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Grey imports and towing limits?

 
 
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w3526602
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Joined: 10 Jun 2002
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Location: Glynneath, South Wales



PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:13 pm    Post subject: Grey imports and towing limits? Reply with quote

Hi,

I was chatting to a dealer about buying one of his Jap imports, asked about tow bars/balls. He said that towing is not allowed in Japan (??????) so Jap cars are not fitted with tow bars.

Does this mean that the Jap VIN plate does not show a towing limit? Does this mean that Jap imports cannot tow ANYTHING in UK?

Or does it mean that there is no specified limit to what they can tow?

If the former, is there a way round the problem? Could date of manufacture/first use/import aftect this?

Do Jap 4x4s have holes drilled ready for a tow bar? Come to that, do UK 4x4 have these holes factory fitted?

Nearly an Ooooops?

602

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mrcheese
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wifes Disco started life in Japan. It has gone through two owners since then and it has a tow ball. When it stops chucking it down I'll take a look at the VIN plate.

Paul.
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paul_c
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Towing isn't banned in Japan, I was told it was too and I got in trouble for it! A Japanese person corrected me:

anjonjp wrote:
paul_c2 wrote:

The problem is that towing is illegal in Japan, so imported cars simply don't have the European 'plate' which handily gives the towing weights. I had a similar predicament with an old mercedes, it had a plate but never gave the GTW, was full of asterisks instead!!!!!


Towing is NOT illegal in Japan. It used to be until the early 1990s that a car needed to be registered as a 'modified vehicle' when a towing bracket/towbar was fitted to the vehicle. That law has now changed and so long as the towbar is bolted on, then no re-registration of a vehicle is necessary. Since the advent of the jet-skis and the wind down of the pick-up truck in Japan (currently only the Mitsubishi Triton - aka L200 is available here!), boat trailers have become popular. Indeed, Mitsubishi have a towbar in their line-up of official accessories here in Japan.

The problem is this. Japanese cars are not of the same specification as their European counterparts and have not been strengthened for towing. This is not applicable to all Japanese cars, but definitely to most. Pajeros share the same chassis as their European counterparts I have heard from a Mitsubishi Dealer mechanic, but I cannot vouch for that. The main reason why the document you mention shows asterisks is because the manufacturers and dealers here do not publish the towing capacity. Dealers simply do not know or even understand.

Incidentally, I have a BRINK(now THULE) detachable swan neck towbar fitted to my 2007 Mitsubishi Pajero ZR-S 3litre (not 3.Cool petrol engine 5MT.

I live in central Tokyo, Japan and during the nineties, towed a Japan built trailer behind my RAV4.

Trailers here have to be registered as a vehicle in their own right and the details of the trailer and permissable towable weight is added to the 'other' section of the document you refer to. So, if you don't pull a trailer, your vehicle registration document will not have that information included.



Thread is here:


http://www.pocuk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=94495&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0



Basically, as I understand things, if the manufacturer's plate is not present then you go to the manufacturer and ask their recommendation, as the law becomes a much more wooly "overloaded because beyond manufacturer's recommended weight" etc.....

Unsure if the holes will already be drilled, but loads of people have fitted towbars to Jap Import cars, the towbars are freely available, etc so its not an issue. Mine came with a towbar already. If the car is an import, the Type Approval requirements which came in 1998 onwards have an exemption.
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w3526602
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Joined: 10 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Thanks for replies so far. My breath is bated.

Come MOT time, my Disco is likely to be donating its engine to my 1960 S2. And the towbar may well be donated to a Japanese Disco.

Come to that, if the Jap isn't already registered, I can see my reg plates being donated as well. L77 ***, didn't somebody pay DVLA £200 for that?
Advantages are that I can remember it already, and Barbara pointed out that we already have three number plates, soon to be four.

If it comes with chunky tyres, they can go onto my 5-spoke steels, for the winter, and a new set of road bias tyres can go on the alloys. The rest can go on Ebay.

602

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mrcheese
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the Disco has no weights stamped onto the plate. I don't know what this means though. it is a 300tdi 1997.

602, I am sure I have read somewhere that some were built in Japan, but despite lots of searching, I can't find the reference now.

Paul.
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Kitesurf
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jap spec Surfs have the holes in the same places as the UK spec 4Runner and the factory towbar assembly offers straight up. When I asked what the towing limits were I was told to check the spec for the 4Runner. Looking at the Caravan Club advice you should check the plate on your vehicle. Confused
My truck had no tow bar when it went through the SVA as a new import, so am I legal to have one on there? I think you have opened a can of worms here 602.

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mrcheese
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phil, do imports go through an SVA? Does it depend if the same model is already availble in the U.K?

I think you may be right in that 602 has opened a can of worms.

Paul.
P.S. My head already hurts from a sinus infection Laughing
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Joinerman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My imported 94 80 series doesn't show anything on the vin.

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paul_c
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrcheese wrote:
Phil, do imports go through an SVA? Does it depend if the same model is already availble in the U.K?

I think you may be right in that 602 has opened a can of worms.

Paul.
P.S. My head already hurts from a sinus infection Laughing


Yep, all Jap imports need to go through SVA (well, now IVA) to be registered. If its same as, or close to, a UK or European model its normally quite trivial though.
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Damian
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I bought the Smurf, it was any vehicle 10 years or younger had to have a SVA, anything older and you could drive without!
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paul_c
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damian wrote:
When I bought the Smurf, it was any vehicle 10 years or younger had to have a SVA, anything older and you could drive without!



Oh yeah, forgot about that - I thougt the 10 year rule determined whether it would be a SVA or ESVA though? (Or nowadays, the split for BIVA or IVA)???

Confused, as usual.
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Kitesurf
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1994 Toyota Surf

PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am obviously being sensible and making sure I don't tow anything that weighs more than 75% of the unladen weight of my vehicle. I also use the recommended noseweight for my caravan, which happens to fall within the range recommended in the Toyota 4Runner Owners Manual.

This might be useful. It is not the legislation but general advice from the Caravan Club. Para 3 is most relevent.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/msib21/Templates/W...T=NoModifyGuest#2

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w3526602
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Joined: 10 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Sorry about the potential can of worms, but better I open it now than a jobsworth opens it tomorrow.

SVA did not apply to PERSONAL imports, nor ANY 10 year plus car imported by anybody. I think imports from Europe need a letter (£££) from manufacturer to say they comply with UK regs, or was that some years ago, and has now changed. What does the IVA rule say?

A surprising number of campervans are mentioned on their own website, with incorrect headlamps, speedos and reverse lamps etc. But they are mostly from Europe.

Towbars are going to be MOT tested. Will they check a fitted towbar against the VIN plate? Suggestion - towing limit should be writ large on the towbar. And MAM should be writ large on the trailers drawbar.

602

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Roger
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joinerman wrote:
My imported 94 80 series doesn't show anything on the vin.



Interesting that the plate is itemised in English. Maybe they realised that it would one day arrive here!

If you stick to the towing weights as advocated by the Caravan Club and you can show that a similar spec. vehicle was imported by Toyota GB, then in practical terms, you are complying with the law.

The only thing I would ask is,

Does the plate need to be marked as per a normally imported vehicle, or will a separate, owner fitted, plate be sufficient?
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Kitesurf
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1994 Toyota Surf

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I read in the CC magazine, the towbar is checked during the MOT to to make sure it is not rotting to bits and is secure to the mounting points.

The CC hinted that there is legislation in the pipeline for all future towbars to have to be type approved and to carry the EC mark. In other words, manufacturers own or licensed manufacturers - no more home welded jobs.

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Roger
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I understand Phil, that is already in place.

Vehicles younger than---can't remember the exact year---can only be fitted with type approved tow brackets.

Roger
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paul_c
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger wrote:
From what I understand Phil, that is already in place.

Vehicles younger than---can't remember the exact year---can only be fitted with type approved tow brackets.

Roger


Yes but its got an exemption for imports. Basically its like this:


Road Traffic Act Construction & Use laws - vehicles after 1998 except commercial vehicles, imports (and no doubt a few other exemptions), if fitted with a tow bar, it needs to be type-approved.

MOT - all vehicles' towbars are checked if there's one fitted (even if it doesn't have a ball attached etc). Its a basic structural check. Whether its type approved or not isn't checked, neither are the towing electrics
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Roger
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why do they leave so many loose ends?

Roger
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paul_c
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know, and they'll probably close them with Euro-harmonisation, but its common sense and good for some people. For example, I have an import, with no GVW stamped on a plate anywhere on the car, and I can still tow sensible trailers for the car (Pajero). If I lived in France......
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w3526602
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

OT ..... but somebody mentiond France and Harmonisation, so I copied the screed below from ANGLINFO.

602

This subject seems to come up frequently so here is a help sheet.Towing Trailers the regulations in France.

These regulations apply to trailers being towed with a French registered vehicle regardless of what nationality of licence is held by the driver.

Any trailer with a PTAC * superior to 500 kilogrammes is required to be registered and insured separately from. the towing vehicle The trailer is provided with a certificate d`immatriculation (carte grise) which carries the identification and load capacity of the trailer together with it own individual registration number. It is obligitary that these details are also displayed on the trailer chassis plate.To tow a trailer with a French registered vehicle you are required to abide by these rules. It is also advisable to notify your insurer that you intend to tow a trailer. The penalty for exceeding the PTAC of trailer and or PTRA* of the towing vehicle is a class 4 fine of €130 unless paid immediately or within 3 days when it is reduced to €90. If the overweight is more than 20% this becomes a 5th class infringement and renders you liable to a fine of €1500 and the possibility that your vehicle will be immobilized or impounded . In addition should you be involved in an accident even if it is not your fault your insurance will be invalid.

Regulations relating to driving licences and towing for holders of a French driving licence. To tow a trailer of more then 500 kilogrammes PTAC it is neccesary to hold a licence with class E/B the only exception to this is if the PTAC of the trailer is equal or less than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle and the total of the PTAC of the trailer plus the PTRA of the towing Vehicle is less than 3500 kilogrammes . If the PTAC of the trailer is is greater than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle or the total PTAC of the trailer plus towing vehicle is more than 3500kilogrammes a licence class E/B is required. The penalties for infringing these régulations are heavy and include immobilization of the vehicle.

To hold a class E/B a medical is required every five years under age 60 every two years over age sixty and annually after age 70 These medical certificates are issued at a current cost. Of €24.40 by doctors specified by the préfecture who will usuelle provide a list on request

Other notes To obtain a licence E/B it is neccesary to take a trailer test However holders of UK licences who change to a French licence will have this class transferred if it is on their UK licence

The maximum permissible length of a trailer and its load plus towing attachment is 18metres with a trailer length of 12 metres not including the drawback There are exceptions for fairground trailers subject to préfectoral permission.

Supplementary mirrors ; These are obligatory if the trailer masks the interior mirror or is wider than the towing vehicle they must not be more than 20cm wider than the trailer

Lighting requirements: Two red rear lights, fog rear light on the left hand side as opposed to the UK two triangular red reflectors at the rear, square orange reflectors at the side and white reflectors at the front. Two rear stop lights if the trailer is over 500 kilogrammes or if the trailer masks the lights of the towing vehicle. A reversing light is not obligatory.

Brakes :Trailers of up to 750 kilogrammes PTAC are not required to have a braking system as long as the PTAC of the trailer is less than the weight of the vehicle Trailers with a PTAC of less than 3500Kg can be equipped with an over run braking system to all wheels it is also obligatory to have a safety câble which will apply the brake in the event of the trailer accidentaly parting from. the towing vehicle.

Carriage of, passengers It is illegal to carry any passengers in a trailer.

Towing speed limits in France Up to a train weight of 3500 KG the speed limits for towing remain the same as for a normal vehicle except where specific limits are indicated (usually on steep declines) Above this weight a limit of 110KPH applies on autoroutes.

*PTAC manufacturers certificated gross weight of trailer plus load or gross weight of vehicle including load, driver and any passengers

*PTRA maximum manufacturers certificated train weight of the vehicle including load and passengers Example if the PTRA of your vehicle is 3000 Kg and the PTAC is 2010Kg you are permitted to tow a total weight of 990 Kg (3000 - 2100 = 990) This total weight is that of your trailer plus any load.

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bigt
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Mitsubishi strada (L200) was built in 1993 and imported into UK during 2001. The dealer I purchased it from (I am the only UK owner) had it SVAd and as part of that process had to fit an additional plate showing the axle loadings. The figures were given by Mitsubishi and stamped on the plate accordingly. When I came to fit a tow bar the holes were already in the chassis.
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aopoleyin
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

w3526602 wrote:
Hi,

OT ..... but somebody mentiond France and Harmonisation, so I copied the screed below from ANGLINFO.

602

This subject seems to come up frequently so here is a help sheet.Towing Trailers the regulations in France.

These regulations apply to trailers being towed with a French registered vehicle regardless of what nationality of licence is held by the driver.
Doesn't mean they won't try to do you with a foreign registered vehicle...


Quote:
Regulations relating to driving licences and towing for holders of a French driving licence. To tow a trailer of more then 500 kilogrammes PTAC it is neccesary to hold a licence with class E/B
750kg, not 500kg. rest as is as stated, the laws are the same as those for post-1997 UK licenses.

Quote:
Lighting requirements: Two red rear lights, fog rear light on the left hand side as opposed to the UK two triangular red reflectors at the rear, square orange reflectors at the side and white reflectors at the front.
Bit more complicated than that, needs to have lights rather than reflectors if over a certain weight and/or length. You can't get done for exceeding the requirements, so it's better to fit them if in doubt.

Quote:
Brakes :Trailers of up to 750 kilogrammes PTAC are not required to have a braking system as long as the PTAC of the trailer is less than the weight of the vehicle
Half the empty (PV) weight of the vehicle, same as UK.

Also several other regulations specific to certain roads and terrain, e.g. vehicles with trailers have priority in mountainous regions (if the combination is over 7m long).

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xamtex
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just loked at the vin plate on the shogun i just bought.....
2650kgs gross
5950 kgs train
which means i can tow 3300 kgs?

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dodewalker
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically what is happening now is,
if a defender has no tow hitch fitted to the rear cross member, (& its a little rotten lol)
it is still getting through a MOT, as its not being considered as structural.
If a tow hitch is fitted, then the security/fitting & safety is inspected.

And if you take in a vehicle like a jimny & you have the non approved tow bar, with fixed ball, (from tow sure etc)
& not the approved tow bar with removable ball, (from witter, double the price, but with the correct sticker) which does not obscure the number plate.
The fixed ball bar will fail, & the removable ball vehicle will pass.

Various vehicles, that you often see with tow bars, towing trailers , old mini metros, (pre rover kingston etc) of a certain age, do not have approved tow bars, (they were not type approved or manufactured, i know they were available, things always are.)
but people fitted ones, moved the number plate a little, & nothing was said.
Its not a major issue yet.
george


Last edited by dodewalker on Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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paul_c
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xamtex wrote:
just loked at the vin plate on the shogun i just bought.....
2650kgs gross
5960 kgs train
which means i can tow 3300 kgs?


Yep, some Shoggies have 3300kg towing limit. Above a certain weight, you need to use a high capacity towbar. I don't know where the line is, but on mine (Pajero SWB 2.5TD) its 2800kgs with a high capacity towbar and 1800kgs with the standard one.
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