Toad- I've just bought one!!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by carpyone, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. carpyone

    carpyone Read Only Funster

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    After 3 years I've decided it will make life better for me if I have a toad whilst on my travels.

    I have bought a Toyota Yaris 1.0 VVT-i T3 3-dr, 08 reg
    I have decided to have Tow-Bar 2 tow-cars system fitted. Apparently it works by some electrnic system that progressively applies the brakes on the toad to match the motorhomes brakes. It's still looks like an a-frame but without the compression unit on the hitch.

    They are also going to fit a bar to my motorhome.

    Anybody using this system?

    See details at www.Tow-Bars2Tow-Cars.com

    Robert
     
  2. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Hi Robert,
    I have just bought one too and so far have only towed it home from towtal. I did look at the company you mention and even exchanged a few emails with him regarding the panda 100hp he had for sale. Alas though at 1695 to have one of there systems fitted to an under 6k car I thought I would go the towtal route. Im awaiting sloberbob to answer me on another thread where by he states that he is a criminal law expert whom has written articles for MMM in regards to there legality and all aframes are illegal and we are about to get hung for using them :Wink:. or penalty points, cant remember what he said :BigGrin:
    The system you are buying is described as 100% legal throughout Europe. It uses some form of electro braking mechanism that is fed from your MH. This in effect does away with the old style caravan modelel which uses the trusted and tried weight dispersion model, weight shifts forward, brakes come on.
    As I said in my thread, there is surely not a member of any forum that does not understand the controversy surrounding them.

    The only thing I have never got my head around in all of this is why you can tow a caravan in this way but not a car? Both are braked, both are towed the same and the car is towed much safer.

    Anyhow I digress, so good luck with it and im really interested to see how you do with it.:thumb:
     
  3. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

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    As Hagnap says, it is a vast grey area at the moment, with some countries favouring trailers and trying to stop UK tourists using a-frames, which they are entitled to as it is legal with just over-run brakes in the uk. Until such time as the movers and shakers start moving and shaking and make up their minds, it will remain a grey area.

    At the end of the day, over-run or servo electric brakes as an add-on will only be effective for as long as air is in the servo - which won't be long! Bearing in mind, the law states they should work with 'full effect' - you cannot satisfy every law - just do the best you can, and have all the paperwork from the manufactuers ready and in the vehicle, particularly copies of safety test compliance.

    The only way to have full effect with electric brakes is to have an electric brake system, which is drums, shoes and servos - so that is a no-go!

    Trying to stay 100% legal for every towing regulation will see you running round and chasing your tail - They will decide one day! Until then, be a safe as you can be - that is all you can do!
     
  4. Road Runner

    Road Runner Read Only Funster

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    at last robert:Wink:

    sounds a nice bit of kit:thumb:
     
  5. carpyone

    carpyone Read Only Funster

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    Thanks John,

    Good to hear you are on the mend.

    Robert
     
  6. Dodgey

    Dodgey Funster

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    This argument has been done (to death) before and if I remember correctly Geo even went as far as proving the point on the MOT brake testing widget.

    The servo provides assistance only, period. The brakes will excert the same force with or without servo assistance, the servo just makes it easier for us human beings to press the pedal.
     
  7. keith

    keith Funster

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    Taken from the Car-A-Tow website.

    Seems to me they have got as close as possible to putting the D f T on the spot to explain if the A frame is legal, although as stated it could be challenged in the future.

    THE LEGALS!

    For those who like the idea of towing a car behind a motorhome - the good news continues.
    For those who've always been against it - the continuing good news is probably not so good.

    Over the years there has been a great deal of rumour and misunderstanding concerning the legality of towing frames.
    As the proprietor of CAR-A-TOW and designer of the Car-A-Tow Towing Frame System, I, along with stalwart motorhomer Terry Nash of W. Sussex, (I actually think that Terrier Nash would be more appropriate), managed to bring the controversy to a satisfactory conclusion a few years ago now.
    He (Terry) had eloquently badgered every government department associated with motor vehicles and trailers, to finally get them to give us some definitive answers back in Jan/Feb 2004.

    The Department for Transport stated :
    " When an A frame is attached to a vehicle (e.g. a motor car) and towed by a motor vehicle (e.g. a motorhome) we believe the A frame and car become a single unit and as such are classified in legislation as a trailer "
    " We believe the use of A frames to tow cars behind other vehicles is legal provided the braking and lighting requirements are met".
    At that time, The D f T expressed concern about a car's braking performance without its engine running.
    " if the braking system has power assistance (i.e. servo or full power) it is likely that this assistance will be required during towing to meet the required braking efficiency"

    At CAR-A-TOW, we are only concerned with small cars, suitable for towing behind a motorhome, generally up to around 800/1100kg kerb weight, and fitted with servo assisted brakes, (vacuum assistance).
    CAR-A-TOW carried out braking performance tests on a broad range of modern small cars, he results have proven conclusively these cars not only meet the required performance for trailers - 50% braking force in relation to its maximum weight - but in most cases far exceed this requirement, without any vacuum assistance from a servo.
    An important point to consider:
    On a small car, a Vacuum Servo does not increase braking effect at the wheels, it is designed to make the brake pedal easier to push for all shapes and sizes of driver - less effort to achieve the required performance. A 6ft 6inch weightlifter would have no problem operating the brake pedal on a Ford Fiesta without the assistance of a vacuum servo.
    Trailer overrun braking (inertia brakes), as fitted to the CAR-A-TOW system, relies upon the momentum of the weight of the trailer to exert force on the overrun coupling to activate the simple lever to pull on the brake cable to operate the trailer's brakes.

    If the motorhome brakes gently the trailer brakes are hardly required, if the motorhome brakes hard the weight of the car/trailer exerts it's force on the overrun and brakes hard - proportional braking without the vacuum servo assistance.
    A further point raised by The D f T ; the ability of the motorhome/car combination to be reversed without operating a manual mechanism.
    Contrary to common belief, the regulations do not state that braked trailers must be fitted specifically with " auto reverse brakes ".

    The D f T remind us :
    " From 1st October 1988 the inertia braking system (overrun) is required to allow the trailer to be reversed with the towing vehicle without imposing a sustained drag and such devices used for this purpose must engage and disengage automatically "

    Although we understand the meaning, the regulation does not state specifically 'auto reverse brakes', as commonly fitted to modern trailers and caravans, but requires a system to enable a trailer to be reversed without the need to manually operate a mechanism.
    There are specific regulations concerning this requirement and the Car-A-Tow frame system can meet the requirements as stated in UN-ECE Regulation No. 13, Annexe 12, Page 137, Paragraph 3:4 and 3:5, providing the system is fitted and operated correctly and is in good condition.

    The D f T state :
    " Where technical requirements are mandated then the burden falls to manufacturers to ensure products meet the requirements "
    We are happy that the Car-A-Tow system does comply and does meet the requirements as stated, this has been demonstrated to various experts and can be repeated as often as required.
    Yet another misunderstanding is that 'trailers' may not be fitted with hydraulic brakes, the correct regulation is that trailers may not use a hydraulic parking brake. Cars are fitted with a mechanical parking brake (handbrake) and providing this handbrake lever can be operated from the ground, i.e. with feet on the ground, this handbrake conforms to trailer requirements and is completely legal.
    The D f T have also stated :
    " The trailer would not have to be tested to establish that it did meet the requirements - no test facilities are available" !!!!!
    The D f T has reminded us continually over the years that they do not have the final say. Whilst they have now stated their belief that A frame towing is legal (after years of suggesting it was illegal), they also remind us:
    " it is for the courts to make definitive interpretations of the law"
    We are not aware of a court expressing a view either way. The main point here, in relation to towing a car behind a motorhome, is that we now have a statement from the D f T that they believe a car on a towing frame is in legislation etc etc a trailer providing it conforms to all other regulations relating to trailers.

    If a British court was forced to question the basic principle of whether or not a car is considered to be a trailer, when connected to a towing vehicle with a towing frame, it is our understanding that a court would look to the relevant government department - The Department for Transport - for guidance and opinion, that department has already stated they believe it is classified in legislation as a trailer and it is legal.

    We rest our case !!
    So……. After all those years of batting this backwards and forwards with the D f T (formerly The D of T), where does this leave us ?

    The D f T have confirmed they now believe that towing a car with an A frame is legal provided etc etc
    We have proof that we can meet trailer braking requirements and performance although
    The D f T have stated that testing is not required and
    The D f T have stated that no test facility is available anyway
    We have a conforming parking brake
    We have a conforming breakaway system (for cars below 1500kg)
    The lighting conforms
    We carry the registration plate of the towing vehicle (covering the rear plate of the car)
    That's it then, can we now stop all the nonsense both spoken and printed, about the so called 'A frame debate', hook your car on the back and just enjoy your holidays !

    Alan Bee
    CAR-A-TOW

    Anyone who wishes to challenge any points made here, is invited and welcome to contact TOWCentre Ltd with details of which aspect of A frame towing they consider is not legal.
     
  8. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

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    I agree with what you are saying dodgy, after all i have a few classics with no servo - and they are fine. But with all these things, it depends on the policeman/inspector on the roadside, and their interpretation - which is why I advise holding all the equipment paperwork in the vehicle to back yourself up!

    Even the above tow-a-car statement proves what a grey area this is, and is open to mis-interpretation. It just depends on the knowledge of the person questioning the system.

    I have been in the recovery trade for many years, and second car lifts are legal in law - but some forces, particular avon&somerset, hound you to the ends of the earth that you are towing illegally - and every time you have to prove them wrong!

    As i said, do the best you can, and keep every proof you can with you. Motorhomers are in a vunerable position, as the forces will want to stop and check you more often than a recovery unit - and they get stopped fairly regularly! Just be prepared, and trust the manufacturers - they won't sell anything illegal, they can't afford to - having the back-up to contact them roadside is invaluable.

    Just enjoy and have fun!
     
  9. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    Re what is leag or not

    I have not ignored the post.. just not found it. You can always send me a pm which I would of course respond to.

    For my sins I am a retired lawyer having worked in practice in the Brighton and Tonbridge area for many years. I hold a law degree and being very sad still I, despite being retired pay a small fortune for the double volume's of Wilkinson Road Traffic Offences. (over £350 with the updaters) every year.. why spend so much? well to be sure I am aware of the facts relating to motoring offences. I have written a long article on this in MMM in the past and do not intend to take everyones time up re writting it again here.

    The law in the UK is not the same as that in Europe, despite being in the EC. A very simple example is that in France the speed limit is reduced if it rains, not so in the UK.

    French traffic law does not allow for toads. The legal system is different. We in the UK (wrongly I might add) think because there is no 'black' letter law on a motoring issue then it is OK to do it. In France and other EC countries it is the oposite. If the law does not prescribe for the issue then it is illegal.. following me so far:Eek!:. So the law is different as soon as you cross in to Europe.

    The only way you can tow a car in France and for that matter Portugal is on a trailer. Even that presents problems as Portugal requires trailers to have there own number plate... the UK do not issue number plates for trailers. Follow me lots of different rule in different countries.

    Right back to the UK. The law that covers this is is devided in to two areas. 1) Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (SI 1986/1078) and lighting is under s 41 of the 1988 Act - much of the 1986 Regulations have been changed or amended and they are devided in to two main parts a) governing the construction and equipment of motor vehicles and trailers and b) there use. note type approvel system is now much in use and may rule. Also reg 6 of Compliance with Community Directives and EC Regulations... keeping up with me OK:Smile: Complicated to say the least.. that is why I have the initials LL.b after my name and what a degree in law is for.

    While we can use a device to apply the brakes in a car and make it a braked trailer that is OK providing it meets the above construction and use regulations .. Servo's iffy. The towing car must be considerablly larger (weight) than what it pulls. The tow vehicle must have the allowed mass to be able to do so and within the allowed Mam I.E 12,000 Kgs all up (on driving licence C1=E) Trailer must be braked.. is a car a trailer? what we call a jury question... different question. This issue does not apply to trailers being pulled between vehicle weight of 3500 kgs and 7500 kgs with a trailer under 750 kgs (i.e does not need to be braked) .. a Caravan is breaked as normally it is over 750 Kgs. Again construction rules apply.... The DVLA states that if a trailer is over 750 Kgs then it must not eceed 12000 Kgs total of the towing vehicle MAM and not eceed the UNLADEN mass of the towing vehicle. Note I said UNLADEN.

    The point I was making is that there is to many rules in to many countries but in Europe they have the system that says if it is not written as allowed then it is not allowed and illegal.

    In the UK the law is based on Black letter law i.e as written by the government via Parliment and that which is common law written or made by judges. But we also now have EC law to add to that.. a real mess. If the item being towed meets the construction rules and is braked so the towed vehilce's brakes come on at the same time as the trailed vehicle that is OK. But the brake lights, indicators also have to do the same i.e a light board. But in Europe it would be illegal.

    You take your chances that a VOSA inspector / vehicle does not stop you. They have the up to date info and can do all sorts of nasty things from putting the motor home on the scales to laying down the law on contruction and use. Traffic police are pussy cats compared to them.

    I give the advice freely, it is up to you to decide how you use it. For the record I am not creating a legal relationship (exclusion clause). Me? I would put the car on a trailer. That way I am legal where ever I go. The brakes work the same way as a caravan.

    But if you have still questions do PM me and I will try to explain it further.

    Bob p.s do not start me on towing speeds and the signs i.e 90 klm on the back and the zig zag boards if you are over 30' long.. the list goes on and on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  10. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Do not use it in France, it is illegal as it is not a trailer and you will get fined if you tow a car on an A frame unless it has full operating brakes that are activated from the tow vehicle i.e. when you press the pedal it actives the trailer (towed car breaks). Being a retired lawyer I have written articles on this in the MMM in the past. The law in the UK is hazy and is just ready for a test case to come along. My Wilkinson Road Traffic Offences (2 volumes) has massive coverage on what a trail is and is not...I will not bore you. But it is an issue belive me. Construction and Use.. trailers applies to towed A frame vehicles.

    If you want to tow a car in France put it on a trailer. In the UK you do so at a risk.

    Bob



    Thanks for coming back Bob,.
    If you turn on your subscriber threads in your control panel it will notify you when there is a reply, or in my case further question.

    What you say in your post is that it is iilligal, I have no reason to disbelieve you or indeed no interest in doing so. However two things,
    firstly- what's changed? what's changed since that letter that Keith has posted some time ago (2004 it was written) or is it that you know something different? what I want to know is when was the last person to be pulled over for using a toad? in this country? (I can't afford the ferry with my car now) I have a desire to be law abiding and always have done but,,,, am I braking the law? you are not stating anything that has not been said on any other thread and I am yet to see a stream of "toaders" being hauled in front of the Bench.?

    Secondly, the question that I asked you on the other thread was regarding the other system as in the one that this Original poster refers? This is a different system, I will say it again, he is stating that his system is totally legal throughout Europe. He describes it as different, he states again its legal and he has proof of such. Therefore, is he wrong? its a genuine question? I ask you because you have the knowledge on this and I only have 9 letters after my name,,, (ADI,RMN,SPQ) well 3 come when Finish uni, (sorry loved that bit in your thread :BigGrin: could nearly start a thread with that alone). Therefore, I always think its handy to have posters whom have such knowledge of things sharing it as others do.
    Lastly,,,, the trump card, as I understand it, the law on recovery frames states you may only use them in an emergency for a short distance? (or something like that) therefore, could I not just say to the over zealous VOSA officer, I am recovering the car home?


    My response may seem tongue very much in cheek and even a little on the taking the Pixx side but it is genuine as an interest and I do value your knowledge... But we do like to make it a little more fun that barbarous on FUN :Wink:
     
  11. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    In his reply Bob made reference to type approval and the fact it may have some effect
    I can confirm that type approval does in fact over rule UK C and U regs, and UK Mot requirements in many cases
    The latest from vosa is hydraulic parking brakes
    The stament is as follows
    We have become aware of of some type aproved parking brakes. that dont meet C&U regs
    As we can not enforce tougher MoT standards than those excepted at type aproval we can not fail these items:Doh:

    Iv'e yet to see a type aproved A frame:Eeek:
    How come our laws and rules can be over turned:cry:
    Geo
    :RollEyes:
     
  12. keith

    keith Funster

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    I would suggest nothing has changed Paul or else we would all be without our toads.

    Why don't the authorities set an example of someone (not me) and set the record straight? Or is it that that they fear their case will not be successful?

    I would also like to know who has been stopped &/or fined in the UK for having a toad. I imagine there will not be many.
     
  13. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    That would be because the last lot that lived in number ten handed over control of that sort of thing to Brussels. :Doh:. We obviously cannot be trusted with this kind of thing :Eeek:

    Lets hope the new lot can put some kind of sanity back into the system (im not holding my breath!!!) :Angry:
     
  14. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    big difference between the old none servo brakes and modern servo brakes with deleted vacuum.....

    the old ones were (relatively) easy to press the pedal due to the leverage (fulcrum effect) at the pedal, the size ratio between master cylinder and wheel cylinders and the pressure/fluid transfer ratio between them.

    modern cars use smaller master and wheel cylinders and a reduced pressure differential to compensate for the servo assistance.

    i fitted a servo to an old none servo ford escort and the brakes were positively dangerous due to servo assist with the old, larger cylinders/pedal leverage being designed for none servo.

    brake normally and the wheels would lock without effort.



    i agree the pressure at the (servo assist) wheel cyliders/calipers is the same with vacuum or not, but we know how much 'extra' pedal pressure is needed to stop compered to vacuum assistance and as we use an A frame without servo vacuum it stands to reason the brakes cant be as efficient.

    just my two penn'uth :thumb:
     
  15. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    still cannot turn on the subscribe button??? help


    Hi

    Still cannot find / turn on the subscribe button.. mind you still havin g problems putting on details of the modifications I have done. (Have reported it a couple times re the garage issues) perhaps I am having the same problems with this?

    I not what you say. .. :Smile: the LL.b is not the only ones I have after my name. But this is not a spitting contest. I was trying to make the poin it is a complex issue and as such sometimes even with a legal brain (if I can find it) we have a problem trying to make sense of it.

    I have a very large book from the USA that has pages and pages of toad equipment that just clips to a bracket on the floor of a car and activates the cars brake pedel. Easy. it just reacts to a sensor in the tow vehicle. Simple.

    The Caravan towing principle is as simple as it pushes or pulls a rod connected to the brake drums on the axle. But with normal cars the tasks is far more complicated. - lets leave it at that re the way it can or cannot be done. I am sure there are many out there that have a legal system. But there are also many out there that do not.

    With out a lot of expenses and time I might be able to come up with a magistrates court deceision (by way of case stated). But the issue is as I have said complicated and it only takes one VOSA van to decide to do it... much like the scales they now carry and do target motor homes to see if they are over the limits on each axle.

    You can get away with all sorts of issues if you have trade plates and are using an A frame to recover. But that does not apply to the normal motor home user.

    I use a trailer, that is my choice. Although I have all the equipment for towing a car (all I need to do is have the brake activation unit fitted in the car on the floor) but I do not feel comfortable doing it in the UK and as I go over to France it is a waste of time spending more money when I have a good legal trailer.

    I am sure sooner or later we will see a post about someone being stopped or prosecuted for it (hope not). I have looked up all kinds of cases in the books, but they seem to be consintrating on the contruction side and the excise issues or are so old that they would have little meaning in a modern situation. So the jury is out and we will have to wait and see what happens in time.

    ... if any one can tell me how to turn the subscribe button it would help.

    Bob
     
  16. keith

    keith Funster

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    Bob, if you are meaning how you subscribe to a thread?
    Go to 'Thread Tools' ( just above the threads you are reading) from there you can add a subscribe link to your chosen thread.

    Hope it helps.

    Keith

    Edit: Just thought, you are always auto subscribed when you post to a thread, or that's the way mine works
     
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