16 February 1996

Rubber spring cuts bounce

TRACTOR/TRAILER bounce on the road not only lowers productivity but is also a major cause of back problems among drivers.

If a farmer already owns a standard trailer and wants to improve its performance without upgrading to a new high-speed model, what are his options?

"Retro-fitting a leaf-spring system can be done but it is very expensive," says James White of Opal Trading.

Mr Whites firm has recently come up with what he considers to be an equally effective but lower cost alternative, the Flo-Tow.

Designed to fit any size of trailer, the Opal Trading drawbar comprises two sections – a base plate, welded underneath the original drawbar, and a separate drawbar/tow ring. Connecting the two are a hinge pin at the rear and a rubber spring at the front.

The rubber spring is the key. It both cushions and damps any pitching induced by the trailer and also gives the Opal drawbar its adaptability. Depending on trailer size/weight, Opal simply supplies a different strength spring.

Fitting time is about one hour – as long as it takes to cut the front 75cm (30in) off the original drawbar and weld on the retro-fit baseplate. Price is £695.

Retrofit sprung draw-bar. Note the "rubber ball" suspension system – alternative strengths of rubber enable different trailer weights to be accommodated.