Warning To All A-frame Users ..........

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by icantremember, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    ........ to ensure you regularly check the frame mountings on your car and that the car is not suffering with any distortion or metal fatigue.

    We have been towing our Ford Ka for 8 or 9 years without any problems until this week.

    Having been touring D&G in Scotland and pulled into fill up with fuel in the m/h with the car behind when the forecourt cashier noticed green radiator fluid pouring from the car.

    I don't know the full extent of damage as yet because we left the car to be transported home by the RAC so we can continue our trip.

    Just on quick inspection it appears a part of the "chassis" on the near side has broken allowing the a-frame to twist and pull the front of the car forward. ... Both front wings have popped out & forward by a couple of inches.

    The car was mot'd last month and is in excellent condition otherwise with absolutely no rust and very low mileage.

    I shall put more information on once we are back and check it over.

    Meanwhile, I am just so relieved and grateful that it happened when it did and not on a main road at speed when the consequences don't bear thinking about.

    I have in the past been an avid a-frame user but have always considered they should be subjected to annual testing along with the mot.

    If the car is repairable, which I doubt, we will not continue towing it or any other. .... maybe the Spanish and Germans are right after all.
     
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  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    very lucky indeed..

    which make of A frame ?
     
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  3. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    I think it's Car-a-Tow Jim, the actual frame is strong enough to pull a tank ..... but it is something on the car that has failed and I don't know yet if it is due to metal fatigue or a weld giving way.
     
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  4. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    thanks..

    it was a Car-A-Tow I had on my Fiat . it had a strong sub frame bolted to the car chassis .. unlike some that just utilise the car's towing eyes

    that was why I asked..

    the report should be interesting..
     
  5. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    This one does not use the towing eyes but attaches to a solid bar which is in turn fixed to strong steel plates bolted to the "chassis" ..... All very strong but I fear maybe too strong, putting a load of stress on the car.
     
  6. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    This is one reason why I will never use an A-frame, care are not meant to be towed for thousands of miles in this way, the chassis was never ever intended to be used in this way so is not engineered for the stress involved.
     
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  7. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    the law for towbars has been strict for many years that you can only bolt to reinforced points on the car designed for the purpose. a frames are bolted through thin pressed steel at the front of the chassis. in no way are cars designed for this or it would have to be type approved and crash tested etc
    another reason that a frames are not legal but rely on grey areas of the law
     
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  8. trekkin

    trekkin Read Only Funster

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    Saw similar recently. A 5door hatchback fitted with a new A frame and only a couple of years old.

    The whole front end was loose where the Chassis had snapped, luckily it all got noticed before the front of the car was pulled off..

    Check them all regularly.
     
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  9. John & Joan

    John & Joan Funster

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    This is an important safety issue. I think it should be a pinned item.
     
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  10. Judge Mental

    Judge Mental Funster Deceased RIP

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    insurance company's attitude may be interesting!
     
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  11. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    yes .. indeed and posted on as many forums and social media as possible..
     
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  12. John & Joan

    John & Joan Funster

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    I have posted the info on Wildcamping and Motorhome Tourism as well as the Motorhome Tourism Facebook Group Page.

    VOSA have also been copied into this forum post.
     
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  13. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    @icantremember would also be interesting to know what Car-A-Tow have to say
     
  14. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    As there was, luckily, no accident involved and the book value of the car is not great, my insurance company may not be involved.
     
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  15. icantremember

    icantremember Funster

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    I shall be speaking to them when I get home.
     
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  16. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    thanks..
    I would take photos.. plenty of them, and send them in an email to CarATow,

    also asking if they are going to repair the car or buy it from you at market value
     
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  17. cruiser

    cruiser Funster Life Member

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    sorry to hear of your problem @icantremember . my son said this make of car is not strong enough to tow. perhaps its the same for being towed. but we wish you the best Brian.
     
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  18. DBK

    DBK Funster

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    This incident backs up the view they have of them in Spain and other places. A Frames should be used for recovery only. No doubt some cars and designs of A Frame can be made safe but modern cars, made from a metal-backed paint construction the stresses can be too much.
     
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  19. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    The car-a-tow never broke, it was the towed vehicle that failed, not their responsibility I and no doubt they would say. In these days of tin cars I doubt anything is actually built to take the strains involved. yet another nail in the a-frame saga.
     
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  20. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Surely any company which fits an A frame to a car bears the responsibility of ensuring that the car is a suitable host, don't they?
     
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