The Information on this page was gratefully provided by www.campingsites.org.uk. It will hopefully help anyone unsure of the topics covered. It is not a definitive resource and is by no means the last word in technical information, just information that has helped me out along the way.
If you find any wrong information contained in this page or have some to submit then please mail me direct.
Talking about safe towing weights of vans seems to be a somewhat controversial subject, so, I've put this info up to help newcomers who, like me, may be a little confused when they first start.
This information is intended as a guide only
Caravan/Towing vehicle weight ratio
This ratio makes a big difference to the stability and handling of the over all outfit. Ideally you should keep the laden weight of the caravan as low as practically possible I.e. don't take stuff you don't use. For people new to Caravanning and towing the actual laden weight of the van should not exceed 85% of the Curbside weight of the car! As the weight of the van approaches that of the car then the more careful and experienced the driver needs to be due to it being a lot harder to control. If the weight of the van becomes more than the car then it is quite easy to loose control, the tail wags the dog if you like, as the van now has more weight and control. To calculate the ratio we must use the following,
Where the actual laden weight of the van is when its fully loaded with all your equipment. The curb weight of the car should be in the hand book. Once you have this info then you have the ratio.
The most important thing to remember is not to exceed the maximum gross weight of the van and the towing vehicle's loading and towing limits. The law requires that caravans and their towing vehicles and the loads they carry must be in such a condition that no danger or nuisance is caused.
Establishing the actual laden weight of the caravan
The basic items for two people to go away in the van will normally weigh a minimum of 100kg in total and will include
The weight of other additional items
such as battery, awning, portable toilet, spare wheel, must be added to
Depending where you are.
Load the van up and go and weigh it!
The following information is intended as a guide only. If in any doubt please consult a suitably qualified person.
The only problems I have encountered so far have been loose and corroded connections. The Loose connections are easily diagnosed as functions not working at all or working intermittently. These are easily rectified by checking all the connections in question. If the problem still persists after this then you could have a broken wire which will need either repairing or replacing altogether. To find this you will need some sort of continuity tester (meter or buzzer of some kind). Follow the table above and ring out the connections until you find the broken one.
The corroded connections can cause earthing faults that give weird and wonderful symptoms from lights not working, too brake lights flashing with the indictors . These can be cured by cleaning up all the connections. If this still happens after they are all clean then maybe its time to seek help.
The 12s wiring on Car
Thanks to Tony for the Image
Changes to 12s Wiring
The changes to the 12s wiring came into affect after the 1st of September 1998 so all 1999 models will have these changes incorporated.
In recent caravan's, changes to the 12S wiring have necessitated altering the internal wiring system so that it:
Why Has It Changed?
Thanks To Paul Rose For the Information on the 12s changes.
This tester plug may help to sort some wiring problems. Take a look at it here Emo Tester Plugs .
If you have any info on wiring problems and want them on this page, then mail me and I will add them.
There are also some specific tips for towing a boat.