To Norm, I have one of your galvanized hitches on my Jayco camper van and have now done around 22 thousand km on our around Aussie trip. It’s been a breeze using it. I had a bloke in Kununnura who was leaving for the Gibb River the next day and wanted one immediately offer me $500 and his old hitch for me to swap with him he was so impressed. Anyway I gave him your info I’m sure you will hear from him. Do I get commission? :)
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Fitting up the OzHitch off-road trailer couplings are quite an easy job really.
All that’s required is to remove your current tow-ball, place the OzHitch tow-tongue section over the tow tongue, line up the holes and insert the bolt into the same hole the tow-ball was removed from. Tighten the bolt up and you are ready to connect.
Just a tip here, when fitting the bolt, put it in from underneath, as the space inside the off road trailer hitch around the hole is quite deep allowing for the stub of the bolt to stick up rather than down.
Two benefits of doing this are: (1) The bolt thread will never get damaged when traversing rocks or coming of a barge ramp etc. This also gives better departure angles off road without the lower hanging bolt thread.
(2) No damage to bolt thread means easy removal when needed. Have a look at the pictures – you will see how much better it is to fit the bolt from the bottom.
Very few people even consider this tip, even though it is perhaps one of the most important when considering towing a trailer. I’ll post more about this in the blog.
Here is another valuable tip. When you pack a camper van, trailer or caravan for its first outing, always go over a weighbridge and find out if you are within the trailers maximum load capacity.
Why use a weighbridge? It is best to find out the weight of the camper van or trailer because a huge amount of accidents happen from overloading. You also need to check the vehicle manufacturers maximum allowable towing capacity. This is important as every vehicle is different. Every off road trailer coupling or hitch can have different load limits.
What about the weight range of the tyres on the trailer / caravan / camper van? Does the camper van or trailer have light truck tyres? Can they carry the required load?
Now remember, just because its under weight this time doesn’t mean its going to be under weight next time. Different journey types require different gear hence the change in overall weight. Believe me its very easy to get caught out.
I once had a customer who was complaining that the springs on his camper trailer were rubbish and not of a good quality. So I suggested he bring it round fully loaded so I could see the problem they were experiencing.
I asked Tony to guess what his trailer weight would be, as I knew it had a max capacity of around the 900kg. He suggested quite firmly that the things they had packed were mostly light things and there was no way they were anywhere near the maximum capacity of 900kg.
The trained eye could see it was way over so without arguing I suggested we go for a drive to the local weigh bridge. We then did so and when he saw the weigh bridge meter hit 1350kg his eyes nearly popped out of his head. He didn’t even have the tinny on the top which he usually carried. 1350kg is more than 450kg over weight. I am sure you can imagine what a surprise he had. It is easier than you think to go over the recommended limit. The only problem that the customer had was that there was too much gear.
If your camper van or trailer is overloaded, your car’s towing capacity exceeded, your trailer hitch capacity is exceeded… etc what chance have you got in an emergency stop. You can not stop quickly. Also, you must consider how exceeding towing capacity can affect your insurance. Download and read the Queensland Government information booklet about safe towing for caravans and light trailers.
The letters GTM or ATM might be written on the side of your trailer or camper van:
GTM – Gross Trailer Mass is the mass transmitted to the ground by the axle(s) of the trailer when coupled to a drawing vehicle and carrying its maximum load approximately uniformly distributed over the load bearing area.
ATM – Aggregate Trailer Mass is the total mass of the fully laden trailer when carrying the maximum load recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This includes any mass imposed onto the drawing vehicle (drawbar down weight) when the combination vehicle is resting on a horizontal supporting plane.