Trailer weight and towing

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Trailer weight and towing

Postby MDC » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:46 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm wondering if someone could please clear something up for me as I'm getting conflicting advice.

We have a un-braked box trailer that has an empty weight approx 400kgs (exact figures are on the plate... not sure what it is). I was told by the manufacturer that the empty weight doesn't count towards the maximum tow weight and only the load does.

One the other hand, I've been told that both the empty trailer weight plus the load must be below the maximum towing weight.

Which rules applies to the maximum tow weight as specified by the car manufacturer?
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby Titch » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:02 pm

Trailer and load.
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby CampGrrlz » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:26 pm

Yes MDC, I can see how you'd be confused! The manufacturer of the trailer should know better.

Check the vehicle manufacturer's figures regarding towing. See that they refer to I think it is a phrase like 'aggregate vehicle mass' or some such clarifying statement (;-) meaning the total of the trailer and its load. It is the trailer and its load which is being towed, not just the load without the trailer (conjours up interesting images!).

See what the 'ball weight' limit is as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Not how well-endowed the trailer is, but the downward force on the tow ball. For most ordinary 2 wheel-drive vehicles it's around 40 to 50 kilos. You can do a rough check with the unladen trailer by putting the jockey wheel on a bathroom scale. Then with it loaded, do it again and get another figure. Both are just ideas to save you a trip to a public weighbridge.

Take away at least 10 percent from the figures the vehicle manufacturer gives. Experience tells me that if you load your vehicle right up to what they say you can, you could get out and run faster.

Unless you tow with a hugely powerful vehicle and have plenty of money for extra fuel, err on the side of caution with buying a trailer and loading it up. Extra wind resistance and extra weight really chew into the fuel.

Happy towing :grin:

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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby MDC » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:33 pm

Thanks Elaine and Titch,

It's great to get this sorted out. A trailer weighing 400kgs and a car that can tow 720kgs un-braked doesn't leave me much for packing. It looks like I better start looking at some brakes.

When I had the tow bar fitted they said that regarding tow ball weight, if you can't easily lift the trailer from the hitch then you're probably going to be over the max weight. I'll definitely try the bathroom scale trick though.

We had it fully loaded for the christmas trip and didn't notice any difference in fuel economy. The car isn't overly powerful (Forester XT) but it handled the trailer like it wasn't there.
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby Titch » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:39 pm

May I suggest you weigh the trailer 400 seems a lot to me, my 6x4 weighs 150 klg, mind you its basic.
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby MDC » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:46 pm

titch wrote:May I suggest you weigh the trailer 400 seems a lot to me, my 6x4 weighs 150 klg, mind you its basic.
Titch


It was weighed by the manufacturer and stamped onto the plate. It's a fairly solid custom 7x4 - I've added a pic so you can see what I mean!
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby Dettie » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:47 pm

As per Titch - Mine is 200kg for a 7x4.

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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby MDC » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:13 pm

Dettie wrote:As per Titch - Mine is 200kg for a 7x4.

Dettie


Hmm I'll definitely have to weigh it then. I would have thought that the manufacturer would get it right, but they didn't even tell me the right thing about towing weights. Now I'm really doubting a few things about this mob.... they came highly recommended by a lot of people and are known to be one of the better ones out there.
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby Dettie » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:15 pm

MDC, when did you purchase it? Maybe a quick phone call to clarify.

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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby MDC » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:21 pm

November last year.
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby GypsyLady » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:34 pm

I would be putting brakes on it irrespective of whether or not it weighed in at 750kgs. Safety should always be paramount.
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby MDC » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:50 pm

gypsylady wrote:I would be putting brakes on it irrespective of whether or not it weighed in at 750kgs. Safety should always be paramount.


I guess this is strike three for the trailer company. They recommended that I wouldn't need brakes as I would be well under the towing weight if I was just carting around camping gear!

I'm one for safety so brakes were always on the top of my list. I'll be doing it straight away now.

Can anyone recommend somewhere to get brakes fitted to my trailer? I don't think I'll be going back to where I bought the trailer.
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby GypsyLady » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:44 pm

Maybe try Nathan Trailers at Brendale...they have quite a good reputation.
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby MDC » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:51 pm

gypsylady wrote:Maybe try Nathan Trailers at Brendale...they have quite a good reputation.


:grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

That's where I had the trailer made!!
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Re: Trailer weight and towing

Postby GypsyLady » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:53 pm

OMG.....you are kidding me!!!! Bugga.
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