Vehicle towing

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Offline gertie Moderator

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Vehicle towing
- Dec 09, 2010 - 17:58
I am looking for something to tow a Land Rover with in the event of a breakdown that could be stored in the vehicle and be safer than towing with a rope.I am not sure on the law on towing so would like some advice on this if possible.

Offline fifty seven

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #1 - Dec 09, 2010 - 18:33
Some trials people used to use an A frame to bring their unregistered trials wagon to events behind another  road legal LR .  This A frame  consisted of a pair of 3inch diameter tubes  about 3 - 4 ft long, that were fitted with end plates through which they could be pegged together and linked to the front of the towed LR.  The junction between the two tubes had a tow hitch or tow ball . This system worked fine as the front axle 'castor' of the towed vehicle meant that it tracked and followed without problems , and a second driver was unnecessary just to steer. ( and would have been illegal in any case as it is against the law to ride in a towed "trailer" )

But I suspect that this A frame idea is now technically illegal due to the regulations on unbraked weight. Because it is illegal to tow a trailer over 750kg without brakes this means that towing any vehicle weighing more than this, as if it were a trailer, would also be illegal.

An unbraked  Dolly wheel tow is also suspect for this reason.

There were systems which used bowden cables to operate an overrun brake system clamped to act on the towed vehicles brake pedal. But this starts to get very complex, and I have no idea how the law regards such un proven/ non  'type-approved'  systems.

Offline starken

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #2 - Dec 09, 2010 - 18:56
It depends on whether or not there would be someone to steer the towed vehicle. If so, you can get sectional rigid towbars that can be collapsed to short sections when not in use. They do not over-run the towing vehicle and braking comes from the towing vehicle.  I have used one successfully and happily. There are units as used by the motoring organisations but they are fairly expensive.

Offline T28-trakgrip

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #3 - Dec 09, 2010 - 19:32
Many motorhome owners tow small cars on an A frame and the relevant forums have been inundated with advice and comments. The towed vehicle has to be road legal and the general info appears to be that towing like this is a "grey" area in the UK but illegal in parts of Europe although many do tow in the EU claiming that it is not illegal in their country of origin.

Offline gertie Moderator

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #4 - Dec 09, 2010 - 20:35
Riding in a towed vehicle is not illegal as this is how i was taken home by the AA on a rigid bar a fortnight ago.
The A frame or a rigid pole is the sort of thing i had in mind and i am pretty sure i have seen an A frame mounted on a military land rover with sankey hitch on it.
I think there is a maximum distance between vehicles as well.

Offline fifty seven

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #5 - Dec 09, 2010 - 22:28
Riding in a towed vehicle is not illegal as this is how i was taken home by the AA on a rigid bar a fortnight ago.
The A frame or a rigid pole is the sort of thing i had in mind and i am pretty sure i have seen an A frame mounted on a military land rover with sankey hitch on it.
I think there is a maximum distance between vehicles as well.

There is a difference between a vehicle being towed, where the connection between the towed vehicles is flexible, such as a pole, and the towing of any vehicle on a rigid A frame or dolly /suspended tow setup.

A rigid A frame makes the object being towed a part of the towing vehicle. The direction and precise speed of that object is controlled by the towing vehicle. The rear of this "rig" should carry the number plate of the vehicle that it is part of, as well as statutory lighting and signals  under the control of the driver of the towing vehicle. This happens also to be a definition of a trailer. It remains illegal for passengers to be transported in a trailer or in a caravan...(other than a showman's caravan for which very special regulations based on the earliest road traffic acts are still in force.)

A vehicle on the end of a single bar /pole tow , or on the end of a towing strop is not a trailer.
Because it is illegal for any non registered, non insured, non taxed vehicle to be used on a public roadway, the only way an uninsured/untaxed/ untested vehicle can legally travel on any  road is either on a trailer or on a suspended tow/A frame. The Towing of any unroadworty vehcile on the public road with  a strop or pole is an offence.

When the recovery man tows your taxed/insured and MOT , but broken down vehicle , you will normally only be towed as far as the first point of proper refuge. ( from which further suspended tow/recovery wagon transportation  can be arranged.) This might be your home if that is close by. This is allowed under the Road Traffic acts. While on the end of the rigid bar or strop tow its driver was still travelling in a legal vehicle...not a trailer. Clearly the opportunity existed for the towed vehicle to veer about and take a path out of line with the towing vehicle ...perhaps endangering other road users. This is why the  moving of disabled vehicles ...even HGV's by this method ....is now restricted to very short distances. 

Offline gertie Moderator

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #6 - Dec 10, 2010 - 06:54
So the pole would seem to be the best option as this would be easy to store and i am only really thinking of towing short distances to get a vehicle either back home or to a garage for repair.

Offline 715GC Trade Advertiser

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #7 - Dec 10, 2010 - 10:37
We use a ridgid pole, very safe, only problem is you need 2 people!

Offline gertie Moderator

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #8 - Dec 10, 2010 - 10:47
Tom is yours a home made one or a bought item some details would be useful.

Offline Landie Les Moderator

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #9 - Dec 10, 2010 - 10:55
Club shop Derek tows one on a home made A frame which is also rigged to operate the brakes, I think Chug, Russell Vice-chair does also.
PM them and I am sure they can give you some advice.

Offline T28-trakgrip

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #10 - Dec 10, 2010 - 11:38
Me too with cable operated brakes via the overun system. I use 2X50mm ball hitches on the front bumper strengthened with 3mm plate bolted to the chassis. This works well and brakes operate as good as any caravan or trailer I have owned. The electrics are wired to a military type multi-pin socket under the bonnet so eliminating the hassle of a trailer board as it then uses the vehicle's own lights. 

Offline starken

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #11 - Dec 10, 2010 - 13:59
My rigid tow pole is, as I say, sectional, and can be stored in the boot. It is commercially available. It consists of three sections of aluminium box section the centre section of which slides inside the other two. With the choice of several holes for the pins, the towing distance between the cars is adjustable The two end sections each have a hook with a hardened steel lockable pin. Most modern cars have towing eyes fastened to the structure of the vehicle. One on the front and one on the rear. This bar is designed to hook into one of the eyes, normally on the rear of the towing vehicle. The other hooks into an equivalent eye on the towed vehicle. Obviously Land Rovers don't normally have an eye but it would simple to weld an eye say on to the bottom of the bumper. The advantage is that there is no need for a standard tow ball system on the towing vehicle. I have used this system on a range of cars with no problems. The towed vehicle must be steerable and be on the road. The only time I would use a rope would be to pull something out of a ditch.

Offline Graeme Trade Advertiser

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #12 - Dec 10, 2010 - 18:02
John Carroll included in a recent Legend (153?) a feature I wrote on making a removable towing eye for a Series 1 out of scrap.  I'm not near 'the store of precious magazines' at the moment, so I can't check which issue, but it was sometime this year.  It worked very well, being towed on a rigid pole, but rather upsetting when the towing driver forgets you're on the back and start driving 'normally' doing 50mph 6 feet off the back bumper of a Freelander is un-nerving.
 
You also realise how much road/body noise is masked by the engine a lot of clattering, banging and whirring!

Offline Wireless

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #13 - Dec 11, 2010 - 00:19
As far as I understand it, using a towing dolly or rigid bar is only legal 'when removing a vehicle to a place of safety', this means to the first available lay-by, or if on a motorway, to the next junction or services.  Any other use is illegal.

Also, using a dolly, you can only 'remove' a vehicle that is disabled but otherwise fully road legal, so this means that towing an unregistered trialler on public roads is illegal, and you could get points and a fine.  In addition, the vehicle on the towing dolly is effectively a second trailer, the dolly being the first, with no brakes and over 750kg, the 'second trailer' is illegal, and even using ad-hoc and untested non-type approved equipment to operate the brakes does not make the 'second trailer' legal, since the brakes have to comply with trailer regulations, not vehicle regulations.

As a final word on the trailer dolly, when loaded with a vehicle to remove to a place of safety, further towing speed regulations apply, with a maximum speed of 20mph, and 40mph on a motorway, so expect speeding points as well.

As far as I am aware, the restriction on rigid bars is only related to removal to a place of safety, although the vehicle being towed still has to be fully road legal.

Presumably, you're going to already have the means to tow the stricken vehicle, so why not hire a proper twin axle car trailer?  If I ever need to move the Series 1, I can get a well maintained one locally from a reputable company, for just 50 a day.

Taking risks with life and limb, licences, and liability of fines, and the chance of further damage your pride and joy just doesn't make any sense when the solution is so cheap.

Offline Black Sheep

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #14 - Dec 12, 2010 - 08:07
I vaguely remember that the person in the vehicle being towed is, under the Road Traffic Act, a Steersman and does not need a licence but must be at least 14 years old. I remember having a discussion with some gentlemen of the law when my bike was being towed behind a car way back in the late 70s. They said it was illegal. It's not. I did eventually convince them as back than I could quote chapter and verse. I can't now. Age... But going from the discussion above, when I towed a friend from Norwich to Bristol I was perhaps fortunate not to be challenged...

Offline Graeme Trade Advertiser

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #15 - Dec 12, 2010 - 09:21
Found it! Legend 153, P46.
 
This is a pic JC didn't use.

Offline starken

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #16 - Dec 12, 2010 - 10:44
Yes, that would be ideal. It also has the advantage that it can be used off-side or nearside. Depending on the make of the towing vehicle, the rear towing eye may be placed on the near-side or off-side and it is best that the rigid bar should be pulling in as near as possible a straight line. In terms of the original thread, there has been, as always, much advice on this subject and, as with all other other advice given on the forum, you read the advice and make your own decision about what is best for you.

Offline fifty seven

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #17 - Dec 12, 2010 - 11:09
Yes, that would be ideal. It also has the advantage that it can be used off-side or nearside. Depending on the make of the towing vehicle, the rear towing eye may be placed on the near-side or off-side and it is best that the rigid bar should be pulling in as near as possible a straight line. In terms of the original thread, there has been, as always, much advice on this subject and, as with all other other advice given on the forum, you read the advice and make your own decision about what is best for you.

UK Law ?  what has that got to do with it anyway ?  :huh: :tic:

 :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Offline starken

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #18 - Dec 12, 2010 - 14:54
There are really two aspects to this question. The first relates to the how. In other words, what method of short term recovery do members use. The second relates to the legal position. Reasonably, since the original request came from a member in England, there has been a focus on UK law and there has been some excellent advice and some which has been a matter of interpretation but of course this forum is read world wide and legal restrictions will vary widely. In Azerbaijan for instance, a racing camel may not travel at a speed of more than 85km/hour on a recently surfaced road. - I believe. Maybe it's now warm enough to get back out to the shed.

Offline BrettPritt Moderator

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #19 - Dec 12, 2010 - 15:07


Offline Wireless

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #20 - Dec 12, 2010 - 23:08
Found it! Legend 153, P46.
 
This is a pic JC didn't use.

That looks like it'll fold it self over towards the radiator if the brakes aren't applied strongly enough, I certainly wouldn't rely upon it.

Offline Graeme Trade Advertiser

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #21 - Dec 13, 2010 - 06:33
That's 3/16-inch wartime Utility bed frame angle iron -- stronger even than Ser 1 chassis steel.  It didn't bend, even coming down Birk Brow off the moors!

Offline GunnarTM

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #22 - Mar 15, 2021 - 14:24
I am starting to worry that I don't have proper recovery points on the '53 80" I drive.  Not for any heavy off-road use, just for tugging it (or it tugging another) short distances or up on a flat-bed should the engine conk out.

I don't have a ball hitch on the rear, but I do have a drawbar with eight 7/8" (22mm) holes; I suppose I could simply carry around the correct-size shackle for that https://toom.de/p/schaekel-ng-200-22-mm-verzinkt/1270058 .

On the front, I've seen all sorts of "front towing ring eyes" https://www.johncraddockltd.co.uk/242139-front-towing-ring-eye-defenderseries.html and "Military Bumper Top Tow Lifting Eyes" https://www.ebay.de/itm/2x-Military-Bumper-Tow-Lifting-Eyes-Land-Rover-Series-1-2-2a-3-90-110/274216753626?epid=669864681&hash=item3fd89799da:g:su8AAOSwEgReJglY ; I'm suspicious these are for Series 2 and later and won't have a base that matches the bolts on a Series 1.    Optically, I'd like to just mount one on the front right, but am open to suggestion.

Any advice would be much appreciated ... including talking me out of doing anything other than looping a tow rope through the big holes in the cross members.  Thanks in advance.

Offline TAC

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #23 - Mar 15, 2021 - 15:00
I purchased a Minerva towing attachment for the front of my 1953 80
Holes match up perfectly and no extra holes in the front bumper required. Just need two extended bumper to chassis bolts which are series 2 bolts with unified threads as opposed the originals.


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Offline TAC

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Re: Vehicle towing
Reply #24 - Mar 15, 2021 - 15:08
Photo of towing attachment. I put one on the right hand side , but you can fit a pair of them if required. Think they may be handed but not sure.
The single one works ok for me.


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