For decades both caravan owners and vendors have emphasised the need for a laden tow vehicle to at least weigh as much as the laden caravan. Length and caravan stability, and where weight is distributed over that length, is now being seen as more significant.
The current (February 2018) Australian RV rules and regulations are outlined here by Collyn Rivers of RV Books. Those for trailers under 4500 kg (9920 lb) will change in late 2018 but details are not yet available. These rules often change and this article will be regularly updated to reflect those changes.
Australia has two main and seemingly interdependent caravan industries. One makes caravans of varying stability. The other makes devices (of varying effectiveness) intended to increase that stability. Both are curious. Not all makers appear to understand the more basic laws of physics involved. Or perhaps assume immunity from them. So presumably do owners of ultra-long caravans. With a few rare exceptions, there is a caravan design need for change. And for caravan owners to realise a caravan’s inherent stability issues.
Knowing the solar input available for caravans is vital, especially up north. This article shows how to know that available and increase it too.
Quietening caravan water pumps is simple to do at no or trivial cost. This article from RV Books’ Collyn Rivers shows how.
Caravan and motor home tyres take a far greater beating than those in general use – an industry report noted that such tyres are subject to major abuse greater than any other form of use. In particular, stated the report, caravan and motor home tyres are often grossly under-inflated and overloaded.
Tow ball weight pushes down the rear of the tow vehicle – thereby increasing the weight on its rear tyres. A WDH, in effect, is a semi-flexible springy beam that levers back up the rear of the tow vehicle and levers down its front. In doing so, however, it reduces the imposed load on the tow vehicles rear tyres and partially restored it on its front tyres. Reducing the load on the tow vehicle’s rear tyres reduces their ‘cornering ability’. This is why a weight distributing hitch limits cornering.
Electrical converters in RVs supply 12 volts from 230 volt power. They work well from 230 volts, but not for long-term camping. Here’s how to fix the problem.
Reversing a caravan is easy, but needs practice. This article will guide you through how to reverse a caravan if used in conjunction with doing it yourself.
Claims for dual-cab ute towing capacity mislead caravan buyers. That ute must weigh enough to keep a caravan steady. If not, the caravan tail wags the towing dog.
TV interference from LEDs is an issue worldwide. It is mostly caused by LEDs in the same home (or RV) as the TV. This can be checked by turning them off. Another indicator of TV interference from LEDs is good daytime reception until lights are turned on. In the worst cases, TV reception is unwatchable, or not even obtainable.
Caravan common sense can be fine but used about things technical it’s likely to be based on misleading opinions that contradict the basic laws of physics. Engineering utilises long proven knowledge. This may be (for example) about voltage drop along an electric cable. It may be about the deflection of a spring under load (Hooke’s Law). Or the forces exerted by a caravan yawing or pitching (Newton) etc. All are based on long proven work and often centuries of proven practice.
A conventional caravan must always be a compromise. This is because it is towed via hitch at some distance behind the tow vehicle’s rear wheels. If that vehicle sways clockwise, that hitch overhang causes (not just permits) the caravan to sway anti-clockwise. If the caravan sways clockwise, it causes the tow vehicle to sway anticlockwise. is essentially an unstable concept but safe within limits.
Long end-heavy caravans have a need for a Weight Distributing Hitch (WDH). For all, though, it inherently reduces tow vehicle stability. Here’s how and why.
Caravan Tare Weight issues mainly arise about what’s included and what’s not. Water is not, nor may be optional extras. This article reveals all.
Reducing caravan sway (yaw) necessitates minimising its causes – and only then adding devices promoted as reducing it. This article shows why and how.
What off-road really means is terrain that necessitates a serious 4WD – but many RV vendors may define it as anything lacking a centre white line. Compounding this, many RV vendors make claims about what can go where that are close to absurd.
RV users free camp safely in Australia to avoid often crowded caravans, some 500 km apart. Many self-contained RVs need only a safe space overnight. This article shows how to free camp safely in Australia.
The best way to drive around Australia is anticlockwise via its 14,000 km coastal road. This enables you to enjoy the seasons and strong prevailing winds. These winds may be a constant 40 km/h plus (25 mph) so travelling clockwise for the typical 17,000 km (10,600 miles) requires surprisingly more fuel.
by Collyn Rivers - Updated May 2020 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...