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Hope someone can help but more I |Google the more confused I become. I need to try and establish maximum weight of trailer I can tow. The Beastie is a 1991 Defender 90 with a 200Tdi engine. From what I can see the weight is 1750kg. The maximum trailer weight (braked) is 3500kg and unbraked is 750kg.

However there seems to be issues with total weight where some sites suggest trailer should not exceed 85% of tractor weight - which sort of gets you to 3500kg combined weight.

I need to know since now part of a 4x4 Response group so may need to take water bowsers etc and want to stay both safe and within terms of licence.

As I say, hoping someone can give me a straight answer.

In terms of licence mine dates from about 1967 or so and as a result covers most things unlike the newer licences.

Thanks in anticipation.

Malcy

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The 85% thing is an advice thing, particularly if you are not experienced at towing.

Assuming your licence pre-dates 1997 (which you say it does) and it has category B+E then you can tow whatever the towing vehicle is capable of - which will in any case be limited to 3500kg for overrun brakes. The VIN plate and manual will tell you what your vehicle can tow - the second number down is the maximum train weight i.e. vehicle plus trailer.

Kev

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OK Thanks guys. It is getting clearer.

Have checked licence and it has the B+E category. Will now see if I can make out what the VIN plate, line 2 says and hopefully then have the answer!

ALl I then need to do is carry a large pair of scales with me :-)

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Well have towed radio masts quite a bit so reasonably comfortable towing but never had to put much thought to things like weights/licence conditions in this fashion since the club has been towing the masts for a while, often with relatively small cars, well compared to The Beastie!

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Well have towed radio masts quite a bit so reasonably comfortable towing but never had to put much thought to things like weights/licence conditions in this fashion since the club has been towing the masts for a while, often with relatively small cars, well compared to The Beastie!

To confirm an earlier reply, the 85% rule is guidance from the caravan club. I have a defender 110 and I have successfully towed (on a trailer) another 110 and on another occasion a Discovery.

Cheers

Peter

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At risk of being accused of stating the bleeding obvious, can I just point out that the 3500 kg max. towing weight is only applicable if the trailer is rated for it. If the trailer itself has a lower rating then the weight is limited to whatever the trailer is rated for.

Another point which is often missed (and is not actually relevant here but I will say it so the information is all in one place) is that if the towing vehicle has a lower towing weight, the RATED towing weight of the trailer must not exceed the towing capacity of the towing vehicle. In other words, it is technically illegal to tow a trailer rated for 3500 kg behind a vehicle which is only rated for 2500 even if the actual combined weight of trailer plus load is less than 2500kg. I'm not sure this gets enforced very often, but it is the law!

Nick.

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As the Police are unlikely to have a weigh bridge available at all times many of the rules for Cat B licence holders are based on the MAM of the trailer and not the actual weight.

This leads to some anomalies. For example, trailer manufacturer DeGraff produce a boat trailer which is specifically designed for drivers with Post 1997 licence.

This trailer has a MAM of 1200kg, it weighs 600kg and has a capacity of 600kg. I can not tow it with my Defender as the Kerb weight is 2400kg due to a total train weight of 3600kg

It is however legal for me to tow it behind an Estate car with a 100kg lower kerb weight.

This is completely bonkers as which is the more suitable (and therefore safe) vehicle?

I believe (although after 13 years of being in place) this rule was imposed the way it is to make them easier to police. It would be very likely for said trailer to have much less than the 600kg allowed payload and my to have a train weight of less than 3500kg but this would be to complicated to enforce so instead we have a set of unfathomable rules and another test to take!

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Not for me! My Licence only allows a train weight of up to 3500kg regardless of what the landie is capable of (with a braked trailer)

And the trailer can't exceed a 750kg rating and unbraked. (think you can go up to 4 1/4 tons train weight i.e 3 1/2 ton truck with 750kg trailer on the back but that is the extreme and not 100% on that)

A post 97 licence is very annoying.

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To sum up what everyone has been putting and what I know of it

1750kg will be your Kerb weight (vehicle in running order)

2550kg is the vehicle own gross weight (vehicle fully loaded no trailer)

3500kg towing limit (braked) maximum with overrun brakes (can be more if air brakes are fitted)

6050kg Gross train weight (the combined vehicle and trailer)

The figures are what I found in a quick search, but should be based on what your VIN says

So based upon the above figures you take the kerb from the gross to get your maximum load in the vehicle.

You can have a trailer heavier than your Landy provided the combined does not exceed the gross train.

I have used a Range Rover that had air brakes fitted to allow it to tow a 4000kg exhibition for a car manufacturer.

Oh and as was mentioned trailers have a kerb weight and a gross weight.

As to water bowsers, be careful of the slop factor if it is not full. Having towed artic milk tankers before the gross weights got increased there was a lot of space for it all to move around.

I feel sorry for the people with 'new' licences that have so many restrictions in these new H&S days !

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another point which is often missed (and is not actually relevant here but I will say it so the information is all in one place) is that if the towing vehicle has a lower towing weight, the RATED towing weight of the trailer must not exceed the towing capacity of the towing vehicle. In other words, it is technically illegal to tow a trailer rated for 3500 kg behind a vehicle which is only rated for 2500 even if the actual combined weight of trailer plus load is less than 2500kg. I'm not sure this gets enforced very often, but it is the law!

Nick.

I've spent some time looking into this in more depth today, and it would appear that the information I gave here was wrong. So far as I can see, there is no legislation which prevents a trailer with any rated capacity being towed by any vehicle so long as the actual mass of the trailer (including its load) is less than or equal to the maximum permitted trailer mass defined by the towing vehicle manufacturer, and the driver has the appropriate categories on their licence.

If anyone can provide definitive evidence to the contrary (i.e. a direct link to the relevant part of the relevant piece of legislation) I would be delighted to hear from them!

Another point which is likely to be of significance to some members of this forum is the Whole Vehicle Type Approval regime introduced by EC Directive 2007/46/EC. There is some more information about this on the DfT site but to cut a long story short, from 29 October 2010 all new trailers, including home made ones, will need to be approved before they can be first used on the road. There's more information on the VCA web site.

Nick.

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Nick I was just about to jump in when I read your last post, which is indeed how I understand the law.

If your car is plated to tow 2,500 kg you CAN load a 3,500kg trailer up to but not exceeding 2,500kg as per the car, legaly. If the police wanted to prosecute they would HAVE to have a weighbridge certificate to support their evidence BTW.

Where it does get complicated is that if you don't have cat E you CAN'T use a larger trailer and part load it, for licence purposes you get prosecuted on the plated capacity of the trailer ie you can get done for towing an empty trailer.

Then there's a whole load of stuff about towing for business, I'm not up to speed on it all so I'll leave it at that rather than say it wrong.

The 85% "rule" is guidence based on research that also gave us the recomended 7% noseweight rule. It's a safety and stability thing but a car that was designed to tow like a LR is far more capable than a Eurobox/repmobile "converted" to a tow-car. My LSE will tow 3,000kg plus happily if it's loaded properly.

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  • 3 years later...

If your car is plated to tow 2,500 kg you CAN load a 3,500kg trailer up to but not exceeding 2,500kg as per the car, legaly. If the police wanted to prosecute they would HAVE to have a weighbridge certificate to support their evidence BTW.

Where it does get complicated is that if you don't have cat E you CAN'T use a larger trailer and part load it, for licence purposes you get prosecuted on the plated capacity of the trailer ie you can get done for towing an empty trailer.

This is also how I understand it. For license purposes it is the plated weight that is used but if you have Cat B+E on your license then you can indeed load a larger trailer up to the towing capacity of your towing vehicle.

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guys, what would be the maximum weight to tow on offroad conditions?

asking this I mean the reasonable weight to NOT damage the car, not the allowed weight

The answer is "it depends" - on the nature of the trailer for a start. And the terrain. If you're traversing loose, soft ground [sand/gravel or a recently-ploughed field for example] then the trailer will sink [multi-axle trailers and wide tyres help a bit here] and as a result the level of horizontal drawbar-pull you need goes up significantly because you're continually having to pull the trailer 'up' out of its own sinkage as well as forward.

[i've seen a V8 110 using low-1st brought to a grinding halt when trying to traverse a shingle beach with a half-ton single-axle caravan behind it. On normal roads said caravan was quite easily towed to illegal speeds by a humble 1.8-litre Vauxhall Vectra.]

Similarly, look at the centre of gravity of the trailer: one of my most frightening towing experiences was 'contour-following' round a relatively gentle but wet-stubble-covered hill while towing a flatbed with a few straw bales on it. At one point the trailer started to slide sideways. A ~tail-wagging-the-dog~ jacknife situation is not fun even at only a few MPH.

Just be careful: accidents involving trailers are never good.

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It's only advice and only for cars/vans with trailers. I suspect that anything with a 5th wheel behaves differently.

The most interesting study done a few years ago by the Caravan Club and a motoring organisation (can't remember which one) carried out some tests to determine that if a snake starts is it best to speed up or slow down. The results were interesting in that it didn't make any difference, both helped reduce the snake - as long as the caravan was properly loaded (most weight over the axle), if wasn't properly loaded, regardless of what you did, the snake got worse!

Cheers

Peter

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Dont try the speed up answer to a snake , as it requires a very powerful tow vehicle , and the ability to recognise when to stop the acceleration , and start the slowdown phase. its just about impossible. The only real answer is pulse braking , and steering to anticipate the snake, and braking at that time , and having a lot of room , eg 3 lanes of a motorway . I have put it into practice once from second row seat in a stage 1 V8 sw ! The driver at the time was a police advanced driver :huh:

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