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Hillstart

Having to change from AL-KO

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Thank you all who helped with your greatly appreciated advice on my other thread.

 

have establish the tow ball on our A6 Quattro Allroad is incompatible with our Swift Challanger Al-Ko hitch.

 

caravan has an AL-KO chassis.

 

we cannot fit a leaf stabiliser either.

 

r u feeling my pain... 

 

has to be a Winterhoff or no stabiliser but cannot find any info on attaching a Winterhoff to a AL-KO chassis.

 

been put in this unfortunate position and trying best to sort. The car is 2nd hand and came with factory fitted tow ball. Been advised to change will come with rather large invoice... Hubby not very amused with me at present.

 

thanks again for all advice 

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I am fairly sure that there is a work around.  I am not sure if the dealer would be responsible for the fix in this case even though it is second hand.  Someone will be along to advise.

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Posted (edited)

Is the tow ball detachable or fixed?

 

If fixed then it just needs a spacer.  If detachable,  there is a chance that the manufacturer does a slightly longer one with the same mechanism, but that’s a long shot.

 

Who has given advice so far.  Try a reputable tow bar fitter, might get more realistic advice.

 

 

 

John

Edited by JCloughie
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eBay has alko towballs, should be a straightforward swap

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Posted (edited)

If you could manage to post a photo' of the tow-bar/ball you might get some more realistic advice. We are left guessing as to what type of tow-ball you are dealing with.

Edited by Flying Grandad

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16 minutes ago, Newbie 28 said:

eBay has alko towballs, should be a straightforward swap

I really wish it was. The towball cannot be removed/replaced. Only option to sell car or caravan or change hitch or could go stabiliser free 😱🙈. Have towed horse trailers for 25 years without a stabiliser

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Finally the photo uploaded 

BAD1D8F9-7268-4A63-9F8A-A6EAF50B2625.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

I think the information that the tow bar ball is incompatible with the Al-Ko hitch is just nonsense. Sorry but I think it's as simple as that. The photo shows a tow ball which is relieved under the ball for a length of about 20 - 25mm. It is therefore  equivalent to the Al-Ko ball. The groaning noise is down to the state of the ball which should be absolutely clean dry shiny steel, and probably the contaminated pads in the hitch. Clean the ball properly with (I use) wire wool - take 10 - 20 minutes to do it thoroughly. Replace the pads in the Al-Ko hitch. Job done. Keep both surfaces dry. The clearance between the hitch and bumper is probably not much, but it doesn't need to be any more than clear.

Edited by Ern
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Looks very much the same as ourVW Passat Alltrack factory fitted tow ball which works fine.

 

As Ern says it wants a good clean to remove all the paint then treated with brake cleaner,

 

In what respect won't it work ?

 

Ian

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In what respect is it incompatible? I does look to be very close to the bumper, and if this is the issue a Winterhoff  should sort it and I am sure that I have seen Winterhoff hitches on Alko chassis quite often.

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Winterhoff hitch is a direct replacement for the Alko hitch. No modification needed.

 

Winterhoff was bought out by BPW so they are now BPW branded WS3000 from memory is what I used.

From eBay in Germany for IIRC £275 or thereabouts. Less than 30 minutes to swap over. Extra budget needed for hitch lock though!

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I have a VW Passat Alltrack with a factory fitted fold-away tow bar which looks just like that too.  I've had no problems at all.  In what respect is your tow bar incompatible ?

 

   John.

 

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hi i have an a6 allroad with westfalia detachable and an alko stabiliser fits great  ,,glad i never bought one with the factory fitted one ,,cost me £600 fitted might be cheaper than changing cars ,,i am sure you could sell the factory one ?

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The vertical measurement of 60mm from towball to shoulder? It is less than 60mm so believe it is incompatible but if I’m wrong I will be one happy person.

see below our retractable tow ball

 

will add photo of ruler against towball. Perhaps worrying about nothing. 

FA2E535E-070B-41D9-B34F-8B63B7B5130E.png

1CF88F12-0DEC-441D-A52C-CF648580DE15.png

The vertical measurement of 60mm from towball to shoulder? It is less than 60mm so believe it is incompatible but if I’m wrong I will be one happy person.

see below our retractable tow ball

 

will add photo of ruler against towball. Perhaps worrying about nothing. 

7C41EFF7-5E24-4C2C-84B7-34EBC9A796FD.jpeg

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Here’s mine .  I think it has more clearance between the ball and the bumper than yours.

3C45A299-D306-4D61-A96A-7396FC298006.jpeg

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3 minutes ago, Leedslad said:

Here’s mine .  I think it has more clearance between the ball and the bumper than yours.

3C45A299-D306-4D61-A96A-7396FC298006.jpeg

Whatever will hubby say... comparing photos 🤣. Yours looks like it has more horizontal & vertical clearance. 

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I think that the ball itself looks the same as yours, but you have less clearance between the ball and the bumper.  My previous Passat had less clearance but providing we were careful when hitching up, all was well.  Have you actually tried it yet?

John.

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Have tried, thought was ok... was not. Thankfully weren’t on main road or travelling at speed 

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What about a trip to dealers and trying a caravan with a Winterhoff hitch, or do you know someone who has a caravan with a Winterhoff.

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2 minutes ago, Paul_B said:

What about a trip to dealers and trying a caravan with a Winterhoff hitch, or do you know someone who has a caravan with a Winterhoff.

Will try that first, I’ve been told Winterhoff will fit towball just don’t know if it will fit the caravans AL-KO chassis, had really hoped someone on here may have been clued up on wether it will fit before we buy. Have read somewhere about bolts /holes being in different places. for hitch to attach to.

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23 minutes ago, Hillstart said:

Have tried, thought was ok... was not. Thankfully weren’t on main road or travelling at speed 

In what way was it not right?

   John.

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9 hours ago, Hillstart said:

-Will try that first, I’ve been told Winterhoff will fit towball just don’t know if it will fit the caravans AL-KO chassis, had really hoped someone on here may have been clued up on wether it will fit before we buy. Have read somewhere about bolts /holes being in different places. for hitch to attach to.

 

The Winterhoff comes with parts so they can fit most caravans, but for peace of mind you could ask someone at Al-Ko, Winterhoff is part of their group under the umbrella of the parent company DexKo

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36 minutes ago, Paul_B said:

 

The Winterhoff comes with parts so they can fit most caravans, but for peace of mind you could ask someone at Al-Ko, Winterhoff is part of their group under the umbrella of the parent company DexKo

thank you just the info I was needing.

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I am a bit puzzled inasmuch as the original thread referred to a retractable towbar, which would have been a factory fit and should always be OK. However, the photograph distinctly shows a detachable towbar which could have been dealer installed using components which were not compatible with that particular model of car.

It is fairly certain that a towbar manufacturer would not offer an alternative towball with a longer reach for the same car as this would involve additional unnecessary and costly type approval. Even if one were able to find a towball with a longer reach that fits from another model, such a combination would be illegal as it would not be covered by the original type approval.

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I fail to see what the concern is. The way the ball has been machined it will be perfectly OK  because the underside of the coupling will never articulate sufficiently to foul. (and that is why the flange/bolted tow balls most commonly used in the UK at that time were incompatible with the A-Ko coupling, because in extreme articulation conditions there could be a foul). If there is clearance between the bumper and coupling when hitched, then that is ok too because there is no relative movement between the two. 

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