level riders

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 10:36
ThreadID: 96398 Views:2856 Replies:9 FollowUps:4
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hi to all
we have just got our new hi lux duel cab to tow our single axle off road full caravan 2.2 tonne. Old hilux had heavier suspension and was good but rough as. New car is sitting good but haven't tried it towing van as yet. . (heading around the NT gulf country) it has 270k on tow ball weight and wondering if level riders would transfer weight back or forward to give a bit more secure handling ( iv'e heard not to use them on bad undulating roads, or reversing ) Also thinking about a Super spring for hilux which will handle the weight and not upset ride to much with out going to heavy duty springs. I always appreciate forum revues and look forward to comments

Regards Bill
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Reply By: ozjohn0 - Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 11:37

Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 11:37
Hiya Bill,
Fir starter your ball weight appear to be illegal.
Earlier Hilux's had a max tow weight of 2250Kg with a max ball weight of 225Kg.
the latest model has been upgraded to a Max Tow Weight iof 2500Kg with a MAX BALL WEIGHT of 250Kg.
A WDH is recommended by Toyota for all models.
AnswerID: 489075

Follow Up By: GT Campers - Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 12:08

Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 12:08
what he said... and there's no way you should go near your tow ball max (or use a WDH) away from bitumen due to rougher conditions.

Get some weight off that ball!
FollowupID: 764225

Reply By: Member - Broodie H3 - Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 14:33

Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 14:33
Is the 2.2 tonne loaded or unloaded weight including water, but I would go for the helper spring, or another option is rear air bag suspension lift kit, but to me it would seem you might be close to your max capacity if not over.
Broodie H3
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AnswerID: 489084

Reply By: rooster350 - Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 14:34

Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 14:34
If we had to take our level rides off because of bad undulating roads or reversing it would be a waste of time even putting them on....you are traveling down the road and you come to a section that is being rebuilt and is very rough, do you stop and take them off ?...backing into a caravan park site or backing up the drive at home, take them off ?....certainly not this chappie.......and yes get that ball weight down , far to much...cheers
AnswerID: 489085

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 15:39

Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 15:39
Hi Bill,

As the others have said, your towball weight is excessive.
It should be around the 10% of the van weight.
EG 220 kg on the ball in your stated case.

Every vehicle over 1 tonne benefits from a level ride system and the heavier the vehicle being towed the better the benefit providing the system is suited to the weight of the towed vehicle.

I first used a level ride system in 1972, which came with our first van, and decided at that moment, Iwas age 26, that I would never tow a van without them, the difference was that great.
They just lock the van and tow vehicle together as one unit and takes a lot of stress out of the job.

On very undulating surfaces, such as severely rutted roads, it is wise to remove them as they place undue stress on the tow bar. Mind you the ruts need to be fairly severe and lots of them to warrant removing them.

Hope this helps, Cheers, Bruce
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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AnswerID: 489088

Reply By: Horacehighroller - Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 17:07

Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 17:07
I'm curious!

I have always been an advocate of level rides being fitted first before considering uprated rear springs to counter towball weight.
The level rides transfer excess weight from the rear axle of the tow vehicle and help to push down the front (thereby countering the lifting effect on the front of the towball weight)

It is suggested here that level rides should NOT be used under rough road conditions as they place excess load on the tow bar. I am not saying that is WRONG, but I don't understand how that can be the case.

(After all, if there is 200 kg pushing down on the ball, a levelride would effectively push the ball up to effectively negate a significant part of that ball weight - lets say 80 kgs. So, as far as the towbar tongue is concerned there is now only 120kgs pushing down. Surely this would be advantageous for both the towbar AND the rear suspension, particularly on rough roads!

I don't want to start an arguement, I just want to clarify in my mind why rough roads and levelrides should not go together.

AnswerID: 489092

Follow Up By: Member - RobnJane(VIC) - Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 20:01

Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 20:01
Hi Peter and others,

I also am not wanting an arguement, however want to add to the discussion.

It is my understanding that 'level rides' work by transferring some of the load back via the tow bar to the front end of the car.

Clearly if weight is taken off the hitch area it must go somewhere, and that means the front end/suspension. This may not seem too bad, and when on level to relatively level roads is normally not a concern, however once more serious undulations are encountered then (my understanding is) the weight transferred to the front end is subjected to a multiplier effect.

Depending on the multiplier, there is the potential to momentarily overload the front end, and if this is repeated often enough then there could well be serious consequences.

My guess is that this is why some car manufacturers specifically advise not to use them.

So in the example Peter has used that 80kg needs to be multiplied by whatever the 'lever' ie load leveller dictates (depending on how it is adjusted)etc.

Hope this is of interest to you.



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Follow Up By: phil300 - Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 21:19

Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 21:19
Hi all

When tow vehicle and van are level the bars transfer x amount if you drive though a large dip front of vehicle up rear down front of van down rear up the load on the bars goes up 10x all this load is transferred into hitch then bolts that hold towbar to vehicle plus into the draw bar were the bars attach and if the bars are taken past there amount of spring bend they stay bent.
A lot of people with WHD use there jockey wheel to make it easy to connect bars ( lift after connecting van hook bars with no load drop jockey, bars are pre loaded )
Reversing is okay unless you put vehicle and van at right angles some bars will bind on drawr bar.

I still use and would not tow at speed on highway with out them would have to be a a track with large whoops or wash outs to cause probs then I would take them off and be driving to the conditions. some servos need to be watched drive in and out at as much angle to reduce the dip ( not both back wheels in toghter)
Vehicle Navara D40 Van Safari 236 van gvm 3000kg tow ball weight around 280 kg depends on how much water on board carry up to 240 litres
cheers Phil.
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Reply By: Geoff H (Q - Friday, Jun 22, 2012 at 07:42

Friday, Jun 22, 2012 at 07:42
The level riders give you some assistance on the open road, I only take mine off in very severe country. I found that keeping the rear water tank full made a lot of difference to the balance of the van.

Be careful with air bags as they have caused a lot of broken dual cabs, you will see a few posts on this forum.

AnswerID: 489126

Reply By: GT Campers - Friday, Jun 22, 2012 at 18:37

Friday, Jun 22, 2012 at 18:37
Contrary to common opinion, from an engineering point of view a WDH adds enormous stresses into the rear section of the vehicle chassis. IT DOES NOT lighten the towball load. It increases it. After all, something has to force the vehicle nose back down and in this case the incredible forces required are transmitted from the rear to the front of the chassis, like a big lever. Do NOT use them off-bitumen. Legally, too, use of a WDH doesn't do anything to reduce the ball load. The only sensible and legal method is to reduce ball-load or choose a heavier/more suitable tow vehicle. The fact that more vehicle don't suffer catastrophic failure of chassis when towing (especially in rougher conditions) is more a matter of luck than design.

Just out of interest, what tyres do you have on your van to cope with that load off-road?

AnswerID: 489181

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Saturday, Jun 23, 2012 at 10:16

Saturday, Jun 23, 2012 at 10:16
A WDH is OK on rough roads, but should not be used for negotiatiion steep creek crossings or similar.
A WDH does not increase or decrease the Ball Weight. The ball weight remains as it was before the WDH was engaded.
The only way to change the ball weight is to alter the trailers Drawbar weight by redistributiing weight on or within the trailer.
AnswerID: 489214

Follow Up By: Horacehighroller - Saturday, Jun 23, 2012 at 15:17

Saturday, Jun 23, 2012 at 15:17
Thanks John.

I now uinderstand that it is not "rough roads" that are the problem but dips & creekcrossings etc where the vehicle nose and rear of trailer are up and their other ends are down.(obviously exerting much greater pressure on the bar and it's attachment points)

FollowupID: 764390

Reply By: Member - bill & netti p (VIC) - Sunday, Jun 24, 2012 at 17:01

Sunday, Jun 24, 2012 at 17:01
Hi to all, Thank you very much in response to my query. Postitive feedback was great . We have moved things around and have got the ball weight down from 270 to 230 this was by moving spare wheel and boot items. Also running only on rear water tank. I am always very pleased with the response to any questions I ask. This is a great forum. Thanks again
AnswerID: 489315

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