I can’t say that I’ve ever been an enthusiast of hitch/stabilisers although I have towed with them on many occasions over the years and hence know that they do the job they were designed for. In the main, like most caravanners, I’ve used the AL-KO AKS as it dominates the UK market. I’ve always liked the look of the BPW Winterhoff WS 3000 although I have only used it on one occasion when towing an Elddis caravan. As I’m sure many of you know, BPW only supplies Elddis in the UK.
BPW upgraded the WS 3000 which led me to ask the company if I could have one for a long-term test. The company agreed and this is how I installed it on my Bailey Pegasus 432BK.
The job was extremely simple taking less than 20 minutes. This is a crucial bit of safety kit however, so there are three vital factors.
First, to remove the Al-Ko stabiliser from the Pegasus required the use of a T55 torque head socket as AL-KO use special security bolts. As I hadn’t this type of socket in my toolkit I had to buy one from my local car accessory store. It cost £7.50.
Secondly, having undone the nuts on the two bolts holding the AKS on the drawshaft, I had to drive the rear bolt out using a short steel pin of the same diameter as the bolt. The length of the pin was the same as the diameter of the drawshaft. The use of the pin was essential in order to prevent the brake assembly from disconnecting. With the bolt removed, the pin held the assembly in place. Having removed the AKS, the next job was to replace the AL-KO gaiter with a one included in the BPW kit.
Also included in the kit were a four sleeves catering for four different diameters of drawshaft used on trailers and caravans although in my case none of them were necessary. After fitting the Winterhoff onto the drawshaft, the rear bolt was tapped through, driving the pin out.
The third important thing which needs to be remembered is that the bolts must be torqued to 90Nm (66lbft) only. Over tightening them could crush the drawshaft preventing it operating correctly.
The final job was to use a Stanley knife to cut the gaiter to allow it to fit over the rear bolt head and nut.
Now that I’ve towed with the Winterhoff there are a number of things which have impressed me about it. Firstly, it can be used with any towball regardless of the length of the towball neck.
Secondly – and probably the most important fact of all as far as I’m concerned – the single lever operation means that you cannot lower the lever to lock the pads onto the towball until the caravan is correctly hitched to the tow vehicle. In other words, the method of coupling the caravan to the tow vehicle is fail-safe. Thirdly, I found that the pressure to lock and unlock the lever was considerably less than I had expected from past experience. Finally, there’s more room between the lever and the tow vehicle when the lever is in the raised – unlocked – position.
The suggested retail price for the Winterhoff WS 3000 is £249.99. Its available from any good caravan accessory shop. For more product details, go to www.bpw.co.uk