Author Topic: Longer towbar or longer tow tongue - beware of the issues  (Read 11563 times)

Offline MYT150

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Longer towbar or longer tow tongue - beware of the issues
« on: August 18, 2014, 10:57:11 PM »
Longer towbar or longer tow tongue - beware of the issues

Taken form another thread so it is all in one spot

Our Tvan has a short draw bar and we found it difficult to open the barn door on our Prado enough to get access to large storage bins, etc. the Tvan was also very difficult to reverse. We solved this by fitting an extended tow hitch designed to clear a bike carrier from the door mounted spare wheel of the Prado. We can now access the rear of the Prado sufficiently to get to the things we store there and reversing is now a breeze.

I've read where extending the tow hitch shifts the load stresses between the tow vehicle and the towed van but so far no issues have been identified. A cheaper option than extending the Tvan drawbar that's worth considering.

Apart from the legal ramifications when u extend the tow bar hitch or tongue it applies more leverage on the tow bars mounting bolts etc. Extending the draw bar while more expensive is the best option.

Can you elaborate on the legal ramifications? I can't find anything on the web at the moment but maybe I'm looking in the wrong place.

It was explained to me by a tow bar company that the ramifications centre on the modification to a manufacturers standard thereby potentially not being covered by insurance and rendering you personally liable for any damages or other injuries to parties.

I'm using a rated Reece hitch so not sure what the manufacturer is referring to.

I suspect what is being referred to is that a specific towbar is designed to be used with a specific ball mount (tongue) to achieve the rating that is stated on the tow bar. Once you replace the ball mount with a longer one, even if it is a genuine Hayman Reese one, then the towbar is no longer configured the same as it was when the load ratings were calculated. The extra leverage on the bar and its mounts will reduce its down load capacity and could, in the event of a failure, damage or injury, be construed as being caused by a modification outside the manufactures specifications. If you carried out that modification you could be liable.

Has anyone checked with the tow bar manufactured before fitting a longer ball mount to its effect in the rated capacity of the towbar?

On the other hand, Track have tested their drawbar extension to ensure it meets/exceeds the relevant design rules and is safe to use when fitted correctly. Which means that in the unlikely event of a failure it goes back on them to prove it was up to the job.

Scroll down this post to see some pics of what excessive loading can do:

Not all tow bar related, but still food for thought.

On a similar note, has anyone read the load placard for the tow bar fitted to their vehicle to ensure it meets the required rating for their trailer. For example some Hayman Reese 80 Series towbars are only rated for a ball load of 120kg which is less than the unloaded ball weight of most Tvans. Another example is a major 4x4 aftermarket manufacturers rear step bar for utes was only rated at 120kg as well.

Basically check your towing specs (including any deviations from the standard set up) to ensure you are safe and legal.  ;)

Wow, those pictures say it all. Thanks for clarifying that Craig. And for getting us back on thread.

Checked the Hayman Reece website and the heavy duty tow bar for my 150 series Prado is rated up to 3000 kg with up to 300 kg ball weight rating. The longer 300 mm interlock trailer ball mount and tow ball is rated up to 2250 kg.

Aidan Cashman
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Offline Cruiser 105Tvan

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Re: Longer towbar or longer tow tongue - beware of the issues
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2018, 10:05:26 AM »
It is desirable to have the Tow Hitch Tongue as close to the rear axle as possible.

Due to people over extending the tray or bodywork nowadays, it is becoming more common to break the chassis.
See numerous pics about this on other 4WD sites.

The tow bar transfers the leverage of the towed vehicle into the chassis of the towing vehicle.
There are pics of Tritons, Hilux's, Mazda's, Ranger's and Landcruisers,  all popular 4wd's.  So this problem is not 'Brand' specific.
It would be a better idea to extend the Trailer, rather than put a longer tongue into the Tow Hitch.
Breaking a Chassis on a 4WD, you lose the whole vehicle.
Breaking an A frame on a trailer is far easier to fix, and will not be as costly.
VK3PPC (Amateur).  VZU641 (Outpost LMR. Flying Doc. Radio sys.)
Cruiser 105Tvan, 2000 FZJ105R, 2009 Canning MkII. pushing.
HDJ 105r with a 1HDFT, being run in.