Alko spare wheel carrier problem

Mar 14, 2005
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My 2017MY Coachman Vision 545 is fitted with an Alko spare wheel carrier behind the axle. I have recently tried to remove the spare wheel from the carrier and found it very difficult to do so.
If the caravan is level and the carrier released (near side) then there is insufficient clearance under the chassis member to remove the wheel even if you could lift it off the retaining stud
Lowering the front of the caravan as much as possible - so that the top of the jockey wheel is touching the underside of the A frame fairing -helps a little, but in order to release the wheel completely and be able to lift it sufficiently off the two vertical studs in the carrier, I had to disengage the offside ends of the carrier.
So far so good but putting the wheel back onto the carrier could only be done with the carrier disconnected at both ends fro the carrier, fitting the carrier at one side and then attempting to fit the other side..
Either way, you have to lift about 25kg of wheel at arms length while lying on the ground. Fitting either end also involves pushing ( from the nearside) or pulling ( from the offside) the carrier plus wheel while holding it up.
Now I will admit that at 83 I am not as fit as I was years ago, but this design seems to be a pretty bad bit of engineering and perhaps beyond the reasonable capabilities of a fair percentage of owners.
Unfortunately, there is no obvious alternative place to keep the spare wheel. It would fit in the front locker but won't pass through the locker opening . It would go under the fixed bed, but this is right at the rear of the caravan and would make the problem of getting the nose weight correct even more difficult, plus this suggestion has been vetoed completely by SWMBO. It would go into the load space of the Towcar - Freelander 2 but this is not particularly large to start with and is already fully occupied for continental touring.
Questions:
Any suggestions please as to alternative ways to carry the wheel under the caravan but with mire acceptable access / replacement ?
Does this arrangement really qualify as 'fit for purpose' ? I have yet to receive a reply from Coachman to this question.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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RayS said:
My 2017MY Coachman Vision 545 is fitted with an Alko spare wheel carrier behind the axle. I have recently tried to remove the spare wheel from the carrier and found it very difficult to do so.
If the caravan is level and the carrier released (near side) then there is insufficient clearance under the chassis member to remove the wheel even if you could lift it off the retaining stud
Lowering the front of the caravan as much as possible - so that the top of the jockey wheel is touching the underside of the A frame fairing -helps a little, but in order to release the wheel completely and be able to lift it sufficiently off the two vertical studs in the carrier, I had to disengage the offside ends of the carrier.
So far so good but putting the wheel back onto the carrier could only be done with the carrier disconnected at both ends fro the carrier, fitting the carrier at one side and then attempting to fit the other side..
Either way, you have to lift about 25kg of wheel at arms length while lying on the ground. Fitting either end also involves pushing ( from the nearside) or pulling ( from the offside) the carrier plus wheel while holding it up.
Now I will admit that at 83 I am not as fit as I was years ago, but this design seems to be a pretty bad bit of engineering and perhaps beyond the reasonable capabilities of a fair percentage of owners.
Unfortunately, there is no obvious alternative place to keep the spare wheel. It would fit in the front locker but won't pass through the locker opening . It would go under the fixed bed, but this is right at the rear of the caravan and would make the problem of getting the nose weight correct even more difficult, plus this suggestion has been vetoed completely by SWMBO. It would go into the load space of the Towcar - Freelander 2 but this is not particularly large to start with and is already fully occupied for continental touring.
Questions:
Any suggestions please as to alternative ways to carry the wheel under the caravan but with mire acceptable access / replacement ?
Does this arrangement really qualify as 'fit for purpose' ? I have yet to receive a reply from Coachman to this question.

Fit for purpose? No. You have articulated the well known problem with the Alko spare wheel carrier. I stopped using mine, on a Bailey, when I went to France and on safety grounds carried it in the caravan. The spare wheel never went back. On site it was pushed under the van, chained to the chassis and hidden by the awning.

I recall one thread on this Forum where someone had used an alternative that was advertised in Club magazines, and another contributor made a customised alternative for themselves. I’m afraid SWMBO should be asked to give ground on this one as putting it beneath the bed suitably wrapped its probably the best alternative. Some say the smell of rubber is an aphrodisiac :evil:
 
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Oct 8, 2006
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On the one and only time I needed to use it I got the wheel out with no difficulty - can't remember if that was the Pageant Majestic S5 or the Peg 462.

I wonder if the offside arms have been fitted into the correct mount points in the chassis frame? If it is too high then getting the tyre under the chassis member on the nearside could be difficult.
 
Mar 8, 2017
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wandering.me.uk
I came up against a similar problem with our Lunar Clubman and had the Alko carrier removed. The spare wheel is now stored in a zip-up bag under the nearside bed. Fortunately for us it fits over the position that it used to occupy under the van. It can now be removed easily through the side hatch with the added benefit of a 6Kg weight loss from ditching the stupid carrier.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Ray, on our 2013 Coachman 560 /4 after three year decided to check the tyre pressure on the spare wheel, on the Alko tyre carrier, I found the same. And at that tiime doing a lot of French touring, "Which we loved" decided that it was dangerous so removed the carrier and keep the spare wheel under the bed, but we have a side bed, . At least I can check the tyre pressure.
 
Oct 3, 2013
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I quite agree and add I think the Alko spare wheel carrier design is not good.How do you get the spare out when the nearside tyre is flat and needs replacing.They (Alko)think the've discharged their responsibility by this not good arrangement.
Come on Alko ! come up with something better than this.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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bertieboy1 said:
I quite agree and add I think the Alko spare wheel carrier design is not good.How do you get the spare out when the nearside tyre is flat and needs replacing.They (Alko)think the've discharged their responsibility by this not good arrangement.
Come on Alko ! come up with something better than this.

You pull the caravan wheel up onto your ramp(s) to lift the nearside wheel higher.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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bertieboy1 said:
I quite agree and add I think the Alko spare wheel carrier design is not good.How do you get the spare out when the nearside tyre is flat and needs replacing.They (Alko)think the've discharged their responsibility by this not good arrangement.
Come on Alko ! come up with something better than this.
They have. Our spare is bolted to the underside of the floor inside the door and is released with a winder through a hole in the floor.

Guess who hasn't had to remove it yet?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have usually carried the spare wheel just inside the caravan door. I have never had to use it, but it was readily
available should it have been needed.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Woodentop said:
bertieboy1 said:
I quite agree and add I think the Alko spare wheel carrier design is not good.How do you get the spare out when the nearside tyre is flat and needs replacing.They (Alko)think the've discharged their responsibility by this not good arrangement.
Come on Alko ! come up with something better than this.
They have. Our spare is bolted to the underside of the floor inside the door and is released with a winder through a hole in the floor.

Guess who hasn't had to remove it yet?

Almost as bad as The Alko carrier, the frame work when removed weighs 7 kg,
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Keep meaning to look at mine but I have nowhere to store my spare wheel if I was to take the rack off . . .
 
May 7, 2012
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Unless you have a fixed bed then very few caravans have room elsewhere. We tend to use Mayday for breakdown cover so if we had a problem they would be the ones to deal with it. I always thought the rack was also vulnerable to theft but I have not heard of any. Possibly it shows just how bad the deign is if even the thieves avoid it.
Older caravans often had a position in the front locker for one but that could cause problems with the noseweight.
 
May 24, 2014
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I quite agree and add I think the Alko spare wheel carrier design is not good.How do you get the spare out when the nearside tyre is flat and needs replacing.They (Alko)think the've discharged their responsibility by this not good arrangement.
Come on Alko ! come up with something better than this.

Actually, the nearside is perhaps the easier to deal with, as you will already be jacking that side up. Once jacked, the spare does come off easier. However, the trade off for this is safety. Having the caravan jacked with the side jack and then laying down wrestling with the spare, partially underneath the caravan is sheer lunacy.

The best way to carry this would be the wind down type as on some cars, but would require both a frame attached to the chassis and a trap door in the floor to access the mechanism.

As an alternative, what about a roofrack/carrier?
 
May 24, 2014
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Actually, this has got me thinking. What roughly is the weight of a caravan wheel and tyre, allowing for different sizes of course (approx 25kgs). My caravan came with the fixings for a cycle carrier and the Fiamma Basic Carrier will carry 35kgs. Im sure that could be adapted to carry a spare wheel.

The Alko carrier itself, depending on variant weights between 6.4kgs and 7.7kgs. The Fiamma Basic weighs 6.4kgs. It would take some creative loading to maintain the stability after shifting around 30kgs to the rear, but we have had that conversation before. If the fittings are there for a carrier for up to 35kgs, why not use it?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thingy said:
I quite agree and add I think the Alko spare wheel carrier design is not good.How do you get the spare out when the nearside tyre is flat and needs replacing.They (Alko)think the've discharged their responsibility by this not good arrangement.
Come on Alko ! come up with something better than this.

Actually, the nearside is perhaps the easier to deal with, as you will already be jacking that side up. Once jacked, the spare does come off easier. However, the trade off for this is safety. Having the caravan jacked with the side jack and then laying down wrestling with the spare, partially underneath the caravan is sheer lunacy.

The best way to carry this would be the wind down type as on some cars, but would require both a frame attached to the chassis and a trap door in the floor to access the mechanism.

As an alternative, what about a roofrack/carrier?

That’s why it’s best to pull the van nearside up onto your ramps, extract the spare wheel and then jack it up.
 
Sep 29, 2016
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This is what is on my Bailey Pegasus GT65:

(see btotom left pic of brochure page)

http://www.baileypegasusgt65.co.uk/bailey-pegasus-gt65-picture-gallery.html
There is no carrier as such, a 50mm diameter (approx) plastic plug is removed from the floor underneath a dinette seat, the spare wheel is lowered to the ground using a hooked handle that simply inserts into the eye of a winch mechanism that is revealed when the plastic plug is removed.

This would be quite an easy diy retro fit, unfortunately the little winch alone costs about £120.00 :huh:

It's not too much of a hassle to operate and a practice run certainly helps.

Personally I would rather have a hatch in the floor that lifts up to reveal a spare wheel that resides in it's own little box and does not require tools to remove or re-fit.

EDIT: Here is the little winch mechanism:
https://www.primaleisure.com/product/1140219/spare-wheel-carrier-winch
 
Aug 26, 2014
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I modified my Alko carrier so that the wheel now comes completely clear of the van for removal - previously it needed a fair bit of grovelling under the van and considerable strength to lift the wheel off the carrier at an awkward angle because even with the carrier fully extended the wheel was not fully clear of the van. The modification involved adding an inline extension to the fixed rods, but utilising all of the original fittings. It's undergone extensive testing and has done a few thousand miles also without a problem - and changing a wheel is much easier.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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otherclive said:
bertieboy1 said:
I quite agree and add I think the Alko spare wheel carrier design is not good.How do you get the spare out when the nearside tyre is flat and needs replacing.They (Alko)think the've discharged their responsibility by this not good arrangement.
Come on Alko ! come up with something better than this.

You pull the caravan wheel up onto your ramp(s) to lift the nearside wheel higher.

Not easy to do if you have a puncture on the motorway. It took the fitter nearly 30 minutes to get the spare wheel out due to the low clearance and slope of the safety verge. I also had a right go at our service department as obvious they had never checked the spare wheel on any service. Lunar Delta TI. After that incident bought a TPMS and also spare wheel was kept inside the caravan under the bed. No issue on our current caravan as very easy tore move the spare wheel as it does nto have the ALKO carrier!
 
Jun 24, 2005
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My Bailey Pamplona 4 also has the wind down type and, having had cause to use the spare wheel, it's easy to operate. In fact, with a bit of a stretch you can reach the spare from either side of the caravan. I've often wondered why, with the Al-Ko type of carrier, it can't be fitted so that access is from the rear of the 'van. Obviously to do with the design of the chassis but not insurmountable I would have thought.
 
May 24, 2014
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The Alko would be a much better piece of kit if the wheel was removed via the rear of the caravan. Not saying to mount it at the rear, simply turn it to face the rear and that would give far more clearance.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Buckman said:
otherclive said:
bertieboy1 said:
I quite agree and add I think the Alko spare wheel carrier design is not good.How do you get the spare out when the nearside tyre is flat and needs replacing.They (Alko)think the've discharged their responsibility by this not good arrangement.
Come on Alko ! come up with something better than this.

You pull the caravan wheel up onto your ramp(s) to lift the nearside wheel higher.

Not easy to do if you have a puncture on the motorway. It took the fitter nearly 30 minutes to get the spare wheel out due to the low clearance and slope of the safety verge. I also had a right go at our service department as obvious they had never checked the spare wheel on any service. Lunar Delta TI. After that incident bought a TPMS and also spare wheel was kept inside the caravan under the bed. No issue on our current caravan as very easy tore move the spare wheel as it does nto have the ALKO carrier!

I didn’t say do it on a motorway. I wouldn’t risk changing a tyre on car or caravan on a motorway anyway. On the continent breakdowns on autoroutes etc require the driver to call the emergency services who send the recovery vehicle out to deal with you. And while we are on motorway breakdowns how many know that the use of a warning triangle is a NoNo in most countries. All my triangles. have their boxes clearly embossed as no motorway usage.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I've just spent an uncomfortable day fighting with my Alko and have come to the conclusion it;s one of the worst examples of mechanical engineering design I've met on around 60 as a Charterd Mechanical Engineer.
I followed the advice to put the van up on ramps ( for the moment ignoring thecact this may well not be possible in a real situation. This improves access but you still have to lift a 26kg wheel at arms length up and over the two fixed studs in the carrier, Not any more, as these have been replaced with M12 studding fitted with lock nuts top and bottom which are inserted and 'nutted' after the wheel has been positioned on the carrier. The centre shaped insert is still used.
While the carrier was off the van, it was cleaned thoroughly such that the tubes moved with trombone like smoothness. No grease - as the Alko instruction - but a PTFE spray. the parts of the inner tube which have to slide into the outer were protected with some 22mm pipe insulation which is is good fit on the outer tube with cable ties and the open end just pulled together with another tie to minimise the gap without adding any friction. Thus the vital sliding part should be kept clean.
This worked fine when installed without the spare wheel.
Once the wheel was secured on the carrier, however, there was a visible curve in the tubes meaning that they would not slide. I tried both inserting the nearside end first and then the off side, and then the other way round. I was impossible to lift the nearside end sufficiently, align the two holes and the fixed stud simultaneously and bush the assembly inwards. OK, I'm 83 but I doubt is even a fit 25 year old would do this - particularly not in anger on the side of a dark wet mountain road in Spain.
The tubes are clearly not sufficiently rigid to provide smooth action when under load and the design requiring ability to lift and push at the same time clearly unsatisfactory.
I then added a cross piece to the two handles enabling me to use a trolley jack to lift the nearside end, align it with the two holes and stud and then - hopefully - push it inwards for full engagement. This failed completely due to the bowing of the tubes under weight of the wheel preventing any crossways movement.
But multiple jackings I have managed to return the device including wheel to the correct position but am very unhappy with it..
The winch system used on the Bailey seems a much better idea and would appear to fit my van since it could be located under the fixed bed. But the Prima Leisure website shows it as unobtainable. . Any ideas please of alternative suppliers. I am also composing a letter to Alko, but without high expectations.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Following my last posting I've had a browse round and found something i should have been well aware of but was not.
Several 4x4 /SUVs have their full size spare suspended under the boot floor on a simple winch mechanism. Yo release the wheel you simply wind it down onto the ground and there appears to be sufficient extra cable to be able to pull the wheel out from under the vehicle to release the attachment device.
I guess a full size Range Rover roadwheel is likely to weigh more than the average caravan spare wheel, so that should be no problem. The device looks very much like the Prima device used on Bailey vans and seems to be available on ebay etc. for around £100 or so.
The only snag I can see is to be able to find sufficient underfloor area such that the wheel could be positioned with the winch in an accessible but acceptable position in the body of the caravan. For my Coachman 545 this looks possible by re-running the shower drain pipe around the edges of the space rather than straight across the centre, but that should not be a problem.. This would give the winch position in the space under the rear fixed bed - prefectly ok.
Has anyone tried this and if so, how did it go and which car winch was used ?
Equally can anyone see other snags ?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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There is no legal requirement to carry a spare wheel for a trailer in the UK, it may be different elsewhere, but ultimately it’s a matter of personal preference, or convenience if you suspect finding a repairer or a spare is going to be difficult.

As I have stated recently I tends to carry the spare inside the caravan, so I have not used an Alko unit in anger.

Logically, a spare wheel will only be needed (as a wheel) if one of the wheels in current use has failed in some way. As failure usually means it’s gone flat that will means that particular side of the trailer will also have dropped reducing the available access if the spare is located on the same side but under the trailer such as the Alko system does. We have seen several other threads on this same subject pointing out the difficulties of using the Alko spare wheel carrier especially under the circumstances suggest above.

Two problems seem to be consistently reported. The first is the limited access on the dropped side, and secondly the way the Alko carrier often seizes either through corrosion or design of its operation.

Even if the Aklo unit could be re-sited it is still likely to be difficult to use due to corrosion or bending on its sliding parts.

The use of a winch as has been described does seem to offer some advantages, so it’s mainly a question of placement. Obviously during the design of a caravan the designers could route all underfloor service accordingly , but as a retrofit it may be more difficult to achieve.

I initially thought that locating it in front of the axle would be good as you could always use the jockey wheel to lift the front end enough to give better access to it, But there will often be difficulties with braking cables and wires, and as the chassis members converge at the front, it might further restrict the location too far under the caravan.

Thus leaves the rear of the caravan. Again there may be some service pipes that cause a restriction , but in general if the caravan is unhitched from the car, and the hitch is allowed to rest on the ground, the rear of all but the longest caravans is likely to allow more adequate working room to retrieve a spare wheel.

A winch system at the rear seems to be a practical solution, and in addition it will go to help many caravanners who have trouble with getting nose loads low enough.

And before anyone starts telling us that you shouldn't end load a caravan,. If the mass of a spare wheel is enough to cause a major change to the safety of towing a caravan, then its odds on that even without the spare wheel the caravan would be ultra sensitive suggesting its not safely loaded.
 

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