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Part of your problem is the hitch. That height adjustable device is moving the towball what looks like about 150mm further back, and that magnifies the already high ball weight effect on the rear axle and worsens the sag. And then there is the weight of the height adjustable hitch itself. It's also possible the towbar itself has the receiver further back than optimal. Dunno about the 7P, but the CR owners manual specifies how far back the towball should be, and the towbar itself has a placard that shows the max distance the ball can be from the pin. Might be worth seeing if the 7P has similar info.

Is it possible that your 9 year old springs are a bit soft/sagged - maybe new springs at the standard rate would be a start.

If the ball weight is not changing with loading the camper, the scales might be dodgy.

Also, presumably the bikes load over a ramp on the back of the camper and their mass is behind the camper axle? That will help reduce the ball weight and ultimately the sag that's most relevant is when the bikes are loaded ready for travel but Unfortunately any load in the car is only going to make it sag a bit more.

You might want to try it without the adjustable hitch just to see how much effect the extension and its weight has.

Unfortunately through the geometry of your camper with the axle so far back is going to make your life difficult.
 

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I agree on the hitch length. I queried it with the towbar company as well as it is 140mm further back than a std hitch. By my reckoning that adds 14% to the overall axle to towball distance which increases leverage as me also reduces max towball weight. They said it wouldn’t affect it… but laws of physics says it will. I’ll need to establish the ideal ball height for both the caravan and the boat and then buy 2 std hitches of different heights. When the caravan is level the ball needs to be 51cm off the ground once loaded. For the boat it needs to be 43cm off the ground.

My towball scale works fine. What I’m saying is that no matter how I try I cannot get towball weight below 280kgs. The bike engines are virtually over the axle and has little effect on the towball weight. Packing everything else into the back makes little difference. 50 kgs of fuel cans, genset, camp chairs and tools.

I’ll try a std hitch to see effect on sag but it won’t be high enough for the van.
Sucks when the people at the towbar company who should know this stuff well BS you, but hey, a sale is a sale :rolleyes:

Sounds like you already understand this but the biggest impact on towball load with the geometry your hauler has with the axle so far back will be getting weight off the drawbar, most of which will be pretty inconvenient if not impractical, but the sag (and highly likely vehicle rear axle weight) you have at present doesn't look viable. For example moving the BBQ out of the kitchen to the rear of the hauler while you're travelling and switching to a removable jockey wheel you can also put in the hauler. A more extreme option would be to ditch the kitchen altogether and store it all in the hauler. By rough eyeball from your photo, anything from the kitchen forward you move to say right over the axle will reduce ball load by around 2/3 of that item's weight, and if instead you move it to the rear of the hauler, the reduction in ball load will be near 100% of the item weight.

I feel your pain though. Caravan so-called engineers are not my favourite people. My caravan has a bloody stupid compliance plate that specifies a max ball load of 208kg. To get there I have to fill the rear water tank, empty the front and remove one of the gas bottles - so I have no useable water and can put bugger all in the boot, wardrobes or under the bed :mad:
 

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Yes I totally agree on caravan engineers. I upgraded from my Prado to the Touareg because I needed better tow capacity for my next caravan which will be full height no pop top. Every single van out there nowadays is 3500kgs GVM and I see people towing with dual cabs that just bend their chassis. I am encountering issues with the Touareg that I was not expecting but I will overcome them with everybody’s help here I’m sure. Perhaps I should have gone with air suspension but I was put off by the extra complexity and inevitable failures that would happen out whoop whoop
At least your Touareg has a bit more margin in the towball limit. My CR is either 240kg or 260kg max, depending on which supplement you read. May never buy another van, but I've been collecting links to van manufacturers who appear to be designing for lower ball weights - but the problem is always getting from a quoted tare/empty ball weight to a realistic loaded ball weight. It appears that rear door layouts in the same range start out with lighter ball weights. But realistically it's going to be hard to get anywhere until the industry evolves from a fixation on 10% + ball weights at high GTM
 

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Unfortunately it doesn't quite work that way. Because of the lever effect of the towball overhang behind the rear axle, more than the towball load is transferred to the rear axle, with a corresponding reduction on load on the front axle. I believe the weight factor is 1+ overhang / wheelbase. For the CR with 2895 mm wheelbase and 1119 overhang, about 1,4 times the ball weight goes onto the rear axle, so 280*1.4 = 392kg. The ONLY way to get an accurate answer is to have your rig weighed with what you carry in the vehicle (fuel, driver and co-driver, anything you'll carry in the car) to establish accurate axle weights, and then repeat it with the van hitched up. There is any number of mobile weighing services that do exactly that. Better to spend a few hundred on that than cop a fine and a defect that would stop you continuing your journey with the van hitched, and worst cased invalidate your insurance if you had a mishap the insurance company could claim was load related.
 

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I was so convinced with the GCM figures that the Touareg would be a good tow vehicle and everyone says it is! This rear axle weight limit seems to be a much bigger limitation and you may as well forget GCM, GVM. I’m now wondering if I reconsider my choice of tow vehicle or will it all come good when I upgrade to a twin axle van with lower towball weight? I fear I’ll still be in strife with towball weight as the new van would be close to 3500 GTM. I’d want to be fully laden with 4 passengers…
IMO, while Australian van manufacturers and caravanning media remain fixated on 10% ball weights and that 300kg plus ball weights are ok, the Touareg (and most unmodified dual cab utes, Prados and Cruisers) will struggle to tow anywhere near their headline weights while carrying any internal payload without overloading rear axles. For 2t+, the Touareg needs to tow vans designed closer to Euro specs of 5-7% tow ball download. More sensible weight distribution at tare also means that ball load doesn't increase as much from tare to loaded.
 

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True enough re a relatively low rear axle load, but that's in the context of a decent payload (GVM-tare) and a competitive towball overhang relative to wheelbase that minimises ball weight transfer to the rear axle.

But the table you posted and the vastly differing relative strengths and weakness shows just what a minefield anyone wanting to tow is entering!
 

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A weighbridge is useful for a quick and dirty look at overall weights, but where you need to worry about axle weights IMO a mobile weighing service that does every wheel and both car and van independently is the way to go. One advantage of such services is you can take the time to see the effect of loading options if you're close to a limit. I used Ezi-Weigh https://www.eziweigh.com.au/; another couple that just popped up on a google search for 'mobile caravan weighing sunshine coast 'are https://www.mobilecaravanweighing.com.au/ and Mobile Caravan Weighing Service | Brisbane & Surrounds
 

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The boat looks a lot bigger against the Touareg than my old Prado 😂 me thinks my fuel consumption will suffer from the wind resistance 😥
maybe, but isn't it all just a means to an end? I expect it would pale into insignificance against a) getting out on the water :D and b) litres/hour for the boat :eek:

ps I had been thinking Prado to get the 2000-2500kg tow capacity I need, but once I drove the CR, never even gave the Prado a second thought, despite near double the price. Still never driven one, probably should have I suppose.
 

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Yes I completely understand the ability to do that with individual scales just don't believe the checking goes to that level on the road side
There are recent reports from QLD of greatly increased roadside caravan / tug weight checking, and they specifically mention checking tug axle weights
 

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Well if that is correct (I would love to hear from someone that has had this check done !) with the current trend from owners and manufacturers to be having these fully decked out extremely heavy off road vans the touareg will no longer be a suitable tow vehicle for these. Every one will have to get a RAM etc or a GVM upgrade landcruiser or one of the current uses and get a GVM upgrade on that.
This Facebook post is from late July in Woodford QLD.
In the photo you can clearly see the scales beside both caravan axles and both tow vehicle axles https://scontent-syd2-1.xx.fbcdn.ne...Bo4i8M5FHG0dmvck8Ldffhb6b2ihuInaA&oe=62FC3F95
 

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Maybe the market for poorly balanced vans that can't be towed legally without a truck will dry up as awareness of stricter compliance increases and caravan makers will improve their engineering and design. Oh look, a flying pig!
 

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The legal onus is on the operator not to overload the vehicle, well duh; but putting my cynic hat on, quite probably also to be able to prove it's not overloaded, by being able to produce the relevant weight limits. That they are not on a placard on the door pillar I doubt is relevant. For the CR, the placard has GVM, but the value is blank. However there is a supplement to the owner's manual that details everything relevant to towing, ie max ball weight, max trailer ATM, GVM, GCM and max rear axle load. A 'reasonable person' might conclude that if you choose to tow anything, you should a) be familiar with those limits and b) keep them in the vehicle to be able to demonstrate any load is legal. A bit like having to not just have a license, but be able to produce it.

As an interesting contrast, my previous tow vehicle is a 04 Fairlane, and all it has in the manual is max trailer ATM, max ball weight and max rear axle load. Nothing about GVM or GCM. But when max ATM and ball load are only 2300/230kg, I suppose trailer mass and rear axle load is enough to avoid overloading.
 
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