Motorhome height restrictions (1 Viewer)

Aug 3, 2019
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10 years with hires, Newbie owner
Hi all.

With lots of help from people on this forum responding to my various questions, we are now getting close to buying our first motorhome. We will be going to see the main candidate tomorrow (Saturday) morning and, if we like it in the flesh, will be negotiating over some extras as well as the price.

One of the extras we are thinking about is solar panels of the roof. I’ve looked at threads on the pros and cons and alternatives of these so I’m reasonably happy on that front. However, I’m sure I read somewhere that 3m is a height restriction for some ferries - or it might have been campsites. I can’t now find the reference though.

The van we are looking at has a height of 2.94 m. If we had solar panels, therefore, it would get very close to the 3 m limit and I start to be very nervous if I had to get under 3 m height restrictor barriers. We expect to be travelling to the Scottish highlands, Ireland, (probably tunnel but possibly ferry), and around the continent (Spain/Portugal as well as all over the mainland from France). In due course we may even try to get across to Morocco.

Is there anywhere where getting very close to (or even fractionally above) 3m in height might start to be a problem?

Thanks a lot.

Chris
 
Jan 10, 2013
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We are over 3 metres. The only time it affects us is when booking the channel tunnel/ferries. Think we may pay a bit extra for the height but it's neither here nor there.
 
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funflair

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You might have read about over 3m being the next price bracket on French tolls, with solar panels on a 2.94m van you should still be OK.

Martin
 
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tonka

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Jul 2, 2008
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The only place 3mtr height comes into any issues is at French motorway toll stations.
Many have automatic height readers and to be rated as Class 2 the rules are 3500kg max weight and 3 MTR in height. However, many seasoned travellers who trigger above the 3mtr press the button at the toll station and state "camping car'. It's 50/50 on getting let let off with the lower toll or bite the bullet and pay higher amount.
My previous van was 4250kg and 3.1mtr we got away with it many times. Plus if you decide to use non toll roads then it does not really matter.

Campsites very rare, if any and 3mtr would be a stupid height for access. Overhanging trees are more a threat and something to look for.

Main ferries and Eurotunnel no issues, your van will look like a toy next to them big trucks.!
There may be some limits on small ferries, mainly designed for car traffic. Even at 3mtr you may be to big so would not be suitable anyway.
 
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May 7, 2015
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We're 3.6mt in height and never have had any issues. We have solar and an air con unit on the roof.

On the tunnel the price is the same no matter the length or height.

A few days ago we were charged extra on a site in Sweden because, according the site owner, we were 'tall and long'. That was the very first time we were charged differently to anyone else and I believe the man was a chancer. It wasn't a site in the true sense more than an overnight stop such as you get in the French Passion.

I'm not sure which 3m height barriers you're referring to but, as mentioned above, tree branches are our main concern as we rarely stop on sites and there's usually trees to negotiate! On normal roads though it's never an issue as lorries, coaches, etc clear the way.

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Allanm

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You don’t need to use toll roads in France, so I wouldn’t worry about the height. But, if you do, use the call button as others have suggested.
Even at just below 3 m, you might still find you trigger the truck speed cameras on roads in France, but as long as you are under the speed limit for your vehicle, there’s no need to worry.
 
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Jul 29, 2013
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We are over 3 metres. The only time it affects us is when booking the channel tunnel/ferries. Think we may pay a bit extra for the height but it's neither here nor there.
Tunnel is same price whatever Motorhome you have never had a problem in all the years we’ve been using it.?
 
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Oct 30, 2010
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As you get more adventurous with your new Motorhome you will want to use Aires and perhaps go ‘off grid’. Solar panels will then be essential.
Go for at least 200 watts and don’t worry about them adding to the height, they should be well below the height of any roof vents.
As others have said the only time 3m+ will have much effect will be on French peage motorways or overhanging trees on campsites.

Don’t forget to let us nosey lot know what van you decide on. (y) :LOL:

Richard

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OP
chenderson1965
Aug 3, 2019
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Thanks all. Yes, it was the French peage stations that I saw the reference to 3m. Good to know the tip about pressing the intercom button.

I’ll update tomorrow on the vehicle if we do the deal!
 
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Lenny HB

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You are worrying too much best to get a layout that suits you rather than worry about a few mm in height. We are 2.96 with solar & sat dish, never been a problem.

More important than height is payload a lot of first time purchasers buy 3500kg van with hardly any payload and then find no way can the drive it legally.
700 kg of payload is about right for two.

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Oct 2, 2008
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4 mtr is the road vehicle height limit in EU 1996 directive . (UK derogates for double deckers etc only applicable in UK )
 
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DBK

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Ferries generally charge based on height but in bands. For example, Plymouth to Roscoff on Brittany Ferries has price bands of up to 2.6m, 3m and 4m. I don't know what the cost difference between them is, annoyingly we are 2.7m so have to go as 3m, but it probably isn't a lot. There's bound to be a tolerance of course so if you 3.05m you might get away saying you are 3m but don't expect any sympathy if you hit the roof of the ferry!

You can get flexible solar panels which are only a few mm thick. They are expensive but if you wanted to be absolutely sure of being under 3m they might be an option. Or just let the tyres down. :) A few ex-military vehicles have central tyre inflation so you can do this without even leaving the driver's seat. :)
 
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Aug 26, 2008
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Never come across a 3m barrier as such. If you use a Liber-t Tag or similar on the toll motorways you need to take care which approach lane you get into at the Peage because some are for low vehicles such as cars only, and there is a height barrier before the toll booth.

Low bridges and especially low underpasses are the ones to watch out for.

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Jonno1103

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Solar panels... have a look at these which we have, very light, very thin and perform better than standard mono-crystalline panels.


Our 3 120w panels come in at less than 7kgs combined and are about 3mm thick.

The only place really height will be an issue is UK car parks. Europe is very motorhome/camper van friendly and most modern ferries have 4m+ vehicle deck heights in order to load modern HGV's. Ferries which serve the routes from Northern Ireland to the UK have 4.5m+ heights as the UK has no height limit but current max is 4.9m. Many HGV's running into France and Spain will get away with 4.2m but Holland, Belgium & Germany have 4m bridge restrictions.

I wouldn't worry too much as even if you wished to fit say a Dometic air con unit on the roof you'd still be under 3 metres.
 
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OurMoreloLife

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We tried to go under a marked 3.5m height barrier at a supermarket in Spain in June and were even guided by a kind Spaniard who was watching as we gingerly crept under it. We just touched the height barrier with the satellite dish (and embarrassingly, had to reverse out onto a one-way street)! We are stated as being 3.4m high so a lesson learned there, don't always trust the signs).

As far as ferries are concerned, on the Santander route, the MH's are sent in with the trucks and as they're a lot higher, there are no issues there.
 
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Apr 27, 2008
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You will find some French supermarkets have height barriers at the fuel station, these are normally 3.5m to deter lorries. No prob for most motorhomes.

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