Caravan/Tow Vehicle Behaviour & Suspension

Do Not Trust Caravan Declared Mass

by Collyn Rivers Declared Mass A 's Tare Mass is legally its weight when 'ready for service' as it leaves its maker. That weight, recorded on a Compliance plate is often incorrect. This article explains why RV Books states: Do Not Trust ...

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Fifth wheelers are safer – here’s why they are

Fifth wheel caravans are safer than conventional caravans. They are fundamentally more stable on road and far less likely to overturn. Further, because up to two metres more is usable space, they provide that much more living area. They increasingly challenge caravan and motor home sales.

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RV Industry Changes Needed

On the surface, the Australian RV industry is healthy. But underneath all is far from well. A  great deal needs changing. There are lots to do. RV Books explains the RV industry changes needed.

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Gross Combined Mass Upgrades

You can obtain gross combined mass upgrades for most SUVs. Depending on make and model, these add 300-500 kg (660-1100 lb). It makes sense to do this. Carrying that extra mass results in a safer ratio of laden tow vehicle weight to laden caravan weight.

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Mechanical sway-control has little value at speed

The overhung hitch of a caravan tow vehicle can cause (not just permit) a caravan to sway. This sway annoys at low speed and is dangerous at high speed. Until recently attempts to limit such sway rely on friction to dampen and ideally prevent it. Unfortunately, mechanical sway-control has little value at speed.

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RV Accident Data (Australia)

The number of accidents that involve cars towing caravans is no higher than cars generally, but the nature and physics involved in the now 400 or so a year that jack-knife (with many rolling over) are unique. No other on-road combination has this type of accident.

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Tow Vehicle/Caravan Weight Ratio Explained

A caravan heavier than its tow vehicle is like a dog with an overweight tail, it may sway so much its tow vehicle cannot control it. Swerving strongly at speed to avoid a head-on collision induce this. So too may a strong side wind gust. That wind may be natural or from a close passing truck. 

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Overhung Caravan Hitches

Conventional caravans are towed via an overhung hitch attached to the rear of the tow vehicle. This is an inherently unstable combination. A side force on a caravan causes swaying. Caravan swaying is undesirable. Furthermore, at speed, it is dangerous The longer caravan hitches overhang the worse the effect. It is undesirable at low levels. It is dangerous at high levels. And even more so at high speeds. This RV Books article explains why.

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Loading a Caravan Safely

Knowing how to locate mass correctly along the length of a caravan is vital. That applies both to its design and the owner’s loading. This article shows the safe approach to loading a caravan – and why and how it matter doing so is vitally important.

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10 Tips for Safe Caravan Towing

Caravans and their tow vehicles have much the same accident rates as other forms of motor transport. Their main type of accident, jack-knifing and roll-over, however, are different. Here are ten tips for safe caravan towing.

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Solar That Really Works!

Solar that Really Works! covers the design, installation and use of solar in cabins, camper trailers, caravans, fifth wheelers, campervans and motor homes.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Solar That Really Works!  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-3-0

Caravan and Motorhome Electrics

The essential handbook for anyone with an RV of any kind.  Everything you need to know to make the electrics in your rig work for you.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Caravan & Motorhome Electrics.  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-8-5

Solar Success

Whether you’re building a new home or adding solar to an existing structure, this is the one book you can’t afford to be without.

eBook versions

Paperback version

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Solar Success.  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6487945-4-7

Caravan and Motorhome Electrics

The essential handbook for anyone with an RV of any kind.  Everything you need to know to make the electrics in your rig work for you.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Caravan & Motorhome Electrics.  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-8-5