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Coachman Tows Nose Down

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Posted (edited)

Hi 

I have a 2017 575 VIP which I tow behind a Freelander with no problems towing.

 

My concern is that the front tows down and not just a bit, I have to be careful going over speed bumps and on to ferries.

There is nothing wrong with the Freelanders suspension as I towed a Swift 554 perfectly level.

 

I have a witter detachable flange bar. I am thinking of buying a new detachable neck a Witter detachable Neck ZQFE2037 as pictured from PF Jones has any one out  got one of these,  my bar is on the floor and is straight.

 

 Has any one out there had a problem with this type of outfit.

Richard

 

 1657916514_normal_P1010128(Large).JPG.d9258ed86a002202ba6957cfbb81605c.JPGZQFE2037_h4ti-xp.jpg.56306a74890141c2ba2fb8046e309d78.jpg

Edited by Land

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Start by checking the caravan noseweight?

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What is the height of the tow ball middle from the ground with and without the caravan attached ?

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i have its 100kg thats the first thing the land rovers noseweight limit is 150kg also.

I did its nose down even when empty, 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Paul1957 said:

What is the height of the tow ball middle from the ground with and without the caravan attached ?

 

Only the height in the fully laden condition, in other words with the car at its GVW counts and then the centre of the towball should be between 350mm and 420mm from the ground.

 

I suspect that the pictured Witter detachable neck ZQFE2037 is not approved in conjunction with a Freelander towbar. That would have to be verified with Witter themselves first.

 

Edited by Lutz

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The neck  Witter detachable neck ZQFE2037 is for a Land Rover Freelander  I am just wondering if its a stock picture, and its the straight one the same as I have that would be dispatched.

I am also waiting for witter tech team to get back as I have asked them the question.

 

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Posted (edited)

I cannot imagine that any towbar manufacturer would produce two detachable necks with different offsets for the same model of car unless, at the same time, there are also two versions of that model with different standing heights.

 

Edited by Lutz

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Hi Lutz

I here where you are coming from unless my neck has been superseded by the new neck which called a Quantum.

When searching the witter website I cant find any image for my towbar neck which is straight.

 

From the PF Jones website and typing in Freelander 2 2013 it comes up with the bar in the picture, as you scroll down it states the neck is compatible with my Witter bar which is a R41AQF.

Today I will measure the bar on the car and the caravan hitch,its not the noseweight thats the problem the hitch when caravan is level is about 490mm maybe even more.

 

Witter detachable Neck ZQFE2037

Compatible with the following Witter tow bars

CH8AQF    DT137QF   R41AQF

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The height of the middle of the towball from the ground is the critical measurement that will determine a caravan's towing attitude. As long as it's within the tolerances mentioned there isn't a problem, unless the car's suspension is faulty. Caravans usually tow slightly nosedown.

 

Over the years I've been puzzled by Lunar's mention of a 'coupling height (fully loaded)' of 44cm in their specs. They never stipulate whether that's the design height of the hitch when the van is level, or the optimum height of the towball to which the hitch should be attached.

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Posted (edited)

Over the years I have had three Freelanders and have always towed a Coachman van with them and have had no issues whatsoever with the problem you are experiencing, I would get the Freelanders suspension checked, I know you said that there is nothing wrong with it, but for peace of mind that's what I would do as LR suspensions are built like the proverbial brick outhouse, and should cope easily with 100 Kg, 

Edited by Les Medes
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Posted (edited)

The problem is with the caravan.

With caravan not attached to the Freelander the measurement to the middle of the tow ball is 420mm which I believes falls in the ball heights on most towing vehicles.

 

When I measure from inside  ie where the friction pads on  the caravan hitch with the caravan perfectly  level to the ground its 520mm,so when it is hitched to the car and the car takes up the noseweight the front of the caravan drops by about 150mm maybe more .

There absolutely nothing wrong with the cars suspension and has covered only 35k since new.

I was wondering if any one out there with 575 VIP could measure to the ground from inside the ALKO hitch with there van level.

Thanks for all the responses

Richard

Edited by Land
added maybe more

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Caravan wheels have got bigger over the years - 13" then 14" were standard with 15" not uncommon now - at the same time, tyres have got bigger - that all increases the ride height of the caravan but over the same period, Alko/Winterhoff hitches are fitted at the same level on the chassis A-frame so caravans have got more nose-down over the years.

 

If Land's VIP has got 15" wheels then that's the probable explanation.

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I would check with Coachman that you have the correct wheels and tyres and that the ride height is correct. 

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The Coachman is on 15 inch wheels I had the Van upgraded to 1700KG but I think they just changed the weight plate.

I will give Coachman  a ring but the tyres are the same as the sales brochure says ie 15 inch 

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6 minutes ago, Land said:

The Coachman is on 15 inch wheels I had the Van upgraded to 1700KG but I think they just changed the weight plate.

I will give Coachman  a ring but the tyres are the same as the sales brochure says ie 15 inch 

Not just the wheels, incorrect tyres can also affect ride height.

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Surely  Coachman would not make that mistake the brochure says 195/70 r15 104.

I`ll  check whats on it. I think the 70 is the height.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Land said:

The problem is with the caravan.

With caravan not attached to the Freelander the measurement to the middle of the tow ball is 420mm which I believes falls in the ball heights on most towing vehicles.

 

When I measure from inside  ie where the friction pads on  the caravan hitch with the caravan perfectly  level to the ground its 520mm,so when it is hitched to the car and the car takes up the noseweight the front of the caravan drops by about 150mm maybe more .

There absolutely nothing wrong with the cars suspension and has covered only 35k since new.

I was wondering if any one out there with 575 VIP could measure to the ground from inside the ALKO hitch with there van level.

Thanks for all the responses

Richard

 

The hitch height with the caravan fully laden and level should be 465mm max. above the ground. If you are measuring 520mm (although you don't say whether laden or unladen) then it's 55mm too high, in which case there's nothing wrong with the car, but with the standing height of the caravan.

 

Edited by Lutz

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As a matter of interest how should one measure the hitch height? If you lift the jockey wheel the van is likely to drop down at the front, 100kg of noseweight should ensure that. By the same token, if you use the jockey wheel to level the van then a lot of the weight is borne by the jockey and taken off the suspension, which might alter the overall ride height.

 

I assume that the hitch height should be measured when the noseweight is 100kg and not when it might be lighter, or heavier due to reduced overall loading, when the caravan load might be tail heavy and thereby causing the hitch to rise. Come to think of it that shouldn't happen if you've ensured the van is level front to back.

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Our VIP 520/4 are on  195/70/R15/104 tyres, if that is any help

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1 hour ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

As a matter of interest how should one measure the hitch height? If you lift the jockey wheel the van is likely to drop down at the front, 100kg of noseweight should ensure that. By the same token, if you use the jockey wheel to level the van then a lot of the weight is borne by the jockey and taken off the suspension, which might alter the overall ride height.

 

I assume that the hitch height should be measured when the noseweight is 100kg and not when it might be lighter, or heavier due to reduced overall loading, when the caravan load might be tail heavy and thereby causing the hitch to rise. Come to think of it that shouldn't happen if you've ensured the van is level front to back.

 

Hitch height should be measured on level ground with both car and caravan fully laden, I.e. with the noseweight applied at the towbar. This does not necessarily imply that the caravan is level, nor for that matter the car level either.

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19 minutes ago, Lutz said:

 

Hitch height should be measured on level ground with both car and caravan fully laden, I.e. with the noseweight applied at the towbar. This does not necessarily imply that the caravan is level, nor for that matter the car level either.

 

If the caravan isn't level and isn't supported by it's jockey wheel then the hitch will be on the ground, at least on single axle vans and maybe on some twins too. 

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7 hours ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

 

If the caravan isn't level and isn't supported by it's jockey wheel then the hitch will be on the ground, at least on single axle vans and maybe on some twins too. 

 

If the car is fully laden, then the noseweight is already included in that load and you don't even need the caravan to establish the hitch height. A car can just as well be fully laden by having a corresponding load in the boot without having the caravan attached. Part of that load in the boot would then have to be removed when the caravan is hitched or else the car would be overloaded by the amount of the noseweight.

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The Witter tech guy emailed this morning, he suggested that I slightly loosen the 4 bolts  holding the detachable neck.

Then once they are loose to lift the actual bar up and re-tighten and torque up the bolts.

This allowed the ball to rise about 35mm which will help matters.

Thanks for all of your responses and advice

Richard

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Just been away with caravan fully loaded and bike on the rack checked Freelander`s tow ball height with caravan attached the with caravan off the ball the height only changed by 20mm.

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Don't know about the Freelander, but many SUVs have some form of self levelling suspension. A true reading of towball height laden on some can only be taken immediately after a run. When driving with a load in the back and/or on the towball the suspension pumps itself up as you go over bumps in the road. When you stop it gradually sinks down, so the measurement has to be taken after it has pumped up but before it has settled back down.

It is also possible with this setup for the suspension to pump up correctly, but slowly and therefore seem to drive well, but settle too quickly. The result being that it has not pumped up before encountering site speed humps and to have settled completely while in the queue to load at a ferry.

 

My Vauxhall Antara has this sort of suspension and appears to tow with the van nose down immediately after hitching up or after a meal break, but pumps up usually in a matter of yards.

Edited by Stevan

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