Some queries from a new member

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:12
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Greetings all. My partner Ian and myself (Jan) are really glad to have discovered this group! We will take delivery of our BT sometime in January and we have a myriad of questions to ask, so please bear with us! We work in a remote resort and this last week alone have seen and chatted with no less than 5 BT owners about various subjects. The thing which interests us the most at the moment is all the talk about the need or not, to have WDH on the BT. We will be towing with a 100 series 'Cruiser and the "fors" and "agins" are running about equal at the moment. Some are ademant that there is no need for them, and yet we see the "Caveat Emptor" posts on this website.....so who to believe? Also, does anyone use the airbag suspension system we have heard is almost mandatory for towing a heavy BT? We have already upgraded the rather soft standard suspension to tow a little camper trailer and we are wondering what a BT will do to the ride??? We will appreciate any answers from you guys...cheers!
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:23

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:23
G'day Mick, I just learnt from a friend who shall remain nameless ( Robert Jones) that a friend of his has a BT and tows it with a TD5 (with auto levelling). I can ask him for permission to give you his number it you would like to call him re :towing with autolevel. He is touring at the moment but would come into phone range periodically. Anthony
AnswerID: 559033

Reply By: Bogged Mick - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:24

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:24
Hi Anthony, Yes I would like to take you up on the offer. Thanks also for the helpful comments from other respondents. This forum has been invaluable to us in trying to get our new van right from the word go. Mick
AnswerID: 559034

Reply By: Rockgoc - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:25

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:25
Wow! Thanks to one and all who replied to our queries....made for some very interesting reading. Thanks very much for the trouble you have gone to...it really is appreciated. O.K....next question...have any of you seen the advertisement in the Caravan and Motorhome mag. (page 169 May 2003) on the Load Sharing Anchor system someone has invented which sits OVER the draw bar? In the photo, he has it fitted onto a BT. What do you think? As we have not collected our BT yet..due in January, should we tell them at BTi to fit the jockey wheel mount further back than is normal so we can fit a WDH....they don't seem very open to straying from the normal setup we have found, with "no" to a lot of our wish list of variations so far. I will be wanting to use the computer for internet and was wondering whether the Abrolga system is for this...I noticed a rather nifty storage system in the photo page for one to be stored under the bed. Does it work for computer use? Or...will we have to connect via mobile phone..one would think at huge expense! If this is the case, what program(s) would we need to have in the computer to connect up the phoneline? ...You can really tell we are rank beginners hey? It's nice to know you can just ask though, and I guess that someone out there will have an answer. Cheers from Jan & Ian
AnswerID: 559035

Reply By: Motley - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:26

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:26
Jan & Ian, I'm sure others will respond as well, but here are my answers to your questions: I would insist that the Jockey Wheel be bolted to the frame rather than welded. Then you have choice. I have the Abrolga system and built the tray under the bed for storage. Great for free to air TV (and Foxtel if you have the card), but at this stage not for Internet access. I think it will happen but who knows when and at what price. I use an infrared connection between my mobile phone and a notebook computer for internet access. It works, but it's slow and it's not cheap. I use a Nokia phone and all the software I need I downloaded from the Nokia website. If I was preparing for spending time on the road in the next couple of years, I would be buying a Notebook computer which had both a network (Ethernet) card and a Wireless Network card built in. Many Internet Cafes now allow you to connect your own computer via a network cable. I think it's only a matter of time before some of the major Caravan Parks start offering Internet access either via a network cable or via a Wieless Network. Such networks would offer a range which easily covered most parks allowing you to be "connected" from the comfort of your own 'van. Believe me, there's a lot of research and many questions between now and when you collect the 'van. Glad to hear that the forum is of value to you. It seems to me that there's always someone here who is ready to help,
Motley

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Reply By: Motley - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:27

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:27
PS I think that the people that designed the WD System that you referred to are going to be at the Rally at Cania Gorge in Sept. Are you able to come?
Motley

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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:28

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:28
Re the new weight distributing system referred to.

I have discussed this new development at considerable length with the developer, - who was kind enough to send me photographs and full mechanical details about six months ago - but under an embargo re discussing it except in very broad generalities.

I may not reveal any mecanical details - except to comment that it is extremely ingenious yet relatively simple. It appears to totally solve the problem of maintaining constant equalising regardless of the vertical angle between the tow vehicle and the trailer - essential if taking a trailer through creek crossings etc.

This development would be great for those tracks (such as Gibb River Road) that have creek crossings or deep water run offs etc. At present such tracks are a problem for heavy 'vans as people drive fast enough to make an equalising hitch necessary, but conventional hitches put huge stresses on components if the towing and towed vehicles are at a vertical angle (tow bars can be torn off, draw bars broken etc)..

Definately keep an eye open for this one.
Collyn


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AnswerID: 559038

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:29

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:29
Jan and Ian, What were some of the "no can do" from BTi ..... I've usually found them open to most things within reason ? Take the webasto heater .... catching on like wildfire (pun intended). Apparently if you dont get the heater in the ensuite cupboard is a twin set of longjohns ..... the ones with the flap and two buttons at the rear !!!! [wink] Anthony
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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:30

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:30
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Nomad




Hello Jan and Ian, welcome to our group. I have been towing vans for quite a while and consider a WDH a necessary item if for no other reason other than a safety accessory. Sure you can get away with not having them but there will come a time when they will save you from a lot of grief. A bit like a faulty shock absorber, no problems then suddenly whammo "what happened?". I have never met anyone who has used them say they are not required. Towing in all its' forms requires a lift in awareness and skill and the heavier the tow the more skill required. Not that it's that difficult but awareness is the key, like stay wide when cornering especially near fuel bowsers(this usually guarantees a large audience). Awareness of the dynamics of what you are doing is paramount and concentration and road sense and predication all need to be upgraded, like be aware of the slip stream from heavy vehicles, many caravans have come to grief this way, mainly I think through steering overcorrection, a definite nono while towing, a gentle and deliberate hand is the key. Many years ago I had an experince that sits vividly in my mind. I was towing our 16ft Millard single axle with our 179 EH wagon(showing age now). It only had overrider brakes until I fitted vacuum brakes later. I descended into a very narrow creek crossing while picking up speed to get up the other side when lo and behold a bloke came round the corner the other way had the same idea. We met midspan with me shaving the paint off the left hand side. His van hit my side mirror on the way past and broke it. This was a very dangerous situation and had I or he panicked and hit the brakes we both would have become a statistic. Kay said afterwards "what happened to the mirror?" and I said a stone must have broken it. She never did notice the verticle crease in the back of it. One day I might tell her what actually happened but not until our caravanning days are over.A fright like this certainly focusses and sharpens the mind. Luckily narrow bridges like that one are dissapearing fast. Anyway if you like to play percentages, a WDH will up the ante in favour of a successful and enjoyable journey, no sweat.
Nomad






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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:31

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:31
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collyn




The lack of knowledge on the part of the motor and caravan industry re this topic is serious. That makers of big heavy 'vans suggest that equalising hitches are not necessary is of major concern. But this is the same industry that advises that shock absorbers are unnecessary.

It seems as if many people consider only the static weight of the 'van on the rear suspension of the towing vehicle - and wrongly assume that if the original level are restored, then all is well.

But even if you replace the rear suspension of the towing vehicle by blocks of concrete, the front of the vehicle will still lift. This effect is magnified by dynamic forces when pitching sets in. It is this effect that is addressed by equalising hitches - that they tend to level the rig is a secondary benefit.

My paper on towing stability, posted on the Documents section on this site, describes the how and why of the all this.

The concern re using these hitches with self-levelling suspension may be that these systems may have been designed without towing heavy trailers in mind - and that changing vertical loads may cause unforseen interaction in the levelling systems. (I've just spoken about this to a senior design engineer working in the suspension field - and he confirms that this could be the case. He says that his company - a leading car maker - had not thought about this at all).

Perhaps long-term and experienced owners of BTs should have a good talk to the manufacturer re the (alleged) advice that these hitches are not necessary - perhaps on the lines of a vendor's 'duty of care'.

I would not consider buying a van from any vendor making such a statement.
Collyn






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Reply By: Motley - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:32

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:32
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Motley




Jan & Ian, I'm sure others will respond as well, but here are my answers to your questions: I would insist that the Jockey Wheel be bolted to the frame rather than welded. Then you have choice. I have the Abrolga system and built the tray under the bed for storage. Great for free to air TV (and Foxtel if you have the card), but at this stage not for Internet access. I think it will happen but who knows when and at what price. I use an infrared connection between my mobile phone and a notebook computer for internet access. It works, but it's slow and it's not cheap. I use a Nokia phone and all the software I need I downloaded from the Nokia website. If I was preparing for spending time on the road in the next couple of years, I would be buying a Notebook computer which had both a network (Ethernet) card and a Wireless Network card built in. Many Internet Cafes now allow you to connect your own computer via a network cable. I think it's only a matter of time before some of the major Caravan Parks start offering Internet access either via a network cable or via a Wieless Network. Such networks would offer a range which easily covered most parks allowing you to be "connected" from the comfort of your own 'van. Believe me, there's a lot of research and many questions between now and when you collect the 'van. Glad to hear that the forum is of value to you. It seems to me that there's always someone here who is ready to help,






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Motley

Life's too short to drink bad wine.

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Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:33

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:33
Hi, Anthony ,
Collyn & all interested parties,
I
am pleased at last to read an article that sums up the "simple" mechanics od
ball weight
both static and dynamic and its
effect on the tow vehicle . Basically it is a simple lever system with the
pivot at
at the back axle with a
relatively short lever arm to the tow ball and a long lever arm from the rear
axle to the front
axle. The height these lever
arms are above the rear axle makes no practical difference to the load
distribution
front and rear. The
constant load anchor for WDH that I have designed and as seen in the
Caravan & motorhome
magazine June issue P.161 will
allow up or down articulation to 45deg with a load tolerance of 5% . The
constant
load anchor will also allow
twisting between tow vehicle and van as well as normal turning (All at once
depending
on circumstances.

Given the
discussion in your message 24/06 to Jan & Ian I would appreciate your
thoughts on my system
that will allow a WDH to
be used over rough ground with no ill effects on the van,vehicle or
WDH

Regards
Dave
AnswerID: 559043

Reply By: Deleted User - Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:34

Tuesday, Jun 24, 2003 at 02:34
Dave
Glad you found my paper on towing stability of interest. It is really extraordinary how little is known about this subject. There's virtually nothing on the web except a reference to a heavily mathematical paper re military applications.

Your hitch certainly appears to solve the previous problem of traversing very undulating ground - and particularly those creek crossing with sharp approaches and departures.

These put huge stresses on conventional equalising hitches - to the extent that these devices should not be used in such going.

Are you yet to the point where you are prepared to discuss the ingenious mechanism that enables your hitch to work as it does? If so I would like to write about it at greater length.
Collyn

AnswerID: 559044

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