towing level

Aug 2, 2006
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Hi

Been towing for a good number of years now (approx 18years) and all my caravans have sat level with my towcar. my last 2 vans being towed with my present towcar a 1999 2ltr Mitsubishi Galant.

This year we splashed out and bought a 2002 ACE Jubillee Ambassador, what I noticed on our first outing last week` was that the van sits nose down, this is not due to to the suspension sagging in the car as it only compresses slightly and to the same level it did with our previous vans (noting our nose weight of approx 70-75kg)is there a device available I could use to rise the tow hitch/ball height so that the van sits level? I know there are drop plates available but never seen one to allow hitch/ball height to be raised.

One other thing, there must be a lot of folk out there towing over the recomended 85% mark these days with the constant incresase in weight of new caravans, I have to be very carefull of my own outfit when loading so as to keep as close as possible (slightly on the +side)to the recommended ratio.

Sorry for the novel.

Kind regards

Ken.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The van is probably on larger tyres than your previous vans. My last 2 Baileys have been on 195/14's and they too ride slightly nose down. Don't worry and enjoy.

I tow over the 85% (approx 91%) with my current outfit (Mondeo TDCI/Bailey Provence), have been towing for some 9 years and now on 5th van and all have been in the 88-91% region.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Like I said in a similar enquiry last week, there is really no reason why the caravan MUST be level when hitched up. Nose up can, however, cause a problem on rough or undulating roads where the back end could hit the road under adverse conditions. Just make sure that the towball is at the correct height of 350 to 420mm when hitched up to the car and the car is fully laden.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Ken, I'm in a similar possision to you. I changed my caravan late last year and moved to a twin axle. My tow ball is a little on the low side and when hooked up the van was nose down. A lot of the messages you can read in this forum praise twin axles for thier rock steady towing ability, but my Bailey still manages to move around, compared to the single axle I used to have. Looking at the match myself, I have to wonder if a nose-down attitude is putting too much weight on the leading pair of tyres and not enough on the trailing pair causes this minor swaying at some speeds. Any manufactures/dealers/wisemen want to comment?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Ken, I'm in a similar possision to you. I changed my caravan late last year and moved to a twin axle. My tow ball is a little on the low side and when hooked up the van was nose down. A lot of the messages you can read in this forum praise twin axles for thier rock steady towing ability, but my Bailey still manages to move around, compared to the single axle I used to have. Looking at the match myself, I have to wonder if a nose-down attitude is putting too much weight on the leading pair of tyres and not enough on the trailing pair causes this minor swaying at some speeds. Any manufactures/dealers/wisemen want to comment?
Oh, and Practical Caravan, see if you could slip a "spell checker" in somewhere, before we post our messages, thanks!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Ken, I'm in a similar possision to you. I changed my caravan late last year and moved to a twin axle. My tow ball is a little on the low side and when hooked up the van was nose down. A lot of the messages you can read in this forum praise twin axles for thier rock steady towing ability, but my Bailey still manages to move around, compared to the single axle I used to have. Looking at the match myself, I have to wonder if a nose-down attitude is putting too much weight on the leading pair of tyres and not enough on the trailing pair causes this minor swaying at some speeds. Any manufactures/dealers/wisemen want to comment?
I have to agree about having a twin axle, whether its a caravan or a trailer, it should run level or you defeat the purpose it was intended. Not much point in two axles when only one is being used, not to mention the stability thing.

Geordie
 
Mar 28, 2005
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Hi Ken, I'm in a similar possision to you. I changed my caravan late last year and moved to a twin axle. My tow ball is a little on the low side and when hooked up the van was nose down. A lot of the messages you can read in this forum praise twin axles for thier rock steady towing ability, but my Bailey still manages to move around, compared to the single axle I used to have. Looking at the match myself, I have to wonder if a nose-down attitude is putting too much weight on the leading pair of tyres and not enough on the trailing pair causes this minor swaying at some speeds. Any manufactures/dealers/wisemen want to comment?
Hi I have twoed three diferent twin axles and theyre really steady compared with all single axle`s I`ve towed. I would think theres something wrong if its not, have you checked youre suspension on your towcar, I once towed a smallish caravan with a two year old golf and near lost it , the car started getting light steering at 50mph and then the car swung round to face back the way , it was ok as it swung back and I got slowed down enough , It turned out there was a dodgy soft shock absorber which let the car rear bottom and lifted the front wheels, so I would check this or your weight
 
Jul 26, 2005
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I was always lead to believe that the outfit should be slightly nose down at hitch up. Once you set off the wind will gently 'lift' the front of the van so that it tows level. If you had a van that was nose up to start with, the wind would lift the van even higher, and cause major stability problems.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Of course, aerodynamic drag has the effect of reducing the noseweight and raising the front of the 'van with increasing speed but, within normal practical limits, this effect is equally present regardless of how high or low the front of the 'van was in a stationary condition. It's the loss of noseweight which causes instability not the angle of the 'van. For the sake of stability, it therefore doesn't matter whether the 'van is sitting with the front end up or down so long as adequate noseweight is maintained.

The reason for having the front end lower is a completely different one - it ensures that there is enough ground clearance at the back end.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have an Ace Jubilee Statesman and it was so nose down with the Brink towbar that damage occurred to the underside going onto ferries etc.

NOW I know all about type approval of towbars but it should not stand in the way of common sense.

The ball on the towbar is fitted to the lowest point between two vertical arms so I went to a trailer specialist and got him to manufacture a new bracket to fit between the arms so that the mounting holes for the ball were 2 inches higher up.

This reduced the leverage on the assembly as it is now nearer the main cross member of the towbar and a further bolt higher up was put through an existing hole .

The trailer specialist/coachbuilder of great experience and myself have every confidence that less strain is being placed on the parts than before and no further contact has been made in boarding ferries negotiating speed humps etc.

Seeing though the rear window (another DIY job) is much improved as well and the outfit runs slightly nose down.

With this design of towbar it would be very cheap and easy for manufacturers to put two sets of holes prior to type approval thus giving the customer more room to match different outfits.

When we get the new Bailey on low profile tyres I may be able revert to the original brackets but until then its one eye on the rear view mirror for the towbar police!!

Travelling on the motorway some outfits(often Swift) look ridiculous they are so down at the front.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If a towbar is hitting the ground during normal use such as boarding a ferry, there is either something seriously wrong with the car, or the car is overloaded or the towbar is badly designed. According to EU directive, the centre of the towball should be between 350 and 420mm above the ground when the car is fully laden. The same directive specifies a coupling height on the caravan of between 395 and 465mm when the fully laden caravan is standing level. This automatically results in a nominally nose down attitude when it is hitched up to the car but nothing as extreme as what you are describing.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Oh, and Practical Caravan, see if you could slip a "spell checker" in somewhere, before we post our messages, thanks!
Or type your posting in MS Word, use that spell checker and then cut and paste into the forum.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Lutz

The towbar was not hitting the ramp it was the water tank under the caravan that had been in that position on several caravans over a decade with no problems.

The car was not overloaded and rode level.

The figures you are quoting have a difference of 7 cm so if the car is at the lowest and the caravan at the highest there could be a difference of 14cm or 6 inches.

This is why the original question on this thread arises over and over again.

Its no good quoting statistics if they are based on an inadequate premise.

As I said at the beginning type approval should not preclude common sense.

The existing criteria for towbar height and the manufacture of towbars is not meeting the needs of the consumer even if they can be quoted.

As I said before you only have to drive along a motorway to see the ridiculous situation that the present criteria produce.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Both car and caravan manufacturers are aware of EU directive 94/20/EC and its their duty to design their products to be suitable for use within the constraints that this directive specifies. If, as you say, the water tank of the caravan was hitting the ground despite maintaining a coupling height within the specification, then the caravan manufacturer has made a gross design error and can be held responsible for selling a product that is unsuitable for the purpose to which it is intended.

The max/min difference on each dimension of 70mm resulting in a max. relative nose down attitude of 115mm or nose up 25mm is necessary to cover manufacturing tolerances. The designs must be able to cover these tolerances without functional detriment and the customer should not be required to perform any matching of car to trailer or vice versa.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Both car and caravan manufacturers are aware of EU directive 94/20/EC and its their duty to design their products to be suitable for use within the constraints that this directive specifies. If, as you say, the water tank of the caravan was hitting the ground despite maintaining a coupling height within the specification, then the caravan manufacturer has made a gross design error and can be held responsible for selling a product that is unsuitable for the purpose to which it is intended.

The max/min difference on each dimension of 70mm resulting in a max. relative nose down attitude of 115mm or nose up 25mm is necessary to cover manufacturing tolerances. The designs must be able to cover these tolerances without functional detriment and the customer should not be required to perform any matching of car to trailer or vice versa.
Surely if you have a tolerance of 7cm on car and caravan the max permissible difference by the directive is 14 cm(one max,one min) which could easily be reduced by many towbar designs (such as mine) by the provision of two sets of mounting holes.

If caravan and towbar manufacturers work to the existing specs its no wonder that this topic was started and keeps on recurring.

Always a pleasure to chew the fat with you Lutz!!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Both car and caravan manufacturers are aware of EU directive 94/20/EC and its their duty to design their products to be suitable for use within the constraints that this directive specifies. If, as you say, the water tank of the caravan was hitting the ground despite maintaining a coupling height within the specification, then the caravan manufacturer has made a gross design error and can be held responsible for selling a product that is unsuitable for the purpose to which it is intended.

The max/min difference on each dimension of 70mm resulting in a max. relative nose down attitude of 115mm or nose up 25mm is necessary to cover manufacturing tolerances. The designs must be able to cover these tolerances without functional detriment and the customer should not be required to perform any matching of car to trailer or vice versa.
ps: Please be aware that all dimensions quoted apply to the fully laden condition of both car and caravan. If the car is fully laden but the caravan empty, the caravan will, of course, be even more nose down and if there is little payload in the car but the caravan is at its MTPLM, then it could be significantly nose up.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Surely if you have a tolerance of 7cm on car and caravan the max permissible difference by the directive is 14 cm(one max,one min) which could easily be reduced by many towbar designs (such as mine) by the provision of two sets of mounting holes.

If caravan and towbar manufacturers work to the existing specs its no wonder that this topic was started and keeps on recurring.

Always a pleasure to chew the fat with you Lutz!!
The customer should not be required to put a bad design right. I repeat that its the manufacturers' responsibility to offer a product that is satisfactory within the whole spectrum of tolerances that the directive allows.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Surely if you have a tolerance of 7cm on car and caravan the max permissible difference by the directive is 14 cm(one max,one min) which could easily be reduced by many towbar designs (such as mine) by the provision of two sets of mounting holes.

If caravan and towbar manufacturers work to the existing specs its no wonder that this topic was started and keeps on recurring.

Always a pleasure to chew the fat with you Lutz!!
Agree that the customer should not need to make up for bad design but the industry needs to address this problem as it is a recurring theme.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Surely if you have a tolerance of 7cm on car and caravan the max permissible difference by the directive is 14 cm(one max,one min) which could easily be reduced by many towbar designs (such as mine) by the provision of two sets of mounting holes.

If caravan and towbar manufacturers work to the existing specs its no wonder that this topic was started and keeps on recurring.

Always a pleasure to chew the fat with you Lutz!!
Well, we agree on that! It looks as though in your case ACE hadn't done their homework properly.
 

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