Around the Campfire: Tare Change on Old Lady


I am sending you an update on how we changed the Tare on our 1978 650a Jurgens.

I received a lot of help and advice from Mr Noel Harvey of Trail Brake Systems. I gave him all the details of our van, but he also came out to our home to check on the axle, and gave me advice on what changes to make and how to make them.

Considering the details on the plate attached to the van, he said that the coupler also needed to be changed and the tyres checked.

The plate was: Tare weight 1040kg, GVM weight 1360. The licence disc on the caravan shows Tare weight 1100kg, GVM weight 0.

It has been like this since 1978. Before we ordered or paid for anything, we took the van to Mogale Springs. They tensioned and serviced the leaf springs on the van, which did make a difference, but the weight issues still had to be fixed. We asked if the springs needed to be replaced or a leaf added; we were very impressed when the answer was “No.” We thought the honesty of the owner was great! The job took about two and a half hours to complete. Every member of staff said, ‘Die karavaan is baie oud; ek het nog nooit so iets gesien nie.’ We had a good laugh.

The big problem was the axle, as there was no disc, and no details on the old one. When Mr Harvey looked at the axle, he immediately said that it had to be changed.

We called some suppliers, and found that Frieda Laubscher at Burquip International was the most helpful and knowledgeable. Burquip International was also the supplier Mr Harvey preferred. We went to see Burquip and placed our order, then waited about two weeks for the axle.

By this stage we had decided to not to replace the coupler as we could not see the issue. Mr Harvey was a mine of information and extremely helpful.

To have the axle fitted, we went to Quad Trailers / Dura Trailers in Randfontein. Frieda at Burquip had suggested that we call them if we had any questions about the new axle. If we had gone there earlier, we would have saved a lot of time.

Ludwig really knows about the tare, and the law, and as he is a manufacturer and an ex-traffic inspector. We had bought an axle of 2.5 ton and Ludwig advised us to replace the coupler to accommodate the extra weight of the new axle. We installed a 1600/3000kg coupler. The coupler and axle includes the braking system.

We had been in the process of installing a vacuum braking system, but with the new axle and coupler it was not needed. The new system has made the towing and braking such a pleasure.

1978 650a Jurgens Images

Dealing with Quad Trailers/Dura Trailers was also a pleasure. When you have people who know what they are talking about, who want to help you, and who take three days to do the complete job (and that includes waiting for the coupler to be delivered) you know that they are professional.

As Quad Trailers was replacing the axle and coupler, the licence department suggested that they supply the new plate for the van. When buying the axle, we had to replace the rims as the new ones have six studs and our old ones had five.

We went to Mogale City Weigh Bridge and had the van weighed for the Tare. The van weighs 1460kg empty.

I suggest if you need to fix your tare, the thing to do would be to talk to the senior licence manager and find out what is needed. We just needed to have the caravan weighed, to produce the invoice proving that the van had had changes done, and to fill in the form required for changing information on the van. The licence department sent our forms in to have everything put onto the system. There was no roadworthy needed.

When our new licence arrives, we will have the invoice and all documents laminated and attached inside the wardrobe door of the van. If we are ever stopped, we will have all the documents as well as the names and telephone numbers of the licence people to give to the traffic officer.

We would really like to thank everyone who was involved in our upgrade – Mr Harvey, the people at Mogale Springs, Frienda at Burquip International, Ludwig at Quad Trailers and the Mogale Traffic department, Mr van Rensburg and Mr Jones from the Gauteng Traffic Police.

To the old manufacturers: This cost us R16 000, but we know that we are safe on the road.

To other caravan owners: Do yourselves a favour and contact Quad Trailers’ company manager, Ludwig Rossouw; and get professional and legal assistance.

Once again a Big Thank You.

– Regards, Melody McClure and Greg McClure

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