Jayco eagle towing masses

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 21:19
ThreadID: 96003 Views:13597 Replies:5 FollowUps:9
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Hi all

I am looking at a second hand, 2008 model Jayco Eagle pop top to buy. However I am a little confused with the term used on the VIN plate which refers to th tow ball weight as "empty ball

the VIN plate shows the following:

Tare = 1014 kg
ATM = 1314 kg
GTM = 1183 kg
Empty ball mass = 131 kg

Now my understanding is that the ATM is the maximum allowable weight that the van can be and this would include fitting and luggage, water, gas etc. this is normally the Tare plus around 300 kg for extras over the stock standard factory issued van.

I also believe the ATM is also greater than the GTM and that the GTM is the portion of the load transferred through the vans axle only. This then means that the ATM is the GTM plus the ball down force or mass, which is commonly 10-15% of the ATM. So 1314 - 1183 = 131 kg.

But then I call a Jayco sales man and he tells me that the "empty ball mass" quoted on the VIN plate is the ball weight when the trailer is empty. However the calculations don't agree! I am now confused as to which is which? Could empty ball mass mean with the water tank empty as it sits behind the wheels and would in theory actually reduce the ball mass as it is filled.

Can anyone help? I have a XT forrester with 1600 kg and 160 ball mass allowed. But I am hoping this would not be much more than the 130 kg down force that the calculations indicate. Something does not match us!!!


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Reply By: desray (WA - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 23:46

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 23:46
I tow a Jayco Eagle with a 2005 Prado and know its there, pulls the car around a bit . Towing one with a Subaru may be a bit of a struggle , can you borrow one to try towing before buying one
AnswerID: 487559

Follow Up By: Hiacer - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 06:58

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 06:58
Yeah, I might have to try and find one I can hire or something.

If you don't mind me asking, what is the ATM/GTM and ball weight on your van?? I imagine the Prado has a towing capacity over 2000kg also!

Our car is a new forester and they are rated to 1600 kg with 160 kg ball weight, so I thought it should be fine.

I did hitch up the 2008 eagle and I took it for a run down the street and back and I definitely knew it was there. However the street was only a 800 metre run and was flat. I definitely knew it was there though. The car had no problems towing it, the torque is 320 Nm with power at 170 kW with AWD, so I guess that is not going to be a problem considering it produces loads of torque fairly early.

I would like to see how it handles it on the freeway and other roads, hills etc. One would think that 1300 kg is not a hell of a lot to tow, I am just thinking that the tow ball weight may be very high, perhaps 130 kg plus, but it doesn't make sense.

We were set on the eagle however if I am not comfortable in towing it we might have to go back to looking at the smaller van, which is the Jayco flight, there really is only 3 of us, and we really only want it to sleep in when camping more than anything, plus if we want to take others I guess we can set up the annex.

The flight is around the 800kg and less than 80kg tow ball weight, so would be much easier to tow I imagine... and probably save a bit on fuel too! It would weight no more than 1100 kg fully loaded. I think Jayco made it for smaller cars.

It is a pity they don't make these pop-top style vans lighter, surely they could use more aluminium and drop a good couple of hundred kilos!!!

Thanks for the reply.

FollowupID: 762838

Follow Up By: David16 - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 08:19

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 08:19
Can I also suggest setting one up and packing it up as well before you buy, we bought one just before Easter to go away in at Easter, it was painful! Too long to set up for overnighters and an hour to pack up with limited internal storage, also very heavy to tow.
We sold it on the Tuesday after Easter, we had it a whole 3 weeks!
FollowupID: 762844

Follow Up By: Hiacer - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 08:43

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 08:43
Hi David

I did set it up with the owner, basically undo 4 clips, wind up top, push beds out, put door top on, wind down legs, do up bed end canvas and hook up power, water. This took about 15 minutes max so was alright.

But we didn't do the bed ends or awning. Which I imagine would take another 15 minutes max, depends if you have one or two doing this.

We also packed it back away, which was pretty quick.

We don't travel with a lot of gear too, just small fold out table, a few chairs and portable (round plate) BBQ and a table top two burner. Cooking gear etc would stay in van and be used as required, in cupboards.

3 weeks wow! That's a quick turnaround. What do you use now?? What was your tow vehicle??

Yes, my concern is mainly the weight and stability, though most of our trips are intended weekends or week away at camp grounds within 2-300 km of home. I don't know what other options there are however, other than a camper trailer, which I know though very light take a LONG time to set up, may as well go for a tent!

Maybe the flight is a better option, less space but then we dont needs lots as we will spend most of our time outside, that is the idea of camping for us.



FollowupID: 762846

Follow Up By: David16 - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:21

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:21
Hi James,
We ended up buying an Ultimate camper, it's fantastic only takes 5 mins to set up and has internal kithen and lounge. It now opens up the whole country for us to explore rather than just 2x4 tracks. We are towing with a navara stx. The first time we packed up the jayco it was raining and all the bedding and matresses got wet, could not avoid it.
FollowupID: 762849

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:59

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 09:59
TARE - 1014
ATM - 1314
GTM - 1183
Empty Ball = 131.

TARE is the completly empty camper as it left the Jayco factory.
ATM is the maximum legal loaded weight.
GTM is the maximum legal weight that can be supported by the wheels.
Empty ball weight was the weight on the coupling as measured by Jayco with the van at it's TARE.
ATM less TARE = Payload. Payload includes everything added onto or into the camper after it left the factory. That includes your personal items and water etc as well as anything added by the dealer or a previous owner.
The loaded ball weight will be dertirmined by how you distribute the weight you add to the camper. It will continually alter as you use up water/food etc.
Loaded ball weight for the camper should be around 10% or the campers 'Loaded' weight.
Hope the above assists.
AnswerID: 487576

Follow Up By: ozjohn0 - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 10:01

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 10:01
Sorry I had camper on my mind from a previous post, but that same info applies for a Pop Top van.
FollowupID: 762857

Follow Up By: Hiacer - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 10:56

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 10:56
OK... So the tow ball mass empty is 13% of the TARE..!!

It just seems that tare + allowable 300 = ATM, which is 1314, which adds up and makes sense. Then ATM - GTM = 131, which is the ball mass, which if that is the case takes into account the payload etc, fully legal loaded. I think that the empty ball mass definition is maybe wrong or misleading!!! Or am I missing something here? The figures all add up, the definition of the ball mass does not make sense!

I understand that allowable 300 includes accessories such as extra canvas gear, poles, gas bottles, jerry cans, food, pots and pans, forks, knives etc, clothes, water, gas, kayak on roof etc, so the actual allowable left over from the 300kg original after a few accessories are added may only be down around 150-200 kg at max!!!!

Add some more gear to that and the tow ball weight could get up around the 150 kg easy, depending on how it is distributed obviously.

That's a lot for a little trailer. That seems like a ridiculous tow ball weight for something so light! It doesnt add up!!!

The term "empty ball mass" does not make sense to me. It calculates from the ATM and GTM to be the fully loaded, or maximum fully loaded ball mass allowed.

The little swift is a smaller van but still has a double and a 1.5 single bed and a table conversion bed too. It still has fridge, sink, stoke, cupboards, dining table, but no lounge (who needs that when you are camping anyhow) and it only has a tow ball weight of 62 kg and weighs 792 kg tare.

I think it is going to be our best option by the looks of it. I will look into it some more in that case as I don't want to kill the car or feel uncomfortable towing up hills or on the freeway.

The swift will be much easier to store in the garage too I guess. It is only 4770mm long in travel mode but is 3750mm when set up.

Thanks for info

FollowupID: 762865

Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 10:06

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 10:06
Have seen a std Foz tow a Finch. No passengers. The weight on the ball depressed the rear about the same amount as my c. 800kg total mass soft top CT does on my Foz. I certainly wouldn't want any more weight on the ball as the front end would lift and lighten too much and a weight distributing hitch would be mandatory to correct that.

Your XT has the power to pull an Eagle but I reckon the handling would be trying with a 1.5 tonne tug coping with a 1.3 tonne trailer.
AnswerID: 487579

Reply By: jacks m - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 12:31

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 12:31
it is cool GTM = 1183 kg
AnswerID: 487584

Follow Up By: Hiacer - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 14:25

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 14:25
cool?? sorry not sure what you meant!
FollowupID: 762874

Reply By: Jayfoz - Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 17:45

Monday, Jun 04, 2012 at 17:45
Hi James,

We own a 2009 Forester (non-turbo, manual, 1,400kg tow limit) and a Jayco Dove and I thought I would give you my 2 cents worth.

Like yourself, we had a few doubts about towing a Jayco pop top with our forester when we were looking to buy the pop top. But after talking to other people who actually have this setup, we decided to take the plunge.

Our Jayco has a 900kg tare and 113 kg ball weight.

Yes, we notice that we have a caravan on the back that we are towing, but the way I look at it, it's not like you are out to break land speed records with whatever rig you have for towing. We keep to 90km/hr on the highway (we have had towed it faster than this but it eats into your fuel economy) and whilst we do have to drop back gears when going up hill, I have not been that stressed with our rig. We have towed it from Brisbane to Bundaberg, Brisbane to Toowoomba (yes, up the Toowoomba range too) and out to western Queensland. Next year we are going to tow it around the country for 3 months.

Whilst it would be great to have a Landcruiser or Patrol, we can't justify the upgrade at this stage of life and the Forester suits our everyday needs anyway.

Have you considered buying an older Jayco (ours is 2005) as they are lighter in weight than the newer models.

Anyway, maybe you could try pulling one with your forester yourself to see how you go.

AnswerID: 487605

Follow Up By: Hiacer - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 17:40

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 17:40
We have decided to go for something lighter and smaller, The Swift. It has double one side and a 1.5 single the other side. Smaller, lighter, easier to tow with Tare of less than 800 kg and tow ball weight of 61kg. Easier to store in garage also and I should be able to lift the tow end by hand without too much trouble. There is only three of us too, sometimes four, but two of them will be 8 year olds,

I actually saw a mid 2000's model holden commodore sedan towing a swan today, very similar to the eagle, and it was sagging really badly, actually it looked really unsafe to drive with the nose up and tail right down low.

I didn't feel comfortable with the load of the eagle on the rear of the XT.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, I am sure some of you have set up s that work with the forester, and yes 1300 kg plus 150 kg tow ball weight is legal and within the allowable for the XT, however it just didnt feel safe and I guess a comment made here makes sense, a tug of 1500 kg towing 1300 or so kg, just doesn't sound safe really! under 1000 kg with a smaller ball weight sounds better.


FollowupID: 763242

Follow Up By: ozjohn0 - Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 19:56

Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 19:56
The rear of the Holden may have been low, but you have no way of telling what the ball weight was. It could have been anything.
As per my reply to your original question.
"The loaded ball weight will be dertirmined by how you distribute the weight you add to the camper. It will continually alter as you use up water/food etc"
FollowupID: 763315

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