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Subject Topic: pop up caravan/freedom snaking? Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by Jennifer Norris18/2/2020 at 3:21pm
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Used to own a caravan years ago but hated it when it snaked a little. Looking at freedom or pop up caravan can anyone say whether these snake when a lorry is passing thanks

Message posted by Colin2118/2/2020 at 4:25pm
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Anything will snake if things are not set up quite right. Make sure you have a good outfit, i.e. the car and trailer are well matched (car not too small, light, and/or underpowered), and keep the weight in the caravan low down and over the axle. Watch the nose-weight too, as too light can be worse than too heavy, as too light can exaggerate snaking.

I doubt whether the Freedoms or any other pop-up caravan is any worse than anything else, they are all designed to meet certain safety standards. It's how they are used that can cause problems.
Enjoy, whatever you choose.


-------------
Best Regards,
Colin

Message posted by Jennifer Norris18/2/2020 at 4:28pm
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thank you Colin. it was many years ago we last had one. Currently have a motorhome and electric bikes when we are on site this is good until you have too far to go with the bikes!

Message posted by JTQU18/2/2020 at 4:28pm
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All trailers with an appreciable side area will move a little from the passing bow wave of a blunt faced lorry or van, that is in no way a "snake" though a poorly loaded van could be induced into a snake by it.
Snaking is cyclic movement swaying from side to side with no inherent natural rapid decay, usually just the opposite.

So returning to the Freedom or a popup. Both with move reflecting the lorry's bow wave passing along the van's side from behind the van's axle to forward of it, if the lorry is overtaking you. Opposite wave progress if you are overtaking the lorry. I suspect the pop up might be less pronounce, but on the other hand if longer than the Freedom its duration will be longer, like for like situation.
Nothing will stop that affect, it happens.

Snaking is where the set up is inherently unstable at the road speed it occures. It is because something is really wrong, most typically the loading of the van and low nosewight, or going too fast downhill. But all vans should be stable up to and safely above the 60 mph towing limit. If not the cause should be identified. Some tow vehicles are inherently worse than others, all should okay if the van loading is "right".

Message posted by Jennifer Norris18/2/2020 at 4:32pm
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thanks. It wasn't bad snaking we had by the sounds of it just a slight movement but it got me worried at the time. The motorhome moves a bit when overtaking so maybe ok now. Planning on towing with a ford C max 1600 petrol. The weight limits look OK which is why I was looking at these options.

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Message posted by JTQU18/2/2020 at 5:00pm
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Re the Ford C Max's potential for towing stability. Whilst I have never used one, its very short tow bar overhang combined with quite long wheel base bode well. These are positive features in a tow car from the all important towing stability point of view. Low power makes for slow progress lots of gear changing only, whereas the stability is vital.

If you could adjust your take on passing vehicle movements it would help make towing less of a concern; as I said it is going to happen to some extent and if the van is loaded correctly will amount to no more.
As extra protection should things ever start to snake I would definitely have a device called Al-KO's ATC fitted. I would not tow a caravan without this last resort device.
It does not increase stability but intervenes should the makings of a snake start, snatching the van's brakes lightly on so the van promptly “weather cocks” back in line with the pulling car. So what might have developed into something nasty is reduced to just a wake up tug on the vehicle. You are then able to stop safely and sort out the loading of the van, or accept you can't go so fast downhill.

Message posted by Jennifer Norris via mobile 18/2/2020 at 5:53pm
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That's brilliant advice thank you so much :)

Message posted by navver18/2/2020 at 7:38pm
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The overtaking lorry problem is much reduced these days as they are speed limited to around 55 or 56 mph or so. Most caravans will also be travelling at this speed or slightly more at their legal maximum of 60 mph.

A long caravan on a single axle, say 18 feet body length will be much more prone to snaking than a short one. The Freedoms are 10 feet body length. As the snake-ability factor or moment of inertia varies with the square of the distance from fulcrum (caravan wheels) to mass (end of caravan) there is a huge difference.

I used to find the groove in the slow lane from heavy lorry wheels caused what felt like a snake but was actually the caravan wheel trying to ride up the outside of the groove. Nowadays I have a Alko hitch damper which has much reduced this affect as well.

Message posted by JTQU18/2/2020 at 8:55pm
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Quote: Originally posted by navver on 18/2/2020
Nowadays I have a Alko hitch damper which has much reduced this affect as well.



I presume you actually meant suspension dampers to each wheel, a builder or customer fitted Al-Ko option.

The hitch damper has always been part of Al-Ko over run hitch, never an option. That just smooths the application of the brakes on over running, minimising shunting.


Message posted by tango5518/2/2020 at 9:49pm
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Much of the above information from other posts is spot on so no more to add except to make sure that the tyres on the caravan and the car are all to the correct inflated pressure. You can have the noseweight perfect and the caravan loaded correctly but he performance of tyres play an important part as well which quite often get ignored especially if the caravan has been standing for a long period.

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Message posted by Jennifer Norris19/2/2020 at 8:27am
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Thank you all so much you have all been fantastic in your advice and has given me a lot more confidence with regard to towing. Will now look at both options of caravan

Message posted by JTQU19/2/2020 at 9:41am
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On reflection this morning I wonder if by "hitch damper" "navver" was refering to the Al-ko AKS series of stabilising hitches?

These are dampers and are hitches and in context here do aid quite significantly in mitigating up to a point the inherent unavoidable movements all caravans are prone to.
They "stabalise" only in so far as adding some damping to the amplitude of these movements, therefore making for a less fatiguing tow.Many of the minor ones will therefore pass unnoticed, the bigger ones move the van that bit less.
They can't stop a snake just slow its development in the very inital stages.
But, as they make the whole process less disturbed I agree well worth investing in. The model used needs selecting to best suit the van.

These things:
https://www.towbarexpress.co.uk/guide/towing-with-an-alko-stabiliser/

Message posted by Jennifer Norris19/2/2020 at 9:43am
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thank you for mulling over this then taking the time to update me.

Message posted by navver19/2/2020 at 8:11pm
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Quote: Originally posted by JTQU on 18/2/2020
Quote: Originally posted by navver on 18/2/2020
Nowadays I have a Alko hitch damper which has much reduced this affect as well.



I presume you actually meant suspension dampers to each wheel, a builder or customer fitted Al-Ko option.

The hitch damper has always been part of Al-Ko over run hitch, never an option. That just smooths the application of the brakes on over running, minimising shunting.





I meant the red hitch stabiliser which grips the tow ball and is fitted to most caravans now. Hitch damper because it damps movements at the hitch as in snaking and pitching.

Message posted by IainM22/3/2020 at 8:00pm
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Look for something with Alko ATC fitted ... it is an electronic stability system

-------------
2020 Volvo XC60 B5 R Design Geartronic / 2018 Swift Elegance 580

Best Wishes

Iain


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