Towing v Trailer

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Post by Gadabout on Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:11 pm

Hi All,

Please can I have some advice! Its towing my Hyundai i10 behind our Cotswold 3.0.  Do we go for an A frame - cable type brakes or do we go for the more expensive electronic version!Or do we go for a car trailer. Does anyone have any experience and can help. Cable type A frame is the cheapest - with electronic version or car trailer being about the same price. Thanks in advance up!
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Post by Dutto on Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:22 pm

Hi there,

Apparently the "A" frame system is banned in some EU countries if you aren't actually a business towing a broken down vehicle.

Also, when towing with an "A" frame you are racking up miles and wear on a vehicle for nothing.

Personally, I would go for a trailer.  We use an 8' x 5' one of these to tow our quad ....

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.... but they do other types of trailer so one of these may suit you better ....

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Hope this helps. allthumbz

Best regards.
drinksallround

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Post by gemdeco on Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:41 pm

Hi
   In my view I would buy a good quality trailer,I tow my jeep with a Brian James Trailer,you then have the choice of any small car.my trailer is quite large which can be a pain,but if you choose the size range of cars you fancy you will be able to get a trailer to suit
   regards Alan
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:01 pm

I use a trailer for my Smart. No vehicle mods or warrantee issues to worry about. SPeak to Rob at Smart Trailer, they probably have a suitable design for the i10. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Post by Gadabout on Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:23 pm

Hi All

Thanks to all of you who took the trouble to reply. When you don't actually know which way to go, it is really helpful to get other get advice.
G up!
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Post by Angel6855 on Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:40 pm

Dutto wrote:Hi there,


Also, when towing with an "A" frame you are racking up miles and wear on a vehicle for nothing.

I tow a Smart Car on an A Frame and it does not rack up the mileage.

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David
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:42 pm

Angel6855 wrote:
Dutto wrote:Hi there,


Also, when towing with an "A" frame you are racking up miles and wear on a vehicle for nothing.

I tow a Smart Car on an A Frame and it does not rack up the mileage.
Not on the odometer perhaps, but the running gear of the Smart sees the extra mileage.

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Post by iank on Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:11 pm

Gadabout,

I too have recently been through this thought process and determined the trailer would be the right solution.  Maybe if I outlined some of my key thoughts on the pros and cons.

1.  The A frame seems to be a legal option in the UK, but it is definitely not legal in some European countries - even if some people have "got away with it".  Therefore an A frame limits where I can take it.
2.  Fitting the A frame and  its components may require modification of the car, in my case a 2013 Panda it needed at least an additional towing eye with the associated cutting of the bumper.
3.  The electric, and braking gear are not that easy to swap from car to car - what will you do if you change your i10?
4.  A plus for the a frame is it doesn't take a lot of space to store.
5.  A standard size car trailer is big, heavy and a pain in the proverbial to store.  BUT.. there are numerous companies that make small "just big enough" trailers for just this purpose - one in Durham who's new trailer is little more than the cost of the A frame.  Make sure you get one that can handle the weight of your car, one company I contacted hadn't realised the Panda has "put on a few pounds" since 2012. 
6. You need to make sure the max train weight of your van can cater for the car AND the trailer - again a plus for the smaller (lighter) trailers.
7.  A trailer can be a bit of a pain to store on site and at home.
8.  A trailer can be used with any car that fits on it (size and weight) , so in my case I can take the Panda or my  kit car.

The key ones for me were 1, 2 & 8.  If you analyse them it basically comes down to flexibility, the trailer allows me to take any car that fits, anywhere, without modification.

Hope my ramblings help....
Ian
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Post by Dutto on Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:54 pm

Angel6855 wrote:
Dutto wrote:Hi there,


Also, when towing with an "A" frame you are racking up miles and wear on a vehicle for nothing.

I tow a Smart Car on an A Frame and it does not rack up the mileage.
Well it should, if any of the four wheels are on the road and turning!!  tap_fingers   tap_fingers

Who wants to buy a vehicle with wheel bearings that have done oodles more miles than are on the clock??

Daft as it sounds, apart from a totally blown engine (1938 Morris 10 that blew up in 1963), the only other real problem I have had is with wheel bearings going south on an A40 van. tap_fingers tap_fingers

The problem with the theory that it may have been towed on an "A" frame for thousands of miles is that I owned the van from new!! Whistle1 Whistle1

Best regards,
drinksallround

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Post by Gadabout on Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:24 pm

Hi All,

You have given me much to think about! Especially Ian, putting everything into perspective!  Will let you all
know when we are sorted, thanks again to everyone,
G up!
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Post by David.S on Sat Aug 08, 2015 1:32 pm

Hi All,
I have also had a long debate with myself on this subject having purchased a Smart Car and really liked Ian's analasys. Have just ordered a trailer from Smart Trailers and look forward to my first trip.
David
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Post by bikeralw on Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:43 pm

This is a nifty little trailer.
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Post by Gromit on Sat Aug 08, 2015 4:20 pm

Hi Al

I think that will be the one David has just ordered.

Cracking trailer, but a lot heavier than it looks. We anguished long and hard before deciding on the A-Frame - also bought from Smart. Excellent bit of kit it is too.

Main reasons for choosing A-Frame.
No desire to tow abroad - touring holidays mostly and a towed vehicle would be a pest.
Dodgy knees make lugging a trailer around very difficult, specially on grass.
Nowhere to store a trailer at home.
Living on a fast main road we would have to load and unload on the road!!
A-Frame is small enough to stow in the boot of the toad.
Toad can be hitched up on the front drive. On return we stop a few miles from home and unhitch. Mrs Gromit drives the toad home and puts it out of the way so I can follow and park the van easily.

Too late to help David (only just spotted the thread) but some thoughts for others maybe.

Dave


P.S. David.S
Have you ordered the model which has ramps that slide into their own storage slots under the trailer bed? That looked like an excellent idea to me, and made loading and unloading a lot easier - not to mention carrying the ramps if they were separate.
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Post by David.S on Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:49 pm

Hi Gromit,

 Yes I have ordered the model with retractable ramps as it made more sense and looked a lot easier than humping great lumps of metal about (left those days behind long ago).

David
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Post by yammy on Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:08 pm

Hi, I went through the same process but in the end went for the "A" frame connected to my Smart car. Fantastic, now we can camp anywhere and then drive into town etc. 
Reasons were: Did not have any space to store a trailer; Easy to store A frame in boot of car when not in use; Smart car does not have Steering Lock; If you get into a tight situation, easy to unhitch and drive the Smart away as you CAN NOT reverse using an A frame; does not clock up mileage. I travel abroad with the van but i only tow when travelling round the uk as i dont want to risk being stopped. If you want to tow abroad however i would definitely go for a trailer. I have a 2.3L Fiat Multijet on 7.04m van, i get approx 30mpg unhitched and 22 mpg when towing.

cheers
Rob.
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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:14 pm

yammy wrote:Hi, I went through the same process but in the end went for the "A" frame connected to my Smart car. Fantastic, now we can camp anywhere and then drive into town etc. 
Reasons were: Did not have any space to store a trailer; Easy to store A frame in boot of car when not in use; Smart car does not have Steering Lock; If you get into a tight situation, easy to unhitch and drive the Smart away as you CAN NOT reverse using an A frame; does not clock up mileage. I travel abroad with the van but i only tow when travelling round the uk as i dont want to risk being stopped. If you want to tow abroad however i would definitely go for a trailer. I have a 2.3L Fiat Multijet on 7.04m van, i get approx 30mpg unhitched and 22 mpg when towing.

cheers
Rob.
Smart Tow and Tow-Bars 2 Tow-Cars both think you can. But it doesn't look ideal, scrubbing the tyres.

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Post by Charliefarlie on Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:46 pm

bikeralw wrote:This is a nifty little trailer.
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No straps ? I saw no straps being removed or put on ? Surely just keeping the car in gear with the handbrake on is not enough ?

I looked at A frames. The arguments rage on on some forums about these things ! The downsides of a trailer for me are where am I going to store it ? Where on sites do we park them ? Pitches in the UK are seldom large enough to park the MH plus the wee car and a trailer ? Surely site owners are going to object to trailers being parked around the sites ? They will look untidy to say the least. 

In the end I just cant decide and probably wont bother.. Shame really as having a wee car with us would be ace.

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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:21 pm

I have only been motorhoming for 2 seasons, but all pitches I have used so far have space for a caravan and its tow car side by side, with or without an awning space. A Smart sized car and trailer take up only the same space as a tow car, so should not be a problem in the UK. May be different in some european sites.

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Post by stoneb on Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:20 pm

Sorry if this is a bit controversial chaps/chapesses, but for us, (me and Mrs S) after we weighed up the cost of modifying our car to be towed on an A frame, or buying a trailer etc, plus having a towbar made and fitted to our MH and thinking through the various plus and minus poits all round, we decided "Blow to paying out all that money as well as using extra fuel. We could hire a lot of cars, if and when we need one, for less money."

Well, that's our opinion, for what it's worth.

Regards, Barry.
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Post by Charliefarlie on Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:08 am

stoneb wrote:Sorry if this is a bit controversial chaps/chapesses, but for us, (me and Mrs S) after we weighed up the cost of modifying our car to be towed on an A frame, or buying a trailer etc, plus having a towbar made and fitted to our MH and thinking through the various plus and minus poits all round, we decided "Blow to paying out all that money as well as using extra fuel. We could hire a lot of cars, if and when we need one, for less money."

Well, that's our opinion, for what it's worth.

Regards, Barry.
That's what we decided... The whole thing is to much hassle.

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Post by Maasai Warrior on Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:41 am

We also came to that conclusion and I am not getting any younger. We tend to just use our cycles, walk or catch a bus or train. I must admit when we were exploring the possibility of towing we were looking at 'A' frames because they looked so practical.  Is it true what 'Yammy' says, you cannot reverse with an 'A' frame? 

As I ride a Yamaha Dragstar, I have thought of an SH125 Honda scooter on a rack at the back with air suspension. Has anyone got any advice on this subject?

Pete
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Post by yammy on Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:21 am

We have always had the ongoing debate with friends of ours regarding motorhomes v caravans with the issue of ..." when we get to a site, we can leave the caravan and use the car to travel about " We found it soooo frustrating when we got to a site and either there wasn't a bus stop nearby or it was too far to walk into town so when I decided to get the A frame, a whole new world opened up to us. So now we are in the same position as Caravan owners, the only difference is the fact that we can either take the MH on its own or tow the car but you don't have the option with a caravan. The A frame takes a couple of minutes literally to put on and you really do not notice you are towing at all. it cost a total of £1200 to adapt the car (using Car-A-Tow) and as far as my insurance company was concerned they class the modification the same as ticking the box for "adding a tow bar" so there was no additional premium (maybe different for other Insurance companies - we use Adrian Flux) I also use a Snooper Adventurer (£425 which you can input length,width and weight ) so it includes the towing car as well, so i don't get caught out with roads that are not suitable. I also have a "live feed " reversing camera so i can keep an eye on the car whilst travelling forward. I got a good deal for the tow fitting by going to the many MH shows so would be worth going to one and having a chat about your concerns. I did it and certainly don't regret it at all, wish i had done it years ago IMHO. My caravan friends cant debate the point any more about being stuck on a campsites any more !! hugegrins Hope this helps cheers Rob. ps Car-A-Tow we used locally in Christchurch, Dorset was extremely helpful and did a great job.
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Post by -mojo- on Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:21 am

The possibility of carrying a scooter has been discussed here before - the key problem is that many vans (especially EK designs) won't have enough spare back axle load rating to allow it. When you add the weight of a non-standard towbar (normal towbars typically have a 100kg noseweight limit) to the weight of a specialist rack and the weight of the scooter itself you are likely to be adding around 180-200 kilos to the back axle loading. On many vans that's a third or more of your total user payload, all on the one axle.

I suspect you might also have problems declaring it to your insurance company as well. My van's base vehicle spec simply does not allow for a towbar carrying greater than 100 kilos - the mount points in the body are only rated to support that load and no more.
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Post by Maasai Warrior on Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:58 pm

Thanks Yammy, yes when we were on the CC site at West Runton, Norfolk recently we saw someone with a long motorhome hitch up to smart car with an A frame and it looked remarkably easy. Is there a problem reversing with an A frame? We may look into the possibility of an A frame at the NEC Show in October.

Pete
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Post by groundhog on Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:42 pm

We looked at it as well,agree with other posters it is so cheap and easy to rent a car why bother.

My exception would be if I trailed something interesting that I enjoyed driving, I did look at getting a Naylor TF and trailer, great fun in the South of France but in reality how often would I really use it?
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