Towing may be illegal, (no straight answer given)

chris wills

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#64
i wish Direct Line said that to us, we have had to buy another vehicle to tow with, when we spoke to Direct Line and explained that DVSA had told us it is not legal to tow using any vehicle that doesnt have a gtw on the vin plate they said they would not honour our insurance if we towed with it. its an E51 2003. DVSA told us spcifically that the only way to legaly tow is to get either Nissan or a verified chassis manufacturer to make a new vin plate with the gtw stamped on it. Direct Line said they would not insure us so if they have told you they will could you pm me the name and department of who you spoke to as we would like to take this further.
 

Nustad

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#65
I just rang direct line to get verification one way or the other. They said they would cover it third party up to 1800kg as per watlings recommendation. What you need to remember is insurance covers you for all sorts of illegal activities, just because they will cover you doesn't make it right.

This is a final email I got from the NTTA regarding towing using the Elgrand.
I had emailed them with regards towing using an E51.


Good evening Mr. Wilcock,

I thought I should send you my final thoughts prior to the weekend as I’m sure that you are wondering what to do.

I think that Watling Engineer’s stance is “If the vehicle has been imported from a non EU member state, without a Towbar fitted, and a Towbar is subsequently fitted, then that Towbar does not have to meet/comply with type approval Regulation 55”.

Assuming that this statement is not contested, then we have the equally important situation concerning the build standard of your particular vehicle. From the limited amount of internet research I carried out, it would appear that some Elgrand models may have been homologated in Japan for towing. These models appear to be 4 x 4 variants (NE51?) and are supposedly capable of towing up to 3,000 kg. Other literature I have checked suggests that the highest towing capacity on all recent models is 1,500 kg (NE51 series).

In the absence of consistent data I would suggest that you contact Nissan and give them the VIN number. They will give you a definitive answer.

I stand by my observations in previous emails and would also reiterate that the VIN or type plate does not indicate that this vehicle may be used for towing.

Watling Engineers isn’t a member of ours so there is little more I can do to help you but perhaps you can ask them to underwrite their advice to you in case you are ever prosecuted. Also, do ensure that your insurance company backs up its commitment in writing to cover you for towing up to 1,800 kg. You do not want them voiding your cover if you have an accident and the authorities determine that you should not have been towing with your JDM Elgrand.

Finally, it is our opinion and please read the disclaimer below, that in the absence of any further information we have to suggest that whilst it might not be illegal to fit a Towbar to your vehicle it almost certainly is not legal to use it for towing.

If Nissan tell you otherwise then you are clear to go as it is they and only they, as the design authority, who can advise if your vehicle may be used to tow and up to what limits. They should be able to give you a copy of the vehicle homologation which would be useful. However, I suspect from your earlier remark that someone “had an email from Nissan Japan regarding the lack of towing weights and they state that they didn't issue towing weights as they didn't homologate the Elgrand for towing” that we both know what the answer will be.

Good luck and if you get time please tell me how you get on with Nissan.

Best regards,

Larry Lambert

Chief Executive Administrator

National Trailer and Towing Association Ltd


Carriage Court, Welbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 3LR
Phone: 01909 512 555
 

MrRob_in

Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Staff member
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
#68
ALL the others I've seen leave it blank for JDM cars rather than actually putting zero in the box, As there is no Legal obligation on manufactures to specify axle or train weights or legal recognition of the European plated weight system.
View attachment 910
Legal interpretation or a zero over a blank field in UK could be very different though I think a blank and zero probably mean the same thing for train weights ...but what If it's the same for axle weights too?
 
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Travellingman

Well-Known Member
E50 Owner
Premium Member
#69
I suppose my chief concern would be wether towing something would put a strain on the bodyshell that it may not have been built to deal with ? hate to get home and find the doors wouldnt open ,
 

malcolmyz85

Here for life
E50 Owner
Premium Member
#70
I suppose my chief concern would be wether towing something would put a strain on the bodyshell that it may not have been built to deal with ? hate to get home and find the doors wouldnt open ,
I don't think you have any worries with your concerns,i have towed all sorts with my 3.2 e50 before this prob came to light,towed two half tonne navara nearly 300 mile no prob.its the legal side is only prob
 

Travellingman

Well-Known Member
E50 Owner
Premium Member
#72
just wondering if the strain of towing with a towbar/coupling trailer/caravan setup might put undue strain on it rather than towrope ? even some 4x4s are not able to tow 4 wheel caravan/ horseboxes due to chassis strain
 

Chris davies

Member
E50 Owner
Premium Member
#73
So we are really no further forward. I have an e50 and recently purchased a towbar second hand to put on my e50. Mainly it will be used to protect my ass end a bit more in event of car park bump (they will hit towbar first) and in event of rear end collision to add a touch more safety to the children I carry. I might however buy a small trailer to go camping in the future no bigger than 6x4 just to carry lightweight bits in... if I want sand I'll get it delivered. I will contact my insurance company which seems to change each year to see if they will cover me. Guess it's see what happens. .. if I can't I can't. .. at least it will keep muppet that don't know length of their car front or rear bumping mine and then fudging off and not saying anything and me left with a bill to repair. So for me personally I won't lose either way. But so wish nissan would take this grey area seriously and give us the train weights etc we need to stay legal.
 

MrRob_in

Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Staff member
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
#74
I'm sure if we undertook to cover all the multi million pound cost of gaining type approval of not only the towbar but the car as well they'd be happy to oblige ;)

Unfortunately it's just a result of their legal treatment or car / towbar . We place onus of Legal responsibility on original car and towbar manufacturers where they place it on the end user.

Lucky for us the rules and regs are so complicated no one seems willing to try to enforce them.
 

Phil

Here for life
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#75
I wonder if we could use the power of the forum to get clarification from Nissan. They used to be good on customer service from what I've heard. Some sort of petition (sounds too confrontational) or representation with 900+ names might be worth a try.
 

Steve~Mk1

Here for life
E50 Owner
Premium Member
#76
I wonder if we could use the power of the forum to get clarification from Nissan. They used to be good on customer service from what I've heard. Some sort of petition (sounds too confrontational) or representation with 900+ names might be worth a try.
I found Nissan customer services very polite, although they would only advise me that ‘In case of emergency, the weight of the towed vehicle should be less than the one of the Elgrand’ - So at least Nissan have acknowledged that the vehicle can tow up to it’s own weight without self destructing!

But I think the problem in the UK is two fold.

As MrRob_in states vehicles that go through the SVA/IVA have weights and measures put on the V5C as part of the EU approval/registration process (which means they could be legally binding), so that would need something official to go on the log book as per the DVSA IVA guide. If the manufacturer plate is blank though as shown above, DVSA logic would have you 'overloaded' without anything in the car...and that surely doesn't make sense.

However, vehicles that are exempt from type approval at import (and I think this is why you see a lot of imported vehicles that just over 10 years old at import) have virtually zero approval process to go through/information to provide. My ‘97 E50 was exempt from SVA/IVA at import, and when I asked them the DVSA really struggled to provide me with a legal answer on ‘non-type approved vehicle towing’. In my view they don’t have one and just tried to fob me off!

I think that one of the problems is that in the past the manufacturers weights and measures were always looked at by VOSA as definitive when pulling/weighing a car, but before EU type approval these were never actually required in law for passenger cars, but were just provided by helpful manufacturers - although the measures themselves might have been based on a standard industry agreed test (BSI?).
 

TaNaBaN999

Newbie
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#79
Great feed. this is something i have questioned JappCover about a week ago when insuring my new to me e51 2006 Elgrand. The adviser was extremely helpful even recommended Wattling for the towbar. He told me that since he can remember he has been putting through elgrands and bongos etc for insurance, as a broker with no issue for a long time. He covers this issue by adding the towbar as a modification on the policy. He has never had a claim refused because the Elgrand or bongo etc has had a towbar fitted. Because the modification is on the policy.

Im not against anything thats been posted here just sharing my own recent experience as a new owner.
 
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sitting_duck

Well-Known Member
#80
NO, as I see it, under UK Law towing without a manufacturer approved tow limit isn't Legal, but that doesn't make it illegal until proved by the court system ie Case Law.
The so called 'grey area' (which is merely confusion over interpretation of the rules [because it's almost impossible to gain access to the Statutory documents] by users, information & enforcement agencies) has meant to date no prosecutions have been brought.
Statutory instruments are all here fwiw - about 76,000 of em:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi

You just need to know what they were called to find them or what act they updated......good luck!

All the statutory instruments for the acts I'm interested in are certainly there so I'd be surprised if the ones concerning vehicles / construction and use etc aren't also present.