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How Good Is Alko Anti-Sway?


AngryofMayfair
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Does anyone have any figures (from caravan insurance co's etc) or failing that any opinions based on personal experience on how effective the ALKO ATC/AKS combo and the newer ESC kit actually is in real life???

 

Here 'down under' there are very few Euro vans with the ALKO fit out.

Major local suppliers of vans are now starting to offer ALKO ESC as an option.

A lot of people are sceptical about how good it is but at the same time there seems to be more and more reports coming in of caravan roll-overs on our Aussie roads, most of which seem to be caused by caravans developing uncontrollable snaking.

 

My imported Bailey van has the (older) ATC/AKS combo fitted as standard for all Bailey vans.

I have only once noticed it work (I think!) and that was only during a low speed drive over a railway crossing.

I guess we have to trust that it *will* work when it's needed as there does not seem to be any real diagnostics or read-out for the owner telling if it works or has actually had to work during a journey.

Any info regarding the number of actuall roll-overs or accidents with vans using ATC/ESC would be appreciated.

Failing that any info where people know that ATC/ESC has actually saved them from an accident would be great!

 

Many thanks

 

VW Touareg 2011, V6 TDI, Bailey Unicorn Barcelona

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Interesting points. .....I have just had ATC fitted on my 'van,by Alko staff,

 

I have been out twice with it so far and only known it come in once. ........There are thousands of caravans in Uk without either system and I have yet to hear either positives or negatives on them. ......

 

Must admit that I was impressed with the YouTube demonstration film. .

 

 

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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A lot of times I have been aware my ATC unit has "activated" but never in a situation where van turnover would have otherwise been imminent. These are where the "S" manouver arising from the entry, path through, and exit from a roundabout provoke it; albeit I could well have been pushing on. Also on undulating ground, rough field campsites where the van was rolling about over humps, it has activated.

So I am confident it is monitoring things and ready to act when that really is needed; its above unnecessary sensitivity comes more as a confidence building thing than an issue.

 

Having said that I have towed for over thirty years without actually needing it. Once, long ago when provoked to do an "Elk" test to avoid a collision, I did have a massive snake, but survived; there it would have been very very welcome.

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Apparently, according to a member of Derby Caravans, the Elddis system will record how often it

has been operated and the time/date. Not sure whether Al-Ko system is the same.

2011 Land Rover Freelander 2, Lago grey 2013 Freelander Dynamic Black, followed by a 2013 Elddis 574 Magnum GT white

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Apparently, according to a member of Derby Caravans, the Elddis system will record how often it

has been operated and the time/date. Not sure whether Al-Ko system is the same.

 

 

 

Reportedly the Al-Ko ATC does and is used in the Tow Car of the Year test for a qualative assessment of the towing stability.

It is not a "user" accessible feature, Al-Ko I believe attend the above test with all the decoding kit.

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I think I read that the ALKO system does record time & date of it operating but that info is not available to the owner and even worse - once the systems log fills up the red light (which is the *only* diagnostic tool the user has) comes on and makes the system unusable and has to be reset by ALKO or Bailey!

Not sure just how true this is but it would be great if there were a way that we users/owners could access the data and if necessary reset it!

VW Touareg 2011, V6 TDI, Bailey Unicorn Barcelona

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So, the equipment doesn't actually belong to the person who bought it then???????

The owner should, of course, be able to access the readings.

 

Don't understand why that makes anydifference to the ATC's ownership; lots of modern electronic kit has non user assessible data and fault, stores.

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Reportedly the Al-Ko ATC does and is used in the Tow Car of the Year test for a qualative assessment of the towing stability.

It is not a "user" accessible feature, Al-Ko I believe attend the above test with all the decoding kit.

Hm, not sure what ALKO ATC is doing being involved in a Tow Car of the Year test??? Unless it's used for all tow cars in the same manner? Buy what would be the point - it actually should detract from any tow car's towing merits?

VW Touareg 2011, V6 TDI, Bailey Unicorn Barcelona

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Not what I was told. .....why don't you ask Al-Ko? My dealer doesn't think this 'filling up' to red light occurs either. ..

 

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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I think I read that the ALKO system does record time & date of it operating but that info is not available to the owner and even worse - once the systems log fills up the red light (which is the *only* diagnostic tool the user has) comes on and makes the system unusable and has to be reset by ALKO or Bailey!

Not sure just how true this is but it would be great if there were a way that we users/owners could access the data and if necessary reset it!

 

In 4 years an nearing 20K miles my unit has not "locked up". I believe leaving it coupled to a live 12 volts, as in coupled to a car, for a period clears the memory in some manner.

Hm, not sure what ALKO ATC is doing being involved in a Tow Car of the Year test??? Unless it's used for all tow cars in the same manner? Buy what would be the point - it actually should detract from any tow car's towing merits?

 

It is on the towed caravans, just as they it is provided as a service to those testing; what is the technical hang up in doing that?

I don't think they use it in active mode, but in monitoring mode.

Edited by JTQ
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I don't think they use it in active mode, but in monitoring mode.

ah OK, that makes sense. .. :) Thanks

VW Touareg 2011, V6 TDI, Bailey Unicorn Barcelona

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Not what I was told. .....why don't you ask Al-Ko? My dealer doesn't think this 'filling up' to red light occurs either. ..

 

geoff

 

It looks as though it is user resettable to a degree

 

From the ALKO FAQ:

 

My LED is green at the start of my journey but red by the end. What has happened?

The most likely cause is low voltage or a loose connection in the towbar plug wiring.

ATC constantly records errors when in operation. When the memory is full a constant red LED light is shown. The back log of errors can be cleared by plugging the unit into a constant power source for 12 hours. After this time drive the vehicle for a short distance the light should turn green.

It is recommended that you get the electrics on your towbar checked.

My LED light is constantly red, I have covered the above steps and the light is STILL red. What do I do?

The above steps will clear only minor errors. If having followed these steps the light stays red you should arrange for an AL-KO inspection.

VW Touareg 2011, V6 TDI, Bailey Unicorn Barcelona

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Does anyone have any figures (from caravan insurance co's etc) or failing that any opinions based on personal experience on how effective the ALKO ATC/AKS combo and the newer ESC kit actually is in real life???

 

Here 'down under' there are very few Euro vans with the ALKO fit out.

Major local suppliers of vans are now starting to offer ALKO ESC as an option.

A lot of people are sceptical about how good it is but at the same time there seems to be more and more reports coming in of caravan roll-overs on our Aussie roads, most of which seem to be caused by caravans developing uncontrollable snaking.

 

My imported Bailey van has the (older) ATC/AKS combo fitted as standard for all Bailey vans.

I have only once noticed it work (I think!) and that was only during a low speed drive over a railway crossing.

I guess we have to trust that it *will* work when it's needed as there does not seem to be any real diagnostics or read-out for the owner telling if it works or has actually had to work during a journey.

Any info regarding the number of actuall roll-overs or accidents with vans using ATC/ESC would be appreciated.

Failing that any info where people know that ATC/ESC has actually saved them from an accident would be great!

 

Many thanks

 

I have the ATC/AKS combo on my Valencia S2 as I did on the Pegasus 524 I had before this.

 

I noticed the system working on both vans and on one occasion to good effect, I was overtaking a wagon on a downhill stretch of the A1 where the road bent to the right, the road was damp after a short shower, as the caravan got approx level with the cab of the wagon it swerved quite violently to the left probably a combination of the bow wave caused by the wagon, damp road conditions, going down hill, bearing right and a speed approaching 60mph, however I really felt the system kick in, it quickly levelled things up and I felt it applying the brakes and slowing everything down, I feel sure that if the system hadn't been fitted the outcome could well have been different as there was little room for manoeuvre in the position I found myself.

 

I have felt the system operate several times since (but thankfully not in situations as described above) often when going down particular bumpy roads and when negotiating bends on the same.

 

In my experience it's a good safety feature and well worth having installed if it's not already.

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It looks as though it is user resettable to a degree

 

From the ALKO FAQ:

 

My LED is green at the start of my journey but red by the end. What has happened?

The most likely cause is low voltage or a loose connection in the towbar plug wiring.

ATC constantly records errors when in operation. When the memory is full a constant red LED light is shown. The back log of errors can be cleared by plugging the unit into a constant power source for 12 hours. After this time drive the vehicle for a short distance the light should turn green.

It is recommended that you get the electrics on your towbar checked.

My LED light is constantly red, I have covered the above steps and the light is STILL red. What do I do?

The above steps will clear only minor errors. If having followed these steps the light stays red you should arrange for an AL-KO inspection.

 

 

Interesting stuff. ..thanks. ...............I wonder why Aussie caravans turn over so often??????? To fast. ..badly loaded or bad roads!

 

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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Interesting stuff. ..thanks. ...............I wonder why Aussie caravans turn over so often??????? To fast. ..badly loaded or bad roads!

 

geoff

 

Avoiding kangaroos probably :D

 

Ian

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Have towed my van 5. 5K miles in last 12 months and only time I felt it come on was while negotiaing two offset speed humps on a Caravan Club site.

According to my service man though, when he gave my van it's first years service (with me present) he found that the brake shoes were approximately half worn and quite a build up of brake dust in each drum. He put this down to what he thinks is the ATC continually dabbing on the brakes whilst high speed towing along motorways and autobahns - he feels that this goes on without the driver feeling it due to the continual buffeting etc from HGV's and the like. This is only his theory but it does sound plausible and would account for the fairly rapid brake shoe wear - although 5. 5K miles in one year is probably equivalent to 2-3 years on the average caravan which would give the brake shoes an average life of 5-6 years which sounds reasonable to me.

Land Rover Freelander 2 SD4 XS and 2013 Bailey Unicorn S2 Valencia

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Now on ATC equipped van number 4 . .. it does occasionally activate when exiting roundabouts with strange cambers etc. I assume it may be activating at other times when I am not aware.

 

Personally after a lifetime of caravanning I would not choose to be without it.

2018 Swift Elegance 580  towed by a 2018 Volvo XC60 D5 Power Pulse R Design

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Avoiding kangaroos probably :D

 

Ian

Well yes, a lot of people will not drive on our country roads after dusk or in the night as roos do jump out in front of you without any warning and they are not the sort of thing you want to hit, especially if they ride up the bonnet and come through the windscreen. ..

VW Touareg 2011, V6 TDI, Bailey Unicorn Barcelona

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Interesting stuff. ..thanks. ...............I wonder why Aussie caravans turn over so often??????? To fast. ..badly loaded or bad roads!

 

geoff

Where to start. .. Many locally made Aussie vans are nothing like what is seen in UK/Europe. They still use methods of construction from the 30's & 40's - a very heavy chassis on cart springs with heavy timber frame clad in aluminium sheeting, fitted out with heavy cabinets and bathrooms etc.

Also some are badly designed with heavy kitchens at the front or back, not over the axles where they should be. .

Couple that to the fact that many of them are much heavier than the tow vehicle and badly loaded it's hardly surprising that they easily become unstable when being passed by large trucks etc. ..

There must be a massive market here for ALKO anti-sway products and the like but many are sceptical of its effectiveness, hence my original questions. ..

 

Thanks for the replies.

VW Touareg 2011, V6 TDI, Bailey Unicorn Barcelona

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I changed from a twin axle Compass rallye 635 to a Unicorn Valencia S2 and was looking forward to seeing how it towed with the ATC. Have to say I was disappointed. Towing it with a Jeep Cherokee, with a kerbweight of 2140kg the Bailey did not feel stable (whereas my much heavier Compass did) to the extent that I asked the dealer to check if the ATC was working. I was told that it was.

 

I have now changed to a LR Discovery 3 which tows the van very well, but then a Disco 3 would tow anything well. I personally think the ATC system is over hyped. A single axle van, even with ATC will never be as stable as a twin axle. I cannot ever recall being aware that the ATC has activated while towing and I am surprised that there is no indication inside the towing vehicle to tell you whether it is working or not. I would be interested to know how those users who say they have been aware of the ATC working were able to tell that this was the case. What indication did they have that led them to realise the system was operating?

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AL-KO ATC won't make the tow feel any more stable or comfortable - it only operates in extreme circumstances.

Land Rover is now back towing.

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I have now changed to a LR Discovery 3 which tows the van very well, but then a Disco 3 would tow anything well. I personally think the ATC system is over hyped. A single axle van, even with ATC will never be as stable as a twin axle. I cannot ever recall being aware that the ATC has activated while towing and I am surprised that there is no indication inside the towing vehicle to tell you whether it is working or not. I would be interested to know how those users who say they have been aware of the ATC working were able to tell that this was the case. What indication did they have that led them to realise the system was operating?

ATC is over-hyped. ...couldn’t agree more. It is over-sensitive & if it comes on when going round an uneven corner it is like a wheel seizing-up & the tow car is likely to react by swerving to one side. This happened to me when I first had it & I was lucky not to end up in the ditch! I now go round the corners/uneven areas that I know of with great care. Believe me, if it comes on hard you will know about it especially if turning at the time!

Travelling along any uneven road sets it off, yet when I skidded on a slippy island it didn't work at all so I'm not impressed to say the least. I can well understand one of the posts saying the brake shoes are getting prematurely worn through over-activation as I have also felt it momentarily drag on what appear to be smooth M/Ways.

All-in-all, IMHO, I sooner be without it but I can see that a lot of people might potentialy benifit from it.

3L auto Nissan Terrano, 2004 & Swift Elegance 530, 2018. As Leonardo da Vinci once said: 'If you find from your own experience that something is a fact & it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority & base your reasoning on your own findings' ie: use your common sense!

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AL-KO ATC won't make the tow feel any more stable or comfortable - it only operates in extreme circumstances.

Very true, in fact it can actualy make progress somewhat uncomfortable especialy over uneven or wallowing surfaces. Depends what you call 'extreme'. Any uneven wallowing surface seems capable of setting it off. Though it does require some sensitivity which is not always inherent in either the driver or the vehicle. Soft suspension tends to mask it whereas, say, a medium -priced 4x4 (with firm suspension) is likely to accentuate it.

It's very telling to try ‘vans with & without under the same conditions, IMHO it’s not a totally positive experience by any means.

Edited by micktheshed

3L auto Nissan Terrano, 2004 & Swift Elegance 530, 2018. As Leonardo da Vinci once said: 'If you find from your own experience that something is a fact & it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority & base your reasoning on your own findings' ie: use your common sense!

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AL-KO ATC won't make the tow feel any more stable or comfortable - it only operates in extreme circumstances.

 

And it doesn't matter what car you have on the front. .......most cars give a reasonable tow these days. ......I suggest that some who reckon it comes on as frequently as stated may need to have their tyres pumped up!

 

 

geof

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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