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Towing Advice Please


robbie white
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HI Everyone

 

I am looking for some advice to what could have caused the problems I had. I class myself as a trainee novice when it comes to towing but have been towing for 4 years now. I am sorry for going on a bit but need to give you as much info as I can so that have an understanding of what happened.

 

I loaded the caravan as I normally do in fact most of it was as I left last year when we parked the van up for the winter. The heavy stuff slightly forward of the axle to keep the nose weight up as the car likes nose weight. Loaded the car as I normally do and inflated the tyres to full load and towing as the manual recommends. While in heavy traffic on the M6 the caravan snaked for no apparent reason I can think of and it scared the family. Came off at the next service station to check over the van, decided to pull the heavy stuff further back over the caravan axle and tried that.

 

Re-journeyed the motorway but with the traffic being heavy and slow did not get the problem again but the unit did not feel happy or stable it felt something was not quiet right.

 

The only possible thing I can thing about is that the car was loaded with less stuff than normally because we brought our dog along this time and we normally have a set of 4 bikes on the back of the car giving extra weight and nose weight as the bike rack is a towbar mounted device.

 

The return journey decided to drop the tyre pressures down to normal load conditions and put a bit more load in the car and tried that. The return journey the unit still did not feel right or that could be down to me expecting something to happen again. Picked up the good old M6 again and all was well until we came to the ruts in the road and found something again we had not had before the van fell into the ruts and pulled the car over. This meant depending on which wheel court the rut it out us either close to the middle lane or hard shoulder. If near the middle lane I brought the car back to middle of the lane but it would pull us to the left. Then the car would then want to go into the rut itself so we ended up with violent pulls to the left or right. This again unsettled the family and me as I felt I was constantly fighting the car to keep it in the lane, I end up leaving it running inches from the white line just to give me a break and the stability for the family.

 

Any ideas why this has started to happen and how to fix the problem as it has left me feeling nervous and this is unsettling the family as I normal have no problems towing and real relaxed as you can and enjoy the journey but this last run out did not come close to that and I am out again in about 6 weeks and l am not looking forward to it

 

The type of unit i have is below

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Regards

 

Robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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HI Everyone

 

I am looking for some advice to what could have caused the problems I had. I class myself as a trainee novice when it comes to towing but have been towing for 4 years now. I am sorry for going on a bit but need to give you as much info as I can so that have an understanding of what happened.

 

I loaded the caravan as I normally do in fact most of it was as I left last year when we parked the van up for the winter. The heavy stuff slightly forward of the axle to keep the nose weight up as the car likes nose weight. Loaded the car as I normally do and inflated the tyres to full load and towing as the manual recommends. While in heavy traffic on the M6 the caravan snaked for no apparent reason I can think of and it scared the family. Came off at the next service station to check over the van, decided to pull the heavy stuff further back over the caravan axle and tried that.

 

Re-journeyed the motorway but with the traffic being heavy and slow did not get the problem again but the unit did not feel happy or stable it felt something was not quiet right.

 

The only possible thing I can thing about is that the car was loaded with less stuff than normally because we brought our dog along this time and we normally have a set of 4 bikes on the back of the car giving extra weight and nose weight as the bike rack is a towbar mounted device.

 

The return journey decided to drop the tyre pressures down to normal load conditions and put a bit more load in the car and tried that. The return journey the unit still did not feel right or that could be down to me expecting something to happen again. Picked up the good old M6 again and all was well until we came to the ruts in the road and found something again we had not had before the van fell into the ruts and pulled the car over. This meant depending on which wheel court the rut it out us either close to the middle lane or hard shoulder. If near the middle lane I brought the car back to middle of the lane but it would pull us to the left. Then the car would then want to go into the rut itself so we ended up with violent pulls to the left or right. This again unsettled the family and me as I felt I was constantly fighting the car to keep it in the lane, I end up leaving it running inches from the white line just to give me a break and the stability for the family.

 

Any ideas why this has started to happen and how to fix the problem as it has left me feeling nervous and this is unsettling the family as I normal have no problems towing and real relaxed as you can and enjoy the journey but this last run out did not come close to that and I am out again in about 6 weeks and l am not looking forward to it

 

The type of unit i have is below

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Regards

 

Robbie

 

Hi Robbie

 

I don't think I like the idea of snaking in heavy (slow) traffic, was it on a straight stretch or when

you had performed a manouerve? Was it windy at the time or as you passed an open area such

as a bridge or gap in a cutting? Wasn't the bow wave from a WVM in a Sprinter was it?

 

You make no mention of what the tow car and caravan are to see if they are a match to begin with.

Did you also check the van tyres when you did the car tyres? As to the noseweight your car looks

to be a Disco with a high allowance but you need to be careful that forward loading the van doesn't

exceed the caravn hitch limit of typically 100kg. Have you driven that stretch of M6 a lot? and was

it perhaps busier with lorries last time and so you spent more time in lane 2?

 

neil

 

Is 4 bikes and rack and heavy nose not too much for even a Disco hitch?

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Hi Robbie

 

I don't think I like the idea of snaking in heavy (slow) traffic, was it on a straight stretch or when

you had performed a manouerve? Was it windy at the time or as you passed an open area such

as a bridge or gap in a cutting? Wasn't the bow wave from a WVM in a Sprinter was it?

 

You make no mention of what the tow car and caravan are to see if they are a match to begin with.

Did you also check the van tyres when you did the car tyres? As to the noseweight your car looks

to be a Disco with a high allowance but you need to be careful that forward loading the van doesn't

exceed the caravn hitch limit of typically 100kg. Have you driven that stretch of M6 a lot? and was

it perhaps busier with lorries last time and so you spent more time in lane 2?

 

neil

 

Is 4 bikes and rack and heavy nose not too much for even a Disco hitch?

 

 

Hi Neil

 

we have drove this Stretch with the same unit without any problems. at the time i was doing about 50 - 55 mph when the snake happened and we where north bound at the time. the last 2 years we have had the bike rank on and had no problems. this is the first time we have travelled with out it.

 

the unit is a Disco series 2 and a Abbey safari 520. before travelling we had checked the tyre condition and prressures and they where fine. the traffic at the time was heavy but moving quickly. been in the same position before and never had it. if i rememer correctly the bikes and the van put a nose weight of about 120 - 130kg load on the car and with the air suspension car normally does not notice it.

 

the ruts where on the south bound side in line 1.

 

hope that helps

 

robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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Hi Neil

 

we have drove this Stretch with the same unit without any problems. at the time i was doing about 50 - 55 mph when the snake happened and we where north bound at the time. the last 2 years we have had the bike rank on and had no problems. this is the first time we have travelled with out it.

 

the unit is a Disco series 2 and a Abbey safari 520. before travelling we had checked the tyre condition and prressures and they where fine. the traffic at the time was heavy but moving quickly. been in the same position before and never had it. if i rememer correctly the bikes and the van put a nose weight of about 120 - 130kg load on the car and with the air suspension car normally does not notice it.

 

the ruts where on the south bound side in line 1.

 

hope that helps

 

robbie

 

Hi robbie

 

You haven't had new tyres on the car have you? I had a Passat that tramlined a huge amount until

the tyres eventually got replaced and the tramlining simply disappeared, and of course it could be

the other way around too.

 

What was the actual van noseweight on its own?

Four cheap adult bikes on towbar rack could combine to be 80kg so noseweight of van could have been

much lower (50kg say from figures given) and the bikes masked this previously, and as you have now

found your car/van combo like it heavier?

 

Van to car match is probably about 65% so will be fine with that!

I can't find actual values on

 

http://www. whattowcar. com/

 

but if you have exact figures you can check.

 

neil

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HI Neil

 

yes we have had a new set of tyres put on the car. the car as a max noseweght of 150kg the bikes and carrier add to about 70Kg and the van comes in about 80Kg. when i checked the ratio it was around the 72 - 75% mark so well in. it could be the fact we had the heavy item a bit to far forward but it was strange because we had not moved it since last year and only added a flat screen 15" TV to the van.

 

even the return joruney still did not feel right the unit felt jittery or uneasy but otherwise towed ok, but i did keep my speed down to 50 - 55 and the traffic was lighter and did not go for any overtaking. do not know it the unit was stable or not to busy tyring to keep the thing out of the ruts.

 

how do you mean the bike rank could be masking the problem?

 

robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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HI Neil

 

yes we have had a new set of tyres put on the car. the car as a max noseweght of 150kg the bikes and carrier add to about 70Kg and the van comes in about 80Kg. when i checked the ratio it was around the 72 - 75% mark so well in. it could be the fact we had the heavy item a bit to far forward but it was strange because we had not moved it since last year and only added a flat screen 15" TV to the van.

 

even the return joruney still did not feel right the unit felt jittery or uneasy but otherwise towed ok, but i did keep my speed down to 50 - 55 and the traffic was lighter and did not go for any overtaking. do not know it the unit was stable or not to busy tyring to keep the thing out of the ruts.

 

how do you mean the bike rank could be masking the problem?

 

robbie

 

Hi robbie

 

I'm thinking tyres here but I don't know if 4x4 tyres suffer from tramlining like my Passat did, can

any of you landy/disco guys reading this have a look at a LR forum or two and find out please?

 

I wondered if you'd only guessed at the actual van noseweight and didn't realise just how heavy bike

and rack could be, but if the van was at 80kg before addition of bikes then it was 80kg.

If however you guessed the hitch load was 150kg but say was actually just 100kg then taking 70kg off

would mean that the noseweight actually was only 30kg (but with the bikes it behaves as 100kg)

and 30kg would be twitchy methinks.

 

neil

Bailey S5 Pageant Auvergne & Vauxhall Signum CDTI

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What is the height of your hitch, speaking from experience having owned a Disco until recently, the only issues I had with stability was when I had the towbar fitted and it was to high, fitted drop plate and was as good as gold from then on. I found that it towed best with the van nose down. Also had the air suspension and loved it (wish I still had it) and never had the need to adjust tyre pressures as never had it fully loaded as we carried nothing in the Disco other than driver and one passenger so the extra weight when towing was around 75kgs on the rear axle.

Edited by ad210358
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HI

 

the hitch on the disco is height adjustable and is set to be nose down but thinking about it, not sure now if the bike rack was on the back or not when we orginal setup. but saying that the towbar cannot be moved with the bikes on it. it could also be that the van is heaver that i thought it was but would the bikes over load the car and unit would become more unstable and not the otherway round.

 

will have a look on the LR forums to see if other users have had problems with tramlining.

 

still does not explin why the unit became more unstable with less weight.

 

robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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robbie

you probably got caught in the grooves the hgv make (tramlines) and yor wheel base not the same width is probably what gave you the snaking effect

hope this helps bill

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Just one thought, you weren't by any chance following a car transporter were you? I had heard that they can give very unusual "slipstream", not sure if thats the right word. ...the air turbulance. .. and this can unsettle a normally stable outfit. I've certainly experienced it and can vouch for it.

 

Regards

 

NRF

Edited by NewRangerFamily
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robbie

you probably got caught in the grooves the hgv make (tramlines) and yor wheel base not the same width is probably what gave you the snaking effect

hope this helps bill

 

HI Bill

 

the snaking appeared on the outwould joruney and the tramlines where on the return journey. still not surewhat caused both but thanks for the reply.

 

robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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Just one thought, you weren't by any chance following a car transporter were you? I had heard that they can give very unusual "slipstream", not sure if thats the right word. ...the air turbulance. .. and this can unsettle a normally stable outfit. I've certainly experienced it and can vouch for it.

 

Regards

 

NRF

 

Hi

 

no was not behind a car transporter just other cars. still a puzzle to why it happened.

 

thanks for the reply

 

robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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Just been doing a bit of digging about tramlining and it has been indicated that the steering damper on my Disco could be the problem. any LR owners out there could this be my problem? if so is it an easy fix and how expensive could it be and last but not least do you have to have the car re tracked after woulds?

 

robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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Hi

 

on checking my car tyre pressures noticed that the tyre tread on the passager side front and the drivers side rear are raised on the outer edge of the tyre in the direction of the wheel rotation where the other tyres have smooth tread in both directions.

 

do you think this could be my problem?

 

robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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Hi

 

on checking my car tyre pressures noticed that the tyre tread on the passager side front and the drivers side rear are raised on the outer edge of the tyre in the direction of the wheel rotation where the other tyres have smooth tread in both directions.

 

do you think this could be my problem?

 

robbie

 

Hi robbie

 

The only time I've seen anything similar to that was on a proper mini (not BMW) and that was rusted

and twisted subframes that made the car 'crab'. I suppose it could be knackered suspension but I'd

think it more likely a front wheel has been swapped with a rear on the same side and moved the bit

that was different to the other end of the car. In other words if you moved the drivers rear to front

then the front and rear axles would have the same wear patterns across the axle and the front axle

could be down to tracking. If the tyres have been in the same position since new then you may need

to see someone. ..

 

neil

 

PS This is BadbackCol's area of expertise I think?

Edited by neil

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Perhaps you ought to check the noseweight of the 'van using bathroom scales and a piece of wood to give the same height as when hitched. You really should not exceed the maximum Alko noseweight of 100Kg.

 

You might want to consider fitting Alko dampers, if not already fitted. We found that it aided stability, albeit on a single axle 'van.

 

Mk2 Discos have, in the past, had towing instability issues, mainly down to towball height but also caused by 'sloppy' axle linkages.

 

Mike

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Hi Robbie

 

Just to throw in another theory. ..

 

I recently followed a large 4X4 towing a twin wheel caravan down the M6 (and toll) and it was all over the road at anything over 45-50mph. The reason was obvious from my view of the outfit - because of the high nose weight ( and possibly the low setting of the adjustable tow hitch) the rear wheels of the caravan were effectivly coming off the ground on every bump!- Unfortunatly I missed the driver turning into the services otherwise I would have followed him and tried to help.

 

One thing nobody has mentioned is the air suspension on the Land Rover, is it functioning properly ? If it was losing pressure and dropping this could cause the same effect as above, and as I believe they maintain their height via a compressor is it coming in at the correct point or could you perhaps have a slight leak ?

 

As for the 'tram lines' on the M6 I agree they are terrible, I usually come off Northbound at Junc 14 (and on Southbound) so I miss them, they are just as bad in some places on the M25.

Lunar Clubman SB 2013 following a Hyundai Tucson MHEV 4x4 2 ltr 185 hp Premium SE (2019)

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Hi Robbie

 

Just to throw in another theory. ..

 

I recently followed a large 4X4 towing a twin wheel caravan down the M6 (and toll) and it was all over the road at anything over 45-50mph. The reason was obvious from my view of the outfit - because of the high nose weight ( and possibly the low setting of the adjustable tow hitch) the rear wheels of the caravan were effectively coming off the ground on every bump!- Unfortunately I missed the driver turning into the services otherwise I would have followed him and tried to help.

 

One thing nobody has mentioned is the air suspension on the Land Rover, is it functioning properly ? If it was losing pressure and dropping this could cause the same effect as above, and as I believe they maintain their height via a compressor is it coming in at the correct point or could you perhaps have a slight leak ?

 

As for the 'tram lines' on the M6 I agree they are terrible, I usually come off Northbound at Junc 14 (and on Southbound) so I miss them, they are just as bad in some places on the M25.

 

Hi Milestone

 

i replaced the air suspension last year towards the end of the season. the car works fine moves up and down quite happy. currently looking into having the alignment on the land Rover Checked as getting slightly usual Tyre wear. the company i have found deal with $x$ and my mate tried them out and found them very good so will see how the get on.

 

at least at the end of it they should know if the ball joints or wheels are all pointing in the right direction.

 

will let you know how i get on

 

thanks for the help

 

Robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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HI

 

just to let you know that i been to see a very nice man about my car and he has indicated possible areas at fault. had to take a sharp intake of breath when he told me the cost but, this is what he has said looks like is up.

 

1. front suspension is warn

2. all the bushes need to be replaced with Polyurethane bushes (he is going to ask other users what they think of these as can get a lot of road noise)

 

with all this done should handle like a dream.

 

what do you think?

 

Robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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HI

 

the story has changed again. had the car down to my local garage he crawled all over the car and when Hmmm. the only thing i can really see as a problem is the steering rack has a bit to much play on it. so have some long chats over a cup of coffee and Bickkie (I do know the guy for to many years). we have decided to do the following

 

1. Adjust Steering rack to remove as much play as possible, then test the car all being well that is all i may have to do.

2. if the above fails the look at front shocks and replace, again the mechanic is not convinced no damage or leaking can be found.

3. If both of the above fail then Poly bushes here i come.

 

does anyone know how to test shocks on a disco 2 as we cannot see anything wrong with them. the car does have self leveling suspension on it.

 

Robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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HI Everyone

 

had the steering box adjusted and it is running a lot better but the road still seems to still driver the car instead of the other way round. any ideas?

 

robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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HI

 

done a bit of testing and found a couple of things out. on a smooth road the car drives perfect, but as soon as it get bumpy the car hops around as if it is on solid suspension. so instead of the car driving through the bumps it is bouncing off them and making the car feel unstable.

 

any ideas what could be causing this as it is starting to drive me up the wall. just seem to be throwing money at it and not really getting any where.

 

any suggestions please

 

Robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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. ..as soon as it get bumpy the car hops around as if it is on solid suspension. so instead of the car driving through the bumps it is bouncing off them and making the car feel unstable.

When I was younger <_< , I used to play a lot with suspension. You need specialist advice but from what you explain, it sounds like your springs are too strong or the shocks too hard. Springs and shocks can both be replaced (any history behind this?). To me someone has the combination wrong and that's your problem. If it was wear (read shot parts), the car would roll more or continue to bounce down the road. Your avatar shows a Disco. If the rear springs have been replaced, they maybe too rigid.

Tottering around the country side.

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Robbie save your time and money and get it over to Ian Barclay on the Wirral.

 

He's a bible on LRs' and generally gives consultation advice for various well known LR magazines and clubs.

 

He knows them inside out, upside down etc etc and thats all he deals in, Discos and Range Rovers.

 

He's not just a garage, he's a real LR anorak.

In Consilio Sapienta

 

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When I was younger <_< , I used to play a lot with suspension. You need specialist advice but from what you explain, it sounds like your springs are too strong or the shocks too hard. Springs and shocks can both be replaced (any history behind this?). To me someone has the combination wrong and that's your problem. If it was wear (read shot parts), the car would roll more or continue to bounce down the road. Your avatar shows a Disco. If the rear springs have been replaced, they maybe too rigid.

 

HI

 

the car is a disco and has air bags and they where replaced last year and have had no problem with the car since this outing.

 

robbie

AWS Approved Mobile Caravan / Motorhome Service Engineer

WWW. aintreecaravanservices. co. uk

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