Downplating from 3850 to 3500 (1 Viewer)

Mar 2, 2019
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I am a newbie ex caravaner for 40years
Hi all ,
We are going to be traveling to Spain in February via the Chunnel and I have heard reports that a Motorhome plated at 3850 is a bit of a hindrance with regards to the extra cost on some poll roads and restrictions to certain towns so I am considering downplating to 3500 I might add that it is possible as our Carado T447 was upplated from 3500 originally as part of a special sales package .
What do you seasoned travelers think ?
Many thanks
Millsy
 
Sep 26, 2013
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Do you know how much the van actual weighs fully loaded, if you don’t then you should before you consider downplating, It will not affect your toll charge either way as you will still be Class 2 unless you are over 3 m which will be Class 3
 
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Lenny HB

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Before you do anything get it fully loaded as you would for the trip and take it to a weigh bridge. Very unlikely to be able to run a 7.4m van at 3500kg.
We are 4500kg and don't find any problems abroad apart from some speed limits being lower, hundreds on here with vans over 3500kg.
Having a van with enough payload is far better than worrying about the odd restriction.
We don't use toll roads, in theory over 3500kg puts you into class 3 on French toll roads but as they measure the height rarely if ever will you get charged class 3.
 
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daveclare

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There are literally thousands of 3500+ motorhomes bombing around Europe. Ours was uprated to 4460. So far we've travelled over 22,000 miles abroad since August 21. We've visited most countries and used toll roads. As far as we can remember, we've never been charged the higher toll rates. In addition, it's never been a hindrance getting around.

There are continuous debates on here about payload for 3500 vans. Have search and see how others feel about it. It depends upon what you want to take away with you. A fully loaded trip to a weighbridge before down plating may help with your decision making.
 
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Jul 29, 2013
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Have had vans over 3500kg for over ten years travelling all over EU it’s never been a hinderance to us if you have the correct licence I would not even consider down plating? Extra payload no matter how little is a bonus😊

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tonka

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Looking at your avatar and if that's your Motorhome, no issues. It looks like any other 3500kg van. Regarding tolls, it's often the height that triggers the higher toll so you should not have an issue. I had several Autotrails with the large overcab beds and 3850 / 4250 chassis. Only ever got charged extra once and that was through height not weight. 👍
Going to cost you a lot more if your stopped and found to be overweight, on spot fine plus have to remove items to reduce weight.
 
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Tombola

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3.9 and never paid higher tolls

well expect for the bell end at the mersey tunnel one time in liverpool decided to ask me what weight I was as I stopped at the booth to pay by card manually. Ive been through this tunnel easy over 100 times and always paid the rate on the screen that it tells me too,atomatice payment or manaul operator (3500) even though im 3900.
erm, can you tell me what weight the vehicle is ?, he said in the voice of a bell end.

I said no but I can tell you Im paying £1.60 like ive paid for years and hundreds of trips as the weight screen shows. Gave me a slanted look and took my card

Knob

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Feb 14, 2021
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19 month year 18000 miles UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy. Campsites and off Grid.
1. Waste of time and money. My 4250 wasn't charged any extra. They don't weigh it - its calculated on size (height).
2. Stay off toll roads and enjoy real France/Spain. There are some good roads out there anyway.
3. Spain doesn't charge for many/most of its toll roads anymore. Least they didn't in October/November 2021 - unless they have re introduced tolls?
 
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Emmit

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The French 'Camping Carists' ie motorhomers don't have Grandad rights like we do.

It's my understanding that to drive a +3.5t van, they HAVE to take a separate test.
Hence, I don't think I've ever seen a van (with a few obvious exceptions) of a motorhome,
French registered that is +3.5t.

Ive even been around dealers and vehicles that over here would be in the 4t bracket, as
if by magic have a 3.5t MAM badge on the outside.

The Lesson? Take your van to France, it will magically lose weight.
 
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May 12, 2018
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As one who lives in France, the 'place' you are most probably worried about. I would also concurr with the suggestion of getting your vehicle weighed in touring condition before making any decisions regarding 'Down Plating'.

Most Motorhomes in France are sub 3500kgs and 'Down Plated' by the manufacturers' including mine - Ducato Heavy Chassis - because a separate Test is required for anything bigger; as a result many Motorhomes run in excess of their permissable weight. Height will usually decide your 'Class' on the Autoroutes unless you are so overloaded you trigger the weight sensors. As for Speed, a T447 looks no different to any other sub 3500 Motorhome, however that only holds true unless you apply for Crit Air Pass and give the authorities your details; computers talk.

If you are heading for Spain and not considering driving into the town centres of places like Rouen and Bordeaux, you will not need a Clean Air Pass (Crit Air sticker).

Robert
 
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Wingingit#1

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We have just driven through france in our (up-plated 3850 from 3500) motorhome. We didnt realise until the first speed camera that we are limited to 90k in a 130k because we are over 3.5t.
This made the drive through france long and painful .
 
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Jun 22, 2012
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I don’t think Motorhomers expect to be weighed on the continent, we toured Italy for a month this year with a Belgian couple we’ve known a few years who have a big A class full of stuff. I said there was no way that could be less than 3500kg, Pierre just shrugged his shoulders and said “ it is when it’s empty”.

We have a PVC and they tend to be heavy for their size but we do tend to be law abiding I hasten to add.

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May 14, 2021
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Do you know how much the van actual weighs fully loaded, if you don’t then you should before you consider downplating, It will not affect your toll charge either way as you will still be Class 2 unless you are over 3 m which will be Class 3
I don’t think that is quite right. If over 3.5t you are class 3 in France not a class 2.

In reply to the OP question

We were 4.0t and the extra payload was great. On the toll motorways, because we were under 3.0m and not a TAG axle, we were generally viewed as a class 2 at the barriers. Had I got a tag I think they need your V5 so that benefit would have been lost. However over the 10 years we hardly ever used toll roads, except to help us avoid going through busy cities, and then it was well worth it.

In France there are many speed restrictions by weight and not commercial vehicle weight, as they often are here. So we couldn’t legally use a lot of roads or had to keep to a lower speed limit as a private HGV with the big artics.

The only real places where being over 3.5t is a pain, in my view, is where you have to get the likes of a Go Box and put huge credits on the account to be deducted as you pass under the gantries, like Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland with heavy vehicle tax. It never stopped us going. It just meant it was expensive and quicker or cheaper but slower and at the end of the day we’re on holiday 😜

I suspect your van was upgraded purely because the original payload was not enough, or else why would you do it. The saving on VEL is hardly worth it.

So in answer to your question, I would firstly get weighed as suggested, and personally not bother. I don’t think it’s worth it.
 
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Lenny HB

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We have just driven through france in our (up-plated 3850 from 3500) motorhome. We didnt realise until the first speed camera that we are limited to 90k in a 130k because we are over 3.5t.
This made the drive through france long and painful .
Limit is 110 on 130 & 120 roads and 100 on 110 roads, 90 is for HGV's.
 
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denisejoe

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We always get charged as Class 3 or even Class 4 if we use toll roads but that's because we are both over 3m and tag axle I suspect. Don't use tolls very often but can be useful sometimes.
 
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Jul 29, 2013
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We were 4.0t and the extra payload was great. On the toll motorways, because we were under 3.0m and not a TAG axle, we were generally viewed as a class 2 at the barriers. Had I got a tag I think they need your V5 so that benefit would have been lost. However over the 10 years we hardly ever used toll roads, except to help us avoid going through busy cities, and then it was well worth it.
We have had vans over 3500kg last two 4500kg and towing twin axle car trailer we have an Emovis tag and never been charged anything other than class two.
they don’t ask for V5 or even registration the tag is not specific to any vehicle😊
 
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Abacist

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We always get charged as Class 3 or even Class 4 if we use toll roads but that's because we are both over 3m and tag axle I suspect. Don't use tolls very often but can be useful sometimes.
If they try and charge you class 4 I would get on the intercom and complain bitterly that you are just a camping car. It has always worked for us! Anything on the roof is post manufacture and should be disregarded for toll purposes!

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Emmit

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I don’t think that is quite right. If over 3.5t you are class 3 in France not a class 2.

In reply to the OP question

We were 4.0t and the extra payload was great. On the toll motorways, because we were under 3.0m and not a TAG axle, we were generally viewed as a class 2 at the barriers. Had I got a tag I think they need your V5 so that benefit would have been lost. However over the 10 years we hardly ever used toll roads, except to help us avoid going through busy cities, and then it was well worth it.

In France there are many speed restrictions by weight and not commercial vehicle weight, as they often are here. So we couldn’t legally use a lot of roads or had to keep to a lower speed limit as a private HGV with the big artics.

The only real places where being over 3.5t is a pain, in my view, is where you have to get the likes of a Go Box and put huge credits on the account to be deducted as you pass under the gantries, like Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland with heavy vehicle tax. It never stopped us going. It just meant it was expensive and quicker or cheaper but slower and at the end of the day we’re on holiday 😜

I suspect your van was upgraded purely because the original payload was not enough, or else why would you do it. The saving on VEL is hardly worth it.

So in answer to your question, I would firstly get weighed as suggested, and personally not bother. I don’t think it’s worth it.
"Had I got a tag I think they need your V5 so that benefit would have been lost. "

As one who has recently obtained a Mango Tag, I can confirm that they didn't wish to see the V5 of my 3.5t Burstner:whistle2::whistle2::whistle2:
 
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pappajohn

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Also be aware, your road tax will increase from £165pa to well over £200pa.
Not sure of exact figure but £245 rings a bell.
A big difference just to avoid a few restrictions which probably wouldn't be enforced.....a 3500kg van is outwardly identical to a 4250kg van
 
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denisejoe

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If they try and charge you class 4 I would get on the intercom and complain bitterly that you are just a camping car. It has always worked for us! Anything on the roof is post manufacture and should be disregarded for toll purposes!
Have tried that and didn't work! Just got told over 3 meters!
 
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Oct 28, 2022
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We have just driven through france in our (up-plated 3850 from 3500) motorhome. We didnt realise until the first speed camera that we are limited to 90k in a 130k because we are over 3.5t.
This made the drive through france long and painful .
not sure you are limited to 90 kph, but how fast do you want to and think it’s reasonably safe to drive?

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Nov 19, 2021
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Have tried that and didn't work! Just got told over 3 meters!
worked for us with Burstner A747 5t tag.

If you plan on travelling through Austria on the toll roads you will possibly pay more because you’ll need a go box. Just keep off the motorways in Austria.

We updated our Motorhome from 3.5t to 3.7t. Still pay class 2 in France.
 
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Dec 2, 2019
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Don't forget you should display Angles Morts stickers at 3850kg, (unless like everybody else in a Moho that looks like 3500kg you just ignore the requirements 😉)
 
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Wingingit#1

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Limit is 110 on 130 & 120 roads and 100 on 110 roads, 90 is for HGV's.
Not what i says on the eu regulations website .
Alot of signage (when you actually see some) says 90k for over 3.5t also.
I was only doing just over 100 when i got flashed in a 130k ....which is what made us look .
 
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