Stabilisers

Mar 14, 2005
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As few people have had the opportunity to compare different stabiliser systems, you'll probably get as many answers as types available. Basically you've got to decide for yourself whether you want a blade type or one that's integrated in the coupling. Blade versions are cheaper (around ₤50 to ₤100 depending on the model) but require careful setting up to work properly and are not as easily connected as you need to assemble to the car, too. An integrated stabiliser is much more convenient to use and versatile but more expensive (around ₤150-₤200). I can't say anything about how effective blade vs. integrated stabilisers are but I have seen comparison tests of different integrated models (AlKo AKS 3004, Winterhoff WS3000D, SAS Westfalia SSK-3) and there's not much to choose between the AlKo and the Winterhoff. Then there's the LEAS electronic stabiliser which actively kills a snake rather than passively preventing one. At around ₤500 it's the most expensive but also the most effective.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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As a devout non-fan of stabilisers, remember, all they do is get you into trouble at a higher speed. A well balanced and driven outfit should not need a stabilizer, which itself does not fail safe - quite the contrary - and so you may never know whether it is working or not.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Other factors other than speed can be responsible for instability even of a well-balanced outfit (unexpected gusts of wind, for example). The dampening characteristics of stabilisers can be measured quite easily so it is certainly possible to prove that they increase the threshold value of when things can go drastically wrong. The point that I assume you are making is that you don't whether in a particular real live situation this improvement is actually adequate. My arguement would be, be thankful for that extra margin of safety that the stabiliser undoubtedly offers even if you hopefully never encounter a situation where its limitations are exceeded.
 
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As a devout non-fan of stabilisers, remember, all they do is get you into trouble at a higher speed. A well balanced and driven outfit should not need a stabilizer, which itself does not fail safe - quite the contrary - and so you may never know whether it is working or not.
My car is about 1850kg, and my caravan less than 50%. Once I forgot to *** up the stabiliser (Al-Ko 1300) and I felt the effect of lorries and coaches. I stopped at the next services, activated the stabiliser and was not effected by other vehicles or cross-winds. Same conditions, same speed, going in the same direction. If that's not a reliable test I don't know what is.

Yes, stabilisers can "get you into trouble at a higher speed". But a good stabiliser will make a stable outfit more stable. No argument.
 
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The LEAS stabiliser was featured in the July 2004 issue of PC. If you haven't got a copy any more write me an email (lschel@aol.com) and I'll send you details. I subsequently had a LEAS unit fitted to my caravan and it's uncanny how it kills a snake. (I intentionally provoked a snake by swerving the car on a wide open supermarket car park to try it out) The only snag is that the manufacturer hasn't got a distributor in the UK yet so all sales have to be on a direct order basis. But I know from someone up in Scotland that he got his unit just over a week after ordering so shipping is no problem and they claim they've never had a defective unit reported in the 10 years it's been on the market on the Continent.
 
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From what I see on the website that you mention, Captain Roo, that firm seems to specialise in selling Continental caravans to UK customers but I couldn't find any reference to accessories, etc. To my knowledge, BL Trading, the manufacturers of the LEAS system, retail the product themselves, too, and that should be much cheaper directly than involving an intermediate agent. I know the chap in Scotland bought direct.
 
May 21, 2008
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Ray has the answer here I'm afraid. Load your caravans correctly and you don't need a stabiliser. I mean to say, you don't still have the stabilsers on you cycles do you? (joke)

I tow a tweny foot twin axle van behind our Laguna with or without a stabiliser and the only benifit I get is a slight improvement in control of the noding up and down you get from the mountain tracks (sorry trunk roads) this government believe we enjoy using, while they swan round in heicopters.

I always load my van with heavey items on the floor and over the axles, and weigh the nose weight everytime. 70 - 75 Kgs is best for my outfit.

I've seen first hand the damage a tiny luggage trailer did to a volvo estate when it decided to do the tank slapper dance on the M5 at about 70mph. Not a pretty sight and all the camping kit was spread over all 3 lanes. The damage to the car was in the thousands, both side panels and all the rear glass shattered.

Stabilisers are only akin to seatbelts. They are not a cure to bad practice but assistance in an emergencey.
 
May 21, 2008
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I only hope you are't advocating deleting seat belts and airbags for the same reason. Oh, and while we're at it, how about ABS, too?
Try reading the very last sentence again. They're not a cure to bad practice.

If you drive your car safely, do YOU NEED the sfaety belt? But if someone does a stupid thing and crashes into your car you are thankfull you wore it!!

You don't see articulated lorries with stabilisers, but they tow well. That's because as a driver you are responsible for your lorry being loaded correctly.
 
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I only hope you are't advocating deleting seat belts and airbags for the same reason. Oh, and while we're at it, how about ABS, too?
Even articulated lorries have electronic stability control nowadays and that's even more effective than these relatively low-tech frictional stabilisers that most cars/caravans have.
 

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