overweight conversions

the thinker

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
I am surprised at the lack of knowledge when it comes to the subject of 'payload' and also the number of self conversions that are STILL registered as commercial vans.
Surely self convertors have done their due diligence?
 

Littleoldman

Active Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
OK need some advice here please. The van's mostly finished except for decals which I'm working on at the moment. I need the van weighed!!!!! Can a van MOT center do this by weighing both axles or does it need to go on a weighbridge? My local MOT center weighed it when the MOT was done in June. Added the bed and the fridge since. Would the 2 axle weight done in a MOT garage be adequate for the DVLA when I apply for reclassification? You can tell I'm new to this. I have taken trikes to VOSA when I rode them but I'm a novice now. I have self built 2 bungalows and 2 houses, but strangely never had to weigh them!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

the thinker

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Good questions The building bungalows etc its an architects/structural engineers job to determine so its not relevant to your van conversion.
Some garages have pads that they can weigh your vehicle axles on. a van has an overall weight limit say 3.5 tonne after the mass (what the vehicle weighs including the fixed elements of the conversion itself) fresh water tanks if fitted should be full. and the fuel tank should be at least 2/3rd full together with the weight of the driver. what is left is your 'payload' or max permissible weight. if all these things weight 'say' 3.2tonne your permissible weight (carrying) is reduced to 300KG - if stopped and your vehicle weighed 3590 your technically 30% overweight. It is also possible to be underweight BUT overload on either axle. that's why weight plates give front and rear axle weights. If a garage does not have the weight pads - you can buy them but they are expensive (I have my own). you can find out from your local authority where your nearest weighbridge is. the is also a good youtube presentation by Richard Drinkwater from SVTECH.
Hope it helps and good that you are thinking about it many don't because they don't want to know. Until its too late.
 

david.c.hall

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Location
Irnham, South Lincolnshire
You say 'when I apply for reclassification' Not sure what you mean by that?
If you are trying to re classify as a Motorcaravan then the DVLA will not be interested in the weight. That will stay the same as before. (By weight I mean MAM)
If you are up or down plating then again they will not want to know the weight.
Your MAM will be on your weight plate (along with max axle and train weights) If you change the plate for reclassification of MAM then you have to be sure that you keep below the maximum as stated on the plate.
The unladen weight is not recorded anywhere.
David
 

jjturner

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Local councils will have public weighbridges and quite often metal recycling centers will. You have to pay at both to get a weight (my last one was £10+vat).
If you live in the sticks there may even be free to use weighbridges that are publicly accessible, but they are rare.
Try this link https://www.gov.uk/find-weighbridge but quite a lot of councils make it hard to find so try Google.

If they don't mind, getting a single axle weight and a total weight is good, then you can calculate the other axle.
 
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the thinker

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Thanks for the prompt reply.
Just to make clear. There is absolutely no need to get you 3.5 tonne van re-pleated. The purpose of weighing both axels is so that YOU know that after your conversion and following svtechs (youtube) advice you will not exceed the maximum permissible weight on either axel and overall. other post are correct in that it is not within the DVLA's remit to checks these (although there are boxes for recording these on the v5C, but seldom used) It is the police, DVSA and Vosa who pull you over and dish out lovely fat fines. The DVLA know that 80% (their figures) campers/motorhomes and self conversions are over and their buddies at the DVSA are on the 'look out'. worse now that there are even more WIMS systems being rolled out throughout the country. You will be showing yourself as a responsible 'self converter' if you make a point to DVSA that you have checked your weights after conversions and tell them that it include full tank of fuel driver and passenger (if applicable). Good advise from JJturner.
 

devonian

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Local councils will have public weighbridges and quite often metal recycling centers will. You have to pay at both to get a weight (my last one was £10+vat).
If you live in the sticks there may even be free to use weighbridges that are publicly accessible, but they are rare.
Try this link https://www.gov.uk/find-weighbridge but quite a lot of councils make it hard to find so try Google.

If they don't mind, getting a single axle weight and a total weight is good, then you can calculate the other axle.
Why do you have to pay local councils for a weight, when it costs them absolutelynothing to provide such a service? Total rip off. especially when you consider we pay council tax. Try large scale arable farms they often have weigh bridges and they will probably allow you to weigh for free as long as you ask nicely before hand.
 

Littleoldman

Active Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Near me I have a skip company that let me use the weigh bridge for free. Next to them is a metal scrapyard that also I can use for free. Do I need some official paperwork to prove my weight or can I record it myself?
 

david.c.hall

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Location
Irnham, South Lincolnshire
Near me I have a skip company that let me use the weigh bridge for free. Next to them is a metal scrapyard that also I can use for free. Do I need some official paperwork to prove my weight or can I record it myself?
There is no requirement to prove your weight.
BUT you are required to not exceed either your MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) or your Max Axle weight.
These figures are on the 'Weight Plate' fixed to the vehicle (There will also be Max Train Weight)
The axle weight is also important for setting the best tyre pressures to use as the quoted pressures are for the Max Axle Weight and can be uncomfortable as well as affecting tyre performance.
David
 

Littleoldman

Active Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Thanks David, having no knowledge of the procedure of reclassifying a van and with the stupid hoops the DVLA is making us jump through, I thought I would need something ‘official’ to send them. I’m glad I joined this forum.
 

david.c.hall

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Location
Irnham, South Lincolnshire
The main thing for re classification is to get the outside to look like a Motorcaravan. It is extremely difficult since DVLA moved the goalposts.
Get high level photos showing Solar panels and roof vents and good shots of any decals fitted (Perhaps a name and model! you can take them off afterwards if you don't really want them).
However it is not a great disaster if you just finish up as 'Van with Windows' as has happened to many including long established commercial converters.
For MOT if it presents as a Motorcaravan that is what it will be tested as.
Keep a copy of communications with DVLA for your insurance company, They are now quite used to the DVLA's intransigents and will insure as Motorcaravan with your proof of conversion and attempt to re classify.
David
 

the thinker

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
having no knowledge of the procedure of reclassifying a van and with the stupid hoops the DVLA is making us jump through, I thought I would need something ‘official’ to send them. I’m glad I joined this forum.
Hiya there is nothing official you have to send them but it might just help portray you as a responsible self convertor if you do, it shows that you have thought about it and that like them you are aware of the weight problems that are associated with camper van conversions. so many people just ignore quite an important aspect. DVLA is not responsible for ensuring you are no over permitted axel weights, but DVSA are. don't give them the opportunity. just tick all the boxes that are need with the DVLA guidelines and throw them a few curve balls. it can only help.
 

jjturner

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
For the DVLA submission, I made sure I took a photo of each thing they needed to see and wrote on the back of the photo what it was using the DVLA descriptions (table, storage, bed etc). On anything like sink, cooker etc. I made sure the photo showed it working and the photo for storage contained a none fixed item to show the size of the storage. For the bed photo's, they were made up with duvet, pillows etc. as well as down as seats. Don't assume they will look for what the contains, you have to spoon feed them as they're looking for any excuse not to.

From others experience you only now seem to get one shot at this so include more pictures than you might otherwise.

The current list is;
  • 2 or more windows on at least one side of the main body (this does not include windows on the driver or passenger doors) to provide a reasonable amount of daylight into the living accommodation
  • a separate door which provides access to the living accommodation of the vehicle (this excludes the driver and passenger doors); a window on this door counts as a separate window on the main body
  • motor caravan-style graphics on both sides of the vehicle
  • an awning bar attached to either side of the vehicle
  • a high-top roof (this does not include a pop-top elevating roof)
  • seats and a table
  • sleeping accommodation which may be converted from the seats
  • cooking facilities
  • storage facilities
 

Littleoldman

Active Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Had the Campervan on the weigh bridge this morning. It came in at 3180kg. I have a full tank of diesel and about 70 litre of water. Gas is 75% full. Most of the food is packed in the van. I didn’t add the awning as I was a little nervous about going over. With the awning extra bits water fill up and gas And my dear wife I’m under 330kg. This has been playing on my mind for quite a while and I’m glad I’m legal.
 

david.c.hall

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Location
Irnham, South Lincolnshire
Had the Campervan on the weigh bridge this morning. It came in at 3180kg. I have a full tank of diesel and about 70 litre of water. Gas is 75% full. Most of the food is packed in the van. I didn’t add the awning as I was a little nervous about going over. With the awning extra bits water fill up and gas And my dear wife I’m under 330kg. This has been playing on my mind for quite a while and I’m glad I’m legal.
Now you have the axle weights you can adjust your tyre pressures accordingly.
David
 

david.c.hall

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2016
Location
Irnham, South Lincolnshire
Your tyre manufacturer will give you figures for your axle weights.
However there is a simple formula which the Caravan Club published several years ago.
Halve the axle weight to get average wheel weight.
Divide by the max weight for the tyre as marked on the sidewall
Then multiply the max pressure by that number and you have the suitable tyre pressure.
On my XLWB Maxi which is marked at F65 R72 I run at F56 R61 which is calculated using the figures for my Pirelli Carrier All Season tyres.
David
 
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