Hi all, Very new to this and I’ve got so many questions but I need to start with the draw bar replacement. Having never towed the van I’m wondering if there’s any issues that may see me wishing I had built the A Frame it longer than the original one. Van is a 15ft all aluminium. Yet to confirm the year but from the info on this forum I guess 69-72.
Welcome to the forum Rusty69 You will get divided opinions about this topic. The early 50's and before caravans, for some unknown reason, are renown for short drawbars. For example,the folding Propert caravans, you could not open the van up while it was attached to the towcar. With other caravans, you could not turn a corner if you were towing with anything other than a sedan where the boot sloped forwards.
So a lot of forum members, if they were replacing the drawbar for whatever reason, built longer drawbars. The argument in favour of that, being that reversing was much easier. As a result, I have seen some disproportionately long drawbars being fitted. The end result is often than some sort of carry box gets fitted onto the A frame, into which everything including the kitchen sink is tossed. You then end up with a rig that has a much higher ballweight, which very few people think about. A couple of years ago, I was at a caravan repairer, which had an off-road modern caravan where the A frame had bent to the ground. When I asked what happened, the repairer told me that's what happens when you add 11 deep cycle batteries, plus carry basket onto your drawbar! I do wonder what ballweight he had as a result and if the insurer actually accepted the claim.
My personal opinion is that if you can do a U turn with your caravan, the drawbar is long enough. Longer drawbars, unless reinforced in their framing, would tend to flex a lot more, so replacing what you've got with a longer one theoretically should be designed by an engineer.
Aside from that, on a monetary side, if you decide to visit the Apple Isle to see murray and those other lovely members on this site, and want to take your caravan, remember that you pay a crossing fare based on the length of your rig, and that ain't hay!
I hope that hughdeany, who was a caravan builder will offer a comment here as well.
Post by Don Ricardo on May 19, 2020 11:45:20 GMT 10
Welcome to the forum.
I won’t offer a comment on the drawbar issue, apart from saying that our Don has a very short drawbar and I get on fine with it towing with a sedan. (But my father did punch a hole in the front wall when he was towing the van 50 years ago with a Dodge Royal with the big fins of that era. One of the fins connected with the van on a tight turn.)
What I was going to say though is that if you can tell us the serial number welded on your current drawbar we can give you a bit more precise build date for your van.
Hi all, I agree with Roehm on this one,if you can do a normal turn your A frame is long enough,and as Don Ricardo says he doesn’t have a problem either. Ok to lengthen it about 12”,but it seems lately there are a ridiculous amount of A frames over 6 ft long which doesn’t suit our older vans and puts undue strain on the chassis stress pointsAnd then putting those massive tool boxes on them which creates even more problems! I see Jayco is offering optional longer A frames,up to 6 ft long in total,which people then put massive tool boxes,gas bottles,jerry cans and other such crap on which makes the van look like it’s going into a war zone. If you have a towbar with a receiver,that extends out a bit and is usually enough to do a decent turn. Cheers hughdeany
Thanks for the replies gents, I will hook her up to the XL Falcon wagon and see how she U turns. I’m guessing it will be heavy enough to avoid swaying on the highway which was what I was hoping to avoid if required. Don the number is E6824. Will post a pic when I work out how