Vehicle technology

FAQs

Caravan Chassis FAQs

Drilling holes is generally not allowed, as you weaken the design of the member as well as leaving it vulnerable to red rust. Drilling holes in the chassis will void any warranty the chassis is under.

However, if there is a specific need to drill a hole, for example, to fit an AL-KO accessory to an older chassis which has not been prepunched, this may be done according to the drilling template supplied with the item. If in doubt contact your local AL-KO Approved Service Centre.

 

No. This is Wet Storage Stain and is a natural occurrence when new galvanising is not allowed to dry off properly or becomes contaminated, for example by road salt.

 

Yes, providing your caravan is still within the warranty period. Please contact AL-KO on (01926) 818500 for details.

 

We aim for a 3-4 week turnaround but this may be longer in busy summer periods. You will be advised an expected time when booking your repair via your local service centre. 

 

Possibly, but you will need to contact your local AL-KO Approved Service Centre who can advise and carry out any work deemed necessary.

 

ATC FAQs

ATC is connected to the caravan distribution box and the supply is provided by the constant live (pin 4) from the grey 12S plug.

 

When ATC is activated, it instantly draws 15 amps and must take priority over any other 12 volt equipment using the same pin – I.E. caravan battery charger.

 

Yes. The system requires the use of electrical connections from the 12S(grey) plug. It also works with caravans fitted with the new 13-pin plug.

 

Yes, ATC is retrofittable to most caravans with an AL-KO Chassis.

 

ATC units are not suitable for DIY fitment and must be purchased as a fitted product from your local service centre. 

 

ATC units are weight dependant, so you will need to contact AL-KO to determine the compatibility. If the ATC unit is compatible it will need to be fitted by an AL-KO Approved Service Centre.

 

 

Near the overrun device on the front fairing.

 

As soon as the plug is connected to the towing vehicle, the ATC completes a pre-flight test. The function status is shown via a green LED on the overrun device.

 

If you hear ATC perform its self test at the time of connection the unit should still be working ok. It may be that the bulb has gone and simply needs replacing, but it could also be a lot more serious, such as broken wires, which could result in the ATC failing when needed.
 
If the LED light has not come on then you should contact AL-KO to arrange inspection and repair.

 

The system may need to be reset.
Unplug the unit from the car and leave it disconnected for 10 seconds. Reconnect and the unit should perform its pre-use test and light should go green.

 

The most likely cause is low voltage or a loose connection in the towbar plug wiring.
ATC constantly records errors when in operation. When the memory is full a constant red LED light is shown. The back log of errors can be cleared by plugging the unit into a constant power source for 12 hours. After this time drive the vehicle for a short distance the light should turn green.

It is recommended that you get the electrics on your towbar checked.

 

The above steps will clear only minor errors. If having followed these steps the light stays red you should arrange for an inspection.

The cause will determine whether or not this is covered by warranty. If the cause is unrelated to the ATC unit, and is for example due to issues with the towbar, the warranty will not cover costs of the callout and/or parts.

 

The flashing red light is because the system has turned itself off due to an internal fault. You will need to take the caravan to your dealer to determine the fault.

Before towing the caravan to your dealer you'll need to check whether the brakes are applied. The simplest way to do this is to see if you can push the caravan. If you can, then the brakes are not applied. If you cannot, you must first disconnect the push rod (see handbook).

Once the push rod has been disconnected the brakes will work exactly as they would if ATC hadn't been fitted and the caravan is safe for towing.

 

No. There are no serviceable parts in the ATC unit. The only check that is needed is to ensure there is a 1mm gap between the lock nut on the push rod & the ATC guide tube.

 

No the system is maintenance free.

 

No, adjusting the brakes doesn't affect ATC.

 

Before towing the caravan you'll need to check whether the brakes are applied. The simplest way to do this is to see if you can push the caravan. If you can, then the brakes are not applied. If you cannot, you must first disconnect the push rod (see handbook).

 

Yes you can, and no it will not drain the battery. The ATC unit takes just 50MA in standby mode, just enough to power the LED.

 

This is probably due to the jockey wheel catching on the cable. See your dealer to arrange for an engineer to correct this problem. This should be covered by the caravan manufacturer's warranty if it is an installation fault.

 

No. The ATC brakes the caravan softly and the lights will not activate. 

 

Depending on the outfit, soft braking may be noticed in the car.

 

Stabiliser FAQs

The friction pad life expectancy is around 33,000 miles and can be prolonged by regular cleaning with fine grade emery paper.

However, they will wear out and this can be monitored via wear indicators on your stabilisers. These indicators vary according the model of stabiliser. See your stabiliser handbook for more details.

 

Contamination has built up on the pads. This could be due to grease on the towball, spray from the road, diesel fumes or failure to remove all of the coating on the towball.

You need to remove the friction pads according to the product instruction manual, and rub them lightly with a fine grade emery paper.

AL-KO recommend cleaning the pads in this way after every journey to prevent build up and prolong friction pad life.

 

2 possible causes:

1- The incorrect towball could be fitted. Check your towball is compatible with your stabiliser, and if it isn't replace it immediately. Failure to do so could result in your caravan becoming unhitched during towing.

2- Contamination may have built up on the pads. This could be due to grease on the towball, spray from the road, diesel fumes or failure to remove all of the coating on the towball.

You need to remove the friction pads according to the product instruction manual, and rub them lightly with a fine grade emery paper.

AL-KO recommend cleaning the pads in this way after every journey to prevent build up and prolong friction pad life.

 

This usually happens when the pads have not been fully disengaged before dropping the stabiliser onto the towball. You will need to replace the friction pad with a new one. To avoid this in future always place, rather than drop, the stabiliser onto the towball, and check the stabiliser handle is as far up as it will go first.

 

This is usually caused by knocking the button when fitting the hitch lock. The red section can be replaced, and slides into the slot on top of the green button. The green part cannot be replaced however.

 

The most likely cause is the handbrake handle catching on the stabiliser handle when braking.

Gently tease the handle away from the contact point, 5mm should be sufficient. Whilst doing this, make sure you support the base of the handbrake with a block of wood to stop it coming off the ratchet wheel.

 

The same hitch lock fits both the original and new AKS 3004 Stabilisers.

 

The ratchet has jammed because the wheel has been turned too far when unwinding. It is only necessary to turn the wheel until you first feel resistance or one click of the ratchet. What has happened is the small circlip in the centre of the wheel has become embedded in the black plastic surround.

To resolve this issue use a 13mm socket or similar, place it up into the centre of the wheel so that the socket is sitting on the black plastic and the centre pin will go into the socket. You then need to apply force with a hammer which will release the circlip, and the ratchet wheel. 

A fair amount of force may be required depending on how far it has been over unwound. It would be recommended to rest the coupling on the towball as you do this, to offer support. 

 

Towball FAQs

This varies according the the stabiliser.

AKS 1300 = 65mm
AKS 2004 = 67mm
AKS 2007 = 60mm
AKS 3004 = 68mm

This measurement is taken from the centre of the towball to the nearest point of contact with the towing vehicle. 

Insufficient clearance will prevent the stabiliser from correct articulation and could damage your car or possibly become detached.

 

Some of the paint or coating has been left on the towball. During towing this paint gets rubbed by the friction pads into tiny balls which then score or pit the towball. This is why it is vital that all paint or coating is removed before use.

 

Under no circumstances can a greased towball be used with an AKS Stabiliser. Ensure you remove all grease before hitching up. Use a cloth to remove the excess grease, then use brake cleaner to remove any residue. We do not recommend metholated spirits as this can leave a greasy residue.

 

Yes, but AL-KO do not recommend it. It is the hitch handle that attaches the stabiliser to the towball, then lowering the stabiliser arm engages the friction pads. If you do not activate your friction pads then you will have none of the damping benefits they provide.

 

Yes. It is vital that all paint is removed from the towball before use. To remove the paint, simply rub with emery paper, ideally finishing with a coat of brake cleaner fluid to remove any residue. 

 

Caravan Spare Wheel Carrier

This is sometimes an issue with the original style SWC, and is usually due to a lack of maintenance. The original SWC extension arms required periodic greasing to ensure they glide in and out smoothly.

To do so, we recommend removing the spare wheel carrier, as advised in the fitting guide, and free the telescopic arms using WD40. Use wire wool to remove any corrosion or oxidisation from the tubes of the extension arms and dry thoroughly with a clean cloth. Finally use a water barrier grease to fully coat the extension arms and place the arms back into the carrier.

The carrier can now be refit to the caravan.

Carry out periodic greasing of the tubes to prevent recurrence.

The newer style spare wheel carriers are maintenance free, and feature a sliding mechanism with internal self lubricating guiding elements. 

 

The vehicle may need to be jacked up to fully extend the spare wheel carrier on larger caravans, which have deeper chassis members.

 

Nose weight FAQs

This depends on your stabiliser/coupling head AND your towbar. You need to check the maximum allowed nose weight for both, and your nose weight should never exceed the LOWER of the two.

Our stabilisers are designed for a maximum nose weight of 100kg but coupling head maximums vary - check the stamping on the coupling head where it is bolted to the drawshaft.

 

Jockey Wheel FAQs

On a standard pneumatic jockey wheel the inflation pressure is 30 psi, on a heavy duty pneumatic jockey wheel the inflation pressure is 50 psi.

 

All our jockey wheels are interchangeable, so it is down to personal preference and the type of ground you usually pitch on. Our pneumatic wheel for example is better suited to grass pitches as opposed to gravel, and our wide Premium Jockey Wheel is ideal for gravel or uneven ground as it includes integrated suspension. 

 

Caravan Brake FAQs

We do not sell 'Safety Critical' spares to the public. Please contact your local AL-KO Approved Service Centre to arrange to have your brakes changed. They will also check that your brake settings are set correctly to our specifications and that they are working to their optimum level.

 

The most common cause of this is overloading your caravan. This means the brake pads have to work extra hard and causes excessive dust and/or heat. This causes the brake pads to become 'glazed' and in turn causes the squeal.

This 'glaze' needs to be removed from the brake shoes and the brakes cleaned out. This should be done at your local AL-KO Approved Service Centre.

 

Have you recently had a new stabiliser or coupling head fitted?

If so it is possible that the rear retaining bolt has not been passed through the eye of the damper, so no damping force is applied when braking. The stabiliser or coupling head will need removing and correctly reattaching.

If not, it is possible that the damper in the downshaft has failed, with no damping force being applied whilst braking. You may need a new damper fitted. Please contact your Local AL-KO Approved Service Centre for inspection and further advice. 

 

Motorhome Chassis FAQs

If grease nipples are present on the axle tube then yes.

We recommend greasing your AL-KO axles every 20,000 Km, or once a year whichever comes sooner.

Ideally jack the motorhome so both wheels are off the ground. 5-7 pumps of a hand grease gun for each side should be sufficient, until resistance is felt. Excess greasing could break the seals and fill the torsion tube. 

We recommend 3 greases: Shell Retinax LX, Co. Kluber GL 1501 and Co. CONDA 3746 SP.

Failure to grease regularly could result in a requirement to replace the axles.

If no grease nipples are present then the axle is sealed for life and requires no greasing.

 

All vehicles with an AL-KO Chassis are approved for use with a trailer. 

If the motorhome has a factory fitted towbar then all requirements will have been taken into account and you will be able to tow. The maximum train weight will be shown in the vehicle documentation. 

If you are retrofitting a towbar ensure you only use AL-KO Approved towbars, and that you indicate the vehicle type and chassis number when ordering.

NOTE: Towing a trailer reduced the maximum gradient capacity of the vehicle & suitable rear view mirrors must be fitted. 

To achieve optimum results when towing a trailer, please observe the following points:

- Refer to base vehicle handbook for towing limits.
- Do not tow with the vehicle empty and the trailer loaded. 
- Always locate heavy objects close to the axle and secure.
- Maximum speed limit is 60 mph.
- Ensure tyre pressure of vehicle is set at fully loaded setting.
- Use low gear when travelling downhill to avoid constant braking.

 

The tyre pressure will depend on your vehicle specifications. See your AMC Handbook for vehicle specific information.

Remember to always check the tyre pressure with cold tyres. 

 

The legal minimum is 1.6mm, but we recommend no less than 3mm. 

 

Various technical specifications can be found on the AL-KO type plate, which is located on the front cross member in the engine compartment.