"A" frame Vs Trailer.. What do you use ?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by forfourgeek, May 26, 2009.

  1. forfourgeek

    forfourgeek Read Only Funster

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    Having just bought an American RV, with 35mm ball fitted, i would like to take my Smart For Four with me where ever I go.
    What would the group suggest I do ? "A" frame or trailer?
    I assume, many sites will charge for trailers. Am i right ?

    Are there recognized makers of A frames. Do they have to conform to particular standards ?
    Like wise same with car trailers ?

    Does anyone in the group have any kit for sale. "A" frames or trailers ?
    The kerb weight of the car is 975 Kg.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
    Many thanks
    For Four Geek

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  2. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    my first suggestion would be to get rid of the 35mm ball, if it is 35mm and not a typo, and buy a 50mm european ball......it has a flat top to the ball, a old style 2" ball has a round top.
    i also think a 50mm ball is a legality.

    you wont find any modern uk trailer/A frame with any other hitch size but 50mm.

    i use both an A frame and a bike trailer. i do have a 3500kg trailer for the car but never used it for that purpose.
    bit of an overkill i reckon:Doh:

    Towtal, Caratow and Chris Cox are the most popular A frame makers.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  3. 45eEver

    45eEver Read Only Funster

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    A trailer's a big lump of kit to have around if you haven't got another use for it FFG.

    If you rig a frame and cover to a trailer, you could give a Smart a lot of protection.
    You can reverse a trailer.

    If you use an A-frame, it's quick, simple, and doesn't take a lot of space when you store it.
    You can't reverse a car on an A-Frame.
    You probably need to buy a Tow-Boy to give your A-Framed car brakes.
    Auto reverse brakes are a legal requirement on a trailer that's gross weight exceeds 750 Kg.
    A new Tow-Boy is probably about the price of a descent 2nd-hand trailer.

    Your Smart can get fairly mucky while you tow it.
    Especially from an older diesel.

    On a better to be safe than sorry basis, if you get an A-Frame, you probably need one with a data plate with a gross weight as great as, or greater than the gross weight of your Smart rather than it's actual weight.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  4. moandick

    moandick Read Only Funster

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    We had a trailer for several years, spent many £'s on storing it - and watched it detoriorate into a rusting mess!

    We then changed to an A frame because we got a new car that was too big and too heavy for the trailer - and we haven't looked back.

    However,

    you do need to get a proper braking system for the A Frame - and make sure that you have the proper tail-gate markings for the car.

    make sure that your insurance company are happy with you 'A' frame towing the car - and depending on the age of your car - will the adaption for the A frame affect your warranty?

    if you are considering going foreign - then you MAYBE can expect to be stopped in Spain or some of the foreign tunnels where they are not happy with your car on an A frame. Not many people are stopped but some have been required to 'separate' the A frame from the tow vehicle before being allowed to drive on - they drive a few miles down the road then connect up again and continue happily on their way!

    There are thousands of A framers in this Country, just as there are thousands of car trailers - you takes your pick and suffers whatever consequence may occur - whether it be storage charges for a trailer or perhaps getting stopped with the A Frame.
     
  5. davejen

    davejen Funster

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    Fully agree with45eEver I have a towtal a frame, they are at Stoke on Trent . If you can find an a frame for sale you will probably have to get the bracket fitted to the toad- towtal charged me £199, the aframe was £65 +£30 carriage so I got a bargain. Price for full set-up £600 - £800 depending where you go. A frame stores in van when not being used. You need somewhere to store a trailer.
    Regards, Dave:thumb:
     
  6. PeteH

    PeteH Funster

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    "A" Framing

    Hi

    An "A" frame is definitely the best way to "toad" HOWEVER, If your considering towing in SPAIN and PORTUGAL, then be aware that the "plod" are getting more aggressive over their use. I Personally have now been "pulled" on 3 occasions in the last year, Each time by MOTORCYCLE cops, Not fined (yet), but warned each time "not legal in Spain". I have ALL the paperwork copies of the various Appeals (successful) etc, but they still hassle over it.

    It`s getting to be a right "pain in the proverbial" so much so that with the Pound down, Spanish cost(s) up. I think it could be cheaper to go to the USA next winter!!!. The yanks Know how it should be done. Pull through sites power water and Sewerage on the pitch plus a BBQ and fire ring etc;.

    Pete
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  7. moandick

    moandick Read Only Funster

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    Hi Pete

    I have had several reports of the Spanish Police getting hot under the collar about A Frames but yours is the first time I have heard bad reports about the Portuguese Police. Are they as bad as the Spanish Police?
     
  8. gazznsam

    gazznsam Read Only Funster

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    you should have seen how 'hot under the collar' the spanish police men who stopped me in barcalona for towing a dog trailer behind our scooter got, he was bouncing off the walls of his van when he got back in,

    i did my best puppy dog eyes and went 'my bod, it's illegal?, oh no, i never knew, i never break the law, ever, please can i take it back to my motorhome and i will not tow it on spanish soil again, it's a real shame tho as i really wanted to take my dog to see more of this lovely country we are in' :Blush:


    Anyway.. steering back on topic,

    i'm in the A-frame or trailer boat right now, i'm selling my motorbike as i'd prefer to have the smart with me (mines a fortwo) we have a bike trailer at the mo, so i could keep the bike trailer to take sams scooter with us when it's deffo gonna be hot whilst were away and were in some nice riding country,

    But a-frame the smart at other times, the A-frame wins hands down for storage, practicality, theft resistance, speed of loading, reducing the chance of extra charges on campsites and so on.

    But there's the wear on the car whilst being towed (suspension, tyres, wheel bearings etc) having to faff about unhooking, moving the van, re-hooking when you go down a dead end road, or having to go to the impatiant twonk you've just met on a single track road to tell him you cant reverse half a mile back to the passing place, then get the sniggers as they take the 'impossible to reverse' phrase to mean 'dosent know how to reverse'

    and yes i know you can reverse them a bit, but i'd love to see someone do a 3 point turn with one... in the space a van and trailer could do it,
    i only managed to get my buggy on it's A-frame to go back in a straight line, and that was only if no road camber and i let it roll rather than push it back, the second the wheels begin to turn, they will go hard over, then your in an S shape due to the 2 turning points (tow hitch and cars steering)

    So a trailer has some merrits, for me if i got a trailer i'd sell the bike trailer, and fix a motorbike wheel chanel down the middle of the smart trailer, then i'd have one trailer for 2 jobs,
     
  9. forfourgeek

    forfourgeek Read Only Funster

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    "A"frame Vs trailer

    Thanks for the advice everyone.. Look as if a trailer might be the way forward...:thumb:
     
  10. moandick

    moandick Read Only Funster

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    Hi Forfourgeek

    If you do get a trailer - just remember to check with your insurance company that your car is covered against an accident by a third party WHEN IT IS ON THE TRAILER!

    I have heard of some companies (SAGA, for one) who do not cover your car whilst it is on the trailer. Bit of a bummer if an un-insured driver slams into your trailer and writes off your car!
     
  11. 45eEver

    45eEver Read Only Funster

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    FFG,

    I suggest you ask your Smart's insurers
    in writting
    to ask their underwriters
    if they will extend
    your fully comprehensive cover
    to cover your Smart while: -

    • It is on tow on an A-Frame.
    • It is on tow on a trailer.
    Many insurers seem willing to extend the cover, but it's a good idea to ask first.
     
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