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TOPIC: S max bumpy when towing

S max bumpy when towing 4 months 2 days ago #467160

  • Ads910
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Recently changed car to a 2.0tdci 2013 S max an found it to be quite jittery when towing, on A roads its quite bouncy and on motorways it gets the occasional wobble, nothing too bad just ease off the gas an it’s fine. It has plenty of power an even big hills are no problem at all even in high gears, it’s just the handling.

Nose weight is 90kg but 80kg on westfalia towbar

Mtplm is 1460

I empty the front locker, put heavy bits in car or over the axil an light stuff in the rear garage. I’d be surprised if my noseweight is even 60kg
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S max bumpy when towing 4 months 2 days ago #467165

  • Dustydog
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I’d be surprised if my noseweight is even 60kg

Therein lies one answer. Have you physically checked your nose load using a reliable method? 60kg is very light imo.

Secondly it is possible the rear springs and shock absorbers on the car are worn and not as good as they should be. I assume you have checked the obvious like tyre pressures?
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Last Edit: 4 months 2 days ago by Dustydog.
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S max bumpy when towing 4 months 2 days ago #467167

  • Ads910
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Yeah tyre pressure is good,

No I have only estimated the nose weight so Ill have to go get one of them nose weight measuring devices

It is best to load the nose weight to the max allowed, I had assumed a lighter nose weight would make the car less bouncy.

It’s due a service so I’ll get the shocks and springs looked at.

Anyone else tow with an s max, it’s rated to 1800kg so I thought 1460 wouldn’t be a problem
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S max bumpy when towing 4 months 2 days ago #467175

  • Parksy
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Ads910 wrote:

..... It is best to load the nose weight to the max allowed, I had assumed a lighter nose weight would make the car less bouncy.
As Dustydog mentioned earlier, too little nose weight will cause inability.
Try to load the caravan with the nose weight as close to your legal limit as possible.
Heavier nose weight = more stability but don't exceed the towball or hitch limits.
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S max bumpy when towing 4 months 1 day ago #467187

  • Ads910
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Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. My noseweight is no where near 90kg but my steering feels light so surely adding more nose weight would make that worse
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S max bumpy when towing 4 months 1 day ago #467188

  • Dustydog
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Ads910 wrote:
Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. My noseweight is no where near 90kg but my steering feels light so surely adding more nose weight would make that worse
Back to basics.
1 Check the actual nose load. What is it?
2. Check your vehicles suspension. Is it within Ford’s technical data?
Can you post a pic of the hitched up outfit?
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Last Edit: 4 months 1 day ago by Dustydog.
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S max bumpy when towing 4 months 1 day ago #467189

  • otherclive
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The S Max has a good reputation as tow car. As said above it is vital to actually check your noseweight. If you search on the Forum then you will find a number of threads on how to do it ranging from bathroom scales to spring gauges, electronic noseweight gauges, and even hernia inducing techniques (not recommended).

You can check your cars springs statically by measuring the height from the wheel arch crown to the centre of the hub. You could probably find this out by using the owners forum. Also how are you loading the car? Is there a lot of weight going into the rear load space?

It's not unusual for some cars to feel different when towing caravan and when loaded. I had a SAAB 9000 that also felt light when towing and its rear end did sit low, but after while I got used to it and that car did many long haul trips with no problem. All I had to watch out for was a tendency to spin its front tyres if I was too enthusiastic with the throttle when pulling off. But it would do that solo anyway. :whistle:
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S max bumpy when towing 4 months 1 day ago #467196

  • Craigyoung
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Like Clive says what are your front tyres like I have just renewed mine with two brand new ones I don't get no spin now when I put my foot down I just get a grunt .
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S max bumpy when towing 4 months 1 day ago #467206

  • HNB
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I have recently changed from a zafira tourer to a s max and i find that it tows really well, very stable and not bouncing around like you mention.

Hope you get it sorted
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S max bumpy when towing 4 months 1 day ago #467207

  • ProfJohnL
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I am concerned about a couple of comments Ads910 has made. The first is the apparent lightness of the nose load he thinks he has which others have commented on, But also the comment about moving all the heavey stuff to the car.

We all know its relatively easy to measure the nose load, and that is an important thing he needs to do and to the adjust it towards teh top of his available limits, but not many people have the means to measure the cars rear axle load, And I wonder if if the car is actually being over loaded, which cold certainly affact the grip of a front wheel driven car.

Condition of tyres is also important as Craig has pointed out.

The best advice is don't guess at loading values measure and check they are all within teh allowed limits.
Unless I use quotes, All advice and opinions given are my own and are given in good faith. Never act on anything you read on a forum unless you can validate and verify its source and content.
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