Warning about A-Frame towing

Les Haro

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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.
Wouldn't a dolly sort it all out?
 

trevskoda

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First thing first,the first post says fit to car chassis,there has been no chassis on cars since the day of the herald or spitfire,apart from some 4/4 or trucks they went out with nelsons eye.
 

Tezza33

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Wouldn't a dolly sort it all out?
A dolly would be classed no different than an A frame in Europe, probably worse because they are not braked and a dolly is impossible to reverse, an A frame is just difficult but possible with care and practice
 

colinm

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Wouldn't a dolly sort it all out?

From .gov

Dollies
The use of dollies is intended for the recovery of broken down vehicles, not for the transportation of a vehicle from “A” to “B”. Under Regulation 83 of C&U a motor car is permitted to tow two trailers when one of them is a towing implement and the other is secured to and either rests on or is suspended from the implement.
When used for recovering broken down vehicles dollies are exempt from having an operational braking system fitted, provided that the towing vehicle is capable of meeting the minimum prescribed braking requirements for the combination. However, if dollies are used for the transportation of perfectly functioning vehicles they will need to be fitted with an operational braking system. Additionally the brakes on the wheels of the towed car which are in contact with the road must work and meet the specified 50% braking efficiency required for a trailer.
The dolly would also be required by Regulation 22 of C&U to be fitted with suspension. Regulations 19 and 22 in C&U permit a broken down vehicle to be recovered without complying with these requirements. However, there is further legislation under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 that introduces a limitation on the maximum speed that the combination can be driven - this is 40mph on motorways and 20mph on other roads.
 

gordy

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A Frame Towing.

Why am I about to tow a car behind a motorhome this year. Cos myself and the wife (67&65) have no strength to push a caravan about whether having caravan-mover or not. Also wife hated the box up our ar*e, shaking and waving when we towed a caravan many moons ago. (but, but, but, doesn't count). So far the towed/towing car we got has been used since our main bigger one failed the MOT.
Per the talk through this thread a dolly has no brakes so only used by emergency vehicles.
Standard A frame mounted to suspension lower arms is also illegal as has no brakes and emergency vehicles only.
As too the brackets being pulled from the front of some cars yes it is possible and can be averted.
A frame is coupled to the emergency towing eye bracket behind the bumper after adding another threaded mount. Car Manufacturer has designed and passed off the towing eye mount so why not another. Now as far as I can see there is a flaw in some setups, whether using mixed parts a possibility. The towing eyes stick out from the body under the bumper and note should not be jerked apart or jerked together so the fitting of the A bar is crucial. Hence any slack on the hinge bar should be taken up with washers or spacers. A spacer tube should I would say be fitted between each towing eye to stop eyes coming closer and A bar washered/shimmed before securing it on.
Mind you my friend uses a standard A bar set up for pulling cheap cars home for himself to fix and resell. He's been stopped by the police yes, they look around the set up and ask if its got a road tax. Taxed yes and off they go.
As too brakes the tow cars have all to work of course, whether by overrun coupling with pull wire onto brake pedal, or electronically via box onto brake pedal. Electronically is a simple system to see but at about £1500, using momentum and slowing of the car it works the brake pedal. Think this has a built in Vacuum pump. All Likened to mobile phone action if you think about it.
I've heard that the ignition should be on and engine running to operate the vac assistance of brakes but over run is a jerky procedure and car would be skittering along on the slightest slowing down.
I've still to work out the connecting of rear lights of towcar without using a lighting board. Plug connects under bonnet from Motorhome. Mmmmm see fitting company on that one...Anything else ??
 
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Tezza33

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Why do people need to take a car with them at all? Seems particularly unsuitable if you are wildcamping.
Because we are not always wildcamping, I have a disability, I also have a disabled dog so need sometimes to find places suitable for him to walk with his wheels
IMG_20170701_151404[1].jpg

We sometimes stay on a CL/CS site for long periods and a car gives us the opportunity to go further afield to see places that are difficult to visit with a motorhome, it is also a trailer to carry extra weight.

We don't all have the same needs or ideas
 

TeamRienza

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D. O. T. Update on A frames

This update has recently been published by Dept for transport on the 10th May 2018. It appears to give a little more clarity on the subject, though not the stamp of legal approval that would settle the discussions which periodically pop up.

A-frames - GOV.UK

Davy
 

Tezza33

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This update has recently been published by Dept for transport on the 10th May 2018. It appears to give a little more clarity on the subject, though not the stamp of legal approval that would settle the discussions which periodically pop up.

A-frames - GOV.UK

Davy
I was following this with interest especially after they took the original legislation offline, I was pleased when they posted the new regulations and I am still confident to tow my car but we need someone to be prosecuted, then appeal and the powers that be overturn the decision so we have a definitive answer
 

Byronic

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Wonderful choice of words, 'we would not recommend the use of
A Frames outside the UK.'

Neither are they saying they recommend the use of A Frames within
the UK though. So might as well lump in with the first statement.

In reality just the status quo, it still needs someone to be prosecuted
to create the legal precedent, the risk remains (however small) that it
may go against them.
 

Wully

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I’ve been thinking about this for a long time tow or not but in the end I fitted a towbar and bought a wee fiat 500 with a frame already fitted now I won’t use this every time I go away or use the van probably very rare usage but I’ve now got the option it’s there if I think I need its just handy.keep hearing the nonsense you should have a caravan and car if you want to tow what a load of Shiite can you take you’re caravan away without the car no but you can take you’re mh away without you’re tow car and use so more options the legal side is different if I was told that it was illegal then wouldn’t.
 

Wully

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You're a tugger at heart :scared::scared:
There are people that can help , go on you know what to do .
I bet you've got an aquaroll and a wastemaster too :scared::scared:

You got it Charlie best of both worlds a big F off caravan stuck tae the back of mh then I’ll get my money’s worth out of the caravan and motorhome club membership stick a towbar on the wee fiat and buy one of them Ebro pop up roof things.🤪
 

GWAYGWAY

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Just to add my little bit I need to know What smart car gearbox , CAN be towed without self destructing, I asked another site but got no replies but there is bound to be one on here that knows when they changed from the older gearbox to the dual clutch one that is engaged all the time. I want one for my daughter to go to work and still be able to pull it when I want it to go away.
 

John Thompson

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Just to add my little bit I need to know What smart car gearbox , CAN be towed without self destructing, I asked another site but got no replies but there is bound to be one on here that knows when they changed from the older gearbox to the dual clutch one that is engaged all the time. I want one for my daughter to go to work and still be able to pull it when I want it to go away.

You may be better asking at thesmartclub - FORUM or Smartz Smart Car Forum

I had one of the first grey import Smarts. I trailered that, as a friend had destroyed his by towing and it not being properly in neutral. He hadn't changed gears with the brake depressed, just moved the stick.

Hope that helps
 

GWAYGWAY

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One of the stress parts of an A frame is the cross piece between the eyes that makes it into an A, a lot of these so called bars do not have this crosspiece and therefore the push and pull of the bar when cornering put the forces directly to the vehicle in an alternating way so the chassis member of the car is pulled one side or the other and that double the pulling force on that side, in tension. It is imperative that there is a cross piece as close to the eyepoints as is possible, there is also an inward force on the subframe parts when the van pulls the 'V' frame . Just a point that I thought might be fixable at home with a bar and a couple of bolts to make the 'A' from the 'V' to stop these forces causing stresses, the car designers never thought of when doing the calculations.
 

Deleted member 34288

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Reply from VOSA
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.

Just right click on the file, and save to your PC/Device....
 

trevskoda

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I has a home made a frame when i was working on old sodas,later found they are not now legal as over 750 weight and must have brakes with stop lights on rear car,also a sign stating car on tow,it used to be no towing on sundays in ireland,dont know if this still holds.
 

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