How many?

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Are you considering overall length or just body length? I ask because the maximum legal caravan length of 7m does not include the A frame.

An interesting topic.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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JayTea said:
Body length. I searched high and low for older Hobby van lengths online without much sucess, the Hobby 575 seems to be anonymous apart from a few Gumtree adverts and one dealer who has one in stock. I called them and was told it was 7.8m total and the body was 5.25m. How wrong they were as it has a floor length of 5.75m and the body is 6.62m outside with a total length of 7.8m, well at least they got one part right.

I have always thought that the caravan industry with one or two exceptions is akin to a cottage industry. But on reflection that may be insuting to those in cottage industries! You certainly did your homework, and it is surprising
how many don't have a clue, and don't even seem able, or bothered to understand the basics. Yet with the internet its so much easier to source data, or communicate with others in your quest.
 

Damian

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Dealers are there for one reason...….to sell vans.
Sadly a lot of salesmen have no idea of the vans they are selling or the compatibility with a prospective purchaser.

In the UK it is pretty simple, the legal BODY length towable with the majority of cars is 7 mtrs.

The A frame does not come into the equation until you want to book a ferry when the overall length is required, including the A frame.

Any van over the 7Mtr body length must be towed by a vehicle with a GVW of 3501 or more, and the relevant class of licence.

Disregard what any private seller says, they tend to only want to get rid of their van at any cost.
 
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When I bought my nearly-new van from an established dealer in the midlands I was provided with a print out of the stats for my car and prospective caravan to prove suitability. There are good eggs out there too - and owner-user satisfaction surveys can be a useful starting guide.
 
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audiorob said:
When I bought my nearly-new van from an established dealer in the midlands I was provided with a print out of the stats for my car and prospective caravan to prove suitability. There are good eggs out there too - and owner-user satisfaction surveys can be a useful starting guide.

Did you check the details of the stats they gave you? becasue I have warned readers many times that you cannot trust third party information, becasue some is wrong and as you don't know which unless you check the details scrupulously otherwise you may end up with the wrong information and at worst end up towing illegally or even dangerously.

And it must always be remembered that it is the drivers responsibility to ensure the outfit is legal, reliance on third party information or ignorance is no defence in law.
 

JTQ

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JTQ said:
Then "body length" seems not to include handles, rails and windows that protrude from the main surfaces. And this seems to carry over to width, where roll out awning don't come into it and with motorhomes nor do driving mirrors.

This link might help, but it might do just the opposite!

]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/648185/information-sheet-maximum-length-of-vehicles.pdf
https://assets.publishing.service.g...n-sheet-maximum-length-of-vehicles.pdf[/quote
That is a valuable document but I do refer you to the second paragraph in the introduction which basically says this is what we think the law is but we could be wrong.
 
May 7, 2012
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I suppose the best answer is to view the caravan and measure it yourself if you have any doubts as to the correct length. 7m for the body is the legal limit if towed by a car.

You need to distinguish between the legal towing limit and the advisable one. The makers towing limit is the legal limit, but it may be distinctly unsafe for a caravan if it exceeds the cars kerb weight. Basically the car needs to be heavier than the caravan, and the bigger the difference the better.
The towing advice from the NCC and both clubs is based on the caravans MTPLM (maximum loaded weight) being no more than 85% of the cars kerb weight for a newcomer, this can include 75kg for the driver. This is an old figure and with improvements in technology most people do believe it can be exceeded to some extent, but you do so at your own peril.
You do have to remember a caravan has large flat sides which can be susceptible to side winds and other forces and you are likely to be doing 60 or near that. Towing a small trailer with more weight might be safe around town with far less speed and exposure to side winds.
I am afraid if a trader has so little knowledge of the item he is selling, and quotes the legal limit for towing, rather than recommended one, I would not trust him and look somewhere with someone who gives decent advice.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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JayTea said:
Checked on Towcar and although they didn't have my caravan listed their website allows amendments. I took the data from my owners handbook and entered it into the Towcar page and it looks like I'm well within the legal requirements.

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I much prefer Towcar.info as like you say it allows you to customise your parameters including variations in nose weight Of the three main matching sites Towca.info gives by far the most useful information even going into details of the car's likely performance at speed, on hills etc. On my last three car/van combinations it has been spot on. So much so that I sold my 2014 Forester which was rated at 2000kg but its naturally aspirated 2.0 150bhp just required far too many revs on too many occasions for a relaxed drive even when towing 1300kg MTPLM. The Forester wasn't bought as a tow car as we had given up caravans at that time. So I kept it and was prepared to see how it got on. The rest is history as they say.
 
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Happened to us with our very first caravan. Was a wonderful excuse to get another car B)

Madam well and truly backed into a corner.
 
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I must add a note of caution about using third party matching services. I am certain they are genuinely trying to help, but it has been proven on several occasions including this one, their data bases are incomplete, or in some cases the data they do contain is wrong.

You must be very careful to ensure the data used matches exactly the actual facts about your car and caravan. Using data from similar models may not be factually correct, and will produce erroneous information, which could make an outfit illegal.

It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure their outfit is legal, and reliance on a third party service would not be a good defence.
 
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ProfJohnL said:
I must add a note of caution about using third party matching services. I am certain they are genuinely trying to help, but it has been proven on several occasions including this one, their data bases are incomplete, or in some cases the data they do contain is wrong.

You must be very careful to ensure the data used matches exactly the actual facts about your car and caravan. Using data from similar models may not be factually correct, and will produce erroneous information, which could make an outfit illegal.

It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure their outfit is legal, and reliance on a third party service would not be a good defence.

Prof
One of the advantages of Towcar.info is that you can adjust parameter to match your specific car and intended outfit. But I do agree that you then have responsibility to ensure that the adjusted parameters are correct.
 
May 7, 2012
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The match looks very good on the basis of the data. Given that you seem to have made amendments to make sure you got nit exactly right I do not see a problem with the answer. There is the odd error in these sites but provided you check the detail of the outfit on the site you should be able to spot any error.
I appreciate what the Prof says about using this sort of information not being a complete defence, provided you can show that you have taken reasonable steps to get it right then this does constitute the basis of a defence and should reduce if not negate any fine.
 
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Raywood said:
The match looks very good on the basis of the data. Given that you seem to have made amendments to make sure you got nit exactly right I do not see a problem with the answer. There is the odd error in these sites but provided you check the detail of the outfit on the site you should be able to spot any error.
I appreciate what the Prof says about using this sort of information not being a complete defence, provided you can show that you have taken reasonable steps to get it right then this does constitute the basis of a defence and should reduce if not negate any fine.

Whilst matching sites are useful and add information to an individuals research I don’t think they would provide any defence in law. The law is quite clear, both the caravan and car have plated and specified limits as does a persons licence to tow. So it must still be the individuals responsibility to comply with the law.
 
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The defence of a reasonable steps is not a complete one but it does provide some comfort. A lot depends on the individual court as to how successful it is but appeals on this basis have resulted in an absolute discharge rather than overturning the conviction. A lot depends on just what you did and how reasonable this is.
 

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