Towtal A frame ? need for Triangles

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by camcondor, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Collected our Smart from Towtal on Saturday all "A-framed" and set off to a meet some 80 miles from Stoke - the A-frame was trouble-free, the Smart towed really easily, we didn't have to find space for the trailer and worry about avaricious glances at the trailer from passing travellers.....:Laughing:
    I'll post some photos this week sometime to show the set up and for comparisons with other A frames appearance on vehicles.

    Does anyone know if A framed toads should have red triangles on the rear when they are being towed as they are "trailers", or do the cars lights and reflectors suffice? The Smart does not have a lighting board as the indicators, lights etc are all operated via the towing connection to the motorhome. We have an "ON TOW" sign displayed and also the motorhomes numberplate slots into a holder on the Smart in place of its own numberplate when on tow, but there are no red triangles as mentioned in the trailer regulations............

    PLEEEEEEEEZZZZZE DO NOT GO DOWN THE "A FRAMES ARE NOT LEGAL" ROUTE, just the red triangle question !!!!!:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:


    Laurie
     
  2. Gonewiththewind

    Gonewiththewind Read Only Funster

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    I think you have answered your own question. I am no expert but I understand to conform it must comply with EU Trailer regs , otherwise you are classed as towing a breakdown.
    Triangles needed.

    Dont quote me.
     
  3. Tony Santara

    Tony Santara Funster

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    Hi Laurie

    Yes you do need triangles for the toad . Towtal should have supplied them along with the number plate...... you can buy magnetic ones from most car accessory shops for a few coppers
     
  4. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Hi Tony

    Towtal didn't supply them or the numberplate - apparently they don't. They put a new numberplate holder on the smart so the plate could be clipped in in place of the usual plate and supplied a magnetic ON TOW plate which of course has to be fixed to the Smart some other way as it doesn't have metal panels. (have ordered some double suction cups to affix to inside of rear window).

    Towtal said to bring the motorhome V5 and my drivers licence with me on collection and they went down to a local motor factors to get a numberplate after I arrived as neither fitter could use a computer (the rest of the staff had gone to the Gt NorthernMH Show ) or they could have done it on the premises as they have a machine, but need the docs before one can be done, for which they charge over and above the A frame (£7.50).

    Also, the heavy canvas bags to fit the A frame cost an additional £30 from Towtal :Eeek: They didn't offer one on collection and I phoned today to ask as I only thought about it when we unhitched.
    I can't think a canvas bag with Towtals name on it would be worth £30 so will look elsewhere!!!! It needs one as it otherwise may make the surface you put it on after unhitching, dirty due to road dust/ mud etc acquired while travelling, and also a bag will keeps the arms of the a frame and all its cables etc under control!!!

    I'll have to get some triangles then. :Eeek: Any idea how large they have to be? I assume they can also be a stick-on type??


    Laurie
     
  5. Tony Santara

    Tony Santara Funster

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    Laurie
    it sound as though they are being a bit mean by not supplying number plate and triangles with the a-frame . I bought mine at Chris Cox and he supplied everything needed.
    They come in various forms Laurie stick on, magnetic , screw on but they are manufactured to a standard size legaly approx 3inx3in
    Hope this helps
     
  6. American Dream

    American Dream Read Only Funster

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    Hi Laurie

    Found these from Towsure.

    Not self-adhesive though.:Sad:Reflective Triangle from Towsure

    [​IMG]Reflective Triangle
    Red - it is a legal requirement to have two triangles on all trailers and caravans.
    R1
    £0.64
    £0.75 inc VAT


    [​IMG]
     
  7. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Thanks everyone, have bought two triangles and will use the double-sided suckers for them on the Smarts plastic panels :thumb::thumb:

    Do any of you A frame owners use a canvas-type bag for storing the A frame and if you do, can you recommend a bag / retail outlet that has one suitable?? Obviously cheaper than Towtal's £30 fabbag, please!!

    I'm trawling the internet for one and have found some options from ebay and elsewhere but ideally would like a strong canvas bag with heavy-duty handles and a long, heavy duty zip - most tool bags seem to have shortish zips. But I guess ex-military kit bags may do the job. In fact, I may just decant the contents of our Fiamma Safari/privacy room which we used on the awning on our old van, and which is now redundant but I haven't got around to ebaying yet as that would be perfect!!!

    Peter (aka Johns Cross Motorhomes) , are you out there somewhere???? Fiamma bags like this surely cost less than Towtals £30 wonderbag!!! :Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  8. Thepips

    Thepips Trade Member

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    Hi Laurie,
    Pleased to hear your Smartie is towing well. Muriel is STILL at the repairers but at least she didn't get written off.
    Personally (and it only a personal opinion) I'd not use the on-tow sign, just the trailer plates.

    Regards
    Doug
     
  9. Hymer

    Hymer Read Only Funster

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    Hi,

    beware the double sided suckers. I have a similar arrangement for attaching triangles but have also attached a piece of string, fastened inside the boot, so that when the suckers come unstuck - as they do !! - the triangle is still attached and not lost along the road.

    Alan
     
  10. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Hi Doug

    I know you were aiming to have an A frame done by Towtal for Muriel and I must say, the standard of finish is excellent with little negative visual impact to the Smartie (whose name is the Pixel, or Pixie). Will post some close up pics later this week. The two front "eyes" are fairly small although substantial, and are not intrusive visually. We had the cable-braked version - so there is a small eyelet on cable with about 2 inches protrusion from the front bumper, but we can live with that. Brake Buddies are very pricey and there are limited places to put them in such a small car and they can be temperamental, from what I hear, so we chose the less complicated route.

    The A frame itself is a substantial piece of kit, well made, galvanised and should last a very long time.

    Criticisms of the service we had are very minor: the numberplate issue, lack of triangles, lack of cover / bag (not even offered as optional extra - I think the price is silly anyway, its just a canvas bag!!) Otherwise, very competent and friendly and huge premises with no access problems for even the very biggest of motorhomes!!!

    When towing a trailer, one usually doesn't have an "on tow" sign so I guess one should not be needed as the toad becomes a ~"trailer". I suppose there's no real need to use it. Funny they don't supply two reflectors, though, as they are very cheap and it seems very incomplete to send someone off with a toad on your companies A frame and not bother to ensure that they have a numberplate to match the towing vehicle or two little triangles. Anyway, small stuff really, and luckily remedied easily. Verdict: very happy with it, nice A frame, electrics all sorted nicely and no lighting board needed, thank goodness!!

    I believe we are likely to meet you at a meet in the not-too-distant, so hopefully Muriel will be well by then and possibly A framed and she can meet the Pixel!!

    Laurie.
     
  11. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Yes, that thought did dawn on me - I will make a similar arrangement I think as I don't want an endless hassle of sending out for little red triangles !!! Perhaps industrial / heavy duty strength velcro would work better. Could mount them on the inside window, but I think they have to be on the outside of the car somehow, unlike a numberplate or an on tow sign, which just needs to be visible, so inside of window is better!!!
     
  12. slickmouse

    slickmouse Read Only Funster

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    It would cost Towtal money to produce the canvas bags, and they may have to buy them in say 20 mininmum order at £20 a time thats £400 sitting doing nothing and if they gave them away thats them losing the money, so for £30 i would have stuck it on the price and given them away for "free"
     
  13. ruffingitsmoothly

    ruffingitsmoothly Read Only Funster

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    Hi Laurie

    I just used a leftover bed slat and some old webbing and triangles as per the pics, I cut the webbing to the suitable size and leave the slat in the boot and close the hatch back.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    All stores easily in the boot with the brake buddy and A frame.

    Regards Pat
     
  14. Tony Hunt

    Tony Hunt Read Only Funster

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    Ive used Triangles fixed to Velcro and stuck on the inside back window for the past several years and have never had a problem with gendarmes.
     
  15. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    I think the price of the A frame provides them with a very hefty profit indeed, and a canvas bag with their name emblazoned all over it provides extra advertising for them as well - it just seems a bit shortsighted not to provide the "full" package, having factored in the price of a bag into the profit margins. I reckon for £799.00, "fully fitted" should include the inexpensive little extras which complete the package fully!!! An employee there told me today that they don't mention the bags as they are embarassed about the price!! So they don't move the stock. :Eeek: But don't drop the price, no sireee:Eeek: Rather keep them gathering dust somewhere and fret about the loss of profit on them when you are making very large profits on every towbar and A frame you sell.

    Notwithstanding, the A frame itself seems to be a great product and very competently fitted, and I would return there for a towbar or suspension work etc quite readily, as they do deliver good work. Pity about the "little" missing touches which would have made it a perfect transaction!!!
     
  16. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Pat, great tip!!! :thumb:Do you use your "on tow" sign I see in the boot? Trailer regulations as I understand it seems to not need it, but I suppose using it would present no problems - I used the one supplied by Towtal this weekend.
     
  17. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    I can't see why it would be "illegal" to do that myself - it seemed the better option- but then none of these regulations (or their interpretation!!!) are particularly logical hence my concern about putting the triangles inside!!! I suppose the little piece of velcro on either side of the back windscreen is hardly noticeable when the triangles are not in use!
     
  18. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    hi laurie,
    there are regulations as to where the triangle can be placed.
    what i'v found on the gov website is.....for two reflectors....min seperation = 600mm......max in from sides = 400mm and max height = 900mm. the max angle is 30deg.
    how many people abide by these dimensions is debatable though and if you ask a copper they probably wouldnt have a clue.
    i would think your rear window would be too high so the slat and ribbon idea seems best to me. much better at the same height as the tail lights.
    you never see a trailer with 'on tow' signs so i wouldnt bother with it.
    i did see a hymer with an old polo/golf as a toad on the A66 today and that had an 'on tow' board but the A frame was a homemade, unbraked affair which is definately illegal anyway so the board was a token gesture i think.

    happy towing,
    john.
     
  19. camcondor

    camcondor Read Only Funster

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    I thought there would be regulations with measurements of where the reflectors need to be......typical really!! Thanks for pointing that bit of the trailer regs out Pappajohn! :thumb:

    Now, the Smart has a tailgate rather than a normal hatchback boot so I need to devise something along the lines of the slat and webbing ruse which will work for the tailgate of the Smart.....otherwise its velcro or suckers and string!!:Rofl1:
     
  20. madbluemad

    madbluemad

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    Hi Lauri

    A bit off topic but it is my intention to buy a smart and tow it.

    How does yours handle. With it being narrower and relatively short I imagine that in taking corners etc there is no problem.
    Whats your opinion.

    Cheers

    Jim
     
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