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Caravans Coming Unhitched!


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We have been away at Morn Hill CC site for a few days, a site I must add without any Internet access!

 

In the space of 24 hours we saw two caravans become detached from the tow vehicles! The first was as a caravan was leaving the pitch. Loud bang and caravan on the ground!

The second one was leaving the lower site, when it came off. Rolled backwards a good few yards, knocking over exit barrier and backwards into the trees. One written off caravan! Amazingly it had driven across the site for some distance with no problems.

Luckily no injuries!

 

Do these people never check to make sure everything is attached properly!

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

 

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Do these people never check to make sure everything is attached properly!

 

My mum & dad once left a rally without actually hitching the 'van at all . . distracted while preparing to hitch up by friends coming over for a chat . .

 

People are only human . . not automata

Roughing it . . but in comfort . .

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That's worrying, is it do you think people not checking to see if the vans properly hitched on the tow ball or in the case of detachable tow hooks, the tow hook is not attached properly to the car?

I've got a detachable one and it's a bit worrying thinking all that weight on something that just pops out when you turn a little red key.

Compass Corona (Magnum) 524 (2003) -----------VW Passat Alltrack 170 BHP DSG

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Hi

After hitching it is good practice to lift the front of the van against the ball with the jocky wheel this will ensure the hitch is fully engaged

Sandy

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.

I always count to eight …

 

1. Check the hitch indicator
2. Clamp the stabiliser
3. Attach the breakaway cable
4. Connect 12N plug
5. Connect 12S plug
6. Raise and clamp the jockey wheel
7. Handbrake off

 

…. And finish with “eight, take the weight”… lift the hitch to check it that it stays connected.

 

John

Edited by Johnaldo
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Its worth taking time to check the caravan is properly attached before setting off . It is not usually a trailer detaches but not attached in the first place .

 

As said above taking the weight by using the jockey wheel helps indicate the hitch is attached but you can be mistaken if the jockey wheel takes the weight and the hitch is sitting on the ball as the jockey wheel is taking the weight it can just allow the cars suspension rise making it look like its attached .

 

 

Dave

Edited by CommanderDave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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That's quite scarey really isn't it! To be totally honest, I never previously really checked the hitch myself, I relied on the little green button popping up on the hitch. Though since joining this forum and reading about detachments in the past, I do now double check by lifting the van on the jockey after hitching. (I thought I was realatively experienced till I join here!)

 

Do we think detachments might be on the increase? I wonder if the latest design of hitches from both Alko and BPW possibly make it more likely that you think you're securely hitched when you're not really?

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I find that when leaving a site people wander over to have a chat and say goodbye even though you have been there for a week and they haven't even acknowledged your existence!

I am afraid I am usually rude and ask them to wait whilst I have completed the hitch up. It is so easy to forget something when talking.

Sadly no van anymore but 35 years was a good run

John

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Do these people never check to make sure everything is attached properly!

Certainly the chap whose caravan ran into our caravan some years ago didn't bother! :angry:

 

He drove off of his pitch, and as he turned beside our outfit his caravan became detached and went straight on, with his towhitch striking our caravan and spinning it around. Damage to the corner of our caravan, two broken/twisted rear corner steadies, and extended discussion between his insurers and mine followed.

 

It only takes seconds to check the caravan is securely hitched ready for the road, so I fail to see the problem. Even if distracted, the driver is still responsible for the safety of his vehicle, and that was the opinion of both his and my insurers.

 

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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Finish what you are doing first, Hitching up! I had a caravan come unhitched right opposite

our caravan one day. The breakaway cable set the brake, the owners did not seem to know

what to do so I went out to help. The breakaway had rusted through and broken, the towcar

was backed up and I operated the jockey wheel, "I did not know it (the jockey wheel) it did that"

everything was lined up and I lifted the hitch locking handle to its cocked position another chorus

of "I didn't know it did that" the hitch was lowered onto the ball and it all clicked into place, I checked

it by lifting on the jockey, fine. I gave them a card for a caravan accessorie shop just up the road and

the bits of the breakaway cable and explained that it was a legal requirement that it should be fitted

before they left the site.

Out of curiosity I asked how they hitched up to get here, he said they lifted the caravan onto the ball

then jumped on it to engage it. Can you imagine this caravan passing you on the M5.

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Its worth taking time to check the caravan is properly attached before setting off . It is not usually a trailer detaches but not attached in the first place .

 

As said above taking the weight by using the jockey wheel helps indicate the hitch is attached but you can be mistaken if the jockey wheel takes the weight and the hitch is sitting on the ball as the jockey wheel is taking the weight it can just allow the cars suspension rise making it look like its attached .

 

 

Dave

Point taken, but I jack mine up enough to really know from the effort that I am lifting the vehicle, not just easing off the suspension load.

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Point taken, but I jack mine up enough to really know from the effort that I am lifting the vehicle, not just easing off the suspension load.

+1

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The second one was leaving the lower site, when it came off. Rolled backwards a good few yards, knocking over exit barrier and backwards into the trees. One written off caravan! Amazingly it had driven across the site for some distance with no problems.

 

 

 

 

Not only not hitched up correctly but the breakaway cable could not have been attached because if if had been the caravan would have stopped pdq.

 

It is surprising how far a caravan will travel whilst just sitting on top of the ball. But the first bump and it's off.

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Hi

After hitching it is good practice to lift the front of the van against the ball with the jocky wheel this will ensure the hitch is fully engaged

Sandy

+1 fool proof way of checking

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I find that when leaving a site people wander over to have a chat and say goodbye even though you have been there for a week and they haven't even acknowledged your existence!

I am afraid I am usually rude and ask them to wait whilst I have completed the hitch up. It is so easy to forget something when talking.

John, I don't consider that as being rude. Just a careful driver making sure that their rig is ready for the road. If you drive onto the road and your caravan becomes detatched and causes an accident resulting in an injury to somebody, try telling the police, "sorry. I was distracted when I was hitching up" I'm sure that they'll be very forgiving.

YOU are the driver and it's up to YOU to make sure that it's roadworthy.

Keep being careful, (or rude as you call it), you know it makes sense.

 

Mike.

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

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I find that when leaving a site people wander over to have a chat and say goodbye even though you have been there for a week and they haven't even acknowledged your existence!

I am afraid I am usually rude and ask them to wait whilst I have completed the hitch up. It is so easy to forget something when talking.

anyone who's been through training for a private pilot's licence is taught pre flight checks via some mnemonic like CHIFTWAP and I seem to remember being taught that if you were interrupted you should go back to the 'C' and start again.

Mike

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a couple of people have raised the possibility of the detachable tow ball becoming . .. errr detached . .. rather than the caravan from the towball. I have wondered about this myself a couple of times. The jockey wheel trick will make sure the caravan is locked on to the towball but it would be nice to have suggestions for how to check the detachable tow bar end itself. Mine is quite new and it goes in with a very solid feeling clunk and there are some failsafe plungers and switches and keys that reassure me quite a bit. But when I was asked last week to tow my daughters horse box with her 7 year old detachable towbar, it looked like the towbar end was in place but in truth it wasn't latched and was being held only by rust and dirt. I had to clean it up quite a bit to get it to lock home. I suspect that kicking it downwards as a test doesn't put anywhere near the force that the trailer would put on it going over a bump.

Mike

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Troutbeck Head CC has a steep climb straight after the exit barrier and there used to be a sign at the barrier saying how many caravans had become detached that year. The number was usually quite eye-opening. Surprisingly, the sign was not there on our latest visit, but there has been a change of wardens so maybe they took it away. I thought it served as a good reminder.

2019 Ford Kuga 2. 0 (150 bhp) AWD Manual and 2022 Coachman Acadia GTS 565.

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one other observation on detachable towbars. The practice of simply looping the breakaway cable round the towball neck, is not advisable. I believe all of the approved detachable towbars come with a bracket on the side of the housing to which the breakaway cable must be fastened. On mine the only way of using this bracket was to clip the metal end of the cable to the bracket which made the thing too long and it dragged on the ground. I solved it (I hope) by putting a large caribiner through the bracket and I can then loop the breakaway cable back on itself.

Mike

Edited by mike5100
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I never had a problem with my old Sprite Alpine, nor did I have problems with my Trailer tent, or my motorcycle trailer, but on my second time out (4th hitch up) off came the Orion.

 

On hitching up, it looked like it was on, the hitch green marker was showing, but on reflection the stabiliser clamp went down without much pressure.

 

The Van stayed on leaving the camp, turned down the lane up to a 'T' junction and as I pulled away, off it came.

 

The breakaway cable did its job and the Van stopped, the electrics plug pulled out - 7 pin. A 13 pin plug, I fear would have ripped out the wires!!!! :o

 

Lots of hooting and shouting and abuse from a car driver that arrived behind as I was re-hitching. I went to apologise, but the foul language, made me ask if he couldn't get by. Apparently he couldn't. Shame! Never argue with a diabetic when they need to eat!!!

 

So things I learned:

 

Be paranoid about hitching

 

Have a biscuit to make sure you are not on the edge of going Hypoglycemic (I was!!!) Stress seems to use up blood sugars much quicker than normal!

 

Always carry a spare breakaway cable with you, I had to use a chain and two padlocks which I had with me.

 

If that stabilser clamp isn't a struggle to get down - it isn't attached.

 

Get down and look to see if it is engaged.

 

Check with the jockey wheel to see if it will lift the car.

 

Remain paranoid for the next few miles!

 

 

Have I ever needed to use the spare breakaway cable - yes, when I unhitched and moved the car away with the cable still attached! :blush:

 

Life is a learning curve.

Bailey Orion News & Information - 

 

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one other observation on detachable towbars. The practice of simply looping the breakaway cable round the towball neck, is not advisable. I believe all of the approved detachable towbars come with a bracket on the side of the housing to which the breakaway cable must be fastened. On mine the only way of using this bracket was to clip the metal end of the cable to the bracket which made the thing too long and it dragged on the ground. I solved it (I hope) by putting a large caribiner through the bracket and I can then loop the breakaway cable back on itself.

Mike

Thats what i have to do too. Getting the caribiner through the small hole on my tow bar is a work of art!! :(

Sadly no van anymore but 35 years was a good run

John

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Yet another reason why i actually think the trailer test/ training is a good idea for all. You'll fail the test if you don't wind the jockey wheel down to jack the back of the car up once you've hitched up. I'm sure alot of people would benefit from the training. I've been around farms and towed illegally for years before i did my test. The things you see on the road with regard over loading, incorrect breakaway cable placement, unsuitable car/trailer ride heights and absolutely shocking reversing beggars belief at times. Unfortunately lots of people have it as grandfather rights to tow which means that someone who has never towed in their life, so long as they have it on their licence, can go out, buy a discovery, hitch up and tow a 3. 5 tonne plant trailer/ 25' caravan around the country. Scary!


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I believe all of the approved detachable towbars come with a bracket on the side of the housing to which the breakaway cable must be fastened.

 

Westfalia towbars don't. With them you have no option but to wrap the cable around the neck.

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I wonder how many caravans fitted with the Winterhoff 3000 hitch become unhitched because they only close if the ball is in the hitch.

 

Dave

Edited by CommanderDave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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I wonder how many caravans fitted with the Winterhoff 3000 hitch become unhitched because they only close if the ball is in the hitch.

 

Dave

 

I didn't know that but it is a very sensible design addition. I genuinely believe, however, for both types, if hitched means properly seated ball etc then there have been NO cases of unhitching just disconnecting through not seating ball correctly.

Sam :beardy:

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