Caravan Length and Stability

by | Mar 1, 2021 | Articles, Caravan/Tow Vehicle Behaviour & Suspension, Roll, Travel

 

Caravan Length and Stability

Caravan length and stability interrelate. The tow vehicle should weigh at least the same as the travel trailer. Excess travel trailer weight is undesirable. Excess caravan length, however, is more significant. Limit caravan length, and weight at either end.

Caravan length and stability - this is a very long caravan
Extreme travel trailer rear-end weight is particularly undesirable. Many travel trailers have about 110 lbs (about 50 kg) of spare wheels on their rear wall. The effect of that weight when pitching or swaying is many times more. If at all feasible, relocate those spare wheels onto a cradle underneath the travel trailer‘s chassis, or carry in the tow vehicle. Also, why two spare wheels? Tow vehicles normally have only one.

Caravan length and stability interact

A travel trailer towed via an overhung hitch is fundamentally unstable. Ample tow ball mass (e.g. 10%) is vital. There is nevertheless a speed at which travel trailers will sway. Friction and other mechanisms dampen that sway. They may not do so sufficiently in an emergency swerve to prevent the rig jack-knifing. This is particularly an issue in the USA. People there claim to tow long and heavy ‘travel trailers’ behind often lighter vehicles. Some do so at a claimed 160 km/h (100 mph). That is virtually a recipe for swaying. Or worse.

Caravan length and stability – how to ensure it first and every time

It is possible to design (and load) a travel trailer such that it will normally only sway at speeds as high as 160 km (100 mph) but that speed is better avoided. All this, and a great deal more is explained in RV Books’ top-selling Why Caravans Roll Over – and how to prevent it .

RV Books also publishes How to Choose and Buy an RV,  Caravan & Motorhome Electrics, The Camper Trailer Book, Solar That Really Works (solar power for RVs) and Solar Success (for homes and properties). 

Collyn Rivers is a semi-retired automobile research engineer.  He is the author of seven books, five of which are about making RVs and solar work optimally.

Why Caravans Roll Over
and how to prevent it

Explains in detail every aspect of tow vehicle and travel trailer stability. This is what you need to know to be safe on or off the road.

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 Why Caravans Roll Over.  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-6-1

Why Caravans Roll Over
and how to prevent it

Explains in detail every aspect of tow vehicle and travel trailer stability. This is what you need to know to be safe on or off the road.

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 Why Caravans Roll Over.  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-6-1