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Caravan Fell Off!!!


AndyPoole
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Have a Bailey Pagent Series 6 with a std Alko Hitch Lock and Alko tow ball the on car (Discovery 2).

 

Leaving site this morning hooked up as usual, Green tip came up when connected, wound wheel back down to make sure rear of car lifted then carried on as usual, wheel up, electrics, stabiliser pushed down & checked, breakaway cable - final check quick lift of the A Frame from underneath to make sure all connected.

 

As i dove off the Caravan fell of the back of the car, my Brother in Law said just before it came off the back of the car went down a dip and the Caravan articulated heavily fore aft.

 

Lucky no damage done apart from the Brakaway clip which is now replaced.

 

Has anyone else has a similar experience of have any ideas why this happened.

Bailey Pageant Bretagne Series 6 - LR Discovery Td5 Auto

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Sounds as though the back of the car/ front of the van went down far enough for the front of the coupling to contact the shaft of the tow ball causing the coupling to be flipped off, if it hadn't then you'd have probably wrenched the coupling head right off the A frame or bent the overrun shaft. Or even distorted the towball/towbar. Have you got a proper ALKO or swan-necked tow ball fitted? - these have a thinner neck under the towball to allow for the articulation of the stabiliser type coupling, most of the bog standard towballs dont have enough clearance to allow the head to articulate properly. Have a look at the ALKO website to see what the spec is.

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

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matelodave - As i said in my original post I have the correct Alko towball fitted ie swan-necked

Bailey Pageant Bretagne Series 6 - LR Discovery Td5 Auto

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As i dove off the Caravan fell of the back of the car, my Brother in Law said just before it came off the back of the car went down a dip and the Caravan articulated heavily fore aft.
Just trying to make sense of what happened. From what you say, you appear to have done everything correctly, but one thing that comes to mind is the condition of the caravan hitch and the towball. Could either be worn excessively? There are a number of useful reference documents on the Al-Ko website, but maybe someone from Al-Ko could comment on the expected life? From memory I believe the towball should be no less than 49. 6mm diameter, but I cannot find document to confirm this at the moment.

Gordon.

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 and Motorhome Talk.

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Did this exact same thing not happen to a member on here a year or so ago. Just after they'd left home for a holiday. Caused quite a bit of damage iirc. Don't seem to remember there being a satisfactory explanation for it happening either.

Gordon. I think you're correct with the 49. 6 figure but that surely is just a minimum legal recommendation. If we're talking of fractions of a millimeter wear being the difference between a ball being OK and one where the hitch can spontaneously unhitch then I want my old system back please.

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Some Answers:-

 

Did you get a clunk/click when the green button came up - No but it did spring up

Carvan / Towball about 18months old done about 2000 miles cleaned ball evertime in use with Brake Cleaner

Bailey Pageant Bretagne Series 6 - LR Discovery Td5 Auto

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As I said above, I reckon you've just dipped further than the hitch head/ball combination can handle and were everso lucky that it didn't cause damage. I don't know if the the ball retaining lug at the rear of the coupling actually locks or is under spring tension but I would think that sufficient force in the wrong direction allowing the coupling head to contact the ball neck could lever the coupling off the ball - perhaps ALKO can confirm

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

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Nowadays a statement has to be made regarding tolerance but 0. 4mm is nothing, I had an old 2" hitch riding on a 50mm ball for years without problem and thats the equivalent of 2mm of wear!!...

. ....bit rattly but ha-ho

 

My guess, the locking handle has gone down but not double locked itself when as it should do, it slides forward slightly.

 

Perhaps then the single lock held it while the jockey wheel lifted the car, but a nasty jar from the pothole was enough to push the handle back enough to release.

 

This would/should be impossible except for lack of lubrication allowing it to stick??

gary1s.gif

 

Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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Nowadays a statement has to be made regarding tolerance but 0. 4mm is nothing, I had an old 2" hitch riding on a 50mm ball for years without problem and thats the equivalent of 2mm of wear!!...

. ....bit rattly but ha-ho

 

My guess, the locking handle has gone down but not double locked itself when as it should do, it slides forward slightly.

 

Perhaps then the single lock held it while the jockey wheel lifted the car, but a nasty jar from the pothole was enough to push the handle back enough to release.

 

This would/should be impossible except for lack of lubrication allowing it to stick??

 

Hi Arc Systems

 

2" is 50. 8mm so is a 2" hitch actually not 2" ?

 

neil

Bailey S5 Pageant Auvergne & Vauxhall Signum CDTI

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Thanks Gary. This seems a likely cause. My 3004 handle is prone to not locking in the release (UP) position. How does one lubricate these things without getting lube on the friction pads?

I use WD40 using the straw provided to direct the spray where needed, as mine is the AKS 2700 it is easy to pop the friction pads out to do the job (I also give them a light rub with wet and dry), but you could a stick clean wrag tightly up into the coupling head to cover the friction pads as a precaution.

 

Steve

 

 

 

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As I said above, I reckon you've just dipped further than the hitch head/ball combination can handle and were everso lucky that it didn't cause damage. I don't know if the the ball retaining lug at the rear of the coupling actually locks or is under spring tension but I would think that sufficient force in the wrong direction allowing the coupling head to contact the ball neck could lever the coupling off the ball - perhaps ALKO can confirm

 

A correctly locked coupling will not part under the conditions described. Outfits overturn and remain locked which is why the emergency services do not like hitch locks to be fitted whilst travelling. Separating an outfit after a rollover is difficult.

The retaining pawl is locked when correctly coupled so the implication is, that in this case, it was not locked allowing it to release when it hit a bump or dip.

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beejay seems to be correct, hence my comment about a clunk/click when the green indicator popped up.

I wonder if the spring for the locking device/retaining pawl is in place and the pawl is free to move and lock the head onto the ball/

 

Brian

 

 

 

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I wouldn't be happy without having it checked by the dealer/replaced

You will always have a niggling doubt that it could fail again

BMW X3 X Drive and Swift Challenger 580SE

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I use WD40 using the straw provided to direct the spray where needed, as mine is the AKS 2700 it is easy to pop the friction pads out to do the job (I also give them a light rub with wet and dry), but you could a stick clean wrag tightly up into the coupling head to cover the friction pads as a precaution.

 

Steve

 

Trouble with WD40 is it's not a lubricant just a good release oil and it dries out. If I use an oil spray or a grease will it collect road dirt and become worse long term. COME ON ALKO! what's the recommended action on this please?

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Trouble with WD40 is it's not a lubricant just a good release oil and it dries out. If I use an oil spray or a grease will it collect road dirt and become worse long term. COME ON ALKO! what's the recommended action on this please?

Don't disagree, but as you state, the alternatives will collect road dirt and become worse long term, surely a regular spray with WD40 is a preventative solution in lieu of any alternative.

 

Steve

 

 

 

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Hi Arc Systems

 

2" is 50. 8mm so is a 2" hitch actually not 2" ?

 

neil

 

 

Whoops my mistake neil but no their not the same, a 2" hitch goes on a 50mm ball, but not the other way round which shows initial tolerance is quite tight.

Still and speaking only of standard hitches, 0. 8mm is twice as much wear as the stated tolerance and does rattle like mad! this effectively means a worn 50mm ball would rattle long before it got so bad the hitch had a remote chance of coming off.

 

Wear or stiffness though in the hitch heads locking mechanism is a different matter, difficult to make any prediction as to what might be acceptable or not, none I'd say.

 

IMO, WD40 is probably the worst thing to use, at best it works but only for a short period and probably then end up in a worse state!

Careful use of a proper light lubricating oil would work better and be far longer lasting.

gary1s.gif

 

Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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Hi iam very new to caravans and when i read the OP i got very worried as we have just ordered a new van.

So i phoned alko today and they stated that it would have been the wrong tow ball as there is a continental swan neck tow ball that is ok and another that te spec is slighty wrong on.

 

Also there is the bolt on one and the small L shape one is again the wrong spec and is brass coloured i think he said.

 

But the correct tow ball has an alko spec sticker on it.

 

Hope this is of some use as it put my mind to rest.

 

Niall :)

Bailey GT60 540/6 and Santa Fe style 2010

 

Private Parking charge notice's are a Scam. Never pay a private parking ticket, ignore it.

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Hi Andypoole I was answering another post about hitch lock on or off when towing, just wondered if you had lock on or off?

 

Swiftie

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Hi Andypool

I have been following two caravans being towed when they became detatched

from the towcar for no apparent reason. As a result of experiencing this I always

tow with the hitchlock fitted and locked. I have towed many thousands of miles

with different combinations of car and caravan with the hitchlock engaged without

any problems.

Volvo XC90/Swift Challenger

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Niall

 

Sorry to worry you but it was is the genuine Al-Ko tow ball for the 3004 Hitch and about 18 months old

 

 

Swiftie / Bill

 

Hitch Lock was off - know there was been a big debate on this prefer to not fit when travelling in case of accident

 

The van is going into the dealer for a couple of other warranty Jobs soon so will get them to check the hitch

Bailey Pageant Bretagne Series 6 - LR Discovery Td5 Auto

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