Towing may be illegal, (no straight answer given)

Steve~Mk1

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E50 Owner
Premium Member
#81
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.
Yes, the SIs are easy to find and I've had a good look at them.

In the case I was looking at (my non-type approved vehicle/exempt from SVA/IVA at import) DVSA/VOSA gave me a vague extract of 'case law' for reg. 100 of Construction and Use. What they gave me wasn't actually case law though but just a repeat of the wording of reg 100, which is about vehicles put to a use they are so unsuitable by design or construction as to cause a danger or nuisance (in reality, using a moped as a snow plough maybe). However, they tried to suggest that not having a towing weight definitely means the vehicle has some sort of design flaw or construction weakness meaning it would be dangerous to tow :rolleyes:

I replied to them that Reg 100 of C&U required them to identify something specific in the design or construction of this vehicle that meant it would be dangerous to use it for towing. On it's own, not having a towing weight from the maker doesn't mean it has a flaw in the design/construction wrt towing that would cause a danger/nuisance. They never replied to that, probably thought I was causing them a nuisance :blush:
 

Biffo

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#82
Watlings make towbars for the Elgrand, in fact I'm just having one fitted to mine at this time.From their website, and I believe they should know being speciallists in the industry, for Imported vehicles, the regulations DON'T apply.

"Most passenger cars registered after 1st August 1998 (S registration) must be fitted with a Type Approved towbar. These cars have an “e” mark on the VIN plate together with the maximum car and trailer mass. If the trailer mass is not specified then the car is not permitted to tow a trailer, however it may still be fitted with a support bracket to fit a cycle or motorbike carrier.

European regulations were introduced on 1st August 1998 to harmonise the testing and approval of towbars throughout the EU. The regulations apply to all passenger vehicles registered from 1st August 1998 (S registration) which have to have an "e" mark and its maximum vehicle and trailer masses stamped on a plate. The vehicle manufacturer has to nominate the mounting points for the towbar and the towbar manufacturer has to design to fit to these only. The towbar (not the vehicle or the trailer attached to it) is then tested on a jig, to a formula to ensure it is strong enough to pass the test.

Here at Watling Engineers we fully comply with these regulations and where required we fit EU Type Approved towbars.

These regulations DO NOT APPLY to the following vehicles:
Commercial Vehicles (ie. pick-ups, chassis cabs, vans etc.), Motorhomes, Special Imports (ie. from Japan or America), Front towbars and other cars that are not “e” marked."

From this page on their website. http://www.watling-towbars.co.uk/towbar_fitting_hertfordshire.html

On a personal note, I've copied this page and will keep it in the vehicle with copies of my insurance & Driving licence, (Just in case)
 

sitting_duck

Well-Known Member
#84
Whilst I'm no legal expert (ie it's not my job) there are specific acts in the law I'm very, very familiar with (not telling what but suffice it to say it's an area of the law that has "strict liability" ie it doesn't matter how you broke it - you did, and everything is a mandatory 5 year custodial sentence minimum).

So - that's the stage set - why is this relevant? There is a principle in English law, in that if it's "not specifically prohibited - it must be specifically permitted". I and many others with experience of the area of law I'm talking about have had to argue the toss over this with various law enforcement agencies repeatedly - what you tend to find is unless someone has an interest or a like of the subject matter at hand - they'll say it's not permitted.

To that end - the Construction and Use regs that DVLA love to trot out, do not deal with the specifics of towing on imported vehicles without MAM or any other towing related metrics on the vin plate - ergo, they'd have to make the case that your vehicle wasn't appropriate - and you'd get to defend it.

Now - consider this, if any of you are into motorsport - have a look round the paddock, tell me how many American motorhomes are fitted with towbars.........

That said - who wants to be a test case for this? Well none of us for sure - so, do your homework, find evidence of Elgrands towing in Japan - there's your C & U dealt with.

Personally I'd be ok to tow and be satisfied I wasn't breaking the law and equally I'd happily have that argument with VOSA (used to work for them), DVSA (worked for them too), Police (not worked but deal with em routinely) but yeah I wouldn't enjoy a court case over it.
 

Phil

Here for life
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#85
There's an E51 for sale on Autotrader that's just been imported & has a heavy duty tow bar fitted. It's got a label stuck to it. If the label has tow bar & towing specifications on it - it might prove useful to some of you guys who want to tow.

I've tried zooming in but it's too blurred. Anyway, have a look if you're interested here
 
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MrRob_in

Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Staff member
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E51 Expert
E51 Owner
#89
750kg is standard max unbaked tow capacity in most countries I believe. Maybe a coincidence. I'd expect e51 to fall into 1200 to 1600kg range for braked trailers. My JDM towbar has no load ratings on it or in it's or the vehicle's documentation.
 

Phil

Here for life
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#90
That's a shame chaps. I was hoping I might have stumbled onto something with a bit more info - I should have known better :rofl:
 
#91
Sorry to jump back in on this.. I'm looking to buy an elgrand for towing a caravan. This thread got me worried..

I did a little digging and got the specs for the elgrand e51 model from Nissan Japan..

Vehicle weight is 2040kg give or take... Total weight is 2480kg... Depending on model..

http://history.nissan.co.jp/ELGRAND/E51/0205/DATA/index.html

Need to go to 2nd tab along



Should I still get one for towing a 1300kg caravan ?


Ta
Steve Crow.
 

malcolmyz85

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E50 Owner
Premium Member
#92
I can't say get one for towing to legal grey area , but I have towed a 1300kg caravan fine with 3.2 td e50 and a 3.5 e50 and both towed well , and I would happy to tow a lot heavier , if it's just for towing maybe u need a uk vin plate motor but that's your choice
 

Biffo

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#93
I go off the information given on Watlings website with reference to CE tow weights etc not being on Jap imports etc. The main weight problem that you have is the restriction on what the tow-bar is designed for, Watlings is 1500 kg Maximum, so 1300 kg caravan should be OK.
 

DaveC.

Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#94
I have just received the answer below to a question about an E51 Tow Bar for sale on eBay, unfortunately whilst being totally polite, the answer is the same old, same old.
Hi,
Could you please give me the max trailer towing capacity of this tow bar and does it have or need a type approval plate.
Thanks, Dave C.................

New message from: norbrooktrailers (21,020)
Good afternoon,

Thank you for your enquiry.

As this vehicle is an imported vehicle the towbar does not require type approval, as such the maximum towing capacity is that specified by Nissan. The National Trailer & Towing Association give the guidelines below:


"A good rule of thumb, for safety and stability, when towing a caravan, is the 85% figure recommended for caravans by the Caravan Club. This suggests that you should not tow a caravan that weighs more than 85% of the towing vehicle's kerb weight. (as long as 85% does not exceed the vehicle manufacturer's recommended towing limit. (The kerb weight is defined as the weight of the vehicle plus a full tank of petrol and 75kg (for the driver and luggage)."


If you have any further questions please do get back to us.

Regards
Paul

Towbars Direct
Norbrook Trailers Ltd
Tarporley Road (A49)
Whitley
Warrington
Cheshire
WA4 4DS

T: 01925 730 005

A member of The National Trailer & Towing Association
Registered in England and Wales 01593483 at Unit 3b, Country Design Centre, Cotebrook, Tarporley, Cheshire CW6 9DY
 

MrRob_in

Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Staff member
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
#95
I have just received the answer below to a question about an E51 Tow Bar for sale on eBay, unfortunately whilst being totally polite, the answer is the same old, same old.
Hi,
Could you please give me the max trailer towing capacity of this tow bar and does it have or need a type approval plate.
Thanks, Dave C.................

New message from: norbrooktrailers (21,020)
Good afternoon,

Thank you for your enquiry.

As this vehicle is an imported vehicle the towbar does not require type approval, as such the maximum towing capacity is that specified by Nissan. The National Trailer & Towing Association give the guidelines below:


"A good rule of thumb, for safety and stability, when towing a caravan, is the 85% figure recommended for caravans by the Caravan Club. This suggests that you should not tow a caravan that weighs more than 85% of the towing vehicle's kerb weight. (as long as 85% does not exceed the vehicle manufacturer's recommended towing limit. (The kerb weight is defined as the weight of the vehicle plus a full tank of petrol and 75kg (for the driver and luggage)."


If you have any further questions please do get back to us.

Regards
Paul

Towbars Direct
Norbrook Trailers Ltd
Tarporley Road (A49)
Whitley
Warrington
Cheshire
WA4 4DS

T: 01925 730 005

A member of The National Trailer & Towing Association
Registered in England and Wales 01593483 at Unit 3b, Country Design Centre, Cotebrook, Tarporley, Cheshire CW6 9DY
At least he understands that Legally ONLY Nissan can specify tow capacity.

Not sure why he goes on to make himself look stupid
by not even understand the ‘85% Rule of thumb’ is only meant to be used within manufacturer approved tow limits, not to extend tow capacity or create it where it doesn’t exist. No wonder Legislation was introduced to (attempt to) stop traders like this dangerously miss-leading purchasers in an attempt to sell towbars to them.
 

DaveC.

Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#96
At least he understands that Legally ONLY Nissan can specify tow capacity.

Not sure why he goes on to make himself look stupid
by not even understand the ‘85% Rule of thumb’ is only meant to be used within manufacturer approved tow limits, not to extend tow capacity or create it where it doesn’t exist. No wonder Legislation was introduced to (attempt to) stop traders like this dangerously miss-leading purchasers in an attempt to sell towbars to them.
Here is the latest question to Norbrook Trailers with their reply.

The problem with the Elgrand Paul is that it’s not homologated by Nissan and they won’t give out the required information to enable an owner to make a decision.
If I were to purchase this Tow bar from you and not exceed 85% of the kerbside weight, would It be legal to tow.
Regards, Dave C...........


Good morning Dave.

If there is no weight then just as is used on pre 1998 UK/European cars the 85% per cent rule is normally used. It should be noted that twin (or more) axle trailers do put considerably more strain on a towbar and you may wish to reduce this if towing a twin axle trailer.

Regards
Paul




Sent from Mail for Windows 10
 

MrRob_in

Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Staff member
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
#97
Here is the latest question to Norbrook Trailers with their reply.

The problem with the Elgrand Paul is that it’s not homologated by Nissan and they won’t give out the required information to enable an owner to make a decision.
If I were to purchase this Tow bar from you and not exceed 85% of the kerbside weight, would It be legal to tow.
Regards, Dave C...........


Good morning Dave.

If there is no weight then just as is used on pre 1998 UK/European cars the 85% per cent rule is normally used. It should be noted that twin (or more) axle trailers do put considerably more strain on a towbar and you may wish to reduce this if towing a twin axle trailer.

Regards
Paul




Sent from Mail for Windows 10
Yep. the same flawed (imo) Legal waffle as Watling Engineering. There are no Legal exemptions from the c&u towing regs.

At least his practical observation on twin axle trailer is correct and is backed up my by own scary experience towing a horse box with my e51.

I’m not sure why he can’t say what the bar and blots he supplies are engineered to (ie 1400kg) like the NZ and Australian manufacturers do. And specify that the car’s tow capacity and particularly the mounting points are un-tested by them or rated by the Manufacturer, as is the case with Watlings too if pressed (I believe).
 

Steve~Mk1

Here for life
E50 Owner
Premium Member
#98
Yep. the same flawed (imo) Legal waffle as Watling Engineering. There are no Legal exemptions from the c&u towing regs.

At least his practical observation on twin axle trailer is correct and is backed up my by own scary experience towing a horse box with my e51.

I’m not sure why he can’t say what the bar and blots he supplies are engineered to (ie 1400kg) like the NZ and Australian manufacturers do. And specify that the car’s tow capacity and particularly the mounting points are un-tested by them or rated by the Manufacturer, as is the case with Watlings too if pressed (I believe).
You need to be a bit careful there, as we’ve found C&U doesn't really say much about towing, other than giving some rather sky high maximum weights for vehicles/vehicle combos (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1986/1078/contents/made) In fact, no part of C&U requires a manufacturer to provide the GTW for a normal vehicle, or for a driver to stick to it (Road Traffic Act would do that but it just directs you back to C&U limits...).

C&U also does not not enforce EU type approval regs on non-type approved vehicles…Prior to EU type approval regs being applied here on certain vehicles, there does not in fact seem to be any legislation in the UK that required a manufacturer to provide the GTW, and for those weights to then be 'gospel'. As mentioned before, I suspect that manufacturers just provided it for customers information, and VOSA/DVSA used those weights as the 'rules'.

When I enquired about it, the only part of C&U that DVSA/VOSA could cite (incorrectly imo) as a way to try and bring this into line with type approved vehicles, is the third 'catch all' paragraph of C&U Reg 100. So I think the Norbrook guy is probably on the right track with the pre-1998 bit!
 

MrRob_in

Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Staff member
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
#99
@Steve~Mk1 ah, I think I’m coming round to your way for seeming this. (Thankfully as both my import vehicle have towbars)
Up to now the best explanation (advice) I could find of the Legal situation expressly stated that what appears (to me now) to be the Type Approval regulations re VIN plate and GTW were part for the C&U Regs and therefore affected all ‘Cars’ and not just Type Approved models. I don’t think I ever found the original wording of either bits of Legislation tbh as they were both only available in hard copy and required paying out for! Which was madness. How can you be bound by Legislation you can’t read for free? At least that’s sorted now.

Cool, now I just need to get my head around the old pre 1998 Legislation.
 

Steve~Mk1

Here for life
E50 Owner
Premium Member
@Steve~Mk1 ah, I think I’m coming round to your way for seeming this. (Thankfully as both my import vehicle have towbars)
Up to now the best explanation (advice) I could find of the Legal situation expressly stated that what appears (to me now) to be the Type Approval regulations re VIN plate and GTW were part for the C&U Regs and therefore affected all ‘Cars’ and not just Type Approved models. I don’t think I ever found the original wording of either bits of Legislation tbh as they were both only available in hard copy and required paying out for! Which was madness. How can you be bound by Legislation you can’t read for free? At least that’s sorted now.

Cool, now I just need to get my head around the old pre 1998 Legislation.
With the one proviso that this applies to a non-type approved car - i.e. a vehicle over 10 years old when imported. If someone imports a car less than 10 years old, then that does go through type approval - IVA/SVA which will have some stats added to it's V5 that would indicate it has limits on GTW etc.

However, for a vehicle over 10 years old at import you are exempt from all that, and they'd have to actually demonstrate a technical reason why the vehicle was so unsuitable for towing as to cause a danger under C&U Reg 100.3 - I think for an E50/E51 towing a moderate caravan they would be in for a struggle :cool: