Al-ko electronic stability control

Submitted: Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 01:23
ThreadID: 129459 Views:8962 Replies:4 FollowUps:0
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Has anybody had AL-KO electronic stability control fitted to their van and if so at what cost and how do you rate it?

We have heard a lot about it and had the following quote from a supplier in Wollongong:-
To fit AL-KO including wiring tow vehicle $1,300.00 inc GST
To replace brake backing plates to accommodate AL-KO OFFROAD BRAKES $170.00 each plus GST each - . We freaked!

Thought the van - as a off road van would have had this fitted as standard - but were assured that this is necessary...

Any comments and advice would be appreciated
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Reply By: Tracks n About - Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 18:13

Friday, Sep 05, 2014 at 18:13
G'day, We've been towing our 20 ft BT for over 10 years now without any problems. Tow with a 2007 Troopy and have the weight distribution bars fitted when towing on the black stuff. Maybe the people who "assured that this is necessary" are the people selling them ! Not saying that it wouldn't be a good set up, but as I said ,10 years towing and driving responably and to the conditions we've never had a problem.
AnswerID: 587804

Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 20:20

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 20:20
We have also been towing for over nine years with a 19 ' Bt and Tojo Cruiser. We use the standard Hayman Reese WDH and never take the bar off - unless going straight cross country with no tracks at all and it is very rough. This has included going right up to Cape York and back, up to the north Kimberley coast and Mitchell Plateau and the Gunbarrel Highway etc.

Never had a stability problem. Not saying that the Al-Ko gear is not good stuff, just questioning the need for it.

John and Jean
AnswerID: 587805

Reply By: MattandLana - Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 21:34

Saturday, Sep 06, 2014 at 21:34
I'll let others with more offroad miles than me comment on the adequacy of the brakes, but we've never had the slightest problem and knowing what I know about their approach, I'd be amazed if BT did not overbuild them. Be surprised if they were not up to the job. (I also imagine the main time your brakes will be extended is on the blacktop, not at much lower speeds offroad.)

As to the electronic stability control unit, here's my 2 cents' worth:

1. Another gizmo to fail, fall off, fail 'unsafe' (ie. apply the brakes at the wrong time) etc. A little bit more weight; it all adds up.

2. From a quick look at their website it looks like a relatively 'dumb' controller, in that it senses sway/swerve then just applies both sides' brakes equally. That will certainly help, but it might be better if it was more like car ESCs which apply brakes only on the appropriate side to correct the sway.

3. Given that, this means it does nothing more than reaching down and manually applying the brake slider. Now some of us will say "yeah, but I can do that manually whenever I need to". And for a subset of those that say it, that will in fact be true. But for most of the rest of us, even very experienced and savvy drivers, there will be times when although we COULD or SHOULD reach down and manually correct the trailer sway, we are in fact too busy swerving, swearing or not yet reacting. We don't always live up to our own aspirations, when the crisis strikes.

4. Most of these automatic safety systems are resisted as unnecessary expensive add-ons at first, then slowly become accepted, then become seen as essential. (If you're one of those who say you don't need ESC, ask yourself if you'd REALLY go back to a non-ABS car, even though you felt it was a bit of an unnecessary gimmick when it first appeared.)

So all in all, if it's well made and well installed, and been proven to survive harsh offroad conditions, and has been independently tested to actually work as advertised, then I reckon an ESC unit of some form for the caravan might be a good investment. Whether this one at this time, is up to you.

Good luck, and if you do go ahead come back and post us your results.


PS: Haha. I'm smiling, imagining the flaming you'd get on Steve's site if you dared to suggest the BT brakes weren't 200% adequate straight off the factory floor! It would be good for about 3 screens, I reckon.
AnswerID: 587806

Reply By: Free & Easy - Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 01:01

Sunday, Sep 07, 2014 at 01:01
See links below for comments by Steve on BTI forum in members area.

Basically he thinks the off road magnets are not cost effective, and ESC no good off road (dirt) and not with independant suspension.

Offroad magnets

Electronic Stability Control

AnswerID: 587807

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