Geist comes through with Australasian caravan innovation in brake debate 

March 31, 2007
Geist comes through with Australasian caravan innovation in brake debate

Recent Caravan and Camping shows on both sides of the Tasman have competitive, original recreational vehicles on offer.

But for buyers it is not all about lowest price. Quality equals value and prestige supplier Geist has integrated its building systems to handle the toughest caravanning conditions. The result is innovativation for Australasia.

The Geist range is also particularly easy on the eye and exceptionally well done inside and out. It is lightweight for size and something of an engineering surprise packet. The range has real claims to the "Geist for Life" marketing message it rides on.

Which is where Norbert Kuckat BPW Transpec Product Specialist - Trailer Equipment Division comes in.

Norbert works with Geist Australasia boss Wayne Moller at keeping weight down and strength up.

It is a balancing act all Recreational Vehicle builders face as they meet exacting requirements from buyers for less weight, more comfort and a constant demand for design changes. The base for Geist strength is the AUS-chassis and V-tech axles mounted in rubber.

The benefit, as Norbert says is weight saving combined with clever strength retaining engineering means more comfort can be added to the caravan interior.

Light weight combined with great strength comes from the shape and pressing of the Geist chassis up through the 40mm section of the fastened and glued floor to the roof which is said to have been the grandstand for 12 members of Geist cheer squad at a recent supercar event.

BPW Product Specialist Norbert Kuckat explains Geist design
BPW Product Specialist Norbert Kuckat explains Geist design

This is not something we suggest you try at home, but it is an encouraging story.

More to the point fears that European designs don't cut it in Australasian caravanning conditions have been addressed by much more than grandstanding on a caravan roof.

The current completely integrated designs comefrom testing Geist caravans to destruction and then going back to the factory with solutions.

For example computer design makes certain that everything fitted inside an Australasian Geist has a solid wood base. And when Norbert and Wayne get down to nuts and bolts the solutions come from two engineers.

In an earlier life Wayne's family company built machinery for farmers.

When they got an offer they could not refuse for their company it was sold and Wayne saw an opportunity in recreational vehicles.

He laughs about it as a form of madness, but there is precise logic in the approach he takes to keeping Geist owners tracking. We have requests from Forum users to talk to Geist about its unique towball coupling system and prefence for mechanical braking so we did.

Single-lever controls towing functions
Single-lever controls towing functions

Wayne says he believes mechanical braking is best overall because it delivers all the time regardless of the caravan owner's abilities and caravanning knowledge level.

He does not think that the majority of caravan owners understand how to get the best from electric braking systems.

Nor is he confident that some break-away braking system cables will actually trigger a stop should the need come up.

In the Geist range if the caravan comes off the towball the breakaway cable brings the brakes into play and the caravan stops.

There is no battery involved as there is in electric systems. This means forgetting to keep an independent breakaway brake system battery charged is not an issue. Wayne's mechanical brake preference is based in his belief that if things go badly wrong it is better for tow vehicle and caravan to part company, each stopping under its own braking.

This removes the danger of a caravan coming off the towball, but being held by its safety chains and potentially involving both itself and the tow vehicle in a situation which might lead to both rolling over, he says.

Wayne Moller  shows Geist strength. Floor section left and walls right
Wayne Moller shows Geist strength. Floor section left and walls right

The Geist dolly wheel is permanently part of the towing system. It winds up just proud of a housing in the tow-head structure and acts as a landing wheel if the Geist should come adrift.

For static use there is a particularly easy to use hand-brake which once pulled on will automatically increase its grip if there is any caravan brake slippage.

Norbert Kuckat weighed in for an interesting insight into the Geist coupling and towball engineering. This is towing ball coupling and stablising gear combined.

There are friction pads in the coupling. When the single-lever locking system is used the pads press against the tow ball of the towing vehicle under high spring pressure. A + to - gauge also allows easy maintenance checks.

This is via a clip system which allows the pads to be easily replaced.

The jockey wheel is a permanent part of the safety system
The jockey wheel is a permanent part of the safety system

The system allows unrestricted movement of the towing ball and there is an optional anti-theft device.

When locked and loaded the WS 3000 stabiliser supresses snaking and pitching.

Comparative testing by RWTUV Essen in 2004 at the Institute for Vehicle Technology in Essen placed the Winterhoff WS 3000 first.

The system scored 3.9 points overall of a possible four across safety, construction, handling and maintenance criteria.

  • Here are pictures from the Caulfield Caravan and Camping Supershow which show more of the Geist fit-out andvalue products from a variety of makers.

Friction pads in the coupling control snaking
Friction pads in the coupling control snaking
Breakaway cable activates Geist brakes
Breakaway cable activates Geist brakes
Geist towball. Spring washer  lock down on plate
Geist towball. Spring washer lock down on plate
Safety standards stamped in on Geist towball
Safety standards stamped in on Geist towball
Bench space is a must have  in  any caravan, motorhome or camper
Bench space is a must have in any caravan, motorhome or camper
Avan with aircon
A'van with aircon
Black Widows fit-out is solid and smooth
Black Widows fit-out is solid and smooth
Coronet Prince offers good fit out and price
Coronet Prince offers good fit out and price
Deisel heating drew interest
Deisel heating drew interest
Galaxy new release
Galaxy new release
GU Nissan with accommodation
GU Nissan with accommodation
Jayco competitive Destiny J Series 16.52-2
Jayco competitive Destiny J Series 16.52-2
Jayco responses to lifestyle demands with the Basecamp
Jayco responses to lifestyle demands with the Basecamp
Light towing Genesis GP413 from Etheridge Windsor
Light towing Genesis GP413 from Etheridge Windsor
Shower and toilet can be separated Geist XK 630
Shower and toilet can be separated Geist XK 630
Well finished weekender from Ian Grant Caravans in single bed form
Well finished weekender from Ian Grant Caravans in single bed form
Geist  brake cutaway
Geist brake cutaway
Geist towball head pad wear check
Geist towball head pad wear check
Value from Coromal in the Excel Compac
Value from Coromal in the Excel Compac
Well finished weekender from Ian Grant Caravans in single bed form
Well finished weekender from Ian Grant Caravans in single bed form
Wayne Moller shows the Geist easy lock  and release hand brake
Wayne Moller shows the Geist easy lock and release hand brake