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Joined: Feb 07 2020
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Now we’re a one car family and the P38 won, it’ll get all the towing duties. Obviously it’s more than capable of towing a large caravan, but anyone got any advice etc please? I already know it’ll drink even more fuel!

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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I tow all sorts of things, usually near or even over the 3.5 tonnes limit. I've found that the weight doesn't make a lot of difference to fuel consumption, it's the aerodynamics, or lack of, that make most difference. I towed an Audi A2 on a small car trailer to Latvia and the fuel consumption, and cruising speed, were hardly any different to running solo (although it did take slightly longer to get up to cruising speed), but towing an empty 6 foot tall box trailer made a hell of a difference. The most important thing is getting the weight distribution right, too little nose weight and you'll hit resonance at around 55-60 mph and it'll start to shudder, too much and the tail can start to try to wag the dog and it'll start snaking at around the same speed, especially when going downhill.

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Joined: Feb 07 2020
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Thanks Richard. I presume you use yours for work given the mileage you do?

So basically if I balance a twin axle nicely we should be good?

I keep fluids and brakes fresh so I'm confident on that score.

Do you disable the EAS motorway height when towing?

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Not really work, more a hobby that can sometimes earn me a bit of pocket money. It depends on the trailer I'm towing as I hire them as and when needed so don't always get the same type. I've got the factory swan neck towbar so can't alter the height so I'll look at how it sits when loaded and decide whether standard or motorway is the right height to keep it level. Brian James trailers tend to sit slightly lower than Ifor Williams ones so I lock it in Motorway and I always do if it's a single axle one or an empty twin axle. Remember there's no lower speed limit when towing on the Continent so I can cruise at 75 ish and keeping it lower makes it more stable.

Got the noseweight loading the wrong way round above, too much and you'll hit resonance, too little, so it is tail heavy and it'll snake. On more than one occasion, I've stopped after the first downhill and moved a car further forward on a trailer as it started to snake and needed more weight on the front.

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Joined: Feb 25 2020
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I concur the P38 is very well suited for towing duties. I did haul many a car in its dedicated trailer (twin axle with 14" wheels, around 2.3/2.5t gross, generally in the class of vehicles I work with) and never an issue. Usually I lock the EAS on standard height and I am pretty level.
With the small trailer for lighter duties (single axle unbraked with 13" wheels) I lock instead the EAS on motorway mode, because on standard remains tilted backwards.

Always remember to utilize the gearbox to its full potential, don't leave it stuck in D and expect it to take all the strain!

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Joined: Dec 29 2016
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We’ve just dragged the caravan back from Roy Bridge to home, a distance of 115 miles.

Other then being in 2nd gear on a couple of hills the P38 took it in it’s stride.

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Joined: Feb 24 2017
Posts: 214

That’s a lovely looking Van.
Here in the USA they make nothing like that. Just a crate on four wheels with the style of an Addidas shoe box and the aerodynamics similar to having a sheet of plywood strapped vertically on the roof of your favorite towing vehicle.....
I’m Googling the make and model as I type....

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Joined: Aug 19 2019
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I agree about the ugly boxes (for the most part) they make on this side of the ocean.
How heavy is the Swift?

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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For the largest version, 3750 lbs in your money

https://www.swiftgroup.co.uk/caravans/swift-challenger/technical

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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You filthy filthy Shed Draggers!! :)

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Joined: Dec 29 2016
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The Swift Conqueror 630 that we have is a fairly light caravan by todays standards at 1532kg (3377lbs).

It's modern equivalent is the Elegance Grande which has gained a few pounds coming in at 1745kg (3847lbs).

https://www.swiftgroup.co.uk/caravans/swift-elegance-grande/technical

The newer vans are 8ft wide now as well and the majority of them are between 400-500kg (880-1100lbs) heavier.

The Buccaneer Barracuda that my folks have looked at briefly is 1900kg (4188lbs) unladen.

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Morat wrote:

You filthy filthy Shed Draggers!! :)

But at least they are dragging with something with some grunt. When I covered Norfolk for work I used to avoid going on a Monday or Friday when the roads were clogged with people dragging a small 3 bedroom detached house behind a 1 litre car. I had a boss who was into towing his house around behind him at weekends but would never own anything with an engine of less than 4.0 litres. His argument was that he got as pee'd off being stuck behind a caravan as everyone else so would always make sure he could stay with the traffic.

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Joined: Feb 07 2020
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@dhallworth - pretty much what I'm going for!

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Morat wrote:

You filthy filthy Shed Draggers!! :)

I'd never consider towing a caravan unless i could keep up with traffic! I enjoy driving/riding too, and hate being held up by the trundling types.

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Joined: Dec 29 2016
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The P38 will tow it just fine but it's lacking in torque to do it as effortlessly as the newer ones do. Our L322 doesn't even know the caravan is behind it, but with 313bhp, 516lbft of torque and 8 gears to choose from, it shouldn't!

I drive my P38's with a degree of mechanical sympathy so if I end up in 2nd gear on a steep hill, rather then having it screaming away at 5k rpm I tend to slow down and hold the traffic up a bit. Other then that, it's easy enough to do 50-60.

Just make sure your bushes and steering are good as a big lump on the back will amplify any movement in the car.

David.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
Posts: 1014

Morat wrote:

You filthy filthy Shed Draggers!! :)

Oh yes ;-)

Sorry not even a Landrover lol...

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Not even sure if it's legal to tow with this vehicle, it's a Jap import and doesn't have a manufacturer specified max towing weight (???). If it did have a max towing weight the caravan would probably exceed it...
But I've been to Cornwall with it plenty times, a 700 mile round trip, and the middle of Scotland a similar distance.

Not as good a tow vehicle as a Rangerover but it pulls OK.

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Joined: Jun 17 2018
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Nissan Elgrand!

Nice!!

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Joined: Jun 17 2018
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My S type 3.0 Jag pulls a Elegance Grande 835 effortlessly it'll pull 4th and 5th at 50-60 mph quite easily..
3.0 with 240hp and 300nm so no slouch!

My P38 on the other hand even though it allegedly has 400nm of torque it certainly doesn't feel that quick, I think it is primarily down to the lack of cogs to choose from, the 4spd in my P38 is almost always in the wrong gear, it is either labouring the shit out of itself or it is over revving.

I find myself shifting it manually the entire way from Aberyswyth to Hereford with a van on the back

The 6spd ZF by comparison can lock/unlock the converter in all forward gears, so it effectually have 12 forward gears and at 60mph loaded she is spinning over at 1800rpm.

Odd.

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This is the closest I've come to a caravan and it was hard work! I've found it's aerodynamics rather than weight that make the most difference and that thing was like towing a warehouse. Even worse when it was fully loaded and weighing about 4 tonnes......

enter image description here

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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I've towed a BMW750 car on heavy car trailer with a Volvo V70 2.5 petrol (sat nav took me through a river ford at 2am on that occassion), towed a Zafira on a trailer behind an Autotrail coachbuilt motorhome on Talbot Express 2.0 petrol front end (very slow!)... Neither were great combinations. Wouldn't want to pull 4 tons behind anything much less capable than a Rangerover or bigger.

Yes Strangerover it's a Nissan Elgrand, I've got 2 of them now, have converted somewhere between 250 and 300 of them to LPG.,.. in fact I'm converting one at the moment. Supposedly 240bhp, dunno how much torque but it's quite a revvy quad cam jobby so would imagine most torque is at the top end so probably only about 220ft/lbs.[Edit - I've just Googled it, it supposedly makes somewhere between 246 and 274ft/lbs], 5 Speed auto but the tc only locks up in 5th (unless I suppose the box gets hot), 3000rpm in 5th is only about 70mph. There's a woman on ElgrandOC who had a firm fit a turbo but they didn't lower compression so it can only run around 0.5 bar boost but supposedly makes 350bhp.