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Having the appropriate nose weight is crucial to caravan towing stability. Too light, and the van ends up unsteady, as it will tend to raise the back of the van; too heavy, and the load on the tow ball will trigger the front of the car to rise, impacting the steering.
This can undoubtedly cause instability and significant mishaps.
The appropriate nose weight for the caravan is the lowest of 3 nose weight figures: that of the caravan chassis manufacturer, the tow car company, and the towbar for cars and towbars for motorhomes manufacturers.
The chassis maker stamps both the highest nose weight and the maximum load that the coupling is developed to carry. These figures are identified by the letters 'S' and 'GA'. The tow cars maximum nose weight will be in the owner's handbook, whilst the maximum nose weight of the towbar is on the towbar plate. You will need to work with whichever is the lowest.
In some circumstances-- in the case of older caravans, there may be no sign of what the nose weight must be. Therefore, you should work based on it being between five and seven per cent of the caravan's MTPLM (Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass). For example a caravan MTPLM of 1400kg, the nose weight would be 70kg at 5 per cent or 98kg at 7 per cent. Therefore, you should work to the lowest figure from the three sources mentioned above, providing it falls within these two limits.
There are four methods which you can check the nose weight of the caravan:
Load the caravan to its MTPLM in the typical method; park it on a flat, hard, level surface area-- concrete or tarmac, not turf-- with the steadies raised
and wheels chocked. Wind the jockey wheel down place the bathroom scales in position under it. Wind the jockey wheel up till the weight of the hitch is on the scales and check the nose weight.
When utilizing a nose weight gauge, the process is essentially the very same.
When it comes to an electronic gauge, this is fitted onto the tow ball on the tow cars, and the caravan is then hitched to it. The nose weight is shown on the screen.
Care: none of the scales pointed out go through the Measures and weights Act; therefore, they need to be considered a guide.
Within the limits set by the chassis, tow car and towbar producers, the heavier the nose weight, the better. However, if it goes beyond the lower of their figures, then you are required to change the loading of the caravan.
If that does not bring the nose weight within the limitations, there are 2 options: move some of the load into the tow car; or leave them behind. Do be mindful not to overload your caravan.
Telford Towbards are towbar installation specialists based in Telford.
Telford Towbars are NTTA Quality Assured, and backed by lifetime warranties to both towbar and wiring kit. They also offer a free annual health check on your towing solution.
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