Do not buy Westfalia hitches - Page 3 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-10-2018, 03:52 PM   #21
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I just looked up Westie gooseneck hitches for Benz coupes, found for example this one for 2007-2017 coupes/cabrios (C207 class), https://etowbars.com/us/Towbars/Merc...s-Coupe-Towbar

says 75 kg tongue weight, thats only 165 lbs. says 1900 kg tow weight, which is 4100 lbs, but 165 lbs is nowhere CLOSE to the 10-15% safe tongue weight ratio, its under 4%.

a typical Escape 19 has around 500 lbs tongue weight. no wonder the gooseneck broke.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul View Post
THE HITCH DID NOT HAVE HOOKS FOR SAFETY CHAINS.
European towing practices for light trailers do not include the use of safety chains, so that's not surprising. Since North American rules (in most jurisdictions) require the use of safety chains, this is one reason that auto manufacturers do not endorse or support the use of Euro equipment in North America.

Since this omission may seem strange or even reckless, I'll note that in the typical North American removable ball mount system, the trailer could be hitched up and towed (for a while) with the pin (which retains the ball mount in the receiver) not secured or even entirely missing. With the vertical socket system shown in John's link (a typical design for premium removable goosenecks in Europe) if the removable component is not secured it falls down and the trailer can't be hitched up... so no surprise disconnection later due to missing a pin.

If all of the limits of the equipment and rules regarding their use are followed (meaning Euro rules, not North American rules and practices applied to Euro equipment and ratings), this doesn't seem to be a problem... unless someone knows of a big problem with runaway trailers in Europe.

Disclaimer: I do not know enough specifically about Paul's incident to know if the hitch system limits and operating rules were followed, and I am neither assuming that limits were exceeded nor assuming that rules were not followed. Of course, that also means I don't know of any reason to be concerned about Westfalia hitches.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:18 PM   #23
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Not sure if this has been shared before in the forum but I think it's relevant to this thread.

https://jalopnik.com/tow-me-down-1609112611/1609771499

It's a bit of a read, but the article references a research paper on vehicle-trailer stability and then uses the findings to explain why a vehicle in Europe can have a higher tow rating than a counterpart in North America.

The quick summary is that a vehicle in Europe can have a greater tow rating because the assumed trailer tongue weight is only 4-7%. Such a low tongue weight however, means that the trailer will become unstable at lower speeds so the speed limit for towing a trailer is lower than for other traffic. (The article mentions 60 mph for UK.)

Some jurisdictions in North America also have special speed limits for trailer towing but many do not so that means the trailer must be designed for stability at higher speeds and consequently we have trailer tongue weights of 10-15%.

https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-speed-limits/

I looked at the research article as well and it didn't consider weight distribution or anti-sway devices but it did mention asymmetric braking of the tow vehicle as a strategy to control trailer sway. Since the paper was from 2008 I wonder if it was the inspiration for the trailer stability control software included in many vehicles now.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:04 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micheal K View Post
I looked at the research article as well and it didn't consider weight distribution or anti-sway devices but it did mention asymmetric braking of the tow vehicle as a strategy to control trailer sway
This is similar to the study done by the University of Bath as part of stability studies, in conjunction with a British caravan manufacturer (Bailey of Bristol). I have a copy of the full 2009 paper, but I don't know where it is currently available online. Thanks to Andrew Gibbens for first (and repeatedly) bringing this work to our attention in the FiberglassRV forum.

The emphasis of the studies is somewhat different, reflecting the location of the researchers. The UK study considered methods already in common use in Europe, such as friction-based sway damping couplers (which clamp friction pads to the towball), as well as electronic stability programs. Al-Ko's active control of trailer brakes for sway control was also studied, after the original work. Some of these sway-reduction features (including added trailer suspension damping, meaning shock absorbers) can exempt trailers from the normal towing speed limit, allowing a higher limit in some countries because the maximum stable speed is higher. An Escape does not have any of these sway-reduction features. The UK study also considered the effect of nose weight (tongue weight) on stability.

The stability question may not be very relevant to Paul's incident; it is not clear whether the hitch failed during a sway event, or the hitch failed and caused the sway event.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The stability question may not be very relevant to Paul's incident; it is not clear whether the hitch failed during a sway event, or the hitch failed and caused the sway event.
Agreed. I wasn't trying to imply anything as to what happened to Paul and apologize if it came across that way. I thought the article was relevant given Paul's reference to his vehicle's UK tow rating in post 11, and because of John's observation that the example Westfalia hitch he linked to above could only support a maximum 4% tongue weight.
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