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 Post subject: T31 - car feels a little 'lose' with new caravan on the back
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Notts
Car:: X-Trail
Model: Tekna
Year/Plate: 2012
Colour: Twilight Grey
Mods: witter towbar & 13 pin electrics
Looking for a bit of advice

T31 - just over 3 years old, about 35K miles

We've just swapped the caravan for a new model, thats 18 inch longer (24ft) - but same weight (1495kg fully loaded) - single axle van
Nose weight about 100kg
So ought to be well within the capacity of the Xy

The car now feels more 'twitchy' or 'lose' with the new van (compared to previous van) - as if the front end is 'too light'
Also, the van grounds out slightly when pulling out of the drive ( there is a dip, and I think the extra length between the rear XT wheels and the caravan wheels is the main reason why this is happening now)

I'm thinking of adding the MAD spring assisters - I suspect they will fix/reduce the grounding out (by regaining a wee bit of towball height), and by all accounts these will 'firm up' the back end - but not sure how they'll improve the front end feeling 'light'

Ok - I do realise that I'm going to feel the longer van more, but it does seem worse than I''d expect

I did also replace all four tyres, and they are budget types - so maybe the side walls aren't as stiff as the original tyres? - never heard of this before though - so inclined to discount this

I see a fair amount of talk about replacement bushes - although wouldn't expect to need to replace any after about 35K miles, but from all accounts the poly bushes do firm up the suspension
So - which bushes are most likely to wear? - how do I check them?

Any advise appreciated


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 Post subject: Re: T31 - car feels a little 'lose' with new caravan on the back
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:36 pm 
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Must admit I'd think the nose weight is a bit too much, 100kg hung that far back is definately going to make the front feel pretty light.

I work on the rule of thumb that as long as I can just lift the nose of the van then its about 60kg which in my own view is plenty, I've even run even lighter but never less than about 35kg, but the lighter you go the more you run the risk of a lot more snaking, others may disagree of course.


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 Post subject: Re: T31 - car feels a little 'lose' with new caravan on the back
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:19 pm 
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Soft Roader

Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Notts
Car:: X-Trail
Model: Tekna
Year/Plate: 2012
Colour: Twilight Grey
Mods: witter towbar & 13 pin electrics
x-trail-chris wrote:
Must admit I'd think the nose weight is a bit too much, 100kg hung that far back is definately going to make the front feel pretty light.


Know what you mean - but lots of vans now all seem to be 'nose heavy' to begin with
And adding a heavy duty battery for the motor mover doesn't help
Concerned that trying to move weight backwards in the van will make it more unstable, not better - I always thought that the more nose weight, the more stable the van would be (ignoring the effect on the car itself)

However, as we travel with only two 'up front' and no rear seat passengers (and not too much in the boot), I wouldn't expect another 100kg (about one adult - I'm 95kg) to have such an effect - I would expect two adults & a full boot to have a bigger effect
After all, it's well within the gross weight limit

100kg is the rated towbar limit I believe, but maybe as you say, it's transferring weight off the front axle, so I'll have to have a play moving some weight in the van - I do have a nose weight gauge, so should be easy enough to try
Will probably fit the spring assistors first though anyway


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 Post subject: Re: T31 - car feels a little 'lose' with new caravan on the back
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:54 pm
Posts: 10
Location: North Dorset
Car:: Xtrail
Model: Tekna
Year/Plate: 2013 (62)
Colour: Haptic Blues
Mods: Window deflectors, tow bar
I towed a Coachman VIP 460/2 1450kg (fl)with my 09 Adventura with a Large 12kg and a 7 kg gas bottles in the front box with no problems, towed lovely. Just changed to a 2013 Tekna yet to tow with it, but looking forward to it. Going on our first reasonble long journey tomorrow to Devon for the weekend, no caravan. Interested in the mpg seems good already better than the old one.


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 Post subject: Re: T31 - car feels a little 'lose' with new caravan on the back
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:14 pm
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Location: Sarf Coast
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Mods: Dirt
david128 wrote:
x-trail-chris wrote:
Must admit I'd think the nose weight is a bit too much, 100kg hung that far back is definately going to make the front feel pretty light.


Concerned that trying to move weight backwards in the van will make it more unstable, not better - I always thought that the more nose weight, the more stable the van would be (ignoring the effect on the car itself)


Ah sorry I took it that you were concerned about the x-trail, but above you seem to imply the van is becoming unstable, in which case dont lighten the nose as it will make it worse. It might be you are just finding the extra 18" is just making a slight difference to the feel, also is the van design slightly different from the last one as if its feeling more wandery at speed it could be down to air flow over the van, something as simple as a roof vent in a different place or A/C unit on the roof could make this van feel totally different at speed compared to your last one, or the design of the rear or front of it.


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 Post subject: Re: T31 - car feels a little 'lose' with new caravan on the back
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 8:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:23 pm
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Location: Dronfield
Car:: Xtrail T30
Model: 2.2 DCI Columbia Sport
Year/Plate: 2007/07
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Mods: iO2 Play kit and tow bar added
We changed our caravan for a slightly larger one a few years ago, going from a 21ft single axle to a 23ft single axle and it made a big difference! The stability was reduced and I had a scary snaking incident at one point which I thankfully recovered from before it got out of control.

I put this down to the bigger caravan being newer and lighter overall, but also it's more square shaped - the older one was a more rounded shape, I think this makes a big difference in the wind. I now also keep more weigh in the front of the caravan when I'm packing it and this does make it more stable. I'm used to it now, but I used to measure the nose weight regularly and always kept it between 75kg and 100kg, and generally closer to 100kg.

One thing I do always do when setting off anywhere with the van is park on a quiet straight flat road, get out to cross the road and look at the line from the back of the caravan to the front of the car and try to make sure it's a straight line - the car can dip at the back a bit, but it always seems to feel better driving it when it looks like the weight is distributed evenly along the whole length - could just be my imagination though! :biggrin:


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 Post subject: Re: T31 - car feels a little 'lose' with new caravan on the back
PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:15 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Notts
Car:: X-Trail
Model: Tekna
Year/Plate: 2012
Colour: Twilight Grey
Mods: witter towbar & 13 pin electrics
Beanfeast wrote:
We changed our caravan for a slightly larger one a few years ago, going from a 21ft single axle to a 23ft single axle and it made a big difference! The stability was reduced and I had a scary snaking incident at one point which I thankfully recovered from before it got out of control.

I put this down to the bigger caravan being newer and lighter overall, but also it's more square shaped - the older one was a more rounded shape, I think this makes a big difference in the wind. I now also keep more weigh in the front of the caravan when I'm packing it and this does make it more stable. I'm used to it now, but I used to measure the nose weight regularly and always kept it between 75kg and 100kg, and generally closer to 100kg.

One thing I do always do when setting off anywhere with the van is park on a quiet straight flat road, get out to cross the road and look at the line from the back of the caravan to the front of the car and try to make sure it's a straight line - the car can dip at the back a bit, but it always seems to feel better driving it when it looks like the weight is distributed evenly along the whole length - could just be my imagination though! :biggrin:


That sounds just like my experience - I guess I just need to accept it's a bigger van
Hopefully the spring assistors will level up the combination somewhat as well

Thanks everyone for their feedback


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