MOTORHOME A-FRAMES – TOWING FRAMES AND CAR A-FRAMES
Motorhome or car A-frames are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. As motor home owners realise the benefits of taking a nippy little car with them when touring, the Aframe becomes an absolute must.
Originally developed for military use the A Frame would allow towing secondary lighter vehicles behind larger more immobile equipment. Then as the system became more widely available, Land Rovers were towed behind Steam Engines & Tanks and now many different cars are towed behind many different Motor Homes and RV’s all over the world. They are designed and fitted to various model cars and vehicles with very few exceptions. You’ll find it much easier to get around those tight Italian town centres in a Mini than in your motorhome! Yet while you’re on the motorways getting there, you’ll hardly notice you’re towing a car behind you. An A-Frame will widen your options.
Our TowFrame is manufactured here in Stoke-On-Trent using only quality BS steel and the latest in laser cut parts. Alongside a dedicated manufacturing team, welded using inverter-tec welding equipment and finished with a hitch that is supplied by Al-Ko or Knott, the whole unit can be folded up to fit in any and every car boot (including a Smart!). If you visit our A-Frame gallery page (click here), you’ll see that the various types and sizes of vehicle that can be used alongside our Braked AFrames from the little Microcars right up to Hummers. In our industry, we have provided towing and A-Frame solutions for a number of dealers to help with collections and delivery of RV’s to customers and shows, we also have provided towcars to hire companies. Whether it’s a new Aframe or a re-fit of an existing/second hand one, we’re here to help.
A question we often hear is: If I’m having a towcar, why not just have a caravan or trailer. It is not a difficult one to answer.
1: When we convert your car into an A Frame, basically it becomes a trailer with separated axles. Its got a low centre of gravity which means it corners safely and comfortably and is never prone to snaking.
2: In an age old saying, there’s no “tail wagging the dog” with an Aframe. The larger vehicle (your Motor Home) is pulling the smaller (a towcar). Unlike the Caravan situation where your golf is trying to drag the 7.5m box.
3: When it rains, it’s still quick an easy. No messing about with the wet straps, no slipping on a trailer and no trying to drive a car onto a set of ramps. Of course, when you are loaded, then there’s the extra weight (around 800Kg average) which will take its toll on the fuel consumption.
4: Safely storing your trailer on a campsite is a continuing issue, along with the fact that you’ll need to pay extra to park it – if they allow it.
As you’ll see in the information or the FAQ’s, we stand quite firmly on the fact that we believe in the A-Frame being a legal and compliant product. Our Aframe is manufactured and fitted alongside as many guidelines as we can find but clearly this is still a “grey” area. If you click on the Aframe Laws or Legislation page above (or here) we have listed as many details and information points as we can find.
Lighting and steering are both taken care of when we convert your car to the towcar. The majority of cars we fit to enable us to wire into the standard lighting loom so there’s no need for additional trailer boards. We place a trailing cargo plug under the bonnet and use a diode system to make sure there’s no return feed to the campers wiring loom. On a few vehicles, the complexity of modern wiring systems mean we have no choice but fit trailer boards. These are included in the price and we always set up a fly lead system so it can be plugged in at the rear of the car. When you are ready to tow then you must dis-engage the steering lock. A large percentage of cars require no additional work for this, it’s just a turn of the key, but we will show you anyway. If you have keyless entry then we may need to place a switched signal blocker in the path of the lock wire. Again, there’s no additional cost but we will show you the correct way to use it. When your towcar is travelling along the wheels will follow on their own castor system that acts in a similar way to a shopping trolley. When power steering is fitted to the car, it acts as a further damper.
When you’re ready to tow you will need to put a copy of the motorhome number plate on the car and it must show reflective triangles. Remembering that when we fit the Aframe conversion, what we’re actually doing is turning your little car into a trailer. Again, don’t worry about these as we will provide all of them in the form of an interchangeable number plate holder and an on-tow sign. If you break or lose any of these or just need spare parts then they can all be ordered from our online shop, alternatively, you can buy new when you have the Aframe retro fitted.
TOWtal have a list of more than 60 cars that we adapt on a regular basis, and even when we don’t show them then you can call and we’ll tell you the more unusual ones. There is a list of vehicles that we genuinely can’t do and they are in the menu to the above (Towcar Suitability). Some variations of vehicles just can’t tow any way. If you have a traditional fluid clutch auto then it can’t be done however a semi-automatic or “paddle shift” system usually can. Please make sure it has a true neutral. When we rip the front bumper of your prize possession off, we must make sure that the cross member we fit does the job.
If you look at the fitting instructions from Suzuki (again outlined in the legality page) then you will see that the cross member should be removed and the new one mounted in dedicated fixing points, much like a car towbar. The eyelets and spacers that do show on the vehicle can be easily removed and leave very little visible effects, so it can sail through an MOT without concern. With our market leading products, we have fitted over 10,000 A-Frames to all sorts of cars over the last 30 years and have seen many of the competition follow our lead on both design and foreign market sales integration.
As outlined earlier, the TOWtal A Frame, will fit in the boot of all cars and when needed will become a safe and secure method of towing. The short video below shows just how easy it is to hook up and drive off with only a bar, pin & padlock needed for a comfortable journey. Weighing less than 20kg and coated in a rust proof zinc finish, our A-Frame is the best motorhome companion on the market. If you still need to make the fitting a little easier then we can add a jockey wheel and you can drive straight up to the tow bar.