Reflecting on a few recent topics: I'm doing a CMHC Course

Oct 20, 2015
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Forgive the preamble - Well its about 2 and a half years since we bought our caravan. Circumstances have meant use thus far has been sadly low.

Through my virtually daily visits here and enjoyable reads I also gratefully pick up invaluable information & tips.

We bought the van from Dorset and my first ever tow, bringing it back was not as scary - as I'd envisioned..... and (at least going forwards on the relatively small number of occasions we've used the caravan since) has been fine.

Our van is in storage and as much as I'd like to tug it out. go down to a quiet car park & practice manoeuvres - it's not practically possible. I bought a mover so pitching on site is fine, I'm not very confident with reversing the caravan. (I think that reading theory is not a substitution for being instructed and practicing.) I'd like for our choice of future sites nor to be governed by the fact that they are just a short distance from the motorway or a wide main road.

I'm booked to do the CMHC Practical Caravanning 1.5 day Course at Duchy College (only about 8 miles away) at the end of this month. It covers:

  • ‘hitching up’ and towing safely
  • easy and confident manoeuvring
  • ‘load’ and how it affects towing
  • curved reversing
  • everyday safety checks
  • laws affecting caravanners
The price of £189 is not insignificant to me but having not had chance to learn and develop more through experience, hopefully will represent good value in terms of safety, comfort, confidence .... and REVERSING!
Reading some recent threads suggests it shall hopefully be money well spent!
Cheers Wayne

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Last edited:
Aug 24, 2020
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When I first started caravanning I did the C&CC course, because that was the club I was in at the time. All these years later, I still hear the instructor's voice giving us tips every time I reverse the 'van.

Best caravanning-related investment of time and money I ever made.

As others have said, please let s know how you get on.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Wayne, I remember your thoughts about getting your caravan home, and since then a lot of us have not been able to get out in our vans, I have very often thought about doing the course myself, just for the sake of a good weekend away.
I think you will enjoy it, and there is nothing better than being able to reverse into a tight spot just using mirrors. And it is only practice that gets you good at it.
 
Mar 29, 2021
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Forgive the preamble - Well its about 2 and a half years since we bought our caravan. Circumstances have meant use thus far has been sadly low.

Through my virtually daily visits here and enjoyable reads I also gratefully pick up invaluable information & tips.

We bought the van from Dorset and my first ever tow, bringing it back was not as scary - as I'd envisioned..... and (at least going forwards on the relatively small number of occasions we've used the caravan since) has been fine.

Our van is in storage and as much as I'd like to tug it out. go down to a quiet car park & practice manoeuvres - it's not practically possible. I bought a mover so pitching on site is fine, I'm not very confident with reversing the caravan. (I think that reading theory is not a substitution for being instructed and practicing.) I'd like for our choice of future sites nor to be governed by the fact that they are just a short distance from the motorway or a wide main road.

I'm booked to do the CMHC Practical Caravanning 1.5 day Course at Duchy College (only about 8 miles away) at the end of this month. It covers:

  • ‘hitching up’ and towing safely
  • easy and confident manoeuvring
  • ‘load’ and how it affects towing
  • curved reversing
  • everyday safety checks
  • laws affecting caravanners
The price of £189 is not insignificant to me but having not had chance to learn and develop more through experience, hopefully will represent good value in terms of safety, comfort, confidence .... and REVERSING!
Reading some recent threads suggests it shall hopefully be money well spent!
Cheers Wayne

.
TBH waste of time
I drive lorrys of all sizes, its rare for me to reverse the caravan because of flywheel damage I once suffered.
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
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TBH waste of time
I drive lorrys of all sizes, its rare for me to reverse the caravan because of flywheel damage I once suffered.
What may seem like a waste of time for you won't necessarily be a waste of time for others.
Other forum members have driven lorries of all sizes, including myself, but there's always something that you can learn about caravanning.
Some caravanners have tow vehicles with automatic transmission, so reversing a caravan presents no problem for them if they are taught the technique properly
 
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May 7, 2012
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Never heard of the problem with flywheel damage, not clear why reversing a caravan could cause that.
 
Mar 29, 2021
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The problem was with a Dual Mass Flywheel, and according to the dealer a more common fault than maybe known.
When reversing, sliding the clutch builds heat in turn damages the spacer between the flywheel plates causing them to catch, making an annoying noise when changing gear
As I say, when ever I can I motor mover the van

Current car has a DSG box which is oil filled so heat not as big a concern, but I still won't reverse the caravan onto a pitch even with my abilities.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Dual Mass Flywheels have been a problem ever since they were introduced, but of course Dealers only sell cars and do not tell buyers of all the known problems that various models have, or the expected horrendous cost of fixing these vehicles when things go wrong.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Never heard of the problem with flywheel damage, not clear why reversing a caravan could cause that.
Slipping the clutch creates heat, and lots of it, which for the old solid single plate flywheels was never really a problem, maybe a warped flywheel but more usually a burnt clutch plate.
The DMF is and was a disaster as far as reversing any heavy load in particular as the the heat damaged the spacers between the plates and that needed a new DMF , but some vehicles could be modified to use a single plate flywheel, eliminating the DMF thankfully.
 
Mar 29, 2021
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Dual Mass Flywheels have been a problem ever since they were introduced, but of course Dealers only sell cars and do not tell buyers of all the known problems that various models have, or the expected horrendous cost of fixing these vehicles when things go wrong.
4 year old at the time, top of the range X type Jag, £3.5k to repair at the dealers
PX it for a very nice Insignia, poor Vauxhall sales rep didn't test drive the car, I had polished the hell out of it beforehand which distracted him long enough for me to sign 😁
 
May 24, 2014
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Re the caravan towing course. It would be interesting to know what they teach and how they teach it. Parksy, myself and a couple of others are artic men, it would be an interesting comparison to compare how they do it to how we do it.

What I have come across often is new caravanners that struggle because previoulsy they have only towed a camping or garden trailer. We all know how lively those things are and how difficult it can be when you cant see the trailer, but they try so hard to compensate trailer style and get into all sorts of a mess.

In our world, and I have said it often on here, before reversing, do as much work as you can to line up going forwards. How many newbies pull up at 90 degrees to the pitch and try to jacknife in. Dont back in blind side if you have a choice. Put little into the steering, because when reversing its far easier to add more than it is to take it off, by which time you have already messed it up. TBH, its all really down to practice for you guys, but what would be really useful is a banksmans course. On campsites its hilarious to watch, which in 99 cases out of a hundred is the wife acting as banksman, is what they believe passes for readable hand signals, the variation in these is a thing to behold. In the truck world, a fully trained banksman has a rigid set of hand signals, as in the military. I think these could be added to any course. Im still not sure what handbag hanging from left elbow with both hands flapping up and down signifies, unless there is a wasp about.
 
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Mar 29, 2021
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I'm at work now(Tesco Express just landed) inner city food store deliveries upto 11 a day, including Aldi, 40% blind side reversing with full size and urban trailers, all good fun!
Best advice for anyone reversing anything,

When in doubt
Get out

That is, way the job up!
 
May 24, 2014
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I'm at work now, inner city food store deliveries upto 11 a day, including Aldi, 40% blind side reversing with full size and urban trailers, all good fun!
Luxury. Try that with a wagon and drag, rear wheel steer and relying on a half trained fully excitable mediterranean banksman. Its amazing how quickly you learn to swear in Spanish or Italian.
 
Mar 29, 2021
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Wagon and drag, no thank you,
About a 4 hours ago saw a training vehicle out and about, wagon and drag, full length too!
Poor soul
 
May 24, 2014
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About a 4 hours ago saw a training vehicle out and about, wagon and drag, full length too!
I think that sort of thing should be the norm. The problem with HGV, I should get used to LGV , is that learners often take their test in a four wheel unit, with a single axle thirty foot flatbed with perfect vision and easy steering. The following day they are able to drive 44 tonnes on six axles with a fifteen foot box. How does the test compare with reality?
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
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I'd imagine that there will be a few similarities between a caravan towing course and a HGV class 1 course.
The instructors in both cases would instill confidence based on knowledge into the pupil.
Although the trailer hitching procedures differ, instructors teach the pupil the safe way to do it, with safety techniques
( such as a pull forward in a tractor unit or the raising of the jockey wheel when a caravan is hitched) to ensure that the tow vehicle and towed unit are fully locked.
Another vital lesson common to all towing students is to look at what you're about to drive into before you complete the manoeuver.
There can be nothing more embarrassing or worse than driving into a side road towing a trailer when the side road is blocked and the trailer ends up blocking a main road.
Reversing is an important facet of towing courses, buht it's not the be all and end all.
Something that caravan towing courses might touch on (Im not sure because I haven't been on the course) would be the safe and correct way to load a caravan.
When I passed my HGV1 it was in an underpowered Bedford TM tractor unit with back windows and a short flatbed trailer.
Safe legal loading was never mentioned, on the job experience and the kindness of fellow drivers taught all that.
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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I know i have a motor mover on my caravan but on our break to Pickering I reverse the caravan on the hardstanding service pitch with no problems .
 
Jun 20, 2005
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SWMBO did a CAMC two day course 10 years ago. You use your own car and mirrors and their caravan. Yes. They taught her how to correctly fasten and attach the mirrors. It is a very comprehensive course, hands on, run by e pert patient tuggers. The paper work back up books etc are excellent. This old dog learnt a lot just from reading her papers. Reversing into position for hitching is a good example. Using their technique you will soon achieve it first time. Reversing too you get to see how to think about your initial position before you actually stop to commence the reverse! Money well spent and maybe something a lot of others should consider. Movers??🤣🤣🤣🤣
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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I'd imagine that there will be a few similarities between a caravan towing course and a HGV class 1 course.
The instructors in both cases would instill confidence based on knowledge into the pupil.
Although the trailer hitching procedures differ, instructors teach the pupil the safe way to do it, with safety techniques
( such as a pull forward in a tractor unit or the raising of the jockey wheel when a caravan is hitched) to ensure that the tow vehicle and towed unit are fully locked.
Another vital lesson common to all towing students is to look at what you're about to drive into before you complete the manoeuver.
There can be nothing more embarrassing or worse than driving into a side road towing a trailer when the side road is blocked and the trailer ends up blocking a main road.
Reversing is an important facet of towing courses, buht it's not the be all and end all.
Something that caravan towing courses might touch on (Im not sure because I haven't been on the course) would be the safe and correct way to load a caravan.
When I passed my HGV1 it was in an underpowered Bedford TM tractor unit with back windows and a short flatbed trailer.
Safe legal loading was never mentioned, on the job experience and the kindness of fellow drivers taught all that.
I did the CMHC and over two days as well as manoeuvring ,the course covers the legal aspects, loading, safe driving, lots of useful advice on caravanning in particular one that sticks with me is how to get off a wet grass/muddy pitch when the cars is going nowhere. A very useful couple of days.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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I know i have a motor mover on my caravan but on our break to Pickering I reverse the caravan on the hardstanding service pitch with no problems .
I did the same two weeks ago at Hutton Le Hole. No gawkers around either. Pity as she went on in one.
 

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