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Everything posted by Lutz

  1. Considering the existing connector not only transmits power to the caravan exterior lighting system but to other electrical equipment in use while the caravan is in motion, such as charging the battery or running the fridge, I see no benefit in such a device as it would still need a separate connector for non-lighting usage. If anything, a device that would automatically electrically couple all 13 pins between the towing vehicle and the trailer during the actual hitching process might be worth looking at.
  2. Actually, the weight signs for tanks etc. don’t refer to actual weight limits, but to NATO weight categories.
  3. When we went to the Scilly Isles, we took our caravan across the Channel to England, drove to a campsite near St Agnes in Cornwall and left it there for our flight from Newquay to the islands. As it happened, I left my binoculars in the gardens at Tresco, but they were found and flown by helicopter for free to Plymouth where I was able to pick them up. Great service!
  4. Looks nice judging by the pictures on their website, but it does seem a bit off the beaten track for us who like to be as close as possible to the beaches and the opportunity to do daily shopping for the widest possible selection of food produce, as we are both keen cooks who try to cook something out of the ordinary every day, even when touring with the caravan. In Aguilas we have two big supermarkets Mercadona and Carrefour, not to mention Lidl and Aldi, and it also has quite a big market on Saturdays, so we are well served in that respect.
  5. Considering we are talking here about a regular production caravan it's not something that one would expect to have to check, though. Being used to travel without any form of restrictions is something one has taken for granted within the EU (OK, Norway isn't in the EU either) so nobody gives specific regulations applicable to neighbouring countries much thought unless enough people have run into an issue and written about it in forums, etc. An example of a requirement that is specific to a particular country is marker boards for overhanging loads in Spain and Italy, but that is something that is common knowledge now, thanks to enough publicity being given to the need for them due to the sheer volume of fines that have been dished out to the unsuspecting. In the foreign travel section of their website the German Auto Club, ADAC, for instance, lists a whole host of regulations which are peculiar to the UK, but makes no mention of the 7m limit.
  6. I agree that the law has no provisions for exceptions to be made for foreign visitors, but I am sure that if anyone arrived at the docks with a long caravan and was turned away, thus ruining their holiday plans, there would surely have been an uproar in one of the forums. After all, such a restriction is not something that a foreign visitor would normally reckon with.
  7. I haven't heard of any reports in any of the Continental caravanning forums of anyone not being allowed into the UK with an over 7m caravan, though.
  8. Good to hear that the weather is nice and warm in that part of the world. We're on our way to our favourite campsite in Aguilas on the Andalucia/Murcia border at the moment. Should get there the day after tomorrow. Looking forward to it, especially as we have heard that it hasn't stopped raining back home since we left on Monday.
  9. EU regulations state that headlamp may dip either vertically down or 15° to the nearside. Most European car manufacturers have opted for the vertical dip for their left hand drive models. It's best to check the handbook or with the dealer whether the same applies to tight hand drive versions, too. Beam deflectors must not be used in conjunction with xenon, high energy discharge, LED headlamps or adaptive headlamp systems.
  10. I made up a wall bracket that allows the TV to swivel away when not in use. As the wall panel is fairly thin, I didn't want to risk attaching the bracket directly to the wall but a added a fairly substantial shelf underneath the overhead locker and fixed the TV bracket to that. The advantage of the swivel bracket is that you can not only watch TV from the lounge area but by turning it through 180° from the bed at the other end of the caravan, too.
  11. Continental manufacturers can downplate from existing axle weight limits by issuing a new statutory plate and they will do so if requested on condition that the downplated weight is covered by type approval documentation. However, it is not normal practice and would only be done at special request because it basically means that the vehicle may be fitted with a heavier duty axle than what is actually required.
  12. Any change to an MTPLM, whether up-plating or downplating, relative to what is shown on the existing statutory plate, will always require a new statutory plate and that can only be issued by the manufacturer. The reason for this is that any such change must be covered by the type approval documentation and the type approval number must also be displayed on the statutory plate. Type approval may cover a range of MTPLMs but the valid MTPLM must always be within that range. In the example that you mention, the plate affixed by Autotrail obviously can't show a higher MTPLM than the one that Fiat applied unless they accept full product liability due to possible chassis and/or braking system modifications or whatever, that they may have added. The Autotrail plate will always take precedence over the Fiat plate.
  13. The CofC that you mention is an NCC CofC which is not a legal document. You will find that the type approval CofC will show the same MTPLM as on the statutory plate. As there is no reference anywhere in legislation regarding vehicle weight limits to anything other than the statutory plate, any recognition of the label by the door as absolutely at the discretion of the court.
  14. Of course, but you would everything at hand to be able lodge a successful appeal in the event of a prosecution.
  15. That is a distinct possibility, yes. Not only if the label next to the door had disappeared but also if the owner takes the caravan abroad and the powers-that-be there don't recognise what's on that label or don't understand what MTPLM means.
  16. I guess that in the event of no plate having been applied by the caravan manufacturer there will still be a plate applied by the chassis manufacturer and this would then be used. Certainly, chassis manufactured by AlKo or BPW in Germany will always have a plate as they were always subject to national type approval, even before EU type approval came into being. I cannot imagine that such chassis bound for export to the UK did not have a plate. To enable traceability in the event of a recall or possible legal action regarding product liability there must be a plate somewhere.
  17. If the powers-that-be are happy with using the figure displayed on a label next to the door so be it, but what I am saying is that if the label next to the door is not present, all the information that they need for law enforcement purposes is shown on the statutory plate and there is no need for that label. The statutory plate fulfils all legal requirements.
  18. If the caravan remains hitched to the car for the duration of the test, there is no option but to use a pit. I would have thought the same applies to MOT's of some large and heavy commercial vehicles.
  19. Exactly, yes. The caravan remains hitched to the car for the whole test. Excluding the waiting time at the testing facility the whole thing takes about 20 minutes,
  20. The plates on my car and caravan are simply slotted into a plastic frame. You don’t even need a tool to remove them. If they were stolen and used on another vehicle it would be easy to prove that the registration and the chassis numbers don’t match.
  21. One takes the caravan to the equivalent of an MOT test facility. They all have a rolling road. With the caravan remaining hitched up to the car and the wheels on the rolling road they first test the performance of the caravan handbrake and then run the caravan up the rolling road so that the hitch is pushing against the car (with the driver inside and foot on the brake) That gives them a figure for the efficiency of the caravan's overrun braking system. They will also check all the exterior lights, the state of the breakaway cable, the chassis and the suspension for corrosion and damage, performance of the shock absorbers (if fitted), the load rating of the tyres and, if the caravan has been issued with a 100km/h sticker, they will check the age of the tyres (max. 6 years), the presence of shock absorbers and of an approved stabiliser system, either in the hitch or an electronic one. They also check whether the wheels are original spec or not. If not. one is required to supply documentation to prove that they are type approved for your particular caravan. Upon request they will also do a gas check (this also has to be done every two years, but it can also be done by a dealer and not necessarily at a vehicle testing station).
  22. The 'plate' by the door can only be used for law enforcement purposes if it's there. However, all the information that is required for law enforcement purposes is already shown on the statutory plate. That means that the plate next to the door is entirely superfluous. Nothing would be missing if it's removed so it can't be illegal just to remove it. Legislation does not recognise two different MTPLM's being present on the same vehicle, not even for heavy goods vehicles displaying the 'Ministry Plate'. In the case of the latter, one value is the MTPLM, the other is the gross vehicle weight. For vehicles under 3500kg, the two are the same.
  23. How would one know? There's no easy way of gathering any data on the subject. All I can say is that I haven't seen abnormally large numbers of caravans littering the roads following accidents on the Continent. Perhaps one should not forget that in most countries, with France being an exception, there is a lower speed limit for towing trailers than in the UK and that may have an influence although from my experience, few stick to the 80km/h limit that normally applies. In Germany there is the possibility of obtaining a concession to tow at 100km/h subject to certain technical conditions being fulfilled, including a 100% weight ratio limit for most caravans (other weight ratio limits apply to other types of trailer). However, as one doesn't see so many caravans displaying 100km/h stickers, I can only deduce that there must be a quite a lot of outfits over the 100% weight ratio limit or their owners are happy with being restricted to 80km/h.
  24. You will find that VW is no exception among Continental, in particular German, manufacturers. There is no weight ratio recommendation on the Continent and manufacturers are continually under pressure from the market to increase permissible towloads in line with ever heavier caravans. Even the caravanning magazines on the Continent will give a towcar a poorer rating if its towload limit is, in their eyes, too low.
  25. Note VW's press release which extols the possibility of being able to tow 1800kg caravan with a Golf. https://www.volkswagen-newsroom.com/en/press-releases/you-can-even-go-caravanning-with-a-golf-5397
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