Hobby caravan

Aug 4, 2004
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What vehicles fall into the category of being 3501kg without going overboard. In other words they just make it into the 3501 kg category.

Also if a capable 4 x 4 vehicle, i.e a Toyota 3.0L from Europe is towing a carvan exceeding the laid down dimensions, can the police remove them from the road as they are under EU law etc?

We are seriously considering purchasing a Excelsior 650UFf as it is a better built caravan than the British vans, but the only concern is towing it and we are looking for the smallest 35001 kg vehilce that fits the bill.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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It's always been the case that vehicles and/or outfits which are legal in their country of registration are accepted as visitors in the UK for up to 6 months without having to comply with our vehicle regulations. In the same way, legal UK outfits are allowed as visitors to other EU countries without complying with their vehicle regulations.

Traffic regulations have to be observed regardless of the vehicles' origin.

Obvoiusly there are commercial vehicles which exceed the 3501kg limit which could be used but for a car-type vehicle only the grey import US pick-ups spring to mind.
 
G

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I think a little more explanantion as to the question is required. Are we discusasing the 3500 kg limit for total train weight as per the limit on newer driving licences? I would have assumed that regardless of whether your outfit is allowable under any country's waiver, if your licence doesn't allow you to drive it then you can be prosecuted.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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I agree with Scotch Lad, firstly, to tow a 650 Hobby in this country, legally, will require a vehicle with a MGW of 3500kg, or more.

This leads on to licencing requirements, where for this combination, a C1, or C1+E may be required.

If you tow with an illegal outfit, the Police can order you to make alternative arrangements to remove the van from the road, as well as charging you with any number of driving charges, from illegal outfit, void insurance, etc etc.

having looked at the Toyota sites, I have not found any model Toyota which comes even near the 3500kg weight.
 
Aug 4, 2004
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My licence allows me to tow up to 7.5 tons or thereabouts. The question is a suitable towing vehicle even if it is a transit or pickup as long as it can do the job.
 
Aug 4, 2004
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I agree with Scotch Lad, firstly, to tow a 650 Hobby in this country, legally, will require a vehicle with a MGW of 3500kg, or more.

This leads on to licencing requirements, where for this combination, a C1, or C1+E may be required.

If you tow with an illegal outfit, the Police can order you to make alternative arrangements to remove the van from the road, as well as charging you with any number of driving charges, from illegal outfit, void insurance, etc etc.

having looked at the Toyota sites, I have not found any model Toyota which comes even near the 3500kg weight.
If it is a foreign vehicle it is my understanding that they do not have to comply with the 3500 kg regulation which makes a total farce of our laws. My 4 x 4 3.0L Toyota is more than capabe of towing the caravan and well within the manufacturer's specs but not UK road specs. Why does this law exist? What was the reason for its existance? Do you think it is now an antiquated law given the vehicles available and the condition of the roads etc?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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What sort of licence have you got, Ian? I don't know of any that allows you to tow 7.5 tonnes. If you passed you test before the 1st January 1997 you may tow up to a gross train weight of 8.25 tonnes. Thereafter, a car (category B) licence allows you to tow up to a gross train weight of 3.5 tonnes so long as the maximum allowable weight of the trailer doesn't exceed the kerbweight of the car. A medium commercial (category C1+E) licence for lorries up to 7.5 tonnes allows you to tow up to a gross train weight of 12 tonnes and a HGV (category C+E) licence has no restriction on what you may tow.

No mention of a 7.5 tonne trailer anywhere.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I agree with Scotch Lad, firstly, to tow a 650 Hobby in this country, legally, will require a vehicle with a MGW of 3500kg, or more.

This leads on to licencing requirements, where for this combination, a C1, or C1+E may be required.

If you tow with an illegal outfit, the Police can order you to make alternative arrangements to remove the van from the road, as well as charging you with any number of driving charges, from illegal outfit, void insurance, etc etc.

having looked at the Toyota sites, I have not found any model Toyota which comes even near the 3500kg weight.
Yes, I have no idea why the width of the trailer is limited by the weight of the towcar. What the one has to do with the other is a mystery to me.
 
Aug 4, 2004
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Sorry it was drive up to 7.5 tonnes. Anyway it allows me to tow a trailer also but the question was about a towing vehicle. Does it have to be a commercial vehilce or will something like a trax do the job, not that I could aford one. I want a Hobby 650 but I want to stay within the law, but I don't want to buy an oversized vehicle if a smaller one will suffice.
 
G

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Ian,

You may be on shaky ground with your choice of van. Looking at the legal section of this website it indicates that if your towing vehicle is less than 3500kg then the van cannot exceed 2.3 meters in width. The Hobby 650 is listed at 2.5 meters in width so you would be restricted to using a towing vehicle in excess of 3500kg in weight. That basically eliminates all standard commercial vans unless you get a Fiat/Peugeot type with an uprated chassis to 3850kg. I also suspect that in doing this you will be barred from entering a number of sites,, both from the choice of van, and also because you will be assumed to be part of the undesirable 'travelling' fraternity.

It might be simpler to think a little smaller.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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First of all, a category C1 licence for vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes only allows you to tow a 750kg (!) trailer. You have to have a C1+E licence to tow anything heavier. However, the law doesn't say what sort of vehicle the towcar must be, just so long as its maximum allowable weight is equal to or greater than 3.5 tonnes.

About the only vehicle with a GVW of over 3500kg which is not a van or a lorry that I can think of is the larger of the two versions of the Chevrolet Suburban.
 
G

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A Humvee perhaps? Of course you also need your own oilwell to fill it.
 
May 25, 2005
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Ian

If I were you I would look seriously at the replies you have received. It is illegal to tow a caravan that is wider than 7'6" in this country unless you use a 3.5 tonne truck!

Hobby caravans are OK, we have had one (32' long on a seasonal pitch, which had to be delivered for us), but they are not as comfortable as UK tourers. Kitchen work surface is also poor. Mind you it all depends on what you want at the end of the day.

If you go ahead it would be adviseable that you have a 'Mule' fitted (this acts like a 5th leg). When wound down the van is more secure from theft. However, you will still need security on the wheels.

Have you tried getting insurance cover for a Hobby?
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Ian, in one of your earlier replies, yuo state "if it were a foregin vehicle, it would be legal", but this is not strictly true.

This "exemption" as such is only applicable to vehicles registered in other countries, and is their main area of operation. It does not apply to "grey imports" which will become permanently registered in the UK.

as for the state of the law and towing, and is it antiquated, maybe, but I would rather it stayed as it is, than having people towing huge vans with less than adequate towing vehicles, not simply for the towing power, which I agree, a lot of the larger vehicles are capable of , but more importantly the STOPPING power, which. with a very large van behind you, will test the drivers skills and cars capabilities to the utmost in an emergency situation.
 
May 4, 2005
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I saw the answer to your problem today on the M1 just south of Luton. I was following a Police Land Rover when we overtook a very long,wide German caravan being towed by a small Transit van,totally illigal. The answer to not being stopped seems to be to make sure you haven't got a number plate on the caravan.This somehow makes the Police look the other way.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I don't understand what the width of the caravan has to do with the weight of the towcar. The smallest Hobby caravan which is 2.5 metres wide is 1600kg. While already on the large size it isn't outside the capability of any large car. On the Continent, one regularly sees such caravans being towed behind Merc E-Class or BMW 5-series and I don't know why they should be any less safe in the UK.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Lutz, quite simply, the width of a caravan in the UK is limited by law to 2.3mtrs, for towing with a normal kind of car.

The only people who can tell you why are the Ministry of Transport.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I know that is the law in the UK but it doesn't make sense to me and I have even written to the Vehicles Standards and Engineering Division of the Department of Transport asking for an explanation but the reply was rather evasive as it only stated what the rules are and not why.
 
Aug 4, 2004
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Today we drove up tosee the Hobby dealer in Derbyshire and to have a look at the new vans. The salesman was not interested in showing us around and merely pointed in the direction of the vans. The ones that we were able to access did not have outside steps for access which may viewing the vans extremely difficult. Generally a well made van, but the bathroom put us right off as it is the basin, toilet and shower all in one compartment as on older British vans. I was then told that the hot water cylinder was only 2 and a half litres and if I wanted to upgrade it would cost men an additional
 
G

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Sorry to hear your visit to the Hobby dealer was so disappointing. However, please do not right off all European suppliers in the same vein, in this case the dealer was the weak link, not the manufacturer. There are very many satisfied owners of non-British made vans here in the UK.
 
Nov 1, 2005
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It's funny you should make that comment about caravan dealers Ian. Over the last month I've spoken to just about every caravan dealer in the country and most don't seem to be remotely interested, some are downright arrogant. I have eventually struck a deal with a dealer in Laurencekirk who is a genuinely good egg.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If the combined bathroom/shower/toilet of the Hobby put you off, how about the following Continental alternatives of about the same size as the Excelsior 650UFf that you were looking at:

Tabbert Puccini P655DF_250

Dethleffs Beduin 655SB
 

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