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TowBars



 
 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 13th 03, 02:38 PM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
Mr Mark
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Posts: 14
Default TowBars

Question for you all, Is it common for Motorhomes to have or have the
ability to have, a Tow Bar fitted?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old October 13th 03, 02:51 PM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
Andy R
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Posts: 821
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"Mr Mark" (spoof email address) wrote in message
...
Question for you all, Is it common for Motorhomes to have or have the
ability to have, a Tow Bar fitted?


Most motorhomes built on commercial chassis can legally pull quite a heavy
trailer, certainly enough for a big caravan or reasonable size boat. Most
people use them as a mounting point for scooter carriers or to tow small
cars along.

Rgds

Andy R


  #3 (permalink)  
Old October 13th 03, 03:40 PM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
RADIOTWO
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Posts: 15
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Most motorhomes built on commercial chassis can legally pull quite a heavy
trailer, certainly enough for a big caravan or reasonable size boat. Most
people use them as a mounting point for scooter carriers


* or to tow small cars along *


But it is illegal to tow a small car !


  #4 (permalink)  
Old October 13th 03, 04:09 PM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
ray
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Posts: 5
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In article , RADIOTWO
writes

Most motorhomes built on commercial chassis can legally pull quite a heavy
trailer, certainly enough for a big caravan or reasonable size boat. Most
people use them as a mounting point for scooter carriers


* or to tow small cars along *


But it is illegal to tow a small car !



No it isn't
--
ray
  #5 (permalink)  
Old October 13th 03, 06:06 PM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
Geoff Lane
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Posts: 870
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"RADIOTWO" wrote in news:0Izib.1801
:

But it is illegal to tow a small car !


IANAL, but AIUI:

While it is not illegal to tow a small car on a trailer, it is very
difficult to meet the letter of the law when using a towing frame. The
towing frame converts the car to a steerable, multi-axle trailer, which is
then subject to the "trailer" section of the construction and use regs and
must meet all of the requirements. This includes "auto-reverse" brakes, and
I have yet to see a towing frame that provides that legal requirement.

That said, I've seen many a "toad" behind large motorhomes. I suspect that
the police either don't know the regs or turn a blind eye to this
technically illegal, but nevertheless safe, activity. Pragmatically, auto-
reverse is pointless for a "toad". You can't steer it when reversing and so
must uncouple the car to reverse the outfit anyway.

--
Geoff Lane
Cornwall, UK
  #6 (permalink)  
Old October 13th 03, 07:02 PM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
riccip
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Posts: 25
Default TowBars

Geoff Lane wrote:

That said, I've seen many a "toad" behind large motorhomes. I suspect that
the police either don't know the regs or turn a blind eye to this
technically illegal, but nevertheless safe, activity.


I think it's simply that they can't be arsed with enforcing
complex regs when there are so many easier nicks to be had. The
CPS often don't prosecute difficult minor cases and there's
always the risk you may have a smart defence lawyer. If the towed
car is very light (750kg) or is correctly adapted for overrun
brakes then they can't touch 'em anyway.

Some years ago I was driving a "bare" Mazda pick-up, without it's
demountable motorcaravan body, when an aggressive but dutiful
copper decided to nick me under some ancient law which limits all
commercial vehicles to 50mph. I was doing 60 in a 60 zone. You
should have seen his face when I was able to prove that this
pick-up was in fact a motorcaravan taxed & insured as a private
vehicle and traveling perfectly legally at 60mph. Poor sod looked
as though his dog had just died.
  #7 (permalink)  
Old October 13th 03, 09:16 PM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
Hilary[_2_]
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Posts: 36
Default TowBars


"riccip" wrote in message
...
Geoff Lane wrote:

That said, I've seen many a "toad" behind large motorhomes. I suspect

that
the police either don't know the regs or turn a blind eye to this
technically illegal, but nevertheless safe, activity.



I think good policemen ( they do exist apparently) usually try exercise good
judgement where the law is confusing and unclear.

The real problem is the insurers.

I'll use the example of led front cycle lights being given the BSI mark as
they are clearly brighter and more visable from a distance ( a little OT but
a lot of motorcaravaners are also cyclists). But for the first time ( I
believe since the BSI system was implemented) this recommendation has not
been accepted into road/traffic laws.

So the bike lights are the safest recommended ( by a government body) but
not legal. Its extremely unlikely that a cyclist will be arrested and
convicted for proceeding in a safe and well lit manner. But just wait until
theres an accident with a car and the insurers fancy lawyers are going to
cite the lack of legal lights as a get out .

Its going to be the same with trailers and conflicting regulations. Some
poor soul will find himself uninsured, liable and procecutable all on top of
trauma/injury to himself and family. Then the premiums will go through the
roof again.

(


  #8 (permalink)  
Old October 13th 03, 10:34 PM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
Geoff Lane
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Posts: 870
Default TowBars

riccip wrote in
:

If the towed
car is very light (750kg) or is correctly adapted for overrun
brakes then they can't touch 'em anyway.


It's the MAM (maximum allowable mass, or max gross weight) that matters.
AFAIK, there are very few cars with MAM less than 750kg, so most need
brakes even if their kerbweight is less than 750kg. FWIW, the Smart Pure
has a MAM of 990kg, which means that it is well over the 750kg limit. Also,
the Construction and Use regs state that if brakes are fitted, they must
work, so even something like the smallest Aixam (which does have MAM less
than 750kg) still needs overrun brakes when towed.

However, the crippler is the requirement for auto-reverse. The brakes must
not come on when the trailer is moved backwards from a standstill. AFAICT,
no towing frame meets that requirement -- they either have brakes that will
come on when reversed, or they don't have brakes.

So, strictly, "toads" are illegal in UK. However, I don't know anyone who's
been prosecuted for towing one.

--
Geoff Lane
Cornwall, UK
  #9 (permalink)  
Old October 14th 03, 11:07 AM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
Andy R
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Posts: 821
Default TowBars


"Geoff Lane" wrote in message
...
riccip wrote in
:

If the towed
car is very light (750kg) or is correctly adapted for overrun
brakes then they can't touch 'em anyway.


It's the MAM (maximum allowable mass, or max gross weight) that matters.
AFAIK, there are very few cars with MAM less than 750kg, so most need
brakes even if their kerbweight is less than 750kg. FWIW, the Smart Pure
has a MAM of 990kg, which means that it is well over the 750kg limit.

Also,
the Construction and Use regs state that if brakes are fitted, they must
work, so even something like the smallest Aixam (which does have MAM less
than 750kg) still needs overrun brakes when towed.

However, the crippler is the requirement for auto-reverse. The brakes must
not come on when the trailer is moved backwards from a standstill. AFAICT,
no towing frame meets that requirement -- they either have brakes that

will
come on when reversed, or they don't have brakes.

So, strictly, "toads" are illegal in UK. However, I don't know anyone

who's
been prosecuted for towing one.


It's not the issue of being prosecuted you need to worry about, it's your
insurance not paying out to fix your vehicle if you prang it, that'll cost
you far more than some nominal fine. There are two models of towbar I've
seen designed to tow a car and meet all the UK regs. I can't find the
website for them at the mo but they both have a mechanism for applying the
cars brakes via an overrun hitch and cable to the car brake pedal and
locking out the overrun mechanism when the reversing lights are on.

Rgds

Andy R


  #10 (permalink)  
Old October 14th 03, 12:01 PM posted to uk.rec.motorcaravans
Geoff Lane
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 870
Default TowBars

"Andy R" wrote in
:

There are two models of towbar I've
seen designed to tow a car and meet all the UK regs. I can't find the
website for them at the mo but they both have a mechanism for applying
the cars brakes via an overrun hitch and cable to the car brake pedal
and locking out the overrun mechanism when the reversing lights are
on.


FWIW, I checked out Car-A-Tow (http://www.protowframes.co.uk/) and Towtal
(http://www.towtal.co.uk) frames some time ago when considering whether to
stick with trailer caravans or go for a motor caravan and toad. Both
companies have towing frames that use a cable and overrun mechanism to
apply the car's own brakes. However, both told me that their product did
not provide auto-reverse. Are these the models you've seen? Has anyone got
one of these and can tell us whether they meet the auto-reverse
requirement?

HTH & TIA,

--
Geoff Lane
Cornwall, UK
 



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