Reducing the length of your van for storage?

Mar 1, 2024
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Hi All

Please I'm buying the caravan below, looking to store it in a building 24' long the caravan is 24'7" long can I remove the tow hitch of the caravan to shorten it some?

Mark S

Bessacarr Cameo 550 GL 2005​

 
Jan 20, 2023
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You can unbolt the hitch, it might not quite give enough though. Realistically you won’t be parking the rear end touching the wall so you might actually need to be looking at an overall length less than 24’

If removing the hitch is enough, be aware that the rearmost bolt also secures the damper so as you drive the bolt out make sure a short dowel is driven in to ensure the end of the damper is held in place. If nyloc nuts are used, replace them each time.
 
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JTQ

May 7, 2005
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7" seems a lot to lose simply by removing the hitch, an initial thought without checking as I don't have your chassis. Remember the draw tube is housed inside the hitch, so measuring has to take that into account.

I once made what amounted to a "cat flap" in a door to do just that when I stored a van in a shed. Way less user hassle than your plan IMO.

Even removing the whole over run assembly IMO will not get you quite the 7", and doing that is a mega hassle.

Edit: Can you instead of my cat flap, just build a local box, circa a foot cube where the hitch wants to poke through, like a nesting box on a hen house?
 
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Mar 1, 2024
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Thank you all great idea's I'm lucky the front door is a flexible mesh so if I'm over by and inch or too I might be alright. Any idea how long the hitch will save me?
 

JTQ

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Thank you all great idea's I'm lucky the front door is a flexible mesh so if I'm over by and inch or too I might be alright. Any idea how long the hitch will save me?

Just been out to my car port for you; had it been an Al ko AKS [2008 vintage] as mine, which I doubt, it is about 5.5" in those old units.

As said earlier, the hitch houses the draw bar's front end, so the only saving is the bit forward of where that ends, not a lot. And as you have been told you will need to remove the rear bolt with a mandrel type of drift that avoids the damper eye being misplaced.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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I suspect it's a poor choice to begin dismantling the chassis so it will fit inside a space. The reason is when the chassis is assembled at the manufacturers it will be held in a jig to ensure the correct alignment of all the components. IF you remove the hitch, the from arms will lose the precise position and when you try to reassemble it may pinch up slightly out of alignment. this could put additional stresses through the caravans body work which might cause joints to work and become points for water ingress.

The other important factor is when it is reassembled there are required torque settings which you must achieve, otherwise there is a real chance the nuts and bolts may loosen or even be lost whilst towing rendering the trailer unroadworthy.

I really suggest you find a different solution, either a bigger shed or a smaller caravan.
 
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JTQ

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We obviously have differing ideas about what a" hitch" is, I think of it as what hitches onto a towbar ball, not the whole over run draw bar assembly. IMO a hitch is a purchasable stand alone assembly, we mount on a drawbar.

Just removing my "hitch", does not involve touching the chassis rails, and its two bolts ensure its adequately realigned on re installing it.
 
Aug 19, 2023
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I used to have a Cameo550 and sold it to my neighbour. It wouldn't fit on his driveway so he removed the entire 'A' frame and reduced the length by quite a lot! It's possible but have to admit I didn't have a close look at the area he removed (we had a diagreement when he tore down part of my fence and my dog escaped through the gap, don't actually think he was firing on all cylinders )!
 
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From the pictures I can find it looks like they were fitted with an alko hitch. Mine is a later version (2016), but probably very similar internally. As posted above, the damper is held in position by the rear hitch bolt. By disconnecting it the drawbar can be pushed back 3 or 4 inches so adding on the length of the hitch infront of the drawbar I recon you could shave off 7 inches.

I found the video below very useful when I changed my damper, it might give you some idea of the work required (it's not in english but you can see what he's doing - the front of the damper isn't difficult to realign with the bolt). You wouldn't have to disconnect the rear of the damper, so probably 10 minutes to take it off and 15 to put it back on (with a bit of practice).

View: https://youtu.be/4Y2rQ7uMDH4?si=9hMMVxWvwsXJYEx3
 
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If buying from a dealer, removing the hitch may invalidate any warranty and you may not even be able to claim using CRA 2015. Then of course you have the hassle of removing and reinstalling the hitch. If the vehicle is involved in a mishap, you may also have issues with the insurance especially as most insurance policies require the hitchlock to be fitted.
 

JTQ

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Quite how removing the hitch might impact on the caravan insurance other than if it was not reassembled correctly, plus the claim related to an incidence where that aspect was involved, I can't understand.

And much the same IMO would apply to CRA 2015 rights for issues in no way related to the refitting of the hitch.
Add to that, why would any evidence exist other than if tendered, that the hitch had been refitted? Mine has come off probably every couple of years for its service, but now 16 years in I doubt there is much evidence it has.
 
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Quite how removing the hitch might impact on the caravan insurance other than if it was not reassembled correctly, plus the claim related to an incidence where that aspect was involved, I can't understand.
When I took out my insurance I declared that it would be protected by a wheel lock and hitch lock. If it were stolen when either was not fitted my insurance could be invalid. I guess that @chindit264 could easily avoid this by not declaring a hitch lock. I'm not sure if all policies are the same, maybe some insist on certain security devices. :unsure:
 
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Quite how removing the hitch might impact on the caravan insurance other than if it was not reassembled correctly, plus the claim related to an incidence where that aspect was involved, I can't understand.

And much the same IMO would apply to CRA 2015 rights for issues in no way related to the refitting of the hitch.
Add to that, why would any evidence exist other than if tendered, that the hitch had been refitted? Mine has come off probably every couple of years for its service, but now 16 years in I doubt there is much evidence it has.
As said most insurance policies require a hitch lock to be fitted. By removing and assembling the hitchlock may cause wear resulting in a detachment, remote but possible. As for warranty the dealer will probably noticed straight away that the hitch has been removed at some point.

Again remote, but a possibility and as Prof points out, if as a result of the hitch lock being removed and not replaced correctly and slightly out of alignment this could cause other issues with the caravan due to vibration.

However at the end of the day it is up to the OP to decide what is best for them. Why they want the hassle when using a caravan is supposed to be relaxing is beyond me. Simpler to find a proper caravan storage yard close by and store the caravan there. :D
 
Mar 14, 2005
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How wide is the building? Can you manage to store the caravan parked at an angle to the back wall? I think the removal of the the hitch plan is a recipe for problems, when you want to tow the van out, there are other things to think about and it will be time consuming refitting it each time you want to us eit.
 

JTQ

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I suspect from the above #14, it is made with little or no experience of removing and refitting a hitch?
How does doing so cause any wear, or any misalignment, or affect the latching mechanism, or leave any witness?

I am quite sure that the Prof was not meaning the hitch as I understand it and has been the basis of my comments, but the draw-bar over-run assembly?
The bit that hitches on the subject caravan is a subassembly that fits on the drawbar over-run assembly, it is only the latter that bolts to the chassis rails and that could be subject to misalignment. Probably these over-run assemblies are now fitted using a jig, but some time back those I saw were not.

Clearly it is the OP's decision what they do, but they did ask the question.
I certainly don't share the view it is necessarily less hassle to store elsewhere, if that is a storage yard, than remove and refit a AKS hitch. Bind as it is its not more than a 15 minute task, I could lose that driving 5 miles.
Storage under cover, is in my own experience a very big plus on several counts, and in itself worth a bit of additional hassle if that is what it takes.
 
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I certainly don't share the view it is necessarily less hassle to store elsewhere, if that is a storage yard, than remove and refit a AKS hitch. Bind as it is its not more than a 15 minute task, I could lose that driving 5 miles.
Storage under cover, is in my own experience a very big plus on several counts, and in itself worth a bit of additional hassle if that is what it takes.
I replaced my damper in around 1.5 hours. Most of that was taken up by the damper rear bolt (pain to get to and 1/6 turn at a time on the nut) and cleaning and greasing everything before reassembly. The hitch removal and refit was the easy bit.
 
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I suspect from the above #14, it is made with little or no experience of removing and refitting a hitch?
How does doing so cause any wear, or any misalignment, or affect the latching mechanism, or leave any witness?

I am quite sure that the Prof was not meaning the hitch as I understand it and has been the basis of my comments, but the draw-bar over-run assembly?
The bit that hitches on the subject caravan is a subassembly that fits on the drawbar over-run assembly, it is only the latter that bolts to the chassis rails and that could be subject to misalignment. Probably these over-run assemblies are now fitted using a jig, but some time back those I saw were not.

Clearly it is the OP's decision what they do, but they did ask the question.
I certainly don't share the view it is necessarily less hassle to store elsewhere, if that is a storage yard, than remove and refit a AKS hitch. Bind as it is its not more than a 15 minute task, I could lose that driving 5 miles.
Storage under cover, is in my own experience a very big plus on several counts, and in itself worth a bit of additional hassle if that is what it takes.
Either way it is pouring down with rain, it will not be pleasant fitting the hitch back on again and that is when mistakes can be made.
 

JTQ

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Agreed, thankfully it is not raining here, but no doubt will.

The only probable mistake IMO is not picking up the damper, but then with a modicum of nonce that is instantly checkable.
That point, interestingly not something the operative in the clip did, and sensible should have immediately after thinking they had pushed the rear bolt nearly home, even before fitting the nut.
Oh yes, even forgot here to say how, just by checking the push in resistance on the draw-bar.
 
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Agreed, thankfully it is not raining here, but no doubt will.

The only probable mistake IMO is not picking up the damper, but then with a modicum of nonce that is instantly checkable.
That point, interestingly not something the operative in the clip did, and sensible should have immediately after thinking they had pushed the rear bolt nearly home, even before fitting the nut.
Oh yes, even forgot here to say how, just by checking the push in resistance on the draw-bar.
I see that the websites filter for non acceptable words isn’t totally infallible. 😱
 
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...
I am quite sure that the Prof was not meaning the hitch as I understand it and has been the basis of my comments, but the draw-bar over-run assembly?
...
Yes and No. I more precisely meant anything that might be removed from the " A" frame to shorten the over all length of the caravan. whether that is just the hitch, or the over run assembly.
 

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