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The only place for a coil spring is up Zebedee's arse.
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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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After having to contemplate towing the Duchess behind Snog last month, neither Marty nor I knew if it would have been legal.
So, does anyone with towing experience (and I know we have at least one, eh Gilbert :) ) know whether it would be legal to tow a 2300kg vehicle on a trailer behind the same vehicle rated for 3,500kg (assuming the trailer was less than 1200kg, I guess).
Cheers!

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Joined: Nov 27 2017
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Do you have grandfather rights is the first thing?

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Joined: Jan 16 2017
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It depends on your driving license - If you goto this address below and looking your actual driving license
https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

Assuming your towing with a Range Rover expand category B - This is what mine says

Description
You can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) and up to 8 passenger seats, and a driver, with trailer up to 750kg; trailers over 750kg if combined weight of vehicle and trailer isn’t over 3,500kg and the fully-loaded trailer doesn’t weigh more than the unladen vehicle

I would need Category BE - which I have provisional entitlement only for, which you will find on the same page as above. If you have BE in your Vehicles you can drive section then you should be fine. If you passed your car test before 1999 then you should have that on there?

Catogory BE
Description
You can drive category B vehicles with trailer when combined weight of vehicle and trailer is over 3,500kg

You need to stick within the limits for the vehicle in question - Richard is bound to reply to this if hes not halfway across France at the minute with details on that, but my understanding is that 3.5 tonnes on the back of most Land Rovers is fine (at least ones with a chassis - not sure once you move into stuff newer than the p38 or Disco 2). Otherwise your looking at the various weights involved, I think the drivers manual covers this if you have it with a reasonable explanation, or you might be able to find it from Rave if you don't have the printed one that would have come with the car - there is a electronic copy of it in there as I've seen it, but not exactly sure where it is located without looking)

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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I passed my test in 1990, should be good :)

edit: seems I have BE and also D1E
You can drive vehicles with no more than 16 passenger seats and a driver and with a maximum length not exceeding 8 metres with a trailer over 750 kg, provided that the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of the combination formed does not exceed 12,000kg

With two restrictions:

  1. 101 - Not for hire
  2. 119 - Weight limit does not apply

Seems odd, but I'll take it!

My initial question was really to ask whether a P38 can tow a P38 as this was relevant for a while in Swindon when the Duchess popped a prop shaft, and might be relevant to Mazz1 and her troublesome Diesel.

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No, not halfway across France yet, that's tomorrow. The P38 is plated (certified) to tow a braked trailer up to 3,500 kgs, so as long as the trailer is similarly rated, a P38 can tow it. I mention the rating on the trailer as it depends on different makes. The larger twin axle Brian James and Ifor Williams car transporters are rated for a gross weight of 3,500 kgs and weigh between 750 and 900 kgs empty so will take a P38 and still be legal. Other larger twin axletrailers, Indespension being one of them, look very similar, are the same size (5m long load platform) but are only rated for 2,800 kgs. So adding the unladen weight of the trailer to the weight of a P38 on it and you would be overloaded. So you do need to check the plate on the trailer. If you are overloaded and get stopped by plod, not only do you get stuck with a fine and points but you aren't allowed to continue with the journey until you are within the legal weights. Ordinarily, this would mean offloading part of your load and either leaving it at the side of the road or getting someone else to come out and meet you to take the excess. However, when the load is one big lump (i.e. a P38) you can't really start stripping bits off it to make it lighter.

There's a lot of confusion over what you can and can't tow as the Caravan Club recommend never towing a trailer that weighs more than 80% the weight of the towing vehicle. I suspect a lot of this is down to the affect a crosswind has on a caravan and what that will do to the vehicle towing it. But the important thing is the weights that the vehicle itself has been certified for. You need to check the plate under the bonnet which will give weights. The kerb weight of a 4.6 litre automatic P38, that is ready to go with a full tank of fuel and a 75 kg driver, but nothing else, is 2,220 kgs. But the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM, what used to called the gross vehicle weight) is 2,780 kgs. So you can have just over half a tonne of crap in it and be legal.

Anyone who passed their driving test after 1999 can only drive a vehicle with an MAM of 3,500 kgs (so something like a big Transit or Sprinter) and can tow a 750 kg unbraked trailer providing the gross train weight (referred to as the combined MAM these days) doesn't exceed 3,500 kgs. So a fully loaded P38 with a fully loaded 750 kg trailer would actually be 30 kgs overweight (2780+750=3530) for someone with post 1999 licence entitlements.

If you passed your test before 1999 you have grandfathers rights so can drive a vehicle with a MAM of up to 7,500 kgs with a trailer of up to 750 kgs giving a combined MAM of 8,250 kgs, OR a vehicle and trailer combination of up to a maximum of 7,500 kgs providing the weight of the trailer doesn't exceed the maximum trailer weight the towing vehicle has been certified for.

So, the answer to a simple question with a long answer is if you passed your driving test after 1999, you can't drive a P38 with a trailer heavier than 750 kgs. This might be something Marty would need to check his licence for as I assume he swapped his NZ licence for a UK one. Dina did the same, having passed her test before 1999 but in Latvia so when she swapped her Latvian licence for a UK licence she was only given the post 1999 entitlements. If you passed your test pre 1999, you can legally drive a fully loaded P38 (2,780 kgs) towing a braked trailer with a combined trailer and load weight of 3,500 kgs making a gross train weight 6,280 kgs.

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added to clarify Morat's post while I was writing mine. The note 119 limts the weights. If you started with a post 1999 licence, you would get D1E if you took what used to be called the Class 3 HGV (goods vehicles up to 12 tonnes) but if you have grandfathers rights to D1E, you are limited to maximum of 8,250 combined MAM. I saw exactly the same thing on my licence and thought I could go up to 12 tonnes until I looked up what exactly the notes meant. I've also got, as I assume you have, C1E, which is trucks and trailer with the same limits, but note 107 restricting the weights.

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D1E is for a minibus though, and I don't think the P38 qualifies ? Legality aside, I think it's a question of weight of the vehicle vs loaded trailer and the quality of the overrun brakes on the trailer, and the height/ dimensions of the load bed. My Dad recovered my P38 20 miles in his Disco (and trailer) and it was not the most comfortable driving experience tbh , we had to go nice and slow on all the corners/ RABs etc, and I don't think we went above 40 on straight roads. The trailer deck wd need to be 5m+ long, and 2m+wide, to enable you to get the P38 properly loaded ie neither nose heavy nor falling off the back. It wd have helped if I'd had the nano to be able to send EAS to bump stops - ie it's not just weight, but also centre of gravity. I think the cat B restriction above says it all " and the fully-loaded trailer doesn’t weigh more than the unladen vehicle" it wouldn't be fun...better to find a truck.

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So, having read all that - and great thanks GilbertD for laying it out so clearly -I personally could tow a P38 with a P38 as long as the trailer was rated for at least 2,220Kg plus the weight of the trailer itself up to a maximum of 3500kg (the max towing capacity of a P38)..

Eg: If the trailer weighed 1280Kg it must be rated for 3500kg itself.

Super!
And my Jeep only weighs 1450Kg so that would be a snap. It is plated for 3250kg itself so I could possibly find a suitable trailer to tow the Duchess behind the Jeep - but that wouldn't be a huge amount of fun because it doesn't have the (frankly ridiculous) brakes of a P38.

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You've got it. Trailers tend to weigh under a tonne, examples being the Brian James Hi-Max (which is what I normally hire) weighs 720 kgs unladen with a gross weight of 3,500 kgs so you could acrry a car weighing up to 2,780 kgs or the Ifor Willimas CT177 (which I hire if there's no Brian James ones available) weighs 805 kgs but still with a maximum weight of 3,500 kgs. Both these and nearly all that you will find as hire fleet, will be 5m with a 1.9-2.0m bed. The place I use most used to have some 4.5m ones on their hire fleet but as you can fit a small car on a big trailer but not a big car on a small trailer, everyone went for the 5m ones to make sure they had the capacity.

The bit about the trailer not being heavier than the car only applies to Cat B licence holders, those that don't have grandfathers rights so can only drive up to 3,500 kgs anyway. It's to stop someone trying to tow a 750 kg trailer behing a 600 kg Smart car. As a 750 kg trailer won't have brakes, you'd be tryng to stop over double the weight on brakes only intended for a 600 kg car. However, I will admit that towing a heavy trailer can be a bit hairy at times. The P38 on EAS is a superb tow vehicle (which is why I bought one in the first place), streets ahead of a Disco on it's coil springs and I wouldn't even contemplate towing behind a Jeep. The car is too light and the suspension too soft,the trailer is in control, the driver only has a marginal inout to direction. I've towed my P38 and a Harley Davidson on a trailer behind a Disco 1 and 50 mph was the absolute max, much to the annoyance of the truck drivers sitting against their limiters. But equally I've towed a 4,500 kg boat and UNBRAKED trailer behind the P38 and while I had to think well in advance and only apply the brakes when it was pointing in a straight line, it did it without any problems.

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I once spoke to a traffic cop as he gave me a lift home to Liverpool (long story, I was a student) and he was very pleased with his P38. He claimed that he had hauled artic trailers off the M62 with it when necessary.

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Wasn't a GMP one was it? It could have been mine.......

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Morat wrote:

I once spoke to a traffic cop as he gave me a lift home to Liverpool (long story, I was a student) and he was very pleased with his P38. He claimed that he had hauled artic trailers off the M62 with it when necessary.

Sounds totally plausible. I've towed a 7.5t truck out if a snow bank with mine. I can see how moving something even heavier would be possible on dry, non-frozen tarmac

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Gilbertd wrote:

Wasn't a GMP one was it? It could have been mine.......

I think it was a Liverpool copper - although I guess the spec will have been the same.

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One of the Disco models ... is it the Disco 2? excuse my ignorance, has coils at the front and air springs at the back does it not?
I know that this particular combination has a high incidence for caravans turning over according to the caravan club. Inherently unstable imho.

The only towing I do recently is with my caravan which is quite heavy at around 2 tonnes laden (correction ... I am actually doing zero towing right now as the rear diff has gone).
I have Arnott Gen III air bags fitted and at std height the spring rate is a bit harder than Dunlops. However the stabilty when towing was improved markedly when I swapped the std Boge dampers for Terrafirma dampers (the stiffer off road +2" version). I didn't buy them for that but the difference was huge. Far less bouncing around and a lot more controlled.

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My question would be "how old were your Boge Shocks when you replaced them?"
I'd imagine any new shock would be an improvement over 100k mile shocks, but if they were new then I guess that wasn't a factor.

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Fair point Morat. They were probably getting on for 100k at the time.

I ran with them as standard for a bit, then I bought a pair of new front Boges, so I had fronts all round to allow the extra lift on the back.
I remember putting the new ones on the front and the old front ones on the rear. I ran like that for a year or two, so they were well used on the back.
Front Boges on the back actually only allowed me to have an extra 1.5" of lift because at 2" extra it became like a bouncy castle off road. The shocks were obviously out of their range, so I had to lower it a bit.

I finally bit the bullet and fitted the Terrafirma +2" uprated shocks. They are a bit hard on the road but great for towing and off road.

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Don't forget about axle loading and nose weight. They also need to be accounted for :)

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dave3d wrote:

One of the Disco models ... is it the Disco 2? excuse my ignorance, has coils at the front and air springs at the back does it not?
I know that this particular combination has a high incidence for caravans turning over according to the caravan club. Inherently unstable imho.

The only towing I do recently is with my caravan which is quite heavy at around 2 tonnes laden (correction ... I am actually doing zero towing right now as the rear diff has gone).
I have Arnott Gen III air bags fitted and at std height the spring rate is a bit harder than Dunlops. However the stabilty when towing was improved markedly when I swapped the std Boge dampers for Terrafirma dampers (the stiffer off road +2" version). I didn't buy them for that but the difference was huge. Far less bouncing around and a lot more controlled.

Its the Disco 2 Models with the 2 seats in the boot only. Though knowing what mine is like on coils, I can only imagine air would be an improvement, at least if nothing else it should sit level then.

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A lot of trailer instability issues comes down to nose weight. Most cars have a limit of between 75 and 100kgs on the towball. Simply looking at many cars towing, with the arse of the car scraping the floor, shows they're running waaay over that. If you stand on the towball of a typical car the suspension barely moves.

Obviously something with air suspension doesnt sag down at the back, but excessive nose weight still has the same effect, and gives the shocks on the rear of the tow car a much harder job to do.

I have a big car trailer which i use for my track car, its well under the weight limit, but even so, i actually got a set of scales out and carefully positioned the car to achieve the right nose weight, then marked the trailer bed so i know where to park it. I see many car transporters loaded with the car right against the front of the trailer, and this is almost certainly far too much nose weight. Most cars are front heavy, and assuming they're driven forwards onto the trailer, the car usually wants to be positioned fairly rearward on the trailer.so the weight is centred over the axles.

Interestingly enough, i used to tow with a short wheelbase trooper, and that was MORE stable than the rangey is currently, which i suspect is 100% down to the condition of the rear shocks. The trooper being shorter and lighter should be inherently less stable than the rangey. But the trooper had new shocks fitted when i bought it, the rangey is on ancient rear shocks. Yet another item on the list of stuff to fix!

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Getting it properly loaded and the nose weight correct is a lot more important than many seem to realise and loading a car properly makes all the difference. I tend to drive on watching the rear of the car and stop as soon as the rear starts to drop on the suspension. Too far back, so insufficient nose weight will cause the trailer to start to snake and my experience is that too much will cause vibrations. I had a shuddering from about 65 mph on my drive down Thursday/yesterday as the nose weight was too high. Way too high in fact. I'd hired a trailer from my usual place but one of their Brian James trailers had been nicked so they had put an Indespension that they'd recently taken in part ex onto their hire fleet. It had previously been used with a race car so has the rack on the front for the rain tyres. As I was only bringing down a motorcycle, it made sense to strap it to that resulting in 180 kgs of MV Agusta sitting in front of the front axle. Nose weight on the P38 is 150 kgs so I was probably well over that. Picking up a 66 Ford Mustang on Monday to bring back so I'll be able to load that properly and get the weight distribution right for the journey back.

You are right though. The number of caravans you see where the back of the car is on the floor suggests they've loaded all the luggage in the front of the van and not given any thought to getting it balanced.