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Weights and plating the new van.
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userslowdriver
Posted: 8 November 2019 4:39 PM
Subject: Weights and plating the new van.
 
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I am looking for comments on whether the scenarios outlined below are in the right ball-park and for any other useful input.

I have on order, from Germany, a new La Strada EB (PV). It’s on the Fiat Ducato 4.0t , Maxi chassis, with 16”wheels with an auto box, 180hp engine, awning, 2 solar panels, 150 amp battery, Comfort and Tech Packs plus some other “stuff”. Add that all up and it weighs in at 3,288kg according to the La Strada invoice. It is not clear what allowance is made, in the base 3 ton calculation weight of the van, for diesel, driver etc apart from a note indicating that this includes 30 litres of water. I am assuming the van will come plated at 4,000kg which leaves us a generous 712kg of payload unless I down-plate (see below).

I have a C1 licence, I’m 68. My wife does not have a C1 licence. We do most of our motor-home travel in Europe. My wife is not an enthusiastic driver although she has driven the previous camper - a T5 LWB VW on N roads in France, for an hour or two. She is, however, an excellent navigator, superlative cook, and extremely decorative, so before anyone suggests it, I’m not leaving her behind.

We seem to have three choices.

1. The first, is to leave the van plated at 4.0 tons and for my wife to take the C1 test. She can then drive the La Strada when so inclined or if there is an emergency. I would need to take the medical in two years time. I am currently fit and do not anticipate any issues with it.

2. The second is for my wife not to take the C1 test and I do all the driving. I’d lose my emergency driving backup. I would need to take the medical in two years time.

3. The third is to down-plate the van to 3.5 tons at which point with myself and my wife on board (126kg combined) we have 86kg of payload to play with (and that’s assuming the La Strada weight figures on the invoice include “some” allowance for diesel which is currently unknown). Which is not a lot.
There are certain mitigating steps that we can take. The van has diesel heating so we can lose one of the gas cylinders which will save I think around 27kg (gas and cylinder), additionally we can use a light weight cylinder, which might save 5kg or so. So with some attention to detail we would end up with maximum 118 kg of payload after we were both aboard. Still not a lot. However we don’t have bikes just clothing, walking gear, a few books etc (Kindles from now on!) which may be manageable.

1 or 2 would seem the easier route. But 3 means:

a) we are not speed limited to the same extent
b) we are not subject to weight related (3.5t) exclusions from some areas.
c) we avoid the issues and costs around GoBox and tolls.
d) I understand from other threads that in the UK at least there is guidance for DVSA examiners that for private users there is a 5% “allowance” (175kg on a 3.5 plated van) which results in a verbal warning only. If we were to take “advantage” of that then our effective allowance would rise to something manageable i.e. 293kg. Is the practice in Europe similarly considerate?
I note from earlier threads that no-one has, apparently, ever been stopped or significantly sanctioned, just told to dump water or lose weight in some other way.
Given that we are driving a 4.0t vehicle I do not believe actual safety limits are threatened.

Have I got the options correct.?

As far as 1 and 2 are concerned - how many 4 ton PVC's ever get stopped for exceeding their reduced speed limits?

What would you do and why?





Edited by slowdriver 2019-11-08 4:42 PM
usercolin
Posted: 8 November 2019 5:31 PM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 


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I would note that there is no reduced speed limits in UK due to gross weight, it all to do with unladen weight.
p.s. It is probable that the figure you have got will be the MIRO, this will include an allowance for the driver, so you will need to allow for passenger and everything else, it will mean that trying to keep within 3.5t will be very difficult.

Edited by colin 2019-11-08 5:35 PM
userBillggski
Posted: 8 November 2019 5:35 PM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 


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C1 test every time, it gives you flexibility and remain legal.
I can't see how that maxi chassis can run at 3500kg and you run the risk of being stopped both here and abroad, no matter how rare that situation might be.
userslowdriver
Posted: 8 November 2019 5:57 PM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 
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Billggski - 2019-11-08 5:35 PM

C1 test every time, it gives you flexibility and remain legal.
I can't see how that maxi chassis can run at 3500kg and you run the risk of being stopped both here and abroad, no matter how rare that situation might be.


It is, as I understand it, reasonably straightforward to down-plate from 4.0 tons to 3.5 tons and entirely legal, the original convertor can do it. The distributor can organise it as well. Although of course you can then only run the van fully loaded at 3.5 tons. It appears that it is when trying to go the other way - up-plating from 3.5 that things can get tricky depending on the motorhome and chassis, but that is irrelevant in my situation.
But I do take your point on the utility of the C1 licence which is why my wife is cautiously prepared to take the test.

Edited by slowdriver 2019-11-08 5:57 PM
usercolin
Posted: 8 November 2019 6:12 PM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 


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slowdriver - 2019-11-08 5:57 PM

Billggski - 2019-11-08 5:35 PM

C1 test every time, it gives you flexibility and remain legal.
I can't see how that maxi chassis can run at 3500kg and you run the risk of being stopped both here and abroad, no matter how rare that situation might be.


It is, as I understand it, reasonably straightforward to down-plate from 4.0 tons to 3.5 tons and entirely legal, the original convertor can do it. The distributor can organise it as well. Although of course you can then only run the van fully loaded at 3.5 tons. It appears that it is when trying to go the other way - up-plating from 3.5 that things can get tricky depending on the motorhome and chassis, but that is irrelevant in my situation.
But I do take your point on the utility of the C1 licence which is why my wife is cautiously prepared to take the test.


I don't think the post was about plating at 3.5t ( I have a similar Maxi van but lower roof which is plated at 3.5t) it's about being able to sensibly run under 3.5t
usergoldi
Posted: 8 November 2019 9:03 PM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 
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Good evening,


I would avoid taking an overloaded van to europe because they are more likely to have zero tolerance. You are more likely to not get stopped with your wife driving.
userdavid lloyd
Posted: 9 November 2019 9:25 AM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 


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Hi slow driver - I have to agree with most of the comments so far. Even if your van weights have been quoted at "industry standard" MIRO (which tend to vary by manufacturer) you will struggle at 3500kgs. Just try boxing up all the food and drink you will have onboard for a long trip and you will be surprised how heavy that comes in at.

There may well be some leniency on the part of DVSA if you are weighed but should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident your insurer will be less understanding if you are over the plated weight. Bear in mind also that increasingly in road weighing is being introduced in the UK and Europe.

Since moving back to a coachbuilt we have taken the decision to keep ours at 4250kgs and take my wife off the insurance altogether (she has relinquished her C1) but make sure that our insurance cover includes an emergency driver in the event of my incapacitation.

David
userslowdriver
Posted: 9 November 2019 12:33 PM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 
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david lloyd - 2019-11-09 9:25 AM

Since moving back to a coachbuilt we have taken the decision to keep ours at 4250kgs and take my wife off the insurance altogether (she has relinquished her C1) but make sure that our insurance cover includes an emergency driver in the event of my incapacitation.

David


The insurance provision of an emergency driver is an option I was unaware of so many thanks for that. Who do you insure with?
I am pretty sure, having done some more digging into past posts on the subject, especially from Brian Kirby in 2010, that we are going down the C1/ 4 ton route so we can take full advantage of the payload it provides.On reflection it seems that downplating would be perverse in the circumstances. I got the heavy chassis because I prefer over-engineered solutions. I suppose in the back of my mind I am slightly hesitant about moving from a VW to a Ducato because of durability and load concerns. But I was persuaded by the layout, interior build quality, space optimisation and extensive winterisation of the La Strada Avanti (EB). (Too bad there is not a UK dealership anymore) We spend much of our motorhoming as high in the Alps (Italian or French) as we can. The big engine (+15kg) will I hope help on the tightest, steepest, maneuvering that this can entail. The autobox similarly (+18kg). Once I'd made that decision with its weight implications the Maxi seemed the way to go. Many thanks for your input.
userConrad
Posted: 9 November 2019 2:44 PM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 
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You want to enjoy your investment. If your wife will do the test, well worthwhile having the security of a back-up driver. Also, don't want to be weighing the van every time you go shopping, so register at higher level.
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 9 November 2019 3:40 PM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 


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Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


You ask what folk would do. So here goes!

As things stand, you can legally drive the van at 4.0 tonnes.

So, I think I would import the van at that weight and, before you load it, make sure the fuel tank is brimmed and all other reservoirs (fresh water, waste tank, toilet cassette, and gas locker) are empty, and take it to a weighbridge and get it weighed in that state, at the same time getting the individual axle weights, and making sure to obtain the weighbridge ticket showing all those figures.

I say this because it looks too heavy from the figure you have quoted and, even after you've got it, the basis of La Strada's figure may not be clear. By doing as above, you will have established (and have a record of) the base line for your van. This will also serve to establish whether its unladen weight exceeds 3,050kg, when the reduced UK speed limits would apply. (If it does, you may need to remove everything loose and run the fuel tank right down, so as to more closely approximate to the legal definition of "unladen", as you may be a bit tight on this measure, which will apply whatever its MAM)

Our van is a 130PS manual L2 (6.0M long), H2 (2.6M high) Ducato on the Maxi chassis, with optional 120 litre fuel tank and Thule/Omnistor awning. It is plated at 3,500kg. Weighed as above it is 2,900kg, 1,600kg front, 1,300kg rear. Yours is longer and taller, so on a like for like basis will inevitably weigh more, but 388kg more implies it is also lead lined, which I doubt!

If it helps, ours has a fresh water tank quoted as 100 litre capacity (100kg: I start off with it full, but the weight reduces as water is consumed) and a gas locker that will just take 1 x 13kg steel propane cylinder, and 1 x 5kg propane cylinder (25kg and 18kg respectively including cylinder tare weights). Weighed in fully laden state, with us both on board, plus all our camping gear (ramps, EHU, water hose, air pump) plus all food, drinks, guide books, clothes, bedding, etc.etc. (i.e. the lot! ) it comes in at 3,420kg (1,760 front, 1,660kg rear). So, that represents its realistic maximum weight, which will then reduce as food, drinks, fuel, and gas are consumed. (I would not expect the van ever to weigh as much thereafter during a trip as, although the "consumables" are replaced as we go, it would be extremely unlikely that all would be replaced to the same degree, at the same time, in one single hit.)

I suspect that if so loaded yours would be over the 3,500kg, but not by that much.

So, I'd say first get it, then weigh empty, then again full, and see what the actual results are. I think you'll probably be very close to 3,500kg; as above, probably a little over, but you will then know by how much, and can decide at that point whether you can reduce the load by whatever without inconvenience, or whether you will prefer to run at over 3,500kg.

You say your wife is a reluctant second driver. So is mine, plus she has never driven abroad, and has never driven a LHD vehicle. So, she is not named as a driver on our insurance (Comfort), which then does provide for an emergency driver to repatriate the vehicle if necessary. If your wife were included as a named driver, I think you'd find the premium was fixed on that basis, and she would be expected to drive if you could not. It would be worth exploring these options with your preferred insurer to see what they say.

Then, when you are satisfied on weights, you should find it relatively straightforward to get the van plated down to 3,500kg, if that is your preference, in time for your 70th birthday.

Our previous van was originally plated at 3,700 kg, but in practice ran just below when fully laden, and I got fed up with the faff and cost of maintaining the C1 licence, so down plated it to 3,600kg. DVLA wanted proof that it could safely be operated at the reduced MAM (yes, I know!! ), so I opted to have the change formalised by the manufacturer (Hymer), who issued a pukka replacement VIN plate (actually a transfer) and also altered their vehicle database so that all records showed the same MAM, and everyone was happy. Hope this helps.
userdavid lloyd
Posted: 9 November 2019 8:38 PM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 


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slowdriver - 2019-11-09 12:33 PM

david lloyd - 2019-11-09 9:25 AM

Since moving back to a coachbuilt we have taken the decision to keep ours at 4250kgs and take my wife off the insurance altogether (she has relinquished her C1) but make sure that our insurance cover includes an emergency driver in the event of my incapacitation.

David


The insurance provision of an emergency driver is an option I was unaware of so many thanks for that. Who do you insure with?
I am pretty sure, having done some more digging into past posts on the subject, especially from Brian Kirby in 2010, that we are going down the C1/ 4 ton route so we can take full advantage of the payload it provides.On reflection it seems that downplating would be perverse in the circumstances. I got the heavy chassis because I prefer over-engineered solutions. I suppose in the back of my mind I am slightly hesitant about moving from a VW to a Ducato because of durability and load concerns. But I was persuaded by the layout, interior build quality, space optimisation and extensive winterisation of the La Strada Avanti (EB). (Too bad there is not a UK dealership anymore) We spend much of our motorhoming as high in the Alps (Italian or French) as we can. The big engine (+15kg) will I hope help on the tightest, steepest, maneuvering that this can entail. The autobox similarly (+18kg). Once I'd made that decision with its weight implications the Maxi seemed the way to go. Many thanks for your input.


Like Brian Kirby we insure with Comfort - not just for the emergency driver cover but they have consistently come in at a better price than others.

David
usercurdle
Posted: 10 November 2019 7:16 AM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 


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("1. The first, is to leave the van plated at 4.0 tons and for my wife to take the C1 test. She can then drive the La Strada when so inclined or if there is an emergency.")

With your wife being a reluctant driver, a word of warning about the C1 licence. The practical driving test has to be done in a box sided lorry, you cannot take the test in your motorhome. Examiners make the assumption that you are taking the test in order to become a professional HGV driver and you are judged accordingly. My wife is a bold driver, but refuses to take the C1 test because there is an obvious difference between a 4050kg motorhome (in our case) and a 7500kg lorry.
userslowdriver
Posted: 10 November 2019 7:37 AM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 
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curdle - 2019-11-10 7:16 AM

.....The practical driving test has to be done in a box sided lorry, you cannot take the test in your motorhome. Examiners make the assumption that you are taking the test in order to become a professional HGV driver and you are judged accordingly. My wife is a bold driver, but refuses to take the C1 test because there is an obvious difference between a 4050kg motorhome (in our case) and a 7500kg lorry.


That's interesting and helpful. Thanks. I investigated local training outfits and came up with this one:
https://www.nearway.co.uk/c1-test/c1-training-oxfordshire/
A further telephone call suggested that you were both trained and tested on an Iveco Daily (4 ton). The photos on their site suggest the same. I will check again with them as I take your point about the difference between a 4 ton motorhome and 7.5 ton lorry.

Edited by slowdriver 2019-11-10 7:45 AM
usercurdle
Posted: 10 November 2019 9:23 AM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 


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Excellent find Chris, I’ll sign my wife up first thing Monday!
userslowdriver
Posted: 15 November 2019 11:20 AM
Subject: RE: Weights and plating the new van.
 
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curdle - 2019-11-10 9:23 AM

Excellent find Chris, I’ll sign my wife up first thing Monday!


I assume that you gave your wife a heads up. Well I hope you did, anyway, since I have now talked to Nearway Driver Training https://www.nearway.co.uk/locations/banbury/
and they have confirmed that you both learn on an Iveco Daily 4 ton vehicle , and take your test in it, since, it turns out, there is not a requirement to take the test in a 7.5 ton vehicle. Evidently many of their C1 candidates are embarking on a career as an ambulance driver or similar, and the Iveco Daily is a sufficient starting point for that.

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