Towing a trailer or van behind a vehicle fitted with ESP
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    Fellow Frogger!
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    Default Towing a trailer or van behind a vehicle fitted with ESP

    Hi I wonder how many on this forum are aware of the function of ESP on a vehicle and its relationship with towing.

    If you purchase a vehicle that has ESP installed and you fit a genuine towbar and importantly the correct wiring loom for that vehicle you will not have a problem if the ESP is a true system of safety like its claimed.

    if you have an Australian towbar and wiring loom fitted you generally get what is known as a bypass system and interestingly enough is that ADR's do not address the important safety aspects of towbar wiring linking in to the ESP function as part of the towbar ADR.
    So one can see that probably most accidents towing with a vehicle fitted with ESP was that the computer did not know it had a trailer on behind and incorrectly activated the ESP braking system.Which in turn caused the accident rather than helped to eliminate the swaying/sliding of the vehicle and trailer.
    Renault have advised me verbally that their towbars and wiring are genuine, but will confirm my query about the computer being able to know a trailer is connected. Their response was very positive not like other importers who just put their head in the sand and pretended there was no problem.

    The ADR office in Canberra is trying to pass the buck by saying its a problem for the importer. If Renault are being forced to bring in their vehicles under ADR"s not the EU specifications which I believe Renault comply with in manufacture then its no wonder they have a problem when their cars comply with European test standards but are given a fail here by this latest nonsense of complying with Australian testing standards which are obviously written by someone from standards Australia who actually do not know what safety is if they fell over it.

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    Hope this provideds food for thought when you get a towbar fitted to a car with ESP.
    If anyone can provide me with info regarding this issue, i would like to hear from them.

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    How can the ESP controller know anything about the trailer's weight and wheelbase, let alone its loading?

    The recent stint of towing I did with a Triton involved an hydraulically braked trailer and an ESP-equipped tow vehicle. The ESP came on when the nearside rear tyre was slowly deflating - well before I sensed it - yet this did not seem to impact at all on the trailer dynamics.

    When the trailer itself was giving me fits as it's nearside rear tyre went dramatically flat with a heavy load on top, the ESP I don't recall flashing in the slightest - although to be fair I was more focused on steering and watching the road either side, than eyeing the gauges.

    I'd suggest ESP also is quite quick to respond, it won't persist with a corner-specific application of brakes if it senses the situation worsening post-apply. Surely there is a point where driver skill and diligence calls the shots?

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    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    I cannot advise how ESP affects trailer braking as I have never owned a vehicle with it. I am curious, though, how it interacts with independently controlled trailer brakes (these days usually electric). I am starting to think that is the best trailer safety system you can get.

    Roger

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wilkinson View Post
    I cannot advise how ESP affects trailer braking as I have never owned a vehicle with it. I am curious, though, how it interacts with independently controlled trailer brakes (these days usually electric). I am starting to think that is the best trailer safety system you can get.

    Roger
    Yeah, neither can I.

    ESP simply tries to control detected yaw by applying brakes via pre-programmed algorithims in response.

    Even if the system knows it has a trailer connected I can't see how it could adjust for it. Surely keeping the towing vehicle under control has to be the primary function.

    The only system that could be affected is the emergency brake force assist function that might erroneously engage due to the extra braking forces required to pull up the trailer.

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    That's where RW is bang-on about electric trailer brakes. I don't think there is a safer system on the common market - if at all.

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    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by niks View Post
    So one can see that probably most accidents towing with a vehicle fitted with ESP was that the computer did not know it had a trailer on behind and incorrectly activated the ESP braking system.Which in turn caused the accident rather than helped to eliminate the swaying/sliding of the vehicle and trailer.
    Does this mean it wasn't the tree's fault after all???



    Jo

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    LOL, it's always the tree's fault.

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    Before take-off, a pilot will have to do a weight and moment calculation to ensure that his aircraft loading will fit into a pre-determined set of rules regarding C of G. He will fly his aircraft in space, never coming any closer than 500 ft to any other aircraft.

    Now we load the holiday 4x4 with holiday crap, a ton of passengers, roof rack and fuel, hitch it to a possibly overloaded caravan by means of an overloaded towbar downforce and happily head off down the highway, travelling at a combined opposing speed of 200+ km/h within feet of opposing traffic, and we haven't done a simple weight distribution calculation or checked any of the handbook maximums. And no-one pulls us up to check those figures either. Anyone see disparity here?
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    Before take-off, a pilot will have to do a weight and moment calculation to ensure that his aircraft loading will fit into a pre-determined set of rules regarding C of G. He will fly his aircraft in space, never coming any closer than 500 ft to any other aircraft.

    Now we load the holiday 4x4 with holiday crap, a ton of passengers, roof rack and fuel, hitch it to a possibly overloaded caravan by means of an overloaded towbar downforce and happily head off down the highway, travelling at a combined opposing speed of 200+ km/h within feet of opposing traffic, and we haven't done a simple weight distribution calculation or checked any of the handbook maximums. And no-one pulls us up to check those figures either. Anyone see disparity here?
    Yea but we all know aircraft are dangerous
    jaahn

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    Electronics keep advancing.

    My 2012 Jeep Wrangler has electronic "Trailer Sway Control" as do all the other models

    When the vehicle senses trailer sway, the engine power is automatically reduced and the brakes are applied to counteract the sway of the trailer. It does not require any connection/wiring from trailer to tow vehicle.

    Best thing ever when you get buffeted by a truck when towing a caravan

    Towing tips from Jeep
    Learn how to drive with a load. You may want to take a driving class to learn the right way to manage a trailer with various load weights.
    Don't overload either your vehicle or trailer. You want to retain control of your vehicle and avoid damaging your brakes, engine, transmission, steering, or other parts of your vehicle.

    Even though your trailer hitch may be able to tow greater amounts of weight than Jeep recommends, you should never exceed the manufacturers load limits. Doing so could put you, your load, and others on the road in danger - as well as invalidate your warranty.

    To prevent swaying, distribute 10 to 15% of the gross trailer weight to the front.

    Make sure your cargo is secured to the trailer so it won't shift.

    Make sure you have the necessary towing harness with trailer lights.

    Consider adding trailer brakes for large loads. Do not tie the braking system of your trailer into your regular braking system as this can cause inadequate braking.

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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Well my parents have purchased a new Europena caravan... It should be ready for pickup in melbourne any day now. Now being a European caravan it's axle is in the wrong spot to reduce the nose weight so a European car can legally tow it. Guess how they get around it being a hideously dangerous swaying piece of shit to tow ??? It has anti-sway .... yep it's brakes apply to stop the sway, just like ESP and ABS in you car. It's a stand alone system on the caravan.

    What would be more sensible would be to just put the axle a foot further back so it isn't a swaying piece of shit ... oh well, each to there own.



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    Quote Originally Posted by driven View Post
    Do not tie the braking system of your trailer into your regular braking system as this can cause inadequate braking.
    What do they mean by this? Every trailer braking system I have seen has the trailer braking system completely separate from the towing vehicle's braking system, but the trailer brakes are controlled from the towing vehicle. The benefit of electric brakes is that you can apply the trailer brakes on their own.

    Roger

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    I presumed they mean not to splice it in hydraulically.

    The "nannying" possible with something like on-car sway control, scares me with the idea of 3Ĺ-4 tonnes combined mass getting out of shape, hurting a third party and the driver saying Oh, but the anti-sway didn't do what it was supposed to. Re Kim's comment about pilots and diligence, I am one of the few people I know who walks right around their car before getting in - it's a basic check for the bleeding obvious - yet almost nobody does it.

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    I guess in the same way we expect our modern vehicles to have every safety feature as insurance against us losing the plot it would be fair to suggest that the caravan and trailer manufacturers should be forced to adopt modern practice and include ABS and ESP as standard in their new products. The video Shane posted seems to confirm the value and apparent simplicity of a trailer/caravan ESP system.
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    I guess in the same way we expect our modern vehicles to have every safety feature as insurance against us losing the plot it would be fair to suggest that the caravan and trailer manufacturers should be forced to adopt modern practice and include ABS and ESP as standard in their new products. The video Shane posted seems to confirm the value and apparent simplicity of a trailer/caravan ESP system.
    The video from Shane is what i'm trying to point out, The ideal system of TSP which is when a car with ESP with correct trailer wiring interface will have its computer recognise that it has a load on behind and needs to take that into the equation when applying the brakes including those of the trailer. As the fords and holdens did not have ESP is why majority of Australians including the ADR exsperts have no idea of what is involved in ESP system.

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    All this is probably good reason why when you have a towbar fitted to any vehicle equipped with ESP you should have the recommended interface kit fitted and configured by a qualified and suitably equipped installer.
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    All due respect everyone, but a vehicle ESP system is a stand alone system that will work whether a trailer is fitted or not. If the trailer is also fitted with a separate ESP system, the job for both ESP's becomes much easier, surely? I don't see why there needs to be an interface between tower and the trailer (apart from vehicle lighting and brakes). I think it's the same thing as the urban myth that a cruise control will accelerate your car when wheels lose traction in rain or on snow.
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    Quote Originally Posted by niks
    ...The ideal system of TSP which is when a car with ESP with correct trailer wiring interface will have its computer recognise that it has a load on behind and needs to take that into the equation when applying the brakes including those of the trailer.
    Unless the trailer is electrically braked with an onboard controller, the tow vehicle only causes the trailer to brake - rather than overtly controlling it.

    I'm no fan of ADRS in light of their reluctance to interface with other industry norms such as DIN or BS when it would be sensible to approach from this angle - seatbelt markings, E-marked lights and ISOFIX child seats are several examples. But I'm still not sure what the concern is; if something's not safe the two options should be to either revise the methodology or abandon the activity. I want the driver of an oncoming car to be alert, not relying on lane departure warning systems to wake them from a microsleep - it's no different for other vehicles on the road that may be towing.

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    People are missing the point Im trying to show.
    ADRS do not address the ESP recognition failure of trailers with a bypass wiring circuit on tow bar, but with the correct wiring it will be recognised by the ESP computer. The point is we have importers fitting bypass wiring claiming they do it to comply with ADRS instead of fitting the manufacturers approved wiring loom that will interface with the vehicle thereby making it safer.
    Bypass wiring systems are cheap to buy and install, versus OEM wiring more expensive to buy and install.

    For more information check out these links

    www.fyldecoasttowing.co.uk
    www.rightconnections.co.uk/trailer-stability
    Last edited by niks; 22nd April 2014 at 05:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by niks View Post
    People are missing the point Im trying to show.
    ADRS do not address the ESP recognition failure of trailers with a bypass wiring circuit on tow bar, but with the correct wiring it will be recognised by the ESP computer. The point is we have importers fitting bypass wiring claiming they do it to comply with ADRS instead of fitting the manufacturers approved wiring loom that will interface with the vehicle thereby making it safer.
    Bypass wiring systems are cheap to buy and install, versus OEM wiring more expensive to buy and install.
    I have a bypass relay setup on the 407. I fail to see how a trailer could change the way the vehicle itself needs to be "saved". I'm more than happy to run the bypass. I'm be amazed if there was a difference to the ESP with the "correct/staggeringly expensive" wiring harness fitted. All the standard one will do it dissable the reverse sensors so it doesn't squeel in reverse. I can't see how the ESP parameters would be changed at all.

    Even if the trailer tries to move the cars tail around, the ESP is going to try to recover it, trailer or no trailer behind you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    I have a bypass relay setup on the 407. I fail to see how a trailer could change the way the vehicle itself needs to be "saved". I'm more than happy to run the bypass. I'm be amazed if there was a difference to the ESP with the "correct/staggeringly expensive" wiring harness fitted. All the standard one will do it dissable the reverse sensors so it doesn't squeel in reverse. I can't see how the ESP parameters would be changed at all.

    Even if the trailer tries to move the cars tail around, the ESP is going to try to recover it, trailer or no trailer behind you.

    seeya,
    Shane L.

    Check out the two links on my last post and learn why it matters.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by niks View Post
    Check out the two links on my last post and learn why it matters.
    TSP I'd be interested if finding out what vehicles actually have that ... and if it actually makes bugger all difference.

    I've certainly never heard of it. I don't see how it can help much *unless* it can remotely apply the caravans brakes.
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    By my reading of those links, all TSP does is apply the towing vehicle's brakes (admittedly, in a controlled manner).

    I cannot see how it would be as good as electric brakes, which do allow remotely applying just the trailer brakes.

    Roger

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    After reading the guff provided by niks, it sounds like a terrific way to extract money out of the POMS. I would have thought that in light of the supposed risks in fitting non-specific cabling to a trailer the small print in the warranty section regarding the use of non genuine towbars might highlight that fact.

    I'd imagine most people with a new Discovery for instance would have the tow-bar fitted at delivery and would therefore have the appropriate wiring in place. One thing that puzzles me over such a fitment is what is different in the way the vehicle ESP treats a vehicle with a towed trailer over one without? The idea behind ESP being that it will brake the vehicle on the inside of a developing skid, even reducing power when necessary. Surely that's exactly what a swaying vehicle-trailer combination is getting into?

    Most people I know who towed caravans behind V8 Falcons swore the way to stop your caravan swaying was to give it a good dose of 350 cubic inches. Cruising at 90 mph made the caravan exceptionally docile, apparently.
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    After reading the guff provided by niks, it sounds like a terrific way to extract money out of the POMS. I would have thought that in light of the supposed risks in fitting non-specific cabling to a trailer the small print in the warranty section regarding the use of non genuine towbars might highlight that fact.

    I'd imagine most people with a new Discovery for instance would have the tow-bar fitted at delivery and would therefore have the appropriate wiring in place. One thing that puzzles me over such a fitment is what is different in the way the vehicle ESP treats a vehicle with a towed trailer over one without? The idea behind ESP being that it will brake the vehicle on the inside of a developing skid, even reducing power when necessary. Surely that's exactly what a swaying vehicle-trailer combination is getting into?

    Most people I know who towed caravans behind V8 Falcons swore the way to stop your caravan swaying was to give it a good dose of 350 cubic inches. Cruising at 90 mph made the caravan exceptionally docile, apparently.
    My grandfather ( a truck mechanic and driver for many years) swore by electric brakes. If the caravan wanted to take off, you floored the towcar and applied the caravan brakes. It'd literally tear itself straight in instantly. If you have a look at the anti-sway fitted to caravans, all it does is apply the electric caravan brakes when it senses sway.... Very simple but effective.

    seeya,
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    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

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