Get Out There with your caravan in top shape

March 28, 2006
Get Out There with your caravan in top shape

As we set up the GoSeeAustralia 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 GoSeeAustralias 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 GoSeeAustralias practical approach to caravan preparation for a run from Cooma to Tumut on the Snowy Mountains Highway.

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

A recent GoSeeAustralia caravan Forum question raised towing variations between single and dual axle caravans.

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 at Lake Hume Tourist Park.

GoSeeAustralia recommends that tight manoeuvres of this kind be avoided, particularly on surfaces which 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 from Banks, ACT to Cooma and then on the Snowy Mountain Highway via Kiandra to Tumut 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. The drop from about 1400m at the top of the range down to Blowering Reservoir and Tumut requires second gear to negotiate the steep descent safely. It is essential to change down early to retain control on this steep, winding mountain descent. Vehicles climbing up the range need to be in top condition for the long slow demanding pull which starts about 20km out of Tumut.

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.

For further information contact
Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia Directory
Phone:02 6294 1941
Fax: 02 6284 9275
Email:

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 Canberra March 2006

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