murrayman - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:27

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 21:27
hi geoff, thanks for that, the other company was also at salisbury but there md was a guy called dave and his 2 workers were the names that i mentioned. cheers mark
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Follow Up By: Bobjl - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 22:13

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 22:13
Geoff

Two questions

1. What is your tow vehicle?

2. Have you considered/is it possible to move water tanks to the central rear area, [note important comments from an earlier respondent which correctly raises concerns about heavy weight at rear of van, you may want to take some expert advice in that regard].

FYI I had to reposition two of three water tanks to more central spot on my current van, one 85l water tank was placed immediately behind rear independent suspension. This has produced 350kg ball weight on 22'6" semi off roader that weighs 3500kg fully laden. The rig tows nicely behind LC 200 which has a Lovell's suspension upgrade front and rear.

I am also planning to relocate spare wheel off the rear bumper and carry it underneath in an endeavour to keep weight low and central.

Bob
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Reply By: Dust-Devil - Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 22:00

Monday, Feb 13, 2012 at 22:00
Geoff

Dude! you have had a caravan built to your specs. i.e. CUSTOM BUILT.

As long as it meets the design specs that YOU yourself specified on the custom order, then it doesn't matter what any of the weights are.

It's now up to you to provide a tow vehicle that has the 'legal limits' to tow such a caravan.

Fit for purpose: (re weights & towing only)

If you provide the correct 'legal limits' vehicle (eg F250) to tow the caravan and it tows as expected in the Tare Mass condition then it is fit for purpose.

Should it however tow like a harpooned whale in the Tare Mass condition then I would suggest it's not fit for purpose.

Unfortunately it would appear that you have designed a caravan that is over and above the legal towing specs of your intended tow vehicle.

DD
AnswerID: 477695

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 09:12

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 09:12
Hi DD

I gave the information and what I wished to have to the manufacturer and signed a contract for them to build.

The Custom Build bit was what he advised he was able to do.
At no stage did I have anything to do with weights, loading, or placement of equipment. This was part of the design/manufacture undertaken my the build company.
I had a layout for the interior.and a basic front shape I wished to have to allow for front mounted spare wheels x2.
All that information was known and was to be taken into consideration when the design process was undertaken.

Geoff
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Follow Up By: Dust-Devil - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 19:13

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 19:13
G-M

I reiterate what I said above:

"you have had a caravan built to your specs. i.e. CUSTOM BUILT.

As long as it meets the design specs that YOU yourself specified on the custom order, then it doesn't matter what any of the weights are."

Firstly: as far as I can ascertain from all your replies etc etc, the manufacturers of your van have built the subject van to your custom specs exactly as you requested. So there is no issue with that aspect of the build.

Secondly: When manufactures build caravans, trailers, vehicle bodies etc, they normally/should follow the engineering rules.guidelines for such constructions (ADR'S). The same as when building a house.

Eg. If the total estimated/calculated weight of the van plus a load factor equals X then the chassis rails have to be X spec to safely carry same.

I.E. They can't under engineer the whole project to save money or make it easier for themselves.

This also covers location of suspension, water tanks, batteries (Heavy Objects) etc so that the van tows correctly and safely.

So! in your case, if the manufacturer of your van has followed your design specs and complied with the engineering rules of Caravan construction, then I would respectfully suggest that it is 'fit for purpose', regardless of Tare Ball Weight.

As to what vehicle you choose to tow it with, well that's another issue where the responsibility lies with you to ensure that said vehicle meets the legal standards to tow such a caravan.

I can't see anywhere in this thread where you state that there was a conversation of any sort with manufacturer as to what vehicle you intended to tow the van with.

In view of the above and if I were you, the first thing I would do is get an independent, engineering inspection done of the van to establish whether or not it complies with ADR's re caravan construction.

If it does comply then you are done and dusted with that angle/line of argument, and it's then time to consider options as to how the situation may be remedied in the cheapest manner possible.

Eg: (1)Use a vehicle that has legal towing spec for your van. How you do this is obviously up to you.
(2) Sell the van and start again
(3) Commence a line of action that may possibly be 'good money chasing bad money'


Whatever, I suggest it might be wise to seek legal advice on what your next move ought to be.

Best of British Luck to you.

regards

DD



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FollowupID: 753082

Reply By: Nutta - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 00:14

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 00:14
Surely if you ask an experienced caravan builder to build you a custom van you would expect them to ask simple questions, ie tow car etc and guide you along the way.

It sounds like the builder is inexperienced to me, not the buyer!
AnswerID: 477707

Reply By: Jim* - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 07:09

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 07:09
Geoff..

You say you’ve been advised the ball weight is 350 kgs.

Have you weighed the van yourself - including axle and towball weights?

Jim
AnswerID: 477711

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 09:15

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 09:15
Jim

I actually took the van to be weighed as part of the builders VIN Plate requirements.
Yes I saw what it was on the weigh bridge.
And I have weighed it again with full gas bottles, mattress on the bed and chaird and hoses in the boot.
I had 420kgs ball weight at that stage.

Geoff
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FollowupID: 752984

Follow Up By: ozjohn0 - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012 at 11:52

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012 at 11:52
Geoff.
Unless you supplied the mattress yourself it's weight should by law be included in the TARE of the van. The same goes for the empty gas bottles.
The TARE is anything and everything on or in the the van when it leaves the factory.
Ozjohn.
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Reply By: Member - Bucky - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 07:47

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 07:47
Geoff
Ball Weight... What a topic.
2 blokes cannot lift mates drawbar of his Kimberley Camper.
Is that correct. ?
That's a matter of opinion, I can lift mine by myself, but it's awkward to manouvre
Sometimes there is no right or wrong, just compromise.

Apart from that
Everything you need to know is covered in the Topics section, under Caravanning

Have a good read.

You may be able to solve some of your issues there.
Cheers
Bucky

AnswerID: 477712

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 09:16

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 09:16
Thanks Bucky

Will have a look

Geoff
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Reply By: PeterInSa - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 10:16

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 10:16
Geoff,
Since your in SA I would talk to Dario Caravans in St Marys, some years ago, I was talking to Dario and mentioned he was looking into what he could do with a van in a similar situation to yours. However I believe Dario has retired, but the new owner/his staff would we worth a call.

The other person I would speak to is Larry at Roadmaster Caravans he previiously bulilt caravans.

Peter
AnswerID: 477729

Reply By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 14:31

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 14:31
Geoff

I do not have any experience with vans of today so I cannot help with mods etc.

However may I say that you would be well advised not to modify or change the van in any way until you have resolved the warranty and fit for purpose aspect first. Make sure you have a full copy of all design and ordering documentation and document all conversations. This is to protect YOUR rights should it get nasty. You are obviously not happy with the van.

If I were you I would get it examined to make sure firstly that it is legal on the road with your car. If not and also if the manufacturers are washing their hands of you see the ACCC or spend a quid and get a solicitors letter for them to fix what they built as road worth for your car.

Something along those lines. Friendly and business like to start with and absolutely NO THREATS. Leave that to the ACCC or engineer or legal eagles.

Best of luck.

Phil
AnswerID: 477754

Follow Up By: Geoff in SA - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 14:49

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 14:49
Thanks Phill
That's where it seems to be heading at this point in time.

Will keep all advised

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FollowupID: 753042

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 15:39

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012 at 15:39
No worries Geoff

But do not forget to "document all conversations". A note on paper is the best memory. Every little thing.

Catchya

Phil
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FollowupID: 753046

Reply By: murrayman - Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012 at 09:32

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012 at 09:32
Hi geoff, i sympathise with you as i and 3 friends also had vans built by another builder in salisbury who basically did not have a clue but was an expert salesman. i had the opposite of you , mine was far to light on the drawbar. 2820 kg empty with 120 kg ball weight. I bought a tow weight indicator so any time i did a mod i could see the effect on the ball weiight. Its all sorted now and tows very well. i ended up moving tanks and spare wheels etc. while i read you have you 2 spares up the front you could help by putting them on the rear bumper, this will drop about 50 kg off the front and by transfering that weight to the back you will also loose about another 15 kg off the front. while the experts on the other forums will tell you that iff you put anything heavier than you grade 1 lunch box on the back bumper you will have a uncontrollable sway and you will be flung kleen off the edge of the planet this is not so, especially with that ball weight. There is a couple of other things you can do to help trim the van, iff you want to ring me at work in mannum i will talk you through them. 0885691979 cheers mark.
AnswerID: 477827

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