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A few questions about tow bars...


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Hello all, I have a little dilemna that I would like to share with you.

DH and I both like the NAS rear step bumper look for our 110 and that would be our first choice. We would also like a tow bar and we know that the NAS step comes with s drop plate to which a tow bar can be attached.

The other option considered, is steperettes / bumperettes and a separate tow bar.

A few questions:

- would a tow bar attached to the drop plate on the NAS step be as strong as a separate one?

- why would you need an adjustable height tow bar for?

- do you just bolt a tow ball onto the NAS step or do you need more "stuff"?

- can you fit an adjustable height tow bar to a NAS step?

Any insight would really be appreciated!

Many thanks!

Nathalie :P

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Guest diesel_jim
1 - would a tow bar attached to the drop plate on the NAS step be as strong as a separate one?

2 - why would you need an adjustable height tow bar for?

3 - do you just bolt a tow ball onto the NAS step or do you need more "stuff"?

4 - can you fit an adjustable height tow bar to a NAS step?

1 In theory, the NAS bumper assembly should have been built to a standard capable of handling the towbar bolted to it, although the adjustable height ones are mighty strong

2 If you regularly tow different trailers with different height hitches, then you can adjust the towbar to enable safe level towing. plus you can easily change the type of towbar, for example you could have a plate with a NATO hitch on it, or a plant "jaw" hitch etc.

3 they just bolt on with the correct M16 bolts

4 don't think so, i've never seen one, as the rear step sticks out quite a way (plus, the adjustable jobbie usually uses 4 bolts on top, the two M16 big 'uns, and two smaller ones), and also, the adjustable type use two lower support pieces (large angle iron) back up to the chassis.

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1 In theory, the NAS bumper assembly should have been built to a standard capable of handling the towbar bolted to it, although the adjustable height ones are mighty strong

2 If you regularly tow different trailers with different height hitches, then you can adjust the towbar to enable safe level towing. plus you can easily change the type of towbar, for example you could have a plate with a NATO hitch on it, or a plant "jaw" hitch etc.

3 they just bolt on with the correct M16 bolts

4 don't think so, i've never seen one, as the rear step sticks out quite a way (plus, the adjustable jobbie usually uses 4 bolts on top, the two M16 big 'uns, and two smaller ones), and also, the adjustable type use two lower support pieces (large angle iron) back up to the chassis.

Thank you for your input guys! Its getting a bit clearer. ;)

But it is also raising new questions <_<:unsure:

What do you buy first? trailer? tow bar kit? Is there a "recommended" trailer make/trailer manufacturer for a Defender?

Can you see we're new at this? :ph34r:

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I don't think there is anything "recommended" but a very common choice is Ifor Williams who make good solid stuff. I have one, a GD85, though they do all sorts of general duty, flatbed/dropside, tippers, car transporters etc etc, www.iwt.co.uk for more info

You will need to set the drawbar height to suit the trailer so the best thing to do if you are starting with nothing is probably the following order:

1) make any changes you might plan to do to the vehicle e.g. suspension lift or bigger tyres (this will affect the towing height) then

2) decide what you want to tow which governs the drawbar height and finally

3) find a towing bracket that suits the job

An adjustable height towing hitch allows you to swap the hitch type (if it is easily detachable like the Dixon Bate one) or tow different trailers, though in theory all 50mm ball hitch trailers are supposed to need the same hitch height, in practice you may find a big twin axle Ifor Williams needs something a little higher than a market garden £100 cheapo one for example. It also allows you to adjust the towing height if, for example, you are running with a lot of weight in the back of the vehicle, which would bring the back down and mean the hitch height would need to be raised a bit to compensate. Not doing this means you (could) get negative noseweight which will play hell with the handling of the vehicle and risk the trailer coming uncoupled i.e. it is potentially very dangerous! Hitch height is far more critical with a twin axle trailer than with a single axle.

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Hubby here... Thanks for the comprehensive answer ;)

2) decide what you want to tow which governs the drawbar height and finally

I think that's the crux of it, along with deciding how to "dress" the back of the 110...

The most likely use for the trailer will be to move the remainder of our belongings across the continent, e.g. what we didn't get into a container, or the back of the landie. This isn't likely to weigh much either, and I suspect something that's 10ft long would probably be the most.

At the same time, we have an urge to do things to the landie, and that includes something at the back, either bumperettes or the NAS step (which we prefer).

I don't however want to compromise function for the sake of form, hence the question in the first place.

Do trailers usually come in standard height, or, are there trailers for normal cars, 4x4's, etc... with an appropriate tow hitch height ?

Hope this helps :(

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Guest diesel_jim
The most likely use for the trailer will be to move the remainder of our belongings across the continent, e.g. what we didn't get into a container, or the back of the landie. This isn't likely to weigh much either, and I suspect something that's 10ft long would probably be the most.

At the same time, we have an urge to do things to the landie, and that includes something at the back, either bumperettes or the NAS step (which we prefer).

I don't however want to compromise function for the sake of form, hence the question in the first place.

Well, if you're only planning a few/several trips across europe to collect your stuff, then it only takes 1/2 an hour with a rattle gun to swap over a towbar/NAS rear step etc,

so why not just have the step "how you like", then when you decide to go just swap towbars over?

do you plan to buy the trailer, or just rent one? if you're buying one, then obviously you want your truck setup permanently the correct way, but if you just rent one, then like i say...just swap the bits over.

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I added a NAS step purchased from Mr Miserableoldgit and its great, I also have kids bikes on the back from time to time, so a very heavily modified Witter towbar affair has been put on as well (OK sold a car and forgot to take the bracket off so had to make one).

The picture shows a NAS step (great for getting in and out of the back) with two fixed drop plates and an ally extenstion to push the 50mm ball that bit further back.

Has been checked by local trailer hire fitting company and regularly tows full weight (double axle trailer with another landy on the back) no probs..

I found that without the drop plates the front axle of the trailer was off the ground when unoaded. I chose to have two to beef things up.

post-1003-1218994010_thumb.jpgpost-1003-1218994031_thumb.jpg

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Well we would initially use it to help us move, but I think once over there we could also use it to carry our clients luggage back from the airport while they confortably seat in the Landy.... :P Well that's if it all goes according to plan... :o

I don't think it would be used everyday, but would probably be used from time to time. After checking the website mentioned earlier, I personaly think that a little van box would be enough. :rolleyes:

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Hi Frogs

One question nobody has asked, how old is your 110?

After a certain date (1997?) there may be a requirement to fit a BS approved towbar - with which the NAS type step may well NOT comply. This applies to cars and you may be able to argue that the 110 is a commercial or a commercial based car. You should ask someone better informed than me, but at least go into it with your eyes open.

9 times out of 10 any trailer will fit the same height hitch. Some trailers, those more often towed by commercials for example, may have a higher hitch more suited to a Transit pick-up. Caravans, in my experience, often have very low hitches, well suited to being towed by overladen Volvos.

Chris

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Hi

On the subject of trailers, Ifor Williams are the only UK trailers recognised by some European countries ( eg France) for permanent 'import' so it would be worth finding out what is acceptable where you are going to ....

Cheers

Steveb

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On the subject of trailers, Ifor Williams are the only UK trailers recognised by some European countries ( eg France) for permanent 'import' so it would be worth finding out what is acceptable where you are going to ....

Funnily enough.... France :P

I would have thought that a trailer with EC norms would have been ok? They actually need to be recognised too? :glare::unsure:

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After a certain date (1997?) there may be a requirement to fit a BS approved towbar - with which the NAS type step may well NOT comply.

I knew about the regulation, and have a NAS step bumper, but I didn't think to check as it was fitted by the previous owner who towed with it. Does anyone know if the NAS bumpers are approved to tow?

I will take a look tonight but I'm not sure I've seen any obious markins on the bumper itself :(

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not sure on the rest of it, but all bars fitted after 97 should have an ec approved 50mm ball on them, identified by being gold in colour.

found this;

Type Approval and European Law 94/20EC

Most passenger cars registered after 1st August 1998 (S registration) must be fitted with a Type Approved towbar. These cars have an “e” mark on the VIN plate together with the maximum car and trailer mass. If the trailer mass is not specified then the car is not permitted to tow a trailer, however it may still be fitted with a support bracket to fit a cycle or motorbike carrier.

European regulations were introduced on 1st August 1998 to harmonise the testing and approval of towbars throughout the EU. The regulations apply to all passenger vehicles registered from 1st August 1998 (S registration) which have to have an "e" mark and its maximum vehicle and trailer masses stamped on a plate. The vehicle manufacturer has to nominate the mounting points for the towbar and the towbar manufacturer has to design to fit to these only. The towbar (not the vehicle or the trailer attached to it) is then tested on a jig, to a formula to ensure it is strong enough to pass the test.

blatantly borrowed from www.watling-towbars.co.uk

it also states;

These regulations DO NOT APPLY to the following vehicles:

Commercial Vehicles (ie. pick-ups, chassis cabs, vans etc.), Motorhomes, Special Imports (ie. from Japan or America), Front towbars and other cars that are not “e” marked.

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Mine is classed as a LGV... which to me means commercial!

I would like to note that the step uses ALL of the towing points, including the two support bars from by the fuel tank, making me think it is designed for towing and is approved. I'll take a look later :)

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Funnily enough.... France :P

I would have thought that a trailer with EC norms would have been ok? They actually need to be recognised too? :glare::unsure:

I recall my parents some years ago having real grief trying to get their UK built Lunar caravan registered in France when they relocated there.

The French authorities found obstacles at every turn to frustrate the process.

If you have a UK registered vehicle you can tow what you like in France.

Once you change your car to a French registration plate (or buy a local vehicle), anything you tow has to be registered in France as well.

My parents had to chase Lunar for engineering diagrams of the caravan to aid the registration process etc.

It took them about 2 years to get the caravan registered.

In hindsight it would have been cheaper to buy a French/German caravan.

I would imagine that newer UK built caravans and trailers will be compliant for French registration, but I would check before purchase.

John

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Yea, trailers caravans and motorhomes are all a pain to register over here unless the French have already OK'ed them. Modern cars and commercials are easy, it's the more low-volume end of things that gets tricky. Not all Ifor's can be registered here - you'd have to check the model (and serial) number with Ifor France.

Bonne chance

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Yea, trailers caravans and motorhomes are all a pain to register over here unless the French have already OK'ed them. Modern cars and commercials are easy, it's the more low-volume end of things that gets tricky. Not all Ifor's can be registered here - you'd have to check the model (and serial) number with Ifor France.

Bonne chance

Sounds like we might as well buy a trailer in France if that's the case, one less thing to worry about B)

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Yea, trailers caravans and motorhomes are all a pain to register over here unless the French have already OK'ed them. Modern cars and commercials are easy, it's the more low-volume end of things that gets tricky. Not all Ifor's can be registered here - you'd have to check the model (and serial) number with Ifor France.Bonne chance

Merci, on dirait qu'on va en avoir besoin..... :o

Sounds like we might as well buy a trailer in France if that's the case, one less thing to worry about B)

Oh??? :blink: Better sort that rear end bit quick then.... :unsure::blink:

But it means more stuff we can bring back!!Yeah!!! :P Shopping.....mmmmmm :P

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