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December 2018


Ball load on caravan

'Too many instances of the tail wagging the dog'

Tow ball loading critical for safe travels

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THE Caravan Council of Australia has stressed the importance of correct tow ball loading when hauling caravans.

"It is one of the critical factors that determine its handling and stability characteristics," founder and qualified automotive engineer Colin Young warned.

"Serious safety issues arise if the ball loading is either too light or too heavy."

He said the seriousness would increase "significantly" if the mass of the tow vehicle was not sufficiently high to be able to control any instability of the caravan.

"There are far too many instances sadly, too often with damaging or even tragic outcomes where the 'tail wags the dog'.

"It goes without saying that any caravan when towed by a suitable tow-vehicle must handle safely, regardless of whether it is empty or fully-loaded.

"It is certainly reasonable to believe that a manufacturer has professionally and realistically tested their different models of caravans before offering them for sale in order to be able to credibly determine the optimum minimum and maximum ball loadings for satisfactory handling performance."

Manufacturers were expected to have designed the (longitudinal) location and mass-limit for each storage compartment, so that when the caravan is loaded in a reasonable and typical manner the mass-distribution remained within the acceptable design range.

"A major problem with many 'vans is that the mass-distribution hence the crucial ball loading varies excessively depending on the possible combinations of the (empty and full) contents of the water tanks," Mr Young said.

"It is also expected that all manufacturers would have done their engineering design thoroughly and thus be able to advise potential buyers of the worst two combinations of the contents of the tanks."


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the prior written permission of Dennis Amor.

Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
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