Anyone Had An Electronically Braked A Frame Fitted By TowBars-2-TowCars?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Skeggysue, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. Skeggysue

    Skeggysue Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    193
    Location:
    Skegness, Lincolnshire
    Hi Folks,

    We have just purchased a four seater Smart ForFour to tow behind our MH and we are going to need to purchase and have fitted a new A Frame now. We decided that the 2 seater Smart, which we are currently advertising for sale, would probably be more saleable to a prospective buyer if we sold it as a complete package along with the A Frame.

    Anyway, we have been looking at a company based in Grimsby; which is not far from us; called Tow Bars 2 Tow Cars and they have designed an electronically braked A Frame that sounds a great bit of kit but unfortunately, we cannot find much info or many reviews on this or any other motorhome related forum from folk who have purchased one of these unique A Frames! I am interested to know if there are any members out there who have had one of these A Frames fitted and if so, what is their honest opinion of them?

    These A Frames are a little more expensive than a standard, mechanically braked A Frame but not excessively more and if they are as 'revolutionary' as they sound, then maybe the extra cost represents good value for money?

    Here is a link to their website: http://www.tow-bars2tow-cars.co.uk/about_us.php

    I await your replies and opinions.

    Sue
     
  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    28,934
    Likes Received:
    25,574
    Location:
    .
    Just one concern,

    The A frame, and I quote:

    Towing eyes are only designed for tying down while in transit on a car transporter OR to tow the car with a rope or solid bar for recovery.

    An A frame puts a lot of lateral forces on the towing eyes mounting points, forces that they weren't designed for.

    There was another thread where someone had an A frame attached with this method and the towing bolts failed ....... I will search for the post.


    as the Dragons say... for that reason,.. I 'm out


    Edit

    Found post

    http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/motorhome-chat/16607-frame-nightmare.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  3. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    18,337
    Likes Received:
    21,675
    Location:
    Narrfoook
    With Jim on this one.. but as an aside, it is thanks to the way they ( TowTal ) eventually dealt with the problem mentioned in that thread that I decided to have them fit mine.

    Far ( FAR ) from the cheapest around it was a hard decision to make ( and to be honest was, to some extent, based on the fact they are closest to Lincoln AND could fit me in next Monday )
    That thread made up my mind for me
     
  4. Skeggysue

    Skeggysue Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    193
    Location:
    Skegness, Lincolnshire
    Hi Jim,

    We have decided against the electronically braked A Frame from this company as we would prefer to hear a few more customer feedbacks before we committed ourselves to anything and unfortunately, despite asking for info from members on this and other motorhome forums I am a member of, as yet only one person has come forward who uses one. His findings were extremely positive but 1 review was not enough to give us confidence in the device! In the end we've decided to have one fitted by Armitages. My friend has one of their A Frames and they are very pleased with it and she couldn't praise this company enough I've read several posts from other satisfied customers too, which obviously gives you confidence and so we're going to play it safe and stick to what we know!

    Pity about the electronic one though as we saw it at one of the shows and it was a very neat and lightweight frame and my husband was most impressed with it.

    Thanks for your advice. :thumb:

    Sue
     
  5. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    28,934
    Likes Received:
    25,574
    Location:
    .
    Hi Sue

    I thought there would have been a bigger response .. but it's a fairly new product so that is understandable..

    my opinion is simply that .. I neither condemn nor endorse it as I have no personal experience.. my comment about using the towing eye points is based on my experience as an engineer.. You could ask the question and see what they say ..

    My preference is a frame that is mounted onto the vehicle chassis, that is more expensive and more fitting time.

    I had a Car A Tow frame with a Fiat Seicento and found it great ..a well made product, very easy to connect to the car, and folded to store in the boot ..

    The bar that fits on the car was unobtrusive and was bolted to the chassis behind the engine , so quite a bit of work to fit, but no fear of it ever breaking off

    You can just about see the bar in this picture, just below the number plate ..

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ArenqueRojo

    ArenqueRojo Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Anywhere in Europe, so fa
    The regs require the braking to be by mechanical means which is why the "standard" is mechanical.
    I fear this is a product that hasn't been researched well enough. Pity.
    Patrick
     
  7. olley

    olley Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,713
    Likes Received:
    2,106
    Location:
    Ipswich
  8. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,432
    Likes Received:
    25,099
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    I wonder......

    Is this the mysterious A frame someone on here mentioned months ago "don't buy an A frame now, wait, revolutionary one on the way" ????
     
  9. carpyone

    carpyone Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Needingworth, Cambs
    Hi sue,

    I collected my Toyota Yaris from towcars2towcrs last week. They also organised the fitting of a towbar to my Autotrail Scout.
    I am currently away with my toad and have only just got internet access, thanks to McDonalds at Spalding. My limited experience tells me that all works as it says on the box. Once attached the toad follows without any apparent problems.

    Why did I choose an electronic brake system as supplied by towcars to tow cars?
    I researched many manufactures and saw systems at various shows. All the standard a-frames use the inertia brake system as fitted for years to trailers and caravans, which work very well. Howevere with the electronic brake system I saw technological progress which I think is very good, the system works by progressive braking if you lightly touch the m/h brakes then the brakes on the toad are only lightly applied. I remember an old farmer once admitt that when tractors came out in the 1920's he refused to accept them because they would never take over from the horse and plough! He nearly went bankrupt as clearly the tractor was progress, subsequently he bought many and had the courage to admit he was wrong to refuse progress.
    I saw Graham Richardson (MD) of towcars at Laceby near Grimbsy. His revolutionary electronicc assissted braked a-frame had passed all the European tests/regulations and so when you purchase a system from him he provides a copy of the Certificate of Conformity which includes the required kite marks.
    To correct a suggestion in a post above that the system uses the front towing eye to connect to this is not so., they fit two purpose made towing points which somehow connects to the steering system of the car. The "electronic control" reqiures a special connector to be fitted near the towbar of the motorhome, abit like the traditional light conector but more involved. Because of this it would have been unwise of you to have the system fitted to a car you are about to sell.
    I agree the system is more expensive than the older style of a-frames, but that is the price you pay for new technology and every system that he fits is custom made for that car and motorhome.

    You might consider fitting the system to your new 4smart. Its worth atrip along the road for you to talk to them and see the system.

    Robert
     
  10. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    28,934
    Likes Received:
    25,574
    Location:
    .
    Hi Robert... not according to the makers site

     
  11. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,432
    Likes Received:
    25,099
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    The old system uses a heavy spring to measure the braking needed, the electronic system uses an accelerometer to measure the deceleration of the MH.

    Effectively little difference between them except one has just a spring and a piece of wire to fail and the other a shed load of electronics and a motor/actuator.

    If you are on a rough road in Morocco and something breaks, which one do you reckon you could get repaired quickly ?

    Same applies to your all singing ECU controlled engine etc.
     
  12. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,432
    Likes Received:
    25,099
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    "original manufacturer's towing point on one side"

    Maybe they mean "
    original manufacturer's towing point anchorage on one side".

    The hole rather than the eye.
     
  13. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    11,069
    Likes Received:
    13,677
    Location:
    Heavan
    Hi Skeggysue,
    There is a recent thread on this that you might want a look at too. I think it was prior to carpyone having his fitted.
    I was going to buy a car with one already fitted from the company you mention. I gave it some serious thought and after asking numerous questions I opted to go and buy my own car and then get it fitted at towtal in Stoke.

    The reason was simply that I could not see or be told anything (although Graham is a fist rate salesman) that actually made me believe that it was worth the extra money being spent. To do my panda 100hp was at a cost of £1500, buying the one he had already fitted with frame was £7495, I eventually found what is proving to be a first class panda 100hp of a newer age and lots less miles for £5200 added an A Frame at £895 so in total walked away £1500 better off.
    As I said, I could not see anything that made me think it was better or indeed safer or indeed more legal than the conventional systems out there. This was despite the company claims that they are 100% legal.

    I am taking my car to Bath at the weekend and then to lincoln next week. I would suspect that with most people the car is not on for a significant amount of time to actually be able to say conclusively that one system is better than the other in terms of performance whilst driving. The one critisism I have with the conventional system is that it makes braking in the car slightly harder as it has a spring fitted. Not a problem when you are used to it.

    So if money was no issue I would of opted for electronic Braking, but being a poor student I took the cheaper option.:thumb:
     
  14. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    28,934
    Likes Received:
    25,574
    Location:
    .
    Who knows .. but irrespective of whether they use the original eye bolts or not, the towing point that was designed for a straight pull, ie for lashing to a ships deck or pulling up a car transporter.. .. not for the dynamic lateral forces exerted by an A frame .

    Just been Googling and found this ..

    There is a 5 page thread on Ch2 about a failure in 2006 , sorry can't link it ..

    I quote from a well known Fun member , our resident MOT man

     
  15. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    9,527
    Likes Received:
    5,581
    Location:
    Mansfield,Notts
    The only significant difference between this and all the other systems, as they all seem to work well Is the electric one appears to have a certificate of compliance
    A major difference ????:RollEyes:
    Geo
    As for ECU over steel cable, cable for me every time me thinks:thumb:

    Unless i was falling over a cliff, then id want a set of jump leads
    yes Jump Leads:RollEyes:
    Ever tried dragging a set around a garage,they will snag on everything bigger than a Molecule:Doh:
    PS anyone know were i can buy a wind up sat control box:Cool:
     
  16. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,432
    Likes Received:
    25,099
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    Look and you will see:
    Machinery directive
    EMC Directive
    Low Voltage Directive.

    EMC+Low Voltage is a mandatory compliance for all electrical goods to say they are electrically safe and do not interfere with other electrics. Bog standard from a hair dryer to big machine.

    Machinery directive, I don't know where this covers a tow-bar but I guess it must somewhere. You'll come across the Machinery Directive with your vehicle lifts, bearing press, compressor, drill press, that type of thing. It's what the HSE enforce.

    None of these have anything to do with European vehicle legislation as far as I can see.

    Of course, like you Geo, I am in no way saying there is anything at all wrong with the device, but I'm old enough to believe firmly in KISS.
     
  17. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    9,527
    Likes Received:
    5,581
    Location:
    Mansfield,Notts
    I can only relate my one and only experianc with a CofC
    I purched for use in the garage a device known as a bead blaster
    a fast disharge pressure vessel for forcing on new tyres that wont sit right on the wheel bead,Im sure you have seen or heard of them, anyhoo I bought mine a good few years ago when they were relativly new
    For insurance reasons being a pressure vessel it had to be added to my engineering cover schedual, the insurers would not except it, because it had not been inspected by my engineering equipment surveyer
    My inspector said he would not inspect it without sight of a Certificate of conformity.
    The machine did not ship with one:Doh:
    when pushed for a reason as to why his say so was not good enough for the insurers, he said and I quote "The certificate states that it conforms and is fit for purpose" and my job is to confirm that fact on the day of inspection Without a certificate I have nothing to confirm. I got one faxed through later.

    Acordingly I took it that the certificate in this case (the A frame set up) meant it has been confirmed fit for purpose and that purpose clearly includes towing also any certificate I asume would include any and all mechanical, as well as electrical parts
    maybe Im wrong
    I dont know
    Geo
     
  18. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    9,527
    Likes Received:
    5,581
    Location:
    Mansfield,Notts
    So after research a CC is not all its cracked up to be, see definition and the red bold section in particular

    The CE marking (also known as CE mark) is a mandatory conformance mark on many products placed on the single market in the European Economic Area (EEA). The CE marking certifies that a product has met EU consumer safety, health or environmental requirements. CE stands for conformité européenne, French for "European conformity". By affixing the CE marking to a product, the manufacturer – on his sole responsibility – declares that it meets EU safety, health and environmental requirements.

    He built it, so he aint going to say any other, is he?:Doh:
     
  19. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,432
    Likes Received:
    25,099
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    The trouble with our Glorious EU is it has made so many regulations I don't think small firms can ever comply, there are just so many how do they afford the time and money to go through the whole EU list ? Everything sold today must carry the CE mark and that says one thing "I comply with ALL relevant EU regulations".

    We should assume that this firm has looked into this and considers that those three directives cover everything the EU demands of a towing bracket.

    It's worth absolutely nothing when confronted by an armed Spanish cop who tells you it's not allowed in Spain - same applies to mechanical one as well. Just maybe, with a little Spanish you could say "New electronic system, now legal" and get away with it. Or maybe you get shot.
     
  20. carpyone

    carpyone Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Needingworth, Cambs
    I can only say that on my car the company have not used the original towing point but have created new ones each side of the car. The original tow point is about 2 inches away from the new one on the left hand side of thecar.
     
Loading...

Share This Page