Electronic Stability Control on caravans.

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 18:17
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In today’s West Australian there is an article about ESC for Caravans.
The system applies the vans brakes automatically when it starts to wobble or snake.
I do that now by applying a light pressure to the brake pedal, thus activating the van’s brakes without the 4WD’s.
It can’t be more effective than that - unless the system brakes on opposite sides of the van, unequally to compensate for the sway – does anyone know if this is so?
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 18:57

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 18:57
Applying the vans brakes by the driver in an emergency during periods of instability might be possible for the perfect drivers. However the Al-Ko ESC system has been designed for the vast majority of us who fall short of being he perfect driver. Also as the the ESC works from electronic sensors I think it would be in operation before the perfect drivers had detected that there was a dangerous sway event in operation.

To see how it works go to this link
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 21:59

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 21:59
Hi Peter,
Checked your link to ALKO and it appears to do automatically what I do manually.
I thought it might be a bit more sophisticated than that.
Thanks for the info
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 08:50

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 08:50
I would say it uses a yaw rate sensor much like modern vehicles with stability control does........ I think it would acted quicker and more accurately by varying the amount of brake force then a professional caravan tower can do........ no matter how good a driver.

One thing is you can not beat modern technology, something that may take us seconds to do can be done electronically in milliseconds.

Sure we can apply the brake manually once our powerful brain determines something is not right and in most cases too late unlike electronic technology that can detect the smallest change and be proactive before it is too late.

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 10:32

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 10:32
Hi Peter and Olcoolone,
I was initially interested in the sequence of braking on either side of the caravan.
I agree my brain is not as fast as a computer and its speed decreases with age.
I compensate by keeping my speed low, around 85ks/hr.
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 18:58

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 18:58
Might it be this one here ?
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 19:37

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 19:37
I just gave the front page thinking that others would dredge through the other pages as well.
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Reply By: Member - Wamuranman - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 19:58

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 19:58
Quality tow vehicles such as the Silverado have safety features similar to this one as standard.

StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System with Trailer Sway Control is standard fare. Here is how the manual describes TSC:
“Trailer Sway Control (TSC)
Silverado 2500 and 3500 series vehicles with StabiliTrak have a Trailer Sway Control (TSC) feature. If the vehicle is towing a trailer and the system detects that the trailer is swaying, the vehicle's brakes are applied without the driver pressing the brake pedal. If the vehicle is equipped with the Integrated Trailer Brake Control (ITBC) system, StabiliTrak may also apply the trailer brakes. The TCS/StabiliTrak warning light will flash on the instrument panel cluster to notify the driver to reduce speed. If the trailer continues to sway, StabiliTrak will reduce engine torque to help slow the vehicle”.

In addition, the electric brake controller is ABS integrated as well as having dynamic rear proportioning.

Cheers




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Follow Up By: Member - Hunter Gatherer - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 21:21

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 21:21
My 2013 Landcruiser Sahara also has Trailer Sway Control.
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 22:13

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 22:13
Hi Wamuranman,
I don’t have a quality vehicle just a plain old Troopy - everything’s manual.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 22:36

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 22:36
Hi Dennis.
I don't have a Silverado ...yet...but I can dream.
I have to resort to driving a Nissan at present.
But I think the next generation of 4x4 will all have TSC , its just that some are leading the way in this area (more expensive ones probably) like the Sahara and Silverado, Ford F250 etc etc.
Cheers

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 22:52

Saturday, Apr 06, 2013 at 22:52
Mate - No point in me dreaming, I don’t even know what a Silverardeo is.
It sounds to flash for me - I probably wouldn’t take it bush for fear of scratching it.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 06:06

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 06:06
Current ranger, bt50, amarok all have it. Not uncommon, plenty of 'quality' not so further afield these days if you take the time to look.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 07:40

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 07:40
Yes gbc it is true that many new models do have TSC but its mainly only in the past 2 years they have started to fit it. I had a 2010 200 series and it did not have it and it was not an option. But as HunterGatherer stated above it is now (2013) on the 200series (at least in the Sahara model).
But the Silverado has had TSC since 2003 or 2004 I recall. TSC is just a first stage (if you like) of an improved braking system for tow vehicles. All TSC does is brake/not brake the tow vehicle automatically if it detects trailer sway. The Silverado comes with electric brakes on the tow vehicle already built in. This means the trailer brakes can be activated and integrated into the total ABS braking system of the tow vehicle/trailer. This can never be achieved by an add-on electric brake system such as a Tekonsha (no matter how good they are) that we fit here aftermarket to our Nissans, Toyotas, etc etc.
Thus as far as I am aware (happy to be proved wrong) the TSC system and the ITBC (integrated trailer brake control) on the Silverado is a more advanced system than that on the Landcruiser, Ranger BT50 etc.
That was the point I was making.

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 08:57

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 08:57
Most Euro cars have had trailer stability control since 2005-07.

Here is some light reading.

http://delphi.com/pdf/techpapers/2008-01-1228.pdf
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 11:59

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 11:59
"This can never be achieved by an add-on electric brake system such as a Tekonsha (no matter how good they are) that we fit here aftermarket to our Nissans, Toyotas, etc etc."

Well there you go. I think this shows you are not very well switched on when it comes to the subject. The Al-Ko ESC is not fitted to our tugs. It is fitted to our vans.

If you read the postings from people like Collyn Rivers who have worked in the field of vehicle suspension and stability you will see that they think that TSC in the tugs may not be overly effective when towing out large vans. If it has coupling to the trailer brakes like the Silverado then it should be OK. However the European systems have been developed around their well designed shorter vans. When it comes to our large vans where the the local manufacturers don't have a clue about designing stable vans and then to add to it all the things the owners hang off both ends the European style vehicles TSC may not be able to cope.

ESC is really catching on in Europe. This is despite the fact that many of the European tugs being fitted with TSC. I think ESC has a place on out vans unless our tugs have the TSC coupled to out vans like the Silverado has. If it does not have value then why do GM fit the coupling to their vehicles?
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 12:51

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 12:51
Sometime ago I read Collyn Rivers advice on the problem of snaking or wobbling associated with large vans. In his opinion vans over 5 meters should be limited to 90ks an hour.
I have a van over 7 meters and it can wobble when hit by the air turbulence bow wave of large trucks. I don’t have a problem correcting this and my speed limit is 85ks on good roads.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 13:11

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 13:11
It's good to travel at a speed you feel safe and comfortable with but you need to also be aware of other road users..... every time someone overtakes you you increasing the risk of an accident.

With a properly set up vehicle and trailer there should be no issues of sitting safely on the speed limit on good open roads.

The other problem is a driver catches a vehicle going slow and can not overtake...... then another catches....... and another..... and another..... and another all sitting within one to two car lengths of each other and everyone is either too sacred or being courteous to the person in front ( or they forgot what their accelerator pedal is for)......... instead of leap frogging or being able to overtake all the vehicles in the line all of a sudden you have to overtake more vehicles and spend more time in a dangerous position....... and then you get someone in the line pulling out dawdling thinking they are the only road user.





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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 13:55

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 13:55
Olcoolone
I talk to truckies on a UHF and cooperate with them – I have yet to get a bad response from them.
When I see them coming, I let them know I have my eye on them and that I will back off when they get out.

I have a good solid vehicle, a V8 Troopy and a modern caravan with electric brakes – both vehicles maintained at recommended intervals by professionals.
The stopping distance for my rig, at a guess, is about 4 times that of my wife’s Hyundai I30.
And according to Collyn Rivers a 100k limit for this rig is unsafe and I agree with him.

I know drivers like me are a pain in the butt to yourself and others.
But Grey Nomads, cyclists, farm implements and heavy slow trucks have a right to be there too.
It’s up to the overtaking vehicle to wait for safe stretch of road to pass.
Those drivers that are too impatient to do so are dangerous and shouldn’t be on the road.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 14:22

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 14:22
Nomadic N,
You say I am not switched on then you tend to agree with me???
But I think you misunderstood my quote:
What I said was the Silverado system has TSC as well as ITBC...ie. the trailer brakes can be integrated into the ABS braking system so that you virtually have ABS brakes all around (on all 8 wheels if towing a tandem van).
I don't see how that can be achieved by an after market electric brake system. It is true the Alko system can be fitted but that just gives you TSC...it does not give you ITBC. What I said was the ITBC can't be achieved ...as far as I know.

On another point:
It has always amazed me that you can go into a showroom and buy a vehicle that can tow 3500kg...but you legally can't use that feature unless you fit an after market electric brake controller to the vehicle you just purchased. That is weird.

Cheers





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Reply By: graham B9 - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 07:48

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 07:48
It appears that the caravans are getting bigger and the towing vehicles are getting smaller. Perhaps we need every electronic assistance.

In the US people tow caravans at speeds we can only dream of in Australia. 130 is common on the freeways towing big caravans. They have big towing vehicles and electronic assistance as mentioned.

The idea of towing a caravan with a Nissan patrol they would find laughable. They do not even try to sell it over there. Headed and air conditioned seats are common bit we are just starting to get heated seats on Australian built cars. Air conditioned seats are fantastic in the Australian summer and should be everywhere. They reduce driving tiredness greatly.

In Australia we put up with what we are given where we should be demanding what we need.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 10:41

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 10:41
Well said!

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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 11:22

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 11:22
graham B9, I agree

As I said in another thread, I see many people towing vans at high speed and passing other vehicles, etc as if they didn't have an extra set of wheels and 2.5 tonnes or more behind them.

Just because the new breed of towing vehicles have a lot of power, doesn't mean it should be used injudiciously. As most of us know, the dynamics of a combination rig are quite different to a vehicle alone.

The difference with respect to stability when towing with, say, a vehicle with a wheel base of 4m - eg, a Land cruiser and one with 5m - eg, a F250 lwb - is marked. The latter sits on the road like it is on rail tracks even when a B-double passes in the other direction with a cross wind. The new Dodge 6.7 Cummins Ram, which I understand will soon be available in RHD in Oz, will be about the same price as a new dual cab Land Cruiser ute.

I suspect that many drivers would rarely, if ever, practice braking with the trailer brakes in various situations. I also believe that drivers (and the passenger in the front seat) need to be as familiar with using the brake controller as they are using the brake pedal.

Cheers
Andrew
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 14:50

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 14:50
"Member - Wamuranman posted:
Well said!"

Well said, except Graham indicates he has little knowledge of the American Market.

"The idea of towing a caravan with a Nissan patrol they would find laughable. They do not even try to sell it over there."

It's sold over there as the Infiniti QX They also build and sell a ute the sams size - Nissan Titan

They also build and sell the smaller size vehicles in the USA D40 series (2004-) and Pathfinder. They even use them as tow vehicles and sell WDH for them.

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Follow Up By: graham B9 - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 15:56

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 15:56
Hi Peter,

A Nissan Infinity QX is in fact quite a bit bigger than a Patrol. It actually looks quite a bit like it. It is very hard to tell the size of it without having another vehicle to compare it to. It is the same size as a Chev Suburban or Ford Expedition.

I have a suburban and in fact live in the US. I still look at Explore Oz however.

You are correct that Nissan do sell smaller vehicles such as Pathfinder but you almost never see them towing anything. Where I am the most common vehicle not just a SUV but of all vehciles is a Jeep.

In the winter you can get ploughed in by the snow clearing trucks at night and you need a bigger SUV / 4WD to get yourselves out in the morning.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 16:48

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 16:48
The current Nissan Infiniti QX is about 150mm longer, 40mm wider and the same higher than a GU Patrol.

The Patrol was never allowed into the USA because of the Union ban stopping the import....... something about protection local manufacturing plants and employees.



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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 17:18

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 17:18
Hi, graham B9
Do you mind if I ask a question thats a little related to this post, seeing you live in USA.
I wish to buy a new Silverado in USA at some stage (probably next year), drive around US in it then ship it back to Aus for RHD conversion. But, every Chev dealer I have contacted (and thats many) as well as some brokers...will not sell to me if they know it will be eventually exported. I find that weird...a sale is a sale afterall.
Do you know why they are not allowed to sell me a new car and is there anyway around it legally?
Any info/advice appreciated.
Rather than clog up this post you can email me on:
havilahheights@aapt.net.au

Thanks

PS I tried to find you on members list to use members message but to no avail.
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Reply By: awill4x4 - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 08:53

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 08:53
I had a good talk to the guys from Al Ko at the recent Melbourne caravan show and although you have to accept you're talking to sales people pushing a product it's a system I will have fitted to my single axle van as finances allow.
I met a couple at our 4x4 club meeting last year who fell victim to an out of control caravan sway and in their words "it happened faster than I could react".
At a retrofitted price of around $1300 I feel it's good insurance and when I have it fitted and if I never need it, it will still be money well spent.
The system can only be installed by approved Al Ko installers and when retrofitting, Al Ko brakes and backing plates are necessary.
Regards Andrew.
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Reply By: Member - J&R - Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 19:15

Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 at 19:15
I believe you should need a licence endorsement to tow anything over, say 5m and 750kg
My thoughts only, but I see too many issues with people going on annual holidays with the family, dog, the van fully loaded......and the last time they towed was the same time last year.

There have been many posts about B doubles, road trains, trucks in general on various roads, causing various issues.
So yes...how about the annual pilgrimage of southerners on all roads leading north fully loaded.
Accidents waiting to happen. Or death on 4/6/8 wheels.
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Monday, Apr 08, 2013 at 08:04

Monday, Apr 08, 2013 at 08:04
I think if you tow anything over a 6x4 you should have another licence.

And I think the Police should pay attention to overloaded cars towing overloaded vans.

It's so much fun when we stay at caravan parks for short overnight stops watching caravaners trying to reverse.
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Follow Up By: Member - Keith Berg - Monday, Apr 08, 2013 at 16:16

Monday, Apr 08, 2013 at 16:16
This might annoy a few caravaners, and I have been one over the years, but I reckon that all rigs should be capably designed to sit safely on posted speed limits of 100 kph.

A full sized 4WD and a 3 tonne van in combination is a potentially lethal combination. Every rig has a critical speed, after which any sway starts to amplify rather than dampen itself out. That critical speed should be greater than 100 kph.

Yaw inertia should be stated by the manufacturer both for the empty van and at the AVM with load spread throughout the storage areas of the van. All van suspensions should be designed to eliminate bump steer. And why not an electronic load sensor on the draw bar to indicate hitch weight? And tyre pressures printed on the wheel arches? It's not a lot to ask. I also agree with J&R and Olcoolone that licensing is another matter that needs looking at.

If a rig is not stable at 100 kph, it should not be on the road.



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