Towing a small car

Discussion in 'Motorhome Accessories' started by eroom, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. eroom

    eroom Funster

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    Sorry to bring up this old chestnut. Hitherto, before the new law, my car, a Daihatsu Charade complied with the law. being well under the weight limit. Now the braking system has to work if it is fitted.
    Does anyone know if my standard A-frame system can be amended to comply
     
  2. schojac

    schojac Read Only Funster

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    More of a hot potato than a chestnut; what system do you have currently?

    Does it use overrun braking?
     
  3. eroom

    eroom Funster

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    It's just a standard A-frame for towing a light trailer where brakes are unnecessary. There is a plug for the lights to work on the car
     
  4. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    think you will find any trailer with brakes fitted the brakes should work.
    this goes back to 1986 so its not a new thing . unbraked a frames are for recovery work.
    i,m a believer that sliding hitch aframes still arent legal . but were years ago when you could slide a stop over to not allow the brake to come on for reversing . there are a frames that meet the requirement . but most dont .
    i,m not the authority that could /would take you to court but to me it makes sense.
     
  5. eroom

    eroom Funster

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    Thanks ywalan for that. I've towed my little Charade for nearly nine years now, quite legally until a little while ago, and then Spain got all shirty and it's only this year I understand that trailers over 750 have to be braked.
    I cant afford a new system. I thought mine could be adapted
     
  6. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    VWALAN is correct irrespective of weight if a trailer has brakes they must work under 750 or not. That has been the law since the 1980's so you have been towing illegally like it or not. (as have many others you are not alone).
     
  7. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    to my understanding the only practical way to get legal for most aframers is to fit an electrically operated brake actuator. this either clamps to the brake pedal or is plumbed into the brakes to operate when the tow vehicle brakes

    this of course ignores that an aframe does not in law turn a car into a trailer....that is just an interpretation of the laws that are currently enforced in the uk. personally i can see most eu countries following spain though and enforcing the vehicle towing rules. as in, if the towed vehicle has wheels on the road, it can only be towed short distance for repair when broken down

    as has been said its all theory until the law is applied or clarified and tested in court
     
  8. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Firstly, you have been towing illegally for the last nine years.

    The weight which applies is the gross trailer (toad) weight and even a small charade is more than 750kg gross.

    Your car has brakes fitted and regardless of weight the law requires those brakes to meet current regs.....and has for many years.

    Come october the law is changing regarding over-run braking systems and will only be allowed on centre axle trailers....a car is not centre axle, it has a wheel on each corner.
    A loose interpretation of centre axle is one or more axles positioned at, or close to, the centre line of the trailer when viewed from the side.

    The only forseeable way round the changes will be to fit electro-hydraulic braking....a brake actuator triggered by the tow vehicles brake light circuit or a decelaration sensing device.

    DVLA do not make laws, they only interpret the law.......the courts make and uphold the law
     
  9. eroom

    eroom Funster

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    Hi Pappajohn. I was not under the impression I had been breaking the law
    for any of that time as I was assured by the supplier I was legal.
    Also the kerb weight of the Charade is 740 Kg.
     
  10. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    As above , to use an unbraked a frame you need an independent braking unit such as a Brake Buddy.
    I recently bought an RVi Brake2 not cheap but works well
    www.rvibrake.com , from ordering direct from the US it reached me in just 48hours (y)
     
  11. eroom

    eroom Funster

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    Thanks for that Larry. I looked at the site but just alittle more than I can afford. Cheers though
     
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  12. schojac

    schojac Read Only Funster

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    I've given some thought to, or I'm waiting for some one, to develop an electromagnetic actuator that disengages the overrun braking system. This then will negate the reversing issue. As for efficiency (without a servo assistance) I wonder how they could determine how efficient none servo braking is when in use.

    Personally, I only use the toad (towed?) in the UK as I feel there has never been the need in Europe. Parking restrictions here in the UK, unsympathetic to MH councils and the location of many of our best (CL) sites make a toad virtually a necessity.

    Car a tow have recently stated on their web site that; having contacted the DVLA/VOSA, there will be no change to the current interpretation of the law regarding A frame towing this year.
     
  13. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    It is my understanding that the law change will not be applied retrospectively, so as long as you don't replace the car or A-frame after October there shouldn't be a problem.
    The new law has been brought in to apply to those large showman's trailers with a steering front axle, which are highly dangerous if the towing vehicle brakes on a bend. It was not intended to apply to towing a car on an A frame, though it probably will.
    I can't see France banning cars on A frames as they are quite popular with the French, and French motorhomers are a bigger proportion of the population than they are in the UK.
     
  14. eroom

    eroom Funster

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    I would just like to add a littlethought. It was at the Stratford Show many years ago when I was still caravanning that I met the man, a Motorhomer, who told me to get a Dhihatsu Charade because of its weight being under the braking requirements, also the convenience of the doors opening really wide for the disabled. And !!! That man was a policeman!!! I can hardly see him breaking the law. Also if he's a Funster I'd love him to get in touch for old times sake.
     
  15. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    This outfit is for sale...Its definitely legal as I have towed it everywhere in Europe. Be quick at £2400 for the lot.
     

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  16. timdownieuk

    timdownieuk Funster

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    Ha ha. You have a touching faith in the police knowing the law. Yes, you'd think they should do but the fact of the matter is that they don't always get it right.
     
  17. tambo

    tambo Read Only Funster

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    I'm currently selling a renault clio tow car complete with a 3 year old car a tow braked A frame kit .....works the brakes and the lights ready to go with tax and mot £1000 :)
     
  18. jezport

    jezport Funster

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    Unfortunately most policemen don't know all the complexities of traffic laws. One of my friends is a solicitor who deals with complex road traffic cases. He has some great stories about cases where the police don't get things right
     
  19. SuperMike

    SuperMike Read Only Funster

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    Sorry, but you were. The weight of any towed item, is based on it's gross weight, as shown on it's weight plate, not it's unladened kerb weight.
     
  20. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    What year is the Smart? Just might be interested :)
     
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