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View Full Version : tear drop campers and towing capacity



peterAustralia
03-05-2016, 10:35 AM
Today I was reading a magazine and discovered a thing called a tear drop camper. Never knew they existed before today. I think they are really cool. Best described as a very small caravan with an aerodynamic shape.

My car is a 4 cylinder hatchback, 2001 Mazda 323. I am trying to figure out how much it can tow in terms of weight. I saw on the internet that this car can tow 970kg at 85% capacity. I dont know what the 85 refers to, but I assume that is the prudent figure and although in theory you can go heavier it is not recommended.

I am sure that on my towbar (its a light duty towbar), it was rated at 350kg max. Does that mean I can only tow a 350kg trailer, or does that mean the downforce on the towbar cant exceed 350kg? I just went to the mechanic and asked him to fit a towbar, and they did the job.

Can I tow one of these teardrop trailers, it might weigh say 450kg all up, maybe a bit less? They are small 8 x 5 feet, made of a steel frame, then wood carpentry then finished with some light aluminium skin to keep the water off. I find that although I have done heaps of overnight walks, up to 8 days off track. As I get older I tend to just go out for the weekend, to get away, get some exercise, fresh air etc. Most times I just sleep in the car, less hassle that putting up a tent. Its a hatchback so the back seats fold down and I have an area where i can sleep. I would prefer to build one of these tear drop campers, they look really cool. Simple, small. I dont need much space and would never consider a proper caravan, and these small tear drop campers really appeal to me.

So what sounds right, 350kg or 940kg towing capacity?
http://www.uktow.com/towing%20capacity.asp?make=Mazda&model1=323

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvysANJihYg


in terms of towbars, I have a light duty one, heavy duty ones have a rectangular section that slides in, mine looks like this,
http://www.shop1auto.com.au/New%20towbar%20pages/Towbars_Mazda_323.html
they say 720/60 rating which I assume means 720kg max load, which seems reasonable, 350kg does not seem a lot

Norman Bernstein
03-05-2016, 10:38 AM
I'm no expert on this stuff, but I DO recall that the recommended weight (downforce) on the hitch should be no more than 10% of the weight of the thing being towed. This doesn't clear it up for you, since 350kg isn't even close to 10% of a 970kg trailer.

Breakaway
03-05-2016, 10:42 AM
350 kg must be the he rating; even a large vehicle would not have a tongue weight ( " downforce") of 350 kg. Your vehicle can tow one of those, IMO. Just don't overload it with gear. But the hitch must be rated for the weight.



Kevi b Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
03-05-2016, 10:44 AM
I'm no expert on this stuff, but I DO recall that the recommended weight (downforce) on the hitch should be no more than 10% of the weight of the thing being towed. This doesn't clear it up for you, since 350kg isn't even close to 10% of a 970kg trailer.

Beware of american English, 350Kg is almost 40% of 970Kg.

p.s. ignore everything on towing which does not come from an expert in your own country/state, the rule vary enormously.

George Jung
03-05-2016, 10:54 AM
Recent thread on teardrops. Check out clcboats.com

Bobby of Tulsa
03-05-2016, 10:57 AM
http://assets.inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2015/04/Steampunk-Teardrop-Trailer-Dave-Moult-Car.jpeg

Norman Bernstein
03-05-2016, 10:57 AM
Beware of american English, 350Kg is almost 40% of 970Kg...

Uhhh, by 'isn't even close', I DID mean that it was substantially MORE than 10%. Also, the supposed 10% rule has to do with towing dynamics, and shouldn't be affected by regulations or locale.

Dave Wright
03-05-2016, 10:57 AM
Brakes. You can tow anything but your brakes will kill you or someone else.

Bobby of Tulsa
03-05-2016, 10:58 AM
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/be/98/cb/be98cb269c13458ee3ee6fc88521e0f3.jpg

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
03-05-2016, 11:02 AM
Uhhh, by 'isn't even close', I DID mean that it was substantially MORE than 10%. Also, the supposed 10% rule has to do with towing dynamics, and shouldn't be affected by regulations or locale.

My point was on the nature of English usage, and how it varies from place to place - the maths was fine.

jack grebe
03-05-2016, 11:15 AM
The tow vehicle AND hitch must be rated at a minimum, of the trailers
gross weight ratings. Tongue weight, down force on the ball, should be about 10%
Of the gross weight ratings. ....and trailer must be level with tow vehicle
to help keep trailer sway at a minimum.

stromborg
03-05-2016, 11:41 AM
Looks like 1300kg, (which seems like a lot) according to "uktow" who has this chart: http://www.uktow.com/towing%20capacity.asp?make=mazda&model1=323

peterAustralia
03-05-2016, 12:04 PM
I just read my log book.
Says that towing a trailer without brakes is limited to 400kg
Towing a trailer with break is limited to 720kg
downforce must not exceed 10 percent or 60kg

I looked at the towbar, says is Hayman Reese brand.

thus this one is just over in terms of total weight and downforce (910 pounds and 180 pounds)
http://www.kuffelcreek.com/cubby.htm

but this one just slips through (800 pounds and 120 pounds downforce)
http://www.kuffelcreek.com/Benroy.htm

otherwise buy a bigger car

The Bigfella
03-05-2016, 12:09 PM
... and I reckon go for rear wheel drive (or 4 wheel drive)

peterAustralia
03-05-2016, 12:09 PM
strange that in the UK a Mazda 323 can legally tow 1300kg, but in Australia a Mazda 323 can only tow 720kg. Do Mazda make different Mazda 323s for the UK and for Oz (we both drive on the left).

Looks like the benroy is suitable, the cubby I could possibly get away with but seems iffy
aside, I meant brakes, not breaks... duh

George Jung
03-05-2016, 12:42 PM
http://www.clcboats.com/shop/boats/development-projects/clc-teardrop-trailer.html



How much does the CLC Teardrop Camper weigh?

About 250 pounds fully outfitted and accessorized. The basic shell and galley weighed 176lbs on our digital scale. Trailer weight will vary wildly; our aluminum Trailex trailer weighs 196lbs. Figure on a total of 500-600lbs all-up with typical outfitting.

George Jung
03-05-2016, 12:43 PM
http://www.clcboats.com/images/photos/boats/clc_teardrop_trailer/Pre-Finish%20Side%20View%201%20-%20Retouched%20-%20Medium.jpg

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
03-05-2016, 01:35 PM
strange that in the UK a Mazda 323 can legally tow 1300kg, but in Australia a Mazda 323 can only tow 720kg. Do Mazda make different Mazda 323s for the UK and for Oz (we both drive on the left).

Looks like the benroy is suitable, the cubby I could possibly get away with but seems iffy
aside, I meant brakes, not breaks... duh

The cars may well be identical.
Local rules differ - go with the right ones for where you are.

Ask LeeG about the Transit Connect!

Sailor
03-05-2016, 05:03 PM
I thought I saw a thread on these trailers just last week. Anyone remember it? Can't seem to find it now.

Zane Lewis
03-05-2016, 05:55 PM
Can be climate and road conditions as well. My Subaru has shorter service intervals for New Zealand and Australia than they have for Europe and North America. Same engine and gear box. In Aussie this is to do with heat affecting cooling and we have a more hills and bends meaning slower average speeds. We both have gravel roads

Also remember Aussie has it's own set of specifications for cars that is a little different to many other countries. That's why NZ with a much smaller market gets a larger range of models.

S/V Laura Ellen
03-05-2016, 06:12 PM
I thought I saw a thread on these trailers just last week. Anyone remember it? Can't seem to find it now.

http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?201614-CLC-Teardrop-Trailer&p=4801290&highlight=#post4801290

Minnesnowtan
03-05-2016, 10:35 PM
Yes, your little car can pull a tear drop with its eyes closed and two cylinders tied behind its back.

PeterSibley
03-05-2016, 11:19 PM
I think one of those little things would be an excellent thing to be able to drop onto the back of a work ute for days off, no need for a separate registration.

john welsford
03-05-2016, 11:37 PM
Car specs, even within a given model can vary considerably between major market groups. Distributors get together and work out specs that will suit their markets, manufacturers do the same within their marketing divisions so you can get variations as wide as for example the Southern Hemisphere Ford Ranger Pickup, which is not even the same truck that was sold in North America and Canada. Just the same name, nothing else.
So it is quite possible that there are factors within the vehicle as well as local regulation that will mean a different towing load rating.

But I'd say you wont have any issues towing any teardrop caravan that I've seen with that car. Just practice a couple of crash stops on wet and loose surface roads before you load the family on board and head out for a holiday.

John Welsford

John


strange that in the UK a Mazda 323 can legally tow 1300kg, but in Australia a Mazda 323 can only tow 720kg. Do Mazda make different Mazda 323s for the UK and for Oz (we both drive on the left).

Looks like the benroy is suitable, the cubby I could possibly get away with but seems iffy
aside, I meant brakes, not breaks... duh

Nicholas Carey
03-06-2016, 01:36 AM
strange that in the UK a Mazda 323 can legally tow 1300kg, but in Australia a Mazda 323 can only tow 720kg. Do Mazda make different Mazda 323s for the UK and for Oz (we both drive on the left).

Looks like the benroy is suitable, the cubby I could possibly get away with but seems iffy
aside, I meant brakes, not breaks... duh


I have a 2004 Honda CR-V. The U.K. manual specs the towing capacity at 1,200 kilograms whilst the U.S. Manual specs it at 1,200 [pounds]. Same exact car, especially if you look at the parts catalogues. There are some bits that vary (a lot of times they want a VIN so they can identify the exact the variant and target market so as to pin down the part), but the bits that might tie I to towing...same Honda part numbers.

I suspect the thing that varies is the climate with respect to lawsuits.

Much depends, aside from legal niceties, on context. High speeds or slow? Flat ground or high mountains? Long distance...or across town?

Towing a 3,000 boat 5 miles across town to the marina on flat roads at 30 mph is a far different thing than towing it 1,000 miles across the Rocky Mountains at 70 mph.

Rick Tyler
07-22-2016, 01:59 PM
I know this is an old thread, but in case someone finds it in a search, the gold standard for online communities involved with teardrops and other tiny (camping) trailers is http://tnttt.com/. They have threads that are as long and thorough as the building threads here, and they have a great library of built designs.

Bobcat
07-22-2016, 02:08 PM
I know this is an old thread, but in case someone finds it in a search, the gold standard for online communities involved with teardrops and other tiny (camping) trailers is http://tnttt.com/. They have threads that are as long and thorough as the building threads here, and they have a great library of built designs.

When I had a teardrop that was my go-to site

john welsford
07-22-2016, 03:18 PM
Very few teardrop campers will be more than 350 kg, and yes your Mazda 323 will tow that easily apart from sustained high speed on highways such as the Bruce Highway or the Hume,
Take care on long downhills, use the gearbox a lot rather than the brakes, and your towball weight should be around 20 kg. if you cant lift the tow hitch onto the ball easily its too heavy so you'd need to move some of the baggage in the camper back a bit.
The 323 is not made for towing anything other than a light load, but the whole point of the teardrop camper is that it is a light load and is able to be pulled by a small, economical car.

John Welsford


I just read my log book.
Says that towing a trailer without brakes is limited to 400kg
Towing a trailer with break is limited to 720kg
downforce must not exceed 10 percent or 60kg

I looked at the towbar, says is Hayman Reese brand.

thus this one is just over in terms of total weight and downforce (910 pounds and 180 pounds)
http://www.kuffelcreek.com/cubby.htm

but this one just slips through (800 pounds and 120 pounds downforce)
http://www.kuffelcreek.com/Benroy.htm

otherwise buy a bigger car

Stiletto
07-22-2016, 08:36 PM
I think one of those little things would be an excellent thing to be able to drop onto the back of a work ute for days off, no need for a separate registration.

I have been thinking about that idea for my ute.

Phil Y
07-23-2016, 01:15 AM
Search slide on camper.

epoxyboy
07-23-2016, 04:37 AM
strange that in the UK a Mazda 323 can legally tow 1300kg, but in Australia a Mazda 323 can only tow 720kg. Do Mazda make different Mazda 323s for the UK and for Oz (we both drive on the left).

Looks like the benroy is suitable, the cubby I could possibly get away with but seems iffy
aside, I meant brakes, not breaks... duh
Holy cow, I'd be chary about towing 1300kg with our V6 Camry Wagon. As far as I know, a 323 is the same the world over, although the Brits might have a diesel option we dont have down under.
If you have ever had the @$$hole puckering experience of an overloaded tail wagging the dog at highway speed, you wouldn't entertain towing a 1300kg load with a 1300kg car for a second. I think the Camry towhitch it rated at 650kg unbraked, 1000kg braked - and it is a much bigger lump than a 323.

Pete

skuthorp
07-23-2016, 06:48 AM
I live in hilly horse country and see V8 utes (pickups) towing loaded double horse floats that weigh more than the tow vehicle.

Andrew2
07-24-2016, 01:57 AM
I live in hilly horse country and see V8 utes (pickups) towing loaded double horse floats that weigh more than the tow vehicle.

The reason 4x4s like pickups and Land Rovers have high capacities for towing is more about the gearing. An old series L-R with the 4 pot engine can pull 3.5 tonnes (not very quickly...) I pulled a 26ft boat from St Tropez to the UK with Jeep type vehicle that had a 60hp engine and curb weight of 1.5 tonne. The boat plus trailer was around 2.5 t. Never any problem with starting on hills, as first gear was a low stump puller. We found we could cruise at 60, but any more risked a serious wag, so we kept it at 55mph.

PeterSibley
07-24-2016, 02:13 AM
If I have a trailer that is heavy by comparison to my tow vehicle I'll want good brakes on the trailer, I've heard too many stories about vehicles being pushed down hills and sometimes over the edge of the road.

john welsford
07-24-2016, 02:47 AM
i towed my little gaff sloop with my four cylinder Camry, the boat and trailer were about 1200 kg plus the gear and water etc, it did ok but you can bet I was really careful about stopping distances and downhills. A couple of times I had to chock the trailer, run the car up to the top of the ramp, turn around, put a strop on the trailer from the towing eye under the front of the car then back up the ramp pulling the boat. Lower gear in reverse plus the weight transfer was onto the driving wheels.
These days the Mitsi Triton Ute hardly knows its there.

But back to the teardrop caravan, I cant see it being more than about 350 kg loaded and a 1500 cc car should pull that without any trouble.

John Welsford

Holy cow, I'd be chary about towing 1300kg with our V6 Camry Wagon. As far as I know, a 323 is the same the world over, although the Brits might have a diesel option we dont have down under.
If you have ever had the @$$hole puckering experience of an overloaded tail wagging the dog at highway speed, you wouldn't entertain towing a 1300kg load with a 1300kg car for a second. I think the Camry towhitch it rated at 650kg unbraked, 1000kg braked - and it is a much bigger lump than a 323.

Pete

Andrew2
07-24-2016, 03:40 AM
If I have a trailer that is heavy by comparison to my tow vehicle I'll want good brakes on the trailer, I've heard too many stories about vehicles being pushed down hills and sometimes over the edge of the road.
Peter, I built the trailer for that trip and made sure the brakes were effective.

PeterSibley
07-24-2016, 03:42 AM
Well done .

Bobcat
07-24-2016, 09:41 AM
My teardrop, loaded, was about 800 pounds. I towed it with a four cylinder Subaru Forester. I barely noticed it behind the car. My then wife drove it to a couple of motorcycle rallies, to which I took a bike, usually my sidecar rig. Wags would ask me if I towed the teardrop behind the sidecar rig. My waggish answer was that I was sure that the rig would tow it, so long as I didn't have to make any stops.

http://i1252.photobucket.com/albums/hh571/Leketoy/DSCN1311.jpg

leikec
07-24-2016, 10:04 AM
My teardrop, loaded, was about 800 pounds. I towed it with a four cylinder Subaru Forester. I barely noticed it behind the car. My then wife drove it to a couple of motorcycle rallies, to which I took a bike, usually my sidecar rig. Wags would ask me if I towed the teardrop behind the sidecar rig. My waggish answer was that I was sure that the rig would tow it, so long as I didn't have to make any stops.

http://i1252.photobucket.com/albums/hh571/Leketoy/DSCN1311.jpg

Nice! Winter camping is underrated :D

Jeff C

Phil Y
07-24-2016, 05:53 PM
If I have a trailer that is heavy by comparison to my tow vehicle I'll want good brakes on the trailer, I've heard too many stories about vehicles being pushed down hills and sometimes over the edge of the road.

I nearly did that a couple of weeks ago. Towing one of my Kangas behind my big fat Holden all wheel drive V8 monster thing, down a steep gravel driveway, in the wet. Trailer has brakes, but not so great. Trailer wanted to go faster than I did. ABS brakes on the car didn't really know what to do. Wheels locking up all over the place, Several times I had to just let her run a bit to regain traction and steerage as we headed toward a hairpin bend. Heart rate got well up.

Wooden Boat Fittings
07-24-2016, 09:38 PM
'Mechanics Illustrated' from September 1947 carried full plans for making a teardrop camper in timber-framed ply on a steel trailer. Who knows whether it would satisfy today's road regulations anywhere, though?


http://www.woodenboatfittings.com.au/public/teardrop-trailer4.jpg


Four of us took one like it away in the 60s. It slept two comfortably inside, and two more in an outside annexe that wrapped round past the door. It had loads of internal locker and hanging space, and a fully-fitted galley under the rear hatch. And we heated the whole outfit with one of those old pressure-kero mantle heaters with the circular reflector. Ah, the good old days! :)

Mike

john welsford
07-25-2016, 07:03 AM
Towed it with what?
Humber 80? that would have worked. Dad dragged our little caravan with a Standard Vanguard.

John Welsford




'Mechanics Illustrated' from September 1947 carried full plans for making a teardrop camper in timber-framed ply on a steel trailer. Who knows whether it would satisfy today's road regulations anywhere, though?


http://www.woodenboatfittings.com.au/public/teardrop-trailer4.jpg


Four of us took one like it away in the 60s. It slept two comfortably inside, and two more in an outside annexe that wrapped round past the door. It had loads of internal locker and hanging space, and a fully-fitted galley under the rear hatch. And we heated the whole outfit with one of those old pressure-kero mantle heaters with the circular reflector. Ah, the good old days! :)

Mike

PeterSibley
07-25-2016, 07:06 AM
Towed it with what?
Humber 80? that would have worked. Dad dragged our little caravan with a Standard Vanguard.

John Welsford

I seem to remember Dad did the same.

Wooden Boat Fittings
07-25-2016, 07:46 AM
I honestly don't remember the car. But I'm pretty sure it was a good deal smaller than a Humber. Maybe an A30? Really not sure. (It wasn't mine, but my mate's.)

I drove a Standard Vanguard a few times -- it belonged to the father of a friend, who I did some part-time work for when I was at school. I remmeber being particularly fascinated by the overdrive lever mounted on the steering wheel hub. (Not sure there wasn't a spark advance/retard there as well.)

Mike

switters
07-28-2016, 12:37 PM
http://www.treehugger.com/tiny-houses/diy-micro-camper-jurgen-jas.html

http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2016/07/micro-camper-jurgen-jas-6.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scale.jpg

this may be of interest, 1,100lbs