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Thoughts and musings on the new defender


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39 minutes ago, landroversforever said:

The trouble with systems like that, and the trailer based versions available on most if not all new caravans is that it just breeds complacency.

My mum did a caravan course when she decided to go solo caravanning, despite having been caravanning for decades, and was shocked that there were folks there who owned a huge 4x4 and 30k+ van and had never even realised there was a way to load a caravan to prevent snaking, who'd never heard of nose-weight and one chap who didn't know what a jockey wheel was :ph34r: yet all of them could legally buy & tow a gert big caravan down the motorway with zero extra training...

Also the weight ratios on modern cars/vans seem to have moved a fair way, see a hell of a lot of small flimsy (and often overloaded) hatchbacks towing surprisingly large vans these days - I'm sure modern tyres and ABS help but they're not going to save you when the tail is bigger than the dog.

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It might breed some complacency but having done my fair share of towing there have been a few situations where if the system is as good as they say it would have been a great addition. Weight isn't actually so much of an issue - usually if you're shifting 3.5t then it tends to be fairly low down in the grand scheme of things.

Towing a 2t milling machine on a 1.5t trailer from Birmingham to Pembrokeshire was sublime but the centre of gravity was pretty damn low. Moving stuff from Surrey to Wales again was usually running at about the 3.5t mark but it was all heavy stuff down low in the trailer.

The worst one was towing the 110 behind the TDV8, loaded it correctly, strapped down all the wheels and also put a large strap over the front bumper and tow bar to pull the chassis down onto the bed of the trailer. But the bonnet was still level with the roof of the Range Rover. Tended to be sitting more at 50-55 than 60 all the way but coming past Swindon picked up a cross-wind whilst simultaneously hitting a really rutted bit of the M4. God the snake was bad then as the trailer was just the wrong width to avoid the lorry tracks :im-ok-smiley-emoticon:. My sister grabbed the door in a panic because it was so sudden and violent. It all happened very quickly but a quick easing off and gentle braking didn't cure it and actually ended up accelerating up to about 70 before easing gently back off to settle it back down.

I suspect in that situation any electronic system that could brake each individual wheel to cancel it out would probably have reacted quicker and been able to sort it out much faster.

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I also thing caravans are probably the worst culprits, they're big and have no substantial weight to them so any cross-winds as I experienced will catch people unawares. If manufacturers didn't try to stay under the 750kg limit then I think you'd have a much more solid caravan less prone to tail wagging.

Never actually towed a caravan though and not sure I ever want to.

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1 hour ago, landroversforever said:

The trouble with systems like that, and the trailer based versions available on most if not all new caravans is that it just breeds complacency. I'll happily admit that I've never towed on the road as I still need to do my B+E as I'm a youung-un, however I've grown up around trailers and caravans and know how stuff needs to be loaded. I can't help but think all the aids whilst making it safer do make people blind to the affects of where they've put stuff. And as we've discussed in this thread several times, electronics can only make up for so much. Case in point was chatting to some friends of our neighbours... They've only been caravaning for a couple of years but they've had the trailer anti-snake stuff kick in several times. In all my life I can think of one incident of snaking with any of our caravans across the last 20+years. Same for reversing stuff, (probably the one thing the old man would benefit from), and I'd say is one benefit to the need for a towing test is demonstrating the ability to reverse. 

I passed my test just at the wrong time and missed out on the trailer entitlement (have got HGV C+E so it carries down to trailers) but have towed large trailers the entire time I have been driving. I really do think you should not be able to tow a trailer if you cannot reverse it. Snaking trailers is something I have experienced and it is scary, it is not always obvious if you have got the weight distribution correct and moving a vehicle as little as 6 inches on a trailer can make the difference between towing perfectly and being a death trap!

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23 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

I also thing caravans are probably the worst culprits, they're big and have no substantial weight to them so any cross-winds as I experienced will catch people unawares. If manufacturers didn't try to stay under the 750kg limit then I think you'd have a much more solid caravan less prone to tail wagging.

Never actually towed a caravan though and not sure I ever want to.

I think you'll find all but the tiny super lightweight  'vans are 750kg or under these days! And as Fridge says above, its people who haven't got a friggin clue about the distribution of the weight more than the shape of them. Full of cupboards to make living in them good, but people just haven't a clue on where the weight needs to be. Compounded by things like the current crop of fixed bed models with a huge space under the bed which is behind the axle. Perfect for filling up when you don't know what you're doing :unsure:.

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2 hours ago, L19MUD said:

The conversation about towing is an interesting one, has anyone had the opportunity to put 3,500kg behind one yet? My L322 handles the 3 axle 18ft bed Bateson better than my Defender for lots of reasons - power, air suspension, stability due to weight/size

 

Does the Defender have any trailer aids? The Ford pickups in the states have had a clever 'anti sway' system that uses the brakes to try and counteract a snaking trailer for years and they now even have a system to help you reverse a trailer

I was planning on hooking up the trailer during my test drive, but it was empty, so wouldn't have said that much.

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The vehicle has the full gamut of towing safety tech as standard, same as all other Land Rovers. Further options are then available including the reversing aid auto-steering wotsit.

By all accounts it tows very well, as you’d expect from the same base platform as the very well-regarded Discovery, and the increased torque from the new 6-cylinder engines will be an extra bonus I would think. 

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1 hour ago, Ed Poore said:

I can better that - moved the 110 once by 1" and transformed it.

Even with a relatively modest trailer it can make a hell of a difference - I have a 750kg unbraked Brenderup. Nice trailer, tows well empty or heavily loaded. Recently I've been essentially using it as a skip, filling it up piecemeal with waste from renovating our house (not just me, either - tradesmen throwing things in too). On one occasion taking the trailer to the tip it had ended up with too much weight at the back - not actually tail heavy, but not much nose weight and heavy stuff front and back with lighter rubbish in the middle. I decided it was going to be far too much hassle unloading all the loose rubbish to repack it for a fifteen minute drive, so hooked it up and just drove slowly - but even doing that I could feel it pulling the car around on corners. I wouldn't risk it again - taking it slow and steady it was fine, but I'm not sure what it would have done if I'd been forced into a sudden manoeuvre. And while the Zafira I was towing with doesn't have the mass of a Land Rover it's still a good size for the trailer. Hook one of those big caravans up to a similar sized tow car (which you see regularly), and if it's not loaded right you're into a world of pain...

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I towed caravans for years, behind cars. I'm pretty sure that the guideline was max towing weight no more than 75% of the towing vehicle's weight. Also it is noseweight /  noseweight, noseweight!

I submitted a test report to the caravan club for an Avondale caravan that I was towing behind a big Audi. Instead of commenting on the 75% achieved, I was laughed at in their magazine article for having such a 'mismatched' combo.

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And whilst we're on the loading subject... Once saw a caravan pull up next to us which we forever named 'the circus'. Amongst the contents they dragged out of the 'van was an extra large Awning (think 160-170% the size of a standard full length one) and a ~35-40" CRT telly. Which was loaded in the back of the van under the rear dinette table :o. As well as that TV at the back, they also had a cast iron table and two chairs stacked in the back of the van with the telly. On top of that they had at least a further 3 sets of outdoor seating, and there were only 2 of them and a toddler!!! :o all towed by a BMW 3 series saloon.

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14 minutes ago, landroversforever said:

And whilst we're on the loading subject... Once saw a caravan pull up next to us which we forever named 'the circus'. Amongst the contents they dragged out of the 'van was an extra large Awning (think 160-170% the size of a standard full length one) and a ~35-40" CRT telly. Which was loaded in the back of the van under the rear dinette table :o. As well as that TV at the back, they also had a cast iron table and two chairs stacked in the back of the van with the telly. On top of that they had at least a further 3 sets of outdoor seating, and there were only 2 of them and a toddler!!! :o all towed by a BMW 3 series saloon.

I once saw someone bring a full-sized vacuum cleaner plus iron and ironing board on a weekend camping trip. Obligatory large TV in the caravan too... had a big twin-axle van and a Discovery towing it and I reckon the whole lot was full to the ceiling with gear & kids and way over any sane weight limit.

Agree that caravans are worse for snaking, they're a big lightweight sail with a lot of leverage. Our old club trailer(s) were quite large boxes and you really felt it, the current one is a lower-profile sharp-fronted Ifor, still weighs a fair bit but tows so much nicer.

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4 hours ago, Peaklander said:

I towed caravans for years, behind cars. I'm pretty sure that the guideline was max towing weight no more than 75% of the towing vehicle's weight. Also it is noseweight /  noseweight, noseweight

Surely "What matters" is the maximum towing-weight/gross-train-weight as specified and approved by the towcar's manufacturer?

My 90TD5 is rated to tow 3500Kg, even though it weighs rather less than this.

Sure, if you get the noseweight/load-distribution wrong it can be a disaster - but that's equally-relevant if you've gof a 2-ton car towing a 1-ton trailer.

[In my Territorial-Army times, I remember being on a night exercise where I had to use a LR to tow a fuel-bowser containing 5000 Litres of AVTUR. We got it up to around 75MPH on the A12 between Arnhem and Rotterdam - we had a ferry to catch!

The Dutch highway-police stopped us for 'driving rather fast with our lights off' - it was 3AM and once they realised we were in a convoy with rather-well-armed friends they said 'OK - NATO Friends!" and waved us on our way.  We got to the ferry with 10 minutes to spare]

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The 75%, or 85% as I thinking actually is, was touted at one point by the caravan club, and it seems to have stuck

I'll quite happily tow 1400kg behind my 1400kg tow-rated car.

 

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The promotional video they put out when they unveiled the new Defender showed someone reversing a trailer using a dash dial to steer and the telly on the dash to look.  The idea seemed to be "tell us where you want to go and we'll back it for you".  Clever technology which just makes me sad.

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1 hour ago, Bowie69 said:

The 75%, or 85% as I thinking actually is, was touted at one point by the caravan club, and it seems to have stuck

I'll quite happily tow 1400kg behind my 1400kg tow-rated car.

 

Caravan club recommend no more than 85% of the towing vehicles kerbweight. 

From their website - - - - 

It’s important that you safely load both your caravan and your car. For optimum towing performance, we recommend to aim for a maximum towed load of no more than 85% of the car’s kerbweight for beginners and perhaps up to 90% for experienced towers. Never exceed 100%.

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Point is, it was just some arbitrary figure plucked out the air by the caravan club.

If the manufacturer designed it to to 1400kg, there is no reason not to do it, as long as you are competent.

 

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Getting a bit nerdy here for my tastes, chaps! Hands up who takes their trailer onto a weighbridge before every journey?? I would think most folks will just do some quick fag-packet maths and if it's less than 3.5t then it's good to go.

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14 hours ago, western said:

Caravan club recommend no more than 85% of the towing vehicles kerbweight. 

From their website - - - - 

It’s important that you safely load both your caravan and your car. For optimum towing performance, we recommend to aim for a maximum towed load of no more than 85% of the car’s kerbweight for beginners and perhaps up to 90% for experienced towers. Never exceed 100%.

I'm not sure their figures have any real scientific rational behind them. Surely the entire point of a legal manufacturer tow rating, is that is what the vehicle is safely capable of towing. The EU driving licence structure often likely limits or truncates this, as it sets additional limits based on your licence and vehicle category type. Basically I can't personally see any logical reason to accept the caravan clubs thinking. I would guess it likely came from a single, very out spoken member in a by-gone era. Who had very strong views about what you should tow. Also if this was in relation to vehicles from 50 years ago. Thinks have moved on massively, especially in areas such as braking, engine power, vehicle weight and stability systems.

In other markets towing is quite different. Some of the new full size pickup trucks in the USA are rated to tow 30,000 - 33,000lbs!!!! Which is 13-15 tonnes metric. Way heavier than the vehicles in question. Yet they are deemed perfectly safe and acceptable.

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3 hours ago, Chicken Drumstick said:

In other markets towing is quite different. Some of the new full size pickup trucks in the USA are rated to tow 30,000 - 33,000lbs!!!! Which is 13-15 tonnes metric. Way heavier than the vehicles in question. Yet they are deemed perfectly safe and acceptable.

But they are not towing from a hitch.  These are with 5th wheels, which puts much of the trailer weight on the tow vehicle.  It is a completely different subject similar to a tractor trailer.

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8 minutes ago, Red90 said:

But they are not towing from a hitch.  These are with 3rd wheels, which puts much of the trailer weight on the tow vehicle.  It is a completely different subject similar to a tractor trailer.

5th ;) 

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1 hour ago, Red90 said:

But they are not towing from a hitch.  These are with 5th wheels, which puts much of the trailer weight on the tow vehicle.  It is a completely different subject similar to a tractor trailer.

Quite, and not only do they have the enormous connecting point and beefed up chassis attach dents, but they also have power to the trailer’s pneumatic braking system, not overrun brakes operated by compressing the trailer hitch.  It’s more like the trailer system for articulated HGVs.

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19 hours ago, deep said:

The promotional video they put out when they unveiled the new Defender showed someone reversing a trailer using a dash dial to steer and the telly on the dash to look.  The idea seemed to be "tell us where you want to go and we'll back it for you".  Clever technology which just makes me sad.

Me too.  I see the skills of my colleagues and my own at work being eroded through mandated use of “clever technology”, but when that stuff fails, it’s more confusing than the simpler equipment and and compounds the problem, as well as rotting the capabilities of the operator.

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1 hour ago, Red90 said:

But they are not towing from a hitch.  These are with 5th wheels, which puts much of the trailer weight on the tow vehicle.  It is a completely different subject similar to a tractor trailer.

A fair point. But I'm still not sure what scientific backup there is to say you should only use 70% of a vehicles official rating.

As for towing on a hitch.... well I took this over the weigh bridge the other day and it said 18.8 tonnes loaded. The MB Track only weighs a little over 7 tonne. Not the same thing I know, but still. :)

 

IMG_1832.jpeg

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