Archives for October 2017
Looking for electronic stability control for your caravan – compare the leaders of ALKO ESC, Dexter Sway Control and Bosch Trailer Safety systems. For installation of leading brands of electronic sway control for your caravan – Contact RV Service Centre Toowoomba.
> FROM CaravanCampingSales.com.au
Bosch’s Trailer Safety Control System incorporates a few separate components, all working in conjunction with the trailer control module. As with any ABS systems, wheel speed sensors are used to measure the speed of each individual wheel, while a yaw sensor built into the control unit watches out for any trailer sway or extreme manoeuvres that might lead to a dangerous situation.
One of our FAQs from our customers is:
“How do I know what caravan brake controller settings to use?”
Read on for our quick guide to caravan brake controllers.
Your brake controller may look small and be hiding under the dash of your car but it has a big job to do and is not something you should simply “set and forget”. If your caravan brake contoller settings are not set right you could end up in a collision with another vehicle or if your brakes lock-up then you might end up jack-knifing. We recommend checking and adjusting the brake controller every time you take off with your caravan.
Before you go:
- Read the manual! Understand the settings on your controller. Commonly there are two settings – gain and boost. Boost is how quickly the brakes “attack”. Gain is the maximum power they use. Some controllers like the Redarc don’t have a boost adjustment.
- Check the caravan brakes as part of your light check. Use the brake controller manually to apply the caravan brakes and roll forward ensuring you feel the caravan brakes resisting the movement.
- Have your brakes checked by a professional every 10,000kms or annually. We often see vans that have one or more brake that is NOT working. This means the other brakes are doing a LOT more work, and resulting in much higher wear.
On the road:
Different driving conditions require different settings eg. Highway driving vs driving in town. On the highway, you may want to increase the “gain” setting (which is the overall power going to the caravan brakes). This is so the rig brakes harder, to wash off speed quicker when travelling at high speed. If you leave this setting on around town, you may find that the van brakes are too aggressive and cause the van to jerk considerably. Around town you may want to reduce the gain setting. After lots of testing, we set our unit to just over 6 on the highway, and just under 5 around town. (Please note that all rigs are different and this is NOT a recommended setting for your rig).
To test your brake controller and set your controller correctly:
- From a stopped position, manually operate the brake controller to full. While holding the controller on, try to drive off by accelerating the vehicle. You should feel a good amount of braking force. You will get used to how many revs you’ve got to give your vehicle to start rolling. This tells you that the brakes on your van ARE working.
- You can work out your optimal brake controller settings through careful, safe, trial and error. On a wide stretch of road with no traffic bring your car and van up to 50km/h and apply the foot brake in car – check performance. Increase the gain setting, do the same test. Keep doing the same until the brakes lock up, then reduce the setting to the previous one. Note the setting on the brake controller. Do some other driving between 0-60km/h, see how it feels, make slight adjustments up/down as necessary. Some brake controllers have two settings – a gain, and a boost/attack setting. You can adjust both to get a good balance. Perform the same tests at higher speeds of 100km/h. You might find that the same setting is fine or you may find that are you more comfortable with a higher setting for highway driving.
Regular testing of your caravan brakes and correct brake controller settings will ensure the caravan brakes will pull you up with the right amount of braking force when you need them.
Do you feel as though your brakes are too aggressive? Are you not confident that your brakes will work in every situation? It might be time to consider upgrading to the latest technology in brake controllers. For professional testing of your caravan brakes or to get a quote to upgrade your caravan brake controller click here.
If you’ve been affected by today’s hail storm across the darling downs, you can contact us for a free quote. We are qualified repairers for all major insurance companies and brokers in the area.
Whether you need caravan hail repairs for traditional or modern smooth sided vans, we have specialist repair processes and qualified technicians to bring your van back to new (or better!)
Read more about Toowoomba hail storm here https://m.thechronicle.com.au/news/supercell-alert-large-hail-severe-storms-toowoomba/3248947/
As hail lashes Toowoomba and surrounding areas, if your caravan has been affected, contact us to arrange an onsite repair quote.
We offer fully guaranteed hail repairs to caravans with all major insurers.
Read about recent storm here in the chronicle
Have you put on weight lately? I don’t mean around the waist… I mean the extra creature comforts that you might have added to your caravan after you bought it. These days it is fairly common for caravanners to upgrade their van with extra water tanks (and fill them), solar panels, a generator, extra fuel, bike racks and bikes, a nice bbq and the list goes on. All these extras make your holiday enjoyable but can quickly add-up to put you over your legal limits. It is vital to perform a caravan weight check and keep your caravan weight within the legal limits. The number one reason is your safety and the safety of other road users. The secondary reasons are that you may face a fine or find yourself in legal trouble.
Carrying too much weight impacts the operating ability of your towing safety measures – your towball, safety chains, brakes, electronic stability control. An overloaded van can reduce your caravan brakes ability to operate or even cause them to fail. Carrying too much weight can also cause your rig to develop caravan sway and behave erratically on the road. An overloaded van or car (or both) can be a recipe for disaster.
So how do you know whether you are within your rig’s limits? It’s a good idea to get your van weighed when empty (even if you have purchased it new) as it is not uncommon to find the empty (tare) weight of the van as listed by the manufacturer on the VIN plate is less than the actual weight. This may be because extras like additional batteries, gas bottle and an awning weren’t included in the original tare weight of the van. Once you know the unloaded weight then you need to get weighed again with all of your gear loaded. Weighing your caravan can be done at a weighbridge for a fee (around $30) or Caravanning Queensland offer free caravan safety checks that are run periodically around the state.
If you would like additional information on how to correctly weigh your caravan come in for a free weight check worksheet which guides you through the process.
If you get your weight checked and find that you are over the limits – keep calm and see us at the RV Service Centre for an ATM upgrade. Our professional staff can provide ATM upgrades for your van and ensure your safety with even weight distribution.
Get the most enjoyment in the great outdoors by adding some privacy and shade to your caravan or motorhome. Caravan shade screens and annexes will give you extra space but which is the right choice for you?
Traditionally a canvas annex was the solution to “add a room” to a caravan. These are still a great option if you are in need of extra space to sleep people as they can provide full privacy and complete protection from the weather. The down-side to a canvas annex is they are bulky, heavy (up to 20kgs) and time-consuming to set up. The other downside to a canvas annex as it needs to be fully dry when packed away. It has been said that it’s “not worth the trouble” of transporting and putting up an annex unless you are in one spot for a week. If you are staying put for any length of time then an annex may be well worth the effort as it is solid in windy and rainy weather (wind doesn’t get up under the roof and cause flapping) and can give you much needed extra dry space to relax or dry washing when the weather turns. If you are looking for a full room enclosure then an annex made from polyester may be good solution as they are lighter than canvas and easy to wash and dry.
If you are more mobile, a lightweight and quicker solution for privacy and shade are caravan shade screens. They are easily attached to your caravan awning and can be quickly pegged out. Caravan shade screens are much lighter on the pocket than an annex. They are lightweight and easy to stow, dry quickly and they won’t rot if you need to pack them away wet. The downside to shade screens is they are not a complete privacy solution as passersby can peek through the gaps and they offer some but not full protection from the rain and wind. Rain will tend to run down the screen rather than blow all the way in but they are not a complete weather barrier.
If you have an awning already you may be well aware of the flapping that can occur when the wind picks up. Caravan shade screens when pegged out will provide additional support to the awning and help reduce flapping. Set-up of caravan shade screens are quick and easy- a long shade screen will simply slide in to your awning bar. The sides can be attached to the awning poles (leaving a gap at the top) or they can be attached to anti-flap kits which are an additional accessory that is fitted to the sides of the vinyl awning. Anti-flap kits are the best way to reduce awning movement in the wind. Anti-flap kits consist of bars that slide into the vinyl sides on each end of the awning and curved rafters that sit underneath the awning.
As a guide – awnings up to 15 feet need one curved centre rafter and awnings larger than 15 feet will need two rafters. It is recommended to get an anti-flap kit professionally installed. At the RV Service Centre installation takes about an hour and you are welcome to wait in our customer lounge. We stock a full range of annex accessories in our showroom so drop in to take a look and see which option is right for you.
This is a great article from ABC News Australia. This is EXACTLY what we are covering in our upcoming Caravan Safety & Security Seminar (28-OCT). If you’re interested in how to avoid these sorts of issues, please RSVP and come along.