Things to be aware of with regard European Caravans (continued)
Are you thinking about buying a caravan or just checking the condition of your own vehicle?
This is part 2 of the blog regarding European Caravans, so you might want to read part 1 first, then come back to part 2
So you have already read part 1 all about the axles used for the European Caravans, we will now talk about the consequences of towing with a faulty axle
What happens when the caravan is being towed
Frightening hey? now imagine what it would be like when the axle has no flex left in it. The road shock is transferred to the caravan structure and internal cabinetry, which results in the shaking and breaking loose of all the internal fastenings and components, eventually you will be towing a flexible leaking container full of loose cabinetry. See this link for just such an example.
For your entertainment, I put in a link to Top Gear so you can see what not to do
About the caravan chassis construction
The ALKO chassis is not welded (for build convenience), it is made up of multiple interchangeable galvanized pressed steel components all bolted together. The design is very versatile enabling manufacturers to use the same axle for a variety of models.
The key to the strength of this design is that the internal cabinetry acts as bulkheads, holding the floor, the walls and, the roof together, if there is any flex in the chassis (and in this case, I am thinking if the tow hitch), the forces are transferred through the entire vehicle.
The tow hitch
The tow hitch and components attached to it are subject to the greatest forces within the caravan.
As the tow vehicle accelerates, decelerates, and turns in different directions, these forces are transferred via the front bulkhead (the one inside the gas locker) to the rest of the caravan by way of the floor and sidewalls. The front bulkhead is therefore an area that is most likely to start moving, to check if your front bulkhead has movement, ensure that the 4 outer steadies are lifted off the ground, and only the jockey wheel is down, or the caravan is attached to the tow vehicle. Open the gas locker and look where the bulkhead meets the sidewalls, get someone else to move the caravan up and down using the front wall handles, if there is only the slightest bit of movement at the bulkhead to wall connection then your problems have already started.
If there is movement, don't despair
The vehicle can be repaired, we can find the source of the problem, fix it and then set the chassis back to factory settings and reattach the walls to the bulkheads which will stiffen up the vehicle as original
If you have any doubt about the caravan, the way it is towing, if it is wallowing or jerking excessively then you will probably need to have it checked
If you want to ask questions you can email us at email@example.com