Towing with an A-frame

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by BriW, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. BriW

    BriW Read Only Funster

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    Thanks to all members for their welcome.
    This must be an old chestnut but I can't find a thread to it.
    I've read various articles about towing restrictions, ie; braked and unbraked with maximum weight limit of 750kg, but does anyone have experience of towing in UK and/or europe?
    The Smartcar seems a popular car to tow, is this because of it's max allowable mass?
     
  2. peter marshall

    peter marshall

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    Hi
    No personal A frame towing, I had a trailer, Smart cars acording to the the book says dont tow, we have one to get the key out it's in neutral BUT sometimes when we get back in it's in first if this happens when your towing bye bye smartie, also Spanish police are pulling up A frame towers and making them unhitch we know 2 couples had this last year for certain we were on the same site, Trailer a bit more lumbersome but legal. Pete :thumb::thumb:
     
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  3. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Hi and welcome to the fun. As you say there are many threads relating to "A" frames. The smart car is a favorite because most vans have the capacity to tow it and still be within max mass however it is an automatic and has been known to drop into gear under tow, thereby killing the engine. Be aware of driving licence requirements for towing if you do not have a grandfathered licence. Note also the vehicles under 750kgs are not exempt from the braking regs. Which state if brakes are fitted they MUST work. I have yet to see anyone reverse a car on an "A" frame which is also a requirement. Illegal in Spain and a number of other countries full stop. Much better to tow it on a proper trailer, no problems anywhere then. Having said all that there are a number of people who tow in the UK with no problems at all (well at least untill the EU make it illegal).
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
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  4. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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  5. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    We towed a Smart on a A frame and it dropped into gear in Belgium, trashing the clutch and gearbox. Repairs of several thousand £.

    We currently tow a Chevrolet Matiz on an A frame. This is a conventional manual gearbox so no problem, it also has the advantage of 4 doors and 5 seats and only weighs a bit more than the Smart. Its also quite a bit cheaper.:thumb:
     
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  6. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    The first one of 2012

    Well it came early.. how many times have we hashed this one.

    I am always willing for a debate.. so here goes... Under the Construction and Use Regulations of the Road Traffic Acts A frame are not legal if they cannot be reversed... (which they cannot ) they are for the purpose of the law a trailer and as the toad i.e the car on the A frame then becomes a trailer due to the weight it has to have fully functioning brakes going forward and in reverse as well.

    It is illegal in Spain and even Bryan the administrator of this site who is in Spain at the moment got fines on his way out to winter in Spain as did others with him who had toads on A frames.

    Spain is not the only country that stop campers with them .. Germany and Belgium and one of the Eastern Block countries have also done so in the past year.

    The only way to be safe is to tow a trailer and have the car off the road. But this is a very very very old chestnut and we have done the debate to death on a half a dozen occassions in the past year to my memory.

    Bob
     
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  7. Snitrats

    Snitrats Funster

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    Yes an old chesnut indead.But we tow a Fiat Panda ideal because its realy a small estate so water containers and light weight stuff is cariried in that, however it do's weigh 1050 k when fuel etc added.We shall keep 'Toading' untill someone confirms its not legal. The problem I have with a trailer is I have no where to store it plus, on some campsites there is little room on the pitch once the toad awning & van are in position, So the choice is yours.If you wish to go the a frame route look at variou site such a 'towtal' who have cars for sale ready converted, last time I looked started about £1500.:driving2:
     
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  8. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    yes storage is an issue of a trailer

    I can go with the issue of the storage problems of a trailer. We have a Brian James trailer and that makes our rig 45' long... the trailer being 20' .. it can handle 2200 kgs so we haul our Hyundia Matrix which is a biggish car or mini MPV... our RV has the capacity to haul that weight as it is an American RV with meaty tow equipment.

    The storage is an issue, and at shows we have been always accommodated, and have managed to have the trailer kept connected. Even in France that is the case where we go to. At home it is a bit of an issue, but we had to weigh up the advantages of a trailer over a toad... the legal issue is number one for me. Being a retired lawyer still with current RTA books (Wilkinsons) I tend to know the issues of the legalities of the trailer v the toad. For me there is no option other than to comply with the law and not take a chance as often others decide to do. I stop at traffic lights when red, so it is no different to me. Those that argue that they will stop when they get prosecuted are being a little silly. Regretfully there is no law against being silly. But there are laws re trailers and a toad makes a car attached in to a trailer.

    I could have spent a lot less buying a toad and a car than I did buying a good quality trailer that is man enough to the task. I also have a MASS available to tow the trailer within my driving licence requirements. Plus the vehicle I tow with is built and designed to tow. It is not an added on tow bar.... I have air suspension on the rear to make sure that any nose weight is catered for as well.

    But as we have often debated this chestnut and we go round and round in circles, I doubt that those that want to wear the bilkers will continue to do so. I know of a couple of RV owners that have used trailers this year to go to spain rather than risk the fines and other possible actions they can face. So it is a start.

    Bob
     
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  9. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    hi, bob .theres no need for brakes when reversing ,and the later trailer brakes have brake shoes that automaticaly come off when reversing . .come on you should be able to get it right.
     
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  10. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    auto reverse brakes Alan

    Yes auto reverse brakes... the cam overrides the brake shoes and lifts them when the trailer goes backwards. Perhaps I did not make myself very clear... no unusual Alan.. but thanks for spotting it.

    The nose cone when it comes forward on a caravan or larger trailer makes the rod push the trailer brakes on.. when you reverse the same principle but there s a cam that rides up and over allowing the brakes to disconnect for the reverse... so in a way there are brakes in force. The toad has no games to over ride as the brakes are not applied unless they are by wire or in some cars by electronic.... whole different field.


    Bob
     
  11. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Like you Alan, I came to the conclusion that for my purpose it was easier and a lot cheaper to tow a caravan.. than run an RV with a toad..

    Motorhomes are better for touring and off site camping but if you really need a toad maybe you have the wrong vehicle..

    I've had them all.. RVs . Campers, Caravans.. big un's little un's , all have a purpose and none do all jobs well.. choose wisely!

    :hardhat:
     
  12. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Get a small motorbike.. end of all your problems ! :thumb: ( sorry.. :BigGrin: )
     
  13. Forestboy

    Forestboy Funster Life Member

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    And stick it in the underbed garage. Job done "Simples" :BigGrin:
     
  14. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    I see A framed cars being reversed all the time. In fact we had a competition at a meet years ago. One guy reversed his A Framed mini cooper over 50m.

    Bob. How far do the construction and use rules say that a trailer must be able to reverse?
     
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  15. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    hi . there is no distance mentioned. i think the problemis really that the sliding hitch that is used on many would put the brakes on during reversing. (trailers have special shoes)mind you could have air or electric operated brakes that would only come on if the brake pedal is presses these are available and do have eu type aproval as a braking system.
    i know its possible to reverse an a frame we used to play reversing in our yard at work. but its much more difficult behind a big camper. i personaly think they will have a job making a total ban . its possible to meet all the required standards . i also believe spain is incorrect in its actions . but never mind might not be a eu soon so it could all be differant.
     
  16. Southampton

    Southampton Funster Life Member

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    Towing with an A frame

    I use the servo assisted Unibrake system. This basically has an additional servo fitted to the toad and operates the brakes in the same way as if you are driving the car, no need for any sliding hitch system. I can reverse as far as necessary if I could control the direction, I need to get out and practice a bit more. Visit http://www.unibrake.co.uk/ for more information.
     
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  17. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    I understand why people tow a small car behind their motorhome, it's to get about when your motorhome is on site!
    I know, instead of going to all the trouble of towing a small car behind your motorhome, why doesn't someone invent a motorhome without an engine which you can tow behind your normal car?
    Thus saving lots of money and yet another A-frame thread on these forums!!!!!!!:Laughing:



    Yes, I know I borrowed the joke from Ken Bruce on Radio 2!:Blush:
     
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  18. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    they have its called two things .
    1. a mini artic .
    2. a fifth wheelcamper.
    unfortunately many of you have missed the point . hee hee we will convert you in the end .
    several of us have made the move and know it makes sense. hee hee. :thumb:
     
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  19. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    Never!!!!!

    I don't care that the campsite is twenty miles down a steep hill from town, there's no public transport, we've run out of wine and Fray Bentos pies and both the bikes have flat tyres, you'll never see a toad on our MH!:Laughing:

    5ers are a great idea though.................
     
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  20. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    bet you wish you had one . get fraybentos by the box . carry about 250ltr of wine never mind the beer and brandy. get one like mine 7seater you can act as a taxi for others get invited for meals then as you wouldnt want money . makes your hands dirty.
    the five alive club is growing healthily.
    nice big fuel tanks to help not paying high uk prices when you get home.
    cause could make the back seat into a sleeper cab so good for that weekend small camper.
     
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