The first consideration when towing a trailer is to be sure that the tow vehicle has the correct towing capacity. This information is available from the vehicle handbook, or from the technical department of the manufacturer. Ensure that the tow vehicle is well maintained and able to cope with the extra demands of towing a laden trailer. Check the basic safety-related areas such as tyre pressures, which should be at the maximum permitted for the tyre (check on the side wall of the tyre or in the vehicle handbook for further information).
1. Ensure tow vehicle’s tow bar is in good condition, ie: structurally sound.
2. Check that the ball head cup is well greased.
3. Raise the coupling head above the tow ball by means of the lowered telescopic operation jockey wheel.
4. Position the tow ball under the coupling head, then lower the coupling head onto the tow ball whilst holding the coupling head open. Once the two are firmly engaged, the coupling head handle will lock closed. As a precaution, twist the coupling head and closely inspect it to be sure that the trailer is properly coupled. On certain coupling heads there are indicators which will show when the head is properly engaged on the ball.
5. Continue to wind up the jockey wheel until fully retracted and the top handle is very tightly locked – now loosen the main clamp and raise the jockey as high as possible in the clamp. Re-tighten the clamp firmly, ensuring that the jockey wheel is well clear of the brake mechanisms.
6. Warning: If this procedure is not followed it is likely that the jockey wheel will unwind and come into contact with the ground when in transit. causing severe damage. This type of damage is not covered under warranty. Check condition of the break-away cable, if damaged or not present, replace immediately. Connect break-away cable to towing bracket on tow vehicle.
7. Connect the 7-pin electrical plug to the socket on the rear of the tow vehicle, making sure the keyway in the socket and the slot in the plug are aligned. Check that all lights are operational. Also ensure that the trailer electrical lead is not allowed to drag on the ground – this will wear through the cable and render the lights inoperative.
8. Ensure that the hand brake is fully off’. The handbrake, when off, will lie in the horizontal position.
Remove the ramp securing pins and slide the ramp onto the rear of the trailer. Locate ramps on the back of the trailer using the captive location pin and the ‘dog leg’ slots provided in the back of the trailer (various slots provided to accommodate various vehicle tracks) once fully located in the narrow end of the slot, the ramp will not accidentally fall off the rear of the trailer during loading. Drive or winch the vehicle onto the trailer. Return the ramps to their original positions between the runways and secure with ramp pin and R-clip. Ensure ramp is held under tension to eliminate rattling.
To maintain towing safety it is vitally important the trailer is loaded correctly and that the towing height of the trailer is correct. When coupling an unladen trailer, check to see that the ‘nose’ of the trailer is slightly higher (25-50mm) than the rear of the trailer. Also take account of the affect of any possible loads to be added to the tow vehicle when calculating this. If the trailer nose is too high or too low it is possible that handling difficulties will result. Never try to vary or adapt the trailer towbar or coupling. When loading a trailer it is absolutely vital that a POSITIVE nose weight is achieved. Loading cars of front-engined design means that the car should be driven up forwards onto the trailer until the tow vehicle’s suspension just starts to settle. (Rear engined cars must be reversed up onto the trailer.)
It is vitally important to properly secure the load onto the trailer before towing. All Brian James Trailers are fitted with attachment points for load securing straps, which are the preferred method of load restraint. It is highly recommended that load securing straps, with a safe working load of at least double the weight of the vehicle being secured, be used. This is in keeping with our policy of over-specifying safety-critical components. A minimum of two rear and two front straps is advised.
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As of March 2012 Brian James Trailers have gained official European Law recognition, producing trailers to the highest level of manufacturing conformity in what is known as a European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA). This now permits any Brian James Trailer issued with a Certificate of Conformity (subject to an administration charge) to be registered in any other member state of the EC. We recommend that the official importer for each territory is best placed to assist customers within these regions, to avoid any delay or additional cost.
There are a few basic logical tips for safe and comfortable towing: The addition of a trailer to your vehicle lengthens the total wheelbase, therefore when turning it is necessary to widen the turning circle to avoid hitting kerbs. Remember that the addition of a trailer and its load will increase your stopping distance, so leave more room for braking. Do not exceed the maximum towing weight for the tow vehicle. Remember when reversing to steer the opposite way to the direction in which you require the trailer to travel. This technique requires a lot of practice to become competent.