aframes - ok in uk or not

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Hugh Jardon, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. Hugh Jardon

    Hugh Jardon Deleted User

    i know there is a lot of debate regarding the use of car a tow aframes and if they are ok to use in the uk

    could someone give me a bit of advice of if they are ok to use or not over here, do insurance companies mind them?

    i have the high capacity 1600kg cara tow item with additional vacuum assisted brakes on a 800 kg car
     
  2. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Well the debate go's on, and the area gets grayer and grayerI wont even attempt to answer your first question,.
    However a member on another site whos Motorhome I serviced showed me confirmation from his insurance company that the A frame and toad were coverd by the motorhome policy, had I not seen it with my own eyes i would have questioned his statment
    Geo
     
  3. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Nooooooooo......here we go again with that blessed perennial A-frame story......thanks Hugh Jardon!!!!

    While I was researching the issue before buying a Brian James Trailer for our Smartie, it seemed to me that A-frames were generally accepted in the UK despite the law being somewhat vague about it. However, this is not to say that the police will not act against sime luckless a-framer at some stage. Issues in Europe are far less secure than here - there are those who swear that they have used an a-frame in europe for years with no hassle, and others who have been stopped in spain especially, made to unhitch, and drive on separately. Using a trailer means no uncertainty whatsoever, so for me it was a no-brainer. :Confused: Lots of info about on certain other forums including a certain magazine forum with lots of know-it-alls on both......

    Laurie
     
  4. Hugh Jardon

    Hugh Jardon Deleted User

    ok cool

    i will put it to my insurance company to get them to approve it if i can

    i cant see why they are not totally approved as they seem to be a great idea for sure

    cheers
     
  5. Hugh Jardon

    Hugh Jardon Deleted User

    picked up my new little tow car today, is superb i must say, great little run about, will use it for local running about as well to save those buggers from denting the beemer in tescos carpark!!

    have the a frame and the pull bar should arrive this week also, cant wait to get out there with it on the back! :Wink:
     
  6. johnsandywhite

    johnsandywhite Read Only Funster

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    :Cool: My Son Simon and his Mechanic friends have used these for recovering Cars:-

    [​IMG]


    Much cheaper than an 'A' frame.
     
  7. johnsandywhite

    johnsandywhite Read Only Funster

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  8. Rapide561

    Rapide561 Read Only Funster

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    A Frames

    Hi

    I have an A frame, I tow a Corsa, it has been witnessed by many a policeman in the UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Italy. I am still here to tell the tale....bit I have decided I do not really like it.

    Russell
     
  9. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Thats a good link JSW, would be good if people actually took the trouble to read it....I wonder when this debate will ever end, if ever....:Frown:



    Laurie
     
  10. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    I tow my 2 tonne Jeep Grand Cherokee behind my RV on an american tow system. Just got back from France where we did 1800 miles towing with no problems and no worries. The insurance company said it wasnt a problem so until someone tells us otherwise we will continue to tow our car wherever we decide to go.

    I have used the tow system used to recover brokendown cars on numerous occasions (In fact i have 1 in the garage!!) but having used the USA system I wouldnt use it again. The USA system is light years ahead of anything ive seen in the UK and so easy to use and attach.

    Just go for it!!!!
     
  11. Road Runner

    Road Runner Read Only Funster

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    All i can say is the car become like a caravan but without the snaking:Wink:

    I honestly don't know the cars there unless i look for it:Laughing:

    Safest way of towing anything and if the experts dispute it doubt they have ever towed anything in there lives :Wink:
     
  12. johnsandywhite

    johnsandywhite Read Only Funster

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    :Cool: Just used one similar to the one below. Drove down to Peacehaven to Tow back a Ford Focus with a Citreon Picasso. Hardly noticed it was there. Apart from tight turns on soaking wet, slippy roundabouts. :Laughing:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. fordy

    fordy Deleted User

    It seams to be companies that sell Trailers take the view its not legal and the opposite for the ones that sell A frames, but i have read that in law the car becomes a trailer when fitted and if it has brakes they must work so it doesnt matter what weight the car is it has brakes so they must work.

    www.towtal.co.uk/towtal.pdf

    FORDY:Confused:
     
  14. Road Runner

    Road Runner Read Only Funster

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    Thank you Gary will print that off:Wink:
     
  15. Autoroller

    Autoroller Read Only Funster

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    A-frame legalities

    Hi all,
    I am sometimes “flamed” on this when I reply with my point of view in other forums, but can I just detail, here, what I understand in relation to the legalities of towed cars behind a-frames?

    Advantages/disadvantages/safety/operation/construction/practicalities/cost is a whole new book/s but I'm happy to add my penny's worth on those subjects too, if asked!

    I know this subject has been discussed exhaustively and some do not want to see it again, ever, probably because they are towing cars with unbraked a-frames, or without red reflective triangles, or over their train weight limit etc. etc.

    I offer this to prospective new a-framers (the more the better) for info only and that is why it is posted as an attempt to gather it all together in one place. I make no apology for posting it, take it or leave it. I welcome replies/comment/debate on the content (but not on my right to post), good or bad.

    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.

    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 triangles must 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.

    Do not exceed the M/H’s Gross Train Weight (GTW), this is the largest figure on the VIN plate and is the actual weights of tow vehicle and trailer that must together not exceed the tow vehicle’s GTW. MAMs do not enter into the calculation, except that neither tow vehicle nor trailer may individually be loaded to exceed its own MAM.

    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 not legal for their own nationals. I have towed 1000's of miles for over 3 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. Go for it, so that we become a body of people, practising an inherently safe and legal pastime, big enough not to be messed with!:restmycase:
     
  16. Lindy-C

    Lindy-C Deleted User

    Hi Autoroller and welcome to the site :Smile:

    Fret not, you won't get "flamed" here, we are far too nice a bunch to indulge in such pastimes :Laughing:
     
  17. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Nice first post Autoroller. :thumb: Welcome to the fun:BigGrin:
     
  18. American Dream

    American Dream Read Only Funster

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    .

    .

    Oh Yeah. Take That!!!! [​IMG]:Rofl1:
     
  19. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Hi
    No arguments here either

    this'l sort steve out[​IMG]:Rofl1::Rofl1:
    Geo




    [​IMG]
     
  20. American Dream

    American Dream Read Only Funster

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    Cooooeeeee !! :shout: Shi**er's Full Geo........................:RollEyes:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
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