Jump to content

Fitting a Motor Mover to a Smart Car Trailer


Recommended Posts

This topic came up as a battery-related discussion on another thread but I though it desrves a separate thread, so here goes.


As it happens I'm on a site in France with a friend who has successfully done this. He bought a used (very old) motor mover, a new (cheap, £60) 100 AH leisure battery, a new(small) solar panel and regulator and an old motorcycle topbox and a robust Stanley toolbox to house the stuff and keep the weather of it.


And it works. His tiny solar panel reharges the battery adequately in summer, without taking any particular trouble where he parks the trailer, and he uses external power to recharge the battery a couple of times each winter. The battery is not recharged while being towed by the MH except by its own little solar panel. The outfit has been in service for three years so far and it works reliably. I've seen him trundle his (broken down) Smart car 100 metres or more across the campsite on board the trailer when necessary so the battery is certainly big enough.


He's never checked the depth of discharge of the battery after use so he doesn't know whether a smaller battery would do the job which, apart from rare 100 metre transportations, it might. The size of solar panel was chosen to fit the lid of the motorcycle top box rather than because of its power rating and it is probably only rated at about 20 watts or so. The motor mover doesn't get used continuously of course, which presumably explains why 20 watts is enough to keep the big battery topped up.


The control box and radio receiver for the motor mover are in the (weatherproof) motorcycle top box and the solar pannel is mounted to the lid. The battery and solar panel regulator live in a recycled weatherproof Stanley toolbox. The other recycled toolbox carries the straps to tie down the car. He added hardwood timber mounting beams, recycling what he had in the garage, rather than fabricate metal ones.


You will see in the picture that he has fixed a wooden chock to the RH runner of the trailer to position the car further back when loaded, to adjust the trailer balance for the added weight of the battery, which had a substantial impact. The motor mover i also heavy but that is mounted close to the trailer axle so has much less impact on loading balance.


He's a compulsive DIY man with an engineering background so this thing is built a bit like the Forth Road Bridge. He's never weighed it since the conversion. It works and tows well with the Smart Car on board. I showed him the winch I've installed on the front of my trailer (in case the car cannot be driven in order to load it) so he'll probably be adding one of those next. And then maybe a kitchen sink.


His trailer has a single axle, which made the fitting of a motor mover much easier. Single axle trailers are easier to manhandle than twin axle models and can be moved enough to reposition for hitching up even when the car is loaded. My single axle Ifor Williams CT136 trailer is over-long for our small car (an iQ3) but I don't find that a problem (it tows well and I can see what going on behind when I'm towing) so I am very happy with it and have no plans to fit a motor mover.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Whilst I believe your friends installation looks competent, my main question would be why?

The idea of owning a motorhome is to have the freedom of travel without the complication of towing and all the associated clutter.

Does this set up not just put the user in the same camp as a Car and Caravan?

Also the latter is less than half the cost?

Please this is just an opinion and no offence is intended.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...