Towing Hitches for Caravans

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 12:15
ThreadID: 30923 Views:5678 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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Hi All,

We have a 17'6" Millard Caravan that I have just had the springs underslung lifting the van an additional 150 mm, so I bought a Hayman Reece weight distribution hitch with adjustable ball height.
My problem is if the van and the Nissan Patrol are not on exactly the same plane, either horizontal or vertical, the hitch is very difficult to attach and release.
We store our van on our driveway which while not very steep it has a reasonable incline and getting it hitched and unhitched is turning into a pain.
Would a treg hitch or a Hyland hitch be more suitable, or am I just doing something basically wrong?
I am also having trouble finding the Hyland hitch.

Cheers

Jeff
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Reply By: Slow Mower - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 12:25

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 12:25
Perhaps a good place to start would be with the supplier of the Hayman Hitch or a good tow (bar) specialist. Sounds like you might need some qualified assistance.
AnswerID: 155833

Reply By: Jimbo - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 13:45

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 13:45
Jeff,

A Treg will be harder to get connected. They have to be pefectly positioned.

Cheers,

Jim.
AnswerID: 155844

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 09:36

Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 09:36
Jimbo,

Can't agree with you there Mate.

As the Treg coupling block can swivel freely, the angle up or down doesn't matter to the ability to insert the pin.

That's my experience anyway. I find the Treg coupling to be much more user friendly than the standard Ball type.
Bill


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FollowupID: 409911

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 15:43

Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 15:43
Geez Bill,

I must have got out of bed on the wrong side today cos this is the 2nd time that I've gotta disagree with you!!!! hahahaha;-((

I find the TREG an absolute a$$hole of a thing to use when the camper is on any sort of a slope......worse still if the trailer is on sand and can't be manually jockeyed from side to side. In these cases you have to be spot on with placement. If you don't want to have a blue with the good lady, you need to get in and out of the 4x4 a few times to get the damn thing "JUST RIGHT". I now have the rear camera, which assist greatly in lining up the treg , but I still have to get out and make minor adjustments to the height of the trailer so that I can reverse the Patrol right onto the red block and drop the pin in. If it's on concrete etc, no worries........but I wouldn't like to try it with a tandem caravan; my tandem box trailer is bad enough.

I've been looking at the ORAC coupling and it seems to have some good points.

Alternatively, has anybody tried using the Treg sideways? I guess it wasn't designed to be used that way, but what would be the downside to having the red block 90 degrees to it's normal position? You'd just need to re-attach the vehicle-mounted part of the Treg so that it is on it's side (maybe drill another hole through the Hayman Reece box section so the tongue is sideways).

Cheers

Roachie
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FollowupID: 409993

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 22:57

Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 22:57
Well don't sweat it Bill.

If we were to all agree with every issue, life would be boring wouldn't it?

Maybe I like the Treg, purely because for years I put up with the standard ball coupling and they are just a PITA.

Mate, I'm still chuckling over your papadam interpretation.
Fair dinkum, that was a gem, even though I stirred the waters in defending the fairer sex:-)
Bill


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FollowupID: 410180

Reply By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 14:03

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 14:03
This posting rings minor alarm bells.

Weight distributing hitches act like semi-flexible beams between the towing vehcle and the trailer. Their purpose is to counteract some of the lever effect that causes the towball weight to lift the front of the towing vehicle.

In other words it tries to keep them level.

If however a rig with such a hitch has to climb am extended ramp from a flat surface - as for example an inclined drive-way from a flat road - the hitch will still attempt to keep the two units level. This places huge stresses on the hitch, the 'van drawbar and the rear of the vehicle structure and may seriously damage any/all of them.

Standard WDHs should not, for the same reason, be connected up off-road.

It is not clear from the posting whether the problem is in the initial hitching up - or in attaching the WDH spring bars - but if the latter - these should only be attached when the rig is down on the road - and removed likewise.

Note this is not a real issue with, for example fuel station drive-ways etc - only where the ramp continues for some length such that the towing vehicle eventually form an acute angle.

Having experience with both types, I far prefer the Tregg hitch for both on and off-road trailers. I have them on our TVan and also our general purpose twin-axle box trailer. They need a different technique to couple up but both my wife and I find them much easier to use than ball couplings - and also smoother when towing.

To couple up one positions the car hitch alongside the trailer hitch. Then by adjusting height with the jockey-wheel, the trailer part can be gently eased sideways into position and the tapered connecting pin eased into position.

I believe Tregg hitches are now available for use with WD systems - but you would need to check.
Collyn Rivers
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AnswerID: 155847

Reply By: Max - Sydney - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 17:50

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 17:50
Jeff - have you tried hooking the van up and running it doen to the road, and putting the hitch on while the car and van are one the same level?

May have to do the same in CPs depending on the site. Alternatively, at home, use a trolley jack to lift up the back of the car till you get the levellers on perhaps??

Most of all, I like the idea above of talking with a competent dealer.

Max
AnswerID: 155871

Reply By: Graham & Ann - Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 15:17

Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 15:17
My guess is that your having trouble removing the standard coupling from the tow ball ie uncoupling when both vehilces are not on the same plane. Check the adjusting screw on the head of the coupling isn't too tight, try loosening it off a little. Also remember if the head of the WDH is adjused so the tow ball sits forward or backwards too much (as viewed from the side) it will cause the problem your experiencing, so check that the tow ball is vertical. (or maybe set it just slightly to the way that will favour your uncoupling in the driveway, remember as you alter the head angle the position of the bars will also alter).

I've not used one but it would appear to me that a Hyland coupling should work fine with the WDH no matter the angle of the tow ball.

cya
Graham
AnswerID: 155994

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 15:43

Monday, Feb 20, 2006 at 15:43
If you are having trouble because the van and the tow vehicle are not on the same plane then put the hitch when on the flat.
The Hyland hitch is a better hitch for an off road van with a level bar or rod system however the sway bars/rods should be disengaged when off road.
The Treg hitch should not be used with a sway bar/rod system as they will wear very quickly.
I have an off road van with a standard 3500kg caravan hitch and have NEVER had any trouble off road. I always take the sway bars off when traversing tracks.
Remember that one is restricted when off road due to ramp over when towing also narrow tracks cannot be negoitated very easily because of the vans cutting of corners.
Yes I do take my van off road within it,s limits. Pic In Members.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 156004

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