Technical Articles

These technical articles are based on content from our books. They give some indication of our easy, simple and long proven approach. In particular please read our just posted 'Mechanical sway control has little value at speed.'

Do please consider buying one or more of our books. This website and all content is totally free of industry income or support of any kind. It is costly to run and we can only continue to offer technical articles and other online content for free by your buying one or more of our books.

That currently most relevant is our all-new 'Why Caravans Roll Over - and how to prevent it'.

Not only do we think it is good - the Caravan Council of Australia statews:

'This book should be compulsory reading for all caravanners' 

Check it out (on our Bookshop) and buy it right now.

RV Legislation

RV Road Rules Summary (Australia)

The key Australian RV road rules campervan, caravan and motorhome users need to know.

Proposed New National Towing Rules (Australia)

RV Books proposed new national towing rules for Australia.

Caravan and Motorhome Construction Rules (Australia)

How to make Australia's caravan and motorhome construction rules simpler.

RV Accident Data

Pic: Daily Liberal
Pic: Daily Liberal

Caravan Rollover Reports and Images

Links to media reports of caravan rollovers in the last 3 years.

Caravan Rollover Claim Data (Australia)

Some key caravan rollover statistics from Australian insurance companies.

RV Accident Data (Australia)

Some general accident information for Australia.

Towing Dynamics

How to Load Your Caravan Safely

Knowing how to load your caravan safely is as vital as how much it all weighs. Updated November 2019.

Why Caravans Sway

Why caravans sway and how to prevent it. Updated November 2019

Overhung Caravan Hitches

Excess caravan tow hitch overhang is dangerous. It can and does cause rigs to jack-knife. Updated November 2019.

RV Weight

Caravan Weight Definitions

The key caravan weight definitions, fully illustrated, on one page.

Do Not Trust Caravan Tare Mass

Do not trust the claimed Caravan Tare Mass. Many new caravans are far heavier than claimed -  misleading both caravan buyers and owners - updated November 2019.

Caravan Tow Ball Weight

What is a safe weight to place on your tow ball? Updated November 2019

RV Stability

Pic: NT Police

Pic: NT Police

Why Caravans Roll Over

Why caravans rollover and what you can do to prevent it. (Updated November 2019).

Not recommended!
Not recommended!

How Heavy a Caravan Can I Tow?

Safe tow vehicle to caravan weight explained.

Typical WDH
Typical WDH

Weight distribution hitches affect cornering and safe towing speed - updated October 2019.

Why a WDH reduces caravan cornering ability and safe towing speed.


Mechanical sway control has little value at speed

Virtually all mechanical sway controls rely on friction to damp (and ideally prevent) caravan sway that is inherently caused by an overhung hitch. These mechanisms may vary from the excellent AL-KO friction ball hitch, to any number of add-on devices that rely on mechanical friction dissipating yaw energy in the form of heat.

These systems can be extremely effective at low to medium speeds, however, all have one major (and rarely realised) limitation. This is that their friction remains constant - but sway (yaw) forces increase by the square of your speed. This is a major limitation that is overlooked in several recent threads on a popular local Caravaners Forum. 

This is not just a theoretical limitation. It has been thoroughly shown and proven that, at 100 km/h, a typical friction control damper has only 1% or so of its low speed 'control'. It is thus virtually useless at that speed.

By all means use friction to damp out minor (nuisance) yawing, but the only truly effective systems at anything much 80 km/h (or so) is the Dexter or AL-KO type systems. These too rely ultimately on the friction between rubber tyre contact patches and the road surface, but that is partly molecular and not lessened by speed.

The above is relevant also for dual cam systems. These are very effective in normal driving conditions but may open when least needed (e.g, in a high speed emergency swerve).

A swaying (yawing) caravan is a sign that something is seriously wrong - it may be anything from inadequate tow ball mass, weight at the rear of the caravan or too low (tow vehicle) rear tyres. Address and fix these issues first - in essence use friction devices only to limit low speed 'nuisance swaying' and Dexter or ALKO only as 'parachutes' for totally exceptional events.

For a full explanation (plus technical explanations) see our recently published 'Why Caravans Roll Over - and how to prevent that'.  Full details are on our Bookshop page.  

   


RV Battery Charging

Alternator Charging Problems

Having difficulty charging your RV battery from your alternator?

Battery Charging From a Generator

How to speed up battery charging from a generator.

How to Know RV Battery State of Charge

The article explains how to know your RV battery's state of charge.

Diesel Heaters, Lithium Batteries and Weight Distributing Hitches

Diesel Heaters for RVs

Easy, effective and safe.

Lithium Ion Batteries

Pack a lot of punch, but need specialised knowledge.

Weight Distributing Hitches

How a WDH works.

Our General Articles include a range of articles on buying an RV, choosing a tow vehicle, a used RV checklist, safe towing tips, reversing, RV road rules and RV apps, accessories and electrics.

why not buy a book?

These articles are based on content from our featured RV books. Our books are advert- and endorsement-free and contain extensive information on a range of topics of interest to RV users and potential buyers. By purchasing a book, you are not only educating yourself but also supporting the work of independent RV writers. If you find these articles useful, please also visit the RV Bookshop.

 

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