Archive for January, 2008

January 19, 2008

Paragraph 101



Peter W Jones MInstP..

New Revised Edition..

I have previously written about the considerable input to this debate by responders to the information I sent to “”. According to T&T .com there were over 5000 viewers of the forums I instituted and a vast number of replies far too numerous for me to be absolutely certain that I have answered all valid objections.The most important hole that a number of responders thought they had blown in my reports was the fact that there is still doubt in the caravan industry concerning the legality of electric brakes for trailers in the UK, in spite of the fact that in the USA and Australia these brakes have been in successful use for over 30 years.I have always been troubled by the inability of the Caravan Club to take a view of controversial items that opposed the caravan industry. I only realised a few months ago ( due to reading an item on the CC’s private www site for members), that the CC and the Camping and Caravanning Club have had a formal agreement since about 1998 with the National Caravan Council (the caravan industry) concerning the supervision of the quality of the work in a large number of the Caravan/trailer workshops in the UK. The fact that the CC the CCC and the NCC will be in touch on a regular basis with Jones Vening Ltd who run this supervisory service indicates that there is a well organised cooperative system.The reason we still have around 95% of trailers/caravans in the class 750kg to 3500kg operating with over run brakes, and those below 750kg not being required to have brakes, is because for reasons I have yet to discover it suits the clubs and the caravan industry. Faced with such a united front I would not expect either the EU or the UK authorities to change anything. As I see matters the “law” concerning the braking system is in effect made by the caravan industry.Similarly the Road Haulage Industry have virtually unopposed access to Government (UK and EU) concerning aerofoils/electronic brakes for HGV trailers because Trade Unions are ineffective due possibly to low membership in this sector.The other most objected to part of the information I sent to T&T .com was my test for friction based stabilisers. Caravanners and trailer towing campers were mortally offended that I had told them that the devices they had relied on for years were most probably of no use whatsoever.If any one has reported on the results of carrying out my test for stabilisers, I must have missed the item.

The fact that I have already written items on the 1994 Bath University report on stabilisers that the CC failed to inform their members or the CCC about was of course over looked.
In addition I have now noticed that Bath University have a report on the WWW which contains test results on the type of ALKO friction based stabiliser which in the past has come as standard equipment on a large number of new caravans. The report is very long, but the relevant conclusion is crystal clear.
I found same by putting “Caravan and HGV trailer snaking  accidents” in to the Google Search engine. Almost top of the list that Google produces is a much shorter report by myself headed:-
“House of Commons-Transport-Minutes of Evidence”
The Bath University report is well down the list.
Edit May 2012
If one inserts “The Dynamics of Towed Vehicles Killer CJ” in to Google,  the Bath University MEng project report can be viewed and down loaded …..  all 67 pages of same!
I have copied several relevant extracts, graphs and photographs in to my blogs. 

In view of  the Caravan Club having advertising on T& (and the CC also clearly supported this “independent” site when it opened, according to the owners) I was pleased to note that a considerable number of respondents to my forum articles did concede that caravans needed better brakes, and the replies were initally left on view.

In addition, another feature of a number of  “slightly abusive” replies was that they finished with a plea for better brakes.

At a large CC meeting held at the Thistle Hotel, East Midlands Air Port, in February 2004, I challenged the fact that the CC had sponsored a great deal of research at Bath University but had never had anything done concerning the over run brake actuating mechanism. In reply an official conceeded my point and said that perhaps they should now take up this investigation. I have not heard anything about this being followed up.

 (To see a short article on “The Case Against Over Run Brakes” go to  

and go to Paragraph 10ci of the main report.)

I shall not be altering the blogging  item concerning the possible editing of my work on T& by the site owners. I am only responsible for work appearing in my blogs.

Addendum 29-1-08

I mentioned above a list that can be seen on Google. Also on the first page of this list is “Evidence from Snaking Tyre Marks – Touring and Tenting.”  If you click on this you will go to T& and see an edited version of the items from my forums that they have chosen to leave on public display.

I was pleased to see that items attributed to myself were accurate, but readers will find difficulty finding them due to vast quantities of silly remarks and pseudo scientific comment.

I wrote to this cyber tabloid in the first place because in 2003 the Guardian did not publish the article I sent them. Had they done so the fitting of electronic brakes to HGV trailers would be more extensive and a start would have been made on electric brakes for caravans.

Overall I did not waste my time writing to T& as in spite of their failure to allow me to use the facility of   

giving readers ease of connection to my blogs without typing in the lengthy address, my www addresses have had a substantial increase in those reading same for more than 15 mins at any one time.

Addendum 25-02-08

The following are the Introductory sentences of the 1999 McDonald Bath University MPhil thesis, mainly on Moisture Ingress to Caravan Structures, the results of which the Caravan Club put to very good use. It is only the writer’s opinion, but I think this is a good time to reveal same as it reveals every thing about members of the caravan industry who seem reluctant to raise safety levels to those more commensurate with the speed at which it is legal for caravans to travel on a motor way to day:-

“The manufacture of touring caravan trailers is essentially a cottage industry. Its conceptual evolution since the horse-drawn-cart has been primarily aesthetic compared to that of the motor industry.”

I previously wrote concerning the failure of the Guardian Newspaper to print my article in 2003. I have checked with “Guardian On Line” today and note my blogs are on their list and that I now have a “Technorati” rating. By putting “caravan snaking accidents” into the “Guardian on line” search engine you will not only reveal my blogs but

the on line newspaper started by my brother about 12 months ago. He wrote last week about the Selby Rail Disaster. One of my daughters (see  “archives for April 2007” section 3a of ) sent me an e mail a few days ago. She had confused T&’s blog with mine as the latter have so prominently displayed my name on Google. My daughter wished to know why I had not just deleted all the “silly” comments so that the objective ones could be seen.

It can be seen by accessing T& via Google, as mentioned above, that the site owners have increased their attempts to discredit my efforts and avoid any  mention of the Bath University research or the evidence I have quoted from caravan snaking accidents.

There are now 67 comments which are trivial and 16 spurious.

20 commentators, with Logiclee as their  leader, are objective on aerofoils for caravans, but fail to mention the Bath University relevant result, or the evidence from the snaking caravan accidents.

I have no doubt that all 103 commentators referred to above know who Logiclee is. As he claims a  HND in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering he must be well up  the “pecking order” of the Caravan Industry. I did think at one time he may even be the MD of the Swift Caravan Group, but then I remembered that when the accountant who had held this post for many years retired, the Caravan Club Magazine announced that the replacement had a string of impressive qualifications after his name, including a CEng. 



January 18, 2008

Paragraph 102





 The above photograph shows my current Swift Challenger 4oo SE Small Touring Caravan which I have owned for about 14 years and the current Land Rover Discovery which I have owned for 11 years. 

 I previously towed the Swift with a Rover 3500 SDI SE V8. Although I followed the CC’s advice this van (the Rover 3500 should have been an excellent tow car)  started snaking on the motor way as soon as I was over taken by anything fairly large.  I always countered by slowing down until the oscillations died away. Most people do not realise that slight oscillations are potentially very dangerous; if a following large vehicle with a bow wave in phase with the previous oscillations over takes before the snaking  has subsided, a catastrophic snake could immediately take place.

Addendum 25-1-08

I should have reported above that my Discovery is a better tow car; I was reminded of this by another respondent to T& The aerodynamic factors are very different when towing a caravan with a car than they are when towing with a mini bus or 4×4. These factors should be quantified so that clear advice can be given to the public.

I also started a Forum on  (the Practical Caravan Magazine) and  had a reply from the Editor of the PC Mag suggesting that aerofoils on caravans needed to be over the axles. I would add to this that the aerofoils need to be just forward of the axles to ensure that there is a chance of the correct weight on the towing hitch being maintained as speed increases.

 Another reply to the Forum welcomed the new editor (it seemed to me that this was a response representative of the Caravan Industry). The above item then disappeared.

I intend to appeal for assistance from owners of large sailing cruisers (with weights comparable to HGV trailers).  I feel that HGV drivers need to be advised of the area of sail that these large boats use in a gale force wind (about 44mph) to push them along  in smooth sheltered water comparable with a road. I am sure that the relevant sail area will be much less than the side area of most HGV trailers and would  remind drivers of the fact that although exposed stretches of road get closed to high sided vehicles by the police in Storm Force winds,  gale force winds will most probably cause some HGV trailers to snake.


The above photographs show the Bradwell 18 Sailing Cruiser that I owned between 1976 and 1988. In making these reports I am heavily relying on my towing experience aswell as my knowledge of Physics.

At various times I towed the Bradwell 18 with a Vauxhall Victor 101  1600cc; a Morris Marina 1800cc; an Austin Princess   6 cylinder 2200cc and a  BL Ambassador 2000cc which was a development of the Princess. 

In addition my deductions concerning the air speed at which a caravan is likely to become subject to snaking depend not only on my towing experience but on a knowledge of the effect of the wind on sails of roughly the same area as the side of my current small touring caravan.