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DIY AL-KO strutt (damper) replacement.

replies: 19
views: 1105
21 Mar 2019 @ 13:59:09 pm
Douglas Green
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Hi All

After 3 years ( and about 6000km ) the brake damper/strutt on the Trailco hitch of my 2000 Sprite Splash failed again, so I decided to replace it with the heavy duty AL-CO strutt - normally a fairly easy DIY job which can be done without having to remove the nose cone of the van.
Not so in this case.
After unsuccessfully getting the new strutt to fit I removed the nose-cone to investigate further.
Firstly, the diameter of the mount at the piston rod (rear end ) is 6mm wider than the standard strutt, preventing the line-up with the mounting bolt so I had to grind it down by 3mm to get it to fit.
Also, the diameter of the cylinder section of the heavy duty strutt is 3mm wider than the standard strutt - this caused it to bind on the tow hitch support brace, so the brace also had to be ground down by about 2 to 3 mm. Because of the tight work-space I first drilled a series of shallow holes then used a small metal grinder attached to a Dremel drill to level it off.
I am not sure if my Trailco hitch was designed for the standard strutt only so this problem may not apply to all Trailco hitches.
Attached are some photos to clarify.

Been there--done it. ( Talking about the bathroom )
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21 Mar 2019 @ 15:34:18 pm
Bak oor
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Douglas ou maat lyk of die jou n rukkie besig gehou het. 

🌪️ Worry ends where faith begins 🌪️
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21 Mar 2019 @ 18:38:13 pm
Louw
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Douglas the technical person at Al-Ko explained to me that the normal strutt is used in light an medium caravans ( sprite swing ect) and the heavy duty one is for the bigger heavier caravans(jurgens classic ).
GROOT IS ONS GOD!!!!
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21 Mar 2019 @ 21:00:56 pm
Leon
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Hi All

After 3 years ( and about 6000km ) the brake damper/strutt on the Trailco hitch of my 2000 Sprite Splash failed again, so I decided to replace it with the heavy duty AL-CO strutt - normally a fairly easy DIY job which can be done without having to remove the nose cone of the van.
Not so in this case.
After unsuccessfully getting the new strutt to fit I removed the nose-cone to investigate further.
Firstly, the diameter of the mount at the piston rod (rear end ) is 6mm wider than the standard strutt, preventing the line-up with the mounting bolt so I had to grind it down by 3mm to get it to fit.
Also, the diameter of the cylinder section of the heavy duty strutt is 3mm wider than the standard strutt - this caused it to bind on the tow hitch support brace, so the brace also had to be ground down by about 2 to 3 mm. Because of the tight work-space I first drilled a series of shallow holes then used a small metal grinder attached to a Dremel drill to level it off.
I am not sure if my Trailco hitch was designed for the standard strutt only so this problem may not apply to all Trailco hitches.
Attached are some photos to clarify.

The way I see it is gigger is not always better as the bigger could not always fit in the exact same way as in this case.  

Now with the higher damping effect........ will the Swing still brake as it should according to the weight and spec of the caravan.

The way I see it the swing will start to brake only a while latter as the stronger damper must now be pushed in .

Please let us know what your experience is with the stronger damper. 

Sonder Jesus is ek niks! ! ! !
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22 Mar 2019 @ 07:15:45 am
steamer
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Yes Leon, I think that the gradual braking effect of the van will be compromised, especially down a long fairly steep incline. e.g. Magoeba's Kloof pass.

Your strongest weapon is your mind!
And then there's, Power Tools!
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22 Mar 2019 @ 07:59:53 am
Douglas Green
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Hi chaps

When I spoke to the guy at AL-CO regarding the possible effect on the braking of the van by using the heavy duty strutt, he said that there would be little if any difference considering the weight ( over 1000kg ) of the van. 
We are going to go on our next trip soon - will post update if I find any problems.

Been there--done it. ( Talking about the bathroom )
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22 Mar 2019 @ 08:34:41 am
Leon
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Hi chaps

When I spoke to the guy at AL-CO regarding the possible effect on the braking of the van by using the heavy duty strutt, he said that there would be little if any difference considering the weight ( over 1000kg ) of the van. 
We are going to go on our next trip soon - will post update if I find any problems.

Proof of the pudding lies in the eating. Would appreciate the feed back.

Sonder Jesus is ek niks! ! ! !
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22 Mar 2019 @ 08:35:59 am
Leon
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If there is now difference in the working why not install the heavy duty one on all caravans.

Must be a reason somewhere.

Sonder Jesus is ek niks! ! ! !
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22 Mar 2019 @ 13:22:14 pm
pieterc
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DG

Sorry, but I agree with Leon & Steamer.

The stiffer damper will need more force to overcome the resistance before your caravan`s brakes engages. Gradual / slow braking might not even cause enough movement on the damper to engage the brakes. I am sure nobody need to explain this or the consequences / effect on your vehicle`s brakes and stability to you.

I am no expert but believe your caravan`s brakes might not be adjusted correctly, causing too much movement on the damper when you brake before your caravan`s brakes engages to assist with the braking. After braking there is a lot of movement on the damper again when you take off. This excessive movement will wear out any damper / shock very quickly. Maybe you are just heavy on the brakes and accelerator causing a lot of sudden / sharp movements on the damper?

Wild estimates or assumptions on required forces and weights to ensure effective braking is dangerous in my books. Could “the guy at Al-Ko” tell you the difference in required forces to compress the standard & heavy duty damper? If I remember correctly the speed with which it is compressed also has an effect on the required forces?? I do understand that there is a fine line between effective and cost effective. Maybe the standard damper is effective and the heavy duty damper is better but more expensive, thus making the standard damper more cost effective from a manufacturer’s point of view?

I (we) are not trying to criticise your work or scare you unnecessary, but are genuinely concerned about possible consequences of this modification.

Enjoy your trip and travel safe.

Pieter

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29 Feb 2020 @ 19:06:17 pm
JohnoP
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Hi Guys

Im sitting with the same situation. I have to replace the broken damper on my jurgens exclusive. The guy at the trailer shop said i should use the heavy duty damper cause mine broke off. @douglas green did you  feel at anytime that the brakes did not work?

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29 Feb 2020 @ 22:43:57 pm
Douglas Green
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Hi Johno

Have just recently done East London to Cape Town return trip
( + 2000km ) with the van and found no difference in braking with the heavy duty damper. - Towing a Sprite Splash with GVM of about 1250kg.

Been there--done it. ( Talking about the bathroom )
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29 Feb 2020 @ 23:01:25 pm
Danie-SLK
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Some caravan repair people with many years experience do also prefer the heavy duty on caravans approaching 1200kg and above. 

I am also using a heavy duty and have no problem. The heavy duty gets enough force and can be pushed in by most people below about 50 years old. This force will be available and exceeded when the whole 1200kg is pushing from behind and will apply the brakes.

@John. Going down Magoebaskloof is better with a heavy duty as the brakes will not generate as much heat as when you have the standard shock fitted. My last travel down Magoebaskloof had the effect that it took 2 hours for the brakes to cool down. I would not like to have the extra heat on my linings of a standard shock. 

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01 Mar 2020 @ 15:15:27 pm
JohnoP
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Thank you very much i will keep the heavy duty on. 
i had to re thread (the thread got damaged) the part which the damper is fastened to. But now i am struggling to get the clips back onto the shaft. Is there a specific way to put them on?

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02 Mar 2020 @ 21:34:27 pm
JohnoP
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Thank you very much i will keep the heavy duty on. 
i had to re thread (the thread got damaged) the part which the damper is fastened to. But now i am struggling to get the clips back onto the shaft. Is there a specific way to put them on?

i got the clips in with a bit of work and took it to the trailer place so they could confirm that I did it the right way. So all good to go just need to attach it to the chassis then on my way. 
It baffles me that that keeps the tow hitch bar from sliding out is these 4 little clipsClips for hitch

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03 May 2021 @ 14:43:18 pm
Likkewaan
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Hi All

After 3 years ( and about 6000km ) the brake damper/strutt on the Trailco hitch of my 2000 Sprite Splash failed again, so I decided to replace it with the heavy duty AL-CO strutt - normally a fairly easy DIY job which can be done without having to remove the nose cone of the van.
Not so in this case.
After unsuccessfully getting the new strutt to fit I removed the nose-cone to investigate further.
Firstly, the diameter of the mount at the piston rod (rear end ) is 6mm wider than the standard strutt, preventing the line-up with the mounting bolt so I had to grind it down by 3mm to get it to fit.
Also, the diameter of the cylinder section of the heavy duty strutt is 3mm wider than the standard strutt - this caused it to bind on the tow hitch support brace, so the brace also had to be ground down by about 2 to 3 mm. Because of the tight work-space I first drilled a series of shallow holes then used a small metal grinder attached to a Dremel drill to level it off.
I am not sure if my Trailco hitch was designed for the standard strutt only so this problem may not apply to all Trailco hitches.
Attached are some photos to clarify.


I recently discovered that the shock on my Kavango isn’t working anymore. AL-KO said any van above 1 000kg has to have the heavy duty shock fitted. After some searching I found your post, and was worried that I’d have the same issues. I won’t feel comfortable with grinding anything down. 
I got the replacement shock through a friend at Diesel-Electric on Saturday and fitted it yesterday. The replacement shock was a bigger diameter in its barrel, shaft and the eye that fits over the rear bolt than the old one. It fit easily though, and pushes out the coupler within six seconds. The old one didn’t push out the coupler at all anymore. The bottom line is that the heavy duty shock fit perfectly and easily. What does your van weigh? Perhaps the AL-KO shock doesn’t fit the Trailco hitch? Mine is an AL-KO.
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04 May 2021 @ 08:41:23 am
Hennie Botha
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I recently discovered that the shock on my Kavango isn’t working anymore. AL-KO said any van above 1 000kg has to have the heavy duty shock fitted. After some searching I found your post, and was worried that I’d have the same issues. I won’t feel comfortable with grinding anything down. 
I got the replacement shock through a friend at Diesel-Electric on Saturday and fitted it yesterday. The replacement shock was a bigger diameter in its barrel, shaft and the eye that fits over the rear bolt than the old one. It fit easily though, and pushes out the coupler within six seconds. The old one didn’t push out the coupler at all anymore. The bottom line is that the heavy duty shock fit perfectly and easily. What does your van weigh? Perhaps the AL-KO shock doesn’t fit the Trailco hitch? Mine is an AL-KO.

Chris, wanneer haak jy om die toetslopie te doen.

Sê dankie vir wat jy in die lewe het.
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04 May 2021 @ 10:34:27 am
Likkewaan
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Chris, wanneer haak jy om die toetslopie te doen.

Ek wil eers die remme stel. Blykbaar moet mens na jy die skokbreker vervang het. En dit raak nou winter, dis nie ‘n goeie tyd vir kampeer in die Wes-Kaap nie. Ons volgende toer is Kruger wildtuin toe in Julie (as kopdoek nie ‘n stokkie daarvoor steek nie). 

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04 May 2021 @ 12:27:38 pm
Hennie Botha
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Ek wil eers die remme stel. Blykbaar moet mens na jy die skokbreker vervang het. En dit raak nou winter, dis nie ‘n goeie tyd vir kampeer in die Wes-Kaap nie. Ons volgende toer is Kruger wildtuin toe in Julie (as kopdoek nie ‘n stokkie daarvoor steek nie). 

Geniet dit. Ons het saterdag teruggekom vanaf ons Wes Kaap trippie. Baie lekker weer gehad.

Sê dankie vir wat jy in die lewe het.
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04 May 2021 @ 18:19:22 pm
Danie-SLK
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I recently discovered that the shock on my Kavango isn’t working anymore. AL-KO said any van above 1 000kg has to have the heavy duty shock fitted. After some searching I found your post, and was worried that I’d have the same issues. I won’t feel comfortable with grinding anything down. 
I got the replacement shock through a friend at Diesel-Electric on Saturday and fitted it yesterday. The replacement shock was a bigger diameter in its barrel, shaft and the eye that fits over the rear bolt than the old one. It fit easily though, and pushes out the coupler within six seconds. The old one didn’t push out the coupler at all anymore. The bottom line is that the heavy duty shock fit perfectly and easily. What does your van weigh? Perhaps the AL-KO shock doesn’t fit the Trailco hitch? Mine is an AL-KO.

Dankie vir jou inset en ook die deel van Alko wat reken op meer as 1000kg is dit wenslik om die swaardiens te gebruik.

So klompie jaar terug toe iemand wat woonwaens herstel en 30jr se ondervinding het ook aanbeveel het dat ek 'n swaardiens aanbring was dit redelik eenparig dat my 1300kg woonwa te lig is vir 'n swaardiens. Wel al sleep ek nie so baie nie is myne nog so styf dat ek hom nie kan indruk nie maar iemand met meer krag sal wel kan. Dis nou 8jr later. 

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04 May 2021 @ 22:17:34 pm
Likkewaan
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Dankie vir jou inset en ook die deel van Alko wat reken op meer as 1000kg is dit wenslik om die swaardiens te gebruik.

So klompie jaar terug toe iemand wat woonwaens herstel en 30jr se ondervinding het ook aanbeveel het dat ek 'n swaardiens aanbring was dit redelik eenparig dat my 1300kg woonwa te lig is vir 'n swaardiens. Wel al sleep ek nie so baie nie is myne nog so styf dat ek hom nie kan indruk nie maar iemand met meer krag sal wel kan. Dis nou 8jr later. 

Ek het my wa minder as twee jaar gelede tweedehands gekoop, so ek weet nie hoe lank die ou skokbreker gehou het nie maar die wa is 'n 2008 model. Ek glo egter nie die ou skokbreker was swaardiens nie, want die nuwe een is dikker in al die dele behalwe die oog waardeur die voorste bout pas. Ek het nou maar AL-KO se raad gevolg want my wa weeg 1 600kg leeg volgens die lisensie. Dis net meer as twee maande voor ek weer beplan om te sleep, maar as ek onthou sal ek laat weet hoe dit gegaan het.

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