Tow Ball Standards.

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 14:50
ThreadID: 65373 Views:14227 Replies:10 FollowUps:22
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Much has been written in recent days on both this forum and others concerning tow bars, WDH, couplings and the legal requirements. Some of the information offered has been well presented while a great deal has, in my opinion, been drawn away from the real issues.
If I may present an actual case (mine) and then seek the input from this learned community of like minded people.
I have a 17’6” Off Road/High clearance van. Tandem 15” wheels on simplicity suspension and with an Al-Ko ball coupling. This is as the van was displayed at the Brisbane Caravan Show.
My tow is a 2005/6 Toyota LC 4.2 TD with Hayman Reese towbar complete with 750lb WDH.Also has Poly Airbags in rear coils. The WDH was set up by the selling dealer.

The van sits level when the tow ball coupling is 650mm from the ground. Loaded and ready to roll that drops to 600/625mm depending upon loading. Airbags at 18psi.. In this configuration it is stable and tows very well across all normal highways, developmental roads and even the blacksoil etc property access roads of western Queensland. Note not talking Cape York or ‘bushbashing’ type conditions. Does not react poorly to ‘wind sheer’ from high speed triple trailers.

Now it transpires that the Australian Standard AS 4177 sets out that among other things a tow ball coupling should be set between 320mm and 460mm max from the ground when measured to centre of ball. Outside of that height range makes the van non-compliant and therefore illegal. The Standard is specific and does not set a max for anything other than a ball coupling. Hyland is a ball type coupling. General consensus is that AT35, Tregg and Orac are excluded and can be set at any height although there is a school of thought that the term “ball” has been used in a generic sense and the limits would therefore be applicable to all couplings.

So I look at the alternatives without making drastic alterations .such as cranking the ‘A’frame.

• Drop the ball mount to comply. Puts van in a nose down attitude and totally destroys the stability of the combination.
• Continue to run as is and take the risk of having an accident. Best advice is that from an insurance point of view in the event of an accident the policy would be worthless as the van was non-compliant to Australian Standards. Indications were given that assessors for three of the major insurers here in Queensland have been taking this aspect and ball weight seriously for the past few months.. In the event of a death resulting from involvement in an accident the best bet is that the Coroner would have a field day and un-limit the liability.
• Change the coupling to say an AT35. Difficult to hook up (had one on a CT previously. Good hitch but could be a finger jammer). Also comes with a range of opinions as to the suitability of running any of these pin type couplings with the WDH. In general the manufacturers appear to favour not using WDH but it depends on the person you speak to. Three for, two against. Also the issue of vehicle manufacturers requiring the use of a WDH to allow the max ball weight which applies regardless of coupling type

To date the manufacturer of my van and the dealer don’t want to know but make comments about what everyone else is doing. Both have indicated they ‘will get back to me’. Other dealers have commented on how the standards are stupid so they are ignored One even went so far as to state that any manufacturer who was not a member of RVMAA did not have to comply to the Australian Standards.

The RVMAA has confirmed that they are aware of the problem and would appreciate any submissions which operators could make to the Standards Committee in order to have the standards reviewed/changed. Bear in mind the RVMAA is a manufacturers Association and not all manufacturers are members.

Best estimate by others in the industry is that between 40% and 60% of off road (high clearance) vans are running ball couplings which do not comply with the height limits and are therefore illegal.

As I said in another post in another place. The more I learn the less I know.

Kevin J
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 16:52

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 16:52
I'd reckon that there are a lot of vehicles and trailers, campers and vans that are illegal then.
My 7x4 box trailer has a coupling which is 580mm off the deck, 25 y/o Golf poptop van 590mm, Cub camper 600 mm, three volvo sedans of different vintages all have towball heights within 10mm of 500mm and the Humvee at 590mm.
I'd only be a tiny section of the towing community.
Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:20

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:20
Peter,

That's the whole point. There are thousands of us and since the matter was raised in a magazine it has become an issue.
Just because we have numbers won't save the first poor buggar who gets put on the rack.

Kevin J
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Reply By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:04

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:04
Kevin, this is an interesting subject and I'll be very interested in responses. I don't have AS4177 (or a knowledge of it) but I just checked scope because I was suspicious standard written for specific applications and perhaps assessors using it inappropriately. Amongst other things, scope says following:

"The towbars are intended for trailers and caravans of up to 3.5 t aggregate trailer mass, for use on public roads", and "Requirements for off-road applications are beyond the scope of this Standard" and "Requirements for load-distributing hitches are not included in this Standard."

I guess public road aspect is ok in cases such as yours. Other bits are of interest though. Question I have is can a certifier review / certify your rig as appropriate, or otherwise confirm what you have to do to make it legal. You should try talking to person who drafted the standard too as to how ball height requirement was adopted - they need to be accountable for the stuff they write apart from anything else. cheers





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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:17

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:17
jdwynn,

Who or what is scope?
Even those who go off road in the full sense of the term must be running on public roads to get there.
The requirements for WDH is more to do with the tow vehicle manufacturer than the caravan manufacturer.
I don't believe that there is a 'certification out' for the standards but will check.
Letter already drafted to the Committee who makes the standards.

Kevin J
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Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 18:20

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 18:20
Kevin, check this out:
AS 4177

Obviously costs money to buy standard but scope always listed for purchasers.

cheers
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Reply By: Tenpounder - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:11

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:11
Hi there, and thanks for an informative story. It strikes me that Australian law is clear that goods shall be 'fit for the purpose', and so a caravan fitted with a standard ball coupling should be fit for the purpose of being legally towed via that ball coupling. So, your advice that the van would be seriously 'nose down' if connected at the legal height seems to make a strong case that you shouldn't have to cop this one on your own, and that it is ultimately the responsibility of the manufacturer and/or dealer (probably the manufacturer, based on your information) to rectify the fautls in the caravan. Technically, the van, on your account, is not of merchantable quality, and not fit for the purpose.
But it still amazes me that there is so much getting in the way of common sense. I hope you'll keep us informed as this unfolds.
Regards
Chris (SA).
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Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:24

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:24
Hi Kevin,
Is the standard AS 4177 that you refer to 'called' by any law ?

To explain; A standard is just a written document with some suggested requirements. It does not necessarily have the weight of the law behind it. If you were a building contractor and I wanted you to build a house for me I could write my own 'standard' and then ask you to build my house to that standard. In case of a dispute I could say that you had to follow my standard and if you did not then you were at fault.

If however, the standard is 'called' in a law eg. a state or federal government law says you have to comply with standard xyz 1234 then the standard has authority. If it is not 'called' by a law (regulation) then it is just another bit of paper with no real standing. There are many 'standards' that have no legal requirements behind them. The word 'standard' doesn't mean much on it's own, many people think that if they see the word 'standard' then they reading a law - and it may not be.

.
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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:40

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 17:40
The standard is called up in legislation

It is in the ADR 62/01 along with the following standards

Australian Standard 1771 - 1987 "Installation of Fifth Wheel and
Turntable Assemblies" (s6.2)

Australian Standard 2175-1995 “Articulated Vehicles-Kingpins"
Appendix D (s7.2)

Australian Standard 4235 - 1994 “Articulated Vehicles - Design criteria
for fifth wheel skid plates” (s7.3)

Australian Standard 2213 - 1984 "50 mm Pin-type Couplings and
Drawbar Rings for Trailers" (s8.1.1)

Australian Standard 4177.2 - 1994 "50 mm Towballs" (s9.1)

Australian Standard 4177.3 - 1994 "Coupling Body for Ball Couplings" (s10.1)

ISO 8755 - 1986 "Mechanical connections between towing vehicles and trailers - 40 mm drawbar coupling” (s8.1.2)

ISO 8718 - 1988 “Commercial road vehicles-Drawbar couplings and
eyes for hinged drawbars-Strength test” (s8.1.2)

Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 18:53

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 18:53
Thanks Sir Kev, that clears that up :-))
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 18:45

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 18:45
Sounds like a storm in a teacup. If you got pulled over for any reason, no Police or RTA would even notice if the ball was a little higher. They would be more concerned at how it was towing and if level. Who out there on the road would know the standard.. the Highway Patrol certainly wouldnt, nor would they care.. I think they are after speedsters and morons, not some guy and his family towing a caravan. I wouldnt worry!! Michael
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 18:51

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 18:51
Michael,

Getting pulled over and checked by the RTA or whatever is not the problem here at all. The problems start when the Insurance assessor and/or the coroner start looking for who is to blame and who will wear the liability and it is not the manufacturer who will take the big hit.

Kevin J
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 19:32

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 19:32
Kevin, From that angle, you have a good point!! Michael
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 19:43

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 19:43
Having said that Kevin, if you raise the ball to suit the van, i would think the van manufacturer would be at fault.. maybe in their literature somewhere says that the van needs to be level with so much ball weight.. More than a 50 mm lift on 4x4's is illegal now in most states, the vehicles you see running around are way higher than that. Tyres are much bigger in diameter than legal on many vehicles, many people know the risks but choose to ignore or manage the risk.. Michael
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 20:11

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 20:11
Both vehicle and van are at stock standard height. No larger tyres. No body lift.
As it came and was set up by the dealer who admits they have heaps of vans just like that in stoc.

Kevin J
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Reply By: Flywest - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 20:26

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 20:26
Trying to think of a way of putting this politely - but really there isn't one.

To my interpretation of the above the scope of that standard is for towing a 3.5 T van with a family 2wd car at normal height!

I.e. I don't believe a 4wd tow vehicle falls within the scope.

That said here's a pictorial example for you.



Here you can see a boat & trailer at the time of the photo that belonged to the WA Dept of Transport (Marine) which I had just bought from them at tender - IN the Dept Transport inpection pits yard down Stock road near Fremantle.

I had to get a permit to tow it there to get the trailer re-licensed becase the dept of transport who owned it were too stupid to write a check to themselves, to keep their own trailer "in license".

The point I guess is this - these particular Einsteins arent exactly the sharpest tools in the shed (lets face it if they were any sharper than a bowling ball they'de be employed with a real Job in privatre enterprise).

So - here we have one of their own trailers being towed with the same vehicle and tow hitch etc that they themselves used for 5 years from 2000 - 2005 - and set up at the 300 mm height of the above Australian Standard quoted aove!

Clearly you can see that the vacuum brakes cylinders slung under the trailer actually scrape the speed humps in the inspection pits carpark! :rollseyes:

Kinda makes a mockery of their "safety message" up on the big billboard in the photo.

In this configuration - the vessel was all over the road sucked halfway across the double white lines on the 7 hour tow to Gerladton (no faster than 75 kph) every time a road train passed or the seabreeze came in!

It ended up I had to reverse the cranked 2 inch solid steel draw bar - to gain height, have the hitch re-welded at an engineering works to raise the tow height and allow the fitting of a WDH.



You can see in this picture - with the modifications the trailer / boat and vehicle, all sit nice and level - the vacuum tanks for the breakaway breaks - are clear of the road and obstacles and not likely to be punctured.

Quite simply I believe your applying a standard for a different towing situation - and a 4wd vehicle doesn't fall within the scope or at least the intention of the scope, even if not specifically stated.

There is no way I would go back to towing as the first pic depicts, even if trasport were stupid enough to have it set up that way - as stated -they aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.

Other examples from that same day...proving my point!

The Dept of Transport (Marine) Patrol & Rescue boat - that carried marine trasport inspectors about the rivers and oceans of WA for 5 years prosecuting the likes of you and I for not carrying say epirbs or life jackets and flares etc FAILED it's own commercial marine survey by Dept Marine Transport Surveyor because:-

Nav lights and horn didn't work - nor the 2 way radio. Flares outta date, Fire Extinguishers hadn't been insected and stamped/ serviced since they were instaled new 5 years prior. First Aid kit out of date supplies inside etc etc etc

I'm trying to delicately make a point here & that is - these guys might be good at reading a book and handing out speeding fines etc - but they aren't real smart when it comes to real world practical matters - in fact IMHO the arent fit to be on the water / roads as evidenced above.

I'd maybe get an engineer to sign off on your tow setp and send a copy to your insurer to say that in his opinion you comply with the applicable standard, and head off with the van set up properly.

Trying to talk sense to these public service doults is akin to bangin your head on the wall - it feels good when you stop.

Back to my day at the pits - after providing the idjits with their own vessel and trailer they started to do all sorts of measurements to determine if it was within the towing widths and legths etc etc and dribble on and debate each other and question this and that - we had been there some 7 hours since they opened in the AM and werent looking like getting out that day.......

Finally I spat it and laid out for them like this.

1. The boat and trailer belnged until that day to them - therefore they should already have ALL the specs of when they licensed it to themselves - all they had to do was look it up on the 'puter to see that it all complied.

2. If they didn't stop peeing about - I was going too:-

A ) ring my bank and cancel the check!

B ) Tow their boat out into the middle of the now late Friday Afternoon peak traffic on Stock road

C ) disconnect THEIR boat and trailer (unlicensed) on the main highway and just drive away!

When the police arrived they would track the boat to - you guessed it - Marine Transport Dept - who would then have to come out after working hours on a Friday night - and recover it and explain to their minister WHY they had blown a $75K deposit that was already receipted into their account.......for a boat they had tendered off, that wasnt in survey, and the trailer wasnt licensed, etc etc etc and WHY it was abandoned in the middle of a highway on a Friday night of a long weekend!

After explaining my intentions within the next 5 mins, - I was happily on my way with license plates and registraton papers etc etc - all completed in record time with a "sorry sir for delaying you unecessarily" apology from the Pits Inspector!

Amazing how quicly he found all the required records on his own computer once he realised his little power play was about to all go very bad for him inside only a few minutes.

Point - they aren't real bright or helpfull, UNLESS - they some how suddenly have a "personal vested interest" in helping you get a quick and simple logical outcome...

Unless you want to do the transport peoples job for them in your time and at your expense - you need to find a way to make it n their interests to find the answers for you!

In extreme circumstances handing them a subpeona to a law suit against them poersonally seeking damages in the $millions for their failure to act in accordance with their enabling act and legislation - sometimes (almost always) has the desired motivational impetus to get simple solutions sorted out quickly!

Cheers
AnswerID: 345777

Follow Up By: blown4by - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 01:21

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 01:21
Mate I will not comment regarding your rant except to correct you on a few errors of fact as obviously you do not let the truth get in the way of a good (questionable?) story.
First fact: there are no speed bumps in the O'Connor Vehicle Examination Centre carpark (Clearly you can see that the vacuum brakes cylinders slung under the trailer actually scrape the speed humps in the inspection pits carpark! :rollseyes:) Clearly the hitch height on your chosen towing vehicle is too low. Also the downwards weight imposed by the towing coupling on the towed vehicle is too heavy for your towing vehicle or you need a WDH or similar to transfer some of the weight imposed by the towed vehicle on to the front of your towing vehicle. I am sure you don't seriously believe the DPI is responsible for that.
Second fact the billboard you loosely refer to (Kinda makes a mockery of their "safety message" up on the big billboard in the photo) is actually a DPI Van Trailer used to display heavy vehicle braking equipment. Your convenient photo angle doesn't show that though does it? Probably wouldn't make your "story" sound as good!
The DPI Marine Section and DPI Vehicle Examination Centre whilst all operate under the DPI banner are not "the same" department as you imply but both operate independently of each other both with different charters as their names imply.
As far as your comment goes: (I had to get a permit to tow it there to get the trailer re-licensed because the dept of transport who owned it were too stupid to write a check to themselves, to keep their own trailer "in license) it is common practice when vehicles are auctioned or tendered to de-license them prior to the sale.
As far as your comment goes: (Back to my day at the pits - after providing the idjits with their own vessel and trailer they started to do all sorts of measurements to determine if it was within the towing widths and lengths etc etc and dribble on and debate each other and question this and that - we had been there some 7 hours since they opened in the AM and werent looking like getting out that day....... ) you may be (or probably may not) be interested to know that all trailers and commercial vehicle dimensions are checked and recorded prior to registration or re-registration due in part because some vehicles do get modified and any previous computer record does not reflect that.
Finally in regard to your comment: (The point I guess is this - these particular Einsteins aren't exactly the sharpest tools in the shed (lets face it if they were any sharper than a bowling ball they'de be employed with a real Job in private enterprise). You are entitled to your opinion however I can assure you that these Vehicle Examiners do their best to contribute to safe vehicles and safe roads which at the end of the day includes your safety. Sure they are understaffed, work in crap conditions in a system where they have no idea how many customers will present for vehicle examination on any given day or even at particular times during the day but one thing I can assure you of is that there job is made very much harder by the likes of you who obviously know better than they do.
May I also suggest Flywest that it is people of your ilk who would be the first to complain and take legal action if some aspect of your examination was at fault and contributed to an accident.
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Follow Up By: Flywest - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 02:12

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 02:12
Sigh,

[quote]First fact: there are no speed bumps in the O'Connor Vehicle Examination Centre carpark[/quote]

In 2000 when I was there if you look at the photo behind the rear wheel of the boat you will see a drainage grate / sump call it what you will - the whole place was up and down in rows like an old outdoor drive-in theatre used to be, to make the cars point "up" at the screen.

Maybe they are drainage - I called them speed humps (what they effectively do if you ask me).

You say Poe Teh Toe, I say Poe Tart Oh.

[quote]Clearly the hitch height on your chosen towing vehicle is too low.[/quote]

No - the Dept used a cruiser to tow their boat and I'm using a cruiser in that pic - both hitches at the same height.

The "draw bar" fitted into the hitch is the exact same one they used - it was still in the boat when I picked it up in Freo.

I obviously do NOW have a WDH but there was no sign Marine Transport used one - I collected it as it was supplied and towed by them (roght fdwn to the vac breakaway brakes connections).

Thats why I had to fix it by having alterations made to the draw bar by an engineering works.

[quote]
The DPI Marine Section and DPI Vehicle Examination Centre whilst all operate under the DPI banner are not "the same" department as you imply but both operate independently of each other both with different charters as their names imply.
As far as your comment goes: (I had to get a permit to tow it there to get the trailer re-licensed because the dept of transport who owned it were too stupid to write a check to themselves, to keep their own trailer "in license) it is common practice when vehicles are auctioned or tendered to de-license them prior to the sale.
[/quote]

Sorry but DPI is DPI - the same dpet under the same minister - simple fact!

The fact they let all their licenses run out before tendering them just makes my point - how stupid is that?

They only have to write a cheque to themselves for crying out loud to avoid the whole permits to tow and visits back n forth to the inspection pits and licensing center in Stock road etc - try doing that in peak hour with a load overall 22 meters long!

Then when it's time to transfer ownership a simple transfer vehicle form and pay the transfer fee by cheque in the mail - would solve all the hassel needlessly created just to keep the idiots at licensing and inspection pits in work!

That would make sense - but thats too hard for our Einstein's in the public service!

Common sense is not so common in the public service that's why they wouldn't last in the private sector!

[quote]
that all trailers and commercial vehicle dimensions are checked and recorded prior to registration or re-registration due in part because some vehicles do get modified and any previous computer record does not reflect that.[/quote]

Again stupid and a waste and no need for it - I'd only had it for 15 minutes it took to tow it from Frematle to stock road, hardly any time to "modify it" - as you suggest - and of Transport had modified it they should have amended their own records - again - not much point relying on the public servants there to use common sense.

[quote]
I can assure you that these Vehicle Examiners do their best to contribute to safe vehicles and safe roads which at the end of the day includes your safety. Sure they are understaffed, work in crap conditions in a system where they have no idea how many customers will present for vehicle examination on any given day or even at particular times during the day but one thing I can assure you of is that there job is made very much harder by the likes of you who obviously know better than they do.
[/quote]

I did my 18years in thre Public Service - I KNOW how hard they REALLY work...

Lets see now shall we add up their annual time off under the award?

104 days of weekends
13 Public Service Holidays
13 Rostered days off
5 sick days without med cert
20 week days annual leave
13 days pro rata long service leave
3 urgent personal leave days

total 171 days a year out of 365 days!

Yup 46.84% of the time your public service is NOT AVAILABLT to actualy BE of any service to you the public paying t heir wages!

Ever rung someone in the Public Service and wondered why you can't get thru to them?

Well now you know what - they only work 6 and 1/3 months a year and have 5 & 2/3rds months off at your expense!

Yes I Do know better than them - because I use "common sense" something not so common these days - most especially in the Public Service - if ever you can actually ever find one of them at work!

If your a Public Servant at the licensing pitts you have my sympathy - it must be the pitts to have to work there (oops a deliberate pun imagine that!).

Cheers
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Reply By: Ianw - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 20:26

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 20:26
Official definition of a class MC vehicle

Offroad vehicles

4.3.3. OFF-ROAD PASSENGER VEHICLE (MC)
A passenger vehicle having up to 9 seating positions, including that of
the driver and being designed with special features for off-road
operation. A vehicle with special features for off-road operation is a
vehicle that:
(a) Unless otherwise ‘Approved‘ has 4 wheel drive; and
(b) has at least 4 of the following 5 characteristics calculated when the
vehicle is at its ‘Unladen Mass‘ on a level surface, with the front
wheels parallel to the vehicle’s longitudinal centreline, and the
tyres inflated to the ‘Manufacturer‘s’ recommended pressure:
(i) ‘Approach Angle‘ of not less than 28 degrees;
(ii) ‘Breakover Angle‘ of not less than 14 degrees;
(iii) ‘Departure Angle‘ of not less than 20 degrees;
(iv) ‘Running Clearance‘ of not less than 200 mm;
(v) ‘Front Axle Clearance‘, ‘Rear Axle Clearance‘ or
Suspension Clearance‘ of not less than 175 mm each.


Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 62/00 – Mechanical Connections Between Vehicles) 2006

ADR 62/00

5.2.3. Height of towing pivot:

5.2.3.1. For vehicles fitted with 50 mm pin-type ‘Couplings’ or 127 mm ‘Ball Couplings’ the height of the towing attachment and the ‘Drawbar’ pivots determined in the unladen condition must be either 875 ± 75 mm or 600 ± 50 mm;

5.2.3.2. For MA and MB group vehicles fitted with a 50 mm ‘Ball Coupling’ the height to centre of the ball determined in the laden condition must be between 350 and 420 mm.

I cant find any reference to towball height for a class MC vehicle.


AnswerID: 345778

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:00

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:00
IanW,

Written advice from RVMAA states that the height limits apply to all three categories. ie MA, MB, and MC. There may be some other aspects of MC but since no one has provided anything during my investigations over the past fortnight I can only believe that RVMAA is correct.

Kevin J
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Follow Up By: Ianw - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:11

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:11
I would have thought that Aust Design Rules outweigh anything that RVMAA says !

Ian
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:26

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 21:26
Kevin,

I can't believe that you are researching and researching this topic with, apparently, the ultimate goal of provoking some dozy individual in a Govt Dept into determing that your van and vehicle do NOT comply with some obscure, hidden, ambiguous set of words that may or may not be law.

Hey much pain can a person bring on himself?

Like I said on the other forum, Life's too short.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 22:11

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 22:11
I already know that my van in it's present configuration is illegal and I have already decided what action I will take in order to ensure that I operate within the law and I can assure you that it is the law.
As silly as it sounds the wording may be wrong but until that height limitation is corrected every person with a van like mine is open to very heavy and dire consequences. While I didn't know I was fine. Now I know I am intending to do what I can to correct the stupidity.

Thank you for your involvement in the discussion.

Kevin J
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Follow Up By: Angler - Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 23:15

Saturday, Jan 24, 2009 at 23:15
There is only one thing good about standards. There are so many to pick from.
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Reply By: Tenpounder - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 02:16

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 02:16
I think there's a bit of 'shooting the messenger' going on here! Kevin is trying to raise awareness of a problem. People are replying that the law can't be that stupid, and, if it is, then it cannot be enforceable. If only life was that simple!
The main point that I see is that AS 4177 has been around for years, but its impact has been significantly changed with the replacement of ADR 62/00 with ADR 62/01, BECAUSE ADR62/01 REMOVES THE EXEMPTION OF MC CLASS VEHICLES FROM THE SCOPE OF AS 4177.2 - 1994
Why was this done? I haven't a clue. But it seems to mean that the law has been specifically amended in a way that tightens the rules applying to 4WD tow vehicles, and makes thousands (perhaps) of trailers 'unroadworthy' in law, at least those manufactured after the effective date of ADR 62/01.
Calling Kevin 'a pain' doesn't do much to correct this situation!
Chris (SA)
AnswerID: 345807

Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 08:36

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 08:36
To my knowledge ADR's only apply to vehicles / trailers etc at the time of manufacture so that might limit number of unroadworthy rigs. Sounds like manufacturers didnt change their practices though.......!!
0
FollowupID: 613830

Reply By: Flywest - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 02:55

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 02:55
Again

Its a minefield...I still don't believe the towing combination you mention falls within the scope of those posred ADR's if you read the posted link carefully

[quote]
6. TOWBAR REQUIREMENTS

6.0. The requirements of this Section do not apply to connection devices mounted at the front of a motor vehicle or devices not intended for towing trailers.

6.1. Strength Requirements

The vehicle structure including the ‘Towbar’ must either:

6.1.1. be able to withstand the following forces applied at the intended ‘Coupling’ centreline without any residual deformation that would interfere with or degrade the function of the assembly, nor must there be any breaks, cracks, or separation of components:

6.1.1.1. In the case of ME, NB and NC category vehicles:

6.1.1.1.1. longitudinal tension and compression 1.6 × ‘Coupling’ ‘D-value’ required for use with the ‘Aggregate Trailer Mass’ marked on the ‘Towbar’ according to clause 6.3.1.3; or

6.1.1.1.2. a dynamic oscillating force of ± 0.6 × ‘Coupling’ ‘D-value’ required for use with the ‘Aggregate Trailer Mass’ marked on the ‘Towbar’ according to clause 6.3.1.3 for 2 million cycles. The frequency not to exceed 10 Hz but must be chosen not to coincide with the natural frequency of the system.

6.1.1.2. [B]In the case of L group[/B], MA, [B]MB,[/B] MC, MD and NA category vehicles:

6.1.1.2.1. longitudinal tension and compression l.5 × the ‘Towbar’s’ rated capacity;

6.1.1.2.2. transverse thrust 0.5 × the ‘Towbar’s’ rated capacity; and

6.1.1.2.3. vertical tension and compression 0.5 × the ‘Towbar’s’ rated capacity; or

6.1.2. [B] comply with AS 4177.1-1994 for vehicles equipped with ’Towbars’ designed for towing TA and TB category trailers.[/B]

Hopefully my bolding will show the appropriate bits.

Lastly the category of traiilers specified here are light and very light! (i.e. not medium and heavey trailers!)

[quote] from section 4 definitions

Very light trailer
TA
O1
1 July 1991
Nil

Light trailer
TB
O2
1 July 1991
Nil
[/quote]

Now something else that shows these ARDs aren't relating to your situation.

They talk about 50 Mm dia tow pins (and 50 mm dia tow balls) and 127 mm diameter tow balls!

You ever seen a 127 mm dia tow ball?

Man thats 5 inches in diameter about the size of a grapefruit!



Thats a pic of a 75 mm diameter towball rated to tow 4.5 tonnes according to the stamp on it and its partner I carry as a spare.

How many tonnes is a 127 mm tow ball rated too?...and they are talking here about very light and light trailers?

You see these ADR's and the heights being touted aren't referring to your MC class 4wd tow vehicle.

Tell you what tho - when you look at that draw bar of mine - if you go to your local C/van shop and look at the Hayman Reece etc brands just like it - you'll see some that are actually tow ball height adjustable!

Yes - just like your draw bar has a 13 mm pin in a hole - the height adjustable right angle 2 inch solid barstock steel drawbar also has a couple 13 MM holes and high tensile locking pins to adjust the ball height!

So essentially by using the right angle draw hitch you can reverse it to make the adjustment either up or down from the existing height - by just reversing the ball mounting to account for which way you insert it into the tube (either up or down) then you can raise or lower the ball coupling section with the two locking pins to whatever laden height you desire!

(you can attain about 2 feet of total raise height or lower height using this method.

This way - whatever the weights and scales police tell you when they pull you over is the proper legal height - you just measure the existing laden height and figure how much you need to go up or down. Then drop your jockey wheel - to support the weight of the trailer, leave the safety chains on - and wind the trailer up or down so theres no load on the towbar - and adjust your ball height up or down by the required measured amount to comply and then re attach!

Which weights and measures copper is going to charge you for towball height - if your willing to adjust it to whatever he says on the spot!

I'd bet you my left nut that - he couldn't produce any ADR that specified a height - to quote you letter and verse what was required.

About all they can do with their scales and tape measure is tell you what overall load your towing - and the towbar downweight!

Long as those are rght and your towing level or slightly nose down - they won't even query your towball height!

Guess what - neither will your insurance assessor!

How could an insuarance assessor determine after an accident what the laden or unladen towball height was anyway - the van by then would be uncoupled and the load off the tow vehicles springs etc - he has no way to tell those laden perameters after the fact!

It is my belief - you are asking the public service transport people to specify something that falls outside their ADR scope for your van and vehicle in order to be covered for something no insurance assessor could measure or determine accurately after the event of an accident anyway!

As others have said - I reckon - your just whippin a dead horse- no matter what you achieve it will still be a dead horse at the end of the day!

Try and remember - these guys you want answers from aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.

Who told you (what verifyable and reliable source) in writing that insurance asessors are denying caravan towing accidents claims based on unladen vehicle towball to road heights from the ADR's?

Remember - even the ADR's quoted above are for unladen vehicles. Once you attach your van it is no longer unladen - the specified heights are MINIMUMS - to STOP tow bar supp[liers fitting towbars to vehicles that are so low thery drag on the ground when the vehicle is laden.

I think you have this bull bye the wrong horns maybe.

It's a paradoxical discussion based on an initial false premise IMHO.

The usual problem with producing a hypothesis based on a "false" premise is a paradoxical result.

For example:

(1) All dogs have four legs,
(2) All four legged animals are cats.
Therefore:
All dogs are cats,
AND/OR
All cats are dogs!

Which premise is false?

I don't believe insurers are denying accident claims to 4wd owners towng vans due to some unprovable reference to a ADR that apparently doesnt exist specifying minimum road to tow ball unladen height specification, for Class MC (4wd Passenger vehicles).

Don't let it eat you up - even geniuses get it wrong sometimes!

Einstein was one!

With the Special Theory of Relativity, the resulting paradox, was called the "twin paradox" (google it - fascinating) along with several others which were discovered later.

The thing is today even a 14 year old kid in high school can disprove Einsteins special relaivity theory E = MC ^2

C being the universal constant speed of light limit MEASUREABLE velocity in our universe!

186,000 mi/sec. (3 x 10^8 meters per second).

Those big numbers tend to confuse average mathematicians.

Lets look at a simpler figure for sqaure roots ` 4

Ask most people here whats the suare root of 4 and most of us will answer 2

2 squared equalls 4 - everyone knows that just as everyone in Einsteins time knew that the speed oflight squared was 9 x 10 ^ 16 meters per second or (3 x 10 ^ 8) squared! (or back in my day 186 000miles per second).

Trouble is - the 14 year old kids on this forum - who payed attention in year 9 math class - will tell you,

That the square root of 4 is +ve 2 and -ve 2

Yep - when you square a negative you get a positive result -something all the scientists conveniently forgot when Einsteins un peer reviewed paper on special relativity was published because he had recently won a nobel prize for his peer reviewed paper on the Phototelectric effect, and was thus considered a scientist without peer!

The fact is that E = MC^2 was a false premise which led to a paradoixical result (the afforementioned twin paradox).

Just as your original post was based on a false premise and has you chasing a paradoxical result.

Facts are

The ONLY velocity for the limit velocity for light in our universe that makes E = MC^2 is infinity (Immeasurable) because only infinity squared + infinity!

Only Infinity gives us a result for lightspeed C that is not paradoxical in E = MC ^2!

So - back to your quest.

Your orignal hypothesis about insurance assessors = false premise above number (2) "All four legged animals are cats" and has led you to a paradoxocal result.

Thats how I see it!

Quit whippin the dead horse & the paradoxical cat!

Just take that van somewhere and enjoy it, life is too short!

Cheers
AnswerID: 345808

Follow Up By: Flywest - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 03:04

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 03:04
Correction

because only infinity squared = infinity!

Phat Fingers syndrome! ;o)

Cheers
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FollowupID: 613823

Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 08:51

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 08:51
FW, marathon post! Having a bit of trouble sleeping LOL. You make lots of good points.

My Trol is so strong in the back end that I couldn't lower it on the road if pulled over by police (when we had a van that is), but like you I also wondered what an insurance assessor could prove after an incident.

I guess problem though is desire Kev has to do the right thing and anxiety of knowing not all square when you're a long way from home. Remember Cruiser driver from SA (?) pulled over in Qld cos he didn't had (removable!!) rear seats in his vehicle and the trouble it caused. cheers
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FollowupID: 613831

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 10:12

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 10:12
Thank youFlywest. I'm sorry to have put you to so much trouble and taking so much of your time in writing the above. This was not the intention of the original post. I may have ommitted to advise that I do not claim to be an expert on these matters and as I did state I was and am seeking the input of knowledgeable people in order that we - the people towing caravans - can protect ourselves from those who have the position and ability to cause us undue financial pain and mental anguish by using uncrossed "Ts" and undotted "Is" to bring about our demise in the event of an accident.

With my limited knowledge I do know that a lot of the Standards are written in a way which only makes the situation more confusing however I do understand that there are large sections which are referring to Fifth wheelers and what I would term Industrial trailers. so when an issue relative to 127mm circumference balls is mentioned I ignore that reference. We are talking about MC category only.

I also have no doubt that the police across the country are not in a position to question the setup of say my combination and to be frankly honest any reasonable thinking expert would agree that it is what it should be. Level.

This exercise is not about me or my rig but rather an effort to create awareness of what can be a major difficulty for others and to mobilise the caravanning fraternity to pressure for changes in the WRITTEN regulations to what is sensible.

You may make your own decisions. That is not for me to dictate.

Thank you again for your contribution.

Kebvin J
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FollowupID: 613837

Follow Up By: Flywest - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 12:48

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 12:48
Trouble sleeping - yes indeed!



This shows the hayman Reece Height Adjustable tow hitch with load levelling head!

You can see that it is "height adjustable" with all those holes in it and the ability to invert it in the receiver if required!

Theres a reason Class MC (4wd passenger) vehicles are excluded from the standard.

You see it is possible to have these "engineered (until recently) for suspension upgrades with kits up to 6 inches or more of lift!

For this reason - if the ADR's specified a Max heght above road for the class MC vehicles - any lifted vehicle compliant under it's ADRs with a raised suspenson wouldn;tcomply to the tow ball height adrs.

It simply isn't possible to specify tow bal height in this class of vehicle.

Remember that a lot of army trucks like Unimogsetc also rfall into this category and also tow woth pintle hooks etc etc

Those doing the ADRs realise that it isnt possible to specify a max tow ball height for this class of vehicle - also this calss of vehicle can have 5th wheeel hitches mounted in the tray of utes etc again a problem for tow ball height regs.

I can't see you gettinga result on this one!

Cheers
0
FollowupID: 613846

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 13:19

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 13:19
Thank you again however while I agree that MC category with an Off Road spec van cannot possibly meet the AS4177 this is the entire purpose of this exercise.

The entire problem is that when the Standard was last ammended Category MC was included in the height limits. eg MA MB & MC all must comply with the 350mm to 460mm Maximum standard.

We have this on authority.

The problems are how do we live with the rules now and what can be done to change the rules.

Please don't continue to tell us what we know. The limits are wrong for Category MC

This issue has now gone to a back page so that's where this discussion ends from my point of view.

Kevin J
0
FollowupID: 613851

Follow Up By: Flywest - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 02:20

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 02:20
No worries Kev,

[quote]
The entire problem is that when the Standard was last ammended Category MC was included in the height limits. eg MA MB & MC all must comply with the 350mm to 460mm Maximum standard.

We have this on authority.[/quote]

The amended ADR isn't available online?

Maybe you could ask someone to fax you a copy then?

I can't find any mention in the online links of any amendement to the ADR's that includes Category MC - but would be happy to be - so corrected!

As you might see above - should that prove to be the case -the depicted adjustable height ftaw bar would allow you to meet that spec.....so problem solvered - you could comply and be totally legal!

I can't see a problem...either way.

Finally the Dead Horse & Schrodingers Cat (google is your friend) can rest in peace, bless their souls! LOL

Cheers
0
FollowupID: 613945

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