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Questions for those that tow
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:14 AM
glennm glennm is offline
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Default Questions for those that tow

Recently purchased a 2nd hand Jayco Westport pop top caravan (not an off road one) ATM 1840kgs. This is the first time I have owned a trailer/caravan with dual axles and while I have been towing stuff for decades they have all been single axle or have only been towed a short distance. So.......
How do you determine the correct height when attaching to the tow ball? I expect it is a bit more involved than yeah mate she looks right. Do you just level it before/after hitching to ensure pressure on all 4 tyres is close to equal?
I have an adjustable hitch now as the 22's tow bar was way too high.
I know as with anything weight distribution in the trailer/caravan is very important.
What else should I be thinking of in relation to now towing a 4 wheeler?
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by glennm View Post
Do you just level it before/after hitching to ensure pressure on all 4 tyres is close to equal?
unless its got cheap crap suspension, it will be equalizing so it makes no difference. however the more off level it is, the less suspension equalizing it will have due to it bottoming out on rough stuff. (easy to test just lift/lower the draw bar untill wheels come off the ground.)
so its really no different than a single axle.
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:17 AM
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Normally you want the drawbar level or on a slightly downward angle towards the towing vehicle. You can get one of those towball scale things if you really want to check. I always had the impression you try and have 10% of the weight of the trailer on the towing vehicle. So if your van weighs 2t loaded, about 200kg on the towbar.

If you use a weight distribution hitch you can spread more weight to the front suspension, but the best thing to do would be hook it up with your intended weight and see how it sits.

Last edited by bods; 11-01-2018 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:07 AM
glennm glennm is offline
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Thanks tweak'e and bods. It tows beautifully but i have only done a short trip so far getting it home. Its big test will be when i take it to winton.
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Old 11-01-2018, 09:35 AM
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As above.

I get the rig to level ground (I use a large builder's spirit level to check!). I then use that spirit level to check the A-frame. This should sit level or slightly down, as Bods describes. Adjust the towball height to suit.

As for a weight distribution hitch (WDH) - they're really quite useful on utes. Because of the large distance from the rear axle to the tow ball, the weight on the towball has a very good lever to twist the front of the car up, reducing steering and braking control. It might not be noticeable on sealed roads, but try it on gravel - it's scary!

Installing a WDH is not difficult. Adjusting it isn't either, and once it's done you don't have to revisit it.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:19 AM
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Congratulations on the new van Glen it will serve you and the family well. The Coramal I had was 1.7 tonne. I always felt it needed another gear between 4th and 5th if you know what I mean. Take care in country towns if you need to do a hill start with the load. The D22 is a gutless pig off boost with that weight just grab low range if you need. I think everything else that you asked has been well answered.
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Old 11-01-2018, 08:53 PM
glennm glennm is offline
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Thanks Tony & HJ for the tips will keep all that in mind. Glad to know there isn't anything too special about 4 wheelers.
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Old 11-01-2018, 09:23 PM
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As everybody says, level or slightly down at the front. Jayco's don't run huge ball weights and at 1840kg ATM you may or may not need a WDH, I have a Jayco Outback dual axle with just over 2500kg ATM and don't run a WDH because it doesn't drop the suspension much at all (only 25mm - I do have heavier raised springs though) and when I put 20-25psi in the airbags it comes back up to where it was. If your suspension drops 35-40mm or more you probably should get a WDH. Jayco actually said to me 45mm drop on the rear was the cut off, but I personally reckon that's too much because depending on what suspension you run it can lift the front on a ute as well and that's where the trouble starts. If you do use a WDH make sure to remember to take the arms off before reversing into tighter spots in a caravan park if you have to turn sharply.

As Old Tony says though there is a longer distance from axle to towball so you have to be careful with how much you load into the ute (particularly at the rear) or put on the towball. A good investment is a Hayman Reece towbal weigh scale, places like Superior Engineering or any caravan dealer sell them for about $60-$70, that way you know exactly what towball weight you are dealing with.

When loading the ute I put the heavier stuff like the generator right up front and only have lighter stuff like plastic table and folding chairs to the rear. I have no issues towing, it tows like a dream, very stable and gets no sway, in fact it tows even even better than my Patrol did with a Coromal full van behind it. The Outback does have independent coil spring suspension with shockies though. If you look at the photo you can see my ute still sits front down rear up and the van level (even though it looks slightly front up in the photo).

You'll love it and should get heaps of enjoyment out of it, just take it steady while you get used to it. Be careful around trucks, the wind shift when they go past, or past you, can be quite strong. Another good investment is a laser digital thermometer. I regularly check tyre and bearing temps. If you pick up a nail and have a tyre with a slow leak they can get pretty hot very quickly. Trust me, you don't want to be one of those vans sitting on the side of the road with a blown tyre or failed wheel bearing. Good luck and most of all, don't stress and enjoy it.


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  #9  
Old 12-01-2018, 07:56 AM
glennm glennm is offline
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Thanks LJG. Won't be getting a wdh at this stage. When the guy at the yard hooked it up the ute hardly moved and the 22 stayed front down. Zordo did my suspension and very happy with the config. Yeah hope to get a lot of use and enjoyment out of it.
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