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Posts posted by Lutz

  1. It all depends on whether the caravan submitted for type approval had a spare wheel or not. By definition, MIRO does not include any factory fitted options, but whether this includes mandatory option packs is open for the manufacturer to decide. That's why the MIRO figure should be taken with a pinch of salt. It can't be more than a rough guide.

  2. This thread is getting far too bogged down in gas issues when the OP clearly only had electrical connections in mind. There are reasons other than running the fridge whilst on the move that require power supply to the caravan and it's those that he hasn't taken into account.

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  3. 17 hours ago, Borussia 1900 said:

    The bridge class comes from the ‘combat weight’ of the vehicle (tank + crew + fuel + specialist equipment + ammunition)


    Yes, that’s the difference between the ‘tank’ weight limits and regular weight limit signs in Germany. The latter refer to actual weights.

  4. Geist caravans were manufactured under contract by LMC, so if having the door on the other side doesn't bother you, it might be worth looking into buying an equivalent LMC model. The selection available, at least on the Continent, is bound to be much larger, as the volumes of LMC caravans produced is much larger.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. On 09/10/2019 at 20:21, bubble2015 said:

    Hi Lutz

    If you have time (and a powerful car) try a few nights at Camping Sierra Espuñas.

    We have been here for a week, its one of the best campsites we have been on. About 70 gravel pitches, many with water and drainage. Fantastic views and its next to the pretty village El Berro.

    Only downside is the access road, about 15k of poor surface and a couple of 20% gradients and tight hairpins. Having said that our CRV pulled the 8m 1800kg caravan without problems.


    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.


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  8. 2 minutes ago, JTQ said:


    But surely a potential visitor would as the OP make some effort to know if bringing a very large van to the UK was viable, before getting on the ferry?

     Over here we tend to find out what is needed to comply with going the other way.


    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.


  9. 45 minutes ago, Legal Eagle said:

    That assumes a report is very likely to be made. It still doesn't change the law though, so please don't shoot the messenger.


    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.


  10. 1 minute ago, Legal Eagle said:

    There is no exemption  in law for foreign visitors so it would still be illegal. The fact there are inconsistencies and turning of blind eyes at ports of entry is irrelevant, especially if involved in an incident.

    A trailer 32 feet long  and a total combination length of some 48 feet is not going to slip off the ferry unnoticed that easily!


    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.

  11. 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.

  12. On 13/08/2019 at 21:05, beejay said:

    The dipped beam for a right hand drive car will not meet the requirements for a left hand drive car. Whilst modern headlamps  may have a flat topped dipped beam they still will not meet the requirements of EU countries that drive on the right. If a UK vehicle is imported into the EU the first things  that needs changing to pass the appropriate test are the headlamps.


    Legislation in France (and, no doubt, in most of the EU) requires that dipped beams dip to the right and do not dazzle other motorists so a French vehicle with maladjusted dipped beam lamps could cause dazzle. As this is a subjective opinion unless a police officer considers a vehicle is causing dazzle to other motorists no offence is  committed. Could this  be the reason that such offences have not been reported on UK forums?



    They are available at French ports with ferries to the UK and at Eurotunnel. They are not likely to be on sale anywhere else for obvious reasons!


    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.

  13. 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.



  14. 1 hour ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

    I'm not really sure how a law change could satisfactorily resolve the issue. If you clarify by clearly saying manufacturer's can downplate, then that's effectively what they do now, but if that plate goes missing then the higher chassis plate could be the only evidence of a weight limit. Would a court hold that a sales brochure's figure is sufficient evidence against a firmly affixed chassis makers plate?

    If manufacturer's adopted the Continental practice of not downplating vans from their axles weight limits then you'd have to stop voluntary downplating in order that a court could be certain that the chassis limit was applicable. And presumably having all vans at their axle limits would reduce even further the potential vans available for B licence holders and possibly for the range of towcars as they strive to reduce weight, in order to cut fuel consumption and emissions. 

    The caravan industry would be on even more of a hiding to nothing.


    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.


  15. 1 hour ago, Mr Plodd said:

    But you can, if you wish, have a motorhome DOWN plated from just over, to just under 3500kg if you wish. That doesn’t alter in any way  the MTPLM that’s shown on the makers VIN plate but it DOES allow it to be driven if you don’t have a B+E licence, that’s DESPITE what the “original” VIN plate shows. I would  suggest that’s exactly what caravan makers do. So, by using the same rules, which weight do YOU say should be used for enforcement? Serious question.


    Likewise you can have a MH’s MTPLM upgraded beyond what the makers VIN plate shows. I am referring to upgrading beyond the second stage manufacturers plate not the chassis makers VIN. (As in the plate affixed by Autotrail not Fiat) and it’s the upgraded weight plate that is used for ALL Enforcement purposes. 


    Like I said, it really needs sorting out so it’s clear and unambiguous,  in order to avoid arguments such as this.,




    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.


  16. 14 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:


    So, going back to the scenario with my caravan and my son borrowing it, just suppose for the sake of argument, that some Oik removes the external decal whilst he is on a campsite, and when he leaves the site he is stopped by VOSA. The combined weight (according to the gas locker plate) exceeds 3500kg by 43kg. BUT the manufacturer (Bailey) designates that model as having a weight that puts the rig just UNDER 3500kg at 3497kg (actual figures for my van) 


    Son gets summonsed to appear at court, because he doesn’t have a B+E licence, in addition, because he doesn’t have that licence, he cannot, in law, hold any insurance for that rig, yes really! 


    He goes to court with my caravans CofC and Bailey’s brochure, both of which show the lower, non gas locker decal, weight (which puts the rig just under 3500) Will he be convicted of having no driving licence?

     If yes then what’s the point if the external decal if it has no meaning? In addition how many other rigs are being driven illegally because of that discrepancy?


    If he is NOT convicted then the courts are clearly happy to accept the external plate details are the ones to be used DESPITE what the Type Approval Plate shows.


    But the trouble is it’s an “absolute offence” it’s either legal or not, the courts have no room to apply common sense, only the law.


    In reality I have a strong feeling it would never get to court UNLESS there was a fatality, at which point a court would have to decide which of the two plates applies! What if the person in court is you? Difficult eh? 


    It’s clearly a total lash up on the part of the NCC and the caravan industry, it REALLY does need  sorting out once and for all, but clearly the will to do so isn’t there. So in the meantime we will continue to argue the matter on forums such as this! 


    I have, as someone well versed in road traffic law, voiced my views/opinions (and that’s all they are) a number of times on the subject. So I will leave it to others to make their decisions. Remember this involves the law, common sense and practicalities do NOT come into the equation. It’s either black or it’s white, no room for grey of any shade!  






    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.

  17. 15 minutes ago, Griff said:

    But in the case where the visible plate plate fitted by the door had disappeared, a plate which stated the MTPLM, could a chassis plate if there was one have a higher rating thus causing possible problems for a B only licence holder?



    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.

  18. 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.


  19. 4 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

    So how exactly do you sort out the scenario I outlined? 


    The weights  quoted are from my car and caravan. Using your argument if my son borrows my car and caravan he would be breaking the law, because the gas locker decal weight would put the rig over 3500kg yet caravans are sold, in their hundreds, where the manufacturer quotes the MTPLM that is LESS than the Type Approval figure and THAT weight is what is displayed in a prominent external position not hidden away in the gas locker) How do you square that circle!


     I would have expected someone to have been taken to court over this issue at some point. But I can find no information that such a case has been brought. 




    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.


  20. 3 hours ago, Durbanite said:

    However to do wouldn't they have to lift up the caravan to inspect the underneath?  Lifting the caravan could create problems unless the jockey wheel is stabilised to prevent the caravan going nose down.  Are pits still allowed in a garage as I thought that H&S stopped use of them? 


    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.

  21. 2 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

    Thanks Lutz for a very informative post.  I assume that if the caravan has to remain hitched to the car it is not a matter of dropping off the caravan and then collecting it later?  Bonus is that there will be no failure because the MOT tester's trailer board lights do not work when connected to the car,  but the car's 12v connection does work when the caravan is connected to the car.  :D


    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,


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