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Any flat towing bars for a SAAB 9-3? (EDIT: a.k.a an A-Frame?)

Jun 16, 2021
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Hi everyone,

I am looking to flat tow my 2009 SAAB 9-3 XWD 6-speed manual behind my RV, any tow bars that can achieve this?

Thank you for you time and help.

EDIT: Apparently, its called an A-Frame across the pond?
 
Last edited:
Oct 12, 2016
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The car has to be modified so that the towed vehicle's brakes operate when the towing vehicle brakes.
A frames are not illegal to use in France or Spain but the law states that it is illegal for one vehicle to tow another except in an emergency and never on a motorway.
Personally if I had to tow a car behind a motorhome I'd put it on a trailer.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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A-frames are only tolerated in the UK because there is no piece of legislation that specifically refers to A-frames. However, for want of any specific legislation they are treated as a trailer in the rest of Europe and have to comply with all requirements that apply to trailers, which they don't, which is why they are illegal on the Continent.
I doubt whether any manufacturer has made an A-frame to suit a car of the size of the Saab 9-3. The few that there are are generally for very small cars such as the Smart, etc.
 
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May 7, 2012
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Some recovery firms have used these to move quite large cars, so they will be out there, but given the need to make them more substantial, they must weigh more and be costly.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Some recovery firms have used these to move quite large cars, so they will be out there, but given the need to make them more substantial, they must weigh more and be costly.
I presume that you are referring to dollies rather than A-frames. I've never heard of recovery firms using A-frames as no cars are manufactured as standard with provisions to fit A-frames.
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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I presume that you are referring to dollies rather than A-frames. I've never heard of recovery firms using A-frames as no cars are manufactured as standard with provisions to fit A-frames.
Many modern cars have standard provision for two front emergency towing loops which would be an excellent place to fit a universal A-frame - how they connect the over-run hitch to the car's braking system is a mystery to me, that's if they actually bother.
 
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Many modern cars have standard provision for two front emergency towing loops which would be an excellent place to fit a universal A-frame - how they connect the over-run hitch to the car's braking system is a mystery to me, that's if they actually bother.
Most of the cars that I have seen recently only have one front and rear anchorage point for emergency towing loops. Besides, these anchorage points are not designed to take lateral loads encountered with an A-frame.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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I thought the towed cars behind Motor homes were not braked during travel??
As Lutz posts, it's a requirement for the towed car to be braked (unless it's under 750kg gross, which none are) - but I suspect that most simply ignore that requirement.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Last edited:
Mar 14, 2005
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Its quite complicated in the UK becasue the trailer regs assume an overrun braking system will be used. That is why the American electrical braking systems and other vacuum or air pressure based systems aren't seen in the UK.

I personally think its time the UK did recognise some of these other systems, as over run brakes are only fully effective when the tow vehicle and trailer are in a perfect straight line. As soon as there is a an angle the force applied to the trailer brakes reduces, and it can exacerbate any tendency to jack knife the outfit.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Its quite complicated in the UK becasue the trailer regs assume an overrun braking system will be used. That is why the American electrical braking systems and other vacuum or air pressure based systems aren't seen in the UK.

I personally think its time the UK did recognise some of these other systems, as over run brakes are only fully effective when the tow vehicle and trailer are in a perfect straight line. As soon as there is a an angle the force applied to the trailer brakes reduces, and it can exacerbate any tendency to jack knife the outfit.
Agree your thoughts but in this country most motorhomes that use A brackets are probably at or well above the 3500 kg mark, and the attached cars are lightweight, short and low. So the propensity to Jack knife is lower than say for example a caravan outfit. Also in the US towed load limits are far lower than in UK. My cars US limit is below 50% of U.K. and European limit.
 
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The angle between car and trailer would have to be quite significant for the compressive force in the coupling to be below the threshold level for the overrun brake to deploy. That would really only be the case when manoeuvring.
The trouble with braking systems other than overrun is that few if any vehicles below 3500kg GVW are equipped with provisions for independent electric or air braking. There is no industry standard for such a system, making interchangeability between tow vehicle and trailer very difficult.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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As a matter of interest how does the American electrical braking systems differ to our over run brakes and is it a better system?
 
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Many USA caravans and other mid sized trailers have brakes that are applied electrically ( some used to by air or hydraulic) The signal to power them is derived in the tow vehicle, and there were a variety of differnt ways that was achieved one of the oldest and one that I would not entertain is a separate control the driver would need to operate (independent of the tow vehicles brakes) - something to forget in an emergency.

Later and now more common versions pick signal either from the position of the brake pedal, of the pressure in the tow vehicles brake hydraulics.

With modern Canbus systems it should be easy to export the braking signals to a trailer braking system.

But there are some UK regulations that make such schemes difficult to implement over here.

Look here
 
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The overrun brake does have one advantage over the electric brake inasmuch as it will also deploy when the towcar is using engine braking, without the footbrake in operation.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The angle between car and trailer would have to be quite significant for the compressive force in the coupling to be below the threshold level for the overrun brake to deploy. That would really only be the case when manoeuvring.
I agree, but never the less the compressive force is reduced if not in a straight line.

But there is at least one other situation when there can be a significant angle between teh tow vehicle and trailer, and that is when snaking in other words when control has already been massively diminished. It can mean the virtually unrestrained momentum of the trailer can put a significant side load on the tow vehicles hitch.

This is one reason why ATC or LEA's systems seem so effective - and of course they are electrically operated but not classed as vehicle braking systems.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I agree, but never the less the compressive force is reduced if not in a straight line.

But there is at least one other situation when there can be a significant angle between teh tow vehicle and trailer, and that is when snaking in other words when control has already been massively diminished. It can mean the virtually unrestrained momentum of the trailer can put a significant side load on the tow vehicles hitch.

This is one reason why ATC or LEA's systems seem so effective - and of course they are electrically operated but not classed as vehicle braking systems.
The Alko electric brakes for the AustralIan market can be integrated with ATC. Perhaps we might see something simliar in Europe before too long. A useful feature.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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lutzschelisch.wix.com
I agree, but never the less the compressive force is reduced if not in a straight line.

But there is at least one other situation when there can be a significant angle between teh tow vehicle and trailer, and that is when snaking in other words when control has already been massively diminished. It can mean the virtually unrestrained momentum of the trailer can put a significant side load on the tow vehicles hitch.

This is one reason why ATC or LEA's systems seem so effective - and of course they are electrically operated but not classed as vehicle braking systems.
The amplitude of a snake increases with each cycle. If active intervention takes place in a timely manner, within the first or maybe even the second cycle, the angle between the towing vehicle and the trailer will not yet have reached a critical level, too great to prevent possible deployment of the overrun brake
 
Mar 14, 2005
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lutzschelisch.wix.com
The Alko electric brakes for the AustralIan market can be integrated with ATC. Perhaps we might see something simliar in Europe before too long. A useful feature.
In our part of the world braking systems need to be type approved with the towing vehicle. Otherwise, a retrofitted electric brake device on the towing vehicle would require an IVA, which is a bit of a hassle for the owner. Things aren’t made any easier by the fact that there is no industry standard for electric braking systems to which all car manufacturers can work (to my knowledge at least not for trailers under 3500kg). Without standardised ex-works provisions it would be impossible to swap tow cars or trailers.
Maybe things are a bit easier in Australia and a towcar with a retrofitted electric trailer braking system doesn’t have to be type approved.
 

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