Jump to content

Steep Driveway and Caravan


Recommended Posts

Hi Guys - so I have been reading some posts - here and elsewhere about parking / Storing and getting a caravan up and down a steep driveway.

 

I have NOW managed to get my caravan up and down WITHOUT issue about 12 times or so (I have only been caravanning 2 years) - but I am looking to seek some advice as to whether all is well OR I have just been lucky.

 

2 issues - physical space AND operation of handbrake.

 

I currently own a 2005 Sterling Cuarch Torrin 5 berth and although I didn't know it at the time of purchase the particular length (6.81m) of this caravan means I can get it up and down without grounding (almost)........ going up I have to take a decent run - that is to say I need to keep the car moving - as long as I keep crawling - we get up no bother - BUT if I stop on the slope - I cant get going again - the wheels struggle for traction on the monobloc - I don't need to race up - like I say just ensure I keep the wheels turning.

 

This means I am reluctant to or possibly even cant upgrade to a SPRITE 6TD as the overhang would likely just be too long. A fact I would know until I smashed the rear of the caravan on the pavement.

As for going up in reverse - I have considered this - but I think almost impossible - At the top of my drive the width narrows due to my house - and it would be impossible to get it perfectly straight enough to get down the side of the house.

 

Also - I wouldn't have enough space in my street to actually get it going straight enough. I have reversed a 3 bike trailer up - and that was hard enough.

 

Any thoughts welcome........

 

So I get the car and van round the back of the house and then unhitch the car - back it back down the side of the house and then pull the caravan into its corner.

 

Now the fun part - I bring the car to the back of the house and squeeze it past the caravan and then my wife and I push the caravan down the side of the house - NOW - just before it decides to run down the drive - I pull the handbrake on and it stops. At this point it feels like the brakes are fully engaged and it wont move - BUT from what I have been reading recently the brakes can easily come off and or wont work in reverse? Is this true? I certainly cannot push it any further and indeed once I have hitched the car back up - I cannot reverse at all without releasing the handbrake - so what is going on here?

 

Have I just been lucky? Please note the caravan never sits there for long periods  it is simply the time it takes me to walk back up the drive and reverse down the hitch up....

 

Diagram attached - any info/tips/tricks etc etc much appreciated.

 

Drive.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

The handbrake will work in reverse, but it needs to be fully on. It can be disconcerting when you apply the brake  and it still goes back a few inches before it grabs. This is normal.

You could stop just onto your drive and use a winch to get it to the top.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This sound tricky, but have you considered using a motor mover as that would hold the van and be able to move it without having to push it by hand and get handbrake on.  Whilst I have not used one, as not got one on current van, believe from others that they can cope with fairly steep slopes, mabe asking one of the manufacturer's of these would clarify their ability. 

I in my mid 30's and caravan with my caravaning cat all year.  Honda CRV '65' Plate 1.6 Diesel towing Swift Corniche 15/2E 1995  Hyundai Santa Fe towing Adria Dart (with weight upgrade to 1800 kg)

Link to post
Share on other sites

On the diagram it says the slope is 'Maybe 1 in 3'. I would determine what it actually is, if without level equipment, a quick way to check is with a builders line and line level and preferably two people as the line level needs to be at mid point of the string being used. Most movers that I have previously looked at have quoted ability for a 1 in 4 grade

Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got two options - a caravan mover will usually manage around a 1:4 slope and probably even more depending on the mass of the caravan - so it would be worthwhile having a chat with one or two mover manufacturers. We manouvered our van up and down some pretty steep slopes without any problem and as said above the mover will also hold the van stationary on a slope.

 

the second is a winch to pull the van up but you'd need to make sure that it had a decent pawl and ratched to ensure that the van couldn't run away - again we've used a winch and a device called a Tirfor to shift several tons of vehicle out of mud and up slopes without too much effort - https://www.tractel.com/en/product-applications/tirfor

2018 S-Max Titanium 2. 0 Tdci (177. 54bhp,180ps,132kw) Powershift + 2015 Unicorn III Cadz, Ventura Marlin porch awning

Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for all comments thus far.....

Notwithstanding the advice about a mover - which is all valid......

 

I think if Steven is 100% correct - then I have no issues - I can manage it all as I currently have explained.

 

As I say - it all works fine if a bit faffy - but my main concern was this suggestion that the hand brakes don't work in reverse...

 

so I am pushing it slowly and as soon as I feel the hill start to "take" the wheels - I clunk on the handbrake - it takes an inch or three - but it defo grabs on solid.

 

BUT

 

If I upgraded to a longer van I think a mover would be a MUST as the only way I could get it up and down would be to drop the nose and go at it very slowly.

 

PS - yes I will update with the proper hill run

Edited by Stubobby
Link to post
Share on other sites

Both my near neighbours have or have had vans. They both have very steep drives - probably similar to yours.

Neither can get the van up the drive when hitched up due to the angle of attack to their drives. They have the nosewheel at its lowest move able position. One then has a wooden ramp as his drive is not square on to the road. 

They both motor up their drives with motor movers. Progress is slow, and often assisted by a push, but they both manage. One found that an 80Ah battery wasn't "man" enough to work the mover consistently. His 100Ah one did the trick.

 

Thankfully, I don't have that problem - being on the opposite side of the road, my drive is relatively level to the road  (which is, I think, about a 1 in 8). My issues come from the road being only wide enough for one car, and bounded by stone or brick walls. No footpath, and my drive splay to the road being such that I can't drive out with the car and van hitched up. If I was a better driver, I could probably reverse in, but it's easier to stop,  unhitch and motor mover in. I can't get the van out "uphill" due to an extremely sharp  bend and overhanging buildings! Ho Hum.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 A motor mover may not be man enough to get the caravan up the slope but it would be able to turn the caravan 180 degrees from the parked position shown.

 

Assuming that there is sufficient turning space then using the contra rotation function of the motor mover means that the caravan can rotate within a small area.

 

I accept that the diagram may not be to precise scale but the diagram suggests that a motor mover option is a possibility.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If the driveway is a constant slope than all you really need to check the gradient is a long spirit level and a steel tape measure.  A fall of 250mm in a 1m would be 1 in 4 or fall of  330mm would be 1 in 3

 

Edited by burtspieeater
Link to post
Share on other sites

To address your concerns about handbrake. 
all modern vans have so called auto reversing brakes. When you reverse, a clever mechanism in the brake drum flips over, effectively releasing the brake so you can reverse. However, when you deploy the handbrake, it effectively activates the brake system more than the over-run coupling does, resulting in the brakes working. 
now, if you don’t reverse, but are on a slope, downhill at the rear, it’s common for a van to roll backwards several inches, until the auto reverse mechanism sets, and the brakes grab.   It’s also quite unnerving when it happens 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a steep drive - just a bit less than 1 in 4 - and a long caravan - 7.3 m overall.  I use a motor mover to get the caravan up the drive, which is monobloc.  The main problem is that the rear overhang of the caravan can ground on the road as the front of the caravan hits the slope of the drive.  I bought another jockey wheel with a smaller diameter to allow me to get the front of the caravan as low as possible and I made a couple of ramps from plywood to lift the wheels a little as the caravan comes off the road on to the drive, reducing the likelihood of grounding.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure on the exact gradient but my drive is an incline and getting the caravan on is quite simple despite needing to reverse it between my porch and next door - it does help that I have a road almost opposite so can approach fairly straight; it’s also a 6.7m drive and 6.5m van so I get it right up to the garage door then drop forwards a little 

 

Hopefully we will exchange and complete on a new home next month which has the perfect caravan storage!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...