Jump to content

Creaking Towball .....a Different Question


ericfield
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was fully aware of the friction pads becoming contaminated and causing the creaking, groaning.

 

I knew all paint had to be removed from the Towball; that the pads and ball needed scrubbing with fine emery and washed with brake cleaner before each trip.

 

I have done all this religiously for years and avoided creaking.

 

But I recently changed tug. ..from my petrol model to a diesel. ..and have encountered creaking at the end of each journey, despite my fastidious regime before setting off. It's the same caravan.

 

I did wonder if the Towball was scoured and causing excessive scratching to the pads and generating excess dust, because I have found merely wiping the pads with a 'wet wipe' at the start of each tow DOES stop creaking for 200miles.

 

But reading the Alko help notes, they state that diesel cars cause more hitch creaking.

 

I am assuming the diesel emissions are affecting the pads more? Am I in fact merely 'wet wiping off' diesel contaminants?

 

So my question is. ....has anyone considered or attempted to wrap the COMPLETE coupling in polythene or something when towing to protect from exhaust gases?

 

May seem a bit unecessary to some but I have to say the hitch noise difference between my petrol tug and this diesel one is significant.

 

I will double check the ball and pads for damage when I get back to the UK. But just wondered of anyone else has experienced the diesel factor that Alko mention?

Edited by ericfield
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suggest you get the tow car filled with premium diesel or add some Millers. If that doesn't reduce emissions then consider sevicing the car.

Enjoy every minute of every day. It doesn't last nearly as long as you'd like, and there's no guarantee of coming this way again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too had some groaning from the tow hitch when my Discovery was new, probably for the first 1000 miles of towing. It was most noticeable when performing extreme turns of the van at low speed. I inspected and cleaned the towball each time and noticed that it wasn't perfectly smooth, either because I hadn't cleaned it properly at the outset or because of a manufacturing issue. Eventually the groaning disappeared after the ball had been polished smooth by the pads.

 

It's not likely to be the emissions because the D4 has a DPF, and downward facing exhausts that are under the car and not poking out the back.

Land Rover is now back towing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never considered wrapping the hitch with clingfilm but it can't do any harm.

 

I too clean my hitch as you do and the dreaded creaking almost always returns after a long tow. Diesel car so presumably a possible link here!

 

I would be interested to know if wrapping does solve the problem. A quick, cheap and safe solution. :unsure:

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had the same problem exactly as described. Cause was a non Alko tow ball. Identified by fitter. I replaced with proper one. End of creaking.

Kia KX 3 auto / Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril and Swift Challenger 570 (2010 model Not towed - used as a static)
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too had some groaning from the tow hitch when my Discovery was new, probably for the first 1000 miles of towing. It was most noticeable when performing extreme turns of the van at low speed. I inspected and cleaned the towball each time and noticed that it wasn't perfectly smooth, either because I hadn't cleaned it properly at the outset or because of a manufacturing issue. Eventually the groaning disappeared after the ball had been polished smooth by the pads.

 

It's not likely to be the emissions because the D4 has a DPF, and downward facing exhausts that are under the car and not poking out the back.

You may be right. The towbar is the Disco removable so should be an Alko. But it was new. I did thoroughly clean all the paint with emery and brake cleaner fluid, but the ball didn't seem as perfectly smooth as my previous 9 year old Towball!

Of course it's just possible some residual paint is in these scours and is being released as the pads polish it smooth.

 

Will give them a good looking over when I get back to the UK.

 

 

If nothing else it may scare off illegal immigrants trying to hitch a ride through Calais! Lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never considered wrapping the hitch with clingfilm but it can't do any harm

 

 

 

 

I always do this, then put the alko golf ball over the top. keeps the towball immaculate :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surely the cling film gets torn apart by friction after a very short distance?

Nissan X-Trail Tekna + Coachman Festival 450

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first time I got the creaking, I wondered what the hell it was. I stopped and checked everything that could be making the noise and eventually decided that it was the hitch. Finding nothing wrong, I carried on, mulling over in my mind the cause & cure.

 

It's an AlKo hitch & ball, so designed to go together and the pads are meant to grip the ball tightly, so creaking will occur when forces move the ball in the hitch / hitch on the ball.

 

As the pads and ball wear, the surfaces will become smoother and the noise will diminish, but that is not necessarily a good thing, because that means the pads are no longer gripping the ball so tightly and adjustment will return things to how they should be. This however, may bring back the noise and that may be the price to pay for the hitch to work as designed.

 

So turn up the volume or the radio & carry on!! :)

Bailey Orion News & Information - 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first time I got the creaking, I wondered what the hell it was. I stopped and checked everything that could be making the noise and eventually decided that it was the hitch. Finding nothing wrong, I carried on, mulling over in my mind the cause & cure.

 

It's an AlKo hitch & ball, so designed to go together and the pads are meant to grip the ball tightly, so creaking will occur when forces move the ball in the hitch / hitch on the ball.

 

As the pads and ball wear, the surfaces will become smoother and the noise will diminish, but that is not necessarily a good thing, because that means the pads are no longer gripping the ball so tightly and adjustment will return things to how they should be. This however, may bring back the noise and that may be the price to pay for the hitch to work as designed.

 

So turn up the volume or the radio & carry on!! :)

 

Fair points but maybe something else is also a factor. Brand new towball and new friction pads so things 'at their worst' position but not a sound at all from mine (diesel car with rearward facing exhausts). I have always initial-cleaned any new towball with paint remover which may or may not be a factor.

Sam :beardy:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used yellow Nitromoors and a green Scotch scourer to remove the paint, but had to finish with fine emery paper. It wasn't a 100% job I must admit.

Land Rover is now back towing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eric started by saying that he had changed tug and, therefore, towball but same friction pads?

It would seem possible that as any imperfections in the 'roundness' and surface of a ball are improved by the friction pads, those pads will have minute grooves in them caused by the ball surface and will, therefore, collect residue. As those grooves fill, the residue will smear clean surfaces and cause a creak?

Just a thought - could be nonsense!

Sam :beardy:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surely the cling film gets torn apart by friction after a very short distance?

 

I was thinking of wrapping around the outside of the hitch so that contaminants could not get onto the ball.

Santa Fe 7 Seater Premium Manual towing Swift Eccles 480 plated to 1500 kg. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You may be right. The towbar is the Disco removable so should be an Alko. But it was new. I did thoroughly clean all the paint with emery and brake cleaner fluid, but the ball didn't seem as perfectly smooth as my previous 9 year old Towball!

Of course it's just possible some residual paint is in these scours and is being released as the pads polish it smooth.

 

Will give them a good looking over when I get back to the UK.

 

 

If nothing else it may scare off illegal immigrants trying to hitch a ride through Calais! Lol

Are you sure it's not the tow bar creaking? If you stand on the hitch and push the car up and down, can you replicate the sound? We had a Santa Fe and went through everything you've described, only to find out there was a tow bat mounting bolt rubbing on the rear cross member. Took 5mm off the bolt and all ok.

2019 Adria Adora Thames

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eric started by saying that he had changed tug and, therefore, towball but same friction pads?

It would seem possible that as any imperfections in the 'roundness' and surface of a ball are improved by the friction pads, those pads will have minute grooves in them caused by the ball surface and will, therefore, collect residue. As those grooves fill, the residue will smear clean surfaces and cause a creak?

Just a thought - could be nonsense!

I did wonder of I should change the pads anyway from the outset. ...in case they had 'bedded into' the old tow ball in some way.

 

It's not a real problem, something to tackle when Iget back. ..if it hasn't bedded in in the meantime. I was just surprised that a simple wipe with a wet wipe removed obviously loose dirt/dust/debris which immediately stopped the noise for a significant period.

 

This made me wonder if it WAS pad wear or diesel contaminants. ..as it wiped off so easily and stopped the noise.

 

I've got a couple more long tows coming up so will listen for improvement

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have been away and the creaking started when we reached the site. I knew what it was so wasn't worried. I sprayed some brake cleaner into the the hitch and it stopped until we arrived home. Took out the pads, which is a simple job, and they were both very shiney. I have used fine sand paper to clean them. We will see if it has worked when we hitch up again soon. Has always worked in the past.

Sadly no van anymore but 35 years was a good run

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had both petrol and various diesel tugs. ... SOME diesels can cause contamination of the coupling and creaking. .. I put it down to where / how the exhaust points on the tug. .. SOME also plaster the front of the 'van with black smuts!

 

My latest tug (the Galaxy) don't do it. .. but has a DPF plus the exhaust points down to the ground rather than directly backwards (when I've had the problem with other tugs).

 

An exhaust pipe re-director might help with the problem??

 

Alternatively just give the ball and pads a wipe over with brake cleaner (or your favoured solvent on a rag) when you stop for a rest/cuppa en route ? (Although it will be a slight pain to do so, it will stop the noise). There should be no need for emery paper to be used on every occasion (imho)... in fact virtually never.

2012 Bailey Pegasus 2 Rimini towed by 2019 Ford Galaxy Titanium X, 2.0 EcoBlue, 8 speed auto.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if this will help but. .................earlier this year I had exactly the same problem to the point where folk walking on the side of the streets that I was driving along turned to see what the noise was so this is what I did, by the way my hitch is a Winterhoff 3000 and the bar is a detachable Westfalia

 

Cleaned the pads, used fine emery on the tow ball, sprayed everything with brake cleaner. ...still the same. .............took the pads out once we got to our destination in Buxton and lightly used the emery on the pads. ..............slight improvement. ..took the bar out and greased it at every point that it touched the fixed part on the car. ................RESULT. .......quite as a mouse and has remained so ever since and this was all done back in May

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you sure it's not the tow bar creaking? If you stand on the hitch and push the car up and down, can you replicate the sound? We had a Santa Fe and went through everything you've described, only to find out there was a tow bat mounting bolt rubbing on the rear cross member. Took 5mm off the bolt and all ok.

Releasing the stabiliser arm stops it. I know it's the pads interaction with the towball. ..just surprised at the amount of easily removable muck and wondered if it was diesel or dust.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is diesel particulates, and mostly from your own engine. Even with most DPFs you are still putting out quite a bit, especially as the engine will be working harder than designed because you are towing. Re-read my original post and see how you do with those changes to clean your fuel and exhaust paths. I had quite a bit of creaking with the old X3 and interestingly none at all with this one. I wonder if the exhaust regs have tightened up in the interim.

Enjoy every minute of every day. It doesn't last nearly as long as you'd like, and there's no guarantee of coming this way again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

I thought that I would update on this one. I contacted the hitch manufacturer and they put me in touch with their caravan techincal guy in the Uk. He was very helpful and whilst now I have two sets of new unused pads supplied by both Winterhoff in Germany and a set from the UK distibutor we have concluded, and this really surprised me, that it is the diesel particulates that cause the problem.

 

I have just got back from a 200 mile round trip with the caravan and whilst the noise was there is wasnt particulalry bad and I didnt clean the towing ball or the pads but for the next trip I will give them both a squirt of something nice just to clean them off.

 

So folks anyone who has this issue and you are running a diesel then either change the car, clean both the ball (with fine emery) and the pads or just turn up the radio

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...