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Any caravaners on here

Tow hitch squeaking

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sean logie25/09/2017 07:48:46
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424 forum posts
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Just recently bought a 1995 lunar clubman 520/4 . Had our first trip this weekend all went fine until the journey home when the hitch started squeaking, thought it was the car at first ,then I stopped and bounced up and down on the drawbar ,it was definitely the hitch that the noise was coming from .so I'm looking to get some new friction pads . Are there different types of material. We will usually be traveling to the far north west coast on our travels so tge roads are not the smoothest. Any tips .

Sean
Jon Gibbs25/09/2017 08:58:01
613 forum posts

Hi Sean,

Is it an Alko hitch? Just google "alko hitch pads". See also here... http://www.al-ko.co.uk/pages_faqs/friction-pads.html

Alko reckon the pads should last about 33k miles and they cost about £30-50. You could change them but another way is to try roughing up their faces and the towball with fine emery paper - that used to stop the squeeks for me.

HTH

Jon

Edited By Jon Gibbs on 25/09/2017 09:00:04

Edited By Jon Gibbs on 25/09/2017 09:00:46

sean logie25/09/2017 10:00:14
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424 forum posts
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Cheers Jon , I was going to try that, and yes it's an alko hitch .

Sean
George Clarihew25/09/2017 15:20:37
45 forum posts

Fabric conditioner quiets friction pads and appears to have no harmful effects on their performance.

Jon Gibbs25/09/2017 15:38:49
613 forum posts

Hi George,

I may be wrong but I think that the friction pads are there to grip the tow ball in order to help dampen driver induced oscillations. Fabric conditioners to me sound as if they will reduce the friction - especially since some contain silicone-like compounds these days.

Probably reduces squeaking but at what cost to functionality?

Jon

John Rudd25/09/2017 15:43:56
952 forum posts
54 photos

I've been a caravanner for more than 30 years.....

Suffice to say, the tow ball and hitch should be cleaned periodically, but , but ......do not grease or oil....

It is surprising how many folk think that by greasing the ball/hitch, will eliminate or reduce any odd noises such as squeeling/squeeking....

Brian Rutherford25/09/2017 17:02:38
40 forum posts
3 photos

Been caravanning for 7 years. Creaking balls are good shows you have friction. I did manage to turn a caravan over on the M5 a few years ago. Now that gave me creaking balls!.

Peter G. Shaw25/09/2017 21:17:59
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816 forum posts
32 photos

Been caravanning since 1980, and towing trailers with a car for 15 years before that, and since I was 13 on a tractor.

I did have a stabilizer for about 10 years between1998 and 2008 and can't say that it made much difference. Before 1998 and since 2008 when I found the stabilizer couldn't be transfered to the then replacement car, I haven't bothered with one. What I do find is that at maximum legal speeds there is an occasional twitch from the caravan which does not occur at slightly lower speeds. So, although I understand that they are supposed to assist in controlling snaking, it's not something I've experienced to any great degree. In fact, I 'll go so far as to say that I prefer to be able to feel that slight twitch and to know to slow down rather than have it masked until it's too late.

I mentioned maximum legal speeds. I find it rather disconcerting the way some caravanners overtake me at what are obviously illegal speeds, eg, I may be travelling at 60 on the motorway, and can find myself being passed at a speed which even allowing for any speedometer discrepancy, is obviously an illegal speed. I do wonder if these people are relying too much on their stabilizers to smooth out the inevitable twitches of the caravan.

One question though. I note from the pictures shown earlier in the thread that there is an inference that the Alko hitch has stabilizing equipment built in. As I'm currently looking at the possibility of buying a new caravan, can someone confirm that this is indeed the case?

Regards,

Peter G. Shaw

Andrew Johnston25/09/2017 22:17:56
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3467 forum posts
412 photos

I did tow a caravan once, but more usually tow glider trailers. In my experience stabilisers do help; some combinations of car and trailer can snake well below the legal minimum speed. Getting the hitch down load correct also helps a lot, and not too much weight in the back of the trailer even if balanced at the front.

The Alko hitch I have on the small glider trailer has a built in stabilizer. In use after hitching up you wind a knob until it clicks. This moves two plastic pads into contact with the ball. Then a lever is pushed down which further clamps the pads onto the ball, presumably via some sort of cam or tapered key. I suspect my pads are worn out as I've done a lot of towing with the trailer, certainly low tens of thousands of miles.

For demon towing you have to bow to the Dutch. If you're going down the French motorways at just below maximum towing speed and a caravan whizzes past, you can bet your last dollar it'll have a Dutch number plate. When I worked in Holland it looked like about 30% of cars in carpark had hitches.

Andrew

duncan webster25/09/2017 23:09:59
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1180 forum posts
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I used to work in deepest North Wales, the antics of some shed draggers who would hold up lines of traffic miles long when I was trying to get home make me wish that all their towballs would creak and drop off!

George Clarihew25/09/2017 23:36:36
45 forum posts
Posted by Jon Gibbs on 25/09/2017 15:38:49:

Hi George,

I may be wrong but I think that the friction pads are there to grip the tow ball in order to help dampen driver induced oscillations. Fabric conditioners to me sound as if they will reduce the friction - especially since some contain silicone-like compounds these days.

Probably reduces squeaking but at what cost to functionality?

Jon

Lenor fabric conditioner has cured the squeaking I have experienced but I may just be lucky or load my trailers/vans to the correct noseweight balance and drive properly. Either that or plain lucky not to have needed the use of stabilisers, not since learning to go a bike anyway smiley

sean logie26/09/2017 06:05:36
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424 forum posts
38 photos
Duncan Webster, you are either attention seeking or you really don't like people who chose to tow caravans , either way if you have nothing to contribute to this thread other than insults .... be on your way fella .

Sean
Clive India26/09/2017 07:30:00
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100 forum posts
Posted by duncan webster on 25/09/2017 23:09:59:I used to work in deepest North Wales, the antics of some shed draggers who would hold up lines of traffic miles long when I was trying to get home make me wish that all their towballs would creak and drop off!

Seems to have hit the spot for me.

Nick_G26/09/2017 08:12:38
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1808 forum posts
745 photos
Posted by duncan webster on 25/09/2017 23:09:59:

I used to work in deepest North Wales, the antics of some shed draggers who would hold up lines of traffic miles long when I was trying to get home make me wish that all their towballs would creak and drop off!

.

I used to spend quite a bit of time in North Wales (Abersoch) The general feeling of many of the locals was that caravans should only be allowed to use A and B roads between 8pm and 6am

There used to be a lot of accidents with somehow-someway involving a caravan. Not sure if this was the result of the towing driver not being overly competent with the task or others getting frustrated and taking chances to overtake. Probably a combination of both I would think.?

Do caravans contain self destruct detonation charges.? - As they seem to explode into tiny fragments when involved in the smallest of bumps.

Nick

John Rudd26/09/2017 08:17:15
952 forum posts
54 photos
 
Posted by sean logie on 26/09/2017 06:05:36:
Duncan Webster, you are either attention seeking or you really don't like people who chose to tow caravans , either way if you have nothing to contribute to this thread other than insults .... be on your way fella .

Sean

Sean,

He is stuck in traffic being held up by someone towing a caravan.......wink     

I'll get me coat......

On a more serious note, have you had any joy resolving the squeeking?

Edited By John Rudd on 26/09/2017 08:17:58

martin perman26/09/2017 08:23:42
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1025 forum posts
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As Andrew said I can confirm, from experience, that trailers/caravans can snake under the legal speed limit. Many years ago whilst driving on the M25 whilst towing an empty car trailer it started to snake to the point that I was using the three lanes and hard shoulder to bring it all back under control, my brother who was with me spotted two artics who blocked all three lanes to give me space, I eventually came to a halt on the hard shoulder with my hands frozen to the steering wheel, after that a damper was mandatory, we pulled the trailer apart but could find nothing wrong and then sold it as I wouldn't tow it anymore.

Martin P

sean logie26/09/2017 09:21:43
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424 forum posts
38 photos
Haven't had a look regarding the squeak ,I'll probably do it it tonight and give my ball a polish too 😉

Sean
SillyOldDuffer26/09/2017 10:20:47
2010 forum posts
442 photos
Posted by sean logie on 26/09/2017 06:05:36:
Duncan Webster, you are either attention seeking or you really don't like people who chose to tow caravans , either way if you have nothing to contribute to this thread other than insults .... be on your way fella .

Sean

I'm afraid Duncan gets my vote too Sean. Living as I do on a tourist route it's evident that many caravan owners need more practice. Watching one trying to reverse up to a petrol pump the other day was pure slapstick.

Friend of mine used to complain about 'rolling road-blocks' getting in his way. Then he bought one. 'No problem now' he said - 'the road in front of me is always completely clear.'

smiley

Dave

Peter G. Shaw26/09/2017 21:25:39
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816 forum posts
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I agree that snaking can occur at lower speeds than whatever the legal limit is for that road - I had this problem with a Maxi and a relatively light (by today's standards) caravan. The cure then was to drive sufficiently slow that snaking didn't happen - 45mph as against 50mph. And let's face it, a drop of 5mph isn't going to make that much difference to the overall journey time. Larger, ie heavier, cars, and even though I now have a heavier caravan, and I don't have the same problem.

I also think that there are a lot of untrained drivers who do not know what they are doing, or what the requirements are, eg on the last holiday, we met a caravan tower who said that he didn't need towing mirrors as his car mirrors were wide enough. Somehow, I doubt that will pass the Police inspection team if he gets pulled over, but that's his problem, not mine. And before anyone tells me off for that attitude, it's been my experience that a lot of people don't take kindly to being told they are wrong, so now I just leave people to their own devices.

Newer caravan towers may have to pass an additional driving test before they can legally tow - it all depends on how long it is since they passed their driving test, and the overall maximum weight of the car/caravan combination. With modern cars and caravans it is relatively easy for the 3500Kg limit for a modern class B license to be reached, my own modest combination of a Toyota Avensis along with a Bailey Hunterlite isn't that far off it when fully loaded. But having to pass a test should slowly show an improvement in towing standards leaving only those old reprobates such as myself who, according to some people, shouldn't even be on the road, to show how it shouldn't be done.

I tow both a caravan, and a small trailer (not at the same time), and actually find it much easier reversing the caravan, due, I think, to the longer distance to the caravan axle. Bragging time coming up! I once managed to reverse the small caravan that we had then, through a 90 degree turn and into a driveway no more than 9 inches wider than the caravan - using the mirrors only! I've never done it since!

In respect of rolling road blocks, may I point out that a car towing a trailer is limited to 50mph on single carriageways, as are fully loaded HGV's and buses of any description. Would these people complaining about rolling road blocks say the same about HGV's and buses?

Regards,

Peter G. Shaw

Neil Wyatt26/09/2017 22:03:29
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Max 750kg if you passed your test after 1997.

Neil.

Hmm if you are on a national speed limit single carriageway it can be a tad frustrating for the driver behind

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