Tow bar query. (1 Viewer)

Aug 15, 2014
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I am going to look at a van, at a dealers, that has a tow bar fitted. Should I be concerned about anything relating to the fitment, I always assume rightly or wrongly that maybe the engine has had the guts pulled out of it by the towing of whatever :unsure:
The van is a 16 plate 2.3 Fiat engine.
Thanks in advance for advice offered.
Norman.
 

pappajohn

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The engine shouldn't be affected by towing, even if its been towing more than it should.
Motorhomes have usually had a small car or light box trailer attached.... Well within limits.
 

Mr Chrysalis

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As of 1st April 2012, it is now legal requirement to fit an EC type approved Towbar to any motorhome vehicle that is first registered on or after this date. The new motorhome towbar is fully EC type approved, ie. it meets a minimum set of regulatory, technical and safety requirements set by the European Community.

So I would just check it has type approval
 

pappajohn

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As above, but I wouldn't reject it just for that.
Many bars have a manufacturers conformity label attached which may or may not still be there in a years time.
My 18 month old trailer has a similar label which is still there, just, but is unreadable..... I do happen to have the cert of conformity though.
 

TM59

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Have a EC type approved bar fitted to our 2017 Bolero. Fitted not for towing but to facilitate a bike rack for two electric bikes. Have seen many other motorhomes with the same set up.

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ambulancekidd

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What your asking is an extremely valid question.
Towing does add considerable extra stress to a vehicles drivetrain.
There are things you can do to judge how much work the vehicle has done, is the mileage low, if so you have to ask yourself how much work has it really done? Does the drivetrain feel sloppy?
Try braking whilst accelerating, if the clutch feels like its slipping, walk away, it'll drive the salesperson to distraction but, your the one dipping deep into your pocket & if the sales folk don't allow it, tell them to do one.
Listen out for clutch noise, try sitting in the cab engine running listening to everything, then press the clutch down, if it gets quieter then the thrust bearing etc is probably on the way out.
Its a subtle change in sound, so try doing it a few times.
Main thing is don't fret too much about possible faults & trust your gut instinct, failing that dig deep & have a full vehicle check carried out by the AA or RAC etc.


Good luck...Robert.
 
Sep 25, 2018
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What your asking is an extremely valid question.
Towing does add considerable extra stress to a vehicles drivetrain.
There are things you can do to judge how much work the vehicle has done, is the mileage low, if so you have to ask yourself how much work has it really done? Does the drivetrain feel sloppy?
Try braking whilst accelerating, if the clutch feels like its slipping, walk away, it'll drive the salesperson to distraction but, your the one dipping deep into your pocket & if the sales folk don't allow it, tell them to do one.
Listen out for clutch noise, try sitting in the cab engine running listening to everything, then press the clutch down, if it gets quieter then the thrust bearing etc is probably on the way out.
Its a subtle change in sound, so try doing it a few times.
Main thing is don't fret too much about possible faults & trust your gut instinct, failing that dig deep & have a full vehicle check carried out by the AA or RAC etc.


Good luck...Robert.

The above comments are completely correct. It is the clutch that will be any weak point. The standard 130bhp Fiat engine is no ball of fire and I believe that the clutches are a weak point (?). The only addition to the above is to make sure that you drive it when the engine and gearbox oil are hot.

It would not put me off in any way having a tow bar fitted and it probably adds to the saleability and price. We had quote of over 2.000 € for tow bar fitting to our Chausson.
 
Apr 28, 2013
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Agree with the above,we just had a towbar fitted to our Hymer 2010 at Watling towbars in St Albans,had to be reinforced to comply with EC regs as stated above which put the price up to just under a grand.
Am only towing a 106 kgs scooter on a 100 kgs rack.
We have the 2.3 Fiat/Iveco lump and wouldn’t know it’s their except on the steepest of hills.
 

PeteH

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Now for the "Contraversy".

In the past I have fabricated and fitted tow bars to my own vehicles. Never had one fail or damage the vehicle yet. It is not hard to locate the manufacturers attachment points (Allways assuming they have made provision, not all do) if you know where to look. Even the much vaunted Alko chassis can be fitted if you look carefully. It`s just about knowing about stress and vectors.

On one R-V the maker fitted tow hitch, parted company in France. When I got it home I fitted the plates that SHOULD have been fitted in the factory, to take care of a blatant stress point. So not all the makers know what they are doing.

I have also built my own trailers, never had one fail either.

IMHO. It is once again about keeping Jobsworths in employment, feeding the gravy train and satisfying control freaks.
 
Sep 25, 2018
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Now for the "Contraversy".

In the past I have fabricated and fitted tow bars to my own vehicles. Never had one fail or damage the vehicle yet. It is not hard to locate the manufacturers attachment points (Allways assuming they have made provision, not all do) if you know where to look. Even the much vaunted Alko chassis can be fitted if you look carefully. It`s just about knowing about stress and vectors.

On one R-V the maker fitted tow hitch, parted company in France. When I got it home I fitted the plates that SHOULD have been fitted in the factory, to take care of a blatant stress point. So not all the makers know what they are doing.

I have also built my own trailers, never had one fail either.

IMHO. It is once again about keeping Jobsworths in employment, feeding the gravy train and satisfying control freaks.

That sounds fine but what would your insurance say if you had an accident?
 

WESTY66

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All the gear, and no idea!
I am going to look at a van, at a dealers, that has a tow bar fitted. Should I be concerned about anything relating to the fitment, I always assume rightly or wrongly that maybe the engine has had the guts pulled out of it by the towing of whatever :unsure:
The van is a 16 plate 2.3 Fiat engine.
Thanks in advance for advice offered.
Norman.

Peugeot 2.2 130 here.... FWIW I wish mine had got a towbar on when I bought it. I don’t think you have anything to worry about, unless the previous owner was in the Classic tractor club in which case he could have been towing an old Massey Ferguson to rallies, but highly unlikely;)(y)
 
Sep 25, 2018
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Nothing if the vehicle is pre 2012

Sorry. Can you explain that comment and give some more information as to why prior to 2012 would not be a problem. I don't understand why there would be a difference?

Thanks.

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WESTY66

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Sorry. Can you explain that comment and give some more information as to why prior to 2012 would not be a problem. I don't understand why there would be a difference?

Thanks.
I believe that’s the year the towbar regs from our enemies in the EU came into effect!! Just more needless red tape! I’m pretty sure towbars were good up to then!!
 

MikeD

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Sorry. Can you explain that comment and give some more information as to why prior to 2012 would not be a problem. I don't understand why there would be a difference?

Thanks.

They changed the rules in 2012. After 1st April 2012 (if I remember correctly) you have to have a "type approved" towbar for the vehicle. (y)
 
Aug 18, 2014
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Sorry. Can you explain that comment and give some more information as to why prior to 2012 would not be a problem. I don't understand why there would be a difference?

Thanks.
As the others have said .When type approval was introduced motorhomes were not included. Why ? is anybodies guess? Cars & vans have had to have it for years. In april 2012 motorhomes were included. So if it hasn't a type approval plate after that date then it is illegal.

As an aside if your van is French then it would probably have to be supplied /fitted in France. Here,in Spain,you can only fit a towbar that is homologated ,regardless of age, & also supplied with it's CoC. This then has to be installed someone who has the licence to supply an installation CoC so that it can all be added to the log book.
I believe that’s the year the towbar regs from our enemies in the EU came into effect!! Just more needless red tape! I’m pretty sure towbars were good up to then!!
Whilst there are many who can & do build decent , safe & strong tow bars & trailers for each one of those there are 9 who are bodgers. Being 'pretty sure' isn't a measurement of safety when you see some of the scrap that is being fitted & towed about.
Personally It should have been introduced long ago along with only being fitted by approved, licensed installers.
 
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WESTY66

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Whilst there are many who can & do build decent , safe & strong tow bars & trailers for each one of those there are 9 who are bodgers. Being 'pretty sure' isn't a measurement of safety when you see some of the scrap that is being fitted & towed about.
Personally It should have been introduced long ago along with only being fitted by approved, licensed installers.

Maybe we should all get our spare tyres put on by licensed fitters, oh and bulbs, windscreen wipers, not do our own servicing etc. I hear what you are saying, but where does one draw the line?? I personally wouldn't fabricate my own towbar, but I would fit a "kit" towbar specifically for my model van.
 

soreeyes

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29th Oct 2012 commercial vehicles (motorhomes) fell under the EU type approval for towbars and couplings .

If you have a towbar fitted you should notify your insurance as they class it as a modification but should not alter the premium cost usually .

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Last edited:
Sep 25, 2018
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They changed the rules in 2012. After 1st April 2012 (if I remember correctly) you have to have a "type approved" towbar for the vehicle. (y)

Thank you for the clarification.
 

PeteH

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That sounds fine but what would your insurance say if you had an accident?

Nothing, Because any accident would have nothing to do with the Properly Constructed Bar. But far more likely to be the result of someonelses careless/stupid driving. People are too frightened of making things. Hell you almost cannot fit a fuse to a plug unless you have chartered satatus.

I wont bore you with stories, but I once had an argument with a Seller, who was insistant that he could not sell me an Item because he said I had to be qualified, to fit it!. I got the item, after I asked to what level is your most senior manager qualifed? I out ranked him!

If you read the post, the manufacturer fitted bar on one R-V failed. I made it safe(r) the design was flawed!.

Just another example IMV of "Political Correctness" gone MAD.

There is since I retired from Engineering Examination and testing, a whole industry which has built up around "Health and Safety". We used to have rules and they where applied with common sense by people who knew what they where doing. Not just the theory out of a book or a short course of "ticking the box to get a ticket". It took me 20 years of hard graft from the bottom to get my Chartered Status. But I could (and probably still can) run rings round the so called (Modern) "Graduates".

P.s. Thanks for the oportunity to get that off my chest.
 
Aug 6, 2013
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Type approved towbars do not exist for many motorhomes - mine is one of them. Because of the need to (theoretically) have type approval I had it made by someone regularly recommended on the Forum - it's the first one (for any vehicle) I haven't made myself. When he'd completed the rather excellent job of making and fitting it I asked him how the need for Type Approval had affected his business & he said it hadn't - Type Approved towbars simply aren't available for low volume vehicles.
 
Aug 18, 2014
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When he'd completed the rather excellent job of making and fitting it I asked him how the need for Type Approval had affected his business & he said it hadn't - Type Approved towbars simply aren't available for low volume vehicles.

& which means that you have to have them manufactured & tested by the VCA as shown in @soreeyes link to make them legal & type approved. Anything else post 2012 is illegal.

here we have to have a 'projecto' , a project by a qualified engineer who designs & certifies a tow bar for fitting to motorhomes & that is then manufactured by a towbar company , who can then issue a CoC , which then has to be fitted by a licensed fitter who supplies the last part CoC to allow homologation .

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Aug 6, 2013
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& which means that you have to have them manufactured & tested by the VCA as shown in @soreeyes link to make them legal & type approved. Anything else post 2012 is illegal.

here we have to have a 'projecto' , a project by a qualified engineer who designs & certifies a tow bar for fitting to motorhomes & that is then manufactured by a towbar company , who can then issue a CoC , which then has to be fitted by a licensed fitter who supplies the last part CoC to allow homologation .
I've read the page linked to which refers specifically to OEM approved equipment. It then goes on to say that any towbar installed by the owner has to be Type Approved. What it doesn't say is what's necessary if there is no Type Approved towbar available as in my case. It doesn't matter who I go to for the towbar because they are all unable to source one that is Type Approved. This will affect many vans - particularly those with a rear extension ie. most. I imagine that many converters will simply ignore the problem by not installing or approving towbars because the route to Type Approval is long and very expensive.

"a project by a qualified engineer who designs & certifies a tow bar for fitting to motorhomes & that is then manufactured by a towbar company , who can then issue a CoC , which then has to be fitted by a licensed fitter who supplies the last part CoC to allow homologation"

- for a one-off!!! I don't think so.
 

PeteH

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Wellcome to the (EU inspired) Madhouse!. I have seen "approved" design, which I would never fit or use. Modern installers 9 of 10 times have NO conception about what the device design parameters are. Unless you know your BASICS. you are just as big a disaster waiting to happen. There is a Home Boiler out there, which has a flawed design and many have been replaced after only a few years of use the Manufacturer has now ceased it`s production. The same basic design of Boiler was (in a larger format obviously) was installed in ships in the 1970`s, and was the source of fires and explosion. The cleaning and maintenance regiem was so frequent and necessary that many where scrapped and replaced after only a few year service
 

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