This article will answer the following question: How much does it cost to have a caravan fitted ATC? We will explain the importance of having fitted an ATC and how to install one yourself.
How much does it cost to have a caravan fitted ATC?
The cost to have a caravan fitted ATC can be between $450 and $600. Automatic Trailer Control is the anti-oscillation system for caravans. It effectively controls the caravan’s road behaviour at all times; the moment it detects some type of increasing oscillating movement, it gently breaks the caravan.
In situations that can cause the caravan to sway, the ATC electronic control transverse acceleration sensors record the smallest lateral movements, before the car’s trailer ESP can register the movement.
The advantages of having a fitted ATC:
- The sensors react even to slight lateral accelerations.
- The system reacts automatically, while the driver hardly perceives the correction.
- Thanks to gentle braking, the trailer returns to its trajectory by itself.
- A green light diode, clearly visible, indicates the perfect functioning of the system at start-up.
- No adaptation is necessary on the towing vehicle or caravan.
- This system can be mounted without problems on all caravans and trailers with an AL-KO chassis, not exceeding 4.5 kg in weight.
- To achieve optimum driving safety, the ATC system can be complemented by also installing an AL-KO AKS 3004 stabilizer hitch, thus achieving excellent performance.
- Depending on the weight of the loaded caravan (MAA), three ATC models could be installed: 1300 Kg – 1500 Kg – 1800 Kg
Why do I need a caravan fitted ATC?
One of the issues that most worries caravan users is the danger posed by the oscillation that occurs when driving their vehicle due to the wind, overtaking, light manoeuvres that we carry out while driving.
The great demand and concern in this regard, has led to the development of an anti-oscillation system such as the AL-KO ATC, created to counteract the sudden movements that occur when driving since this system detects oscillating movements by gently breaking the caravan and making that it returns to its trajectory by itself and gradually without influencing driving.
Its operation is very simple, similar to the traction operation of vehicles, the ATC permanently controls the road behaviour of the trailer or caravan. Every time the caravan is connected to the vehicle, the ATC checks the system, indicating with a green LED the perfect operation of the system.
Those who have experienced a critical situation when driving with their set know the sensitive reaction of the caravan and trailer at high speeds … and the dangers that come with it. Even small dodging manoeuvres, crosswinds on bridges, or wind pressure when passing trucks can quickly rock the trailer. The AL-KO Trailer Control ATC effectively counteracts this!
Other questions you may be interested in
What is the lifespan of a caravan?
What is the difference between a single and twin axle caravan?
What does MRO mean on a caravan?
Fitting the caravan ATC (the process)
Before fitting the ATC, the caravan’s brakes must be adjusted, otherwise, the final ATC settings would be distorted and its operation and performance would be seriously impaired.
If the brakes are not self-adjusting (ANS) it is mandatory for the correct stretching of the ATC cylinder, to adjust (or do) the brake linings, once a year or every 5000 to 7000kms depending on the driving style and the roads are taken.
On the inner flange of the drum there is a small hole through which, by turning the drum, you can see the level of thickness of the linings. There are also 2 cam adjusting squares. Just turn one square after another to contact the segment against the drum.
After contact release a little to release the drum. This operation should be done on the 2 wheels as symmetrically as possible.
Check that the parking brake lever is braking correctly, the wheels start to brake at a third of the lift and are locked at halfway. Or/and, by compressing the drawbar cylinder, the brakes start to apply the wheels from 15mm of compression, strongly break the wheels from 20mm and block them from 25mm up to 40mm.
How to install the ATC
For the preparation, the fitting and installation, adjustments, and tests count a good working day, approximately 8 hours – to have an installed ATC.
- First, raise and secure the caravan:
Those who have a caravan with a cross beam will need to raise the trailer at least 150mm below the wheels, chock the wheels forward and backwards, as the entire operation will be with the parking brake released.
The wheels must be removed or hung in order to check their free rotation during the adjustment operation. In this way, with a large carpet made of cardboard boxes, one can operate under the caravan easily and safely.
- It is necessary to differentiate between the 2 main connecting parts of the ATC:
The brake rod extension: This part will screw on one side at the end of the brake rod of the inertia mechanism to the compensation balance, and on the other side, will slide freely in the barrel of the ATC electric cylinder extension.
The electric cylinder extension: This part will be screwed on one side and locked into the ATC electric cylinder, and on the other side will receive the extension cable in its barrel. brake rod. We will note that the presence of a red border, its role, and its importance will be discussed in the section settings.
- Prepare the ATC:
Start by hammering in the white nylon bearing with a mallet, strongly but carefully, until you can clearly hear the click. The role of this bearing is to slide the extension of the electric cylinder without excessive play.
Engage the electric actuator extension on the male thread side to the inside of the ATC housing. As soon as the thread has passed the nylon guide and appears in the open area, engage its M10 nut by screwing it in fully without blocking.
Screw the extension into the electric cylinder by hand until it reaches the bottom of the thread without blocking.
- Install the ATC on the axle
Position the ATC is positioned at the rear of the buttress facing the 2 original holes for the passage of the brake cables. Introduce the M12 screws previously fitted with their splined washer in the 2 passages provided on the ATC and in the 2 holes for holding the brake cables on the buttress.
The ATC holes are oblong, tap from top to bottom to make sure the screws will bottom out in their respective holes, also make sure it is positioned in the middle. Check the 2 middle axes on the ruler.
Pass the brake cables through the holes provided on the ATC, then, they are fixed definitively using their M12 nut (no thread lock), the cables are engaged in the scale previously positioned on the rod. brake, then, we screw the spherical nut until measuring 10mm of threaded rod flush with its rear.
Engage the brake rod extension in the barrel of the ATC electric cylinder extension, then screw it to the end of the brake rod, locking it definitively against the ball nut (blue thread lock allowed only on the extension).
At this stage, the mechanical assembly is finished.
The bottom line
As we mentioned above, the importance of a caravan fitted ATC is huge, it can literally save lives. We recommend having an ATC installed for your peace of mind. You can try our DIY guide, but you must have a minimum of electrical knowledge if you want to do it. Otherwise, have one fitted and installed by a trusted mechanic.
Please let us know if you have any comments, questions or suggestions to make this article better.
FAQ on How much does it cost to have a caravan fitted ATC?
What is ATC on a caravan?
ATC on a caravan means Automatic Trailer Control. It effectively controls the road behaviour of the caravan at all times, the moment it detects some type of increasing oscillating movement it gently breaks the caravan.
Why would you fit a Stabiliser on a caravan?
You have to fit a stabiliser on a caravan, well, to give you stability. Weather conditions, for example, strong winds, can make the caravan unstable on the road and cause unwanted movement and put your life at risk.
What will help the handling when towing a caravan?
A stabiliser will help the handling when towing a caravan. For your safety and the safety of the passenger, the law requires that anyone inside the moving vehicle should wear a seatbelt.