New regulations re: width of American 5th Wheels and caravans.

melnol

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I'm hearing of new regulations due to commence October 2014 which relate to American 5th wheel RVs and caravans. Here's an excerpt from a recent email from my UK contact ........

<<... apparently there is a European law coming into effect in October 2014 regarding type of caravan and 5th wheels to be allowed on roads namely American 5th wheel trailers will not meet the new European specification for weight restriction mgtw, electrics, braking systems, window glass, gas and furnishing flame retardants, etc. In other words if you buy an American unit you will only be able to use it in America, not UK, Spain, Germany, France etc. >>

Very keen to hear from folks about this issue (considering we were on the verge of importing a new 5th wheel unit from US).
 
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melnol

melnol

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On reading these new regulations, they appear to be 'export-centric' - ie relating to trailers produced IN UK rather than trailers imported from USA (or other country). Not sure if the IVA issue is applicable to Imports but would welcome any comments to clarify.
Thanks in advance.
Mel
 

DBK

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I am no expert but the IVA is for imports as well:

"Individual Vehicle Approval) is a UK national scheme and the most likely route for those manufacturing or importing single vehicles or very small numbers."

But I am sure you are right to be careful. There are stories of people importing vehicles from the US and being unable to register them. Width is often the problem. Of course caravans are not actually registered or routinely tested in the UK in the way vehicles are, unlike say in Germany where they given a regular TUV test. So things may be easier.
 
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BreweryDave

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Chances are it will not be retrospective otherwise lots of folk are in for major problems!
I expect there will be plenty of info on sister site RVOC

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melnol

melnol

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Seems something which I had imagined relatively straight-forward .... isn't! I might give up and buy an exorbitantly-priced rig in UK and keep the dealers in pocket money!
 

Wildman

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with moves afoot to try an issue caravans/trailers with individual registrations no doubt followed by MOT's etc etc etc anything that Europe would refuse will become a no no here as well. After all our masters in Brussels would not approve.
 

DBK

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So it looks as if the trailer just needs a compliance plate with the necessary information. I say "just". :)

Have to ask the OP is a 5th wheeler essential? They are far from common, I've only seen one in the past 12 months and that was at Plymouth waiting to get on the ferry. I'm not knocking them but if you plan to sell it after your trip will the buyers be queuing up to buy it?
 

pappajohn

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So it looks as if the trailer just needs a compliance plate with the necessary information. I say "just". :)

Have to ask the OP is a 5th wheeler essential? They are far from common, I've only seen one in the past 12 months and that was at Plymouth waiting to get on the ferry. I'm not knocking them but if you plan to sell it after your trip will the buyers be queuing up to buy it?

I saw three in the same day at differing times between York and Dundee last month.
Then a further two on the M1 a couple of weeks ago between the M62 and A38 junctions and further two on the same campsite as us the same weekend.

They are not as rare as you think.

But in 7 years i have yet to see a motorhomefun sticker on a van except at meets.
 

Dixie

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I saw three in the same day at differing times between York and Dundee last month.
Then a further two on the M1 a couple of weeks ago between the M62 and A38 junctions and further two on the same campsite as us the same weekend.

They are not as rare as you think.

But in 7 years i have yet to see a motorhomefun sticker on a van except at meets.


Yep, it's growing over here at a rate of knots! We've had a record year so far, people's reasons for changing are varied but stem from not wanting the trailer hassle of a toad in europe, to just wanting extra space.

I think the name "motorhome" fun stops 5th wheelers joining this forum. But at the end of the day we're all like minded people enjoying the same lifestyle no matter what our mode of transport.

On the regs side all 5th wheel trailers produced in the US factories come with the appropriate FMVSS compliance plate, this exempts the trailer from the new IVA process as the FMVSS are accepted as suitable for european use. When buying a unit please ensure that it does have the federal compliance plate, some dealers have been known to remove them. The plate will declare the that unit meets the FMVSS or CMVSS (Canadian), it will also have the weights, axle weights, date of manufacture and VIN No. Any trailer without this ORIGINAL plate will not be compliant.

Hope this helps,
Jayne

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vwalan

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yes getting more and more on the road all the time . .
its certainly worth thinking about them if your heading towards 70 yr old . gets round medicals to keep the c1+e. gives a vehicle to use when parked .
i can say in the 14yrs i have had mine iv,e been very pleased with the concept .
i do say dont go too big . be sensible .
living close to the a30 here in cornwall see them almost every week now.
was rare years ago.
 
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melnol

melnol

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Alan

That's most re-assuring.

For us, its a very large investment so we're keen to ensure that we don't make any costly mistakes resulting in a brand new 5th wheel trailer sitting on the docks with nowhere to go!

Interested in your comment re: medicals with c1+e licence . and Yes.. I'm heading down the track to 7o!! Please explain.

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vwalan

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at 70 you keep the b+e category
thats a vehicle upto 3,500kg gvw towing any weight vehicle as long as the towing vehicles train weight isnt broken .
if you passed after 19-1-2013 (or took the b+e )its now restricted to a 3,500kg trailer.

its possible to have a gvw lowered to 3,500kg and the tow vehicle keeps the original high train weight.
another of those authority moves .
to keep driving m,homes over 3,500kg drivers need to take the medical that hgv drivers take . many will fail and many dont wish to take the medical. as we all get older it can bring in silly medical reasons why you cant get c1category at 70 yr old .
if spending lots money on a camper best make sure you wont have to get rid of it at 70 .
 

mikeman

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Mel
If you are touring I would suggest that 5th wheel you get is not any longer than 8 metres. Even at that length we have trouble getting into a lot of campsites, and a lot of nice spots to wild camp would be unaccessible with a longer trailer.

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melnol

melnol

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Wouldn't it be great if there were such a thing as a catalogue of sites able to accommodate trailers up to (say) 40' ? I guess if the market for larger vehicles grows, so will the capability to accommodate. Meanwhile ..........???

I'm imagining/hoping there may be less of a 'site access' problem with larger size trailers in other European countries when/if we decisde to spend some time over there.

One 5th wheel we are currently considering is 39'0"! Hope we can find at least some sites able to accommodate us.
 

mikeman

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Out of the 200 or so campsites I have stayed in during the last 3.5 years only about 4 would take a rig of that size, particularly when you take the tow vehicle into consideration the entrance to a lot of the campsites is too small.
 

scotjimland

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Wouldn't it be great if there were such a thing as a catalogue of sites able to accommodate trailers up to (say) 40' ?


Out of the 200 or so campsites I have stayed in during the last 3.5 years only about 4 would take a rig of that size, particularly when you take the tow vehicle into consideration the entrance to a lot of the campsites is too small.

That was my experience of 5 years of ownership, (three living in it full time ) , of a 36ft RV + box trailer. ..

It can be done but it needs a lot of researching and planning before setting off. The vast majority of sites are just too small for big outfits.. or don't allow them..

Personally I wouldn't buy such a big outfit again.. it is far too limiting on where you can go, park and camp. Ideal in the US.. not the EU ... We only bought it for full timing.. and glad when we sold it.

This is a Google map of sites and aires we used.

Dick of Moanddick , member on here, published a Big Pitch Guide.. which as the name suggests was a book of sites for big rigs. I think he sold it on..

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DBK

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Wouldn't it be great if there were such a thing as a catalogue of sites able to accommodate trailers up to (say) 40' ? I guess if the market for larger vehicles grows, so will the capability to accommodate. Meanwhile ..........???

The problem are the minor roads in places such as Devon, Cornwall and large parts of Scotland. These are not going to be widened any time soon. I am sure you will always be able to reach most places, delivery trucks get everywhere these days, but it wouldn't be relaxing driving. This is the view of the road outside my house - I have to drive along this to reach the A38 (main road to anywhere) which probably explains my ownership of a 6m van conversion! http://goo.gl/maps/T632z 40 foot articulated trucks do drive down here, we get one or two a day but it is the same drivers each day and I guess they know the road very well and they only go a short distance (to a farm shop) as there are bends further on and a narrow bridge they wouldn't be able to manage.

I'm imagining/hoping there may be less of a 'site access' problem with larger size trailers in other European countries when/if we decisde to spend some time over there.

One 5th wheel we are currently considering is 39'0"! Hope we can find at least some sites able to accommodate us.

As above, there are parts of Europe where the streets are narrow and twisty.

I guess if you are happy to stick mostly to main roads and research where to go you will be fine. If I had a strong need to have a separate vehicle when I arrived at a site I would seriously consider a 5th wheeler (small one!) as it seems conceptually a better idea than towing a car behind a MH or RV because they should be easier to reverse and much better than an A frame which is more or less impossible to reverse.
 
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vwalan

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as in my avatar i use a mini artic outfit . i find they allow a much better overlap. my 20ft trailer on the mitsubishi gives a total length of 32ft 6ins . ideal most ferry companies allow 11mtr as the allowed base length for cars and caravans . makes for cheap ferries .
i also had a mazda bongo and a 10ft caravan at one time as well . it was only 9inches shorter than the artic set up. normal trailer aframe and hitches take up loads of space thats wasted .
but dont go too big is my advise .

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melnol

melnol

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Reply #21 was very fruitful. I actually spoke to Dick of Moanddick - what a lovely man! Dick advised that he actually 'gave it' to a publisher to continue its distribution. Unfortunately, it seems its out of print so I guess I'm out of luck unless someone out there has the one or two versions that were produced and doesn't need them any more. Happy to pay for them plus postage.

Another recent event is that I've just purchased a Ford F350 7.3 Litre, 4X4 Diesel from the States to tow a 5th wheel trailer once we arrive in UK (around end October). Problem is I don't know where I can buy the required UK lens kits to meet compliance. Can anyone point me in the right direction please??
 
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