Motor movers are devices that help caravan owners maneuver their units into tight spots such as driveways for parking or storage. They do this by using a hand-held remote control. So, is spending money on these gadgets worth your while?
Caravan motor movers are worth it as they enable you to maneuver your caravan easily. Thus, you can hitch up the van to your tow car and pitch the unit on-site without using a tow car. Also, they help align a wheel lock receptor more precisely, making it easier to fit a wheel lock barrel.
The rest of this article will provide a more in-depth look into motor movers, including how they work, plus a review of the best caravan motor movers. Keep reading.
How Do Caravan Motor Movers Work?
Motor movers help move your caravan into position when you don’t want to use your vehicle or manually push or pull the van into a space. Heavier caravans are also a challenge to maneuver, making it necessary to install a motor mover. But how do motor movers work?
Caravan motor movers work by engaging rollers to a caravan’s wheels. This is done manually or electrically, making it possible to propel the van remotely over short distances. A hand-held remote helps you operate the motor mover.
Motor movers are usually clamped to a caravan’s chassis. They connect to rollers fixed to the wheels, moving the van in the preferred direction. These manual or motorized (automatic) devices are powered by the caravan’s battery and are available in a wide range of power motors depending on the caravan’s weight.
Manual motor movers operate using a hand-operated lever to wind the motor roller onto the wheel, while motorized motor movers utilize a 12-volt motor. The lever or motor moves the motor mover’s rollers to make contact with the caravan’s tire.
Motorized motor movers also need a well-charged battery to work. The recommended minimum battery for a caravan motor mover is an 85Ah battery.
The remote control makes operating your automatic motor mover pretty easy. That said, some motor movers are not that easy to engage and disengage since the mover’s drive cylinder is not in constant touch with the van’s axle wheels.
And since you only engage the motor mover when you want to move the caravan, the motor has to be fully compressed against the caravan tire. This prevents slipping while providing good traction. Slipping can cause the caravan to jerk, fail to turn properly, or even move.
The great thing about using a motor mover is that it helps you negotiate tight spaces that your car would otherwise need to maneuver through. This keeps your clutch safe from damage. You are also less likely to incur accidental damage, such as mounting your vehicle over the pavement while reversing into your driveway.
Single Axle vs. Double Axle Caravan Movers
Motor movers come in single or twin-axle kits. While single axle caravans movers are relatively easy to maneuver – even without a caravan motor mover, double axle caravans are a different story altogether. This is because it’s pretty hard to manhandle a double axle caravan weighing over 1700 kgs (3747.8 lbs) without a motor mover.
Here’s a short video that explains how these two types of caravan movers work:
Do Caravan Motor Movers Work on All Surfaces?
Caravan motor movers work on almost all surfaces, including up inclines. That said, if you plan on moving your caravan up steep slopes, you’ll need to buy a motor mover capable of doing so.
To help you cope with uneven surfaces and slopes, get a motor mover that goes slightly above the requirement of your caravan’s all-up weight.
A motorized motor mover will perform respectably if you are moving on a hard, flat surface. However, when it comes to a caravan site with a sloping grass pitch and soft ground conditions, your motor mover will struggle to move. Also:
- A caravan motor mover will move uphill because it can move up a fairly steep gradient.
- A caravan motor mover will not move well over gravel because the jockey wheel might propel the caravan towards an undesirable direction.
- A caravan motor mover will generally move over grass though this depends on the type of grass – it will not move on thick, soft, or spongy grass.
How Many Caravan Motor Movers You Need
A single axle caravan will require 2 caravan motor movers – one on either side. However, a twin axle caravan will need 2 – 4 caravan motor movers. Lighter twin axles can get by using one motor (on either side), but some twin axles are quite heavy thus require more power while turning or moving up a steep driveway. The 4WD makes turning much more effortless.
However, in both instances, you’ll also want to consider the caravan’s weight because most movers have a weight limit you shouldn’t surpass.
Also, motor mover manufacturers usually advise on the weight and number of axles their devices can handle. You only need to follow their recommendations.
How Much Do Caravan Motor Movers Cost?
Caravan motor movers cost about $1,343 on average. The actual cost depends on the type of mover and the model, while electrical ones tend to be pricier. For instance, top-notch single-axle motor movers cost about $1,598, $2,663 for a twin-axle system, and a cheap refurbished mover goes for about $599.
More affordable models often sport less powerful motors, which translates to lower performance, especially during wet or cold conditions.
What To Consider When Buying Your Caravan Motor Mover
When purchasing a caravan motor mover, your choice depends on whether your caravan is single-axle or twin-axle. Most axle-mounted caravan movers are typically mounted forward of the axle. Indeed, some motor mover manufacturers recommend installing the motor mover here rather than behind the axle to keep the axle safe from damage, e.g., from stone chips.
You also need to consider the following:
The Weight of the Motor Mover
You need to consider the mover’s weight because the motor mover has an impact on the weight of your caravan. Once fitted, you will need to deduct the motor mover from your caravan’s payload.
The thing is, every motor mover has a working load capacity that it can handle comfortably. As a result, the weight of your preferred motor mover can impact your caravan’s storage capacity quite considerably.
While different motor movers boast varying weights, a typical motor mover weighs about 27+ kg (59.2lbs). So, before committing to buy a motor mover, confirm your caravan’s user payload. Then, evaluate whether you will manage to store all your stuff while remaining within your caravan’s weight limit.
It’s essential to point out here that breaching your caravan’s user payload could negatively impact your insurance payout if you were to have an accident. Besides, towing is illegal.
Your Caravan’s Ground Clearance
This is a crucial consideration given that the industry standard for ground clearance is 150mm minimum (5.9 inches). You see, wheel sizes have an impact on ground clearance. Also, how your motor mover is fixed to the caravan chassis can affect what’s left of the ground clearance. For example, some second-hand caravans sport smaller 13″ (33.02 cm) wheels.
If your motor mover lowers your ground clearance to below 150mm ( 5.9 inches ), it could cause problems such as smashing your newly-installed motor mover into a speed bump.
Opt for a Soft Start Motor Mover
The soft-start feature gives you easy control over your caravan motor mover, making it easy to position. This is especially helpful when squeezing your caravan into a tight space; otherwise, the van would jerk when the motors start moving.
Ultimately, your choice of motor mover (i.e., the type or model) will depend on your personal preference.
How To Take Care of Your Caravan Motor Mover
Caravan motor movers don’t require much maintenance. Regular cleaning and lubricating moving parts like roller bearings will suffice. That said, to make things easier for your motor mover, try parking close to your final location. Also, align the jockey wheel with your caravan’s main wheels to prevent excessive wear and tear on your motor mover.
Below are additional tips on using and maintaining your caravan motor mover:
- Conduct annual visual checks of under-van wiring.
- Note that the handset is easy to lose, so always keep it handy in a safe place.
- Check that there are no obstructions such as embedded stones before engaging the rollers.
- Release the caravan’s handbrake and replace it before disengaging the rollers when using your motor mover.
- Get a jockey wheel with a pneumatic tire if you plan on using your caravan primarily on soft ground surfaces.
- Ensure that your motor mover doesn’t hamper any security fittings on your caravan’s wheels.
- Avoid obstructing the jacking point and spare wheel carrier position when fixing a twin axle system.
- Confirm that your motor mover will not cause you to exceed your caravan’s weight limit before installing it.
- Make sure your tires have the correct pressure because under-inflated tires can cause slippage.
Are Caravan Motor Movers Easy To Fit?
Caravan motor movers are easy to fit and the process takes a few minutes only. What’s more, you can do the fitting entirely on your own if you have good DIY skills. The work involves low voltage wiring, and all you need is simple tools like a spanner.
If you get someone to fit the motor mover for you, you can expect to pay anywhere around $1,164. Most suppliers can arrange to install the device at your storage site. Moreover, some dealers offer free motor movers when they want to shift ex-demo or end-of-range caravans.
While having a motor mover fixed for you can be somewhat expensive, it allows you to call on your supplier whenever you have a problem with the mover. Most of them offer excellent after-sales service and respond quickly whenever you have an issue with their product.
Watch this short video to learn how to install a caravan motor mover:
Best Caravan Motor Movers
Here are 3 of the best caravan motor movers currently available in the market:
Purple Line Quattro Titanium Caravan Mover
The Quattro Titanium comes in a compact, lightweight package with several notable features; a tailor-made crossbar, hollow cast-alloy rollers, and a light alloy body. Even with two motors, the Quattro Titanium weighs a mere 23kg (50.7 lbs), enabling it to save about 10kg (22 lbs) over its closest rivals.
This product boasts an unmatched combination of power, performance, and lightweight at a fair price. With dual-wheel engagement, you can engage it fully from either side, while the soft-start feature means that you can use the Quattro Titanium on single, twin, or even all-wheel-drive (AWD) installations.
Powertouch Freedom caravan motor mover delivers millimeter precision when it comes to manoeuvering your caravan. It enables you to change direction with minimum effort and move without constant stops owing to its fluid movement control.
Primarily suitable for vans weighing up to 1500 kg ( 3306.9 lbs), this device is reliable and long-lasting. Weighing 35kg (77.1lbs) with all fittings included, it boasts a 5-year warranty. Powrtouch freedom is ideal for single axle caravans.
Truma Mover XT4
Truma Mover XT4 is a high-quality product. Its most outstanding feature are the enormous aluminum drive wheels. These provide good contact with the tire, offering stability on every kind of surface. Also, with the remote control’s slide control feature, you can accelerate while the control knob enables you to steer.
The Truma motor movers also come with brushless motors plus useful safety features that enhance your driving safety. These include the roll-back block and the automatic stop function. Additionally, Truma Dynamic MoveTechnology allows you to operate with precision, making it easy to park twin-axle caravans weighing a whopping 3100kg! ( 6834.3 lbs).
Therefore if you own a super large twin axle caravan, the TrumaMover XT4 e is the type of motor mover you need.