Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

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PhilR
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Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby PhilR » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:20 pm

I want to buy a towbar for my Traveller. I've seen that Watlings do one but have no idea what it looks like. Has anyone had experience of fitting a Watlings towbar?
I want to keep the rear number plate in its original position....don't want to mount it on the rear door! I've also seen that Charles Ware do one with the number plate mounting below the tow ball. I wonder if this could be swapped with a drop plate so the ball is below the number plate?
Maybe another option is to have one fabricated....anyone know of a decent fabricator in the Somerset/Wiltshire area?
Any other recommendations would be gratefully received.
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oliver90owner
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby oliver90owner » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:28 am

I want to keep the rear number plate in its original position....

Tow ball height is a necessary consideration when towing. Safety is more important than aethsetics, I would have thought.

PhilR
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby PhilR » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:21 am

I agree totally. I've towed trailers and caravans for years so appreciate the safety aspects come before aesthetics. However I've seen quite a few towbars on Travellers where the plate is in it's original position which is my preference.
I spoke to Watling's but they cannot tell me what you have to do with the number plate and their fitting instructions don't mention it either. Just want to be sure before I shell out.
That said, I'd rather not fit one than drill holes in the rear door!
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simmitc
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby simmitc » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:45 pm

Watling bars are angle iron with the flat edge at the top, parallel to the bottom of the doors, as per picture below. Also shown is a Whitter bar that is angle iron the other way over and dips in the centre. Both mount to the bumper irons with a tie plate to the boot floor behind the petrol tank. Whitter no longer make bars for Minors, but you might find one second hand. They used to be supplied with plates to hang the number plate below the tow bar but I dislike the reduced ground clearance and am quite happy to drill the doors.
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simmitc
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby simmitc » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:01 pm

And here are the instructions for fitting the Watling bar.
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MikeNash
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby MikeNash » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:17 pm

Phil,
Making your own is quite easy. Here's mine
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made some years ago from a piece of heavy angle iron. I was particularly keen both to be able to open the Trav's rear doors with the trailer attached and also not to have to put the number plate on body work or doors.
A closer view of the attachment of the bracket to the car is here
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, and as you can see it's quite simple. My ancient arc welder stuck the bits together, but an earlier one (in the 1960/70s) was bolted. (Note, not shown is the necessary piece that bolts to the bracket and passes under the car to bolt to the boot floor that prevents the bracket rotating under load.)
If you wish to see it (or need more photos) contact me. MikeN.
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oliver90owner
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby oliver90owner » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:41 pm

Technically, or legally, the number plate must be readable by the ANPR installations on the road network. If the number is not readable, you can be nicked. Therefore anything which might obscure the view is likely illegal (particularly sticking something even larger over the tow hitch!).

There may also be rules regarding a ball hitch sticking out beyond the bumper, these days, while not towing.

But maybe we can claim ‘grandfather rights’ on something like this?

firedrake1942
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby firedrake1942 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:10 am

That always supposes there is any plod out there to nick anyone these days. Traffic depts up and down the country have been slashed to the bone, as traffic is not sexy. Whilst there are always some officious nerds, the majority were genuinely motivated by road safety and keeping the majority safe from the speeding. and bad driving of the minority. Short sighted 'leadership' driven by political expediency. Again!

Would the MOT test pick up such alleged breaches? Always assuming that one gets one done! If not, many would regard the by product (of fitting a tow bar) of obscuring the number plate as a bonus for speeders - unless your car is nicked of course.....

philthehill
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby philthehill » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:25 am

If the number plate is even partially obscured by the ball hitch it can be a MOT failure.
The number plate is checked for unobstructed view as part of the MOT.


ianmack
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby ianmack » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:43 am

To get MOTs we will just have to take our balls off!

oliver90owner
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby oliver90owner » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:04 am

To get MOTs we will just have to take our balls off!

That might be like disconnecting the speedo to avoid speeding?

Doesn’t make it legal, does it?

les
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby les » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:42 am

If one doesn't want to be illegal ( heaven forbid ) just fit the ball when needed.


MikeNash
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby MikeNash » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:09 pm

I see that I've had this towing arrangement for over twelve years and that it never excited either my local constabulary or my regular MOT garage, but that said, it would take only a couple of minute to remove the towing ball - and that includes finding the right sized spanners!

In the top photo below is a close up of the trailer hitch and there's about 1 inch of clearance between the top of the trailer hitch and the bottom of the Traveller doors when they're opened.

In the bottom photo is the full ensemble (we've just returned from a successful Firewood Recovery Mission) and you can see the trailer sits at about the right angle. The trailer was the cheapest and smallest of the Erde range (bought 12 years ago), the 102 model of 295Kg capacity (gross weight 350Kg) and I wish I'd bought something larger. However, it tows very well and the galvanised finish is almost good as new despite it always being stored out of doors.
Regards, MikeN.
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philthehill
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Re: Watlings Towbar for a Traveller

Postby philthehill » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:43 pm

I had to remove the ball hitch every time before the Suzuki went in for its MOT otherwise it would fail and the ball hitch was hardly shrouding the number plate.
It was better to remove the ball hitch than have a fail and the ball hitch would have still have to be removed.
In the end I left it off and only fitted it when needed and then the trailer number plate was the rear readable plate.
Phil



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