Handbrake off?

Sep 1, 2005
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Our caravan is kept on the drive at home - the drive is quite steep and without the handbrake the 'van would take up residence over the road! This poses a problem over the winter as I know the handbrake is best left off to avoid the brakes seizing. I have wheel chocks but with the wheel clamp on I can only use one whilst the wheel clamp is on. I have also read its a good idea to rotate the wheels but agin would need the handbrake off to do this. Any suggestions please? I have thought about peiodically (every month or so) removing the wheel clamp, chocking the wheels and taking the handbrake off for a short while - would this be sufficient?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Julian - provided you've got the steadies firmly down, and the wheels chocked you ought to be able to safely release the handbrake. Also the wheel clamp should stop any rotation.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If you do not use the van throughout the winter, it is always best to put it on axle stands. Which will enable you to leave the handbrake released, and periodically spin the wheels.
 
Jul 12, 2005
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I think this boils down to safety.

If there is any chance the van will move then leave the brakes on. When you need to move the van, reverse it before pulling away so that the brakes are given the chance to release.

If they do get stuck, put them under pressure with the car and give them a clout with a heavy piece of wood. this should release them.

But remember, its cheaper to get the brakes sorted than it is to remove the front of the van from the house opposite
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I agree, use the handbrake and worry only 'if' the brakes seize.

You could though invest in one of those posts you sink in the ground with a ball on top to fit in the hitch, this way it won't move accidentally or by someone trying to have your van away deliberately!!
 
Jan 19, 2008
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I'm like Julian only the slope is towards my bungalow. Putting it on winter wheels is out of the question because its parked against a wall. Even with the steadies down I would be loathe to release the handbrake because of the slope. I did leave the handbrake on last winter with no problens but I suppose that doesn't mean I will get away with it every winter but without me putting my van into storage I have no choice. The advantage of the slope is with my mover I can park it on the drive nose first helping to make it more difficult for thieves.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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We went to France for a month this summer, leaving our little Fiat in the garage. When we returned, the handbrake was stuck on. I usually leave it off with the wheels chocked, but I forgot this year.

So if it can happen to a car in the summer, how much more likely is it on a caravan over the winter?

Putting the caravan on axle stands is simple. Trolley jack and stands available from Towsure or similar. If possible, always jack the caravan when it is hitched to a car.
 
Sep 1, 2005
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Thanks for all of your ideas, Im sure my neigbours over the road would agree with leaving the handbrake on!

My insurance dictates that the wheel clamp needs to stay on the van so unfortunately I couldnt use the winter wheels option.

Mike P - I think I may take a gamble with the brakes and leave the handbrake on although I do have a set of car axle stands and trolley jack so your idea could be a viable alternative. Is it a case of siting the trolley jack directly under the axle? One concern though is the wheel clamp which is quite heavy - wouldnt this cause damage by weighing down the wheel when its off the ground?
 
Aug 28, 2005
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Thanks for all of your ideas, Im sure my neigbours over the road would agree with leaving the handbrake on!

My insurance dictates that the wheel clamp needs to stay on the van so unfortunately I couldnt use the winter wheels option.

Mike P - I think I may take a gamble with the brakes and leave the handbrake on although I do have a set of car axle stands and trolley jack so your idea could be a viable alternative. Is it a case of siting the trolley jack directly under the axle? One concern though is the wheel clamp which is quite heavy - wouldnt this cause damage by weighing down the wheel when its off the ground?
Julian,

Having lifted the wheels you could place a couple of domestic house bricks or the like to lightly support the frame of the wheel-lock

Regards Monkeys husband
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Yes - place jack under axle, do one side at a time. Recommend that you remove one wheel, and lock it in the garage. Then use a locking wheel bolt in the hub - just one more thing to make theft more difficult. Spin the brake drum every couple of weeks, to keep the bearings greased.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The original question is about parking the van on a 'steep' drive, so while not knowing the actual angle of the drive I would suggest caution over the use of axle stands.

These stands are designed to be used vertically with the weight supported though the centre line of the stand to the ground, if the stand is on a slope then the weight begins to move over from centre and as the angle increases the stability decreases.

Also the metal feet of the stands and also the caravan steadies have little grip on hard surfaces so will tend to slide when a sideways force is applied, this sideways force would be the effect of a strong wind or the van being on a sloping drive. While wood can be used between the drive and feet to greatly increase grip, again it depends on the angle of the drive as to how stable and safe you can make the outfit while not supported on it's wheels.
 
May 4, 2005
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My old house had a sloping drive. To compensate I would place 2 boards (a scafold plank cut in half) in front of the wheels and place a brick under the ends furthest from the wheels .When you move the van onto the boards it is effectively on the level. Brian
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Julian How about sinking a ground anchorage point/points and chaining your van's axle/chassis/wheels to this? Also doubles as a further anti theft aid!Or maybe you already have a large tree that would already do the job? Andy.
 

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