Mazda CX9 and Jayco Swan outback tow ball weight question

Hi everyone.

I am only new here. I am also new to caravans in general.

We are wanting to buy a swan outback to tow behind our Mazda CX9 as we have three young children and believe it would benefit them to spend some time outdoors experiencing this wonderful country we live in.

I need help understanding the whole tow ball weight thing. Our car can tow 2000kgs but can only have tow ball weight of 150kgs. now the standard swans come in well under this but we want to add an extra water tank, extra gas bottle, outdoor shower, hotwater system and pump, solar panels and battery, 2x jerry can holders and of course we need to load our belongings into this.

As far as i can see it adding these will push us way over the allowed 150kg limit. I also dont understand how much we are allowed to load into the boot of the car in all of this.

It is all very new to me. I have been trying to read as much as i can. just need a little more help to understand.

We were trying to avoid buying a new car until we know for sure that we love it.

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Reply By: HGMonaro - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 11:27

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 11:27
Someone will add the technical aspects of this, but when you add stuff to your camper, some weight will go on the tow ball and some on the axle. In your case, the tow ball weight can't be more than 150kgs. The only real way of knowing this is to measure it.
AnswerID: 491698

Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:54

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:54
Don't be tempted to add weight at the rear either to achieve a low towball weight as you will then be towing a large pendulum, not good!
Weight should be added to the centre and as low as possible with a slight bias forward.
While there are plenty that tow at or near the max towing capacity of the vehicle it is not really a good idea to do so as safety and vehicle longevity is better if your demands are well within the design parameters rather than at the upper end. Also gives you a bit more margin in an emergency situation as despite what many reckon the largest mass will take over the steering duties!
FollowupID: 767244

Reply By: Member - Shane D (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 17:14

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 17:14
Hi Alysia, a coupla of things come into play with weights.
Look at the swan (or any van) you want as a see saw, mine was about 120 kgs on the towball (with out gas bottles) the more you put in the front the more weight you will add to whats there.
My water tank sits just behind the axle, 70 liters so there is 70 kgs, so it will marginally take weight off the towball, the same as a see saw
Most single axle vans only allow 200 kgs for ALL the extras and personnel belongings, what you have listed here will eat into that in a big way.
Have a look at what Mazda recommends as a payload for your CX9, what ever towball weight you anticipate you will be applying, will come off the payload figure, so if its say 750 kg, minus 150 for the towbar weight, that leaves 600 for ALL passengers, luggage that goes in the car, plus whatever else.
Its all a balancing act, believe me, I've just been away with 3 adults, 8,4, and 20 month old kids and ended up around 200 kgs over as a whole, that's the Land cruiser and Swan fully fueled, gassed, watered, food in the cupboards and fridge, power leads, hoses, heaps of winter cloths (snow gear) for 3 week trip,
I have 2 gas bottles, BIG battery plus a few electronic monitoring devices, but no shower or hot water, plus we take a port-a-potie
We stayed at mostly friends places and ran power for a heater, if not, we stayed at a caravan park to use their power, shower and toilets, out of the way places cost around $25 a night for a powered site, up to $68 was the dearest I payed (at Jindabyne).
My rational was that we can go with out a shower for night easily if your spending most of the day travelling in the car, not worth spending the big $$$ (and weight) on a system that was not really necessary in my opinion, for what we do, and are likely to do
Bub just got washed in the sink with a kettle supplying the hot water mixed with cold water when needed, the rest of us just went with out (only 1 night)
I did a few trips, just one night 1 or 2 hour from home to get a good feel on what I wanted, and most importantly, what I needed with my set up, then go from there,
Oh with weights, lots of terminology that can be confusing,

GVM, gross vehicle mass, This is the most the vehicle can weigh,that is load, fuel ,people, weight on the towball EVERYTHING.

GCM, Gross COMBINED mass, This is the maximum allowable weight the vehicle can weigh combining its own weight and the weight of whatever its towing.

TARE, weight of the vehicle when empty, usually with a minimum amount of fuel and in the case of vans, being completely empty with no gas bottle and the like

GTM, gross trailer mass, the maximum weight the trailer can be standing by its self

AXLE, the maximum weight allowed on a particular axle or axle groups.

I never ever though I'd buy a van, I didn't want to tow anything anywhere on hols, wife came along then kids, I'm glad she asked me (she made me do it) to consider, she doesn't want to do outback/remote so our set up is good for 2/3 nights with no power, as long as there is a shower somewhere (usually there is) then that's all I need
AnswerID: 491714

Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 21:00

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 21:00
Really nice, informative answer Shane. Hope Alysia got some meaningful knowledge out of it. Bob.
FollowupID: 767284

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 21:22

Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 at 21:22
yep great info Shayne! Thanx
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FollowupID: 767287

Follow Up By: ozjohn0 - Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 10:14

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 at 10:14
Slight weights correction.
GTM is the maximum weight permitted to be supported by the wheels.
ATM is the maximum overall weight permitted for the laden van. (Includes ball weight)
Cheers, Ozjohn.
FollowupID: 767323

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