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AL-KO hitch becoming unhitched

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Posted

There is a topic on another forum which suggests that an AL-KO hitch, properly attached and showing the green indicators, became separated from the towcar. One of the contributors suggested that this was not uncommon, a repsonse that caused me a lot of concern. Is there evidence of any occurrence of a correctly attached item coming unhitched?

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20 answers to this question

Posted

I have heard of this previously... but there has been "explanations"

I wonder if the hitch was connected to a "Alko" tow hook with the correct neck length etc -- and not a "look a like" I have seen both and they generally look the same till you put them along side each other... there are several different dimensions that you can then see..

And not all Alko tow-balls are for the stabilisers -- you have to have one specifically for stabilisers -- they are different... from the normal ones

The Alko stabiliser ones are much more expensive and come covered with black paint which you must clean of very carefully when installing.. that how you might tell the difference..

I am not saying it is -- but would be interested to find out.. for all our sakes..

Maurice

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Posted

Ian,

Over on the Eriba Forum, and for as long as I remember, there's never been a reported incident of an AL-KO 1300 stabiliser coupling "releasing" in transit.

But the friction mechanism on the 1300 is very different to the single handle 2000 and 3000 series models, the 1300 friction knob and separate lever mean it's easy to apply. So like Maurice, I too wonder if the incidents have a different cause...

Robert

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Posted

I'm not sure about other 2000/3000 models, but the Al-Ko 3004 model isn't single lever - there's a conventional lever which locks the hitch to the ball, just like a non-stabiliser hitch uses - the big lever just applies pressure to the friction pads.

Although the red friction lever can't be fully lowered if the conventional lever is still up, ie unlocked, it does give the impression of being applied when partially lowered. This can be demonstrated by leaving the conventional lever up and then lowering the friction lever until they just touch.

If the red/green indicators are ignored it is possible to think that the hitch is fully applied when it's not

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Posted

There is a topic on another forum which suggests that an AL-KO hitch, properly attached and showing the green indicators, became separated from the towcar. One of the contributors suggested that this was not uncommon, a repsonse that caused me a lot of concern. Is there evidence of any occurrence of a correctly attached item coming unhitched?

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Posted

I have had it happen once with a 3004 and it was my fault. I had forgotten that I had put the dummy plastic ball in when the van was last unhitched. In a rush I forgot to remove this and quickly "hitched" the van , secured the stabiliser checked the indicator and went to drive of. The inevitable happend van dropped to the ground and the safety cable snapped. At first I couldnt understand why it had happened as lifting the hitch to re hitch the dummy security ball had dropped out. After about 10 mins of head scratching I noticed the red dummy ball on the ground below the hitch and the penny dropped (felt a right fool). Now whilst I always use the Alko Hitchlock I never use the dummy plastic ball.

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Posted

I have had it happen once with a 3004 and it was my fault. I had forgotten that I had put the dummy plastic ball in when the van was last unhitched. In a rush I forgot to remove this and quickly "hitched" the van , secured the stabiliser checked the indicator and went to drive of. The inevitable happend van dropped to the ground and the safety cable snapped. At first I couldnt understand why it had happened as lifting the hitch to re hitch the dummy security ball had dropped out. After about 10 mins of head scratching I noticed the red dummy ball on the ground below the hitch and the penny dropped (felt a right fool). Now whilst I always use the Alko Hitchlock I never use the dummy plastic ball.

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Posted

The dummy plastic ball is a complete waste of time as it can easily be frozen and shattered in less than a minute.

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Posted

The dummy plastic ball is a complete waste of time as it can easily be frozen and shattered in less than a minute.

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Posted

The tip about lowering the jockey wheel when hitched to see if it raises the car is a good one.

I will do that from now on.

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Posted

Hi

There has been a problem.

I attended a C.C. Regional Open Forum where a club official explained it happened to him.

Al-Ko denied there was a problem with their hitches but it cost the C.C. Insurance millions of pounds that year.

The incident in question occurred at low speed to a very experienced caravanner who was amazed to see his caravan overtaking him and ending up in a ditch.

As Al-ko deny a problem, the problem appears to rest with those who bought a batch of caravans fitted with Al-Ko chassis which were manufactured in February (if I remember correctly) of I think 2004 or 2005. Sorry I can't be more definite about the dates.

Lunar

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Posted

Hi

There has been a problem.

I attended a C.C. Regional Open Forum where a club official explained it happened to him.

Al-Ko denied there was a problem with their hitches but it cost the C.C. Insurance millions of pounds that year.

The incident in question occurred at low speed to a very experienced caravanner who was amazed to see his caravan overtaking him and ending up in a ditch.

As Al-ko deny a problem, the problem appears to rest with those who bought a batch of caravans fitted with Al-Ko chassis which were manufactured in February (if I remember correctly) of I think 2004 or 2005. Sorry I can't be more definite about the dates.

Lunar

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Posted

Good idea Maurice, let us know what they say. :thumbsup:

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Posted

So is it the chassis or the hitch -?? -

As not all chassis have the same type of hitch.. I have in fact changed my hitch from the one fitted as I wanted the more heavy duty one..

As this is a potentially very serious issue -- should we pursue it either via the CC (and their insurance claims department ) or by asking Alko for a statement.. or ask both for a statement..

Even if only to say there is No problem..

Maurice

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Posted

in 16yrs of working on caravans the only time i have known a hitch depart from any ball has always been down to user error.

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Posted

The dummy plastic ball is a complete waste of time as it can easily be frozen and shattered in less than a minute.

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Posted

I saw a metal dummy ball on a car boot, not quite sure how it worked but it was meant to lock in to the hitch with a key and act as an anti theft device on it's own, I wish I'd bought it :undecided:

As for hitches coming off I'm with Shane, I did loose a trailer once but it was an old 'single' lock hitch from the 50's/60's, all hitches have long been 'double' lock and correctly put on should be impossible to come off of their own volition

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Posted

I saw a metal dummy ball on a car boot, not quite sure how it worked but it was meant to lock in to the hitch with a key and act as an anti theft device on it's own, I wish I'd bought it :undecided:

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Posted

I would suspect that the most likely causes of "just coming unhitched" would be, faulty hitch or, undersized/excessively worn towball.

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Posted

The improper coupling of the hitch to ball is the common cause, but why? The green indicator COULD become wedged/rusted in the safe position but the return spring is strong enough to overcome normal friction. Something (small) on top of the ball could raise the green indicator but then the hitch would not settle and lock onto the ball and the handle would not be in the correct position. The only explanation, other than mechanical failure, is that the hitch was NOT correctly coupled and the indicator colour was not noticed.

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