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Discovery 3 Towbar Danger

discovery 3 towbar danger

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#1 greg bailey

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 02:19 PM

Detachable tow bars on Discovery 3s become loose due to faulty design.    There have been so many reports on various web sites about this issue but no one has done anything to solve the problem.     Anyone who has had a failure should report it to VOSA via an online form on their website - this is the government agency that enforce manufacturer recalls.     Land Rover are very aware of this fault & VOSA have asked them to solve the issue.      So far Land Rover are doing all it can to cover-up the problem & the Customer Relations Manager has told me that he is 'unaware of a problem with this towbar' ever though VOSA acted on it more than a year ago.   To fob customers off they have issued a 'wear gauge' to their dealers to measure the free play on the ball in it's mounting.     They will regard any ball moving back & forth less than 30mm as 'within tolerance' & refuse any claim.    Any ball moving this much would not stay attached to the cross member at all.     If everyone with this problem had reported it to VOSA they would have to have issued a recall by now.            



#2 Lutz

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 02:58 PM

Detachable tow bars on Discovery 3s become loose due to faulty design.    There have been so many reports on various web sites about this issue but no one has done anything to solve the problem.     Anyone who has had a failure should report it to VOSA via an online form on their website - this is the government agency that enforce manufacturer recalls.     Land Rover are very aware of this fault & VOSA have asked them to solve the issue.      So far Land Rover are doing all it can to cover-up the problem & the Customer Relations Manager has told me that he is 'unaware of a problem with this towbar' ever though VOSA acted on it more than a year ago.   To fob customers off they have issued a 'wear gauge' to their dealers to measure the free play on the ball in it's mounting.     They will regard any ball moving back & forth less than 30mm as 'within tolerance' & refuse any claim.    Any ball moving this much would not stay attached to the cross member at all.     If everyone with this problem had reported it to VOSA they would have to have issued a recall by now.            

 

First of all, is it factory-fitted towbars that are affected? Or are they even factory approved if they are dealer fitted ones? Which towbar manufacturer is affected? Like any other car manufacturer, Landrover will not be designing their own towbars, but will purchase proprietary ones, suitably adapted to fit their vehicles. Therefore, if Landrover are affected, it is more than likely that other makes are, too. There are simply too many open questions regarding this issue for any of us to come to an educated conclusion.

Besides, 30mm play in a towbar being 'within tolerance'. That can't be. Even 3mm would be just about within tolerable limits, IMO.



#3 onewheelonmywagon

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 03:04 PM

Exact same design on the Discovery 4 and would be very worrying, if there's any truth in it.

I'm a member of Disco3.co.uk and I haven't noticed any reports of failure, other than the tow ball not being locked properly into the receiver. I personally don't take notice of any of the rubbish posted in Landroverhell.com. :)



#4 onewheelonmywagon

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 03:39 PM

You can buy third party towbars for the Discovery, but Land Rover make their own and this is what you get if you order a factory fitted one.



#5 Muddywheels

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 03:46 PM

Exactly same design on Range Rover Sport too - I think Thule manufacture the detachable swan neck for LR that fits into a factory receiver in the chassis :unsure:

 

accoly_gb_l319_002bt_lr040247.jpg

 

Part No:  LR040247

Lockable for security. Easily removed. For leisure use only. 50mm Tow ball, height 400mm from ground. 3,500kg trailer maximum payload (150kg trailer nose load).

 


accoly_gb_l319_002bt_lr043271.jpg

Part No:  LR043271

50mm Tow Ball. Three different towing heights. Lowest tow ball height 350mm from ground. Highest tow ball height 500mm from ground. 3,500kg trailer load capacity (150kg trailer nose load). Required for commercial and constant use only.


Edited by Muddywheels, 07 October 2013 - 03:48 PM.


#6 Lutz

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 03:49 PM

You can buy third party towbars for the Discovery, but Land Rover make their own and this is what you get if you order a factory fitted one.

 

I find it difficult to believe that they make their own, especially detachable ones. No other car manufacturer does, so that would make Landrover an absolute exception.


Edited by Lutz, 07 October 2013 - 03:56 PM.


#7 thespannerman

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 04:05 PM

There has been some comments on the removeable LR towbar (unique to LR) having some movement, but the fixed bar (the 2nd one in the pics above) isnt affected,as its cant move sisd to side.

 

Al



#8 Deno

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 04:17 PM

I too am a member of Disco3.co.uk and as far as I'm aware all Discovery's, both 3 and 4,  come with the towball receiver built into the rear cross member of the chassis as standard, there are no exceptions and no "towbars" in the popular sense as such.

 

You then order either a "detachable tow ball" or a "fixed tow ball" which both use the same receiver but the fixed one has bracing bars back to the chassis ( as shown in Muddywheels photographs). As far as I'm aware only Thule manufacture both the detachable and fixed versions albeit they can be bought from several sources and not just Land Rover themselves.

 

From the forums I visit there have been a few reports of the detachable ones having "excessive" side to side movement, none of which, to the best of my knowledge, have caused any serious occurrences or detached caravans/trailers etc more just cause for concern as they are perceived to be "loose". As for 30mm of movement being acceptable - a complete load of old tosh.

Deno



#9 Malc Edge

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 04:17 PM

  "So far Land Rover are doing all it can to cover-up" That will be Land Rover then,so many denials, nothing changes,oh by the way I have a Land Rover !!



#10 Lutz

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 05:00 PM

The photos that Muddywheels posted certainly seem to indicate that the detachable towbar is a standard Thule design, so I cannot understand why Landrover should be the only car manufacturer affected if the claimed loosening of the towbar is really true. As fixed variants are apparently not affected, the play can only be between the neck and the actual towbar, but that would be a Thule design, not specific to Landrover, which makes me wonder.



#11 decho

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 05:13 PM

Same with the freelander 2 detachable towbar as supplied by landrover. There's lots of complaints on freel2.com about this problem.
I have one and there is some play - you can here it knock if you waggle it side to side.. I reported it to the dealer under warranty but they said there was nothing wrong with it..

#12 JTQ

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 05:31 PM

The tow bar was a Brink product. It fits into a forged receiver welded into the pressed steel fabricated cross member of all Disco 3s. It was originally specified without use limitations up to the 3500kg trailer limit with a "S" value of 150kgs. More recently I note they quote for the Disco 4 "leisure use only" or similar wording.

My 2005Disco's towbar  had no issues and was transferred to my 2007 Disco3. In all its towed 1750 and 1900kgs caravans over 26K miles.

I does and for most of its life has "clonked" which was "investigated" by the dealer in its early life.

In no way can it come out as the tang has a massive spring loaded cross pin; the clonk comes from inevitable clearances between the tang and the receiver. I wish it did not but it does as do many others. If there was no clearance then it would not be detachable.



#13 Lutz

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:07 PM

Thule bought out Brink in 2006, so we're talking basically about the same Brink design.

 

I can't comment on the problem in detail, but Brink never got any of our business, although they tried hard over many years. I'll leave readers to draw their own conclusion.



#14 JCloughie

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:20 PM

The 30mm gets me, perhaps 0.3mm might be a more realistic tolerance.

John

#15 Muddywheels

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:50 PM

I thought 3mm might be more likely

#16 kobelcokid

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:15 PM

Detachable tow bars on Discovery 3s become loose due to faulty design.    There have been so many reports on various web sites about this issue but no one has done anything to solve the problem.     Anyone who has had a failure should report it to VOSA via an online form on their website - this is the government agency that enforce manufacturer recalls.     Land Rover are very aware of this fault & VOSA have asked them to solve the issue.      So far Land Rover are doing all it can to cover-up the problem & the Customer Relations Manager has told me that he is 'unaware of a problem with this towbar' ever though VOSA acted on it more than a year ago.   To fob customers off they have issued a 'wear gauge' to their dealers to measure the free play on the ball in it's mounting.     They will regard any ball moving back & forth less than 30mm as 'within tolerance' & refuse any claim.    Any ball moving this much would not stay attached to the cross member at all.     If everyone with this problem had reported it to VOSA they would have to have issued a recall by now.            

 

posted a pic( WHATS THE STORY BEHIND THIS) earlier showing a caravan sat in middle of road with Disco on verge

 

,possible reason  ? 

 

Ste



#17 scotsstag

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:34 PM

I thought 3mm might be more likely

 

+1 :goodpost:



#18 Lutz

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 08:05 PM

Assuming that there is a grain of truth in the story and it's not simply a case of misuse, until we have more information about the actual cause, I think we'll just have to take the report at face value and wait for the experts to pass judgment.
Any conclusion that we come up with can only be based on pure conjecture because we don't have enough background information. We don't know, for instance, whether it is a problem that applies to Brink/Thule detachable towbars in general. I don't know whether any other car manufacturers actually offer Brink/Thule towbars as a factory-fitted option or as an approved dealer-fitted item.

I'm sure that if there were genuine danger to life and limb, a renowned company like Landrover would have reacted more decisively than they have apparently done.

What is all the more confusing is that one owner talks about play fore and aft, another one complains about sideways movement. It all doesn't add up.

I think we should just leave it at that until either Landrover or VOSA make a statement.



#19 Wonky

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 09:08 AM

I have used the detachable towbar for over six years towing my tintent to far flung places and nearer home and never had a problem with it. Yes, it does 'clonk - a lot, but is very secure. 

 

Saying that, I have become fed up with the clonking (this is especially noticeable when towing smaller trailers that 'bounce') and have just fitted a Witter fixed towbar which is very firm indeed. Haven't towed with it yet though!

 

I complained to Land Rover when I first had the car about the clonking and they confirmed that it is 'normal'. I cannot believe that this is true of all detachable towbars and would be interested to hear from others - perhaps not Land Rovers?

 

martin W 



#20 Muddywheels

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 09:29 AM

I once helped a BMW driver who lost his detachable tow bar when braking at a roundabout - the caravan was still attached to the tow bar and in the crash barrier :(

 

I have asked on a RR Sport forum if anyone has experienced this issue and one reply does concern me - 

 

Mine used work loose but I learnt to check it every few hundred miles when towing caravan and was told by LR that the bar was limited to pulling 750kg and that I needed a reinforced version with additional brace to tow 1450kg caravan. Same with car trailer. 

 

 

 

This is totally at odds with the LR website description and I am towing up to 1850kg so will be seeking clarification from my dealer :o


Edited by Muddywheels, 08 October 2013 - 09:30 AM.





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