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    Questions re towing noises and bellows

    Two questions for you!

    1. Need new bellows thingy? which covers the moving bit on the towhitch as I noticed whilst away that it has perished and has holes in places. Anyone know where I can get a replacement? And how to fit it???

    Edited to add: are the bellows supposed to be attached at the caravan end? Mine isn't but looks as though it should be.

    2. Got a really cranky groaning noise coming from the towbar or towball or car when towing this time. I never noticed this before but it's very loud at low speeds and on bumpy surfaces. Not a sound when going over 30mph. My neighbour across the road suggested it might be the exhaust on the car and might need new rubbers to hold it in place. Or could it be suspension on the car? There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the caravan end, it behaved perfectly and towed properly.

    Any advice on these subjects welcome, prior to taking to the garage.
    Last edited by jayjay; 01-08-2011, 09:34.

    #2
    At work at the mo jayjay so can't look at our caravan to see the 'bellows' but I think this item on ebay is the sort of the thing you are looking for 220812931867. I suspect they will be manufacturer specific items so you may need to look at the hitch to see who made yours. The ebay seller does say they sell trailer and hitch replacements parts so they may be able to help??
    Why not have a look at my latest wildlife photos, habitat projects and general natural world related shenanigans? https://facebook.com/Watsonswildlife

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      #3
      Thanks for that, Glen! Have got a note of the suppliers and will ask if they have one which will fit mine - a Westerfalia SSK - when I get a moment!

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        #4
        When we had a caravan we used to get a groaning noise from our stabiliser, I asked the local caravan centre about it and they said it wasn't a problem and not to worry.
        Graham
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          #5
          replace

          Originally posted by jayjay View Post
          Thanks for that, Glen! Have got a note of the suppliers and will ask if they have one which will fit mine - a Westerfalia SSK - when I get a moment!
          hi some times to replace u have to tacka big bolt out tack it off then replace the ruber stopes all dirt going in have u put some greace in your ball hitch it stopes noise when traveling not a lot gust a little diggdeep

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            #6
            Hi jayjay,
            A lot of people do not appreciate that the towball and hitch cup constitute a high load bearing surface. And most bearings will squeak if not lubricated.
            The ball needs a thin covering of oil or grease to prevent premature wear anyway. AND of course a cover when not in use to prevent laundry bills!
            There is an exception possibly in the type that doubles as an anti -snake device. But I do not have one of those, so I am unsure.
            Of course there may be lots of other reasons for the squeak, connected to the van suspension or brakes, but lubricating the van tow ball is an easy start.
            Jim
            P.S. The previous post just beat me to the post - so to speak. And also the one from Graham. I saw neither until I posted mine.
            Last edited by Twolitre; 01-08-2011, 11:44.
            Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

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              #7
              Originally posted by diggdeep View Post
              hi some times to replace u have to tacka big bolt out tack it off then replace the ruber stopes all dirt going in have u put some greace in your ball hitch it stopes noise when traveling not a lot gust a little diggdeep
              Thanks for the advice. I'm hoping not to have to take the thing off as I'll have to call in a mobile engineer at £20 an hour! It does say on the instructions that these rubber bits have to be replaced though, so it's worth checking out if nowt else works! Thanks for your help!

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                #8
                DON'T GREASE JAYJAY at least not until you have found out more about your hitch, I have just read online that the ssk is an anti-snake hitch and shouldn't be greased. You may need to replace the friction plates inside the hitch? I will see if I can find more info for you!
                Why not have a look at my latest wildlife photos, habitat projects and general natural world related shenanigans? https://facebook.com/Watsonswildlife

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Twolitre View Post
                  Hi jayjay,
                  A lot of people do not appreciate that the towball and hitch cup constitute a high load bearing surface. And most bearings will squeak if not lubricated.
                  The ball needs a thin covering of oil or grease to prevent premature wear anyway. AND of course a cover when not in use to prevent laundry bills!
                  There is an exception possibly in the type that doubles as an anti -snake device. But I do not have one of those, so I am unsure.
                  Of course there may be lots of other reasons for the squeak, connected to the van suspension or brakes, but lubricating the van tow ball is an easy start.
                  Jim
                  .
                  Hi Jim - it says for my hitch (in common with the Alko type hitch) NOT to grease them at all, in fact it says to clean them with white spirits or surgical spirit, including the tow ball and keep them dust, grease and dirt free! My tow ball has a small amount of rust on it, so I'll sand that off - might be that, you never know..

                  Graham, it does say on the instructions that the stabiliser will make a bit of noise and that's ok. I know that particular noise from previous journeys, but this noise is a lot louder (enough to make ppl turn and stare on the street!) and a louder groanier cronkier sort of noise!

                  Will check with the garage, see what they say. Perhaps it's also the suspension of the car, seems to be down a lot at the back. I'll get a photo on here later.

                  Thanks all for your help.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by glenw View Post
                    DON'T GREASE JAYJAY at least not until you have found out more about your hitch, I have just read online that the ssk is an anti-snake hitch and shouldn't be greased. You may need to replace the friction plates inside the hitch? I will see if I can find more info for you!
                    I was replying to Jim when you posted this! Yes, its got a stabiliser built in and an anti snake device (like a chinese puzzle to connect up at first!) on it. No grease, dirt, dust or anything allowed. I wondered about the friction plates and I have got info on how to change, just don't know where to get them! LOL! So if it's that, it will have to be a mobile engineer....

                    Still wondering if its the car though.

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                      #11
                      loud groaning noises from your back end probably mean your girdle is too tight!
                      Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Ian STOCKLEY View Post
                        loud groaning noises from your back end probably mean your girdle is too tight!
                        You're probably right there, Ian! LOL!!

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by jayjay View Post
                          I was replying to Jim when you posted this! Yes, its got a stabiliser built in and an anti snake device (like a chinese puzzle to connect up at first!) on it. No grease, dirt, dust or anything allowed. I wondered about the friction plates and I have got info on how to change, just don't know where to get them! LOL! So if it's that, it will have to be a mobile engineer....

                          Still wondering if its the car though.
                          Phew!! You didn't grease!!

                          Have had a look around and the friction pads do look difficult to come across. There are websites in Germany selling them, like this site. Good luck!!
                          http://www.camping-heinz.de/shop/index.php?list=WG42
                          Why not have a look at my latest wildlife photos, habitat projects and general natural world related shenanigans? https://facebook.com/Watsonswildlife

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by glenw View Post
                            Phew!! You didn't grease!!

                            Have had a look around and the friction pads do look difficult to come across. There are websites in Germany selling them, like this site. Good luck!!
                            http://www.camping-heinz.de/shop/index.php?list=WG42
                            Thanks for that, Glen! I'd better hope that friction pads aren't the problem. It does say in the manual to replace them after so many thousands of miles, but it's difficult to know how many miles the caravan has done! I'd better hope that the friction pads aren't the problem I think! - or learn to speak German!

                            Actually, come to think of it, the reps for Kip caravans are just down the road from me in the next village! So I could always ask them as a last resort - I say last as they are only interested in selling you a new Kip (see my other post!).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              An update:

                              Car at garage at present. They can find no sign of wear to the exhaust rubber holder thingys, no excessive wear on the back suspension. (they are putting a new cover on a gaitor whilst its there, but that's another story.) So it's not the car then!

                              Sooo yesterday I went and bought a grease gun. Took me a few hours (mostly on you tube LOL) to figure out how to fill it and use it, and still couldn't after that. Luckilly my ex-hubby turned up and showed me how.

                              The nipples took in almost half a tin before the space was full! I don't think it was done properly last year. This might account for the groaning noise.

                              The bellows thing had detached. It's now back attached. Apparantly there are supposed to be tiny holes in it underneath to drain out any rainwater! So no problem there.

                              Got out the instructions for use sheets for the stabilizer and tow bar. Apparantly I have a Winterhoff drawbar coupling with stabilising facility. I also have a Westfalia SSk anti snake thingy. I found that one of the friction pad shoes on the SSK needed greasing (we actually did both) but one was very tight and not moving as it should. It does now. So that might help. It says in the instructions of this to check the wear of the pads every few months... it doesn't say what they should look like in the first place! It also says to change them after 30,000 miles. As this caravan is 'vintage' (LOL) it may be that they need changing. However, I don't think this is the case. The caravan was still working perfectly even in spite of the noise and towing well.

                              As concerns the Winterhoff hitch, it says that 'when the vehicle is in motion, friction between the linings and the coupling ball may cause noise which is however, irrelevant for the funtion of the drawbar coupling.' So like Graham said, a small amount of noise is acceptable.

                              However, it also says that noise can also be caused by 1, Accumulation of dirt between the friction lining and coupling ball; 2. dry running of the drawbar/towbar in the bushes of the overrun assembly and 3. removable coupling balls at the towing vehicle. The last doesn't apply I don't think. I'm sure I'd know by now if it was the wrong towball.

                              However the advice for 2. is to grease the bushes by means of the grease nipples (see earlier) and remove the bellows in order to grease the exposed towbar, both of which I have now done.

                              So unless either the bushes on the towbar or the friction pads on the stabliser need changing, I think I might have solved the problem.

                              I still have to clean off the bit of rust on the towbar and underneath the hitch and clean with brake cleaner (been and bought some of that ready, recommended for the job from another forum) when it stops raining.

                              I won't know until I tow it again!

                              Can't think of anything else I can do... apart from sourcing those two bits mentioned which might need replacing!

                              Thanks for bearing with me on this topic and thanks for all the help and advice from everyone.

                              JayJay

                              PS saw the very same SSK hitch on Ebay (slightly used) and it went for under a tenner, shame it wasn't me who won! I didn't know I might need it (or some of the parts from it, so I didn't bid on it. Of course there aren't any more on there now....

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