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Vacuum brake conversion

  • GeorgeW
    GeorgeW on

    I know this subject has been addressed many times before, but not from this angle. I have a Colt Rodeo which I have rebuilt completely. I know that the maximum towing weight is 1 500kg. (Calculations done from the manufacturer’s plate).

    I am going to buy a Jurgens Exclusive, which has a GVM of 1 750kg, which is 250kg over the Colt’s legal towing capacity.

    However, I feel that the Colt has enough power to tow the caravan, since it has a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine.

    I contacted Wingate Brake specialists, who can do a vacuum brake conversion/modification to the Colt and the caravan as a unit, which (according to the law) will allow the Colt to tow up to 3 200kg legally.
    What is your take on this?

    George Wetselaar

    ADMIN Kimberley
    ADMIN on

    Caravan and Outdoor Life’s publisher, Godfrey Castle, had this to say:: That is correct. Vacuum brakes (otherwise known as the PBR system) require having a vacuum hose fitted from the engine compartment to the towbar area on the car, while the caravan retains its normal overrun system, but gets an additional slave cylinder to apply the caravan brakes.

    When vacuum is applied, i.e. when you apply the car’s brakes, the vacuum generated is also applied to the caravan’s brakes, as the slave cylinder pulls on the caravan’s brake rod mechanism. However, there can be a short delay on the caravan’s brakes.

    You need to keep the system’s air connection between car and caravan clean when not in use, and the air hose on the car sealed off when you are not towing.

    Which PBR unit will you fit? There is one version that allows you to apply the caravan’s brakes independently by pulling a hand lever mounted under your dashboard. It’s a wonderful feature, in that if the caravan starts to become unsettled at speed, you can pull the lever and gently apply the caravan’s brakes, pulling it back into straight-line towing.

    Just remember, for a towing combination to be legal, the Tare of your vehicle must be equal to, or higher than, the caravan’s GVM.

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