3500kg, just! Uprate? Pros and cons.

Bartyfixedit

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I have a self build Fiat Ducato maxi L4H3 which I have converted to a 4 berth with 4 full length beds. A UK king size double and two full length bunks for the boys. 200 ltr fridge freezer 300 Amp/hr batteries, 300W solar panels, 38ltr underslung gas tank etc etc
Now, if I pack carefully and only partially fill the water tank, I can just about manage to stay at 3500kg. I carry no spare wheel, just a reinflation kit.
The van is the Maxi spec and so has 16" wheels and can be easily uprated to around 4000kg just as a simple paper exercise with SV tech. I am 53 and my wife is 47 so licences are not an issue.

I would quite like to uprate and just pack as I wish, including a spare wheel.

What are the downsides?

I believe that I would have to go heavy vehicle in Switzerland, what happens elsewhere? Do I suddenly pay class 3 peage in France if I uprate? What are other peoples experiences?

I see two choices:

Uprate and pay the costs and added tolls etc.

Or:

Take a chance.

The van can easily go to 4000kg without any safety issues. It has the 16" wheels with the correct load bearing tyres and, if I stick air suspension on the back, I can make the van sit like it is empty.
What are the risks?
If the authorities are looking to weigh campervans then they will be looking for the 15" wheel variants with the tyres almost touching the bodywork won't they? I am amazed at the number of "professionally made" vans that are on 3500kg, 15" wheel chassis with very little leeway to uprate.

Lets face it, there are a huge number of campervans out there rolling along at way over the safe weight and they are not difficult to spot. I am looking at being slightly over the weight my paperwork says, but still well within the capacities of the suspension, brakes, vehicle and tyres.

Are there any of you who drive an uprated camper who wish they could get it back to 3500kg? I would repeat that licence issues are not applicable to us (At this moment in time, and god willing).

I would happily uprate, but not if it is then going to cost me a fortune in tolls etc.

Over to you fellas who have been there,

Thanks

David.
 

Techno

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Once a vehicle is bigger than regular parking spaces all the negatives are on the shoulders of being 3500 or less. I imagine it is very hard work to live with.
 

Mikeco

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It won't affect the tolls unless you are above 3m high. If you don't upgrade then your insurance would be invalid ( must weigh my van sometime) so I don't believe that you have much of a choice.

Mike
 

Jaws

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And do not forget.. once up-plated your road tax drops to £165 a year
 

Minxy Girl

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You won't be officially allowed to travel into some towns/villages which have a 3500kg limit on some roads and more importantly you will probably have to sort out alternative vehicle recovery as you will then not meet the standard 3500kg criteria most of them cover.
 

Bertie Bassett

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Don't go to Norway then:eek:
or Austria or parts of Poland etc etc... The list of countries that raise large amounts of tax on vehicles between 3500 and 7500 grows daily. But insurers are the weasels of the world so if you're at 3507kgs when you have a problem they'll wriggle...................outwards!;)
 

Tootles

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Don't go over the water.....They dont give a monkeys here unless your van looks like Fireball XL5 taking off, or says 'BLOGS AND SON' on the side.
 

Techno

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You won't be officially allowed to travel into some towns/villages which have a 3500kg limit on some roads and more importantly you will probably have to sort out alternative vehicle recovery as you will then not meet the standard 3500kg criteria most of them cover.
If you mean France? I have been told that the 3.5T limits signs are specific to commercial vehicles in towns
 

Larby

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Over 3.5 tonnes? Have you got a C1 entitlement on your licence.
 

Scout

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Im 3850k, single axle, 3.05m high, When I use tolls in France Im pretty sute I only ever been class 2
 

Mel

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Andy
My understanding of most mainland European countries is the 3.5 ton limit is for all vehicles except busses.
but I could be wrong and often am(my wife told me)

where is Mel (Heyuplove) when you need him

Mel
 

Techno

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You may well be correct Mel. It is just something I was told and it suited me to believe it. I have been to at least one aire that required driving through a 3.5t zone so it made sense to me at the time.
I do it anyway because anyone including plod looking at my van just sees it as another 3500kg especially as it is French built.

EDIT also my 4250kg is not a problem according to Safeguard
 

scotjimland

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You won't be officially allowed to travel into some towns/villages which have a 3500kg limit on some roads
are we talking about the UK or France ?

Hmm.. unsure on this, but I thought the same as Andy.. it only applied to commercial vans and trucks to keep them out of villages etc..

In France I've driven the RV though many 3.5t zones and not been stopped.. one I recall in particular was in Plougonvelin .. in Brittany, I was following TomTom to an aire..saw the sign and pulled into a lay by.. then a coach passed me so I followed it into the village and we went onto the aire.. so I assumed it was just for trucks.

I wouldn't worry.. if you are stopped just act like a silly tourist who is lost ... shouldn't be too hard :LOL:
 

funflair

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Some 3.5t signs say unless for delivery/access so if we are going to aire I count that as access.
 

chaser

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I might be thick but what's the size of the wheels got to with it, iv got a tranny on 14s
 
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