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Weight Distrubution


What is Weight Distribution and when do I need it?

One of the most common misconceptions we hear is Weight Distribution Hitches being referred to as ‘Sway Bars’ or ‘Leveller riders’.Weight distribution devices, like the name suggests, assist in the distribution of weight over both your towing vehicle and trailer axles.

What does a Weight Distribution Hitch do?

  1. Allows a smooth ride – A weight distribution system links your trailer, caravan or boat to your primary vehicle to share the load between the two, providing a smooth and level ride across all axles.
  2. Spreads the load – By using spring bars to apply leverage to both sides of your towing setup, the load weight that would otherwise be pushing down on the rear of your vehicle is transferred to all axles on both your vehicle and caravan or trailer.
  3. Provides greater control and capacity – The more you correct your tow vehicle sag, the more precise your steering and stopping is, allowing you to tow at the maximum capacity of your hitch (meaning you can move more at once)!

The Fastway e2 takes care of Weight Distribution AND has integrated Sway Control within the one system. Check out our Sales Manager Nigel’s set-up on his boat trailer!

When do I need Weight Distribution?

Weight distribution devices are recommended if;

  • your trailer weight is more than half of your vehicle’s weight,
  • the rear of your vehicle sags or its headlights point upward when hitched to your caravan,
  • your trailer sways from side to side while on the road due to poor weight dispersion on your trailer. This usually happens if there is too much weight behind the rear trailer axle (in some instances you will require an additional sway control device or integrated sway system to permanently remove sway)
  • you are finding it difficult to steer or brake safely when hitched up

My vehicle rises when I hitch up…

If the front of your vehicle rises more than 20mm or the back of your vehicle sags when you hitch up your caravan, you most likely need a weight distribution hitch to help balance the trailer load and ensure you are towing safely. An exception to this could be if your trailer and vehicle load is not correctly balanced – make sure you load the heaviest items over the axle of your towed vehicle to maintain safer load distribution. A general rule of thumb when loading your trailer is to load a maximum of 60% of your load in front of your trailer axle, and never more than 50% behind. Your tow ball weight should ideally be 10% of your Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). If you find your vehicle is still sagging or rising, it is a clear sign you need a weight distribution hitch.

Measuring your vehicles

A good point of reference is to measure is your tow tug’s wheel arches from the top-centre of the wheel arch to a fixed point on the wheel (without your caravan hitched). When measuring your towed vehicle, it may be a bit more difficult as you will need to get the jockey wheel perfectly level (the figure should be the same when you measure the front and rear sides). Re-measure your wheel-arches again once you have hitched up your trailer to determine the difference. If you find a difference more than 20mm in any of the location points, you will need to first review your loading dispersion of the vehicle and trailer.

If you find that the wheel arches are still not level, it is a sign that you should use a weight distribution hitch to safely tow your trailer on highways and bumpy roads.

How do I choose a Weight Distribution System?

Like many towing accessories, there are a variety of types of weight distribution systems on the market. The main feature to determine when shopping for a weight distribution hitch is the load range that the device can accommodate. Before you begin, it is a good idea to find out the GVM of your trailer when loaded as well as the loaded and unloaded tow ball weight. This will help you decide which load range to buy. You should also make sure to check your chosen weight distribution hitch is compatible with both your vehicle and your towed vehicle. Some off-road hitches may not suit some weight distribution systems.   If you are unsure of what to look for, or how to determine if the hitch will be suitable for your needs, we are here to help!

This post was originally written by Titan Towing Systems

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Eberspacher Hydronic Heater Repair

hydronic diesel heater blowing smoke

This Stunning Iveco Earthcruiser arrived with the hydronic diesel heater blowing smoke and not heating. We found a combination of incorrect shut-down procedure, short runs and exhaust run not quite correct - had caused the fuel screen to clog. A good clean, replacement of the fuel screen and internal gaskets, small modification to the exhaust and the heater is running well.

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Leveling legs on “A Class” Motorhome – Titan Redfoot Leveling System

Fitting of Levelling legs to Iveco motorhome.

This motor-home has a slideout with a 3 way fridge mounted into the actual slideout.

We set the Redfoot Leveling legs so the fridge is completely level.

This is one of the benefits of a system like the Titan Redfoot leveling system. The van once leveled does not sway as you move about the van.

We place the control module near the door so it is easy to step out and set the system to auto-level your motorhome.

The main hydraulic pump system is mounted into a lower locker (on this motorhome we choose to place it in a little used locker under the slide-out).

We mounted the legs quite high to ensure plenty of ground clearance will still providing 5 inches of lift.

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Connecting Lithium Batteries to increase capacity

We are seeing a few vans coming in to visit with us and noticing they have multiple lithium batteries joined in parallel. We have always avoided this and insist our customers buy the correct size system. But we often lose the sale to someone else due to them offering a “cheap” large capacity system by joining 2 cheap batteries in parallel.

This article explains very well why we dont offer a inferior way of setting up a lithium system. If you are going to spend good money on a very expensive battery system then it should be done properly.

from http://www.enerdrive.com.au/connecting-epower-b-tec-lithium-battery-series-parallel/

Can I Connect the ePOWER B-TEC Lithium Battery in Series or Parallel

The two questions we have been constantly asked about the ePOWER B-TEC batteries is;

Q1: “Can I connect these in parallel to increase the overall capacity”

Q2: “Can I connect these in series to increase the overall voltage”

A1: When manufactures of lithium cells build batteries, careful consideration is taken to choose matching cells to build the battery pack. The batteries are assembled by the manufacture that is experienced and certified to test and assemble battery packs. The individual cells are tested and sorted by machine so that each ePOWER B-TEC battery pack has matching cells with the same capacity and internal resistance.

Paralleling individual lithium batteries like the ePOWER B-TEC unit is like taking out a lottery ticket. There is a million to one chance that you would end up with two lithium batteries off the shelf at your local retailer with exactly the same capacity & resistance.

When assembling lithium-ion cells into functional battery packs, it is common to connect multiple cells in parallel. When lithium ion battery packs are connected in parallel and cycled, matching of internal resistance is important in ensuring long cycle life of the battery pack. Specifically, a 20% difference in cell internal resistance between two battery packs cycled in parallel can lead to approximately 40% reduction in cycle life when compared to two batteries parallel-connected with the same internal resistance.

 

Internal resistance mismatch becomes an important problem for applications where the lithium battery packs are paralleled and subjected to high C rates, (i.e. large inverter loads and moderate to high charge rates) and are also required to have a long cycle life.

The detrimental effect of internal resistance mismatch between parallel-connected batteries arises because differences in internal resistance lead to uneven current distribution and capacity between the batteries, resulting in a decrease in battery pack life and performance.

The ePOWER B-TEC batteries internal management system (BMS) monitors and optimize each single prismatic cell within the battery during charge & discharge. However the BMS does not have the ability of making a physical connection to a second BMS system for balancing of the cells between each battery.

A2: In series connected batteries, charging and discharging is inherently limited to the condition of the ‘weakest’ cell. This is particularly so with lithium-iron (LiFePO4) batteries.

A weaker cell would cause an imbalance. A weak cell may not fail immediately but will get exhausted more quickly than the strong ones when under load. On charge, the low cell fills up before the strong ones because there is less to fill and it remains in “over-charge” longer than the others. On discharge, the weak cell empties first and gets hammered by the stronger cells. Cells in multi-packs must be matched, especially when used under heavy loads.

Again, the chances of finding two ePOWER B-TEC batteries off the shelf, with exactly the same individual cell capacity in each battery would be near impossible.

So bottom line;

Can I parallel connect the ePOWER B-TEC lithium batteries?

The short answer is yes. BUT as described above, overall performance of the battery pack and life expectancy will be reduced.

Can I series connect the ePOWER B-TEC lithium batteries?

The short answer is no. Early failure of the battery pack is virtually guaranteed due to the mismatch in cell capacities.

PLEASE NOTE: For absolute maximum performance and lifespan, Enerdrive do not warrant the ePOWER B-TEC product in a parallel or series connection configuration.

If you are requiring a larger battery system than the ePOWER B-TEC battery, please look at the Enerdrive Lithium Power Pack Systems which can offer the level of cell/battery balancing protection.

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Off-road Camper Trailer with Truma Gas Heater

Our customer desired heating in there offroad camper. They wished to only carry gas on board and so we fitted a Truma E2400 Gas Heater.

 

 

 

 

Due to the location of the exhuast and the possiblity of burnt gases coming into the camper – we fitted a safety switch, to keep it safe and complaint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ultimate Campers Offroad camper – upgrade

Earlier Ultimate brand campers have a 3-way fridge fitted to them as standard.

Unfortunately it gives disappointing performance due to its location and not being a tropically rate fridge.

These are a clever little camper - with a few upgrades an older one is a great buy.

We recommend changing out the RM2350 3 way fridge with a CRX-110 12 volt compressor fridge.

This means an upgrade to the battery storage. We normally fit 2 x 110amp batteries, a decent size 240volt charger and DC/DC charging system to charge the AGM batteries whilst you are driving.

We also usually add in an Anderson connector so you can utilise your portable solar.

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Ford Transit Van conversion to motorhome

Self conversion for Van to motorhome

Customer is doing a self conversion for Van to motorhome.

We fitted 300watts of solar, Battery charger, DC/DC charging system, 2 x 110amp AGM batteries, LED interior lightCRX-110 Waeco fridge, Roof vent and 240 volt inlet and powerpoints.

Ready for the customer to finish off the build.

 

 

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Which caravan heater is better, Diesel or Gas ?

Diesel Heater or Gas Heater for a Caravan.

Most caravan dealers will direct you to a Gas Heater as it is a slightly easier install (less time consuming) and the Truma E2400 Gas Heater is a pretty quiet heater, but this is a bit simplistic.

In Europe and the United States there are many, many models and brands of gas heater. But due to deaths in caravans from using gas heating, the regulations covering Caravan Gas Heating are very strict in Australia, so far the Truma E2400 is the only complaint model available here. To make this happen Truma removed one of the heat settings to accommodate the required Carbon MonOxide monitoring. This means the heater has only one heating output of 2400 watts, so this comes on and off (controlled by a rotary dial type thermostat), this makes for one of the 3 issues against the heater, not an issue that bothers everyone, but it needs to be noted. This issue is where the temperature difference, from when the heater shuts off thermostatically, to, when it comes back on is quite large. The specification is 4 degrees, so if you have the heater turn off at 24 degrees then it will drop to at least 20 degrees before it switches back on.

The E2400 is a good heater, but,  it has been replaced with the Truma VarioHeat Eco.

The new heater from Truma overcomes the 3 issues using a E2400 Gas Heater. 2nd issue is the Thermostat control knob – this is a rotary type of control knob, numbered 0-5, all other types of heater use a Digital control knob and with all diesel heaters having at least 3 flame/fan speeds – you get much better room temperature control, set to an actual temperature. The 3rd issue will, again, not effect most people, we don’t recommend the heater for serious off-road usage, we have found the fan motor mounts to be weak and allow the fan to break from its mounts in hard off road usage, it appears this has been recognized by Truma and the fan motor on the new varioheat model has different fan mounting.

So the replacement Truma Varioheat is now a modern, great, maintenance free heater.

Diesel heaters are generally much more robust and slightly cheaper to run (this is debatable, but in theory is correct). They do make slightly more noise, from the air intake and exhaust (outside, underneath the van) when initially heating the van. When the van has warmed up the noise abates and the sound inside the van is quieter than the Truma Varioheat gas heater. The noise inside the van from a diesel heater is quieter than a 240volt electric fan heater and is certainly quieter than a reverse cycle air-conditioner.

The Truma Vairoheat has grown a bit in size (as all the electronic controls are inside the heater) and will definitely take up more room inside your van than a diesel heater.

I believe one way to make your decision on which type of heater is for you is quite simple. If you have a on road van, buy a Gas Heater. If you have an off-road van and carry spare diesel already, then purchase a Diesel Heater. For a motorhome use a Diesel Heater for 2 reasons, 1) you can tap into your existing fuel tank and 2) a gas heater is very difficult to find a legal location to mount.

The Truma is a well supported brand for Gas Heating and our recommendation for Diesel Heating is either the Eberspacher or Warmda brand heaters.

For a comparison of different diesel air heaters, click here,