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New van and scooter


rupert123

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Well have done it at last after twelve months of talking about it. After selling our trusty Swift we have today bought a panel van, an Autosleeper. We will not get it until the end of August but do not miss going away during this month much. Now have to get it loaded and weighed to figure the best way of carrying our scooter, has anyone any experience of carrying a scooter on a panel van?
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Good luck Henry - hope it all works out well for you and the stress and worry of it all does not turn you from your usual amiable self into a grumpy old git!

 

An Autosleeper 'what' - just so as we can all be nosey and have a look at some pretty pictures!

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One option that you might consider is one of those "double tow hitch" mini-trailer thingies.

 

It has two castor wheels on its rear, and attaches to the back of your van via two separate tow-balls. It provides a transverse platform for your scooter to go on.

 

Advantages include: the ability to reverse without worrying about the "trailer", as it hinges up/down but not side-to-side; and also that most of the weight is carried on the trailer wheels, so you'd not be adding anywhere near as much weight to your rear axle than a fixed, attached scooter rack.

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Hi,

Congratulations and many happy miles in the new one, If you go for a light scooter like the Honda Innova  you should be Ok,on a scooter rack.(weighbridge I am afraid needs to be used). Otherwise if you are going for a larger bike (scooter) go as suggested for a mini trailer type. The ones with the *castor wheels* are very easy to reverse plus less weight on your Motorhome, Some are high to load on,,,also some drop to the ground and makes loading very easy,,,,lots of choices out there.
Regards,
Brendan

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Thanks for replies. I have been carrying a scooter, Honda Innova, for five years now so know the problems just wondered if anyone had carried one on a panel van. It is a Stratford Rich, smallest van we could get that gives us what we want. We have found a towbar with a nose weight of 150kg but may go down the Ezetow route, need to get it all weighed.
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BGD - 2012-08-03 8:10 PM

 

AAh, the Honda Innova.

 

We've got one too which goes on a rack on the back of our MH. Utterly fantastic 125cc scooter.

 

Yes it is had ours for three years but we find two drawbacks, one the fuel tank is two small, nearly got caught out a few times, two the seat is not the most comfortable. We would like to change it for the Honda vision or if we go down the Ezetow route for a bigger bike like the Honda PCX. On our last coachbuilt the ezetow would have given us a massive rear overhang so was a non starter but with the panel van their is hardly any overhang so may work well, we will see.

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If you have an X250 panel van derivative then the maximum vertical load according to the handbook is 85kgs. The Transit is around 100kgs.

 

Leaving aside axle weights and payload issues you are likely to find that the towbar you have sourced might well be able to support 150kgs but the chassis won't although some engineering companies will try to tell you differently by saying they have fitted many towball and rack combinations without problems.

 

That does not get around the overloading or legal issues if, in the event of an accident, it was found the vehicle was carrying weight in excess of design capacity and potentially voiding insurance.

 

I have spoken to and corresponded with both Swift and Witter who between them have told me that while their towbars can support the weight of a scooter the panel van vehicle chassis cannot.

 

I have spent a lot of time researching this and the only legal solution I could find is to tow a trailer or buy an EZETOW.

 

If you manage to find a legal solution please let me know. Good luck.

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...whilst I would certainly counsel an element of "caveat emptor", as in all such cases I would recommend looking for a solution in Europe's biggest motorhome market - Germany.

 

A couple of possible examples (Type Approval appears to be available on at least the first, which implies an element of testing, conformity, etc.)

 

http://www.sawiko.de/fero.php

 

http://www.sawiko.de/kawa.php

 

Not cheap solutions, but well engineered, and look very "fit for purpose".

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Mike88 - 2012-08-03 11:03 PM

 

If you have an X250 panel van derivative then the maximum vertical load according to the handbook is 85kgs. The Transit is around 100kgs.

 

Leaving aside axle weights and payload issues you are likely to find that the towbar you have sourced might well be able to support 150kgs but the chassis won't although some engineering companies will try to tell you differently by saying they have fitted many towball and rack combinations without problems.

 

That does not get around the overloading or legal issues if, in the event of an accident, it was found the vehicle was carrying weight in excess of design capacity and potentially voiding insurance.

 

I have spoken to and corresponded with both Swift and Witter who between them have told me that while their towbars can support the weight of a scooter the panel van vehicle chassis cannot.

 

I have spent a lot of time researching this and the only legal solution I could find is to tow a trailer or buy an EZETOW.

 

If you manage to find a legal solution please let me know. Good luck.

 

Mike I to have come to this conclusion. Spent yesterday researching the problem and will probably go down the Ezetow route. Spoke to them yesterday, they seem to have got their act together and they can delivery pretty fast now. Their rack adds about a mtr. behind the rear wheels so not to bad and I will be able to carry a bigger bike as well, we were restricted to about a 100kg with our Swift and even then had to travel with fresh water tank nearly empty. Having had a scooter for some years just cannot imageing traveling without it but will not consider towing a trailor so Ezetow or Hydratrail seems to be the answer. Have seen a lot of negatives on the Hydratrail though so probably Ezetow.

 

 

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Robinhood - 2012-08-04 9:18 AM

 

...whilst I would certainly counsel an element of "caveat emptor", as in all such cases I would recommend looking for a solution in Europe's biggest motorhome market - Germany.

 

A couple of possible examples (Type Approval appears to be avaialble on at least the first, which implies an element of testing, conformity, etc.)

 

http://www.sawiko.de/fero.php

 

http://www.sawiko.de/kawa.php

 

Not cheap solutions, but well engineered, and look very "fit for purpose".

 

I agree Robin a nicely engineered product but the same problem that Mike mentions still applies so guess the Ezetow route is the only one to remain legal. I am going to see a local enginerring company today, whom I trust, to get their opinion on the rear chassis of the X250.

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Rupert.

 

Your choice of scooter will have to take into consideration that an unladen EZETOW adds about 40kgs to the noseweight. There is a useful thread on this and about legality on MHF but, despite the technical difficulties over classification, the EZETOW seems to be the best bet.

 

If you are interested the MHF thread is here:

 

http://www.motorhomefacts.com/ftopic-116832-days0-orderasc-0.html

 

Just to add to my earlier post this is the information I received from Witter:

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

"Thank you for your email.

 

All Witter towbars are designed, tested and manufactured to tow at the maximum capability of the vehicle to which it is designed to fit.

 

It is the vehicle that is the limiting factor with regard to nose load.

 

Our records and the towbar type approval label indicate that the guideline maximum nose load for the 2010 Fiat Ducato Van is 80kg, the actual nose load for your vehicle will be printed in your vehicle’s handbook.

 

It is quite likley that your vehicle will not be able to accommodate a 140kg nose load. (That is the weight of the scooter, towbar and rack.)"

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I mention this because I strongly suspect that the engineering company you are proposing to visit will give different advice concentrating on what is technically possible as opposed to what is legal.

 

Good luck! Keep us posted as this thread could prove to be interesting to panel van owners wishing to carry a motorscooter.

 

.

 

 

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rupert123 - 2012-08-04 9:28 AM

 

Robinhood - 2012-08-04 9:18 AM

 

...whilst I would certainly counsel an element of "caveat emptor", as in all such cases I would recommend looking for a solution in Europe's biggest motorhome market - Germany.

 

A couple of possible examples (Type Approval appears to be avaialble on at least the first, which implies an element of testing, conformity, etc.)

 

http://www.sawiko.de/fero.php

 

http://www.sawiko.de/kawa.php

 

Not cheap solutions, but well engineered, and look very "fit for purpose".

 

I agree Robin a nicely engineered product but the same problem that Mike mentions still applies so guess the Ezetow route is the only one to remain legal. I am going to see a local enginerring company today, whom I trust, to get their opinion on the rear chassis of the X250.

 

....I have to say that, as a member of the ALKO group, Sawiko probably know what they're doing, and would be likely to work with Fiat et al to ensure they remain technically compliant and legal. (see my comments on Type Approval)

 

Having said that, I suspect that, with their easier access to such solutions, German 'vanners would probably also consider the addition of Goldschmitt rear auxiliary springs, allowing an increase in the rear axle rating.

 

I've towed a trailer with a 'van conversion for some time (admittedly not the Ezetow) and I'd do a lot to avoid going down that route again. :-S

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Robinhood - 2012-08-04 10:18 AM

 

...whilst I would certainly counsel an element of "caveat emptor", as in all such cases I would recommend looking for a solution in Europe's biggest motorhome market - Germany.

 

A couple of possible examples (Type Approval appears to be available on at least the first, which implies an element of testing, conformity, etc.)

 

http://www.sawiko.de/fero.php

 

http://www.sawiko.de/kawa.php

 

Not cheap solutions, but well engineered, and look very "fit for purpose".

 

 

The first one particularly, looks to be very elegant solution. A very good idea.

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Your favourite pedant here, Henry! :-) I think it may be wise to check with Fiat. Brink (now owned by Thule) catalogue a Ducato panel-van towbar that is EC approved, with a max downforce of 120kg - though it does require two additional holes to be drilled in the rear panel. However, it only attaches to the rear cross member with very short forward reaching braces.

 

I would imagine a scooter rack would have to have longer forward reaching braces, to relieve the rear cross member of excessive torsion. The only people who seem likely to know what can be attached, and where, are Fiat themselves. An 80kg noseweight limit seems very light relative to the towing limit of the vehicle which looks to be around 3,000kg (doubtless this varies depending on variant).

 

Since a scooter rack is not a towbar, I can't see why one could not be engineered to take higher loads than would apply to a towbar, providing Fiat are satisfied that the stresses on the body shell are within limits. Robin's item appears to have some kind of approval so it may be worth contacting the firm to see what they say. My main reservation is whether the rear suspension has sufficient capacity for the added load after conversion load is taken into account. It may work on the "maxi" van chassis, but I wonder if it will for all. It seems imperative to check this relative to the chassis Auto Sleepers use.

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Brian Kirby - 2012-08-04 4:43 PM

My main reservation is whether the rear suspension has sufficient capacity for the added load after conversion load is taken into account. It may work on the "maxi" van chassis, but I wonder if it will for all. It seems imperative to check this relative to the chassis Auto Sleepers use.

 

 

....indeed! (which is why I mentioned it in passing in my post).

 

Germany is also the "world centre" for "auflastung", or weight upgrade.

 

Sawiko themselves advertise (at a cost) the ability to upgrade all versions of the Ducato x/250 chassis (with real gains on max axle loadings, not just a paper exercise). All this comes at a cost, of course, but nowhere near the cost of the original vehicle.

 

 

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Robinhood - 2012-08-04 10:36 AM

 

Having said that, I suspect that, with their easier access to such solutions, German 'vanners would probably also consider the addition of Goldschmitt rear auxiliary springs, allowing an increase in the rear axle rating :-S

 

Would that REALLY be able to increase the axle rating on such a short van???? :-S

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Mel B - 2012-08-04 5:26 PM

 

Robinhood - 2012-08-04 10:36 AM

 

Having said that, I suspect that, with their easier access to such solutions, German 'vanners would probably also consider the addition of Goldschmitt rear auxiliary springs, allowing an increase in the rear axle rating :-S

 

Would that REALLY be able to increase the axle rating on such a short van???? :-S

 

Yes! :-|

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One issue I forgot to mention in my earlier posts is that if a vehicle is "type approved" under EC legislation then the towbar must also be "type approved". All Swift's for example are type approved.

 

As the vehicle in this thread is a panel van that may not be a major issue as I believe Witter's are type approved but it's something to check. However if a towbar is to be sourced or manufactured by an engineering company the chances are that the towbar will not be type approved and thereby technically unlawful.

 

This is of course a technicality but if stopped the implications of running around with a loaded non type approved towbar could be difficult.

 

I thought I would mention this as one of Rupert's earlier posts mentions that he is in discussion with an engineering company and Brian's post above suggests that a towbar could be engineered to take the requisite weight subject to Fiat's advice.

 

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Mike88 - 2012-08-06 2:38 PM

.....................I thought I would mention this as one of Rupert's earlier posts mentions that he is in discussion with an engineering company and Brian's post above suggests that a towbar could be engineered to take the requisite weight subject to Fiat's advice.

Pedant here again! :-) No Mike, what I said was that Brink, who are one of the largest towbar manufacturers in Europe, claim to have a fully approved towbar with 120kg downforce limit. I went on to say that as scooter racks are not towbars, there seems no reason why, providing Fiat are satisfied, a scooter rack of higher load carrying capacity could not be fitted. As Robin's suggested firm is AlKo owned and German based, and markets their product into Germany, where the vehicle registration document has to be amended to include even a towbar as part of their TA recording procedure, it is virtually unthinkable that that scooter rack would not also be TA.

 

The risk in a non-TA rack is that if the van were back ended resulting in extensive damage, and a loss adjuster noted that the rack was not TA, the insurer may take the view that the non-TA rack contributed unreasonably to the damage, and refuse to pay, or refuse to pay in full. It would be wise for Henry to explore this with his insurer, because the consequences would be bad enough just on a panel van, leave alone one that has been converted into a motorhome!

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....interestingly enough, I came across a picture from the "new models at Dusseldorf" section of MMM for Dec 2010, showing a Ducato-based HymerCar on the Hymer stand with a ginormous back-box (colour-coded to match the 'van), mounted on a rack that looks very similar to (but not the same as) the Sawiko one.

 

The rack and box (probably 3 times as big as the largest "back box") alone must weigh well in excess of 100kg, let alone with any load inside, so it would appear that Hymer are happy with the concept.

 

(BTW, Towsure claim Type Approval and 150kg (!) noseweight for their towbar).

 

....as do Westfalia

Westfalia.JPG.cc784acc3457ea79dd6252a4fef41c2e.JPG

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Brian Kirby - 2012-08-06 10:02 PM

 

 

Pedant here again! :-) No Mike, what I said was that Brink, who are one of the largest towbar manufacturers in Europe, claim to have a fully approved towbar with 120kg downforce limit. I went on to say that as scooter racks are not towbars, there seems no reason why, providing Fiat are satisfied, a scooter rack of higher load carrying capacity could not be fitted. As Robin's suggested firm is AlKo owned and German based, and markets their product into Germany, where the vehicle registration document has to be amended to include even a towbar as part of their TA recording procedure, it is virtually unthinkable that that scooter rack would not also be TA.

 

The risk in a non-TA rack is that if the van were back ended resulting in extensive damage, and a loss adjuster noted that the rack was not TA, the insurer may take the view that the non-TA rack contributed unreasonably to the damage, and refuse to pay, or refuse to pay in full. It would be wise for Henry to explore this with his insurer, because the consequences would be bad enough just on a panel van, leave alone one that has been converted into a motorhome!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Thanks Brian. I think we both agree that fitting a non type approved towbar or rack produced by a local engineering company would not be a good idea. That German arrangement does look good but the logistics of buying one and getting it fitted might prove to be difficult.

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