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UK Caravanning (uk.rec.caravanning) A forum for the discussion of caravanning undertaken by residents of the United Kingdom, whether in the UK or abroad. It encourages the interchange of views on the merits of models of caravan, makes of tow car, accessories, caravan sites, caravan clubs, and other related topics. The term caravan is to include trailer vans, motor caravans and trailer tents.

Alko stabiliser hitch



 
 
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old October 16th 04, 06:23 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Peter K L Milnes
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 448
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

What a load of BS the lady at Alko came up with! A total tale of Flannel! I
have had none of the problems she mentioned and she obviously does not know
what percentage of caravanners tow with diesel engined cars. I would go with
the build-up of muck from the road, but only as a possible cause of the
problem. I did once get an unhitching problem, but it was due to me not
unscrewing the tension wheel before trying to unhitch. That has been the
only trouble to date. My towball (Alko extended neck) is always washed clean
with white spirit before towing my caravan, as I also tow a trailer with
simple hitch and an A-frame car towing attachment.

Cheers, Peter.

"Richard Brookman" wrote in message
...
So Roy was, like

"Richard Brookman" wrote in message
...
She wants to know towball heights, noseweights and the like, and
says that the problem is probably too much noseweight or the van not
being towed level. I reckon this is ********. Noseweight is always
within the car's limits (150kg - usually around 80-90kg) and the van
tows absolutely level. Not that I can see this making much
difference to the hitch.


What is the max nose-weight rating for the stabiliser ? The pressed
steel plain alco hitch originally supplied with my present van is
rated at 75kg according to Swift.

Roy


I don't recall seeing this figure anywhere - I assumed that it would work
with any noseweight, as long as it was within the car manufacturer's
limits (which it is).

Update: I have has a long conversation with Al-Ko (a nice lady called
Angie Mears) and she has sent me a new pair of friction pads. The old pads
are a bit glazed but the friction surface seems OK. The studs that fit
into the coupling head are pretty worn, as if they have been rotating in
the housing, and there's a lot of what looks like general road muck
deposited on them. I reckon they've been sticking on, causing the problem
of being unable to release the towball. The lady from Al-ko also
suggested that a build-up of heat might be the problem - perhaps they are
seizing in place until they cool down. She also wanted to know if the car
was a diesel (it's not) as they have sometimes had problems with diesel
exhaust contaminating the surfaces. She recommended that I fit a new
towball as well.

So there you have it - a stabilising device that needs a surgically-clean,
rust and grease-free towball, a 10-minute cooling off period before you
can pitch your van, and not suitable to be towed by a diesel. This looks
like very fragile technology in an area where you need things to be robust
and idiot-proof. To be fair, I have since spoken to a number of people
who have used these devices for years with no problem whatsoever.

I now have new pads and a new towball. I'm just waiting for Truma to come
up with a new PCB for the van heater and I will be able to give it a
try-out. Fingers crossed...


--

Rich

Series 2a
RR 4.6
V8 trialler
dog, wife, kids, whatever



  #32 (permalink)  
Old October 17th 04, 10:04 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Richard Brookman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 467
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

So Peter K L Milnes was, like

What a load of BS the lady at Alko came up with! A total tale of
Flannel! I have had none of the problems she mentioned and she
obviously does not know what percentage of caravanners tow with
diesel engined cars. I would go with the build-up of muck from the
road, but only as a possible cause of the problem. I did once get an
unhitching problem, but it was due to me not unscrewing the tension
wheel before trying to unhitch. That has been the only trouble to
date. My towball (Alko extended neck) is always washed clean with
white spirit before towing my caravan, as I also tow a trailer with
simple hitch and an A-frame car towing attachment.

To be fair, she mentioned these issues as *possible* causes, i.e. problems
that have come before her in the past. In her position, she will see every
customer complaint, whereas you and I only see the ones we get (or don't
get, IYSWIM). She has already sent me now pads FOC (received within 24hrs
of my call to her) and has offered to send an engineer all the way to West
Wales if these don't solve it, so I'm happy that she is doing everything she
reasonably can.

On your last point, I also clean the ball with white spirit before hitching
up (I tow other trailers which may have grease in the head, so I have to be
careful). This means that the towball always has surface rust on it which I
remove with emery cloth before cleaning with spirit. Do you get this
problem? If not, how do you keep the towball free of rust?


--

Rich

Series 2a
RR 4.6
V8 trialler
dog, wife, kids, whatever


  #33 (permalink)  
Old October 17th 04, 10:04 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Richard Brookman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 467
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

So Peter K L Milnes was, like

What a load of BS the lady at Alko came up with! A total tale of
Flannel! I have had none of the problems she mentioned and she
obviously does not know what percentage of caravanners tow with
diesel engined cars. I would go with the build-up of muck from the
road, but only as a possible cause of the problem. I did once get an
unhitching problem, but it was due to me not unscrewing the tension
wheel before trying to unhitch. That has been the only trouble to
date. My towball (Alko extended neck) is always washed clean with
white spirit before towing my caravan, as I also tow a trailer with
simple hitch and an A-frame car towing attachment.

To be fair, she mentioned these issues as *possible* causes, i.e. problems
that have come before her in the past. In her position, she will see every
customer complaint, whereas you and I only see the ones we get (or don't
get, IYSWIM). She has already sent me now pads FOC (received within 24hrs
of my call to her) and has offered to send an engineer all the way to West
Wales if these don't solve it, so I'm happy that she is doing everything she
reasonably can.

On your last point, I also clean the ball with white spirit before hitching
up (I tow other trailers which may have grease in the head, so I have to be
careful). This means that the towball always has surface rust on it which I
remove with emery cloth before cleaning with spirit. Do you get this
problem? If not, how do you keep the towball free of rust?


--

Rich

Series 2a
RR 4.6
V8 trialler
dog, wife, kids, whatever


  #34 (permalink)  
Old October 17th 04, 11:56 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Mighty Magpie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

I have the same problem but on a recent visit to a site in Hampshire, a
caravanner nearby suggested I simply press down on the car rear end.

I did this and the hitch instantly detached




"Mike" wrote in message
.. .
I have the same ALKO stabiliser and from time to time have difficulty
releasing from the towball after a journey. Even easing the compression of
the hitch (by using the car or on another occassion the mover) was of
limited help. A UK caravanner on a french site saw my difficulty and said

he
manages the problem on his with a sharp tap to the hitch with the hard
rubber hammer - also used for awning pegs. Not very sophistacated but it
also works for me. Given the number who have this problem it appears that
the Alko design for this stabaliser leaves something to be desired.

Mike

"Richard Brookman" wrote in message
...

So David Halley was, like

"Richard Brookman" wrote in message
...
When we got our van in 2002 we had an Alko stabiliser hitch fitted
(maroon colour with integral lock). We've always had a problem
unhitching from the car, when the hitch refuses to let go of the
towball, despite shunting the car to and fro, playing with van
handbrake, pushing and pulling etc.


We have seen this once with the 2004 style head and it was caused by
putting the caravan onto the ball withut the handle in the fully
upright position. This compromised the alignment of the pads stopping
them retracting properly.

If you replace the pads it should relieve the problem.

When hitching or unhitching the stabiliser handle must be fully
upright, it locks in that position.

When unhitching, lift the inner handle first before raising the jockey
wheel.

Hope this helps

Cheers

David


Thanks David. I have always followed the instructions as you describe.

I
have been towing trailers for many years (some twice the weight of my
caravan), and I've never had this problem before. But then I've never

had
a stabiliser hitch before either. It was only at my wife's insistence
that I agreed to the stabiliser, as she would be doing part of the

driving
and was worried about snaking. I wish I hadn't bothered. ;-)

I have contacted Al-ko, who have replied commendably quickly. They say
there is no known problem, but have asked me a lot of questions, which
suggests they are keen to help me out.

Cheers

--

Rich

Series 2a
RR 4.6
V8 trialler
dog, wife, kids, whatever



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  #35 (permalink)  
Old October 17th 04, 11:56 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Mighty Magpie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

I have the same problem but on a recent visit to a site in Hampshire, a
caravanner nearby suggested I simply press down on the car rear end.

I did this and the hitch instantly detached




"Mike" wrote in message
.. .
I have the same ALKO stabiliser and from time to time have difficulty
releasing from the towball after a journey. Even easing the compression of
the hitch (by using the car or on another occassion the mover) was of
limited help. A UK caravanner on a french site saw my difficulty and said

he
manages the problem on his with a sharp tap to the hitch with the hard
rubber hammer - also used for awning pegs. Not very sophistacated but it
also works for me. Given the number who have this problem it appears that
the Alko design for this stabaliser leaves something to be desired.

Mike

"Richard Brookman" wrote in message
...

So David Halley was, like

"Richard Brookman" wrote in message
...
When we got our van in 2002 we had an Alko stabiliser hitch fitted
(maroon colour with integral lock). We've always had a problem
unhitching from the car, when the hitch refuses to let go of the
towball, despite shunting the car to and fro, playing with van
handbrake, pushing and pulling etc.


We have seen this once with the 2004 style head and it was caused by
putting the caravan onto the ball withut the handle in the fully
upright position. This compromised the alignment of the pads stopping
them retracting properly.

If you replace the pads it should relieve the problem.

When hitching or unhitching the stabiliser handle must be fully
upright, it locks in that position.

When unhitching, lift the inner handle first before raising the jockey
wheel.

Hope this helps

Cheers

David


Thanks David. I have always followed the instructions as you describe.

I
have been towing trailers for many years (some twice the weight of my
caravan), and I've never had this problem before. But then I've never

had
a stabiliser hitch before either. It was only at my wife's insistence
that I agreed to the stabiliser, as she would be doing part of the

driving
and was worried about snaking. I wish I hadn't bothered. ;-)

I have contacted Al-ko, who have replied commendably quickly. They say
there is no known problem, but have asked me a lot of questions, which
suggests they are keen to help me out.

Cheers

--

Rich

Series 2a
RR 4.6
V8 trialler
dog, wife, kids, whatever



---
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.775 / Virus Database: 522 - Release Date: 08/10/2004




  #36 (permalink)  
Old October 17th 04, 08:17 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Richard Brookman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 467
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

So Mighty Magpie was, like

I have the same problem but on a recent visit to a site in Hampshire,
a caravanner nearby suggested I simply press down on the car rear end.

I did this and the hitch instantly detached


Hmm. Tried that. The car has air suspension and the height can be varied
over a range of about 6". Going up and down, up and down, has no effect,
other than to attract large numbers of curious campers wondering what the
Rangie is mating with. Yet another way in which the car takes after my dog.

--

Rich

Series 2a
RR 4.6
V8 trialler
dog, wife, kids, whatever


  #37 (permalink)  
Old October 17th 04, 08:17 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Richard Brookman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 467
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

So Mighty Magpie was, like

I have the same problem but on a recent visit to a site in Hampshire,
a caravanner nearby suggested I simply press down on the car rear end.

I did this and the hitch instantly detached


Hmm. Tried that. The car has air suspension and the height can be varied
over a range of about 6". Going up and down, up and down, has no effect,
other than to attract large numbers of curious campers wondering what the
Rangie is mating with. Yet another way in which the car takes after my dog.

--

Rich

Series 2a
RR 4.6
V8 trialler
dog, wife, kids, whatever


  #38 (permalink)  
Old October 21st 04, 07:01 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Richard Brookman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 467
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

So Richard Brookman was, like

Update: I have has a long conversation with Al-Ko (a nice lady called
Angie Mears) and she has sent me a new pair of friction pads. The old
pads are a bit glazed but the friction surface seems OK.


Reply from Al-Ko today. I sent the old pads back and they say they are
definitely badly glazed and this may have caused them to stick to the
towball. Suggested causes were a) paint deposits (doubt it), b) diesel
fumes (not possible) or rust particles from a rusty towball (quite likely).
I cleaned the towball with emery before every trip, but not to bare metal -
life's too short.

I now have new pads (FOC from Al-Ko), a new Al-Ko towball (15) on a new
Witter adjustable bracket (30) so I can change towballs easily. The
"caravan" towball is going to stay INSIDE the van until needed.

I'm happy with the treatment from Al-Ko, but I'm still not impressed with
such fragile technology in something that should be robust and pretty
bulletproof.

Fingers crossed...



--

Rich

Series 2a
RR 4.6
V8 trialler
dog, wife, kids, whatever


  #39 (permalink)  
Old October 21st 04, 07:01 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Richard Brookman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 467
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

So Richard Brookman was, like

Update: I have has a long conversation with Al-Ko (a nice lady called
Angie Mears) and she has sent me a new pair of friction pads. The old
pads are a bit glazed but the friction surface seems OK.


Reply from Al-Ko today. I sent the old pads back and they say they are
definitely badly glazed and this may have caused them to stick to the
towball. Suggested causes were a) paint deposits (doubt it), b) diesel
fumes (not possible) or rust particles from a rusty towball (quite likely).
I cleaned the towball with emery before every trip, but not to bare metal -
life's too short.

I now have new pads (FOC from Al-Ko), a new Al-Ko towball (15) on a new
Witter adjustable bracket (30) so I can change towballs easily. The
"caravan" towball is going to stay INSIDE the van until needed.

I'm happy with the treatment from Al-Ko, but I'm still not impressed with
such fragile technology in something that should be robust and pretty
bulletproof.

Fingers crossed...



--

Rich

Series 2a
RR 4.6
V8 trialler
dog, wife, kids, whatever


  #40 (permalink)  
Old November 9th 04, 10:11 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Richard Brookman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5
Default Alko stabiliser hitch

So "Richard Brookman" was, like

Reply from Al-Ko today. I sent the old pads back and they say they are
definitely badly glazed and this may have caused them to stick to the
towball. Suggested causes were a) paint deposits (doubt it), b) diesel
fumes (not possible) or rust particles from a rusty towball (quite likely).
I cleaned the towball with emery before every trip, but not to bare metal -
life's too short.

I now have new pads (FOC from Al-Ko), a new Al-Ko towball (15) on a new
Witter adjustable bracket (30) so I can change towballs easily. The
"caravan" towball is going to stay INSIDE the van until needed.

I'm happy with the treatment from Al-Ko, but I'm still not impressed with
such fragile technology in something that should be robust and pretty
bulletproof.

Fingers crossed...



Got the van back over the weekend. Brand new Al-Ko towball, new
friction pads in hitch. 30-mile drive over hilly roads to get home.

Unhitched on the drive. No problems, just lifted off the towball,
like every other damn trailer I have towed. No sticking, no violence,
no bad language. Let's hope it stays that way.

Thanks to everyone for suggestions, comments etc.

Rich
 



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