My grandma has passed me down her late 60’s Viscount Ambassador and I’m really excited to get it and put a little love into it. The issue has been the caravan is in northern Vic and I’m up near Byron! I’ve spent most of the year scheming to get done, and now have a window after new years. My question/problem now is I was told that my 2003 H6 Subaru Outback could pull the van, it’s got 1600kg rating and goes well, except I’ve just noticed that the ball weight is only rated at 90kg’s. The Van is 15ft and I believe the serial is E0980. So as far as I can see it should be around 800kg’s empty and I plan to run it up empty. So, roughy math 10% of 800 is 80kg’s, which should be right for the tow I’ve got, but makes me a little nervous pulling it 1500kms or so. I’ll take It easy, but what are some general thoughts on my calculations?
This thread here also lists a rough guide of 52kg per ft plus 100kb: 52kg x 15’ = 780kg + 100kg = 880kg. Does the 10% ball weight apply? 88kg? vintagecaravans.proboards.com/thread/9185/information-viscount-caravan?page=1 I’ve also read that you should try and be wel below your ball weight max - in this case is 88kg on a 90ball weight hitch too close? It has a 1400kg weight rating and the car can pull 1600kg.
Last Edit: Dec 15, 2020 21:16:06 GMT 10 by morgzord
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 15, 2020 21:52:09 GMT 10
Great to hear that your grandmother has passed down her Viscount Ambassador. That's a lovely treasure to receive.
Judging by the cladding on your caravan, it is most likely a 1969 model Ambassador, but might be 1970. The serial number you've quoted doesn't sound quite right, and I wasn't able to read the number in the video clip although I tried several times. Based on the van being 1969 the serial number will be E9xxx or E10xxx with 'x' representing an additional digit.
Regarding the weight of the van, the formula Franklin1 has given may be accurate. I've done a bit of googling, as no doubt you have, and seen various figures for Viscount's around that period, and the overall weights seem to be all well within the capacity of your car. For example this link www.caravanersforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=64549 is for a 1969 Viscount Duralvan and gives the weight of the van on the ID plate as 989kgs. The Duralvan was a bit more upmarket than the Ambassador with wrap around windows, etc, so I'm guessing it will weigh a little more than yours.
The problem as you've identified is the ball weight for the Subaru. The ideal is supposed to be a ball weight of 10% of the weight of the van, but you can't necessarily rely on the ball weight being exactly 10%. For example our van (which I emphasise is not a Viscount and is much, much older than yours) weighs around 863kgs, but the ball weight is 150kgs because of its design and construction. (I had been looking at an H6 Subaru Outback when I bought our last car, but had to go past it for that reason.) The only real way you're going to know what the ball weight is by measuring it.
One option is to get a friendly vintage vanner in the vicinity of your van to go and measure it. If you tell us where you van is in northern Victoria someone might offer. Another alternative is to go to the 'Viscount Caravan Owners - Australia' Facebook page and ask people with 1969 Ambassadors to tell you the respective weights of their vans. Unfortunately people are often unaware that they need to know the ball weight for the van and limit for the tow vehicle, and it is becoming increasingly common for modern vehicles to have a ball weight limit of 90 kgs or 100 kgs, even some actual 4WD's (as opposed to AWD's like yours).
Many thanks for the advice Don Ricardo! I’m hoping somehow we squeak in under the 90kg ball weight.
I’ll seek the advice of the Facebook group for a rough weight and hopefully I can persuade an uncle to swing past at some point and measure it.
I did manage to get another partial photo of the serial and it does show “0980”. I’ve updated the link above with it. So either the serial is E0980 or E10980 - not sure which one fits with the runs they’d do each year or if it can help in finding the weight?