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martyndh
25-11-2013, 19:46
Help!!
We have bought a microcar(Daihatsu Copen) with the intention of towing it with the camper.
It seemed straightforward just buy a trailer -problem solved??
Now, unless we leave the car permanently on the trailer when its not in use we just haven't got room!
I am looking at alternatives such as an A Frame or Towing Dolly.
Just wondered if anyone has any info on either?
The A frame seems to be a little flimsy even for a microcar and Im not sure how it fixes onto the car?
The towing dolly seems to be a good option but with so small a car will the wheels fit in the slots and will the angle of towing mean the back of the
car will drag along the road on speed bumps etc?
With both options - will I rack up miles on the speedometer when towing or do modern day cars only record mileage with the ignition on?
Hope someone on here can give me a clue?
Thanks
Martyn

helmit
25-11-2013, 20:10
Hi Martyn Have a word or send a P M to Tom = stonedaddy he tows a small car on an A frame and maybe able to advise you. Hope this helps. Jim.

Tezza33
25-11-2013, 20:12
It isn't legal to use a towing dolly unless the car has broken down, the speedometer will not change while you are towing and a microcar is not too flimsy for an A frame, I tow a Fiat Panda on an A frame and have done since 1991, you will hear people saying about the legalities but I have been stopped in Germany, Spain and Luxembourg, only had one argument with the Police and that was in Spain 7 years ago and after he checked with his headquarters he shook my hand and told me to have a happy holiday.
The situation is on shaky ground just now in Spain (or so I have been informed) but it is changing, if you look at Caratows (http://www.caratow.com/index.php) website they are now selling A frames in Spain.
You will have no problem in the UK apart from Campsites charging you for an extra car but allowing a caravan and car next to you, you will not even notice it when towing and your MPG figure is only 2 or 3 less

vindiboy
25-11-2013, 20:16
There are a lot of antis about A Frame towing some say it is illegal some not, you will soon see who is on what side, I care not either way, as for mileage on the speedo whether it records it or not the car will have travelled the same mileage and it is only important if you intend to deceive someone when you sell the car ?

kenspain
25-11-2013, 20:17
If you use an A frame here you know if your unlucky and get stopped you could face a fine of up to 500 euros so take care:wave:

kenspain
25-11-2013, 20:23
It isn't legal to use a towing dolly unless the car has broken down, the speedometer will not change while you are towing and a microcar is not too flimsy for an A frame, I tow a Fiat Panda on an A frame and have done since 1991, you will hear people saying about the legalities but I have been stopped in Germany, Spain and Luxembourg, only had one argument with the Police and that was in Spain 7 years ago and after he checked with his headquarters he shook my hand and told me to have a happy holiday.
The situation is on shaky ground just now in Spain (or so I have been informed) but it is changing, if you look at Caratows (http://www.caratow.com/index.php) website they are now selling A frames in Spain.
You will have no problem in the UK apart from Campsites charging you for an extra car but allowing a caravan and car next to you, you will not even notice it when towing and your MPG figure is only 2 or 3 less

when i ask my son about these a frames that are sold here he told me that they have not made them legal and it is illegal to tow a car with all four wheels on the road

Tezza33
25-11-2013, 20:27
Have a look here (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120606172804/http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/dft-information-sheets/a-frames-and-dollies.pdf) for advice how the Dept for Transport see it, vindiboy and kenspain are both spot on, I towed my old Panda over 100.000 miles over Europe for years, it still only had 45.000 miles on it when sold, only the suspension and brakes had done the extra milage though :dance:, as kenspain says they are pulling people over in Spain just now and the fine is instant and high, but hopefully that is changing

Tezza33
25-11-2013, 20:34
when i ask my son about these a frames that are sold here he told me that they have not made them legal and it is illegal to tow a car with all four wheels on the roadThey haven't yet and your son is right, it is being fought at the moment though because Spain is saying you cannot tow a broken down car, an A frame makes it into a trailer and it hasn't broken down, I would not risk it in Spain myself just yet but hopefully they will come in line with the rest of Europe, I don't take mine with me all the time because most holidays involve travelling, if we move every few days who needs a car, if we are going to go with the intention of staying long term a car is useful (for us)

kenspain
25-11-2013, 20:53
This might help some of you if when you come over here and need a car for a few days dont go to the big boys to rent one i have a friend from Belgium the i meet up with most years he always go,s to a small garage and pays only about 50 euros a week there not new cars but he has never had a problem with them :wave:

martyndh
25-11-2013, 22:00
Thanks for the info so far especially the Towing Dolly Restrictions which I didn't have a clue about.
Another possible problem has struck me - do I need the ignition on so that the steering lock is off?

Tezza33
25-11-2013, 22:05
No. you put the key in the ignition and turn it on, then turn the wheel to make sure the steering lock is already off then turn the key off but leave it in the ignition, if you remove it the steering lock will come on again, I use a second key to lock the doors

stonedaddy
26-11-2013, 00:50
Help!!
We have bought a microcar(Daihatsu Copen) with the intention of towing it with the camper.
It seemed straightforward just buy a trailer -problem solved??
Now, unless we leave the car permanently on the trailer when its not in use we just haven't got room!
I am looking at alternatives such as an A Frame or Towing Dolly.
Just wondered if anyone has any info on either?
The A frame seems to be a little flimsy even for a microcar and Im not sure how it fixes onto the car?
The towing dolly seems to be a good option but with so small a car will the wheels fit in the slots and will the angle of towing mean the back of the
car will drag along the road on speed bumps etc?
With both options - will I rack up miles on the speedometer when towing or do modern day cars only record mileage with the ignition on?
Hope someone on here can give me a clue?
Thanks
Martyn

:drive: Hi Martyn I also have a Daihatsu but the Charade which I use as a tow car. I bought the car off a guy in Grimsby who I hate to recommend as he is a deceitful git. Having said that I can't fault his engineers who seem to do a good job. They convert the car to fit a fixed lightweight tow bar easily fitted by one person. It is not the same as the breakdown tow bars as they are illegal for permanent use. I went down the night before and stayed at a local crl site. He does all the needed work and wires the motorhome to work the cars lighting system and blinkers in fact the car does everything the motor home does off the ones controls. It then converts back to its own switches when unhooked. The braking system is unique as it works of an electronic motion sensor and you can easily forget you got a car on the back until you go over speed bumps then you feel a bit of a drag as the car goes over them. The guy is called Graham and he was on tomorrows world a few years back which he loves telling you about. He also gives you lots of papers in all the different European languages, these explain all the different countries policies the system has passed in. If you are pulled up you just give the policeman the paper in his national language to read and then he gives it you back and should be allowed to carry on your journey. I have never traveled abroad so I have never tested this out. If you still fancy going down this road the link is below.

Tow Bars and Cars for Motorhomes by Tow Bars 2 Tow Cars (http://www.tow-bars2tow-cars.co.uk/index.php)

When hooked up turn the ignition key one notch to unlock the steering. Make sure you have it in neutral and release the handbrake ( I have forgot to do this more then once). The electronic ignition does not register the towed milage but it only wears the bearings tires and suspension slightly as the car is empty the weight on it is minimal. I will put a photo on of my bus hooked up, as I have said I can't fault the system and I have had it for about 3 years. I only use it if I stay anywhere for a week or more or if a site is hard to get to and from. It sure saves on fuel but you gotta tax and insure two vehicles. Oh if he offers to let you stay on his unit ask how much it will cost. I met another guy on the Isle of Skye with the same system and he offered to let him stay on his car park but when he came to leave when the job was done he said there was another £25 for overnight parking grrrrr like I say he is a shifty guy. It is best if you have two sets of keys so you can lock the tow car when its on the move as anyone can jump in when its behind out of sight. If you are anywhere near Manchester you can come and check the installation out if you want to.:drive:
.... Tom ....

18805

Wooie1958
26-11-2013, 07:13
This was our set up and ran it for 3 years without any problems :-

18806


The only slight difference was that i had a Spare Key cut ( cheap - Timpsons i think ) that didn`t have the Immobiliser in it.

All it`s needed for is to stop the Steering Lock from re-engaging and the Steering wheel will then turn freely

That way if anyone got in the car it wouldn`t start.

I also ran the front tyres at their maximum ( fully loaded ) pressures as i found that easier on front tyre wear.

baloothebear
26-11-2013, 07:41
When we were in Le Tréport, France earlier this year, two men came up to us and asked if we knew any vets near Calais for the Pet passport thingy

They had been touring in Germany and said that they had seen several people with A-Frames getting pulled by the Police

I'm told that the Police in both Spain and Portugal don't like A-Frames

The manufacturers of A-Frames all have forms that you can print off to show to the Police if you are stopped saying that their system is deemed to be legal.

The gist of it seems to be that you may well get fined and then have the right to appeal the fine afterwards - good luck.

If the manufacturers were so certain perhaps they might like to foot your legal expenses?

Nothing would have been easier than an A-Frame; when you don't need it, bundle it up and stick it in the garage area: With the trailer, you are always worried about it being stolen, at least I stress about it all the time.

18807

NB - just to add that it is probably very bad practise to tow any automatic gear boxed car like a Smart on an A-Frame

Toonman
26-11-2013, 14:24
Can you reverse with an A frame? It seems that it would be difficult to see the angle of the car.

Tezza33
26-11-2013, 14:39
Can you reverse with an A frame? It seems that it would be difficult to see the angle of the car.That is the reason some people kept saying they are not legal, the law says you have to be able to reverse a trailer and A frames with a cable connection for the brakes don't have an automatic release mechanism but I have reversed 50yds in a straight line very successfully by just watching the car aerial through the back window as well as the wing mirrors, trying to reverse it round a corner is difficult because of the front wheels turning the opposite way sometimes when reversing but with practice it can be done, depending on the situation I just unhitch and move the car if it is a complicated reversing manoeuvre because it is easier, I can't see my small trailer when I try to reverse with that and find it harder than the car on an A frame

Toonman
26-11-2013, 15:45
That is the reason some people kept saying they are not legal, the law says you have to be ablehasslereverse a trailer and A frames with a cable connection for the brakes don't have an automatic release mechanism but I have reversed 50yds in a straight line very successfully by just watching the car aerial through the back window as well as the wing mirrors, trying to reverse it round a corner is difficult because of the front wheels turning the opposite way sometimes when reversing but with practice it can be done, depending on the situation I just unhitch and move the car if it is a complicated reversing manoeuvre because it is easier, I can't see my small trailer when I try to reverse with that and find it harder than the car on an A frame

Sorry but I am having a dense moment. How long does it take to take it off the car to reverse? It seems to be such a hassle.

mark61
26-11-2013, 16:15
Heres one way to reverse.

Reversing an A-Frame under control - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnlAzUqWgwk)

sim
26-11-2013, 17:36
NB - just to add that it is probably very bad practise to tow any automatic gear boxed car like a Smart on an A-Frame

FYI Smart cars do not have automatic gearboxes, they are manuals with an automatically operated clutch.

Tezza33
26-11-2013, 19:53
Sorry but I am having a dense moment. How long does it take to take it off the car to reverse? It seems to be such a hassle.I can unhitch the bar, unplug the electric and drive it in 2-3 minutes but I just used an aerolastic to hold the A frame in the air and turned the car round without removing the frame, I have only had to do this twice in all the times I have been towing, once in Spain because I had gone into a Town where the road was closed with a market and it was a long way to reverse back in traffic, and once in France because I had missed a sign for a low bridge, again traffic behind and if I had a car on a trailer I would have took the trailer off and turned round, it isn't any hassle at all and if you tow anything through small villages you have to be prepared to unhitch, funnily the cars who had to wait in France were smiling when I drove past, more patience than here

Tezza33
26-11-2013, 19:56
Heres one way to reverse.

Reversing an A-Frame under control - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnlAzUqWgwk)Good post, You will see what I said about the front wheels turning the wrong way, it is still possible but practice somewhere before you have to do it for real

baloothebear
27-11-2013, 03:44
FYI Smart cars do not have automatic gearboxes, they are manuals with an automatically operated clutch.

The gearboxes still get damaged even though the box is in neutral apparently

CooP
27-11-2013, 08:59
The gearboxes still get damaged even though the box is in neutral apparently

According to the FMCA advice booklet it should be ok to tow a smart car if the gearbox is in manual mode. http://www.fmca.com/images/stories/pdf/towing_09.pdf

stonedaddy
27-11-2013, 16:50
Good post, You will see what I said about the front wheels turning the wrong way, it is still possible but practice somewhere before you have to do it for real


If you click the link, the video on the homepage shows a lot of reversing. The wheels don't seem to lock like on the youtube video. It shows how it all works and all the continental rules. I must say the three years I've had mine I have never been able to reverse without the wheels locking one way or the other. You either have to pull forward until they straighten out and try again or just keep going and let the van push it round against the cars lock. I have a feeling doing the latter method was one of the reasons the vans clutch had to be replaced earlier this year. The video is well worth a look though.

Tow Bars and Cars for Motorhomes by Tow Bars 2 Tow Cars


.... Tom ....

stonedaddy
27-11-2013, 16:54
for some reason the above link does not work try this one. If this one don't work the one in my first post does.

Tow Bars and Cars for Motorhomes by Tow Bars 2 Tow Cars (http://www.tow-bars2tow-cars.co.uk/)


... Tom ...

mark61
27-11-2013, 17:03
If you click the link, the video on the homepage shows a lot of reversing. The wheels don't seem to lock like on the youtube video. It shows how it all works and all the continental rules. I must say the three years I've had mine I have never been able to reverse without the wheels locking one way or the other. You either have to pull forward until they straighten out and try again or just keep going and let the van push it round against the cars lock. I have a feeling doing the latter method was one of the reasons the vans clutch had to be replaced earlier this year. The video is well worth a look though.

Tow Bars and Cars for Motorhomes by Tow Bars 2 Tow Cars


.... Tom ....

That way is definitely a better way. Takes some practice though.

Tezza33
27-11-2013, 17:21
It shows how it all works and all the continental rules. I must say the three years I've had mine I have never been able to reverse without the wheels locking one way or the other. You either have to pull forward until they straighten out and try again or just keep going and let the van push it round against the cars lock. I have a feeling doing the latter method was one of the reasons the vans clutch had to be replaced earlier this year.



.... Tom ....I have been towing a car for 22 years and not burnt a clutch out yet but I agree that could have been a factor, I do honestly try not to reverse too much though and prefer to look for somewhere to turn if possible, if your van is Fiat X250 based 2006 -2010 they were not the best at reversing either, not all were affected but widely known for judder or burning out clutches reversing up a slope, I have used Iveco Daily, Transit, Peugeot and current one is a Fiat 2.8 2002, I always manage to reverse if I have to but if I am in a large empty car park I practice a few times while nobody is looking :drive:

Tezza33
27-11-2013, 18:37
, if your van is Fiat X250 based 2006 -2010 they were not the best at reversing either, not all were affected but widely known for judder or burning out clutches reversing up a slope, I really should have looked at your avatar and profile before posting that so ignore it, I looked at the video, my wheels go whichever way they decide at the time, I wonder how many times they filmed it before they got a good 'take' ;), their system is better than mine though because I made my own and based it on caratow's original one (I say based I measured one ), ignore the the welding on the right, it looked better in the flesh than the picture and that bit is not structural, I could not get the bumper on so I had to round the corner off, I have to work outside these days and it started to get windy but I had almost finished, cost me about £60 in total
188751887418873

stonedaddy
27-11-2013, 21:54
I really should have looked at your avatar and profile before posting that so ignore it, I looked at the video, my wheels go whichever way they decide at the time, I wonder how many times they filmed it before they got a good 'take' ;), their system is better than mine though because I made my own and based it on caratow's original one (I say based I measured one ), ignore the the welding on the right, it looked better in the flesh than the picture and that bit is not structural, I could not get the bumper on so I had to round the corner off, I have to work outside these days and it started to get windy but I had almost finished, cost me about £60 in total
188751887418873


Yeah Tezza mine is an old steam driven Talbot. I entered a small country lane and after about a mile I decided to turn round as it changed to a track. I tried a few time to reverse into a farmers gate but it was a sharp turn and pushing backwards uphill. The clutch got very hot and started to smell so I unhitched and turned them round separately. The clutch was OK after that for about a year but then it started slipping so I am sure that contributed to it.
I think you have done a great job on your cars steel tow plate and at £60 what a great saving. I can't see much wrong with the welding either. Good Job.
.... Tom ....

Tezza33
27-11-2013, 22:37
I am a retired mechanic and still have all my small equipment but moved in to a smaller place so no workshop, don't like spending money though, this is the A made from old caravan parts and square tubing, the welding is more to my liking because it was originally made by me in my workshop, the metal frame that fits on the car has been altered for twelve cars in the last 20 years, the only bit that stays the same is the front part where the draw bar fits on, everything is over engineered to be honest and could have been lighter but we don't have the luxury of testing until something breaks18890

CooP
28-11-2013, 10:47
Wouldn't it be easier to get SWAMBO or one of the kids to steer the towed vehicle when reversing?

Tezza33
28-11-2013, 10:58
I tried that when I first started towing, we were in a car park with loose shale and it was impossible for my Wife to hold the wheel and she is strong enough to swing a frying pan faster than I can duck, we took the key out and left the wheels locked in the straight ahead position, never needed to do that on tarmac though because the wheels don't dig in like they did on shale so I don't know if that would be different to my experience

mollythecollie
28-11-2013, 12:06
Yes you need the ignition key on if you have steering lock. You put it to the first setting so the steering moves but the ignition is off. I had a new key cut without the chip. (0nly about £10 ) so if someone does get into it he car won't start and therefore can't be driven.

stonedaddy
28-11-2013, 17:15
Wouldn't it be easier to get SWAMBO or one of the kids to steer the towed vehicle when reversing?

I did think of this but my missis don't drive and no way would she contemplate it. She said she was scared of getting squashed if we hit something and I kept going. She hates the idea of driving that much she won't even push a dinky. I could do with putting her in for an MOT and if she failed swop her for a later model with a license :scooter:. Or better still just swap her for any later model :D .
.... Tom ....

Tezza33
28-11-2013, 17:29
I could do with putting her in for an MOT

If she needs an MOT have you thought of having her sorn off or is it sawn in half I am thinking of, getting confused again:o, as for your Missus not contemplating it when we tried it in the car park we finished up not talking the rest of the day, I would not dare mention it again

Seannachie
29-11-2013, 19:29
It isn't legal to use a towing dolly unless the car has broken down, the speedometer will not change while you are towing and a microcar is not too flimsy for an A frame, I tow a Fiat Panda on an A frame and have done since 1991, you will hear people saying about the legalities but I have been stopped in Germany, Spain and Luxembourg, only had one argument with the Police and that was in Spain 7 years ago and after he checked with his headquarters he shook my hand and told me to have a happy holiday.
The situation is on shaky ground just now in Spain (or so I have been informed) but it is changing, if you look at Caratows (http://www.caratow.com/index.php) website they are now selling A frames in Spain.
You will have no problem in the UK apart from Campsites charging you for an extra car but allowing a caravan and car next to you, you will not even notice it when towing and your MPG figure is only 2 or 3 less

Just because Caratows is selling A-frames in Spain doesn't mean that it is legal to use them, so much so that the UK's Foreign & Colonial Office has stated categorically on their website for Brits going to Spain - see near foot of page under driving regulations etc:


Tow a car with a motorhome

Towing a car behind a motor home using an A-frame is illegal in Spain and you will be fined for using one.

You can see the F&CO page here: https://www.gov.uk/living-in-spain

I think that the F&CO's version of the law is more likely to be accurate than Caratows - and they are not trying to sell you anything either!

:dance:

Tezza33
29-11-2013, 19:54
I didn't say it was legal, I said it was changing and it will because everything changes and selling them in Spain is just the start, when I had mine in Spain I could have sold it to Spanish drivers 200 times, every time I stopped they came round to look, Motorhomers, lorry drivers etc, and before long their drivers are going to be asking why the rest of Europe is allowing it and not them, you are absolutely correct as it stands now but watch this space
I made mine I didn't buy from Caratow or anybody else

Seannachie
29-11-2013, 20:04
I didn't say it was legal, I said it was changing and it will because everything changes and selling them in Spain is just the start, when I had mine in Spain I could have sold it to Spanish drivers 200 times, every time I stopped they came round to look, Motorhomers, lorry drivers etc, and before long their drivers are going to be asking why the rest of Europe is allowing it and not them, you are absolutely correct as it stands now but watch this space
I made mine I didn't buy from Caratow or anybody else

I didn't suggest that you said it was legal to use an A-frame in Spain, merely pointed out that just because Caratow is selling them there doesn't make it legal to use them. Some people believe what salesmen tell them without checking it independently. Like someone I know who bought a caravan over 2.4 metres wide from a lare and supposedly reputable dealer in the North of England (who 'specialised' in selling over-sized caravans) and towed it away homewards with his Landie - he was stopped on the M5 and charged and found guilty because at that time it was not legal to tow such a wide caravan with his type of vehicle. Needless to say the dealer refused to give him the purchase price of the caravan back and told him that it was up to the purchaser to check of the legality for themselves.

Caveat emptor, as the Romans used to say (or pretentious prats in the legal profession).

:p

kenspain
29-11-2013, 20:08
I didn't say it was legal, I said it was changing and it will because everything changes and selling them in Spain is just the start, when I had mine in Spain I could have sold it to Spanish drivers 200 times, every time I stopped they came round to look, Motorhomers, lorry drivers etc, and before long their drivers are going to be asking why the rest of Europe is allowing it and not them, you are absolutely correct as it stands now but watch this space
I made mine I didn't buy from Caratow or anybody else

From what i can find out and talking to my son you will be watching this space i am sorry to say.

Tezza33
29-11-2013, 20:19
From what i can find out and talking to my son you will be watching this space i am sorry to say.I can wait, if I can't use it I won't and to be honest I am more into wilding now than when I stayed in one place for 6 months, a car isn't needed unless I am parked up for the Winter and need to sightsee, lets make a pact Ken, sometime in the future one of us will come back here and say 'you were right',

Perhaps all us who travel round Europe can park our cars at Kenspains place while we see Spain :lol-049:, then pick it up when we go North again

kenspain
29-11-2013, 20:38
I can wait, if I can't use it I won't and to be honest I am more into wilding now than when I stayed in one place for 6 months, a car isn't needed unless I am parked up for the Winter and need to sightsee, lets make a pact Ken, sometime in the future one of us will come back here and say 'you were right',

Perhaps all us who travel round Europe can park our cars at Kenspains place while we see Spain :lol-049:, then pick it up when we go North again

you wont be the first one to park up here my friend has just picked up his motorhome he left here 2 months ago , come back where the uk no way cant speak all the different langue's you need to come there:wave:

Tezza33
29-11-2013, 20:48
you wont be the first one to park up here my friend has just picked up his motorhome he left here 2 months ago , come back where the uk no way cant speak all the different langue's you need to come there:wave:I can find you I know where your Church is :giggle:


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