Jump to content

Towing Trailers


Anderzander
 Share

Recommended Posts

18 hours ago, mmgemini said:

Could we move away from trailers for the moment. Have people noticed even in a slow speed crash cars seem to be landing on their sides or roof.

Driver or design error

 

2 minutes ago, Nonimouse said:

Part of my job is attending RTI's, meaning I get to see a lot of broken cars. Crumple zones are so effective now, it's often impossible to recognise what model of car has been involved. We also get a lot of cars that are thrown onto their sides at the first impact...

Down this way a lot of accidents also involve tractors. I think people these days don't adjust their driving to suit the conditions because the car will take care of things for them.

I'm sorry but I don't care how good your crumple zone is, there's not a lot you can do when you hit 3 or 4 tonnes of steel backed up by another 10 to 12t of machine behind it and usually another 10 to 12t of trailer.

Worse accident I've seen was a boy racer in a Saxo hit the front of a local contractor. Wasn't much the tractor could do as he was only doing a few miles an hour coming up the hill. Nothing above the engine block existed of the saxo and its rear bumper was in line with the front of the weight on the tractor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

 

Down this way a lot of accidents also involve tractors. I think people these days don't adjust their driving to suit the conditions because the car will take care of things for them.

I'm sorry but I don't care how good your crumple zone is, there's not a lot you can do when you hit 3 or 4 tonnes of steel backed up by another 10 to 12t of machine behind it and usually another 10 to 12t of trailer.

Worse accident I've seen was a boy racer in a Saxo hit the front of a local contractor. Wasn't much the tractor could do as he was only doing a few miles an hour coming up the hill. Nothing above the engine block existed of the saxo and its rear bumper was in line with the front of the weight on the tractor.

We tend to get multiples (more than one fatal)  when folk think an artic will just bounce off the rear bumper. Generally the survivors have life changing injuries. Off course Smart Motorways don't help, nor do Dual carriageways with no hard shoulder. Nasty fatal a few weeks ago, on a set of duals, with a pick up hitting a broken down car. High speeds were involved.

Oddly enough we don't get a lot of fatals on the county roads round here - most are death by drowning of motocyclists who die form being the crumple zone

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, elbekko said:

Absolutely true, but conversely it can also be more difficult to judge tongue weight as the supension compresses much more easily. I actually had that happen last month, when picking up concrete Ls for the garden. The guy loading them noticed the car squatting a lot, and moved them back until it was only squatting an inch or so... way too little tongue weight, and not the most comfortable drive home (luckily small roads and 70 kph max). Not the easiest things to pull over and move forward either ;) On the second load I told him to not care about how much the car was squatting, ended up with a bit too much out front but much more comfortable.

I've been thinking for a long time that a pressure gauge on the rear bags should be able to fairly accurately convey axle weight...

I leave the D2 running when loading for this reason... or at least start it up before I have finished loading to judge the nose weight...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Ed Poore said:

I made the same point over on another forum but there's a massive difference between getting the loading right on a trailer behind a tractor doing ~30mph and getting the loading right on a vehicle doing 60mph.

To some extent yes, although the physics are still the same, but a tractor is usually better placed to 'bully' the trailer into order. But would depend on the combo being used.

For me though, the Towing Test never covered this though, which I feel made it more of a 'tax' than an actual training activity. As post '97 licence holders could with the right vehicle tow 1400kg (race car on a trailer and most caravans) without additional training. I feel the Towing test should have centred on the differences of towing 1400kg and 3500kg. Which loading would be a big part of it as well as towing something heavier than the tow vehicle.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, Chicken Drumstick said:

To some extent yes, although the physics are still the same, but a tractor is usually better placed to 'bully' the trailer into order.

If those physics are the fact that there's a tow vehicle and a trailer then yes I'd agree. One crucial difference you need to remember is that on a car + trailer the trailer is hitched to the sprung mass and has a sprung draw bar, on a tractor it's unsprung and usually directly coupled to the rear axle. That's one of the keypoints of a 3-point hitch / drawbar setup is that it transfers mass onto the rear wheels and thus directly increases traction of the tractor.

With respects to bullying the trailer into order I'd argue it's the other way around. The two examples I gave - the L322 towing a 110 and the trailer + load weight were about the same (i.e. 2.7t for the L322 and ~2.7t for the trailer + 110). The tractor was a NH TM190 so ~7t, the excavator a Komatsu PC130-6 so a tad over 13t, I know he's operating at just under maximum cross combo so trailer is circa 5t. So you've got a 18t trailer behind a 7t tractor, a trailer that's 2.5x heavier compared to close to a 1:1 ratio.

I'd argue it's the exact opposite in terms of the ability to bully with both the B+E having the advantage in terms of power and weight ratio between load and tow vehicle. The big difference is in the suspension / draw-bar setup - the tractor + trailer combo has no springs / dampers / vibrating stuff between it and the road and crucially operating at half the speed.

Irrespective of all this I'd wager that the vast majority of the people on this forum have a sensible head and have had prior experience towing trailers off-road so the relaxtation in the law is a welcome bonus. Unfortunately we don't make up the vast majority of road users...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

If those physics are the fact that there's a tow vehicle and a trailer then yes I'd agree. One crucial difference you need to remember is that on a car + trailer the trailer is hitched to the sprung mass and has a sprung draw bar, on a tractor it's unsprung and usually directly coupled to the rear axle. That's one of the keypoints of a 3-point hitch / drawbar setup is that it transfers mass onto the rear wheels and thus directly increases traction of the tractor.

With respects to bullying the trailer into order I'd argue it's the other way around. The two examples I gave - the L322 towing a 110 and the trailer + load weight were about the same (i.e. 2.7t for the L322 and ~2.7t for the trailer + 110). The tractor was a NH TM190 so ~7t, the excavator a Komatsu PC130-6 so a tad over 13t, I know he's operating at just under maximum cross combo so trailer is circa 5t. So you've got a 18t trailer behind a 7t tractor, a trailer that's 2.5x heavier compared to close to a 1:1 ratio.

I'd argue it's the exact opposite in terms of the ability to bully with both the B+E having the advantage in terms of power and weight ratio between load and tow vehicle. The big difference is in the suspension / draw-bar setup - the tractor + trailer combo has no springs / dampers / vibrating stuff between it and the road and crucially operating at half the speed.

Irrespective of all this I'd wager that the vast majority of the people on this forum have a sensible head and have had prior experience towing trailers off-road so the relaxtation in the law is a welcome bonus. Unfortunately we don't make up the vast majority of road users...

Most tractors tow big weight well on the road. Same as a Mog. A mog will happily pull 20tonnes without the tail wagging the dog

My favourite tractor towing set up is a MF165 (with 270 engine), tri axle plant trailer (20foot and 3 tonnes empty) with a six tonne zero swing excavator on . Alternatively, replace the 165 with A Bolinder-Munktell 600 (Volvo) - but that's because I can)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Nonimouse said:

Most tractors tow big weight well on the road. Same as a Mog. A mog will happily pull 20tonnes without the tail wagging the dog

My favourite tractor towing set up is a MF165 (with 270 engine), tri axle plant trailer (20foot and 3 tonnes empty) with a six tonne zero swing excavator on . Alternatively, replace the 165 with A Bolinder-Munktell 600 (Volvo) - but that's because I can)

A little Massey 165 with 9 tonnes behind it?! I bet she struggles up the hills for power and down it with the lack of braking on the tractor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, L19MUD said:

A little Massey 165 with 9 tonnes behind it?! I bet she struggles up the hills for power and down it with the lack of braking on the tractor

She has a 270 engine which is a similar output but better torque pattern. Suits the gearbox and visa versa. She's fine up the few hills we have round here. She has an air system for the trailer air brakes.

To be fair she barely notices it - folk have got so used to hugh overpowered tractors, they forget that for years a 'big' tractor was 75/80hp.

Years ago when I was contracting I had a Ford 4600. It had 16K hours on it, yet would still happily pull 320 small bales up long steep hills. Best tractor I ever owned was only 107bhp (MF3090). All this silliness about 200bhp plus stuff, when a 100bhp tractor would do it just as well

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Nonimouse said:

She has a 270 engine which is a similar output but better torque pattern. Suits the gearbox and visa versa. She's fine up the few hills we have round here. She has an air system for the trailer air brakes.

To be fair she barely notices it - folk have got so used to hugh overpowered tractors, they forget that for years a 'big' tractor was 75/80hp.

Years ago when I was contracting I had a Ford 4600. It had 16K hours on it, yet would still happily pull 320 small bales up long steep hills. Best tractor I ever owned was only 107bhp (MF3090). All this silliness about 200bhp plus stuff, when a 100bhp tractor would do it just as well

I agree it has gone mad. A MF165 with standard brakes and that trailer is a lot different to the set up you have with air

 

I used to love my Leyland 272 Syncro, fast tractor on the road but the brakes were a nightmare however I adjusted them. It used to go from no brakes to brakes that locked or even worse one side that locked!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

56 minutes ago, L19MUD said:

A little Massey 165 with 9 tonnes behind it?! I bet she struggles up the hills for power and down it with the lack of braking on the tractor

And there in lies the point I was trying to get across - yes a Massey 165 might well tow 9 tonnes happily but will she hit 30mph let alone the 60mph that a B+E combination would with relative ease? Things go wrong fast at 60mph which is why I personally (and that's just a personal opinion) feel that the trailer test is still important.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

And there in lies the point I was trying to get across - yes a Massey 165 might well tow 9 tonnes happily but will she hit 30mph let alone the 60mph that a B+E combination would with relative ease? Things go wrong fast at 60mph which is why I personally (and that's just a personal opinion) feel that the trailer test is still important.

I don't disagree. But as said, you could already tow legally without the test. And the test did nothing to address the delta in the privilege you'd gain by taking it. So I'm unsure where the actual 'training' happens with the current test setup? i.e. people who have taken it and passed, would not be any more knowledgable on the hazards or what to do on the points you raise, as they simply aren't covered by the test.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

And there in lies the point I was trying to get across - yes a Massey 165 might well tow 9 tonnes happily but will she hit 30mph let alone the 60mph that a B+E combination would with relative ease? Things go wrong fast at 60mph which is why I personally (and that's just a personal opinion) feel that the trailer test is still important.

First time I drove a Fast Trac, I just about filled my trousers. Hauling soil out of a site in Exeter. I'd been on it a week, driving an MB Trac 150. Big Heavy and steady. Came in to find a brand spankers Fast Trac on the dump trailer. Filled up, just as I would have the MB.  Down the hill from site, turned into the lower site, off the tarmac. Except it didn't turn....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, L19MUD said:

A little Massey 165 with 9 tonnes behind it?! I bet she struggles up the hills for power and down it with the lack of braking on the tractor

The corn cart in my 1st post hauls approx 10 tonne of wheat. We have a pair of them on the farm and this year is their 50th harvest. Today we don't run 'modern' tractors by current standard. We have an MBTrac 1000 which my Granddad bought new in aproox 1982. It has about 100hp. And a Fastrac 1135 with 135hp which was new in 1995/6. We do have a more modern Valtra with 180hp, but it isn't generally used with these trailers.

100-135hp is about idea IMO for this use. Plenty of power, but not too much. The JCB can top just over 30mph is you want and the MB about 26mph. Not that you need to go that fast.

In past times we used to use some 2wd Massey 575's with the trailers, but yes did have the trailer brakes coupled. And when the trailers where new the old Massey 65 was used to haul them. Although in fairness, they probably were filled to more like 8 tonnes back then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, Chicken Drumstick said:

So I'm unsure where the actual 'training' happens with the current test setup? i.e. people who have taken it and passed, would not be any more knowledgable on the hazards or what to do on the points you raise, as they simply aren't covered by the test.

Fair point.

Perhaps things are a little different down here but despite towing a massive variety of trailers off-road prior to taking the test I did have a couple of hours with an instructor prior to the test and that was proper training. Perhaps it's people down here but actually I've been very impressed with driving instructors, plant trainers etc., where they actually train you rather than teach you how to pass a test.

  [edit...]

40 minutes ago, Chicken Drumstick said:

But as said, you could already tow legally without the test

Never said I could tow legally before taking the test - I had towed plenty of things off road but never anything on the road. Having gone through the process I wholeheartedly agree it's a sensible thing (in terms of safety) to do, perhaps with a mandatory couple of hours instruction.

Only thing I think was a small <750kg trailer to take a few sheep to market. Since passing and particularly in recent years there have been few journeys when I haven't been towing but that's irrelevant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

Fair point.

Perhaps things are a little different down here but despite towing a massive variety of trailers off-road prior to taking the test I did have a couple of hours with an instructor prior to the test and that was proper training. Perhaps it's people down here but actually I've been very impressed with driving instructors, plant trainers etc., where they actually train you rather than teach you how to pass a test.

  [edit...]

Never said I could tow legally before taking the test - I had towed plenty of things off road but never anything on the road. Having gone through the process I wholeheartedly agree it's a sensible thing (in terms of safety) to do, perhaps with a mandatory couple of hours instruction.

Only thing I think was a small <750kg trailer to take a few sheep to market. Since passing and particularly in recent years there have been few journeys when I haven't been towing but that's irrelevant.

I think Chicken Drumstick is meaning that even without the +E entitlement there are still trailers that are towable within the B rules. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

Fair point.

Perhaps things are a little different down here but despite towing a massive variety of trailers off-road prior to taking the test I did have a couple of hours with an instructor prior to the test and that was proper training. Perhaps it's people down here but actually I've been very impressed with driving instructors, plant trainers etc., where they actually train you rather than teach you how to pass a test.

  [edit...]

Never said I could tow legally before taking the test - I had towed plenty of things off road but never anything on the road. Having gone through the process I wholeheartedly agree it's a sensible thing (in terms of safety) to do, perhaps with a mandatory couple of hours instruction.

Only thing I think was a small <750kg trailer to take a few sheep to market. Since passing and particularly in recent years there have been few journeys when I haven't been towing but that's irrelevant.

Oh, I'm not knocking having training. :)  But there is no mandatory requirement to have training to take the test. You can simply book and turn up. Which I know lots of people to have done (and passed). In which case, the test doesn't really teach you anything or check anything you couldn't have legally done before hand.

 

BTW - wasn't suggesting you had towed illegally. I'm saying that someone with a post 1997 licence (pre 2013), such as myself. Can tow quite a lot legally without taking the trailer test. It is all about the GVW of the tow vehicle and combined MAM of the vehicle and trailer. The reality is, with the correct choice of tow vehicle, you have, without taking the test, always been allowed to tow most caravans and up to a small transporter with a lightweight car on. A Freelander 1 should allow you to tow 1450kg. A Series II/III slightly less. And I think there are some 80's saloons cars that you could even get close to being able to legally tow 2000kg with, all legally and all without needing to take the trailer towing test.

The law was odd, because if you opted for a "better" tow vehicle, such as a Range Rover or Discovery then chances are, you would indeed be limited to only legally being able to tow 750kg.

 

e.g. without taking the test, you could legally drive this:

2009-TCOTY-FordFocus-5-Aug09-751x498.jpg

 

And this would also be possible to tow too:

EF269DC9-9DC1-40D2-B3FF-3BF324F2AFBB.jpe

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, landroversforever said:

I think Chicken Drumstick is meaning that even without the +E entitlement there are still trailers that are towable within the B rules. 

Oh I appreciate that. I just never really considered those as proper towing :blush:.

Caravans are just match sticks on wheels down here. Surprising number get destroyed by being blown over :rofl:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

Oh I appreciate that. I just never really considered those as proper towing :blush:.

 Why not? The physics is still the same and loading can be just as important.

And I'd take a fair wager that the majority of non commercial/work towing on the roads is holiday makers towing caravans. And as the most popular cars in the UK are of a weight and towing class that nearly everyone with just a basic driving licence would be able to tow a caravan with them legally without having to take the trailer test already, getting rid of the test it will have zero impact on this segment of people towing.

The only thing it'll change is it will allow more people to tow a full size car on a trailer. Which is i suspect a rarity by and large. And usually only done by those with an active interest in cars or motorsport.

The only other major segment will be horse boxes, although even under current regs you could still have towed some (single horse, maybe in a re-plated trailer, but certainly possible). But one would hope, that anyone towing livestock of any kind, would be somewhat more sympathetic to what is on board the trailer. :)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am pleased there is no test as it saves me money from having to pay to do it. There is no difference between a person who passed before 1997 to a person who passed after 1997. Granted maybe under 21 should maybe be made to have lessons?

 

The stupid thing about the old test is that it really didn't teach you much, other than how to pass a test. My wife did it so she could tow her horse box. I asked about nose weights and towing weights and limts etc and she said nothing of that was covered in the training or the test, so it wasn't really making anyone more aware or safer anyway. 

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Chicken Drumstick said:

 But one would hope, that anyone towing livestock of any kind, would be somewhat more sympathetic to what is on board the trailer. :)

Wouldn't surprise me if not... the number of properly shagged horse boxes and lorries I see around. Spend thousands on upkeep of the horse and then transport it in something that's borderline legal or even capable of making it to the end of the road without the horse falling through.

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Ed Poore said:

Oh I appreciate that. I just never really considered those as proper towing :blush:.

Caravans are just match sticks on wheels down here. Surprising number get destroyed by being blown over :rofl:

As above, same physics but likely to be a less than ideal tow vehicle to get round the B+E rules. Still capable of being badly loaded and driven faster than ideal.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, landroversforever said:

Wouldn't surprise me if not... the number of properly shagged horse boxes and lorries I see around. Spend thousands on upkeep of the horse and then transport it in something that's borderline legal or even capable of making it to the end of the road without the horse falling through.

Trucks have to be plated annually but trailers are fair game for the ignorant and risk takers but I can't imagine many doting equine owners wanting to knowingly put their animals at risk but ignorance is bliss in all walks of life. I suppose we could pick holes on any segment of the motoring population, the number of shagged out Disco 1's I see trundling about around this area complete with under chassis and steering guards oversize wheels and tyres, snorkel, umpteen lights on the roof and exhausts belching black smoke as they accelerate and stickers with the usual one life BS all over the shop towing equally dodgy trailers and caravans is alarming.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Jon W said:

The stupid thing about the old test is that it really didn't teach you much, other than how to pass a test. My wife did it so she could tow her horse box. I asked about nose weights and towing weights and limts etc and she said nothing of that was covered in the training or the test, so it wasn't really making anyone more aware or safer anyway.

This! Driving schools often focus just on getting you to pass the test. Which is of course what you pay for, but I'd expect some insights on safe practices as well. See my earlier post about the learner driver with no idea about lights but happily and legally on the road nevertheless. With that in mind the rule change will probably have little effect. As long as there aren't too many numpties who now think because there are no specific requirements they can go and tow without giving it a second thought.

I was lucky, when I had my HGV/artic lessons the instructor actually cared and gave me some good pointers to make things safer as well as easier. I've thought a few people to drive a trailer (including @elbekko) and have always tried to stress the importance of common sense, safe loading etc rather than nitpicking on the rules. Both passed first time, so I must have done something right. 🙂

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think having a requirement for a suitable training course and qualification is a good thing and should be implemented.  We keep coming back to most of towing being a matter of common sense, but so is most of driving, and yet we see so many stupid accidents of gross negligence every day that underline the rarity of common sense.  Sadly, the public can’t be trusted, and that’s why qualification is needed.  But a course and test of poor quality that don’t tech the practical aspects are worthless, perhaps counterproductive, giving the license holder false confidence where they may have had some apprehension unqualified.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website you agree to our Cookie Policy