Towing headache!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by John&Kate, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. John&Kate

    John&Kate Funster

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    Hi all.
    a clash of wills has started to develop in the Murch household ;). After spending a fabulous couple of weeks away in France in our 2010 Arapaho we are planning next years trip already. The time has come for me (Kate) to change my car and we are planning to tow a small car with a A frame. Now bearing in mind this will also be the family car inc two growing children i am looking at a Suzuki Swift (kerb weight of 1020kg) or similar. HWMBO is pushing towards a smaller size car, the Arapaho has a towing weight of 1500kg but when i start looking at weights and payloads etc my head really does get into swim mode :confused: Any advice or experiences welcome thanks

    Kate
     
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  2. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    In UK we tow on an a frame a Kia Rio 3 with a kerb weight of 1250 kg behind our Hymer B544 no problem except with key in steering unlock position I cannot lock doors either with plip or key in door.
    Maybe not the car of your choice but weight wise ok.
     
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  3. sdc77

    sdc77 Funster

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    It's the train weight that's going to be important.
    We didn't consider an A Frame but we bought a Skoda Citigo (VW UP . . Seat Mi) for our trailer. Its very light yet fully loaded and economical.
    Most of the A Frame manufacturers as far as I know reccomended car models.
     
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  4. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Advice on make of car.. I'll leave for others.. smaller is definitely better

    Advice on towing a car by A frame, huge topic and there are a lot of opinions.

    Legality;
    UK .. not illegal , but never been made legal .. also check with your insurer..
    Spain... Illegal
    Germany .. Illegal
    France.. no up to date information.. grey area but following Spain and Germany's lead.. most likely to be made illegal

    Practicality

    Cons
    Cost more on ferries and tunnel
    Cost more on France Autoroutes
    Can be an extra charge on some campsites both in the UK and abroad
    Can be difficult to park on Aires, campsites, car parks etc
    Reduced MPG

    Pros
    Obvious.. you have a car for trips and shopping..



    My opinion.
    I had one for a while but it was more trouble than I could be bothered with
    I have always thought, if you really need a car perhaps you would be better off with a caravan ..


    We walk, use bicycles and public transport..


    Some also use Car Hire .. lots of places will bring it to the site
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
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  5. Lot lover

    Lot lover Funster

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    Kate, do you need to take a car or do you just want to take a car?

    IMHO financial decisions based on the former are infinitely better than those based on the latter.
     
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  6. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    We have had toads for about 10 years, a Ford Ka (2dr), Toyota Aygo (4dr) and now our current one which is a Peugeot 108 (4dr) and in my opinion the best. They are all small cars and the first two felt like small cars but the 108 somehow feels bigger and comfortable.
    The Ka was on a Car-a-Tow frame with overrun brakes, the Aygo and 108 we had Towbars-2-Towcar frames and electronic proportional braking which I feel is far superior system.
    We don't take the car every time we travel but only on the occasions we need our own transport to cover larger distances than we could on bikes if stopping in a particular area.
    The toad is also our second car when at home so doesn't really count as an added expense.
     
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  7. John&Kate

    John&Kate Funster

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    Thanks for your replies some interesting points to consider for sure!
    The tow car would be my family car to drive, so wouldnt be extra expense. The reason for thinking about having one was although we love the freedom our motorhome gives us, we found that when we were on site and needed supplies trying to park a near on 9m home in a small french town was quite interesting, although in hindsight we should have just driven to the next bigger town! The holiday was our first abroad in a home and a huge learning experience for us all. I will show all replies to the oh and we will consider if a frame towing will be worth it especially if there is a possibility it will be made illegal (n)
     
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  8. s20hymer

    s20hymer Funster

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    hya we have and still do tow a car on a frame... at present a peugeot 107 which is fine ..i got a key from ebay with no electronics and had it cut same as car as you only have to have it in ignition to unlock steering ...which it all it does ....then use master key to lock it..
     
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  9. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    understood..

    we either stock up with food en route at any of the big supermarkets.. E Leclerc, Super U, Intermarche etc.. usually plenty of space for a 9mt van..

    on site, we use the bikes for the daily shop, bread milk etc..

    also have a shopping trolley (don't laugh) it can be either used as intended, or tied to the back of a bike and used as a shopping trailer.. great for hauling heavy items.

    most villages have a 'camping car aire' that is generally within walking distance of the village and shops..


    we used to have an 11mt RV.. lived on it and toured abroad for three years.. It was tight at times but you work around .. bought a car (called a toad when used with an A frame.. i.e. towed) but it was more hassle than I could be bothered with..

    Motorhoming is about mobility.. moving on every few days.. a car is great if on a site for several weeks or more.. but a hindrance when touring
     
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  10. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    We never tow car out of uk , just take our bikes and with the aires etc in Europe no need and when down in Spain we hire a car when needed.
     
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  11. John&Kate

    John&Kate Funster

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    After showing the oh your replies i am now hearing mutterings about trailors! :rolleyes:
     
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  12. sdc77

    sdc77 Funster

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    For us.. if on the continent we don't really need a car as aires and parking are great for villages and towns. We do take one for specific events though such as D Day where we need to get around.
    In the UK we use sites mainly and do need a car. We use a mixture of ours and hire cars.
     
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  13. PeteH

    PeteH Funster

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    My experience. With the (First) R-V we actually towed the Car (Renault Scenic Automatic) on a B-J Trailer, all over France and Spain and into Portugal. The drawbacks where mainly finding space to park it on-site, (and the occasional Site who charged extra!). When we upgraded to the Pusher I towed with an "A" frame. Through France, Spain and Portugal. They later started to get stupid about it, which coincided with when we had the opportunity to R-V in the USA and took it, experiencing a completely different and relaxed attitude to "Motorhoming" where the use of "A" frames is universally accepted!. (Two fingers to Europe). Currently I tow a 54 reg Fiat Punto (the third), have towed a Smart (Brilliant). And IF I was to go to Europe, I would likely have another Smart on a Trailer.

    Now, the reason we do this is because SWMBO has quite serious Mobility issues, cannot ride a Bike, and Hates Motorcycles. (I love `em!!). Without our car we would be seriously restricted in what we can do whilst on site. After I sold the R-V, for over a Year we had a Car & Caravan again, but I cannot get on with them and there was NO WAY either of us could get comfortable, the seating in most caravans lacks ANY vestige of support, and even I experienced Back Problems. We now have a couple of "Captain" seats which when turned mate with the side bolsters and give more that adequate Support and comfort.

    Towing, especially with a Euro Motor-home, Has restrictions regarding the train mass, as exceeding the Gross Train weight would likely invalidate the Insurance as well as attracting heavy Penalties. Most reasonably sized modern cars of a size suitable for a family, on a Trailer would likely exceed, your train weight?.

    Pete
     
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  14. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    @John&Kate We went through all your debates and decided on a trailer as to much uncertainty about the rights and wrongs of A frames.
    We have a Fiat Panda 4x4 1090kg and a Pheonix car transporter suits us well and our Exsis I pulls it with ease we had no trouble on sites in Spain last winter and picked sites with pitches large enough for everything to fit,we did not pay any extra for trailer or car.
    It is the only car we have so no extra expense and it's being used whils on our trips away. As for extra fuel consumption we got around 25.6 mpg towing which we were happy with and we at least had the car to do more exploring.
    IMHO if you are going to tow I would advise a trailer you can reverse it for one and you won't run the risk of being caught out by the law in an uncertain Spain.(y)(y)(y)(y) Hope this is of some help.
    Lastly we had to change our Autotrail Tracker as it would not have had capacity to tow even an A frame even after we uprated to 3850kg.
    In all an expensive excercise but well worth it in our opinion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
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  15. John&Kate

    John&Kate Funster

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    Hi Pete 1473109396224-875185141.jpg this is the tech bit from the autotrail website. The Suzuki swift that i am dearly hoping for weighs 1020 kerb weight so all will depend on the weight of a trailer. Total newbie at all this so learning every step of the way!
     
  16. Adbt

    Adbt Funster

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    Electric bikes with panniers , ideal solution. Three years now and have never felt we needed a car . Honest it's the future .
     
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  17. PeteH

    PeteH Funster

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    Looking at the Data; it would appear that your Towing weight is only 1500kg? But the gross train is 6000kg

    My B-J "A" Trailer, from memory was about 500kg Unladen (and was plated at 2.5 tonne) which would take your (Trailer) Gross to 1620kg Assuming an unladen car. However there is a question I have never seen satisfactorily answered, and that is, "Towed Mass", Is it the actual weighbridge total, OR the Plated mass.?

    I suspect that Mr Plod, would look at the (trailer) Plate, and use that as the Gross.? IF that is within your Train weight then OK, if not then you could be in a Grey Area at the very least?.

    Pete
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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  18. PeteH

    PeteH Funster

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    Unfortunately NOT in my particular situation. We borrowed 2 at La Manga Spain in 2005 from some friends to try out, My wife`s mobility restrictions make it a No No.

    Pete
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  19. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    As I understand it's the Plated GVW of a trailer that is used to determine the train weight.

    Braked Trailers

    Although trailers with overrun brakes can weigh up to 3500kg gross, actual maximum weights are set by the specifications of the vehicle that is doing the towing. The law says you must not exceed the Gross Train Weight that the manufacturer has set for the towing vehicle. Look in the vehilce handbook or on a plate riveted to the vehicle to find this figure. You then have to subtract the weight of the towing vehicle (including fuel, driver, passengers, luggage or cargo) from the Gross Train Weight. The amount you are left with is the maximum theoretically-possible weight of trailer that can be towed legally. REMEMBER, the law does not care whether the trailer is empty or packed to the roof with bricks, what counts is the plated gross vehicle weight of the trailer.


    http://www.armitagetrailers.com/trailerlaw.htm
     
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  20. PeteH

    PeteH Funster

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    You answered what I suspected. But I have seen it argued on this forum before, (and elsewhere) Hence my Equivocation.
     
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