Runaway caravan in Yorkshire

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Mar 29, 2021
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So I've had several types of towbar over the years, my detachable type have fallen into two categories, belt and braces, shocking!
The first was a horizontal socket that the machined ball would slot into then twist 90 degrees upright to lock solidly together, a bar would go left to right through both with a locking pin to simply stop a twist 100% reliability guaranteed.
The next was a sprung loaded ball that inserted vertically into a receiver, a small cap would then send a finger bar out of the top of the towball unit in turn operating a kind of U in the receiver to lock the ball in place, a blue rotating knob indicated the success of the operation, 60% reliable.
On one occasion the entire mechanism including spring without any reason or notice flew out of the towball bit whilst stored in its bag, and even with our limited use the ball/receiver developed play and I believe exceeded the requirement of MOT, but when have you ever had a towbar checked?

The latter type of detachable towbar I will never ever purchase again as I lost complete faith in the thing convinced it could fail in use, and who knows it could explain the above.

My current towball is a swing down type, operate a button in the boot, electrics release it from its hiding place under the bumper my hand lifts the hinged ball into place with a reassuring solid clunk, the cars dash gives a warning if not in place correctly, a brilliant system apart from having to wrap the ball in self amalgamating rubber strip to prevent rust. Also there is a built in hoop for the breakaway cable as part of the balls casting. It is an expensive piece of kit if bought separately from the car, but without doubt in my experience the preferred detachable/cosmetic option.

I see lots of complacency when coupling up, even at work, I drive artics for a living, at least forums like this can wake people up to the real dangers of what can go wrong.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Westfalia Detachable Tow-Bar there is built in hoop for the breakaway cable and I have never had problem with this so far .
 
May 24, 2014
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I see lots of complacency when coupling up, even at work, I drive artics for a living, at least forums like this can wake people up to the real dangers of what can go wrong.
We know what you mean there. For me it was absolute habit once coupled to the 5th wheel to pull agains the trailer before connecting the suzies and releasing the trailer brake. Never saw the youngsters doing that.
 
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Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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We know what you mean there. For me it was absolute habit once coupled to the 5th wheel to pull agains the trailer before connecting the suzies and releasing the trailer brake. Never saw the youngsters doing that.
Same here Thingy, I always gave the trailer a sharp tug before connecting up and fully raising the steady wheels.
I don't have any major concerns about towing the caravan anywhere, but I always wind the jockey wheel back to the ground to lift the back of the tug to make sure that the caravan hitch is properly engaged.
The possibility of our caravan becoming detached is uppermost in my mind when hitching up.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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The technique of winding down the jockey wheel to check hitch engagement (no less than twice) is taught during "B+E" test lessons. I still do that now (with the stabiliser disengaged) when I hitch up as I have never trusted the hitch indicator.

Whenever I have picked up the caravan from the dealers, they are in a hurry to get you off-site, so hitch the caravan for you; they have always looped the breakaway cable over my detachable towball and I have to tell them to not do that as there is an attachment point.

...even with our limited use the ball/receiver developed play and I believe exceeded the requirement of MOT, but when have you ever had a towbar checked?
Don't they only check them if they are fitted at the time of inspection?
 
Jul 18, 2017
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The technique of winding down the jockey wheel to check hitch engagement (no less than twice) is taught during "B+E" test lessons. I still do that now (with the stabiliser disengaged) when I hitch up as I have never trusted the hitch indicator.
With a deatchable that will only prove that the hitch is locked onto the towball and not that the detachable towball is fully engaged onto the towbar.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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With a deatchable that will only prove that the hitch is locked onto the towball and not that the detachable towball is fully engaged onto the towbar.
My OEM Volvo Detachable Towball (Volvo Branded but I think it's made by Brink) makes a satisfying "Thunk" when seated correctly and the indicator turns green. The manual then stipulates giving it a thorough jiggle. If it comes off after that, then it's broke!
 

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