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Posts posted by Lutz

  1. 24 minutes ago, Rallier said:

    This is typical of the confusion that caravan manufacturers have caused bu trying to be all things to all people.

    The chassis is rated at 1800kg but the manufacturer has "down plated" it to appeal to customers who may be limited by the terms of their driving licence to a total plated weight of 3500kg for the towcar and caravan combined.

    Both of the "stickers" shown may differ from the "real" plate which is typically metal and riveted in place.



    It is obvious that the manufacturer has tried to "bend the rules" slightly in order to appeal to a wider market, but it remains a very grey area if the same caravan displays two different MTPLMs, one on a label by the door and the other on a plate or label elsewhere.

  2. 12 minutes ago, onewheelonmywagon said:



    However, on an older caravan that doesn't have "another plate elsewhere" and that has a missing or undecipherable door plate, is the axle plate examined to determine MTPLM ?


    One cannot rely on the axle plate because the MTPLM could be less than the allowable axle load, especially if a proprietary axle is used for more than one model or model variant.

    A plate showing the MAM (nowadays referred to as MTPLM) was required long before caravans were subject to whole vehicle type approval.


    18 minutes ago, GaryB1969 said:


    Usually in the gas locker and is the figure used when increasing the MTPLM (as we did).  The idea of this post was to help those confused on where to look.  PC Plod went through many hoops with Bailey to try and clarify your point (as have others) and while I'm sure a court case would find favour (eventually) of the plate in the locker, the average traffic cop doing a spot-check would use the manufacturers plate by the door.


    Please let's not re-ignite the maximum weight figure plate arguments.


    I did take care in my reply in pointing out that the use of a figure shown on a label which is not a statutory plate is subject to discretion on the part of whoever is carrying out the vehicle check. With the statutory plate there is no such risk of having to rely on discretion.


    • Like 1
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  3. grafik.png.4fb348d45cecbefd4ffc1eb881da5643.png


    Note that the above labels are not statutory plates because they don't comply with the regulations. As such it's a matter of discretion whether the powers-that-be will accept the figures shown in the event of a vehicle check.

    There must be another plate elsewhere which is according to what is required by law and that may show a different MTPLM.


    Note also that Mass in Service (or MRO) is a generic value that applies to only to the vehicle of that model that was submitted for type approval, not to the actual vehicle (car or caravan ) in question, so there may be quite a considerable difference.

    • I agree completely 1

  4. We're back home again after 2 weeks in the French Alps. Everything went according to plan except for major traffic congestion on the way back. A 10 mile jam cost us at least two hours so it was a long day for the 400 mile journey.

    Here's a picture of our closest social contacts during our two week stay, (apart from when we were checking in and out at the campsite reception or when we went shopping, of course). That was probably a lot safer than if we had stayed at home.





  5. 23 minutes ago, Snakecharmer said:

    Just been informed by another caravaner that if I want to tour France next year I will need to change my marker reflectors and fit orange running lights on my 2011 Lunar Clubman. 

    Can someone please confirm this for me, and if so,  what are the specs,  height number etc. 


    A caravan built according to EU regulations will fulfil French requirements. Tuningdrew is referring to side marker lights which are required if the length exceeds 6m. These must be amber (but then they have to be amber in the UK, too). All details will be found here (trailers start at page 28):



  6. 5 hours ago, R0G said:

    I am fairly certain that the manufacturer of a trailer needs to be registered with a govt body in order to have a legal MAM plate on it



    That only applies if the trailer is going to be type approved, in which case the manufacturer would have to go through the Vehicle Certification Agency.

    GaryB1969 is correct, but it doesn't absolve the builder of the trailer of the necessity to apply a weight plate. How else would anyone during a vehicle check be certain that the MTPLM is not lower than the allowable axle load of a proprietary axle that may have been used to build the trailer?

  7. A plate displaying the MAM (now MTPLM) has been a requirement since well before whole vehicle type approval applied to trailers. If you build your own trailer then for all intents and purposes you have become a manufacturer in your own right and you have to display a plate with your name as the manufacturer and consequently also the MTPLM. Full product liability rests with you.

    It is totally possible, for example, that you have built a trailer with, say, a 1500kg axle, but due to other factors in its construction and design, is only safe for loads up to 1300kg (quite apart from the tyre load rating).


  8. The only time that I overrule the box of tricks is on long descents when I lock the transmission manually in a lower gear to take advantage of engine braking, but then I do that regardless of whether towing or solo. I feel it's all the more important when towing.

  9. 36 minutes ago, Stevan said:

    Funny you should say that! I only changed to a Vauxhall (Antara) because there was no FIAT man enough to tow my intended caravan.


    When I bought my caravan the Antara was already out of production, so that wasn't an option. Besides, the most powerful diesel engine in the Antara only developed 163hp, which I figured was a bit meagre to pull an 1800kg caravan.

    27 minutes ago, PMW said:


    My mechanic loves Vauxhalls, he reckons they pay for his three weeks every year in the Caribbean ....


    I was shocked recently to find out that the Agila rates third most reliable car in the latest warranty index. So shocked in fact that I looked out the window in case there were four horsemen riding along the lane. It was then I remembered it's a rebadged Suzuki and the world made sense again. 


    Apart from the 9 Vauxhalls that I had, my wife had 3 Agilas in a row and none of them ever went back to the dealer other than for a regular service. She's now on her second Adam.

  10. It's going to be difficult without a possible military application. The volumes would be just too low to make the project economically viable. Even the Mercedes G Wagon only made it because it was developed primarily as a military vehicle. For purely civilian use it would have been prohibitively expensive.

  11. It is possible that they are only obliged to keep records for 10 years.

    Did you give them details of the VIN number of your caravan? That would make it a lot easier for Hobby to find the necessary documentation if it still exists.

    If none can be found, you may have to have a single vehicle approval carried out by the Centros de Inspeção Técnica de Veículos (CITV) in Portugal. They should be able to tell you the procedure that has to be followed.

  12. 13 minutes ago, WispMan said:


    I think the risks of getting the virus whilst on holiday away from home are so much higher.



    Judging by how empty the campsite is where we are staying here in France at the moment and how little contact we made on the way to our destination I would have thought that the risk couldn't be much less.

  13. 1 hour ago, Mr Plodd said:

    If your tyre was smoking it didn’t just fail without warning !!! It takes a huge amount of heat to get tyre rubber hot enough to smoke. It had been run under inflated for a fair while.



    A tyre will usually only start to smoke after it has blown. It will flex so much when deflated that it can even start to burn before one has had a chance to come to a standstill. I speak from experience because it happened to me.

    • I disagree 1

  14. 1 hour ago, AndersG said:

    Strange that it's so empty! We are on a site in Poland and its almost full. Two thirds are Polish and the rest are German. We are the only British van on the site.


    It's still as deserted as ever here on the campsite. It's absolute bliss. I can only imagine that it's so empty because so few French are on holiday at the moment and foreigners are perhaps still a bit wary of visiting France. Only about a dozen of the 90 or so pitches are occupied. The statics seem to be quite well booked, though.

  15. Caravan tyres already have quite a big margin of safety by virtue of the fact that they are never subjected to the sort of speeds that the tyres are rated at. Therefore even without an additional 10% margin on the load rating they should be adequate for the job. That 10% is really to allow for a difference in wheel load from left to right, which can be quite substantial on some models.

  16. 21 hours ago, PMW said:


    Sadly caravan manufacturers have not always designed caravans with any great consideration for loading and weight distribution, but they are getting better. The move away from big front lockers is a step forward.



    One shouldn't generalise. Without the spare wheel and gas bottles in the front locker my otherwise unladen caravan has virtually zero noseweight.

    • Like 1

  17. 9 hours ago, Lost in France said:


    We've just returned from 10 days in Confolens and the only restrictions on the (lovely) site was that every other sink and urinal was taped off and the staff wore masks and asked visitors to the office to do the same.


    Same here at La Colombière in Neydens except that the indoor swimming pool is closed. One is also asked to wait for a vacant cubicle outside the sanitary block.

  18. Well, we made it to our campsite in France yesterday. The drive there was pretty uneventful except for a couple of delays due to roadworks on the autobahn in Germany and traffic jams on the road around Geneva which forced us to drive straight through the city with the caravan in tow. The German/Swiss and the Swiss/French borders were fully open with no controls whatsoever. All day we saw very few caravans or motorhomes on the road - a handful in Germany but hardly any once we crossed into Switzerland.

    When we arrived at the campsite in Neydens we were told that all facilities were open except the indoor swimming pool and there was a requirement to wear a face mask when entering or leaving the restaurant, but otherwise one should just maintain the required social distancing (and there are ample reminders). Only about 10% to 15% of the regular pitches are occupied but the statics and the couple of pitches that they have with a private sanitary block are apparently fairly well booked. The vast majority of the few guests that there are are French. I only saw one Belgian motorhome and a couple of caravans and motorhomes from Switzerland.

    At the moment we don't have any immediate neighbours, the closest being three pitches further on. The sanitary block across the way looks as though it hasn't been used at all since it was cleaned last and they said that they do that four times a day. We had expected to find a bottle of disinfectant there though, so I guess we'll get some of our own when we go shopping this afternoon.


  19. 16 minutes ago, Hort2074 said:


    That's where the ombudsman comes in.


    They pay out to the injured party if adequate insurance isn't in place. Well, you do as the money is taken from the punter, i.e. a percentage of your premium goes into the ombudsman pot for such payouts.


    But surely only if the third party's assets are insufficient to meet the claim or if the third party that caused the accident cannot be established?

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