The caravan has been separated from the chassis

Jul 23, 2023
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Hello everyone. I had an accident with the caravan in Turkey. I think first the tire of the caravan burst. The caravan overturned, I hit my vehicle on the side of the road and the caravan overturned. But it didn't seem normal to me that the caravan was tipped over. As you can see in the photos, the caravan is connected to the chassis with a few screws. The manufacturer says that the connections are made correctly. Technically, I need your help. Is it normal for this caravan to fall apart from the chassis like this? Thanks in advance.
 

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Jun 16, 2020
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Hi Erdener, and welcome to the forum.

I am only familiar with Al-Ko chassis. Seen a lot of pictures of vans that turned over. All stayed attached to their chassis. They could even be pushed back onto their wheels. Though they were write-off’s.

I see from the pictures, that none of the steadies where fixed to the chassis. Although it is a small caravan. It appears somewhat flimsy.



John
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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As you can see in the photos, the caravan is connected to the chassis with a few screws. The manufacturer says that the connections are made correctly.

It is "correct" that floors of caravans are typically held by a number of through bolts to the chassis.
Your van has been subjected to a violent "throwing about".
It is not unreasonable, that the forces that must have been involved, acting on these bolts could be sufficient to pull them through the floor.

It is not a situation that van makers would be designing their products to survive.
IMO it is way beyond being commercially economic to repair.

Hopefully no one was injured by this accident.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Sorry to hear of the accident. I can see the bolt attachment points on the chassis, and the positions where the through bolts pulled out of the body of the caravan floor. The tyre failure must have led to a violent force on the caravan to have detached the body from the chassis. My own experience with floor bolts tells me that a British van may have exhibited a similar failure in the circumstances of your accident.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Is it normal for this caravan to fall apart from the chassis like this? Thanks in advance.
Hello Erdner,

I'm pleased that you haven't reported any serious injuries, so that is a positive, though I'm sure the experience has come as quite a shock.

To answer the specific question you asked, No its not normal for caravans to separate from their chassis. And whilst continuing to drive with a deflated tyre can lead to damage of the wheel arch and body work close to the wheel, I have never seen or heard of a caravan body separating from its chassis in the way yous has in the pictures. If it has happened previously it must be very very rare.

This begs the question why has yours managed to separate?

Looking at the images there is evidence of at least 14 points on the underside of the floor that have evidence of something breaking out through the floor, these correspond with fixing points on the chassis. And in addition the two chassis cross members are clearly deformed in the centre where the fixing have been forced upwards. The chassis is also quite distorted.

The damage to the wheel rim is consistent with the tyre loosing its inflation and continuing to be driven for some distance. but I could not see any tyre fabric separation so it has not been flailing the wheel arch or body work.

I note the caravan is a Angora Caravan, which is apparently manufactured in Turkey. I am not intimately familiar with the brand or its construction methods or quality, but based on the evidence of the fixing points in your picture, I don't think there is any inherent design failure concerning the security of the body to chassis fixing.

This isn't very helpful, but it seems to me something more severe than just a tyre deflation has contributed to the damaged on show.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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As an observation - it's a poorly designed chassis with little torsional stiffness - unlike an Alko chassis, the axle tube doesn't act as a stiffener so the two "wishbones" would be able to flex significantly - from those photos I'd suggest that the caravan body was stronger than the chassis!
 
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IMO the pictures do not clearly show what actually occurred in the accident.
Some of the pictures show clearly that an accident has taken place with the bodywork still sitting on the chassis.
Other pictures show the bodywork completely separate from the chassis and on its side.

......so what force removed the bodywork from the chassis?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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IMO the pictures do not clearly show what actually occurred in the accident.
Some of the pictures show clearly that an accident has taken place with the bodywork still sitting on the chassis.
Other pictures show the bodywork completely separate from the chassis and on its side.

......so what force removed the bodywork from the chassis?
If you look at the first picture and expand it, you can see a lifting strop around the caravan, suggesting the on chassis pictures were taken during the recovery.
 
Jul 23, 2023
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Thank you for your answers. Fortunately, no one in the car was injured in the accident. I'm considering suing the manufacturer but first I'm investigating if it's a manufacturing defect. Since I am at the camp, the internet is not very good. That's why I can't answer individually, sorry. Thank you very much anyway.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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It's a difficult one, as presumably you were going uphill and with a wide a smooth hard shoulder, a tyre deflation would not normally be expected to throw an outfit around that much. Going downhill could be a different matter. Anyway good luck and I am glad that there were no personal injuries.
 

JTQ

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Whilst having every sympathy for the situation you find yourself in, I can't see this being other than the outcome of an incidence of towing instability. Not one with a clear legally provable pointer to a manufacturing defect being the primary cause.

Can I please enquire where you believe a manufacturing defect had been the primary cause?
 
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I presume if you were to attempt to sue the caravan manufacturer (who is in Turkey) and the fact the incident hast taken place in Turkey, that Turkish law will apply. I have no experience of how Turkish Law works, and I don't know what you will need to do or how to prove there is a manufacturing fault.

I'll be honest, I'm not convinced there has been manufacturing fault, I suspect the severity of the incident was far beyond what a caravan might realistically be expected to survive undamaged.
 
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Jul 23, 2023
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Kendinizi içinde bulduğunuz durum için her türlü sempatiye sahip olmakla birlikte, bunun bir çekiş dengesizliği vakasının sonucundan başka bir şey olduğunu göremiyorum. Birincil nedenin bir üretim hatası olduğuna dair yasal olarak kanıtlanabilir net bir göstergesi olan biri değil.

Birincil nedenin bir üretim hatası olduğuna inandığınız yeri öğrenebilir miyim?
The reason I think it's a manufacturing defect is because the caravan detached from the chassis and drifted like that. If it had tipped over with the chassis, I would have seen it as an accident. Maybe then there would have been less damage. But the fact that the chassis was screwed into the wood of the caravan made me suspect it was a manufacturing defect. Also, I've never seen anything like this in any crash video. I'm still not sure. Thank you for your honest answer.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The reason I think it's a manufacturing defect is because the caravan detached from the chassis and drifted like that. If it had tipped over with the chassis, I would have seen it as an accident. Maybe then there would have been less damage. But the fact that the chassis was screwed into the wood of the caravan made me suspect it was a manufacturing defect. Also, I've never seen anything like this in any crash video. I'm still not sure. Thank you for your honest answer.
I’ve seen my share of caravan snake accidents in pictures and for real but never seen a body detach from the chassis. Plenty rolled onto sides but No detachment. So it’s either the build standard is poor or for whatever reason the caravan was subject to a violent dynamic force.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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I have not seen "wood screws", or even "coach screws" though the latter were historically used for holding coach-built structures, used to fasten caravan bodies to their chassis. All I have seen is the use of "bolts", what typically here we call "coach-bolts", used together with nuts.

Probably what is used is not really pertinent to any claim.
What would be, is if the body left the chassis pre any caravan instability occurring.
In other words, the body simply fell off the chassis whilst in normal towing, and the whole outcome was caused by that.
There appears to be evidence that was not what happened, the car getting thrown about for example.
More likely the body left the chassis because of some trauma, very probably a n incidence of a high level of instability. That, could throw the car, and that could distort the chassis, the body just dropping off would not.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Hi Erdener. Cheeky question. Is the caravan insured?

In UK-based insurance, (don’t know aboit other places). The caravan is covered for 3rd party incidents by the car insurance while towing. And by a seperate non-compulsary insurance at other times.

In your case, it would be the caravan insurance that would be utilised.

I once had a wheel detachement and it was the caravan insurance that paid out.

John
 
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Even in the caravan demolition derbys, I've never once seen the chassis separate from the body.

Walls always seem to fail, long before the floor and chassis part company.
I don't wish to make fun of Erdener's experience, but there caravans used in many of these destruction derby's have much of the internal structure removed massively reducing the mass and the structural integrity, so it's hardly surprising the wall go .

However, you only have to Google " caravan road accidents" to see that body separation from chassis is diminishingly rare. But it's also only fair to point out the I could not find any accident images that can relate to Angora Karavans.

Consequently I have no clear reference as to the manufacturing design or methods this company uses, I cannot categorically state, there isn't a design or manufacturing fault in Erdener's caravan, but the pictorial evidence does clearly show a vary significant force has been applied to cause the body to separate witnessed by the chunks of floor apparently ripped out by the fixings, and the degree of bending at the fixing points especially on the chassis cross members. There is no detail view of the actual fixings used, but the degree of damage to the floor where the fixings apparently were ripped out suggests they were of a substantive size, and based on my own knowledge probably proportionate in size and number to the task of securing the body to the chassis for all reasonable towing conditions.

Googling picture evidence of caravans following blowouts, none show same this degree of destruction, so I can understand Erdener's thought that it's possibly a faulty caravan, but to me it looks as though something else is more likely to have occured concurrently, which might have damaged the caravan and caused the blowout, thus the blowout, was a symptom rather than the cause of the event.

Consider if the caravan was driven over a kerb or a large piece of debris or a pothole at high speed, the would possibly provide the jolt to move the body and simultaneously blow the tyre.

Also we don't know what speed was involved, the faster the outfit was travelling, the greater the kinetic energy would be involved in any sort of collision.

Without all the evidence, we can only speculate whether there is any realistic case against the manufacturer, but based on what we have been given, I have servers reservations, and that raises reasonable doubts about the chances of a successful case against the manufacturer.
 

JTQ

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If we consider how the litigation case would be handled here.

Then taking the photo evidence we know about. of the damage local to the fixings, both in the floor and chassis, plus the chassis' more general deformation, together with the tow vehicle coming off the road.

Would not the van makers simply point out that any possible fixing short coming are totally irrelevant to the damage the caravan sustained?

But to answer the OP's question, it appears from our experiences of caravan accidents floors, or large parts of them remain fixed to chassis.
That said, I personally remain of the view that here at least, the collateral failure or not of the fixings in such an accident are very unlikely to been deemed a significant contributary cause of the overall damage sustained.

Just my view.
 
Jul 23, 2023
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I apologize again for not being able to respond to your individual comments. I couldn't upload some photos due to internet problem. I also share these photos so that the connection points on the chassis can be better understood. I am also attaching photos I took from other brands. I think that the connection should not be made directly with the chassis to the body, but the profile attached to the body should be connected to the chassis. But I don't know the technical stuff and frankly I'm confused. Thank you for your interest and comments.
 

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Hi Erdener. Cheeky question. Is the caravan insured?

In UK-based insurance, (don’t know aboit other places). The caravan is covered for 3rd party incidents by the car insurance while towing. And by a seperate non-compulsary insurance at other times.

In your case, it would be the caravan insurance that would be utilised.

I once had a wheel detachement and it was the caravan insurance that paid out.

John
Unfortunately, caravans are not insured in Turkey. At least I don't know. So I can say that all the money we paid went to waste. This is the reason for my sadness.
 
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As far as I know there is no specific regulations in the UK about how a caravan should be assembled and attached to a chassis - other than securely. I have no idea if there are any such regulations in Turkey.

The manufacture of the chassis might have recommendations they make to their users.

You would have to show that basic engineering principles and the chassis manufactures recommendations have been ignored. Simply showing that other manufacturers do it differently will not be enough, as they could be equally wrong, and the reality is that caravans do not have steel frames (because of their weight) as shown in one of your photo's.

I can understand you looking for ways to prove a point, so please take my comments as an example of the sorts of arguments you might face if you get it to court.

Your most recent pictures do not show any better details of the detachment.
 
Jul 23, 2023
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As far as I know there is no specific regulations in the UK about how a caravan should be assembled and attached to a chassis - other than securely. I have no idea if there are any such regulations in Turkey.

The manufacture of the chassis might have recommendations they make to their users.

You would have to show that basic engineering principles and the chassis manufactures recommendations have been ignored. Simply showing that other manufacturers do it differently will not be enough, as they could be equally wrong, and the reality is that caravans do not have steel frames (because of their weight) as shown in one of your photo's.

I can understand you looking for ways to prove a point, so please take my comments as an example of the sorts of arguments you might face if you get it to court.

Your most recent pictures do not show any better details of the detachment.
I understand what you want to say. The comments here, supporting or not supporting me, help me to interpret the situation more objectively. Thank you. There is no clear regulation on this issue in Turkey either. So I understand that I may not be quite right. I will try my luck though.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Some things appear to me from the pictures.

It would appear that the fixing bolts have pulled through the floor. Understandable due to the soft sandwich construction. But I can only see 4 places on one side and just 3 on the other, plus two on the cross members. Though there are plenty of fixing holes.

Also.

If the bolt, nut and washer, had pulled through the floor. Why are they missing from the chassis? There just appear to be small-headed bolts on the cross members and a little something on one rail.

IMG_1384.jpeg

IMG_1385.jpeg

John
 
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