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What To Do When Caravan Snakes When Driving


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#1 janderson40

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 09:10 PM

Any tips on the best thing to do when van starts snaking . Recently pulled first caravan and had major snaking :o didnt have a stabiliser but planning on getting one asap, does it still swerve with a stabiliser or will this stop it

#2 Paul Lockwood

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 09:13 PM

A stabaliser will help but you should not reply on that alone.

Usually the main reason for snaking is either too much speed or poor loading.

I would firstly check all your weights including nose weight and make sure that you have packed the Caravan properly, having the heavier items like awning over the axle.

You can also help by adding more weight to the rear of your car which is why for one reason of many that I put my gas in the boot. Some don't believe that this is safe and not for them. However many people do this and you will have to make your own decisions.

Paul

#3 BrianI

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 09:23 PM

Any tips on the best thing to do when van starts snaking . Recently pulled first caravan and had major snaking :o didnt have a stabiliser but planning on getting one asap, does it still swerve with a stabiliser or will this stop it

A stabiliser will reduce the tendency to snake but is not guaranteed to totally prevent one.
There maybe other factors contributing.
1. Have your car rear tyre pressures been increased to the maximum
2. Is your noseweight correct for your car.
3. Is your caravan loaded with heavy items low down and near the axle.

Snaking is more likely to happen when going downhill, encountering strong cross winds or being overtaken by lorries/coaches. All you can do is slow down but dont brake heavily

Al-Ko have recently introduced their ATC system which they claim eliminates snaking but its around 400-500 to fit
http://www.al-ko.co....lko-Trailer.htm
Brian

Edited by BrianI, 16 June 2008 - 09:39 PM.


#4 RogerL

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 09:40 PM

When a snake occurs - despite all your precautions - take both feet off everything, use the steering to keep on course but avoid extreme movement.

THEN - take note of all the good advice about how to avoid it.

#5 janderson40

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 09:49 PM

thanks for all your advice

#6 Elldisrod

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 07:48 AM

1/When a snake occurs - despite all your precautions - take both feet off everything, use the steering to keep on course but avoid extreme movement.

2/ THEN - take note of all the good advice about how to avoid it.


I suggest you reverse the order of the above advice , then follow it

Edited by Elldisrod, 17 June 2008 - 11:12 AM.


#7 spawn of the devil

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 08:17 AM

Any stabiliser is only a damper.

It will damp out the snake, not prevent it.

Prevention is better than cure, I believe is the quote, so follow the good advice above.

Also

Avoid following triple decker car transporters.

Regards

David

#8 RogerL

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 08:28 AM

I suggest you reverse the order of the above advise , then follow it

I take your point.

#9 Legsmaniac

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 10:38 AM

You can also help by adding more weight to the rear of your car which is why for one reason of many that I put my gas in the boot.


I'm curious about this statement, Paul. Can I ask why? It's just that I've read on other forums that this isn't a good idea as you're lowering the tow hitch even more and that would be similar to having a heavy noseweight. I also fail to see why making the back of the car heavier would help prevent snaking since snaking is caused by pendulum effects of the caravan and not the car.

Wouldn't want to carry my gas in the boot personally. I assume you have a gas sticker on the outside of the boot as a warning for the emergency services?

#10 RogerL

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:26 AM

A stabaliser will help but you should not reply on that alone.

Usually the main reason for snaking is either too much speed or poor loading.

I would firstly check all your weights including nose weight and make sure that you have packed the Caravan properly, having the heavier items like awning over the axle.

You can also help by adding more weight to the rear of your car which is why for one reason of many that I put my gas in the boot. Some don't believe that this is safe and not for them. However many people do this and you will have to make your own decisions.

Paul

It would be better for both safety and stability to put the awning in the car and leave the gas cylinder in it's designated location.

#11 Legsmaniac

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:32 AM

I would be inclined to agree, assuming you HAVE an awning. :D
The same could be said the spare wheel I guess.

#12 spawn of the devil

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:34 AM

This subject always raise a lot of issues.

I do not like to put weight in the car for two reasons.

1) weight in the boot reduces the weight on the front wheels, which, unless you have a fork lift truck, are providing the steering. Any reduction in the positive nature of the steering has to be a bad thing.

2) I think of the caravan as rolling weight, and stuff in the boot as dead weight. I feel that the car will deal with rolling weight easier tha dead weight in the boot.

Regards

David

#13 sybil

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:42 AM

Any stabiliser is only a damper.

It will damp out the snake, not prevent it.

Prevention is better than cure, I believe is the quote, so follow the good advice above.

....

David


Absolutely !
Once a snake develops it can be unstoppable. We recently lost our Car & Caravan due to one.Fortunately no-one was hurt or injured and nobody else was involved in the collision that followed.
At the time I was overtaking (though not at a ridiculous speed) a HGV on a slightly downhill section of he M62, the section also opened up giving a slight crosswind. In hindsight though I now believe that the biggest factor was that the 'van was probably nose heavy (incorrect loading!) though I can't be certain as I was not able to weigh the van after the accident.
We had a standard Alko 2004 Hitchlock which didn't stop the snake from happening.
I followed the prevailing advice of easing off the accelerator and not touching the brakes while allowing the steering wheel to 'feed' through my hands is a controlled manner - but it was to no avail - it still went.
We now have a much heavier towing vehicle which contributes to a better weight balance but the most important thing I do now is make sure the noseweight is kept down to the maximum allowed.
Oh! and drive steadily especially downhill past HGV's

Edited by sybil, 17 June 2008 - 11:47 AM.


#14 RogerL

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:45 AM

This subject always raise a lot of issues.

I do not like to put weight in the car for two reasons.

1) weight in the boot reduces the weight on the front wheels, which, unless you have a fork lift truck, are providing the steering. Any reduction in the positive nature of the steering has to be a bad thing.

2) I think of the caravan as rolling weight, and stuff in the boot as dead weight. I feel that the car will deal with rolling weight easier tha dead weight in the boot.

Regards

David

Provided the car's axle limits and noseweight limit aren't exceeded the steering shouldn't be adversely affected.

"dead" and "rolling" aren't technical terms and make no difference to the dynamics.

#15 BrianI

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:53 AM

David,
I would agree with you to a certain extent. If you have a 75Kg noseweight this will equate to around 100Kg loading on the rear axle on most cars, and this there is a possibility of exceeding your rear axle loading. However as there are only two of us and putting the awning (porch) in the boot adds a little bit of weight directly over the rear axle to an otherwise empty car. It also benefits the car/caravan ratio which can only be a good thing. Weight wise it would be better putting the awning in the well behind the front seats if you dont have any rear seat passengers as this would add some weight to the frontwheels as you are then forward of the rear axle. Each individual will have their own way of doing things, the important thing being that you do not exceed your car axle loading, (specified on the rating plate), tow bar loading, or the caravan MTPLM load.

As far as rolling weight goes, surely it would be the same total whether you put stuff in the car or the same stuff in the caravan.

Brian

#16 carrie

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 01:17 PM

Another point that hasn't yet been mentioned is the 85% rule. As janderson40 is a first timer, i hope he has followed this basic rule i believe is essential for novices. In case he doesn't know about this, if your van is too heavy for the car, the result can be of 'tail wagging the dog' !!!

There are plenty of posts on the forum about this post so i hope novices take note.

Carrie

#17 MauriceH

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 05:40 PM

Any tips on the best thing to do when van starts snaking . Recently pulled first caravan and had major snaking :o didn't have a stabiliser but planning on getting one asap, does it still swerve with a stabiliser or will this stop it


A stabiliser will HELP but as has been suggested --
Before you go...
first look at the weight ratio between car and van --
next load the van so that the heavy items are near to the floor and near to the wheels.
get the nose weight to about 7% of the caravans weight..

Consider getting an ATC from Alko -- this is an electronic device fitted to the caravan and applies the caravan brakes in the event of of the onset of a snake -- stopping it in its tracks....

OK.. the snake starts --(and the brown stuff flows) - it is a terrible experience and ALWAYS unexpected.

The optimum way of stopping the snake is to stretch out the unit by applying the caravan brakes -- but you can't do this unless you have the ATC fited... when it is done electronically.

The next thing is to slow down and let the caravan apply its own brakes by the car slowing and the van "shunting" the car and applying its own brakes..

Don't try to accelerate out of the snake -- it will only make things worse if disaster does over come you.

So -- hold on th the wheel -- feet of both pedals and try to slow down..in a straight line..

Best of luck --
You will find that there are as many remedies for getting out of a snake as there are people talking about it..
But I have only been in one and that is what I did.

Maurice

I now have the ATC fitted -- to help...

#18 archieboy

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 05:52 PM

depends on severity of a snake.

Honestly if you get a bad snake and can't get it under control within the first few seconds then the caravan is going to go.

ATC will try to help you out for the first 10 seconds after that it even gives up.

As previously mentioned ~ loading, correct weight distribution, tyre pressure on both car and van, I would not load the back of my car up and leave you gas bottles where they are as intended by the manufacturer.

Time and time again I see outfits that are not a good match. Cars towing vans than you just know they shouldn't be towing and cars towing vans that do not have as near as level a hitch as possible.

#19 Legsmaniac

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 07:47 PM

get the nose weight to about 7% of the caravans weight..


Shouldn't this be "Get the nose weight to the lowest of the three recommended hitch weights"?

For example,

1 - Hitch weight is the max weight printed on the towbar. Mine is 200Kg
2 - Max. hitch weight recommended by the car manufactuer, typically around 75Kg
3 - 7% of the caravan weight. A 1500Kg caravan would thus be 105Kg

Therefore the lowest of the above examples would be 75Kg and not 105Kg

#20 logiclee

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 08:42 PM

Shouldn't this be "Get the nose weight to the lowest of the three recommended hitch weights"?

For example,

1 - Hitch weight is the max weight printed on the towbar. Mine is 200Kg
2 - Max. hitch weight recommended by the car manufactuer, typically around 75Kg
3 - 7% of the caravan weight. A 1500Kg caravan would thus be 105Kg

Therefore the lowest of the above examples would be 75Kg and not 105Kg


No4 being the maximum load allowed on the caravan hitch and overrun device which is usually 100kg.

7% is not achievable on the vast majority of combinations and is not even achievable on most larger new caravans. Your No3 example is over Alko's 100kg limit.

Cheers
Lee




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