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deejayen



Member Since: 18 Sep 2017
Location: Inverness
Posts: 46

Scotland 
Al-Ko hitches with Defender tow balls

I'm thinking about buying a 2004 model year caravan which I'd be towing with my 2004 model year Defender Td5. Apparently the caravan has an Al-Ko 'stabilisibng hitch'. I'm not yet sure which model the Al-Ko hitch is, but presumably it dates to around 2004. My Defender has a factory-fitted tow-bar with a back plate with drillings at different heights for the tow ball. The tow ball attaches to the back plate with two bolts. Reading some info about Al-Ko hitches, it sounds like they might not be compatible with a Land Rover tow bar. Do you know if this is the case, and if so, is there a way to make the Defender work with the Al-Ko hitch? I think there might be two problems with the Defender tow-bar - the fact that the ball bolts on, and also the shape of the ball/neck. I sometimes tow a standard trailer, so the hitch is greased for that, which might be another incompatibility problem with the Al-Ko.

Post #720647 31st Jul 2018 11:35am
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blackwolf



Member Since: 03 Nov 2009
Location: South West England
Posts: 10021

United Kingdom 2007 Defender 110 Puma 2.4 DCPU Stornoway Grey

I am not a caravan expert but the only Al-Ko hitches I have ever come across differ from a standard 50mm ball only in that the neck of the ball is slightly taller to accommodate the deeper socket of the damped coupling.

These will fit in place of the normal 50mm ball coupling with no problem at all (just remember not to grease them).

If you were to fit a Dixon Bate adjustable hitch you could put the Al-Ko ball on one slider and a standard greasy ball on another and just swap them over.

Post #720653 31st Jul 2018 11:47am
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Paulv8



Member Since: 09 Jun 2013
Location: Milton Keynes
Posts: 597

1989 Defender 90 V8 Petrol CSW Alpine White

The only reason the alko is not compatable with the defender is the spare wheel. Buy an alko towball, then you will need to either 1) hitch up with the back door open, then close the door or 2) remove the handle part of the alko and buy a removable handle so the you can hitch up with the door closed.

I'll take some pics of mine later for you if I gat a chance. V8 90...WIP

Post #720658 31st Jul 2018 11:58am
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gilarion



Member Since: 05 Dec 2013
Location: Wales and Manchester
Posts: 4616

Wales 2007 Defender 90 Other CSW Willow Green

I tow a caravan with an ALKO hitch with a Defender with a rear mounted spare wheel and I have no problems. Admittedly, I have a Dixon Bate adjustable tow bar, which may make a difference. Whatever tow bar you have you will need to buy an ALKO tow ball to fit the hitch this type of tow ball has a longer neck.

Whatever you do not try to hitch up a Stabilised ALKO hitch to a tow ball that has been greased if you do the stabilising pads in the hitch head will be ruined and you will have to have them replaced.  For those who like Welsh Mountains and narrow boats have a look at my videos and photos at..

http://www.youtube.com/user/conwy1

Post #720665 31st Jul 2018 12:45pm
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Laurie



Member Since: 22 Feb 2008
Location: Sussex, England
Posts: 2849

England 2005 Defender 90 Td5 XS CSW Bonatti Grey

I have a D-B hitch and a 16mm dropplate used as a spacer only which gives me enough room to couple and uncouple with the rear door open or closed. 

Post #720667 31st Jul 2018 12:52pm
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leeds



Member Since: 28 Dec 2009
Location: West Yorkshire
Posts: 8562

United Kingdom 

If you can find one get a Dixon Bates shock link. Apart from pushing the tow ball a further 2” back it will save breaking the caravan chassis which is relatively common with 4x4 towing caravans.

Brendan

Post #720759 31st Jul 2018 10:07pm
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blackwolf



Member Since: 03 Nov 2009
Location: South West England
Posts: 10021

United Kingdom 2007 Defender 110 Puma 2.4 DCPU Stornoway Grey

Sadly not easy to find since Al-Ko took over Bradley/Dixon Bate and discontinued all the good products! Big Cry

Post #720763 31st Jul 2018 10:25pm
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leeds



Member Since: 28 Dec 2009
Location: West Yorkshire
Posts: 8562

United Kingdom 

Unfortuntely the DB shock link has been discontinued by Alko. That is why Isaidifyou could find one. Not cheap, they were about £500, however cheaper then sorting out the A frame and caravan chassis.


Brendan

Post #720769 31st Jul 2018 10:47pm
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OE110



Member Since: 23 May 2018
Location: Wales
Posts: 14

Wales 2014 Defender 110 Puma 2.2 XS CSW Aintree Green

Not entirely sure on what stabilising hitch you have?
All our Bryan James trailers have AL-KO hitches and attach to all vehicles including 90 with standard hitch and a 110 with a droplate without any problems - definitely prefer the AL-KO hitches to the old Bradley style!
Perhaps a picture of the hitch might help?

Post #720775 31st Jul 2018 10:54pm
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RoddyK05



Member Since: 08 Apr 2015
Location: Inverclyde
Posts: 551

Scotland 2004 Defender 90 Td5 SW Yellow

AFAIK Most more modern caravans have the standard ALKO hitch. This is the one where the stabiliser handle lifts up to nearly 90° to hitch/unhitch and then folds flat over the hitch head to engage the stabiliser pads on the ball. I find I need to remove the spare from the back door to allow this to be done - I have seen others with the same problem. Someone said hitch up with the door open, in my case I cannot do this as I wouldn’t get the door closed again due to it catching on the jockey wheel. I believe there is or was a kit you could get to replace the stabiliser handle with a removable item, but I didn’t fancy this. My solution was to mount a standard rear door spare wheel mount to my roof rack. At the start of the towing season the wheel goes up there, and comes back down once I’ve finished towing for the season. Not ideal for everyone, but a cheap and secure solution.


Click image to enlarge

Post #720800 1st Aug 2018 7:29am
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legin



Member Since: 22 Jul 2017
Location: Chelmsford Essex
Posts: 992

United Kingdom 2012 Defender 90 Puma 2.2 HT Santorini Black

Here's my AL-KO ball hitch fitted with a spacer ,if I back on to the caravan at a angle I can hitch up without removing the spare or opening the rear door.




Click image to enlarge







Click image to enlarge




Not the best picture of my hitch but does show the tpye I have.





Click image to enlarge

Post #720812 1st Aug 2018 9:04am
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deejayen



Member Since: 18 Sep 2017
Location: Inverness
Posts: 46

Scotland 

Thanks very much for all the info and pictures. I think my tow-bar looks the same as Legin's, but I'd need to double-check. Unfortunately, I don't have information on the hitch fitted to the caravan other than it's an Al-Ko Stablising hitch. I think the caravan might be too old to have a "3004" hitch, but perhaps it's a "2004". I've asked the dealer for more details, but they've not yet replied.

The Al-Ko manual seemed to suggest the hitch required a swan-neck hitch, and that a tow-ball which fitted with two bolts wasn't suitable. However, I've since seen that Al-Ko sell a 2-bolt ball with a longer neck than standard, so perhaps that's what I'd need. Having said that, it could be a pain if it's not possible to use the caravan with the spare wheel on the back door of the Defender. The spacer plate might be an option, but I'd be worried if that wasn't completely suitable for towing a caravan. I currently have a Dave Cooper bike rack fitted, and the tow-ball is spaced out from that, and I thought I'd have to get rid of the bike rack coupling.

I'm beginning to swing back to the idea of an Alu-Cab roof top tent!

Post #720838 1st Aug 2018 12:27pm
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LandRoverAnorak



Member Since: 17 Jul 2011
Location: Surrey
Posts: 7039

United Kingdom 2013 Defender 110 Puma 2.2 USW Orkney Grey

If you find that the handle fouls the spare wheel, there's absolutely no reason why using a spacer to move the tow ball out slightly wouldn't be completely suitable for towing a caravan. You may even find that your bike rack fitting serves the same purpose, although the rack itself may be a problem with the front of your 'van, depending on model.

Alko hitches, regardless of model, all require what's become known as an Alko tow ball, i.e. one where the ball is slightly higher above the main body, to allow the more bulky hitch head to rotate. There is a standard and readily available two bolt version of this tow ball and they definitely don't just work with swan neck ones.

As already mentioned though, tow balls used with Alko hitches must be completely cleaned of grease, or it will contaminate the friction pads and not work properly. Darren

2013 Defender 110 USW XS
2013 Discovery 4 XS

"You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought!" - Princess Leia

MY 110 USW BUILD THREAD - MY 200tdi 90 BUILD THREAD - Instagram: @landroveranorak

Post #720840 1st Aug 2018 12:41pm
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T140



Member Since: 15 Mar 2016
Location: Ayrshire
Posts: 116

Scotland 2007 Defender 90 Td5 HT Zambezi Silver

I don't tow caravans but I do tow trailers regularly, I have a safari equip swing away carrier this moves the spare wheel about 3" to the drivers side which makes it easier to hitch and unhitch. nobody is perfect but being Scottish is a start

Post #720853 1st Aug 2018 3:22pm
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gilarion



Member Since: 05 Dec 2013
Location: Wales and Manchester
Posts: 4616

Wales 2007 Defender 90 Other CSW Willow Green

leeds wrote:
If you can find one get a Dixon Bates shock link. Apart from pushing the tow ball a further 2” back it will save breaking the caravan chassis which is relatively common with 4x4 towing caravans.

Brendan


Thumbs Up Thumbs Up Thumbs Up Thumbs Up For Shocklink. Sadly they have become as rare as hen's teeth probably because of the price last time I looked nearly £600.00. I also think Dixon bate have stopped making them. For those who like Welsh Mountains and narrow boats have a look at my videos and photos at..

http://www.youtube.com/user/conwy1

Post #720858 1st Aug 2018 4:23pm
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