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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 27-06-2019, 10:50 Thread Starter
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Payload, rear axle load !!!

Apologies if this subject has been done to death but my ability to search the site seems not to work so I'm unable to find previous threads.



I am looking for a new motorhome and am quite frankly horrified that manufacturers seem happy to sell 7m long vans with apparently reasonable payloads but which will overload the rear axle when only a fraction of the manufacturer's payload is on board. This seems to me to be misleading at best and sharp practice at worst. The manufacturers seem to cover their rears with weasel words in the small print in the brochure which essentially say that their weight figures may not be right and it is entirely the user's responsibility to load the van in a manner that remains legal.



I accept that it is the user's responsibility to ensure that their van is operated in a legal fashion but it seems difficult to establish whether a van can meet the users intended payload needs before actually buying it and weighing it on a weighbridge. Myself and good wife have calculated that we have a required payload of 320 kg. I don't regard this as unreasonably high. When you look at the manufacturer's payload figures this seems quite easy to accommodate with most 7m long vans. However, when you do the calculations of where the load is to be placed in the van it rapidly becomes clear that for many vans our payload figure is about the maximum the can be used before the rear axle load reaches its limit.


Since the manufacturer's mass figures have a +/-5% allowance then I have some difficulty determining whether a 7m van can really accommodate what I consider to be a fairly modest payload. Given the sums of money involved in buying a motorhome, purchasing one and then weighing it to discover whether it is suitable or not is not the sort of gamble that I am comfortable taking.



An option at some cost is to pay for a van that is built on a maxi chassis and whose rear axle limit is much higher than that of the 'normal' chassis - these seem to be rare in the price bracket within which we are constrained. The answer then seems to be that we must stick with nothing longer than 6m (like our present van) where the overhangs are generally about half those of the 7m vans and the rear axle doesn't get overloaded so easily.

When one considers that many of the longer vans will be attractive to families who will no doubt have a required payload much higher than ours I am at a loss to understand how people manage to keep these vans loaded legally.



The question is - all these 'reasonably priced' 7m vans we see on the roads - are they driven by folk who have meagre payload needs or are they overloaded? I suspect that for any user who relies on the manufacturer's data and the dealer's advice without doing their own investigations there is a strong possibility that they will end up unwittingly driving a van whose rear axle is overloaded.



On one of my other posts I asked for help in dealing with the bewildering choice of vans out there and how to narrow it down to find what we wanted. Folk kindly offered useful advice. Now I find that the whole issue of payloads and axle limits makes it quite easy to rule out lots of vans that at first seemed attractive. My brain hurts!


Mike
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 27-06-2019, 14:39
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Tell me about it. Ive been looking for a replacement for our Kontiki 640 for years. We carry a scooter on the back of ours and just about everything (rear lounge type) is inadequate, too big (Tag), out of our price range or just unavailable.

One thing I discovered though is if you look at some of the long wheel base motorhomes on an Alko chassis such as some of the Kontiki's they have a shorter overhang. One I identified as a real contender was a Swift Esprit 496 which has nearly a ton of payload and a shorter overhang yet its still 7m and on an Alko but two or three things put me off. The rear lounge model is like finding hens teeth, they are still pricey and I think they are too wide for my drive. Bailey also do a similar model with a shorter overhang on an Alko with good payload but they are also quite wide and they were I think a few issues with drainage or something, cant remember.


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Last edited by barryd; 27-06-2019 at 14:54.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 27-06-2019, 19:45
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I have a Reich weight tester and have 'weighed' several vans for friends. I would say on the Fiat Light Chassis in 'loaded' state that on average the front axles is 1600kg and the rear approaching 1950kg. With a MGW of 3500kg most are at or very close to it with some about 100kg over.

Not very scientific I know but it gives some idea. It is part of the reason I fitted Airide suspension and 16" wheels as it allowed mine to be uplated to 3850kg with rear axles raised to 2240kg.

https://www.campervanstuff.com/shop_...ct&id_prd=1204
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 28-06-2019, 00:50
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I think the term sharp practice understates the situation. I think not fit for purpose is more accurate. statements like ‘20 L of water’ whilst travelling are disgraceful.

The tyre manufacturers are on the ball insisting that rear tyres be run at 80psi. They obviously know that many, if not most, vans are overloaded, particularly on the rear axle. Their statement appears to be an effort to cover their asses knowing few people go to the trouble of weighing their van in order to set the tyre pressure properly.

It strikes me that it is only a matter of time before insurance companies cotton on to this problem and see a route to reducing their payouts. I uprated my 3500 kg van to 3850 as it always seemed to be running at 3650 kg (the fresh water tank has capacity of 140 L). I informed my insurance broker, who came back to me stating that the insurer (AXA) wanted to know why I was upgrading. They were either doing research or are incredibly ignorant of the situation.

I read also of so called ‘smart roads’ with inbuilt weight sensors linked to cameras becoming a feature of Uk roads. In fact someone quoted details of their existence in a freight trade magazine article on another forum (can’t remember) within the last day or so. Up until now people drive overloaded and will perhaps be unlucky to be pulled over once in their lifetime, but imagine the carnage amongst Motorhome owners if a network of these weighing sensors grows. You would be effectively driven off the road, full stop.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 28-06-2019, 09:57
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Here you go, details here Davy..........

https://trans.info/en/british-system...ey-work-108579

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 28-06-2019, 12:59
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Thanks for that Terry, I've copied the link over to MHOwners.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 28-06-2019, 13:43 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dghr272 View Post
Here you go, details here Davy..........

https://trans.info/en/british-system...ey-work-108579

Terry
That's a very impressive system to monitor vehicle loading and to catch offenders. It would be interesting to know how many motorhomes are found to be overweight by this system.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 28-06-2019, 15:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumik View Post
That's a very impressive system to monitor vehicle loading and to catch offenders. It would be interesting to know how many motorhomes are found to be overweight by this system.
Does DVLA know the individual maximum permitted axles weights for motorhomes? I'm not sure it does in which case many overloaded rear axles will go undetected as the front axle will be underloaded and will compensate.

I have a theoretical payload of 750kg but have the same problem as it nearly all goes in the garage which extends 6 feet past the rear axle. Our payload is generally about 500kg which puts us over on the rear (tag) axles. I therefore had them uprated by an extra 100kg each which gives me peace of mind. Had to do the same on the previous van from 4,000kg to 4,250kg - this one has gone from 5,000kg to 5,200kg in total.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 28-06-2019, 18:17
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The system weighs each axle Pete as shown in the screenshots.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 21:13
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These “Weigh in motion” systems are primarily installed to catch HGV that are over the maximum Permitted axle weight (thats under Con and Use Regs NOT plated) as those are the vehicles that damage roads!

That weight used to be 8 tonnes per axle but I am pretty sure it’s now 9? VOSA/DVSA are not worried too much about MH that 20-30 Kilo’s over its plated weight, as it’s not them that knacker the roads! besides they have no way of knowing what the plated weight of an individual MH will be.

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