Why Caravans Roll Over – Full Content Details

by | Apr 28, 2020

  • INTRODUCTION
    • Understeer/oversteer
    • Oversteer whilst caravan towing
    • Misleading information
    • Critical speed
    • Major areas of concern
    • Warning
  • Part One
    • CHAPTER ONE
      • Why and how caravans sway
      • Dog-trailers
      • Pig-trailers
      • Hitch overhang
      • Eliminating hitch overhang
      • Fifth-wheeler - zero yaw
    • CHAPTER TWO
      • How tyres work
      • How tyres are actually steered
      • Slip angles
      • Tyre wall stiffness and slip angle
      • Tyre pressure and slip angle
      • Laden tow-vehicle weight and caravan laden weight
      • Tow vehicle weight matters
    • CHAPTER THREE
      • Understeer & oversteer
      • Understeer
      • Oversteer
      • Understeer/oversteer, tyre pressures and slip angles
      • Understeer/oversteer and mass distribution
      • Dirt roads
      • Summary
    • CHAPTER FOUR
      • Further causes of instability
      • Caravan length vs. weight
      • Water-tank location
      • Tow-hitch overhang and tow vehicle wheelbase
      • Tow-hitch inserts
      • Tow ball couplings
      • Tow ball mass
      • Towing capacity
      • Gross Combination Mass
      • Tow ball mass and weight distribution hitches
      • Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH)
      • WDH - pluses and minuses
      • WDH adjustment
      • Suspension modifications (tow vehicle)
      • Airbag issues
      • Independent suspension
      • Caravan independent suspension
  • Ch 4 (continued)
    • Yaw (sway) reduction
    • Friction yaw reduction
    • Sprung dual-cam yaw reduction
    • Electronic stability control - Al-KO ESC
    • Dexter DSC
    • Cruise control risk
    • Side wind gusts from passing trucks (and when passing trucks)
    • Driver skill and reactions
    • Loading your rig
      • Part one summary
        • Tow vehicle and caravan behaviour
    • PART TWO
      • Towing stability - how does your rig rate?
      • Caravan Stability Questionnaire
    • PART THREE
      • A more technical explanation
      • Chapter Five
        • Suspension
        • Gyroscopic precession
        • Roll centre height – caravan beam axle suspension
        • Roll centre height – independent suspension
        • How much does roll centre height matter?
      • CHAPTER SIX
        • Critical speed
        • The single (fifth-wheeler) pendulum
        • Conventional caravan pendulums
        • Critical speed is rig and loading specific
        • Major stability factor
      • CHAPTER SEVEN
        • Designing a stable pig-trailer caravan
        • Suspension
        • Tow ball mass
        • Stability
    • REFERENCES
      • SAE International J8027
        • Trailer and tow vehicle stability
      • Books
      • Papers
        • Tow Vehicle and Trailer Dynamics
        • Tyre Dynamics
        • Websites
    • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
    • DEDICATION
    • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    • PUBLISHING INFORMATION

The Camper Trailer book was first published in March 2006 and updated yearly. Camper trailers and their usage however changed so fast that, by 2012, this second edition of The Camper Trailer Book became necessary. A small part of the original was thoroughly revised, but most of it has been totally rewritten. It also contains a great deal of additional material - and has 20 more pages.

Camper trailers, in essence offer the freedom and pleasures of camping but without the latter’s discomforts. Further, a well-made off-road camper trailer can be towed almost anywhere a towing vehicle is capable of taking it. That these benefits are widely appreciated is shown by camper trailers continuing to be the largest growing sector of the RV market.

Camper trailers vary from box trailers with a basic tent and mattress - to complex products costing more than caravans. Most over $12,500 or so are well designed and well made. Some superbly so.

Yet despite the huge number already in use, little unbiased and technically reliable advice is available, particularly regarding suspension systems and tyres, fridges, and electrical systems. These and many other related matters are obscured by inaccurate and misleading advice from campfire and Internet mythology, specially that relating to batteries and solar.

The Camper Trailer Book clarifies issues such as the pros and cons of independent suspension, and why shock absorbers are essential. It covers electrics in depth because no other book deals with the specialised electrical needs of camper trailers and 4WD owners.

This book shows how to make fridges, battery charging and solar work as they should. And, as many people do their own work, it also covers the building and modification of camper trailers and their systems. It provides approaches that will work, not simply ones that may work.

Camper trailers enter the market, leave the market, and change in specification and price so often that detailed listing in printed form is out of date shortly after it is printed. For that I now recommend the www:campertrailers.org website. It has updated details of every camper trailer on the Australian market.


The fourth edition of The Camper Trailer Book is currently being serialised on this website.