Are you new to using an Alko hitch lock?

This story happened on: 09/03/2012

This is just a word of warning really.  Our last caravan was the first we had that came complete with the receiving device for the Alko hitch lock.  When you've fathomed out how to connect the hitch lock to the receiver then there is another problem - the red ball that goes under the hitch itself.  Don't forget to remove it when you take off the main lock.  It is so easy to leave it in position and try to hitch up with the ball still in place.

You may think that you will eventually notice, but if you are distracted then it can go un-noticed.  We were on a site in Wales not long after we had got our last van.  We came to hitch up to go home and we left the red ball under.  The trouble is, we lifted the handle when the hitch was directly over the towball and it had nowhere to fall.  We lowered the hitch onto the towball and checked the button and it was showing green (the ball was still in the hitch and it was resting on the towball, so it would have been - everything was showing OK.)  We connected the electrics and the over-ride brake cable, and after saying our goodbyes to the assembled company, we got it and attemped to head off the pitch.

Well you can guess the rest really.  As we moved forward, the hitch slid off the tow ball and fell to the floor, the over-ride hand brake cable came into action and then broke.  We wondered what on earth had happened, but it soon became obvious.  Never again will we forget to take out the little red (maroon) ball that goes under the hitch.

......... and while I'm writing, do remember to keep a spare over-ride brake cable.  You can't get them easily in the middle of Ceredigion.


Wildwood commented on 09/03/2012 10:47

Commented on 09/03/2012 10:47

There must be a shortage of breakaway cables. We have just had our caravan serviced and asked for this to be replaced as it was badly worn. It took almost two weeks for the dealer to get this. I suppose I should have asked for the old one back to use as a spare. 

Inali commented on 09/03/2012 11:16

Commented on 09/03/2012 11:16

Had the  hook come away from the cable at Ashridge Farm- went to the local garage, and they had a replacement breakaway cable! They said it had been on the shelf for years, so I was really lucky.

Cartledge commented on 09/03/2012 12:22

Commented on 09/03/2012 12:22

I also have the same hitchlock and red ball. I won't say that what you did can never happen to me, but as a matter of routine, after hooking up I always raise the whole outfit an inch or so on the jockley wheel winder (that is car and caravan) to check that the two are properly locked together before driving off. Had you done that ......  

BarrieAvis commented on 11/03/2012 17:49

Commented on 11/03/2012 17:49

But don't be tempted not to use the little red ball!

We had an Alko hitch lock but eft our little red ball in the long grass when camping near Rome.I didn't bother to get another.

When towing in France, one day we found the 'van much more lively than usual, On investigation we found that although the hitch lock had been fitted, at our last campsite someone had prised out the little red covers and then pushed out and stolen the friction pads.

New pads were not cheap but very easily fitted. Too easily!

But at least I had the satisfation of knowing that since the van was then four years old and had been towed around 40,000km the stolen pads were due for replacement soon!

RDL commented on 12/03/2012 11:12

Commented on 12/03/2012 11:12

Hi everyone,

on the subject of brakes, while away with caravan (edge of Dartmoor) last week we had to have the alko type handbrake assembly renewed & replaced- the fitter managed to scource one at short notice and fit it, the old handbrake did not have a slight bend in it to properly function with the alko hitch on our Abbey caernarfon 2000 model, I imagine the alko hitch was fitted some time after the van was manufactured- this info may alert others (incidentally had full service on van 3 days prior to holiday) 

DSB commented on 13/03/2012 14:29

Commented on 13/03/2012 14:29

Thanks for all the replies.  We did actually break the little handle thingy off the red ball, so ended up buying a new one.  I'don't think I would ever make the same mistake again, but on this occasion, I was just distracted by the audience of people who had come to bid us farewell - so there were one or two who saw me make an idiot of myself.  That how it goes!


oldyorkie8 commented on 31/10/2014 17:13

Commented on 31/10/2014 17:13

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