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josmond 07-09-20 11:36 PM

Exceed 2019 Suspension upgrade for towing large caravan
I wasn't sure if I should add to other threads about suspension or start a new one.

I have a 2019 Exceed, all standard accessories, no plan to add any.

We recently bought a caravan, haven't had a chance to take it to the weight bridge, but Tare is 2.5, so fully packed will probably be around the 2.8 - 3, which I know is near the the limits of the car.

Tow ball weight - Currently 220kg (this may need to increase to keep the 10% weight ratio, so could be around 280kg and the numbers below could end up worse)

Back Wheel height:
Before: 560
After: 520 - 515
Difference: 40-45mm down

Front Wheel Height
Before: 525 - 520
After: 535
Difference: 10 - 15mm up

Tow ball Height
Before: 565
After: 490
Difference 75mm down

Planned usage:
Daily driver with minimal extra weights, just kids, shopping etc
Touring away for weekends every couple of weeks and most of the school holidays
When towing the car will just have kids and day trip items drinks/snacks etc, no plan for car fridge etc.
No real 4WDing, just dirt roads when free camping or exploring national parks etc

From what I have read on here the King springs upgrade and bump stop is a minimum but I'm not sure if it will be enough with the larger caravan so I may need something a bit more robust?

I am based in western Sydney and am not mechanically inclined so would have the work done at a suspension specialist or mechanic.

What are some recommendations?

Edit to add:
I don't have a WDH, if I do require which is better? The Anderson or Hayman Reese or something else?
I am fine if I end up with some lift, nothing too crazy, but whatever will make towing safer.

Dicko1 08-09-20 06:08 AM

I would not do a thing until you get the rig weighed. 1st time empty to get its true tare. Second time full to see if it is in legal weight. They say a tare of 2.5 tonne. I,d be very surprised if this is a true figure. Many have been told lies about the true weight in an effort to make a sale. Many have seen their new vans way too heavy to legally tow.

Once weighed then you can work out suspension , wdh,s and the rest.

old Jack 08-09-20 08:15 AM

Minimum legal ride height on the rear suspension on a Pajero Sport is 519mm so your ar at that point already.

So, what to do next.

1. Load up the caravan measure ball weight and all ride heights. Make sure you are parked on level flat ground.
2. Go to a weigh bridge and get the hitched up front, rear and trailer axle weights.
3. I assume the caravan is dual axle, does it have load sharing leaf suspension or independent suspension?
4. When all loaded and hitched up is the drawbar level? What height is the bottom of the A frame at the front and rear?


nj swb 08-09-20 08:38 AM

Hello Josmond, welcome to the forum. :beer[1]:

According to Red Book your Exceed has a GCM of 5400 kg, a kerb weight of 2210 kg and a GVM of 2775 kg.

Hook your 2800 kg caravan on the back and the GVM of your Pajero Sport is limited to 2600kg (5400 - 2800 kg).

If you load your Exceed to 2600 you are limited to a 175 kg ball weight - that's the difference between your 2600 kg limit to keep you under your GCM (with a 2800 kg van), and Mitsubishi's ultimate GVM limit.

With a 220 kg ball weight, and keeping below Mitsubishi's GVM figure, you can only load you Exceed to 2555 kg if you plan to stay legal - that's kerb weight of 2210 kg and a 345 kg payload, after a full tank of fuel, but before your towbar, bull bar (if you have one), passengers, luggage & driver.

Don't increase your tow ball weight to 10%. At 280 kg ball weight you're back to a 285 kg payload.

If you load your van to 3000 kg your Exceed can only weigh 2400 - that's GCM of 5400 kg, minus 3000 kg. With a kerb weight of 2210 kg you would have a nominal payload of 190 kg.

As Dicko and OJ have said, you need to have your van, and your Pajero Sport, weighed.

Ian H 08-09-20 09:13 AM

I was just going through the same numbers to post but nj beat me to it.

Your van is basically as heavy if not heavier than your vehicle and that's a big problem in my book. I've been involved in weighing vans and cars for a while and I don't think you have the right combination and will struggle to stay legal or safe.

As for a WDH, definitely, it might keep you under the numbers. Upgraded springs will help the sag but do nothing to alter the weight problem.

josmond 08-09-20 09:45 AM

Thank you all for the quick responses, appreciate all of the expertise of this forum.

Hmm, I guess I should have done further reading and understanding before buying the van :(
I won't be able to upgrade to a new car for another 18 months (at which point I'll have to do even more research), so need to make sure I can get it legal until then.

To answer question:
I assume the caravan is dual axle, does it have load sharing leaf suspension or independent suspension?
Yes, dual axle with load sharing leaf suspension:

So next steps:
  1. Get the Van weighed
    Should this be when packed ready to go or empty? We've almost finished packing it since I figured it would make more sense to do the measurements with how we intend to use it rather than empty, then we can remove stuff if required or know what the remaining payload would be
  2. Double check all ride heights and levels with van attached
    As above, should this be when packed ready to go or empty?

For weighing I'll go to a weighbridge, but was considering getting one of these to do incremental testing of moving things around to adjust weights:
The local weighbridge is $45 so I figure it would pay for itself fairly quickly as I iterate through testing of weight, has anyone used it and what are your thoughts on it?

nj swb 08-09-20 10:09 AM

Hi Josmond,

While it's important to understand your weights and balances from a safety and stability perspective you're also into the realm of remaining legal - you'll need to walk a relatively fine line. I think the scale you linked is a reasonably good idea, but note "Deviation <3%" - which I presume is their accuracy spec. Little information on precisely how that "3%" is calculated, but it could be 3% of 1500kg, or +/- 45kg. By all means buy one for sorting out your loadings, but get your final configuration checked at a certified weigh bridge - and ensure they provide data on the accuracy of all the numbers they give you e.g. XXXX kg +/- YY kg.

Ultimately, you need to know your weights at full touring load - this is where you're most likely to run into trouble, both safety wise and legality wise. I'm a numbers geek, so I'd also want to know all the empty figures, but these are less important - if you're unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident only the weights (car and van) on the day will be relevant.

Don't be too hung up on Australia's fascination with a 10% ball weight. It's an industry "rule of thumb", not a legal requirement. With heavier vans, and particularly dual axles, it's being recognised that a range of 5% - 10% is more realistic, with some engineering studies concluding that 6% - 7% is about ideal. Too light, and pitching of the caravan at highway speeds could de-stabilise the tow tug - too heavy, and you'll overload the rear suspension (and probably exceed your GVM rating). Again, a well designed dual axle van suspension should help to control any dynamic changes at highway speeds.

Keep in mind weight transfer during a trip, such as transfer of fluids in and out of water and waste tanks. This can have an effect on ball mass, which (just to reiterate) can have both legal and safety (stability) implications.

Finally, be very careful about heavy weights too far from the axles. A 2800kg caravan with most of the mass located near the axles will be much more stable on the highway than a 2800kg caravan with the mass divided at the front and rear of the van. Same mass, same COG, same ball weight, different dynamics.

You've got yourself a great project here - experimenting with loadings and finding a good solution will keep you busy for many hours. :beer[1]:

Ian H 08-09-20 10:11 AM

It's a common mistake mate and sussing it out is a minefield. People go to the caravan dealer and he says your car is fine, it can tow 3100kg so here you go, there's a van which is only 3000kg. But that's not reality, no car can safely tow it's maximum allowable caravan mass and still have room for passengers and gear. My NX Paj tows a 2000kg van which gets up to about 2400 loaded which gets me very close to the car's limit and the Paj NX has more capacity and is heavier than the Sport.

Firstly, you need to load it up before going to the weighbridge and fill the water tanks. They'll add 160-180kg assuming 2 80/90L tanks. I hope they are on either side of the axles and not both in front as I've seen sometimes.

You need to check the weights of the individual axles on the car and check the results against the allowable limits according to Mitsibishi. The rear axle is the one you can easily over load if not careful.

If you have a van weighing company around, spend the extra and get them to go over it. The weighbridge is OK but they have a tolerance built in and are not accurate to a few kgs and it could be critical if you are that close. If not, then the weighbridge will have to do.

A WDH will transfer weight from the rear axle of the car and put more on the front axle and the van. It's a must have in your situation and I'd be looking at the Anderson type.

I did a video for our 4WD club which might help explain it better.

and if you want to give yourself a fright......

josmond 14-09-20 04:12 PM

Hi all, so we went to the weight bridge today and here are the results.

I had the van and car fully packed including full water tanks.

Weights (with van hitched):
Front Axle: 1100
Back Axle: 1600
Total: 2680
(I know they don't add up but the total was the weight when the whole car was on the weigh section, axle I think was done with a bit of calculation and maybe rounding)

Van: 2820
Tow ball: 280
GCM: 5500

Weights (with van Unhictched)
Car: 2400
Van: 3100


Weight Limits:
My GVM is under (2775 - 2680 = 95)
My GCM is over (5400 - 5500 = -100)
My rear axle is on the limit (1600)

So need to lose at least 100kg of stuff from the van.

Height Limits:
As per OJ, the back limit is 519 and I am well below that at 505, so need to have lift under weight of at least 15mm

Whats the recommendation in regards to the suspension?
Which springs? Should I also do the shocks? Air bags? WDH?

Aiming to get away for the October School holidays here in NSW, so will need to get it all sorted of the next few weeks.

Hill 14-09-20 06:37 PM

Top tips for caravanners:

If a caravan heavier than two tonnes begins to sway, enact the independent brakes rather than the vehicle's
Do not accelerate if a caravan that weighs less than two tonnes, and does not have independent brakes, begins to sway
Avoid swaying by driving to the conditions, correctly positioning the load and knowing the vehicle's capabilities
Do not speed

Source: Australian Four Wheel Driving and Advanced Driver Education

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