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No ATC On New Vans


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I read on Facebook that new caravans are being delivered to dealers without ATC being fitted, even although it is in the specification.

This is blamed on the war in Ukraine.

The entire industry is effected.

Some people are refusing to take delivery of their vans.

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If the caravan spec includes ATC or any other major item and it is not fitted then you can reject it or refuse to collect until it is fitted. I assume though that the caravans involved come with a promise to fit these later once the parts are there, so you do have to weigh up the position. If it happens then you do have to be very aware that the dealer may decide you are being unreasonable and sell it to someone else with you going to the back of the waiting list for another.  Possibly if you are not worried about it, you could negotiate a reduction for the missing item. 

Possibly a legal minefield which would be too expensive for most of us to get involved in. 

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If course if your dealer then vanished off the face of the earth...

 

I think many people think that ATC is much cleverer than it really is, it's more of a hail-mary for when things have gone wrong, not an active system which improves stability on a continuous basis. That said, if you were in the position where the caravan started snaking its way down the motorway you'd feel a tad silly for not putting your foot down and insisting it was fitted.

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Talking to my dealer last weekend and he said that no ATC units are expected in this country until September.

2019 Bailey Platinum (640) Phoenix from Chipping Sodbury caravans, towed by our  2017 my Discovery Sport!

 

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There are story’s of cars going out without radios/Sat Nav it seems supply chains have broken down.   All just in time lean manufacturing processes have stripped a huge amount of resilience.   Specific to Ukraine it would seem that a lot of wiring harnesses were made there.  Who knew?
 

I suppose with a caravan you are in a take it of leave it situation.  I assume that ATC can be retrofitted if and when it becomes available.   This is not ideal, but I don’t think the caravan manufacturers can be held responsible in this case.  

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Many new cars (mine included) have trailer stability control and assist which I believe is "active" and thought superior to ATC (it also assists with reversing the caravan).

My insurance company gives a sizeable reduction in premium for ATC (which I also have), not yet renewed with the new towcar so haven't asked about discounts for trailer control.

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2 hours ago, ChertseyMike said:

That said, if you were in the position where the caravan started snaking its way down the motorway you'd feel a tad silly for not putting your foot down and insisting it was fitted.

Said in jest and possibly make you laugh though in the real world it would be no laughing matter......

I hope you do not mean literally "Put your foot down" in a snaking situation ;-)

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I believe its an option on some models . We have it and do get a reduction on the van insurance.

Hyundai Santa Fe+Bailey Unicorn Cadiz

Mini Cooper convertible -fun Car!:)

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I've had ATC on my current caravan and also on the previous one. I've only felt it operate on two occasions. Once when one of the caravan wheels dropped into a pothole on the A49 near Leominster and the second time, driving around a roundabout  near Street where I drove through a large patch of mud dropped by a farm vehicle which caused the caravan to slide sideways. On both occasions, I felt a definite "pull back" as the caravan brakes operated. Useful to have as a safety AID, but, if you drive sensibly, it's not essential. (My opinion only.)

2014 SsangYong Rexton W towing a 2017 Sprite Major 4EB. (After June 9th).

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Never had ATC on previous vans but came as standard on my current one. Can't say I've ever experienced it operating but I suppose its comforting to have it there should the occasion ever arise where it might intervene. Would it stop me taking delivery of a new van because of unavailability - probably not, but I'd want compensating appropriately for the reduced specification.

Life is not a rehearsal . . .:)

Porsche Cayenne S Diesel & Knaus StarClass 695. Previously Audi S4 Avant & Elddis Super Sirocco

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I wouldn’t have a caravan without it. It works.

 

As for saying it’s not needed if you drive carefully etc, would anyone say  the same in regards to seat belt, or airbags?

 

We all hope such things are never needed, but if they ever are needed then they are invaluable. 

 

Would I accept a new caravan without it? Almost certainly not. 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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Posted (edited)

Although I am convinced of the benefits of the feature (I have seen tests conducted with and without under other identical conditions to demonstrate the difference), I must admit that I have removed it from my caravan following 3 unsuccessful attempts by the manufacturer at rectifying a problem after the warranty ran out.

Edited by Lutz
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I hope you have told your insurers it’s been removed?

 

If it were me I would certainly not have let them get away with not fixing a fault when under warranty! If they could  not fix it I would be looking for a new unit (they they a fairly small self contained box so nothing difficult to replace) 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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In my view ATC type systems should be mandatory on braked trailers and caravans. 

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22 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

I hope you have told your insurers it’s been removed?


Insurers in Germany do not require any feature that is not required by law and wouldn’t get involved so long as there is no reference to it in the Certificate of Conformity.

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Not come across any insurer I have approached who requires ATC to be fitted.

 

If it is declared as being fitted though, a discount has been applied for it.

 

 Living the dream, well more of a nightmare ~ Griff    :ph34r:

Wheels at the front ~ Discovery 4 Towing Machine

Wheels at the back ~ 4 of ‘em

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Griff said:

Not come across any insurer I have approached who requires ATC to be fitted.

 

If it is declared as being fitted though, a discount has been applied for it.

 


For an insurer to get involved in Germany ATC would have to be referenced in the vehicle registration document. As it was retrofitted to my caravan there was no such reference.

I don’t know of any German insurer that asks whether ATC is fitted or not. I guess it’s because there’s not enough data to make it economically viable for the insurer to differentiate.

Edited by Lutz
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2 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

I wouldn’t have a caravan without it. It works.

 

As for saying it’s not needed if you drive carefully etc, would anyone say  the same in regards to seat belt, or airbags?

 

We all hope such things are never needed, but if they ever are needed then they are invaluable. 

 

Would I accept a new caravan without it? Almost certainly not. 

Agree 100% (and also that it should be mandatory) and as for saying it's not an "active" system (above) I can't agree.

ATC is monitoring for activity it believes may be a snake and then applies the brakes, just like ABS etc, which is constantly monitoring for a wheel approaching locking before it activates.

If you believe my Two Factor approach ((C) 2010): You may be OK if one negative event such as excessive speed or  side wind occurs but if there is a possibility of 2 e.g. side wind and going downhill etc, etc then, unless you slow down - the biggest help in any situation, you are in a potentially dangerous event and need all the help you can get. 

If you get into a snake going downhill without ATC and therefore have to slow down (unless you subscribe to the "accelerate hard and that will correct it" club) then you are more likely to get into a worse event.

ATC acting on the caravan brakes (in any circumstances it deems are dangerous) is IMHO the best additional protection you can get other than the normal loading/hitch load etc precautions that are always needed.

Your mileage may differ but I won't be subscribing to it ;-)

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@DougS Agree and disagree!

Agree it should be fitted (compulsory or not).

Disagree it's Active - it's Passive as it doesn't react or affect anything until it deems that there is instability. But that's splitting hairs...I've had ATC activate on a number of occasions, none that I would deem instability though. Looking to purchase my latest van, ATC was very high on the list of Must Have's.

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Posted (edited)

Of course ATC is an active system because it has to actively detect the onset of a potential snake in order to deploy. A hitch stabiliser on the other hand is a passive system because it doesn’t know whether a snake is occurring or not. It’s there all the time and there’s no need to activate it. The disadvantage of a passive system is that it has physical limitations if the forces inducing the sway are too great for it to cope.

Before any decision can be reached whether ATC should be a legal requirement or not one would have to have know if it needs to be in conjunction with a hitch stabiliser as well or it is sufficient as a stand-alone fitment in order to be adequately effective. Also, would ATC have to be fitted if the towing vehicle already has a trailer stability feature? I doubt whether there is enough data to make a qualified decision.

Edited by Lutz
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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Lutz said:

Of course ATC is an active system because it has to actively detect the onset of a potential snake in order to deploy. A hitch stabiliser on the other hand is a passive system because it doesn’t know whether a snake is occurring or not. It’s there all the time and there’s no need to activate it. The disadvantage of a passive system is that it has physical limitations if the forces inducing the sway are too great for it to cope.

Before any decision can be reached whether ATC should be a legal requirement or not one would have to have know if it needs to be in conjunction with a hitch stabiliser as well or it is sufficient as a stand-alone fitment. Also, would ATC have to be fitted if the towing vehicle already has a trailer stability feature? I doubt whether there is enough data to make a qualified decision.

Again, IMO and based on my reading of the limited research (why, don't manufacturers other than Bailey - who have partnered with Bath Uni in the past, care?):

Hitch stabilisers were the "best" available in the past. They can add some frictional damping to small amplitude oscillations but are practically useless if large amplitudes occur.

They serve to raise the threshold instability speed slightly which, it could be argued, is a bad thing (if you are above the speed at which the set up is actually unstable then perhaps you don't want that additional speed?)

As ATC is (as might now be agreed or disagreed) an active system that applies a specific force and activates the caravan brakes I feel we could actually do away with hitch dampers and rely on that much more effective and powerful system.

When ABS, ESP and all other safety systems were designed, some makers were in the vanguard and fitted them before they were mandatory.

With the caravan market being relatively small and, perhaps, many owners not being fully aware (ideally, you never want to be in a snake situation but, like skidding, it may happen unexpectedly) they can offer ATC as an option and leave purchasers to decide based on cost?

Over the years, I feel it is now a small proportion of the overall cost making omission a bit silly as ever, IMHO? 

Again, car trailer assist programmes, I believe use the ESP system to reduce effects on the car and try to keep that stable, ATC will assist in this by acting on the caravan directly?

To return to OP, best option would perhaps be to get a reduction in the price/refund now (to protect purchaser funds in case of dealer collapse) and reminder system to return for fitting when stocks arrive?

Edited by DougS
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In the end, in the eyes of the insurance business, any decision whether to make ATC a standard fitting for all caravans will depend on its cost effectiveness. From what I’ve read, few accidents as a result of caravans getting out of control are fatal or even involve serious injury, so it’s not about saving lives but really all about what the economic impact due to claims is to the insurance companies. I suspect they don’t have enough data because there are simply too few incidents involving caravans compared to the total volume of road accidents. For the caravan manufacturer it’s a question of whether he can pass the product cost of ATC on to all customers, even those unwilling to have it. Based on all that, ATC as a factory fitted option for all models where it isn’t already standard is probably the best compromise.

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UK insurers offer a pretty decent discount if ATC is fitted. That does suggest  the insurers, with access to a lot of data, consider ATC to be an effective and worthwhile fitment that lowers their risk. 

 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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I must be using the wrong insurer. Mine has never asked if ATC is fitted (It is)

John M

2017 Skoda Superb Estate 2. 0 Tdi 190; 2014 Swift Challenger 530SE + Powrtouch Evolution

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Posted (edited)

Surely in the vast majority of cases, ATC is already fitted on the production line by the caravan manufacturer, so the insurers will know if ATC is present or not just by checking the specification, without asking the owner. They could therefore adjust premiums accordingly without offering discounts. Discounts only make sense if ATC were retrofitted on a significant scale.

Edited by Lutz
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