Hello Maureen, and Dave,
After much research I eventually found someone, (Martin Clack, just outside Gloucester) who could fabricate a towbar for our Premium Van 65GE. Because the Premium Drive/Van does not have an Alko chassis, finding a type-approved towbar didn’t seem possible. Certainly, a solution eluded me. Mr Clack was under the impression that type-approval was not necessary for motorhomes over 3500kgs. I now know that is not the case.
It was only after reading Maureen’s post that I dug a little deeper into the legality of having a towbar. This morning I spoke to a garage that carries out MOTs. They don’t actually look at certificates. They do check for cracks, corrosion and whether the unit is fit for purpose. I also spoke to a Renault truck garage and service centre. They did not know how the law affected motorhomes and could only speak with authority about HGVs. Any towbar fitted to an HGV now requires type-approval. Next, I spoke to the owner of Buffalo Trailers, from whom I bought our trailer. He only knew about the regulations for trailers but he did put me onto a contact in VOSA.
I spoke to Dave Picker (VOSA) who told me all I needed to know. Type-approval is required for towbars fitted to motorhomes, no matter what the weight of the vehicle is. Mr Picker appreciated the difficulty faced by motorhome owners in finding a suitable towbar, especially if the vehicle did not have an Alko chassis. He mentioned some manufacturers who can offer a “universal” fit, based on an Alko chassis.
Mr Picker said the first hurdle was whether Hobby had built the vehicle so as to be fit for towing. This would be indicated on the VIN plate (the maximum train weight). Our Hobby has a towing capacity of 1850Kgs. Mr Picker said he had to advise that a towbar should be type-approved. He also said that he doubted if anyone would actually check.
If MOTs become more rigorous in the towbar department, or if anything else changes between now and when our van will need its first MOT, I may have to ditch my first class towbar.