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Old 11-06-2013, 10:36 AM   #1
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Questions about towing in the United Kingdom

Hi I have a 1973 31ft Land Yacht arriving in the UK which I need to tow 100 miles from the docks. We have a 7 pin electric system, does anyone know if this is OK with the Airsteams system? Over here we have to operate the brakes via the brake pedal system in the car but I cannot set this up at the dock side so will have to use the pick ups brakes for this one journey. I am towing with a new Ford Ranger.
I have replaced the 50mm tow ball with a 2inch one and lowered it to 16 inches - is this OK?
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
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Hi I have a 1973 31ft Land Yacht arriving in the UK which I need to tow 100 miles from the docks. We have a 7 pin electric system, does anyone know if this is OK with the Airsteams system? Over here we have to operate the brakes via the brake pedal system in the car but I cannot set this up at the dock side so will have to use the pick ups brakes for this one journey. I am towing with a new Ford Ranger.
I have replaced the 50mm tow ball with a 2inch one and lowered it to 16 inches - is this OK?
If your connector is 7 pins (six in a circle and one in the center), it sounds like the right one. However, the ball size should be 2 5/16", and with no WD system, and a Ford Ranger, I would set the height at about 22" off the ground, and then caution you to drive VERY SLOWLY, because you will be VERY heavily loaded.
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Old 11-06-2013, 12:16 PM   #3
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...and with no WD system, and a Ford Ranger, I would set the height at about 22" off the ground, and then caution you to drive VERY SLOWLY, because you will be VERY heavily loaded.
The Ford Ranger in the UK is a very different animal from the Ford Ranger that used to be available in North America. I think it's closer in stature to a 150 than the old compact pickup. It has a payload up to 1340kg and tows up to 3500kg.
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Old 11-06-2013, 12:27 PM   #4
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The Ford Ranger in the UK is a very different animal from the Ford Ranger that used to be available in North America. I think it's closer in stature to a 150 than the old compact pickup. It has a payload up to 1340kg and tows up to 3500kg.
OK, looked it up, and your figures are right. Thanks for the information. This American did not know.

Ford needs to market that vehicle here because it looks about like the current mid sized trucks marketed in the US, and the old American version of the Ranger is no longer available, I understand.
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:37 PM   #5
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towing in the United Kingdom

Greetings bobbett750!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!

The one thing that I might add is that you may need to confirm two things about the Airstream that you will be towing. The first is whether the connector on its umbilical cord matches the outlet it is to be plugged into on your tow vehicle (a safety measure would be to carry a trailer end that matches your tow vehicle's connector as an insurance policy). The second is to be prepared that even if the connector matches up with the outlet on your tow vehicle the wiring pattern may not match up with that of your tow vehicle (Airstream utilized a wiring pattern in the 1970s that is somewhat different than the pattern utilized in the US industry standard now in use . . . and prior owners often "customized" the wiring of the connector to suit their own design). Getting the umbilical connections to match up is often the first frustration of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Good luck with your first tow!

Kevin
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:06 PM   #6
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I thought that in Europe trailers used hydraulic surge brakes. A trailer had to be 50+ years old to be grandfathered in to use the electric brakes we commonly use. Those operate through the foot pedal. You also use a different color system for turn signals.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:10 PM   #7
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The hitch weight of the 1973 31 models varies from 485lbs for the rear bath to 730lbs for the center bath. The trailer weighs around 5000lbs.

Without weight distribution and trailer brakes, I'd drive this combination very carefully indeed.

If the cable doesn't fit, you might just want to grab a set of towing lights of the kind used by towing companies. They attach to just about anything, and as you'll not be using the brakes anyway, lights and signals are all you need to get you home.

What are your plans going forward? Are you planning on converting the trailer to hydraulic brakes?
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:12 PM   #8
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2 questions

In the UK(Europe) why not electric brakes? And, why no WD systems? MPJ
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:15 PM   #9
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In the UK(Europe) why not electric brakes? And, why no WD systems? MPJ
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...hes-14646.html

All the details.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:47 PM   #10
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He can rig a panic button if he has to. A simple brake controller is all you need. It just takes 12V off the brake light circuit and modulates it. You would need a good 12V power source to go into it though. I am sure you can talk to a US brake controller manufacture and they can help you rig it up. You can also order a plug to wire to the trailer. That is a BIG trailer to tow on the narrow roads over there.

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Old 11-06-2013, 05:46 PM   #11
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Yes, the "new Ranger" over there is about the same as a Frontier is here. So if that trailer weighs 5000 pounds, I too would want a WD hitch, although on a few occasions I have pulled that much weight just on the ball with my Frontier, even in some heavy rain. It worked, but for sure this size truck is better rigged with a WD hitch.

To the OP, one thing to check straight away when you plug the trailer into the truck, it could very well be, as others pointed out, the wires may be going to different pins. So for instance, you may turn the running lights on in the truck, and be sending power to the brakes on the trailer. Etc.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:36 PM   #12
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You could always just hire a transporter.
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:37 AM   #13
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Thanks for the response, I will get a trailer board with a long extension cable and connect it through the Airstream which will ensure people behind will be able to know when I am stopping etc. I cannot get a low loader into our farm but should (fingers crossed) be able to get the trailer in. Once it is here I will be towing it with a farm tractor. It has the bathroom at the rear and I will disconnect the gas cylinders, if possible,and put them in the truck to help the weight at the tow ball.
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:41 AM   #14
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In Europe we have to have the brakes controlled by the tow vehicles braking system and all trailers with twin axels have to have a hand brake and emergency stop system. In order to comply I will have to change the tow attachment and add a hand braking system which is about 2000.
Thanks
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