Caravan towing mirrors, long, short and tall will any work to suit us all?
The answer is no! Each towing situation requires careful matching of the mirrors to individual vehicles and the specific caravan, trailer, horse float or boat in tow.
Some brands are good, some great and some plain awful.
As always you get what you pay for.
Cheap and cheerful can be as low at about $20. We found one identical mirror which is sold in two brand names cost $6 more under its more expensive label.
Both mirrors are sold through the same outlet.
We made it work on the company Magna station wagon with strategic use of electrical tape (pictured). This keeps the mirrors on helps reduce the shakes and does not look too bad as the black tape blends nicely with the standard mirror colour.
It is a cheap solution we did not repeat after one of the mirrors came adrift in a passing truck draft and shattered.
Editor's note: Hold your cursor over the pictures to read the captions
Towing mirrors are a frustrating and expensive area. Bloody towing mirrors! Do we know about them! You bet! We have paid our dues. And expensive it has been too. Starting price $110 each and upwards for anything worthwhile.
We have had various brands blow off, blow back, shatter, and refuse to stay set above 80kmh, shimmy, shake, fail to fit and finally fall right off in the draft from a passing truck.
GSA suggests that when you set up your tow vehicle you work from the vehicle back. We mean make sure whatever you do it fits the shape of the vehicle, your personal needs - are you long, short or tall in the drivers seat. And the type of caravan you are towing. Then do you want it on the guards? Across the bonnet? Or as an extension to your current mirrors?
ACROSS THE BONNET: Requires patience to fit and adjust, but once a well made brand is set up they give good vision and have the additional benefit of being capable of being set wider than the van. This gives an all clear in tight spots. If the mirrors dont touch, then neither will your caravan.
The set pictured above are set up and then a small pop rivet is fired into the extension arm. It means drilling out the rivet to re-adjust, but it adds to the stability of the mirrors. It is a good idea to have a spare mirror in your kick too.
Our picture shows a typical example across the bonnet of the manual Sahara we restored to use in towing and feature work.
ORA TOWING MIRRORS: Made from durable, non-corrosive material these mirrors can be installed quickly without tools. Suitable for almost all 2WD and 4WD vehicles they give clear rear visibility when towing vans up to 2.4 metre (8) wide. Fixing screws and suction caps provide a superior, snug fit to hold the mirrors firm, steady and shake resistant. They can be extended, or swivelled horizontally and vertically to achieve the optimum position for each towing situation.
These work - Onour flagship Toyota Sahara in conjunction with the company Heritage caravan.
Picture is the Flagship Sahara towing the company Jayco Heritage. There is an ORA mirror in place on the drivers side.
FENDER MOUNTED REAR VISION MIRRORS: Large 126 x 200mm black powder coated mirror head with adjustable wide viewing area. Aluminium tubing requires little maintenance to retain original appearance. Left/right hand threaded turnbuckle provides positive attachment.
These work too. But you have to get out to adjust and some brands can shake and shimmy. A lot depends on a good fit and the shape of your guards.
STRAP ON STYLE MIRRORS: These often fall into the cheap and cheerful area and worked OK on the company Magna (pictured above with Jayco Dove and Coromal Silhouette in tow). We used ROG at the time for camper testing. ROG hasmoved on and wenow have a new 2005 dual-fuel station wagon. Yes, it's another Magna.
One strap on brand we tried (not the one above) was useless until we used electrical taped to strap it in place. We did not try them on GSAs Ford Territory nor on the 1985 manual diesel Sahara we are restoring as a GoSeeAustralia Information feature project. The shake and shimmy view typical of this type when fitted to the manual Sahara diesel is not acceptable.
Ourmuch travelled Sales Manager says - The company Holden Statesman used the mirror extension type.They attach with rubber straps around the mirror housing.
To successfully attach them you must cross the straps from top to bottom otherwise they blow off.They were $20 each at an antique junk shop after I returneda set of$150 mirrors to the dealer after they disintegrated and scratched the doors.
Rossa towing mirrors an ORA product.
Purchased by GoSeefrom Melbourne Distributor Carac Sales Pty Ltd 21 Frankston Dandenong Rd, Dandenong. 3175 4th September 2007.
Rossa towing mirrors:
Fit most towing vehicle mirrors.
Use ultra fast mounting
No tools needed
Stable and vibration resistant
Can be easily adjusted by the driver
fixing by strong extendable straps
Does not interfere with existing car mirror
Mirrors can easily be removed when not in use
Non corrosive materials
rrp $166.50 incl GST at time of writing.
The triangular mount clamp normally fits to the top of the car mirror.In some vehicles you may need to fit the mount to the bottom of your car mirror if the car mirrow will allow.
Check the bottom edge of the car mirror to determine which hook fits best.
Loosen knobs on the triangular mount and strap. Attach the strap to the triangular mount, adjusting the length to the size of the side mirror.Tighten the strap so that the unit fixes securely. Do not overtighten.
Insert support arm with T joint to the mirror rod. Slide the rod with attached mirror into the triangular mount and tighten.
Place the suction cap on the door.
Tighten the clamp and triangular mount.
Check that the suction cap has been correctly installed by gently pulling the support arm.
The whole mirror assembly was fitted to the GoSee Captiva by Carac Sales Dandenong, Victoria, staff member within 5 minutes. Carac Sales Pty Ltd are one of the Melbourne ORA product distributors.