A-frame legalities, update

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Autoroller, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Autoroller

    Autoroller Read Only Funster

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    D f T have stated they regard a-frames are legal provided they meet the lighting and braking regulations applicable to trailers, which is what the car is treated as, when towed. Temporary and universal "dolly" type a-frames can only be used to move a car to a place of safety or repair.

    Therefore, they have given us a framework in which the concept is legal for car specific properly engineered and permanent modifications to turn cars into trailers but it is up to very tower to ensure that, in practice, their particular combination meets the trailer regulations each and every time they take to the road. This also applies to all other towers of caravans etc but as their trailers are not dual purpose like ours, it is much easier for them e.g. red triangles/towing vehicle registration are permanently affixed, auto reverse brakes, one axle etc.

    Certain combinations meet these regulations and are therefore UK legal; others do not. It is incumbent on all of us that we do not give the authorities an excuse to legislate against towing cars on a-frames. In this country/commonwealth/USA most things are legal unless legislated against; in Napoleonic based law (most of the rest of the EU) the opposite applies i.e. every situation has to be specifically legislated for or its probably illegal!

    Trailer regulations state that a trailer of less than 750KG GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT (GVW) or Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) (i.e. the specific maximum weight authorised of a trailer including its load), can be unbraked. Do NOT use the often quoted unladen (“kerb”) weight and do not forget to add the weight of the a-frame itself to the car’s MAM. Only “car” I know of under this MAM is the French Axiam.

    However, if brakes ARE fitted to a trailer they must be continuously or semi-continuously operable (cable over-run, hydraulic, pneumatic). As all cars have brakes fitted it must be obvious (to Police, VOSA, anyone) that a-frames used to tow cars as trailers must be of the braked variety, irrespective of the MAM of the car. A braked a-frame pulls on the car’s brake pedal via a cable operated by over-run when the M/H brakes (similar to a caravan). The requirement of a 50% braking efficiency for a trailer has been shown by Car-a-Tow to be easily achievable with the overun system employed, even without using the car's servo. In any event, D f T have stated, no facilities exist to check this requirement! I know that when my set-up is properly adjusted I can feel the car assisting the braking effect of the combination by not continuing to push hard after the car’s brakes apply.

    You may load both the M/H and the car (trailer) up to their respective MAM's but take care that axle, train weight, and tow hitch limits are not exceeded.

    Train Weight is the ACTUAL combined weights of the M/H and trailer each and every time you take to the road. D f T talks about LADEN weight i.e. what you have loaded M/H and trailer (car) to every trip. So, if the quoted kerbweights added together are over the plated maximum train weight you know that you are giving VOSA cause for suspicion that you are approaching overweight and a trip to the weighbridge may ensue. If the car/trailer has a quoted gross vehicle weight/MAM less than the difference of the plated maximum train weight minus the MAM of the M/H and you are sure you have not overloaded the car/trailer (no, you cannot have persons in the car), or the M/H; then you can be pretty confident that the plated maximum trainweight will not be exceeded when VOSA take you to a weighbridge!

    Some braked a-frame overun systems allow you to carefully reverse without pulling the car brakes on (you do not have momentum taking effect); others do not. NOTE the regulations DO NOT call for "auto reverse" brakes as fitted to caravans but the capability to reverse without manual intervention. They do not specify in what situation, how far or whether round corners. On surfaces with good friction (eg tarmac/concrete) I can reverse as far as I need to in a straightish line without the car's brakes engaging or the car's front wheels castoring (ie the rolling resistance is less than sideways resistance).

    There is a debate whether the decceleration sensing electrically operated American “Brake Buddy” system meets the “semi-continuous” requirement. I personally do not see why it does not and it would allow people using un-braked a-frames to easily upgrade to a braked outfit but it is expensive.

    Trailer regulations also state that red reflective trianglesmust be fitted to the rear and that the registration plate displayed is the same as the towing vehicle. I attach my triangles magnetically and also (not legally required) an “ON TOW” sign. The existing car lighting works from the MH without the need of a board (through cable) although some cars do need a board. The rear number plate is changed on the car each towed trip.

    In other words, everything you have on other trailers/caravans should be replicated and is no more or less legal than they are when they take to the road with their fixed a-frames. There is no requirement for certificates of conformity, written “proof”, or anything else more than that is required or provided by caravan/trailer suppliers and manufacturers.

    Other EU states may possibly accept British combinations for temporary importation as long as our regulations are met but are not legally obliged to if they do not allow it for their own nationals. I have towed 1000's of miles for over 5 years in UK, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany with no problems at all from officialdom but with intense interest and enthusiasm from the public. Check with your insurer/s that they are ok with you pulling a car and with the modifications to the car; I have it in writing from my insurer/s that I am covered.

    Autoroller
     
  2. bobandjanie

    bobandjanie Funster Life Member

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    Hi, we were speaking to a couple of UK motorhomers with A Frames that left the site we are on in Spain yesterday, and they were telling me that Switzerland have made them legal. :Eek!: Bob.
     
  3. EzeeRider

    EzeeRider Read Only Funster

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    This is not what Towtal think!

    ezee
     
  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    then towtal are wrong !!!!
     
  5. olley

    olley Funster

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    This has been discussed before, and links provided to the relevant regulations to leave no doubt of what Autoroller has posted. Its the MAM/GVW not the kerb weight that covers whether a trailer needs brakes, and if its got brakes they must work.

    This is a not grey area; as papa says Towtal are wrong, but then its not then who will get fined.

    Olley
     
  6. moandick

    moandick Read Only Funster

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    Well said, Olley

    We have enough grey areas as it is, without other people making them up! :Sad:
     
  7. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    articals taken from EUROPEN UNION LAW


    Council Directive 71/320/EEC of 26 July 1971 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the braking devices of certain categories of motor vehicles and of their trailers


    (c) Category O : Trailers (including semi-trailers):

    - Category O1 : Trailers with a maximum weight not exceeding 0 775 metric tons;
    annex 2, section 2.2.2.1. Trailers of category O1 need not be fitted with a service braking device ; however, if trailers of this category are equipped with a service braking device this must comply with the same requirements as those of category O2.
    for cat 2 see below....


    - Category O2 : Trailers with a maximum weight exceeding 0 775 but not exceeding 3 75 metric tons;
    annex 2 section 2.2.2.2. Every trailer of category O2 must be fitted with a service braking device either of the continuous or semi-continuous type or of the inertia (overrun) type. The latter type shall be authorised only for trailers other than semi-trailers. However, electrical braking systems conforming to the requirements of Annex XI shall be permitted.
    for annex X1 see below

    annex X1
    1. GENERAL
    1.1. For the purposes of the following provisions, electrical brakes are service braking systems consisting of a control device, an electromechanical transmission device, and friction brakes. The electrical control device regulating the voltage for the trailer shall be situated on the trailer.
    1.2. The electrical energy required for the electrical braking system shall be supplied to the trailer by the motor vehicle.
    1.3. Electrical braking systems shall be actuated by operating the service braking system of the motor vehicle.
    1.4. The nominal voltage rating shall be 12 V.
    1.5. The maximum current consumption shall not exceed 15 A.
    1.6. The electrical connection of the electrical braking system to the motor vehicle shall be effected by means of a special plug and socket connection corresponding to . . . (1), the plug of which shall not be compatible with the sockets of the lighting equipment of the vehicle. The plug together with the cable shall be situated on the trailer.

    1. DEFINITIONS
    For the purpose of this Directive:

    1.5. 'Transmission`
    means the combination of components situated between the control and the brake and connecting the two operationally. The transmission may be mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, or mixed. Where the braking power is derived from or assisted by a source of energy independent of the driver but controlled by him, the reserve of energy in the device shall likewise be regarded as part of the transmission.


    it would appear the brake buddy is legal.

    PS i've checked the amendments and nothing in them changes the above.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  8. EzeeRider

    EzeeRider Read Only Funster

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    I have no doubt Towtal are wrong, I was merely pointing out that even a well known supplier thinks otherwise.

    ezee
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  9. DJP

    DJP Read Only Funster

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    Can you possibly provide a link to the source of this information please. I am not doubting your post. I would just like to carry a copy of the information sheet in the toad.
    Thanks
     
  10. DJP

    DJP Read Only Funster

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    Btt
     
  11. MicknPat

    MicknPat Funster

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    The Roadmaster braking system fitted to our RV and towed car is called Brakemater and operates from the RVs air braking system.

    The tow car is fitted with a breakaway system where if the vehicles should separate a pressurised reservoir will apply the tow cars braking system, not cheap but in my opinion The Best.

    Mick
     
  12. GIBLA53

    GIBLA53 Read Only Funster

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    Please elaborate what Towtal think ! Al
     
  13. BigLad

    BigLad Read Only Funster

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    Spreading

    Hello all,
    We are on Marjal for the winter and have now seen French A-framer who told me it was now legal in France and Dutch folk towing Smart said it was legal in Holland and the German government were now considering it.
     
  14. kkclassic

    kkclassic

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    We tow a Peugeout Partner Teepee and use a BrakeBuddy. Towtal sell these units so I am sure they are aware of the regulations regarding towing.

    Kevin and Tricia
     
  15. keith

    keith Funster

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    Car-A-Tow

    Think that may be Car-A-Tow. Look HERE Al at their legals page.
     
  16. geoff1947

    geoff1947 Read Only Funster

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    Towing

    My son is a traffic officer with Thames Valley police and he had mailed me the same D f T document shown here! As far as he is concerned he won't be stopping you if you have the correct A frame fitted. But he will if you are using your mobile phone on the move or speeding with the A frame.
    PS he is in an unmarked car!! so beware:Eeek:
     
  17. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Tell your son he is a very nice man:thumb:
     
  18. geoff1947

    geoff1947 Read Only Funster

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    Just post me your VRN (Plus a £10 note) and I will make sure he deletes your number from his on board computer!:Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  19. PeteH

    PeteH Funster

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    alo alo alo!!

    Hi

    Just post me your VRN (Plus a £10 note) and I will make sure he deletes your number from his on board computer!:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:

    Check in post!!

    pete
     
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