FAMILIARITY, APATHY.... BANG! THE KILLER OF CARAVANS HAPPENS

 
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:38 pm    Post subject: FAMILIARITY, APATHY.... BANG! THE KILLER OF CARAVANS HAPPENS Reply with quote

The Killer of Caravans, Watch Out For It, and a New Tip.

This happened some years ago, but it is an IMPORTANT LESSON!!! We tend to get slack as a species, in a familiar situation, and let our guard down. Then BANG Shocked , it happens! Hopefully when it happens, it is just a warning, and you survive the experience to get back on the ball, without any damages. But it is in our nature to get more relaxed with familiarity all the time, letting our guard down, and that is when the potential is there for disaster. Like in 1993 laying on our bellies in Africa on Game Patrol, looking at a few loner Bulls, bad attitude loners called "Dugga Boys", Cape Buffalo in Zimbabwe, dozing out the heat of the day in a riverbed at about 50 yards. We were looking for a mean estimated at 44" broad curl Horn Headed Dugga Boy that had killed two people; and it did not appear to be in this mob. We looked at each other and broke the rules and spoke out loud and said: "Naaaa, not here" When BOOM!!!! Up jumped two just below us that were bedded down out of sight about ten metres in front of us in the long grass:!: Just luckily for us they headed off in the safe direction. About a tonne of mean attitude each. And for any that might be interested, these are not the cute Cape Buffalo in the quiet herds you see on the Discovery Channel, these loners kill more people than you would imagine.. The Dugga Boys are the older bulls that have been run out of the herd by younger bulls, to wander alone slowly weakening in time and end up being drug down by Lions. They all have a bad attitude, and wander by themselves or in a small groups, very grumpy with things, no "nookie" or safety in the herd, and are usually covered with Lion scars until they finally weaken to be eaten alive.. Very bad company Laughing Up close to them on your belly, a .375 Holland and Holland Big Bore does not look like enough gun, I can assure you!!! Let your guard down and get careless, and that is when you get into trouble. Being a Ranger, out on the fringe of things, pushing the edge, even then sometimes you get too comfortable and familiar and you let your guard down. Getting into the xxxx can be a healthy reminder.

************************
This is what happened to me again, in 2006, and there is a lesson to be learned for all of you.... This is not just a fun story, there is an important lesson to be learned here from the lone Ranger.... Even right now, 5 of my horses bedded down, here at the Nationals, I am thinking of you and trying to take care, so here is your lesson to be learned and I hope it saves one of you...

I was running down the highway, towing my 22' Bushtracker with the F-250, when I hit one of those 2km stretches of quilted pavement with all the patches after the big wet this summer. The exact speed, the exact right rhythm, and it happened: "Harmonic Motion"¯started a sway going. Scared heck right out of me. AND IT HAD NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE IN ALMOST TWO YEARS WITH THIS VAN Exclamation The quilting in the road got worse and added to the harmonic sway in just the right timing to make it very bad, very fast. Now I eased off and luckily the long wheelbase of the Ford had it in control and I coasted until it got better... If I had thought fast enough the thing to do would have been to reach down and manually apply the Brake Controller to Snap it Back behind me...
I can't remember what I did, I remember coasting down and might have even done the Brake Controller thing, I can't remember now.. The point is that this was not a freak accident, I had caused the situation to occur by being too relaxed and familiar and here is how:

It wasn't till later when I tried to figure out what happened that it dawned on me. All this time, and never a hint of sway!! I had relaxed my routine always towing with a Mack Crew Cab horse truck, and with 8 water tanks in my van, I was using them hap hazardly when I should have been using them from back to front. I just happened to work out that this time I used them front to back by accident! I was light on the front and heavy in the back with empty water tanks in the front, full in the back, a recipe for disaster.. And I felt it when towing with the Ford!!

Now the TIP: I have numbered all the tanks at the valves, and regardless of which truck I am towing with, horses with or not, we will go from the highest number down like a countdown. We will use the water from back to front. And when I open tank four and shut off tank five, we will have four tanks left. It works well: Organized. Lessons learned the hard way..

Even the most experienced sometimes need a little reminder.
You have just gotten one, a wake up call, and a good idea from the lone Ranger.

Hope I am not boring you with stories, but it goes to make a point, relax and forget to follow the basics and you can get into trouble. 1 ton Cape Buffalo or 6-7 tons of little Big Rig, you better pay attention to the basics, or BANG that is when it happens... Something you did not expect, right out of the blue..

Regards to all, and "Happy Trails" from the lone Ranger..... Time for another GlenLivet Scotch I reckon... A nudder tall tale... but STRUTH, fair dinkum...


Last edited by Bushtracker on Fri May 04, 2012 11:19 am; edited 4 times in total
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Grumblebum and the Dragon



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve,
A very valid lesson - I have never had the 'sweats' in a sticky driving situation - yet - but ALWAYS ALWAYS use the tank water in the correct rotation. Same with turning off the gas and killing all the switches except the fridge.

John
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jspa74

Joined: 02 Jun 2008
Posts: 1
Location: The Gap
State:: Qld.
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:38 pm Post subject:
THIS IS MOVED HERE FROM THE GENERAL DISCUSSION AREA FOR ITS IMPORTANCE...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

after replacing springs and shocks on my 100td series L/C I have noticed that the van tows different. I fitted constant 400 kgs. rated new springs. My believe is that the van is too level and not enough weight on towball. Yes I have WDH bars fitted. At 80 klms the van feels like it is floating behind tow vehicle and not being towed Wold like to know how to set ride help, please.
Regards jspa, John Moore
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chopper

First of all John,
WELCOME TO THE FORUM!

As I have said, I moved you Post here because of its importance, and so other can find it and learn from the experience.
Now I have not felt what is going on with your vehicle (obviously Rolling Eyes ), but in order of probablilty or priority, I am going to give you the things to check:

1) Yes, first of all you need to have the van properly hooked up, and you want the front end about 50-75 mm lower in the front than the back. You can measure down from the front and back of the body armour at the yacht rub rail and it should measure about 40mm lower in the front. That will give you something like 60-70 mm low at the hitch.

2) VERY IMPORTANTLY for stability at high speed, you need to also have the van LOADED properly with 10% ball weight. This is probably exactly what your problem is, and it is dangerous at high speed.. You can check this a number of ways, or calculate it on a weigh bridge with the vehicle off the weigh bridge, and weigh it with it hooked up and unhooked sitting on the J-Wheel, and the difference is your Ball Weight...

3) If you still have not found the problem, you need to check your Alignment... There is a step by step proceedure with pictures in the Category in the Owners Section BUSH MECHANIC FIXES ON THE ROAD and the Topic is WHEEL ALIGNMENT TIPS, OR "DOING IT IN THE BUSH"

How could the alignment cause a problem? If it is "Toe Out" each wheel could be "Hunting" side to side, throwing the van around. This is very dangerous and could lead to a killer of sway. The proper alignment per the instructions is slightly "Tow In" so it tracks right.

4) Now all of these things are important to know, and important to check anyway. But if it does not fix your problem, the next place I would look at is the shocks on your suspension. The best is ARB Old Man Emu Suspension proven over the years, and Nitrocharger (nitrogen gas charged) Shocks. I am no way saying that any others will not work to, just that in our vehicles in the past 20 years, ARB has had the best and longest lasting of the lot we have tried. If the added weight of the van on the back is not controlled by stong enough shocks, you could be having a "Hobby Horse" affect.

This is all I can think of first thing this morning. You were not specific enought about what you were feeling, but a tendency to float or sway is probably numbers 1-2-3 above. A hobby horse affect could be number 4 or Polar Weight hobby horse affect.

Let us know your findings and progress, and maybe we can help further. This is what I do, 24/7

Steven Gibbs, aka lone Ranger cuz I travel with horses..
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jspa74



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will not be able to hitch van to car till early Sept, as van is in storage. Will try all steps then. Thank you for your reply.
jspa74
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bushtracker Owner writes:

Good morning, I have a 2007 19ft Bushtracker which I have towed around Australia with my last vehicle a 100series cruiser with no stability issues on any occasion. Since upgrading to the 200series and even fitting the 100mm drop hitch I have had to use the brake over-ride twice now to correct sway at about 90Km/hr. The vehicle has a 50mm lift and larger tyres and I am concerned the tow point height is still causing this. Should I go to the 150mm drop hitch? And if so can you send one too me? I am in Newcastle NSW and not confidant to come up till I sort this out.

Many thanks
XXXX XXXXXXX

*****************************************************

Hello XXXXXX,
Steven Gibbs here, Director, Bushtracker,

It is probably one of three things: I have had the same feeling with my new 200 Series, and there is a Topic on it on the Forum in TIPS ON TOW VEHICLES and the Topic is "Real Time" testing: 200 SERIES SUSPENSION UPGRADE I found my soft stock suspension was wallowing adding “harmonic motion” to the van that moved on potholes or the undulations of the road. This is the most likely source of the problem as it happened to me..

Secondly: If you do not have the right ball weight or proper weight distribution, that could be the cause… Like if front water tanks were empty and back ones full…

Third: You are not at least 50mm to 75mm down on the van in the front. If you measure the body armour alone, you need to be down in the front 40-50mm on the body armour, that will put you about 70mm down at the hitch…

I am guessing it is one of these three. Now, if you want a bigger drop hitch, disconnect and go to a local HR Dealer, as the cost of the drop part will be far better than the shipping of one of ours to you… Again, go to the Forum and look at the current drop forged one…

Kind regards, stg
Bushtracker

******************************************************

Many thanks again Steve, good advice as always. Have OME heavy duty suspension all-round and was front heavy on the van both times so will order the lower hitch and give that a try.

Cheers
XXXXX XXXXXX
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Loki of Condor



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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 150mm drop hitch is certainly the correct one for the 200 series.

My 200 is lifted and I have the 150mm hitch and I'm still on the lowest bolt hole.
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Jender



Joined: 16 Jun 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all.
This is my first post on the forum as I await my 20' BT later this year. I have been reading as many posts as I can on all aspects of BT ownership, as well as speaking with many friendly BT owners on the road. I know this is an old thread but was intrigued by Steve's reports (African hunting; harmonic motion) of how familiarity can very quickly create a sticky situation.
Another situation to be aware of is "It will be OK just this once" when all your common sense says "Don't" but the other voice in your head says "You pansy, of course you can." I have heard of too many instances of "Just this once" which ended unhappily - yes, one or two from personal experience. To paraphrase Yul Bryner "Don't do it. Just don't do it."

Jender
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