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Thread: Warning about A-Frame towing

  1. #1

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    Warning about A-Frame towing



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    Warning about A-Frame towing posted on MHFun forum
    Ensure you regularly check the frame mountings on your car and that the car is not suffering with any distortion or metal fatigue.

    Report 1...
    Ford Ka 8 or 9 years old - 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. it had a strong sub frame bolted to the car chassis. The vehicle had to abandoned while on tour in Scotland to be returned by the breakdown service.
    The car was MOT'd last month and is in excellent condition otherwise with absolutely no rust and very low mileage.
    The poster in the past had been an avid a-frame user but has always considered they should be subjected to annual testing along with the MOT.
    The poster said, If the car is repairable, which he doubts, he will not continue towing it or any other.
    The A-Frame was attached to a solid bar which is in turn fixed to strong steel plates bolted to the "chassis" ..... All very strong but possibly maybe too strong, putting a load of stress on the car.

    Report 2.
    Another user posted on the same thread regarding 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..

    The law for tow bars 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.

    Check them all regularly. Maybe the Spanish and Germans are right after all.
    Last edited by John Thompson; 12-07-2015 at 10:04.
    Thanks DeryneGillian, jaybird thanked for this post

  2. #2

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    This is an urgent safety issue that should be pinned for all to see.
    Likes DeryneGillian liked this post

  3. #3

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    Great wee article John I enjoyed that read cheers
    ssshhhhh be vewy qwiet, I'm hunting wabbits !

  4. #4

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    chassis

    They are not chassis they are molded with strengthen box bits
    should have taken the hand brake off tow car
    Likes trevskoda liked this post

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Thompson View Post
    Warning about A-Frame towing posted on MHFun forum
    Ensure you regularly check the frame mountings on your car and that the car is not suffering with any distortion or metal fatigue.

    Report 1...
    Ford Ka 8 or 9 years old - 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. it had a strong sub frame bolted to the car chassis. The vehicle had to abandoned while on tour in Scotland to be returned by the breakdown service.
    The car was MOT'd last month and is in excellent condition otherwise with absolutely no rust and very low mileage.
    The poster in the past had been an avid a-frame user but has always considered they should be subjected to annual testing along with the MOT.
    The poster said, If the car is repairable, which he doubts, he will not continue towing it or any other.
    The A-Frame was attached to a solid bar which is in turn fixed to strong steel plates bolted to the "chassis" ..... All very strong but possibly maybe too strong, putting a load of stress on the car.

    Report 2.
    Another user posted on the same thread regarding 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..

    The law for tow bars 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.

    Check them all regularly. Maybe the Spanish and Germans are right after all.
    I had an accident when I was driving a Ford KA.
    A builders lorry slipped past and in passing caught the rear edge of the front wing.
    The lorry took the KA wing off like it was held on with blu tack.
    As the lorry went forward the KA wing was hanging from the lorry like cooking foil.
    The little KA is a death trap, every spot weld came/popped apart the metal did not tear, maybe it was glued together with super glue, the KA was a car I had from new, so it had a know history.
    Last edited by harrow; 12-07-2015 at 19:54.
    Likes trevskoda liked this post

  6. #6

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    There is a further report from Tony in Taunton.

    "My Peugeot 207 was a complete right off after the cross bar that attaches between the main fixing to chassis on the car that was fitted by Car-A-Tow system snapped while towing in the south of France on the Motorway."

    It seems like there is problem.

  7. #7

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    Reply from VOSA

    Reply from VOSA
    Before I deal with your concern, it maybe helpful if I explain the role of
    DVSA in regards to investigating vehicle safety defects. DVSA
    investigates, in conjunction with the relevant producer, incidences whereby
    failure of a vehicle or its component systems are alleged to be
    attributable to design or construction deficiencies. In addition DVSA is
    responsible for the supervision and monitoring of the UK Recall Scheme as
    it applies in the automotive sector.

    This work is carried out under the terms of a Code of Practice, which is an
    agreement between the Department for Transport and the Trade Associations
    representing vehicle and component producers, and is supported by the
    General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

    A ‘safety defect’ is defined in the Code as "A safety related defect is a
    failure due to design and/or construction, which is likely to affect the
    safe operation of the product without prior warning to the user and may
    pose a significant risk to the driver, occupants and others. This defect
    will be common to a number of products that have been sold for use in the
    United Kingdom". In addition, before we can require a manufacturer/producer
    to instigate a safety recall, there has to be a significant risk of serious
    injury or death.

    The issues you have supplied are the type of concerns we investigate.
    However, without these concerns being reported to us, we would not know
    about them. We do search the internet for reports of safety issues or
    possible safety recalls that have not been reported to us and conduct carry
    out surveillance role but I am afraid that we would not have found these,
    as we do have difficulty in entering web forums, because they are either
    only available to members or our IT security systems will not allow us to
    enter them.

    However, can I request that you pass the attached documents and defect
    reporting form onto the people who have suffered these issues, so that they
    can report them to use, as we will need specific information and contact
    details.

    Should you wish to discuss anything, please do not hesitate to contact me
    on telephone number below.

    Andrew Tudor
    Acting Head of Vehicle Safety Branch
    Vehicle Safety Branch | Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency | First Floor |
    Berkeley House | Croydon Street | Bristol | BS5 ODA
    Phone: 01179-543300

    I am having problems loading the attached files. The Report form is to big to load to this forum.
    I am happy to forward the email to anyone who wants a copy with the attached files and report form. Please PM me with an email address.
    Last edited by John Thompson; 13-07-2015 at 11:16.

  8. #8

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    Donna on OAL reported seeing a toad with half the front ripped out.
    p.s. just checked and it was near Swansea, and was a Hymer towing a Toyota.
    Last edited by colinmd; 13-07-2015 at 08:39.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparks View Post
    This sort of occurrence is probably to be expected when the towing equipment is attached to the part of the car that is MEANT to break up/off in accidents.
    Perhaps the A frame should be attached to the part of the car that is designed to take these loads i.e. the tow bar mountings. Yes it means the car car would have to travel backwards (no great disadvantage) and yes, most small cars are not designed to have tow bars fitted which would limit choice.
    That doesn't work for several reasons, and might also damage towing vehicle.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparks View Post
    This sort of occurrence is probably to be expected when the towing equipment is attached to the part of the car that is MEANT to break up/off in accidents.
    Perhaps the A frame should be attached to the part of the car that is designed to take these loads i.e. the tow bar mountings. Yes it means the car car would have to travel backwards (no great disadvantage) and yes, most small cars are not designed to have tow bars fitted which would limit choice.
    All modern cars are built with front end crumple zones designed to absorb the impact on a front end smash, fastening a tow bar to those weak points is the opposite to design of crumple zones. Some cars may be strong enough to take the strain, some won't I would recommend regular checking of the fixing points looking for body distortion and for cracking and any signs of metal fatigue. Also check the gaps between the the wings and bonnet are not distorted also check the bonnet opens and shuts properly looking for any front end misalignment.
    Last edited by molly 2; 13-07-2015 at 11:10.

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