Sep 18, 2005
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Being new to towing (Never done it before appart from the Caravan Club training course) we took out our Swift Charisma 230 pulled by a MAZDA 2.3 Sport Petrol (Good 85% match)for the first time last week.With a load of just less than 100kgs and a Nose Weight of 75kgs the ride, whilst stable, was what I can best describe as "Choppy" on anything other than a smooth road. It was not extreame but just a strange feeling. Is this normal?

Rod
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Rodney. Theres a million and one things to concider when towing a caravan and it looks like you have covered in my opinion the most important and thats getting your weights right. Road conditions play an important part too like cambers and pot holes, windy conditions and large vehicles overtaking. As you get more experience as the years pass you get to know the movenments of your van when towing and when to expect them. When I first started towing, only a couple of years now, I noticed every single movement and it did unsettle me but now I can honestly say I feel very comfortable with this. Good luck for the future and I hope you enjoy many years of caravanning. Hope this helps.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If you're suffering from a choppy ride, it sounds to me as if your caravan is not fitted with shock absorbers, in which case you would certainly benefit from having them fitted.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The chances are that your caravan won't have shock absorbers as most UK vans rely on the rubber suspension to damp itself.

I believe (and Lutz will know) that caravans in Germany without shock absorbers are restricted to a lower speed.

Its quite normal on roughish roads to be aware of the caravan pulling or pitching a little.

Were you using a stabiliser I wonder as they can help to dampen out some pitching.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have a stabliser fitted can't remember the number but it's the latest Alko on an 05 van and I find even with correct loading/noseweight/tyre pressures etc, that there is some mild to moderate sensation of pitching and pulling on many A & B roads, it was a bit alarming at first but I'm getting used to it. I think that road surfaces are to blame for this, particularly where there are heavy indentations made in the road surface by heavy lorries. Generally I slow down a bit, although this does mean travelling at 45 rather than 50 it feels less uncomfortable.
 
Jul 15, 2005
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Maz,

Your ALKO stabiliser is designed to dampen or reduce the effects of side to side swaying (snaking).

The pitching you report (vertical up and down movement on the towball) would be improved by fitting a pair of shock adsorbers to the caravan axle / wheel units.

Our Eriba Triton has the new ALKO hexagonal shocks fitted to the wheel units, and the improvement over plain rubber suspension (no real damping action) or the old round shocks (quite good) is impressive.

Robert
 

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