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Caravan chassis types
B&B Type Caravan Chassis

UNBRAKED
It is many years since you could simply go to a car scrapyard, buy an old car rear axle and use it as the running gear for a home-made trailer. I built my first trailer this way using the rear suspension units from a Bond Mini car. These were the rubber Bramber Flexitor type now made by Peak Trailers (see Chapter 3). I did not require brakes so I used the hubs as unbraked units. You cannot do this now; the law requires that if brakes are fitted 'they must work'. Moreover, car-type brakes do not conform to the European Directive covering trailer brakes as they are not of the automatic reversing type.

BRAKED
If you do need a braked trailer and want to build it yourself, the easiest way is to go to a caravan breaker and buy an old caravan chassis because these have had automatic reversing brakes fitted since the mid-1970s. The only snag is that caravan axles are nearly all wide tracked and cannot be reduced in width if you do not want a wide trailer. Caravan axles were usually made in varying capacities e.g. 900kg, 1,100kg, 1,300kg and 1,500kg in single axle form. The chassis plate should tell you what capacity axles and brakes are fitted. A search on the Internet or in your local classified directory will give you the location of the nearest caravan breaker. The old British caravan chassis makers - B&B Trailers (semi-trailing arm suspension), Peak Trailers (swing axle suspension) and CI (trailing arm suspension) were all made with automatic reversing brakes and all used coil springs with hydraulic dampers. They make a very good trailer indeed as they were of traditional construction with at least four cross-members making it a simple job in placing trailer bodywork straight on to the chassis. There can be some problems though in obtaining spare parts for older designs of chassis. The rubber suspension type then took over the market and you will find AL-KO Kober and BPW made the most commonly found designs. Gradually the amount of steel in a chassis was reduced and the chassis now has just two longitudinal members with the axle tube as the only cross-member. This is because caravan floors now take a greater share of the load bearing construction, being made of a sandwich of foam between two layers of plywood.

BPW Caravan Chassis

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