Jump to content

Trailer Nose Weight Shock


Recommended Posts

I posted earlier about getting my 90's towball height correct for a trailer.. As a follow-up, I made a startling discovery.. I was in touch briefly with the Land Rover tech. dept., who told me that the weight limit for my 90's towbar is 150Kg. That is, the maximum amount of weight that can be exerted on the towball & towbar by the trailer hitch. I believed my trailer was very heavy as I couldn't physically lift the towball even a fraction of an inch, so after I tried using the bathroom scales which went right off the scale, I went down to my friendly local VOSA (MoT) HGV/PSV testing station. A very nice lady let me use their axle weight 'mini-weighbridge'. I set the trailer level and put a steel bar from under the trailers tow hitch down onto the weighbridge and wound up the jockey wheel.

I was rather shocked to find that it read 140Kg, as the two horse trailer was EMPTY! I'm not going to reveal the make of trailer as I have told the makers and asked them to check it out, but it's a rare beast so don't panic if you own a nag box. I also noted that there was a weight limit on the trailers tow hitch, also of 150Kg. I'm pretty certain that towing this trailer fully laden would take the weight right over the limit for both the towball and the hitch. Worrying.. How many drivers check this aspect of their trailer and towing vehicle? I've never done it before and the lady at VOSA had never seen anyone else do it before. There was no charge by VOSA. And all the noseweight gauges I've seen on the web don't measure anywhere near as high as 150Kg, the highest I found was 115Kg. In these days of litigation and 'health and safety awareness' it may be wise to check the weights if you tow a heavy trailer..

I've located a maximum towbar weight guide for different vehicles at :- http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/...iceofTowcar.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Think of the number of caravan towing cars you see going around with the nose in the air and the back bumper dragging on the floor, then think about the amount of weight you'd need to put in the boot to acheive that effect - about 400kg I would imagine.

I do a lot of towing upto 4000kgs and you need to get the balance right, especially on twin axle trailers.

I work on the genral principle that if you can pick the nose up it's too light and if you can move the nose around on the jockey wheel laden it's too heavy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some interesting points... I think the 90 has enough problems without bags of cement in the back! I take it you were joking!

Surely if the towball is dropped (and it is a bit too high) then the nose weight will increase? The trailer is front heavy, if the jockey wheel disappeared, the hitch would clang heavily on the ground.

We only ever travel one horse and this trailer loads in the 'herringbone' (diagonal) manner, so there's a forward and rearward position. The trailer maker recommends when carrying one horse it should go in the front but it appears to me that that would increase the load on the hitch and towball as the horses front feet would be forward of the front axle.. The trailer maker reckons there's more weight on the back feet of a horse, something we would argue.

I suspect the problem would be better with two nags on board as that would get more weight over the axles. I am beginning to realise it's going to be tough getting the balance right, a problem compounded by not being able to get the towball any lower than the present Landy towbar will allow. On my last post an adjustable Dixon-Bate was suggested, but even that isn't quite low enough, but better than the Landy one. This is without resorting to a drop-plate.

The only answer seems to be to take a nag in the trailer back to VOSA and weigh the noseweight again.. Just hope they don't want to MoT the nag as public transport.. Which I think they will be again soon... 60 miles per half bale of straw, not bad... Can we demand horse lanes in cities and on the M4??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As long as you take a shovel and plastic bag along and clean up the droppings like dog owners do... by law :¬)

When I was a kid, if a horse went down the street (usually the rag & bone mans) and left a deposit, many a housewife would collect it and put it on their rhubarb.

My mum didn't, thank God, we had custard on ours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't take a blind bit of notice what they quote. I had a Nissan navara and called up Nissan to ask the same question, as I wanted to build a tilt ramp (Like these http://www.discountramps.com/tilting_atv_rack.htm) for an Enduro Bike I have . Guess what the answer was, 150kg. I then found a document on the web giving me max weight and distances from the rear axle, nothing like what Nissan had quoted me. I built a tilt ramp and load tested it with 750kg and it never moved a millimeter. That ramp was used countless times, with a load of 248kgs (2 bikes) 350mm further out where they said 150kg was the nose limit for a towball.

I don't have the Nissan now, so I'll build a tilt ramp for the rear of the 90, and I have no doubt it will carry the job off nicely

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surely if the towball is dropped (and it is a bit too high) then the nose weight will increase? The trailer is front heavy, if the jockey wheel disappeared, the hitch would clang heavily on the ground.

Not really. As the hitch is lowered, the front axle of the trailer is loaded more and the rear is loaded less. This means the pendulum point of the trailer moves forward and the axles take more weight compared to the hitch. Easy to visualise with very stiff suspension and a light, empty trailer: if you lower the hitch down far enough, the rear wheels will lift, indicating a clear weight transfer to the front axle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, that's the point.. A few years back I saw a horse trailer with two ponies in it snake and turn over, right in front of me, throwing the lot into the path of oncoming traffic, on a dual carriageway without any central reservation (now converted to a motorway, between Glasgow and Kilmarnock). I used to be a fireman, and that was the worst accident I ever attended, and I was off duty in my own car. There was probably one fatality and many people seriously injured. I've also seen the aftermath of two caravans, another horsebox and a stock trailer turn over. I'll do whatever it takes to prevent that happening to us..

What concerns me more than anything is that the trailer when loaded may be exceeding the stated manufacturers weight limit of both the Land Rover towbar and the trailers tow hitch. And how would I stand in court if I had an accident caused by one of those components failing? We've all heard stories of land Rovers pulling artics and trains, etc., but that's not the point, as sgnas writes.

If anyone is concerned about stopping a trailer snaking, look up the 'Straightliner Stabiliser' sold by SAS products online. I've got one..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If anyone is concerned about stopping a trailer snaking, look up the 'Straightliner Stabiliser' sold by SAS products online. I've got one..

Those things frighten the c**p out of me.

In my experience if your trailer is snaking it's because of one of the following:

Your trailer is overloaded compared to it's capacity or loaded badly

Your trailer has a fault - tyre pressures, tyre size, suspension

Your tow vehicle has a fault - tyre pressures, suspension bushes etc.

Your tow vehicle is too small for the weight you are towing

I regularily tow 4000kg boats without any snake protection at speeds I will not type here (in dark Foreign places), but use a 3400kg Ford F350 with a 200 inch wheel base and a £7000 aluminium high specification near-new trailer.

Even my Discovery will tow 3500kg at illegal speeds all day long on the right trailer combination, however I once nearly killed myself towing a Mondeo on trailer with an old Sierra when it jack knifed at 40mph due to each one of the four wheels being different sizes on the trailer and the rear subframe bushes being shot on the Sierra. I was lucky I was on an empty road - I'll never make that mistake again :ph34r:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

large flat sided trailers, caravans and horseboxes, get really pulled around by the wind and the displaced air from HGVs.

I had a very large pikey Hobby caravan for a while.

Towing it at 60mph required 110% attention. It was ok but you knew there would be no way to save it if something went wrong.

Towing it at 50mph was a lot more relaxing, but you had to constantly look for HGVs overtaking and be as far left on the carriageway as you could when they did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is another factor which you bring to mind, the trailer sat behind the 90 like it was another part of the 90, not a trailer. Having towed various caravans, twin axle flatbeds, and three different horse trailers, this is the most stable by far.. I towed it from near Warwick to home, 502 miles up the M6 etc and not a twitch out of it. Artics, buses and sidewinds didn't affect it. It's probably the most solid horse trailer I've come across.

As for the Straightliner Stabiliser, it doesn't use a simple friction device like the majority of (cheap) stabilisers, but a gas ram and if the trailer starts snaking, it's the only stabiliser on the market which will push the trailer back in line, rather than just attempt to slow the movement. The inventor claims no trailer has ever snaked with one fitted.

The bad accident I mentioned earlier happened so suddenly I could hardly believe my eyes. The trailer went left, right, and then threw the Disco left across the road.. I was doing 55mph and about to pass the outfit, so it wasn't going that fast. The trailer turned over and the two ponies ran off. They seemed to be the only things unharmed. It just happened, there was no apparent cause.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website you agree to our Cookie Policy