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A Frame To Tow A Mini


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#1 parma

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 05:20 PM

hey ive got to pick up a mini from oxford tomoro and i was thinking instead of carting the trailor all the way down there, i could make a A frame to go on my ball hitch! but i was thinkin where to attach it on the mini would be the strongest and most simplest?

any help would be good

sorry about the picture but u i thought it might help

cheers

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#2 Retro_10s

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 05:30 PM

strapping it to the front wheels would be best like other A-frames. Other than that it needs to be the subframe really

#3 samwell

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 05:38 PM

is the car taxed and road legal? there's a discussion goin on somewhere else about this. If a weel touches a road then it has to be road legal.

#4 parma

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 05:41 PM

is the car taxed and road legal? there's a discussion goin on somewhere else about this. If a weel touches a road then it has to be road legal.


i asked about this, and i was told it doesnt matter if its being toed, because there is no-one in it driving and it is basically a trailor which is using your car as the brakes!

#5 Dan

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 06:38 PM

Yup but because the Mini is too heavy to be an unbraked trailer it would need to be linked to your car's braking system, which it isn't and can't be. That's why towing with an A frame is illegal, just as towing with a rope is illegal. You need a trailer or a tow truck.

#6 sixwheeler

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 07:29 PM

Yup but because the Mini is too heavy to be an unbraked trailer it would need to be linked to your car's braking system, which it isn't and can't be. That's why towing with an A frame is illegal, just as towing with a rope is illegal. You need a trailer or a tow truck.


Towing with a rope is NOT illegal.

Towing another vehicle
The bumper to bumper distance between vehicles must not exceed 4.5m. If the rope or chain is longer than 1.5m, it must be made clearly visible so as to assist other road users.

Tow Rope
There is no minimum length of tow rope or chain but the maximum length is 4.5m. Any tow rope longer than 1.5m must be marked to alert other road users. One way of doing this is to attach one or more brightly coloured ties to the rope. The law does not specify the type of rope or chain to be used.

When towing with a rope the towed car should be legally allowed on the road.

Technically, if you use a dolly the car does become a trailer [if fact you then end up towing 2 trailers and only farmers and breakdown vehicles are allowed to do this] and if it has brakes that would be just about OK under UK law, EXCEPT, the :ph34r: EU have put pay to that - there is an EU law to do with reversing and the brake mechanism....

In theory, no you cannot tow a car on an A frame or dolly, you are also past the unbraked weight limit even with a mini.

The reallty of the situation is that 99.99% of the time, NOBODY cares and most EU countries don't really worry about it, this country included. If the vehicle is just making a single journey to its final resting place (to be scrapped, tested, mended or whatever) and it is not falling apart and you are not driving like an idiot then you would have to be very, very, very unlucky to be stopped and prosecuted.

I personally don't worry about it (although I tend to only tow when it is quiet, not a long distance and not through a city centre!), I am NOT advising that anyone should tow in any manner, just stating that in MY OPINION there is not that much to worry about - but don't balme me if.....

Does not seem to matter who you talk to in officaldom, they all seem to have a different take on the subject; some say fine, don't worry about it, some say not.

Back to the topic, I was going to make-up a bar the width of the mini, two holes through, some tube, take out the subframe mounting bolts and then use these holes to bolt though the bar, though the tubes and then through the subframe.

Oh, there are ways to link to the towed cars brakes, but as stated earlier, the :D EU got in the way of that one.

#7 Dan

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 08:07 PM

While it is not specifically illegal to tow with a rope (meaning there is no statute specifically referring to it) you can be prosecuted for it. There are lots of things that are not specifically illegal but are regarded as Driving Without Due Care or simply as Dangerous Driving. Something doesn't have to be specifically written down to be against the law, precedance can make something illegal. People have been and continue to be prosecuted for Dangerous Driving for towing with a rope and that means that you can be too, especially since the Highway Code published that it should be avoided where possible (or something like that). Tow with a rope at your own risk but it is regarded as being an emergency measure to find a place of safety and clear the carriageway now and not for long or intentional journeys. If a Policeman decides that you didn't really need to make the journey using a tow rope and it was dangerous or irresponsible to do so, you can end up in court for doing so.

Yes you CAN connect the brake systems, but only by installing parts into the towed car to do it. You do it to tow your car behind your campervan on holiday, not just to relocate a car!

The reallty of the situation is that 99.99% of the time, NOBODY cares and most EU countries don't really worry about it


Try towing a car full of actors with film cameras stuck all over the outside of it on an A frame, believe me the Police DO care. We have to get all kinds of permissions and have more insurance than you can imagine, shut roads, get Police escorts and all sorts of things like that. If we don't want to have to shut roads, we have to use a low-loader.

#8 samwell

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 09:49 PM

is the car taxed and road legal? there's a discussion goin on somewhere else about this. If a weel touches a road then it has to be road legal.


i asked about this, and i was told it doesnt matter if its being toed, because there is no-one in it driving and it is basically a trailor which is using your car as the brakes!



so back to the point, why ask if you weren't prepared to listen to the answer, fair enough i didn't site any references but why ask a question if your just gonna reply with "i've been told your wrong, go away"

#9 Jordie

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:05 PM

Yup but because the Mini is too heavy to be an unbraked trailer it would need to be linked to your car's braking system, which it isn't and can't be. That's why towing with an A frame is illegal, just as towing with a rope is illegal. You need a trailer or a tow truck.


Mini Weight (curb) = 617 kg (1,360 lb) to 686 kg
both our A-frames are equal to 25-30kg
That adds upto under 750kg

A-frames can really only be used legally for towing cars if

(a) the car is been recovered after a breakdown or
(b) the weight of the towed car and A-frame is below 750kgs

The lights on the rear of the towed vehicle must comply with other regs for trailers, including warning reflective triangles and towing vehicle reg plate.


And

The C & U (construction and use) regulations treat vehicles connected by a rigid coupling as a towing vehicle and trailer. The use of an A-frame thus means that the towed car becomes the trailer in the eyes of the law, and therefore must comply with the normal requirements of a trailer.


EDIT:- Should put here that trailers do not need TAX/MOT to be towed therefore neither does a car towed using an A-frame.

Obviously, towing weight of the driven car and the drivers license will need to comply by there own regulations.

But thats my input on this. Ive just been talking to the traffic police and FTA today about this. Turns out its perfectly legal for me to tow my mini using an A-frame.

Edited by Jordie, 16 January 2008 - 07:15 PM.


#10 sixwheeler

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 11:48 PM

Mini Weight (curb) = 617 kg (1,360 lb) to 686 kg
both our A-frames are equal to 25-30kg
That adds upto under 750kg


Alas, it's not the curb weight, it's the vehicle gross weight which is normally considerably more than the curb weight.

The C & U (construction and use) regulations treat vehicles connected by a rigid coupling as a towing vehicle and trailer. The use of an A-frame thus means that the towed car becomes the trailer in the eyes of the law, and therefore must comply with the normal requirements of a trailer.


This is indeed correct, but a mini falls foul of the gross weight restriction, this then requires brakes under UK law, the brakes have to a. be able to be locked on in case of a discoupling b. operate on overrun and c. have a mechanism to disconnect the brakes when reversing - there is something in EU law that takes this further rendering the use of A frames virtually impossible; I don't have the exact wording to hand.

But thats my input on this. Ive just been talking to the traffic police and FTA today about this. Turns out its perfectly legal for me to tow my mini using an A-frame.


Yep, but if you talk to someone else there is a good chance they will say you can't, it seems to be a very shady area. That said, the above quote is why I belive that there is no real issue as the law in this country (and most EU countries) is not strictly enforced. Who is the FTA?

While it is not specifically illegal to tow with a rope (meaning there is no statute specifically referring to it) you can be prosecuted for it.


No you can't, it does have to be written down to be against the law! Failing that, a bit of law that can cover it has to be found.

There are lots of things that are not specifically illegal but are regarded as Driving Without Due Care or simply as Dangerous Driving. Something doesn't have to be specifically written down to be against the law, precedance can make something illegal. People have been and continue to be prosecuted for Dangerous Driving for towing with a rope and that means that you can be too, especially since the Highway Code published that it should be avoided where possible (or something like that). Tow with a rope at your own risk but it is regarded as being an emergency measure to find a place of safety and clear the carriageway now and not for long or intentional journeys. If a Policeman decides that you didn't really need to make the journey using a tow rope and it was dangerous or irresponsible to do so, you can end up in court for doing so.


In the cases that you are thinking of, this has been the 'without due care' law. Precednece does not make something illegal, it clarifies a point of law that can be interpreted in different ways - to be in a court arguing about it, you must first have broken a law. Yes people have been done for 'without due care' when towing, but all the cases I know of are where people have been seriously stupid, like 90mph in the outside lane of the motorway, I think I saw one where they towing two or maybe three cars at once - clearly insane!

Unless you are a breakdown truck [which are exempt] rescuing a car, then it is technically illegal to use an A-frame or a dolly from what I can make out of a combination of UK and EU law. According to these laws, it seems any method of towing a vehicle is considered to be only for an emergency purpose. As I say, the law is not stricly enforced and I think you would have to be either very unlucky or being very stupid.

#11 Dan

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:14 AM

No you can't, it does have to be written down to be against the law!


Find a law that says it's illegal to drive on the right hand side of the carriageway.

In any case we're agreed that it's basically illegal to tow with an A frame now. by the way Jordie, as Sixwheeler says the absolute weight limit for an unbraked trailer is based on the gross trailer weight but also may not be more than half the kerb weight of the towing vehicle. That means that even if you could tow a Mini based on the Mini's kerb weight alone you'd need at least a car with a kerb weight of 1400kg. I used to have the last published gross weight for a Mini somewhere but I can't find it now. Bearing in mind that it's designed to carry three adult passengers in addition to the driver (already included in the kerb weight), extra weight allowance for the driver because the included allowance isn't much (68kg) and some extra luggage you have to think it's around 950kg.

#12 Ethel

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 01:48 AM

Another nice lively discussion :ph34r:

I saw a film unit on the M1 last year, complete with police escort, still amazed me to see cameramen tottering about on a moving flatbed truck with a car full of actors on a trailer behind. I'd have though they'd have needed the road shut - not for safety reasons but to keep the gaggle of rubber neckers, trying to get their face on telly, at bay. Yes, I was that soldier :D

Can't say much about towing legislation but precedence or case law is recognised as a means of establishing what is 'n isn't illegal. It's really the only way of deciding as it's what keeps lawyers, barristers and judges in a job and we lesser mortals in our place.

#13 Jordie

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 08:49 AM

In that case whats the gross weight of a mini then? I cant seem to find anything over then a curb weight.

FTA is the freight transport association, you need to pass a Certificate of Professional competence to gain a national O license which enables you to carry your own and other peoples goods. If you run a car transportation firm, you need a national O license to move more then 2 cars at any time. up to 2 cars can be classed as recovery, but again, its a grey area. As recovery is moving a car that has broken down, rescuing it to a suitable place or location.

FTA have massive input into the construction and use regulations, so I thought i would ask them since I have them on internal phonebook for my job.

Edited by Jordie, 23 December 2007 - 08:53 AM.


#14 sixwheeler

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 09:37 AM

No you can't, it does have to be written down to be against the law!


Find a law that says it's illegal to drive on the right hand side of the carriageway.


That is because it is not illegal and you can drive on the right hand side; I expect most people have done so even though only for a very short distance. However, as I was trying to explain, this is then coverd by a different law in certain circumstances; if you are driving on the right, against traffic, this then becomes dangerous....

It is explicitly illegal to drive on the wrong side of a motorway.

In any case we're agreed that it's basically illegal to tow with an A frame now. by the way Jordie, as Sixwheeler says the absolute weight limit for an unbraked trailer is based on the gross trailer weight but also may not be more than half the kerb weight of the towing vehicle. That means that even if you could tow a Mini based on the Mini's kerb weight alone you'd need at least a car with a kerb weight of 1400kg. I used to have the last published gross weight for a Mini somewhere but I can't find it now. Bearing in mind that it's designed to carry three adult passengers in addition to the driver (already included in the kerb weight), extra weight allowance for the driver because the included allowance isn't much (68kg) and some extra luggage you have to think it's around 950kg.


I think that the only car that you can #technically# tow (under 750kg) is one of these Aixam Cars

Although, I will say it again. If you are being safe and sensible and trying to do the job properly, then I really don't think that you will have any problems with whatever method of towing you use. As I have said before, I think you would have to be very unlucky. Although, I wouldn't suggest anything other than very short distances with a rope.

If the vehicle was more than 15 - 20 miles or so away then I would probably use a trailer just to be on the safe side, depending on where abouts or what the roads were like. But locally, I would tow with a solid bar; I made one a few years ago out of 50x50 box section - a bit overkill, but it's not going to bend!

#15 Spenner

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:19 AM

As i said in the other thread that was running the other day. That i towed one of my mini's back from Enfield to Swindon on an A frame and had no problems with police for what i can remember i had atleast 1 pass me on the m25 the mini had no tax or test and had 2 windows missing. I was towing it with a large van trailer board on the back of the mini. I know when i was looking in to towing with the A frame its a very grey area.




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