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Wilmond Engineering Co Ltd.

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Buyers' Guides - Stabilisers and Spring Assistors

We carry a range of stabilisers and spring assistors in stock designed to make the journey with your caravan and trailer as safe as possible.

First stabilisers. Generally you do not require a stabiliser for a trailer unless it is a particularly large van trailer or billboard trailer subject to instability due to crosswinds. Stabilisers are designed to prevent the affect of crosswinds on motorways and exposed roads. This can be particularly noticeable when passing or being passed by large lorries. It can be very frightening when the caravan starts to sway violently and often ends with catastrophic results. I am sure many of you will have queued for hours on a motorway to eventually pass the wreckage of an overturned caravan. The general advice is to accelerate if swaying occurs to try and overcome it. However this can be a daunting prospect when the natural reaction is to brake. The fitting of a stabiliser should prevent this happening at all provided it is maintained in a serviceable condition. You can spend from around £69 to nearly £300 for a stabiliser. There are two types, the original leaf spring style and the hitch head type.

The leaf spring type works by attaching to a plate fitted between the towball and the towbar and then dropping into an L bracket bolted to the caravan drawbar. Once the car plate and L bracket are installed, fitting is relatively easy as all the current leaf spring stabilisers are quick release. This releases the tension on the two friction plates allowing you to easily manoeuvre the spring arm into position. This type of stabiliser performs well preventing both swaying and pitching. However it is important to ensure that the correct tension of the friction plates is maintained. Most makes require this to be a minimum of 70lb force applied at the end of the leaf spring to rotate the friction discs. We have seen many examples where this tension is virtually non existent rendering the stabiliser useless. We are always happy to check and adjust stabilisers free of charge. We can also replace friction discs if they have become worn out. We also carry a range of car plates and L brackets for the popular makes. Leaf spring stabilisers work best with flange ball style towbars. We do not recommend them for swan neck and detachable swan neck towbars. Although we have swan neck car plates available, they are quite often difficult to fit and with the forces involved twist and damage the bumper. There must be around 40mm of straight neck to mount the car plate. If it is tapered it will not work. For large trailers we have the twin arm commercial stabiliser from Bulldog which will work on trailers up to 3500kg.

Hitch head stabilisers have become the norm now, often being fitted as standard on new caravans. These replace the existing coupling head with one containing friction pads which grip the towball preventing snaking and some pitching. The attraction is their ease of use. There is nothing to install and remove as they become an integral part of the caravan. They are particularly suited to swan neck and detachable towbars. They also work well with flange ball towbars but might require the fitting of an extended neck ball. However they generally cost considerably more than the leaf spring type. The towball must be kept free of grease and contamination which can be a problem if you tow a trailer as well. As with the leaf spring type, they must be maintained to remain effective. We stock pads for the popular models and can fit them if required.

Spring assistors were once essential on most vehicles but modern cars have better suspension and quite often they are not necessary. Correct loading and noseweight will also obviate the need for spring assistors. However if you do find that the rear of your vehicle is lower than ideal, then the Grayston (link) spring assistor can be a cost effective solution. They only suit coil spring suspension and are essentially a rubber insert that fits in the centre of the coil. If you decide to fit them yourself, than they are easier to fit if immersed in near boiling water beforehand (take care when removing them!). A little washing up liquid will also help. There are only four sizes in the range and the gap between the coils is the determining factor. This is done by jacking up one wheel off the ground and measuring the distance between two coils. The range covers from 18mm gap to 65mm gap so there should be a set for most vehicles. Always use a axle stand before lying under a jacked up vehicle. Alternatively if this does not appeal to you, we would be happy to fit them for you at a reasonable cost. For vehicles without coil springs there are alternatives which are vehicle specific. These vary from additional springs to larger bump stops to replacement shock absorbers. We would be happy to advise on your particular vehicle.

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