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Towing (and a small issue)


KugaEdge
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Towed over 200 miles with the Edge last week through horrendous wind and rain, was a dream. I was a bit worried how the Edge would cope after a succession of Land Rover Discovery 3 and 4s but the Edge took it all in its stride, fully loaded my caravan probably tips in at about 1900kg so no small task for the Edge.

Anyway an issue has arisen, we moved sites yesterday, so about 35 miles only with the caravan. Right from the off there was a creaking and groaning from the rear tow bar area when turning at low speed and over undulations in the road, it's actually really loud in the car, it sounds like the tow bar is about to be ripped out of the body! It's very disconcerting and definitely didn't do it once on the 200 mile journey up here.

I had to stop on the short journey to check everything looked OK and it did. Now we have arrived I've taken the tow bar out (it's the genuine Ford detachable one) and it all looks fine.

I can't tell if the tow ball is painted or not, sometimes this type of creaking and groaning can be caused by contamination on the ball causing the friction pads in the hitch head stabiliser to make a noise, but in truth it sounds too loud for that to the point I'm actually quite worried about the journey home.

Any thoughts or ideas?

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Sounds like the coupling has got grease or oil contaminated,  common with a diesel engine.  Try wiping the ball and clean inside the coupling with a brake cleaner.  This should do the trick.        Hope this helps.

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We had this issue , had it back to Ford a number of times but they couldn`t find anything amiss with the towbar. After months worrying we happened to mention it when we took the caravan in for service, service manager says its just the friction pads and it happens all the time.  

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I had the same thing when taking our 2 year old van in to part ex for a new one. Towed it the week before no noise then on the way to change over very noisy lots of creaking.  Hitch new van up and no noise . I put it down the hitch head pads being dirty . 

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15 hours ago, KugaEdge said:

Thanks for the replies, I'm a lot less worried about the journey home now. Adrian, does yours still do it? Do you just ignore the noise?

Yeh , he suggested cleaning the pads but it doesn`t last long before it starts creaking again. He lifted up the stabilizer handle while i reversed the van and it stopped immediately. Just turn the radio up now :) 

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I disengage the stabiliser sometimes when doing lots of low speed maneuvering. Saves wear on the pads apparently. The groaning noise I have is much more evident when driving, turning hard right or left out of a T junction for example.

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5 hours ago, nickblackedge said:

I'm sure I read somewhere that they recommend you lift the handle while reversing.  But I must admit I don't I just want to set up the van then have a cider 😆😆

Stella :) 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the replies. Home safely without drama. Cleaned the pads in the hitch just with some dry kitchen roll and scrubbed the ball with an old wire scouring pad and dried (only thing I had access to whilst on holiday!). Result much less groaning and creaking when turning, so that clearly was the problem.

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2 hours ago, Edge of Reason said:

I don’t tow much except the occasional horse trailer, but should your tow ball be dry ?  I would have thought it would be better greased.  No ?

Definitely not if it's a modern hitch with the Alko style stabiliser similar to the picture. This uses something similar to brake lining to help with anti-snake.

 

Image result for tow hitch caravan

 

When I started towing back in the 70s, we used to use copper grease on the ball.

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As said already, lightly greased if the hitch doesn't have a built in anti snake device (almost all types of trailer) and as clean and dry as a whistle, not even paint on the ball if it does (most modern caravans).

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  • 5 months later...

Just to close off the thread, groaning was definitely due to hitch contamination. Before going away with the caravan this week I cleaned the ball with sandpaper followed by brake cleaner and the friction pads in the hitch very thoroughly with brake cleaner. 400 miles and not a single groan or creak from the towbar. Just looks like another job to add to the routine maintenance list.

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