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Unhitching problem


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Does anyone have any problems unhitching their caravan from the car?  On occasion, uncoupling the hitch from the towball can be a bit problematic because when you've unhooked the electrics and breakaway cable, and you then use the winder to unhitch the caravan from the car, it doesn't come off, the caravan stays attached to the towball.  I've checked everything, ie, the black rubber concatina is straight, and the hitch handle is unlocked.  It can take a while, and its really frustrating.  I've even watched videos, and they always get it right first time, even though I do exactly the same thing:(

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I have had exactly that issue with three sequential Passat Estates. The answer is that the caravan MUST be in line with the car - if it is even slightly at an angle it may be difficult to disconnect.

 

I get the van as straight as possible, wind the jockey until it just starts lifting the car, then (with the tailgate open) I sit down firmly on the boot floor and 9/10 times it comes free.

2018 Passat B8 Estate 150GT TDi150 towing a 2018 Bailey Unicorn S4 Seville

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Just reverse the car very slightly so that the rubber concertina is just slightly compressed (by say 1-2cm) and the hitch will release no problem. Dont compress it much more as the hitch could come into contact with the car bumper as it releases.

Powrtouch AWD Movers. E & P Compact Levelling System.

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29 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

I have had exactly that issue with three sequential Passat Estates. The answer is that the caravan MUST be in line with the car - if it is even slightly at an angle it may be difficult to disconnect.

 

I get the van as straight as possible, wind the jockey until it just starts lifting the car, then (with the tailgate open) I sit down firmly on the boot floor and 9/10 times it comes free.

Make sure you have applied the caravans hand break first (if on a hill) as the caravan my just get away from you. ;) 

 

Bailey Pageant Series 6 Champagne 2007    Tow Car Toyota Rav4

 

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I usually wiggle the raised stabiliser handle from side to side while lifting with the jockey wheel.

Mike

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It could be the slightly compressed car suspension rising as you wind down the jockey wheel.

A couple of our past 4x4 needed a foot pushing down on the car towbar to release it.

4x4 have quite long travel suspension.

Our Santa Fe is normally OK  as it has self levelling suspension.

Hyundai Santa Fe+Bailey Unicorn Cadiz

Mini Cooper convertible -fun Car!:)

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When you arrive at your destination before pitching the caravan lift the stabiliser handle .your car will be still properly connected but by the time you reach your pitch the stabiliser pads should have fullyn retracted

works every time for me

 

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19 minutes ago, rambler2 said:

When you arrive at your destination before pitching the caravan lift the stabiliser handle .your car will be still properly connected but by the time you reach your pitch the stabiliser pads should have fullyn retracted

works every time for me

 

I can see the curtain twitching now, " look at that idiot,  hasn't got his stabiliser on properly " :)

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4 minutes ago, SilverSurfer said:

I can see the curtain twitching now, " look at that idiot,  hasn't got his stabiliser on properly " :)

Yes but better than the curtain twitcher saying look at that guy can,t unhitch and then coming over to instruct you on how its done!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I last used the caravan back in July.  I visited Oxon Hall in Shrewsbury.  When I got to the pitch, because it was right in the corner, I drove right up to the fence, so that I was stopped right across the entrance to my pitch, so the car and caravan was straight.  I put the motor mover on, and used that to move the caravan back a few inches so that the concertina was not so squished up tight.   I will try the wriggle as Trek suggested.  Although my car is a Ford Kuga, its not a 4x4.  Anyway, thanks guys.  I'm glad its not just me it happens to;)

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we've  had a couple of Kugas and touch wood , we haven't had that happen, although I have always disengaged the stabiliser before OH reverses the van, as silversurfer said and then he drives forward an inch or so .  Just a thought but have you checked the little wheels  inside the stabiliser are not damaged or stuck

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Agree with Joanie reverse then drive forward a short space seems to free everything up always works for us.

 

Martin

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I find having the caravan hand brake off can help but then care has to be taken if it is not on the level so it does not run away before it is put back on. I sometimes put a foot on the tow ball as well. Ours is a Winterhoff so that also needs the stabiliser handle lifting up and pulling back so it releases. All in all it can take a bit of uncoupling and with a foot on the tow ball, one hand on the stabiliser handle and another on the handbrake. Our car has self levelling suspension so the tail gate has to be closed whilst doing this, otherwise the car will just lift as the jockey wheel is wound down.

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Just to be perverse, I find ours only unhitches easily when that rubber concertina section is somewhat compressed. We have a Volvo V70 which sits fairly low.

It also makes a difference if they're not aligned fairly level - if the back of the car  is raised a bit, for example, backing the van off road over path, van already on flat drive, car  still coming up over the path, it is nigh impossible! 

Presumably one size doesn't fit all :)

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I always take off the stabiliser.  I've also reversed and then drove forward.  It doesn't do it all the time, just occasionally, and its usually when you don't it to.  It was my first time of towing it on my own.  Me and OH would do everything and have our own jobs, but now I'm on my own, I've got to think of everything;)

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Always make sure that our draw bar is at its midway point then as the coupling lifts it has the opportunity to move either slightly back or forwards as it lifts, no problem then. 

 

That's with an AL-KO but the previous BPW/Winterhoff unhitched freely in the same manner.

Stay safe - Griff.  :ph34r:

Wheels at the front - Discovery 4. Wheels at the back - Bessacarr 845.

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We usually pull forward to decompress the over run damper. Put caravan handbrake on then disconnect if using the mover.

Hyundai Santa Fe+Bailey Unicorn Cadiz

Mini Cooper convertible -fun Car!:)

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16 hours ago, VOLVOVANNER said:

Just reverse the car very slightly so that the rubber concertina is just slightly compressed (by say 1-2cm) and the hitch will release no problem.

The opposite may also be true if the overrun is compressed from stopping. In this case, after applying the caravan handbrake, it may be advisable to move the towcar slightly forward, to overcome any friction being applied to the towball by the overrun spring.

 

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk.

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I have not had the problem, but if I reverse on to a itch I do move the car forward slightly to make sure the damper is back out and the towbar does not want to move forward into the car.

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21 hours ago, Gordon said:

The opposite may also be true if the overrun is compressed from stopping. In this case, after applying the caravan handbrake, it may be advisable to move the towcar slightly forward, to overcome any friction being applied to the towball by the overrun spring.

 

Yes agree, main think imho is that the concertina is just slightly compressed other than fully extended or compressed.

Powrtouch AWD Movers. E & P Compact Levelling System.

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Agree, if the draw bar or concertina is at midpoint or thereabouts, as the coupling detaches it has the opportunity to move either way with the minimum resistance then on the ball.

Stay safe - Griff.  :ph34r:

Wheels at the front - Discovery 4. Wheels at the back - Bessacarr 845.

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I almost invariably use the mover to get on the pitch and have to onto our driveway, so use that to move the caravan so that the hitch comes off my Galaxy readily enough.  It does need the bellows to be neither extended nor compressed by much in my experience.  {AL-KO stabiliser}.  Having mover on negates need for handbrake, too ;)

 

Also use the mover to hitch up when leaving home (and can still have to try more than once).  Swmbo is a dab hand at getting the car positioned just right for hitching up when leaving a site, though (I'd be useless).

Edited by Rodders53

2012 Bailey Pegasus 2 Rimini towed by 2019 Ford Galaxy Titanium X, 2.0 EcoBlue, 8 speed auto.

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My wife is very good at lining the car up as the rear view camera shows the towball.

I get to hitch it on and do the breakaway cable and electrics !

I know my place.:unsure:

Edited by 664DaveS

Hyundai Santa Fe+Bailey Unicorn Cadiz

Mini Cooper convertible -fun Car!:)

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Mine too Dave she always reverses on to the ball even though I drive the journey.  We have had this with our current set up but only once in  awhile. Will try the stabiliser removal trick.

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I do exactly as you do Rodders.  Use the caravan mover so don't have to use the handbrake, which is very keen, and needs a bit of muscle to take it off.  More so if you really put the handbrake in the full on position, not at the halfway position.  In fact, its that hard to use, when we picked up the caravan at Campbells, the salesman had to stand on the foot position above the jockey wheel and use his foot to press down, whilst my OH compressed the button bit:D

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