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Tow Ball Height


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A few weeks back I grounded the towbar on a speedhump when leaving the Beddgelert Forest site. It actually rubbed the bottom of the blue plastic unlocking wheel. This got me thinking that the towball may be too low as surely such a speedhump must be driven over by thousands of vans a year and would've been built not to cause problems.

 

Now Lunar claim in all their brochures that the standard height of their hitches are 1ft 5ins. Following the incident I measured mine and it was 1ft 4ins, but this is without any load in the car, or noseweight from the van. Is that an acceptable height?

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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We went metric Andy, some time ago, 430mm to 450mm but that is the ball height,

nothing to do with where the locking handle sits on a detachable.

From what I have read the Westphalia towbar/ball seems to be very variable even

when fitted to the same model of car. I have never had a problem with Witter towbars.

Are you sure you have not overloaded the towcar, you are after all a big bloke :D

with a big caravan.

Dons tin helm,

Edited by gumdrop
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You may have gone metric Rod, but inside my head I'm still feet and inches. I'm 6ft 1 and a half not ****m!

Of course I understand that the bottom of the towball etc will be lower than the towball itself and maybe I should post that clearance, although is there such a thing as a statuary minimum ground clearance for cars?

As for a BIG van, well it's the same length as a Troll, a tad wider, a lot taller and has an MTPLM 65kg less than a current Troll, so hardly big.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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You may have gone metric Rod, but inside my head I'm still feet and inches. I'm 6ft 1 and a half not ****m!

Of course I understand that the bottom of the towball etc will be lower than the towball itself and maybe I should post that clearance, although is there such a thing as a statuary minimum ground clearance for cars?

As for a BIG van, well it's the same length as a Troll, a tad wider, a lot taller and has an MTPLM 65kg less than a current Troll, so hardly big.

 

§11. 29 clearly states that no part of a vehicles bodywork shall be lower than that part of the car's tyres in contact with the road surface unless the vehicle in question is used for ground clearance.

Sam :beardy:

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Have always found our Lunars have been more or less level when towing with our Sorrento. Top of tow ball 18". Having said that our recent vans (Clubman SE) seem to have less ground clearance at the rear. We have thus had the opposite problem with clearance and have to be very careful when going up ramps to ferries. I think manufacturers have steadily produced longer single axles without thinking of ground clearance problems. We had an unpleasant experience attempting to leave a site in Caernarvon at Easter. A level but narrow exit suddenly became a right angle bend with an immediate 30 degree slope. We stalled and I couldn't think why and we couldn't move off again. Someone came round and informed us we were grounded at the rear. After much hassle we had to be towed off up the slope fortunately with virtually no damage.

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Fully laden a tow ball should be between 350 - 420 mm to the centre of the ball . Could be the suspension is sagging with weight and needs some help?

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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§11. 29 clearly states that no part of a vehicles bodywork shall be lower than that part of the car's tyres in contact with the road surface. ..

Sorry but that made me laugh. It sounds like a line out of a Python sketch: "And you will note that on this car the tyres actually touch the ground!"

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Sorry but that made me laugh. It sounds like a line out of a Python sketch: "And you will note that on this car the tyres actually touch the ground!"

It made me chuckle too, but I think that was the intent.

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I think the vehicle manufacturer worked out the bodywork clearances,

but no allowance was made for a towbar with a detachable 'ook

The rear of the Eriba Troll has a pronounced angle to allow for steep

changes in road angle. This shows the clearance at the hind end of a Yeti

now imagine your tow 'ook filling this space.

post-60900-0-17031100-1407494174_thumb.jpg

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Fully laden a tow ball should be between 350 - 420 mm to the centre of the ball . Could be the suspension is sagging with weight and needs some help?

 

Dave

 

Correct. That is the legal requirement and there is also an equivalent one for hitch height when the caravan is standing level on level ground: 395 to 465mm.

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I tow at 70kg according to my new Milenco gauge and the car's limit is 75kg. The towbar/ball is 100kg.

The 1ft 4ins was measured when the car was empty and unhitched, the bottom of the towball must be 4ins or so lower.

And yes, the wheels do touch the ground!!!

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi guys, hope you don't mind if I pitch in here as I have the similar issue.

My question is quite simply this: does a higher suspension car automatically mean my towball will be higher or not?

For example if I change from a standard Vx Insignia Estate to a Vx Insignia Coutry Tourer OR VW Passat Alltrack - OR even trade up to an SUV like a Sorento - am I going to get a higher towball? - We live in an estate with a few dreadful speed bumps and the jockey wheel gets clonked every time.

(p. s. I know I could get progressive spring enhancers, but that may not be adequate)

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Hi guys, hope you don't mind if I pitch in here as I have the similar issue.

My question is quite simply this: does a higher suspension car automatically mean my towball will be higher or not?

For example if I change from a standard Vx Insignia Estate to a Vx Insignia Coutry Tourer OR VW Passat Alltrack - OR even trade up to an SUV like a Sorento - am I going to get a higher towball? - We live in an estate with a few dreadful speed bumps and the jockey wheel gets clonked every time.

(p. s. I know I could get progressive spring enhancers, but that may not be adequate)

 

The car manufacturer must make allowances for possible different standing heights of variants of their models. This may require specific towbars. Anyway, the manufacturer must meet the legal requirements concerning towball height.

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Witter's website FAQ's gives a good synopsis of towball and tow hitch heights.

http://www. witter-towbars. co. uk/towbars/faq8. php

 

Simple terms, towball 350 - 420mm to middle of towball and tow hitch 385 - 455mm, but do read the caveats in the FAQs.

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Im no expert on this other than to say on our skoda superb I know the tow bar can get a little close to the floor. Usually when I go on and off our drive on not much of an incline the parking sensors get very unhappy and although ive not done it yet I am sure I. could hit the tow bar on the floor if I tried.

 

My suggestion is slow and steady wins the race.

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