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I'm stumped!

 

I was going to get my son to bring my sister's double horse float from her place up country to mine so I could move all my workshop stuff back to where I'm going to live. Then she told me that the wheel bearings needed repacking. No sweat; three hours on POETS day. Then she asked me if my son's big Vaucluse Ute had an electric brake controller.

 

That stumped me. All my life I've only ever seen big floats and caravans having hydraulic brakes operated by a moving shaft. Can't explain it well, but you know what I mean. Nowadays, those are illegal. You have to have electronic control of the brakes. It was explained to me that the reason was that the electronic unit, apart from general braking control, can be used in emergency situations especially if the towed vehicle gets a wobble up. The control unit makes the correct braking inputs to stop the wobble.

 

Given what I would expect to be a low standard of emergency response ability amongst the driver population, it's a good idea to have something that can do the right thing for you. Unfortunately, an electric brake control unit costs about $200 plus installation. Still, if my son wants to make full use of his ute, then he should fit one.

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2 hours ago, old man emu said:

I'm stumped!

 

I was going to get my son to bring my sister's double horse float from her place up country to mine so I could move all my workshop stuff back to where I'm going to live. Then she told me that the wheel bearings needed repacking. No sweat; three hours on POETS day. Then she asked me if my son's big Vaucluse Ute had an electric brake controller.

 

That stumped me. All my life I've only ever seen big floats and caravans having hydraulic brakes operated by a moving shaft. Can't explain it well, but you know what I mean. Nowadays, those are illegal. You have to have electronic control of the brakes. It was explained to me that the reason was that the electronic unit, apart from general braking control, can be used in emergency situations especially if the towed vehicle gets a wobble up. The control unit makes the correct braking inputs to stop the wobble.

 

Given what I would expect to be a low standard of emergency response ability amongst the driver population, it's a good idea to have something that can do the right thing for you. Unfortunately, an electric brake control unit costs about $200 plus installation. Still, if my son wants to make full use of his ute, then he should fit one.

I installed a Redback myself in our Santa Fe.  Bit of work mucking around with wires and going under the carpet etc, but it's still working.  They are brilliant - after installation you just go for a drive for a while and the unit calibrates itself.  There's a dial where you can go from 0 (auto) to 10, I leave it on auto - a few times I've started off in 10 when the kids have played with the dial and the brakes are real grabby on the caravan.

More like $500 than $200 though.

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Well, I wonder what the NSW authorities would say about the cable disc brakes on my 7 x 5 box trailer? They work just fine on over-ride. Same as the hydraulic over-ride brakes on my car-carrying trailer.

There are tens of thousands of over-ride brake systems still in use in W.A., I haven't heard of any steps towards banning them.

You shouldn't need to apply brakes on a trailer or caravan to stop a speed wobble. A speed wobble in a loaded trailer or caravan indicates bad design or a poor loading technique.

I've seen some horribly-dangerous looking caravan designs that I wouldn't tow in a fit. I don't know how they get them registered.

All trailers and caravans should have the axle/s mounted around 50mm rearwards of the centre of the chassis, and all trailer and caravan owners should be compelled to take a course involving how to load trailers and caravans.

If you load heavy items behind the axle, or load on items that extend the length of the trailer/caravan body, then you're asking for uncontrollable speed wobbles, because doing both of those things, simply increases speed wobble potential.

 

I have seen/come across multiple dozens of caravan/trailer crashes caused by speed wobbles. A classic event on Hwy One through W.A. was caravan owners being hit by the wind displacement/blast from passing semi's, thus initiating a caravan speed wobble that the driver couldn't control. Hundreds of caravans have been written off in events like that. If your caravan can't withstand a side wind gust, it's essentially unstable.

 

 

Caravan rollover Merredin 1974.jpg

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I agree with you but your statement that the wheels should be 50mm rear of centre does not cover most vans or trailers. I see a lot of vans with a spare wheel and a bicycle, plus sometimes a jerry can of water of fuel on the back. Well there goes your 50mm for C of G, which ia what you are really talking about.

The best position for the wheels is at the rear of the van or trailer, but this has to be altered to get the weight on the towball down to acceptable levels.

Wheels too far aft and the towball goes down, which lifts the front wheels of the towing vehicle.

I have done this with a farm tractor and rear wheeled trailer. I have had the tractor so much affected that I could pick up the front of it. Great if you are going over a weihjbridge which is too short to get the front wheels on it.

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2 hours ago, onetrack said:

Well, I wonder what the NSW authorities would say about the cable disc brakes on my 7 x 5 box trailer?

I believe that these electric brake systems are only required if the towed vehicle is rated for weights above 750 kgs.  Box and your average boat trailer are under that.

 

Not liking to tow any sort of trailer, I don't count myself as anywhere near knowledgeable on how to correct a wobble. However I was to that the pedal to push was the accelerator, not the brake. Speed up to stabilise, then allow the combination to slow by itself until you can pull off the road to stop and change your Reg Grundies.

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The distance from your Tow vehicle rear wheels to the tow bar ball comes into it also. Most utes have the rear wheels too far forward An articulated vehicle is easier but you have to have a special licence for that when most Caravans are far worse. If you get out of line the over ride brakes aren't going to do much for you.  Some proportional trailer brakes would be preferred.. Nev

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My understanding of the national rules is that if the trailer is < 750kg no brakes are required.  Over this and up to 2000kg brakes are required and override brakes are OK.  Over 2000kg and electric brakes with a breakaway connection is required.  There are also all sorts of complicated rules dealing with Gross Vehicle Mass, tow ball weight, Aggregate Trailer Mass, Gross Trailer Mass & Gross Combination Mass and their relationship to each other.

 

Interesting that the only variation I can find from the national rules is that WA impose a 100kmh maximum speed limit on any towing vehicle.

 

What concerns me is anyone with a car license can buy a big 4WD and caravan and tow it anywhere with no training requirement.  In fact they can buy a light truck less than 4500kg, hang a 7000kg trailer off the back and tow it on a car license.

Edited by Chris Tarran
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On 08/01/2022 at 3:43 PM, old man emu said:

I believe that these electric brake systems are only required if the towed vehicle is rated for weights above 750 kgs.

I’m currently converting a box trailer into a camper and that is the figue I was quoted, but I’m installing electric brakes even though mine should be under that weight. One advantage will be having a parking brake for when I disconnect the camper and go for a drive.

On 08/01/2022 at 3:43 PM, old man emu said:

…how to correct a wobble. However I was to that the pedal to push was the accelerator, not the brake. Speed up to stabilise, then allow the combination to slow by itself until you can pull off the road to stop and change your Reg Grundies.

I survived owning a Yamaha XS-2, which was renowned for having a hinge in the frame. It tried to kill me several times and the only way to iron out the speed wobbles was a burst of power.
 

I once followed a mate who wanted to ride my 650. He was wearing my leather greatcoat, which filled with air, causing the bike to wobble badly- at 60km/hr!

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Perhaps someone on thus thread can explain why, in NSW, my tow ball must be no higher than 405mm above ground.

My Blue Slip engineer doesn’t know why. All I can surmise is that this keeps the towball in the same plane as the axles of car and trailer.

To comply with this rule, I have tow my camper in a nose-down attitude and crank it level with the jockey wheel before sleeping.

 

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Old K, there is nothing in NSW trailer/towbar regulations, that I can find, that says your towball height is limited to a maximum of 405mm above ground. I think your BS Engineer is misinterpreting something.

 

NSW trailer/towing advice - https://variant-trailers.com.au/trailer-regulations/

 

W.A. trailer/towing advice - https://www.westcoasttowbars.com.au/proper-tow-bar-height/

 

All trailed items should be as near to level as possible when hitched up, this prevents poor handling. Tow vehicles can be slightly out of level, but excessive "rear end sag" must be avoided.

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It's right there in the ADRs

Ball couplings on tow bars are required to be installed so that the height of the centre of the body of the ball coupling is between 350mm and 420mm from the ground when laden 

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure-transport-vehicles/vehicles/vehicle-design-regulation/rvs/bulletins/vsb1/technical-requirements  at 16.4.1: 50mm Ball Couplings

 

BALL COUPLINGS 9.1.

‘Ball Couplings’ intended for towing trailers up to 3.5 tonnes ‘ATM’ must comply with Australian Standard 4177.2 - 1994 "50 mm Towballs" or as amended from time to time.

 

10. COUPLING BODIES FOR BALL COUPLINGS 10.1.

The coupling body of a 50 mm ‘Ball Coupling’ intended for trailers up to 3.5 tonnes ‘ATM’ must comply with Australian Standard 4177.3 - 1994 "Coupling Body for Ball Couplings" or as amended from time to time.

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Thanks OME, I previously couldn't find that exact height specification in the ADR's when I went searching. I've seen some poorly-thought out design specifications before, but the towball height specifications are classic legislatory mumbo-jumbo. These people must also prepare CASA regulations ....

 

QUOTE (16.4.1) - "Ball couplings on towbars are required to be installed so that the height of the centre of the body of the ball coupling is between 350mm and 420mm from the ground when laden. The maximum height of the centre of the body of the ball coupling may be increased to 460mm. However, the ball may be installed at any other height, provided it is also capable of being adjusted to at least one height within the 350-460mm range."

 

What's the point of having strict height limits for a hitch, when the last sentence virtually says you can pick any towball height you like - provided you can adjust the height to fall within the initial strict height limits? 

That last sentence is effectively negating the initial strict towball height limits. ADR's are starting to look more like CASA regulations every day.

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42 minutes ago, onetrack said:

That last sentence is effectively negating the initial strict towball height limits

No, it doesn't, although you are correct in say that the average bloke would say it does. What it means is that the ball coupling, which is the cup-shaped fitting on the trailer, must be fitted so that the centre of the ball, which is fitted to the tow bar, and the trailer is loaded, the centre of the ball is between those distances from the ground. 

 

That's pretty easy to do if the trailer is running on standard car rims, say 14 inches. But what if your trailer has 10 inch rims? The ball coupling on the trailer would be too low, so an upward goose-neck fitting is required. At the other end of the scale, what about an off-road trailer with 20 inch rims? In that case you would need a downward goose-neck.

 

Regulations are not written so that they can be read as simply as a newspaper article can. They have to cater for a range of permissible variables, and are basically written for the information of persons qualified in the trade. And there is often a gap between a person's level of trade qualification and their comprehension of the written word. Some of the most canny mechanics have been near illiterates.

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OME your comment that says the ball height must be adjustable to at least one height within the limits, does not state that it should be set at tht

at that height when in use. Surely that is what is required, but as usual lawyer speak makes it un intelligible.

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What I can't understand is, if that's the ball height rule and everyone knows it, why would any trailer or caravan manufacturer make their level at a different height?

 

Our Eagle Outback is a lot taller than the standard Eagle, but the tow hitch plate is welded to the bottom of the main beams, so it rides level.

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But

IF you have Worn, low profile tyres.. you will be under the correct hight. ( Subaru Forester )

On th other hand

, putting 33" profile tyres on will put you over that same hight restriction.  ( Jeep renagrade )

It,s

BUREAUCRACY

Just like a $ 1,000 fine for None  reporting a r a t.

Just don,t use that rat & let the hospital send your results ( PCR ) to the Kremlin. ( money in the bank )

spacesailor

 

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