Definitive statements that these units are NOT required or should not be used are being promulgated widely on a number of forums and Barry from Cabolture Caravan Repairs feels that these comments can, and will, be taken as gospel by a novice caravanner.
A degree of reality has to be reached where CORRECT information is disseminated through the Forum or, if this can’t be controlled, then the correct information should be placed in a readily accessed area of the forum as a public service, not just for the use of members but so that casual browsers can be correctly informed as well. This definitive information is critically important to the overall well being and reputation of the caravan fraternity, particularly when the safety of all road users is involved.
Briefly, the use of a correct load levelling device is, in most instances, NOT left to the personal choice of the owner. The vast majority of vehicles used to tow caravans, [and other trailers], in Australia are specifically required to be fitted with such a device when towing, not just when towing a large caravan or at the option of the owner, but when towing a trailer – period. It would take many pages of documentation to define all models and all specifics but in general the popular towing vehicles that MUST be fitted with such a device when towing include the following
Toyota – most models including all popular towing units.
Holden – most models including all popular towing units.
Mitsubishi – most models including all popular towing units. Pajero when the towed load exceeds 1350kg.
Ford ‘F’ Trucks – all models.
Mazda – most models including all popular towing units.
Jeep – most models including all popular towing units.
Suburu – most popular towing models.
Korean 4WD’s – most towing capable models are required to use a load levelling device.
European 4WD’s – most towing capable models are required to use a load levelling device.
Popular towing Vehicles that are not specifically required to be fitted with load leveling devices but to which serious consideration should be given to fitting such a device include:
Ford – in most instances requirements are not specifically stated, refer to owner’s handbook or owner’s choice. Some Ford models have speed limits relative to towed weight and other more specific requirements.
Nissan – in most instances requirement is not specifically stated, refer to owner’s hand book or owner’s choice. Some Nissan models have a variable ball weight allowance relative to the vehicle load.
There are many others of course but I thought that listing these particular units covered a reasonable range of popular towing units.
An important point to remember is that these requirements apply to all towing, whether it be a caravan, camper trailer, boat trailer, large box trailer or horse float.
Anyone who wants to obtain definitive information regarding their specific vehicle should :
- Read the fine details in the owner’s hand book.
- Contact the Engineering section of the vehicle manufacturer and request specifically defined advice regarding the vehicle in question. In general it is a waste of time talking to a dealer or a salesperson in a dealership, they usually either don’t know or don’t care. [The same thing often applies in many caravan dealerships.]
- Contact a member of the R.V.M.A.A. or a member of a State Caravan Trades Associations [eastern states], and request the relevant information from the Towing Mass Guide which should have been supplied to those members. This guide is usually up-dated bi-annually and is for in house use but it can be used as an information source for owners or buyers of caravans. The N.R.M.A., the R.A.C.Q. and similar bodies may also be able to help.
After being involved in the Caravan Industry for over thirty years, both as a Repairer and a Designer/Manufacturer, it is my personal opinion that anyone who uses a van of any size without the appropriate load leveling device installed is a fool and a danger both to himself and to other road users. I make this comment with total regard to the opinions that many owners have of their personal abilities when towing. No one can foretell the unforeseen, and it is the unforeseen that will bite these fools on the backside when the worst case scenario takes place.
The overall state of accurate knowledge supplied by, and for the R/V Industry is usually poor to say the least. Some of the set ups on some of the rigs that call in to our establishment for service or repair are frightening to behold. Frankly, for example, the concept of a lightweight towing vehicle with a towing allowance of 3000kg of pull and 300kg on the towball being used to tow a van of this size without a weight distributing device terrifies me. Braking must be compromised, handling must be compromised and driving comfort must be at a minimum.
Get with the programme guys.