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Old 01 December 2009, 11:33   #1
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confusion, brakes and mudguards?

Hi,

I have a humber 5.3 on what appears to be a home made trailer.
Someone mentioned that it may not be legal as-
1. it doesn't have mudguards
2. it is unbraked.

I didn't realise mudguards were a legal requirement, and I *think* but can't confirm (although I may have to) that the boat + engine are less than 750kg
I have a suspicion that the trailer was almost certainly made pre 1997.

A photo of the offending item is attached! (you can see wheel guards)

I've looked on NTTA / DVLA / VOSA but can't find any substantive legal answers
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Old 01 December 2009, 11:40   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamdavi3s View Post
Hi,

I have a humber 5.3 on what appears to be a home made trailer.
Someone mentioned that it may not be legal as-
1. it doesn't have mudguards
2. it is unbraked.

I didn't realise mudguards were a legal requirement, and I *think* but can't confirm (although I may have to) that the boat + engine are less than 750kg
I have a suspicion that the trailer was almost certainly made pre 1997.

A photo of the offending item is attached! (you can see wheel guards)

I've looked on NTTA / DVLA / VOSA but can't find any substantive legal answers
Doesnt the 750Kg refer to the total Mass of trailer AND what ever is loaded on it? (everything)
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Old 01 December 2009, 11:45   #3
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oop sorry that was meant to be one of my questions
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Old 01 December 2009, 11:55   #4
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what you towing it with?
Get some mudguards!
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Old 01 December 2009, 12:08   #5
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What suspension does it have?
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Old 01 December 2009, 12:09   #6
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Hello,I,m know there are others on here who know at lot more than me and they will comfirm perhaps your guards should be legal enough.But bear in mind other road users when towing in the rain with the spray they produce.The weight of the boat engine etc has to be under 750kg is my understanding,but will watch this thread to check.regards Peter
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Old 01 December 2009, 12:37   #7
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the weight of trailer and its load is a max of 750kg to be unbraked but it has to be less than half the kerbside weight of the towing vehicle. I wouldn't call those frames mudguards but perhaps they could be boxed in a bit, and be made more pedestrian friendly. It looks a bit like traffic copper bait to me as it is.
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Old 01 December 2009, 13:11   #8
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Towing without mudguards can make a real mess of your gelcoat - Stones coming up from the tyres at speed will pepper your hull with tiny stones .

I'd fit some if only for the protection of the hull.
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Old 01 December 2009, 14:13   #9
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I would screw a piece of alloy checker plate to the top and find some heavy rubber to screw on the back, hanging down aka lorry splash guard style. Then you've got a decent step too.
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Old 02 December 2009, 08:48   #10
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I looked into all this a year ago when I was deciding whether to upgrade the trailer I got with the rib or buy a new one.

Mudguards - Yes, you need mudguards, unless the body of the trailer can be deemed to be suitable. The problem is that the boat is classed as the load, so you can't use it. (e.g you launch the boat, it breaks down & you need to take the trailer 30 miles down the coast to fetch the boat......) As said before, get them to protect your hull.

Brakes - The rules for towing unbraked are basically half the weight of the tow vehicle with an absolute max. of 750Kg. (so a Disco at 2 tonnes could still only tow 750Kg unbraked) Assuming you have an O-Pro, mine (which is older, has less hull mass and a resulting 110Kg / 60Hp transom so a lightweight engine at 83 odd KG) clocks in at about 450Kg, so the chances are yours is likely going to be over the 500Kg mark. A trailer to take a boat of of that size will be in the region of 300Kg....

This is from memory, but there's not a lot that a pre '97 trailer will allow over and above current. For unbraked it's basically down to not needing a retaing wire.


For what it's worth, when I costed up the refurb of a single axle trailer, the difference between refurb & buy a new one turned out to be a lot less than I thought when I took the "add brakes" upgrade into account. (and you have twice as many wheels) The difference from launching from something that was a lot like what you have to a swing beam roller type was like night & day. I used to need 3 people & waders, I can now launch single handed keep my feet dry, and more often than not keep the trailer hitched on to the car!
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Old 02 December 2009, 09:08   #11
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A trailer to take a boat of of that size will be in the region of 300Kg....
And I'm guessing you're talking a normal trailer not one home built from what looks like seriously heavy weight box section with a double axle.
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Old 02 December 2009, 10:38   #12
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it still needs a safety chain fitted between the car and the trailer in case it comes off , and as said unbraked trailers can only be used if its half the kerb weight of the car ,,eg ,, car 1000kgs trailer 500kgs ,,,,, even with brakes fitted its only weight for weight,,,,,,car 1000 kgs ,,trailer 1000kgs unless its a landrover or something ,also mudguards as was said earlier from (9D280)the old law that the boat can be used if it covered the wheels went out in the 1990s, and it will need some form of suspension and not solid axles as used with launching trollys ect ,,,,though taking a closer look at your pic ,,it looks like there maybe indispenion type units bolted on , it may even need amber side reflectors and forward facing white marker lights if its a lot wider than the car .at one time boat trailers were exempt from having forward facing white marker lights if only used in daylight hours but as with the old mudgurd law it was changed a good few years back .,,,,and yes its suprizing how much damage can be done to a boat with chippings flying up at the hull.
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Old 02 December 2009, 12:15   #13
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Safety Chain

[QUOTE=m chappelow;328957] it still needs a safety chain fitted between the car and the trailer in case it comes off

Just to clarify the above-a lot of people are of the misconception that the safety chain is a secondary measure to keep the trailer attached to the car-its not,firstly it should be a cable not chain and should be attached to the hand brake mechanism and looped over the tow ball,its designed that if the trailer does come detached from the tow ball the the pull on the cable applies the hand brake the cable then snaps allowing the car to cary on safely with hopefully the wayward trailer stopped safely by its own brakes as apposed to careering off and hitting something.On an unbraked trailer a small cable/chain could be used for a safety measure but would sure make a mess of the back of your car if the trailer came of the ball but at least the trailer would not fly off and hit someone.Hope this Helps Nic
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Old 02 December 2009, 12:34   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m chappelow View Post
it still needs a safety chain fitted between the car and the trailer in case it comes off
Just to clarify the above-a lot of people are of the misconception that the safety chain is a secondary measure to keep the trailer attached to the car-its not,firstly it should be a cable not chain and should be attached to the hand brake mechanism and looped over the tow ball,its designed that if the trailer does come detached from the tow ball the the pull on the cable applies the hand brake the cable then snaps allowing the car to cary on safely with hopefully the wayward trailer stopped safely by its own brakes as apposed to careering off and hitting something.On an unbraked trailer a small cable/chain could be used for a safety measure but would sure make a mess of the back of your car if the trailer came of the ball but at least the trailer would not fly off and hit someone.Hope this Helps Nic
Nic - since we are in fact discussing an UNBRAKED trailer in this thread "a lot of people" are correct. There are no handbrakes to apply so the type of mechanism you describe is innapropriate. HOWEVER a chain (or secondary coupling as it is refered to) which keeps the trailer joined to the car is permitted on any trailer up to 1500 kg (well beyond the 750 kg brakes requirement).
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/vehicles/vssafety/requirementsfortrailers
For trailers up to 1500kg laden weight it is permitted to use a secondary coupling, which in the event of separation (NOT failure) of the main coupling will retain the trailer attached to the towing vehicle, prevent the nose of the trailer from touching the ground and provide some residual steering of the trailer. Above 1500 kg laden weight the trailer must be fitted with a device to stop the trailer automatically in the event of separation (NOT failure) of the main coupling and this is normally achieved by a breakaway cable attached to the parking brake mechanism - the trailer becomes detached from the towing vehicle.
The use of such a secondary coupling (not a brakeaway cable) is compulsary on unbraked trailers made after 1997.

Also its preferable (according to the NTTA) not to simply loop the cable (on a braked system) over the tow ball as its less secure than attaching to the bracket itself where this is possible.
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Old 02 December 2009, 13:15   #15
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even with brakes fitted its only weight for weight,,
what is the reference source for that?
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Old 02 December 2009, 19:10   #16
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from direct gov site:

Quote:
Category B vehicles may be coupled with a trailer up to 750kgs MAM (allowing a combined weight up to 4.25 tonnes MAM) or a trailer over 750kgs MAM provided the MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle, and the combination does not exceed 3.5 tonnes MAM.
Quote:
For driver licensing purposes there are no vehicle/trailer weight ratio limits for category B+E.
so on my B+E licence it seems I can tow up to the vehicle's weight limits as per manufacturers plate and my 2tonne or thereabouts vehicle has a max towing weight of 2.7tonne. Provided of course I stay within the gvtw-gross vehicle train weight. (being of the old school I will stay with weight and not mass)
or perhaps I'm wrong eh?
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Old 02 December 2009, 20:15   #17
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i can,t find any reference on the net now either Dave ,lol, only advisory of 85% of the cars weight or 100% if experienced driver on a caravan web site , but it did used to be the case , it was also printed in one of the commercial towing year books may have been F>T>A or road haulage asso ,, looks like the laws changed going by the Gov site ,,,,,,,,it used to be or still is that an unbraked trailer also has to have its max weight in kgs painted on the nearside of the trailer ,though like everything else nowadays suppose its how VOSA or the local police interprit or see it in their own eyes ,,,
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Old 03 December 2009, 03:57   #18
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Nic - since we are in fact discussing an UNBRAKED trailer in this thread "a lot of people" are correct. There are no handbrakes to apply so the type of mechanism you describe is innapropriate. HOWEVER a chain (or secondary coupling as it is refered to) which keeps the trailer joined to the car is permitted on any trailer up to 1500 kg (well beyond the 750 kg brakes requirement).

The use of such a secondary coupling (not a brakeaway cable) is compulsary on unbraked trailers made after 1997.

Also its preferable (according to the NTTA) not to simply loop the cable (on a braked system) over the tow ball as its less secure than attaching to the bracket itself where this is possible.
Hi The point I was trying to make and you've probably seen it is when people put a massiff chain connected to the brake lever connected to the tow bar with no breakaway possibility.Also I refered to 'over the tow ball' as I only use Swan Neck type hitches which have no accessible bar/brackets.I was not trying to start an argument-cheers.On the point of Towing weights I think you will find that on modern vehicles it is now defined by the plated towing weight from vehicle,I sell Mercedes vans and I can now order a 3.5t GVW Sprinter(Fitted with factory tow bar) that can tow 3.5t allowing a GTW of 7 Tonnes,but would then require a Tacho for commercial use,but does not come under operators license requirements-only a driving license that allows you to drive up to 7.5t.hope this helps.Nic
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Old 03 December 2009, 04:27   #19
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Yeah, it's two different systems - the breakaway cable for BRAKED trailers is exactly as you describe.

Unbraked I think the therory is if the coupling lets go, it stays vaguely behind the towing vehicle., and only vaguely works due to the lower mass of the trailer.

And yeah, swan necks are a pain in the @rse for anything other than the coupling & looking neat when no trailer attatched........
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Old 03 December 2009, 04:30   #20
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Quote:
but it did used to be the case
I dont think so-in a previous life in a galaxy far away I did a lot of road traffic law for a period of a year or so, mainly hgv stuff (sorry Nos!). I have also towed trailers and caravans for far too many miles and have always worked on the gvtw max towing weights and axle weights off the manuf plate. The restriction you mention seem to apply if you have a licence obtained in the near past and have not taken the towing test.
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