Towbars for Motorhomes
How to choose a towbar for my motorhome?
Towbar for motorhomes - guide for campers.
A motorhome is all about the freedom of travel. Freedom is not just about being able to move freely from place to place, but also about being able to maintain a certain level of comfort and provision for everyday necessities.
When traveling around the world in a motorhome, everyone would like to be able to take many of these things with them. Unfortunately, the ability to bring a full set of vacation gear is often limited by the capacity of the trunk or car. Taking additional equipment on a trip means increasing the capacity of our car. Trailer hitches offer us such possibilities.
With a towbar (trailer hitch), we can not only take our bikes, but also a trailer or even a car trailer to take our own motorcycle, a jet ski or even a second city car.
As simple as the task may seem, choosing a towbar for a motorhome is more complicated and sometimes impossible.
In this guide, we'll help you choose a towbar for your RV and show you what to look for. To understand the complexity of this topic, it is necessary to understand some basic concepts and questions, namely:
- What are the types of motorhomes,
- What is an auxiliary frame and frame extension?
- What are the types of towbars for a motorhome?
Types of motorhomes and trailer hitch selection.
A motorhome is a common term and we associate it with the vehicle that is our mobile home. Despite numerous manufacturers of motorhome bodies such as Dethleffs, Chausson, Capron (Sunlight and Carado), Adria, Carthago and Rapido, as well as Polish manufacturers such as Well Camp, Balcamp, Camster, Rajacamp, Sprintcar and Smolicz, the following names for motorhome bodies have become common:
- Partially integrated,
- Fully integrated, Integra or Liner.
A campervan is the simplest version of a motorhome, based on a car that doesn't look much different from a regular panel van on the outside. This group includes campervans such as the Volkswagen California, Mercedes Vito, Ford Transit Nugget in the compact class, but also larger vans such as the Fiat Ducato, Citroen Jumper, Peugeot Boxer or VW Carfter or Mercedes Sprinter.
An alcove is a motorhome with a body on the vehicle frame designed for containers, boxes or other types of superstructures. A characteristic feature of this type of body is the additional sleeping space above the cab.
A partially integrated is an alcove, but without the extra space above the cab, built on a basic vehicle frame (Adria, Niesmann, Pilote, Bischoff, etc.).
And finally, the last type of VIP motorhomes - the Integra, sometimes called fully integrated or liner. This is a body type that does not even use a standard chassis, but only the drive unit and the frame of the vehicle in question. This includes brands such as Hymer Exsis-I, Knaust, Frankia Platin czy Rapido Distinction.
When choosing a towbar for any of the above types of motorhomes, it is easiest to do so for motorhomes that are built on a standard sheet metal base. These motorhomes can be equipped with a towbar like that of a standard coach.
If you are looking for a towbar or a trailer hitch for a different type of motorhome, such as alcoves, semi-integrated and intergra then continue reading...
Camper with frame extension
Before choosing a towbar for an alcove, semi-integrated or integrated camper, you need to check if the body of your camper is longer than the frame of the vehicle. And if so, whether it is a load-bearing frame that is designed for hitches. Integra(liner) motorhomes almost always have a frame extension; for semi-integrated and alcoves, we need to check this.
When choosing a towbar for motorhomes with an extended frame (frame extension), we must choose universal products. Standard towbars do not fit, and home mage trailer hitches usually do not have the required approval. This is where the universal towbars or adjustable trailer hitches come into play. Adjustable towbars are those where the width can be adjusted to fit the vehicle frame, but also the length of the device or the height of the ball.
In Europe, there are several manufacturers of universal towbars, including Linnepe, AL-KO, SMV-Metall, SAWIKO and XIMPLIO. These manufacturers have a number of features in common, but the trailer hitch from the XIMPLIO UCAMP family is a device that includes rigid and detachable trailer hitches, and they are equipped with different towballs:
- Rigid trailer hitch with flange ball (with two and four hole mounting system),
- Detachable four-hole flange ball (incl. WESTFALIA exchange system)
- Fixed towbar with swanneck ball (ball rod screwed to the side)
- Removable swanneck towball.
Motorhome without frame extension
A motorhome without a frame extension is not prepared for the installation of a trailer hitch. In order to install a towbar on such vehicles, we must first install a special frame extension, to which we attach the towbar.
What is a frame extension?
As the name suggests, it is a device that extends the standard car frame and consists of the following components:
- Adapters that are inserted into the original holes of the car frame,
- frame extensions that are attached to the adapters,
- reinforcements and stiffeners.
The adapters are designed for vehicles that are mounted in the original attachment points of the trailer hitch on the vehicle frame.
The frame extension elements are universal. They are mounted between the adapters and the frame end (cross bar) or tow bar. They are usually longer and must be cut to size during installation.
Reinforcements and stiffeners are additional components that connect the frame to other structural components or the towbar itself.
After installing the frame extension, we're back to where we started - installing the universal towbar....
Universal UCAMP camper towbar from XIMPLIO.
The UCAMP camper towbar by XIMPLIO is basically a universal trailer hitch for all vehicles with an extended mainframe, such as camper vans, car transporters, caravans, vehicles with lifting platforms, cranes and many others.
The towbar of the UCAMP family can be adjusted in three directions (height, width and length) to achieve the desired dimension. The individual components can also be rotated so that the hitch can be adapted to any vehicle.
If the frame extension is too high, special side plates (grid plates) are also available to adjust the height of the trailer hitch. In our assortment you can find three different versions of the height adjustable plates; namely with
- quadruple or
- quintuple adjustment.
Thanks to the special design of the mounting holes, both two-hole and four-hole flanged balls can be attached to the hitch, as well as all available trailer hitch accessories, i.e. ball adjustment plates, spacer plates, jaw couplings (NATO), quick release systems, Rockinger and other types of front bolted trailer hitch balls.
All dimensions are listed in the description of the trailer device, so you can check if the trailer device is suitable for mounting on your vehicle.
Complicated? Read on or contact us and we'll help you choose the right trailer hitch for your RV.