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GoSeeNewZealand looks at how to hit the road with your caravan in top shape

February 20, 2007
GoSeeNewZealand looks at how to hit the road with your caravan in top shape

Here are some notes for GoSeeNewZealand site users on setting up a Jayco Heritage caravan for the road. We thought it might be good to share what we know makes caravan systems go.

The big Heritage caravan hooks to a mighty Toyota Sahara 4.2 Turbo Diesel Land cruiser. So pulling power is not an issue, but when the grunt comes on it is the caravan that must be up to the job as the Sahara just keep going rough or smooth, steep or easy.

So here are pictures of GoSeeNewZealands practical approach to caravan preparation.

Editors note: To read the feature picture captions and the caravan set-up series of shots at the end of this feature just hold your cursor over each image.

We have had questions about towing variations between single and dual axle caravans so here are some thoughts on that too.

One of the negative difference is tight turns with dual axles can put high stresses on the caravans tyres.

We have included some pictures to illustrate the point using the Jayco Heritage on bitumen being towed by the Sahara 4.2TD.

GoSeeNew Zealand recommends that tight manoeuvres of this kind be avoided, particularly on surfaces which Do Not allow little tyre slip like bitumen.

Dont stress your trailer tyres with turns like thisTyre pressures should be checked with the tyres cold. Use a gauge you know is right. Many service station gauges have a hard life which often makes them unreliable. Follow the manufacturers recommendations on tyre pressures for both the caravan and tow vehicle. Buy the best tyres available. When towing the tyres are not an area to cut corners on.

Never exceed the manufacturers or vehicle builders tow ball load weight.

If you do you risk disappointment if you have to make an insurance claim and in a bad situation possible prosecution for a driving offence.

Fuel consumption when towing caravans varies with issues like weight, driver style, vehicle tune, grades and weather conditions.

As a general guide towing the Jayco Heritage with the Sahara in hilly mountain going produced a figure of about 20 litres a 100 km. Overdrive is usually locked out. It is only used in easy flat going. The fuel figure is in mountain going with long grades climbing to about 1500m. Second gear is engaged to negotiate steep descents safely. It is essential to change down early to retain control on steep, winding mountain descent. Vehicles climbing up a range need to be in top condition for long slow demanding pulls.

The electric brake controller linked to the caravan can be used to apply the caravan brakes to assist the tow vehicle in this kind of demanding descent.

Dont over do it. A little is more than enough. The big Heritage also has a break-away brake controller unit to lock the caravans brakes on in the unlikely event of the caravan parting company with the tow vehicle.

Make sure it is shut. It can blow away Ease the levelling legs. Never use them as a jack. They will bend

A battery powered drill and socket wind up or down in quick time Repeat all round

Watch your step if it below the caravan. Dont lower the caravan onto it Tow head in place. Lock pin padlocked

Grease the towball Grease the coupling. The hydraulic jack makes light of the caravan. Canberra March 2006

Use lubricating spray on all fittings and movable parts Lower onto the vehicle and undo the hydraulic jack

remove the hydraulic jack Fit the anti-sway torsion bar

Set up the chain tension Fit the lift handle

Use the lever bar to lock on the tension Slot in the lock pin, it goes open end first

If the shackle fails you are responsible so go for the best Canberra March 2006 Cross your chains. The break-away brake cable is wound through the near safety chain.

Run your electrics so they cannot be pinched and cut by the coupling Check tyre pressures cold with a gauge you can trust