Kia Sorento Brinks Tow Ball

Jun 11, 2005
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I have a Sorento witha Brinksmatic detachable tow ball. The tow bal is swan neck and extended to allow the Alko stabiliser to fit. The caravan isa Series 5 Pageant. The problem is that when hitched up the caravan is slightly nose upwards and as the car has self-levelling suspension there is no 'sink' at all. In normal towing I am quite relaxed but I am worried that when going on or off a ferry the van's tail maight ground as it sits lower than I would like. I prefer a nose down attitude. Does anyone else have sucha set up, or do Brinks supply adjuster plates that would drop the height of the tow ball down by a couple of inches?

Other Clive
 
Mar 14, 2005
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This keeps on coming up.

Its time that manufacturers of cars and towbars got together to provide some form of height adjustment or at least specifications of expected tow ball heights with a given tow bar on a given vehicle.

Clearly a max/min spec fails on so many instances as witnessed by the letters on this and other websites.
 
Jul 12, 2005
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Unfortunatly the rules that govern the height of the towball do not cover 4x4 vehicels. What people normally do is fit an adjustable one to allow nose down towing as nose up at speed is a good way to start the tail wagging the dog
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Swan neck towbars are not height adjustable. It may be worth checking whether you have the correct towbar fitted. It is not uncommon to have a specific swan neck for vehicles with self-levelling suspension. The height of the towball should between 350 and 420mm (measured to the centre of the towball) with the car fully laden (although, with self-levelling suspension, this shouldn't be an issue). It is true that off-road vehicles are not bound by this legal directive but the towbar manufacturers are well aware that many 4x4's are used for towing caravans so normally they would observe the standard.
 
Jun 11, 2005
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Hi,

thanks for the information. The towbar is correct for the car as it replaces a cross body member on the ladder chassis. Howver the problems seems to be that the ball centre height is on max, whilst the van is on minimum. So there isa 70mm differenec which leads toa slight nose up tendency. And it is this that runs the risk of the van's tailend grounding on ferry ramps as the van is 7m shipping length. I will contact Brinks to see if they have any adapter plates, or whether there is a different towbal with a slightly shorter neck or which may curve downwards.

Thanks

Other Clive
 
Mar 14, 2005
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That's what I meant when I suggested that the towbar may not be the right one for your car - sometimes the swan neck is shorter on cars with self-levelling suspension. The bracketry will still be the same. It would be worth checking with Brinks.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Unfortunatly the rules that govern the height of the towball do not cover 4x4 vehicels. What people normally do is fit an adjustable one to allow nose down towing as nose up at speed is a good way to start the tail wagging the dog
A nose up attitude alone will not cause the tail to wag the dog. That is a popular misconception. Only if the caravan is nose up because the noseweight is too low is there any increased risk of instability.
 
Apr 3, 2005
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Hi, we are on our second sorento, but have always had a witter tow bar,they have two adjustable levels on them, we haven't had any problems at all.

Are you sure the towbar is correct for a sorento? as i have never seen a swan neck on a sorento before!

regards, Andrew.
 
Jun 11, 2005
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Hi, we are on our second sorento, but have always had a witter tow bar,they have two adjustable levels on them, we haven't had any problems at all.

Are you sure the towbar is correct for a sorento? as i have never seen a swan neck on a sorento before!

regards, Andrew.
Hi,

the towbar is the correct one as it replaced the cross body memebr and fitted perfectly. The swan neck is standard with the Brinkmatic-type of towbar. It is a detachable towball assembly, not a fixed towball, this was to prevent the rear parking sensors being affected by the towball. Howver that was not esential as any towball would probably be below the sensors line of sight.

Cheers
 
Jun 11, 2005
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Hi,

I have contacted Brinks and have been told that the towbar fitted is correct but that one for Sorento's with self-levelling suspension will not be aviailable until later this year. To my knowledge all UK Sorento's at least since Sept2004 (if not earlier) are fitted wiith self-levelling suspension. Nothing on Brink's technical documentation says that it is not suitable for Sorento's with SL suspension. I am inon-going discussions with Brinks on this one. I have used the fitting company several times in the past and they work for most Main Dealers in the area. The only time I have not used them was for a Ford Mondeo and the towbar was so badly fitted by the Ford dealership to the car's cross-members that it pulled one side out of the retaining point on the car.Scary.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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When Brinks finally come up with a version to suit self-levelling suspension, the change shouldn't be a big deal - just exchange one swan neck for another. All the fixed components of the towbar should remain unaltered.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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This comes up time and time again.

If it is so simple to add a different length swan neck or provide different plates to which the ball attaches(or 2 sets of holes) it is hard to understand why its not made easier for people to have this facility.

From this and other websites its apparent that people want the outfit to "look right" as well as conform to max/min norms
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The answer is easy, John G. The towbar manufacturers have a duty to produce parts that meet the legal requirements and not to make something that 'looks right'. The whole purpose of the regulations is to ensure full interchangeability without the need for any 'matching', i.e. every car should be capable of towing any trailer safely (subject to the obvious weight restrictions, of course), without the need to exchange components of the towbar in the process. If the towbar manufacturer offered the customer an alternative towball height, a.) a situation could arise that another trailer coupled to the same car would have a different stance, possibly even be illegal within the terms of the regulations, b.) the manufacturer may not have tested all possible combinations and would therefore not accept any responsibility for any consequences beyond his control, or c.) the reason for the problem has nothing to do with the towbar (if the car is overloaded or the springs on car or caravan have set, for example). That would be a case of two wrongs to put something right.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The answer IS easy Lutz but there does not seem to be the desire or legislation for the situation to be remedied to the satisfaction of the many people who raise this issue.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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In the case in question (Kia Sorento with self-levelling suspension) the towbar manufacturer had obviously overlooked the fact that for this model vaiant the rear end of the car is higher than without the self-levelling feature. The towball height is therefore probably outside the legal tolerances. This makes a specific towball mandatory which has nothing to do with the outfit not 'looking right'.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Once again we are talking in probables and possibles and could discuss imponderables for ever.

Without specific measurements it is pure surmise whether the outfit is inside or outside the norms but someone has got it wrong and really its of no value to the person with the problem for us to argue the case without specifics.

I was taking your point that it would be easy to alter the bracket as a good point that was showing how easy it would be with a little co-operation to achieve an outfit that not only looked right but was right.Two rights making a right.

Regards and best wishes .
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Both the legal height of the towball and that of the coupling have a 70mm tolerance and this applies to the fully laden condition of car and trailer/caravan so if either is only partially laden, the difference in height could be even greater. However, this is what the law allows and what the manufacturers have to take into account in their designs. As any design offered by the manufacturer must be safe (suitable for the purpose) the customer should not interfere with the setup.
 
Jun 11, 2005
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Hi,

thanks to evryone for thier comments. For those with Sorento's could you tell me what the height of the towball (centre) is when the vehicle is unloaded. I know the CC advice for a range of measuremnts between 420mm and 350mm when loaded but without the van noseweight, but it is easier to measure the car unloaded and then if your outfit is riding level or nosedown would indicate what band I should be aiming for. I know that the van's may vary slightly but with all my prevoius outfits I have never had an problems and van's have always rode level or nosedown.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Just a note:

The defined height of the towball above the ground (350 to 420mm) applies to the maximum loaded condition, regardless of whether the caravan is attached or not. One may never exceed the maximum load specified, whether the payload is only luggage in the boot or noseweight of the caravan is included, too. Maximum load is just that. It must not be exceeded by adding the noseweight.

Consequently, one may not load the car up to its GVW before hitching up the caravan but only up to its GVW minus the noseweight.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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It seems to me that the problem is in the caravan hitch height as manufactured. My Ace was quite a bit higher than 420mm even nose down so it would seem that the legislation is not being adhered to or checked by the powers that be.

More and more caravans are being fitted with bigger wheels but it would appear that no change is being made to the chassis to accomodate this.

The chassis top plate seems to be a straight line from front to back and the suspension units are probably the same ones height wise.

As has been said before you only have to travel on UK motorways to see that unlike the Kia most caravans seem to travel excessively nose down these days and this can not be blamed on car suspension alone if caravans are being turned out with over height tow hitches.
 

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