How much weight can a caravan chassis take?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How much weight can a caravan chassis take? We will talk about rules and safety when loading a caravan, the dangers of overloading it, and how to properly prepare for a road trip with a caravan.

How much weight can a caravan chassis take?

How much weight a caravan chassis can take will depend whether you are going for a single axle or tandem axles. Generally speaking, single axles are limited to 20,000 pounds, and axles spaced more than 40 inches and not more than 96 inches apart (tandem axles) are limited to 34,000 pounds. Gross vehicle weight is limited to 80,000 pounds. 

By studying the maximum weight that the chassis of the vehicle can support, the weight of the vehicle in question and what is the mass by which the engine of the vehicle can be supported, the car manufacturer determines the maximum towable weight of their vehicle.

What is a chassis?

Choosing the right travel trailer depends on a number of factors. The most important thing you need to know about the caravan is what chassis is under it. A chassis is simply the construction on which the caravan is built. This is also the part on which the caravan mover is mounted. If you are looking for a caravan mover online, you will come across the term “minimum beam frame height” on almost every product page.

Minimum frame beam height

The minimum height of the chassis beam is indicated so that you know how high the chassis beam must be to place the caravan mover. In general, if the beam has a height of 16 to 20 centimetres, it is possible to install a caravan mover without additional help. 

If the height is less than 16 centimetres, the assembly of a caravan mover is only possible with additional adapters. The difference is then compensated with these wedges. If the frame beam is too low and a caravan mover is mounted without chocks, the caravan mover will hit the floor of the caravan causing damage.

How do I know which chassis I have?

It’s no wonder if you don’t know which chassis your trailer has. The type of chassis is often not mentioned in the factory information. In principle, Hobby caravans have a BPW frame and Fendt caravans have an Al-ko frame. The type is often difficult to recognize. For this, you can contact the experts in the technical department. 

With the help of a photo with description, they can see what type of chassis is under your caravan and which caravan mover is best suited. There is one type of frame that can be recognized, the M frame from Al-ko. Here, an “M” is imprinted in the chassis beam.

What to pay attention to when buying a chassis? 

Before buying a caravan mover, there are other points that you should pay attention to regarding the chassis:

Shock absorbers: It is possible to mount a caravan mover if you use shock absorbers, but be careful that they do not touch each other when you install the caravan mover.

Spare wheel carrier: If you have fitted a spare wheel carrier to your chassis, the question is whether the caravan mover can be placed in front of the axle. If this is not possible, the spare wheel carrier is moved or removed.

The importance of the Maximum Authorized Mass

The first thing to think about to move in a caravan is that this is not a cargo trailer, but rather a home trailer only. It is designed and manufactured to live inside. In fact, manufacturers leave just 100 to 150 kilograms to spare in the Maximum Authorized Mass (MAM) for campers to load their supplies and other necessary implements.

It is interesting to know what, in general, is carried in a caravan and its real weight to verify that with just a few things you can exceed the limit of MAM. For this reason, when loading the caravan, be careful what you take and where you take it.

How not to overload a caravan

In order not to pass the MAM, you have to take into account the weight of things like, for example, an advance with sticks, which weighs thirty-seven kilograms and a half; a 25-meter extension cord with a reel, weighing three and a half kilograms; a spare wheel, which weighs twenty-one and a half kilograms …

These are just some examples since to drive a caravan during a long trip you need more things like two small gas cylinders, which weigh eight kilograms, or liquids for the toilet that can weigh three and a half kilograms.

To all this, we must add clothes, a television or food. Therefore, you have to be very careful with what you load to move in a caravan.

Where to put the load in a caravan?

If the vehicle does not have much space to carry things and it is necessary to load the caravan, it will always be done in the centre and on the axle. Placing the load in the front will result in an imbalance resulting in the vehicle sinking through the rear suspension. This will cause the front axle to lift up and loose steering.

In the same way, as is known, tow balls do not allow a lot of weight vertically. In a normal car, the weight that the tow ball can support is not much more than 70 kilograms. In the case of caravans, if you want to know the vertical weight they support to travel safely, you just have to look at the plate of the tow ball. However, reaching the weight limit is not good.

If what we do is to load the part behind the caravan a lot, the danger increases, since the part behind the vehicle will end uplifting and it will be totally unstable.

For all these reasons, the front chest should not support a lot of weight, although currently, caravans have a large chest, even with the possibility of placing two large butane or propane cylinders in it. However, it is recommended to carry them in the trunk.

It is important not to have a lot of weight on the drawbar because not only will the tow ball be overloaded, but also the stabilizers will not be able to support a lot of weight because they are not designed for it.

Lighter objects such as kitchen towels or towels can be carried in the mezzanine cabinets. However, it is better not to overload this part too much, since having weight in such a high position ends up raising the point of gravity and it is easier to overturn.

In the event of an imbalance, what to do is stop and re-house the load in the best possible way.

How to know the weight that is carried?

Today there are all kinds of scales to know the weight carried both on the shaft and on the lance. They exist from scales for the wheels to scales for the lance, passing through wheels that have the scale incorporated.

However, if you don’t want to spend money on any kind of appliance, you can use a bathroom scale and a wooden slat that must be cut at the height of the tow ball.

Another option, although more imprecise, is to lift the lance by hand. It should be possible to lift it without too much effort because, otherwise, there is too much weight in the front of the caravan and it needs to be rectified.

Conclusions

In this blog post, we answered the following question: How much weight can a caravan chassis take? We talked about rules and safety when loading a caravan, the dangers of overloading it, and how to properly prepare for a road trip with a caravan

Generally speaking, single axles are limited to 20,000 pounds, and axles spaced more than 40 inches and not more than 96 inches apart (tandem axles) are limited to 34,000 pounds. 

If the vehicle does not have much space to carry things and it is necessary to load the caravan, it will always be done in the centre and on the axle. Placing the load in the front will result in an imbalance resulting in the vehicle sinking through the rear suspension. This will cause the front axle to lift up and loose steering.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on How much weight can a caravan chassis take?

How much weight can you put in a caravan?

The weight that you can put in the caravan should be either 10% of the ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) or a maximum of 350 kg ( 770 pounds). The manufacturer should usually specify the maximum permissible ball weight, which should be between 8-12% of the weight of the caravan.

What is the maximum weight for a single axle caravan?

The maximum weight for a single axle caravan is limited to 20,000 pounds, and axles spaced more than 40 inches and not more than 96 inches apart (tandem axles) are limited to 34,000 pounds. Gross vehicle weight is limited to 80,000 pounds. 

How is payload calculated on a caravan?

To calculate the payload on a caravan subtract the Tare weight (the unladen weight of the van, as it left the factory, minus any dealer-added features) from the van’s Aggregate Trailer Mass.

How do you know if you tow too much weight?

You know you are towing too much weight when the rear of the truck will appear hunkered down and the front end will feel light.

What happens when you exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity?

When you exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity you bring a series of consequences for your card, such as engine overheating; tire failure, overloading the drivetrain, CO2 emissions increase among others. 

Can any car tow a caravan?

Not any car can tow a caravan. A caravan with the maximum mass over 100%  of the car’s kerb weight should not be towed by the respective car under any circumstances!

References 

Towingandtrailers.com

Caravanchronicles.com

Practicalcaravan.com

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