The law on towbars and motorhomes has changed. Any towbar fitted to a motorhome first registered on or after April 1, 2012 must be EC type approved for towing use on that vehicle. However we can still bespoke manufacture Under-run style bumpers with a tow ball & electrics for those who like the protection these bars give and only want to fit a cycle carrier or one of our Scooter carriers but these are not type approved and shouldn’t be used for towing purposes. For vehicles registered after April 2012 please see our 2012 on Type approved towbar page.
Pre 2012 Motorhome Towbars
Armitages have been designing and fabricating towbars for virtually every kind of motorhome on the road since 1998, so we have many years of experience.
Feedback from our customers tells us that the addition of a motorhome towbar really has given their motorhome a new dimension. Many use the towbar to pull small trailers or cars converted by Armitage’s for A-Frame towing and a sizeable proportion use the towbar as a platform for our very popular scooter/motorcycle rack. With an ever-growing number of motor homers finding that an Armitage motorhome towbar is ideal to take along a car or motorbike.
It’s not always just a mini-sized runabout that our customers tow. Among our recent towbar customers are those taking two-seater sports cars to help them explore France and Spain, speed enthusiasts towing racing cars in comfort and born-again bikers taking their Harley-Davidsons and Honda Goldwing’s along to where the real riding begins.
The majority of our customers (except those that need type approved towbars) ask for tow bars with a full-width under run bumper bar, made of galvanised 80mm x 40mm box section steel then for that distinctive look we cover it with a mirror finished stainless steel wrap around. It’s a real eye catcher and needs nothing more than a wipe over to maintain its good looks and doesn’t chip like powder coated or painted versions. Our customers like the protection our bar gives to their motorhomes against low-speed car park shunts or bollards that leap out of nowhere!
Painting a towbar white is quite a task as it takes many coats and adds £60 to the cost. This can also add two hours to the job due to drying periods so this needs to be factored into the time scales and in some cases could make the job span out to the next day. We cannot guarantee a white colour match either due to lots of different shades of white, but we can do this if you prefer & you have the time for this to be done.
If you prefer the look of a discreet towbar where the tow ball neck just comes out from underneath the motorhome with no bumper protector then we can manufacture these also as flange type, detachable (via sprung pins) or swan neck balls. The types of towbar we can manufacture is endless, we can fabricate whatever style towbar you desire within legal constraints of course.
Designing and fabricating a bespoke motorhome towbar usually means we need to have your vehicle here at our workshops for anything between 4 to 8 hours chassis depending. In very rare circumstances (one or two vehicles a year) there may be an overnight stay to complete the tow bar the next morning.
All our Towbars are fitted with 13 pin Euro electric sockets with 8 wire lights only (includes reverse light function) bypass protected electrics. A 13 – 7pin adaptor is supplied to convert it back to the older standard 12n 7 pin socket which is predominantly used on unbraked trailers and trailers manufactured before October 2012 when a reverse light function was added to all braked trailers under the latest type approval standards. Many cycle carriers now come with a reverse light and 13 pin plug also. We can add live feeds and split charge relays to the 13 pin socket on request for those who tow with electrically braked A frames or have trailers that charge a spare battery on board or even for those rare people who pull a caravan as well which has been known.
The majority of Motorhomes registered from 2006 onwards have multiplexed Cambus electrics which require delicate handling. Instead of simply pulling 12v power from the vehicle’s wiring harness in the time-honoured method, it is vital that we use a special bypass relay to “read” micro-current signals and then feed 12v power direct from a safe source to each light bulb or LED. If we don’t fit the relay, the cost would be irreparable damage to the very costly on-board computer. All our wiring is routed internally, out of the way of dirt, wet and corrosive salt. We do not use Scotchlocks. Instead, we solder all joints the traditional way so that we avoid the danger of problems being caused by damp or the possibility of a bad connection causing damage that would lead to major re-wiring being needed in years to come.
Armitages motorhome towbars can be the last word in versatility.
Because we manufacture each motorhome towbar individually, we can include ideas like full width chequer plate steps, central steps, telescopic slot in Under-runs where access is required. Please be aware that towbars that protrude beyond the rear of the vehicle like the step models cannot exceed more than 60% of the wheelbase of the motorhome, in relation to the overhang from the rear axle to end of the motorhome by law.
We can include receptacles to take various types of carrier systems, whether it be a Motorbike, Scooter, Mobility scooter, Kayak etc. (see our carrier pages).
The photo to the right shows just how versatile our towbars can be with this Magnum motorhome, we fitted our Benchmark Mirror finished stainless steel covered Under-run towbar. We then added 2 x bolt on adjustable posts with sliding brackets to place a Fiamma Carry all box on. With the sliding brackets it can be lowered when not towing for easy access or as it is in the photo raised to allow you to be able to tow at the same time. We also fitted a dirt skirt if you click on the photo to enlarge and look closely enough underneath at the rear to protect the car from dirt & most stone chips whilst towing his car behind on our Braked A frame system.
Bespoke towbar prices do vary a lot due to what we have to do to fit a towbar, the majority of pre 2007 models are quite often the hardest to achieve as back then there perception was you are buying a motorhome so you do not have to tow, so there is very little if anything to hang a towbar off. Nether the less we have only been beaten once to date over the many years of trading, as we will build chassis extensions where required. After 2007 a lot of motorhomes were geared up with stronger chassis extensions which makes fitting a towbar in most cases slightly easier. If you have a motorhome with an Al-Ko chassis or Al-Ko chassis extension’s regardless of year, the biggest part of the Swift / Bessacarr range or an Auto-trail / Elddis brand manufactured after 2007, then these extensions are already built to tow from making the fitting process that much easier and quite often with a good chassis extension, extra heavy duty towbars can also be fabricated to take Scooter/Motorbike racks and steps.
There is the odd exception like this Rapido Motorhome on an Al-Ko chassis but the towing extension part has been removed for the drop down garage at the rear, so as you can see in the 3 photos we manufacture a heavy weight extension which then allows us to weld the Under-run towbar to this, so your extension becomes the towbar saving costs on requiring an extension and then a towbar which is how many of the type approved towbars have to be done.
Quite often pipe work, storage compartments, steps, water tanks and corner steadies can be in the way and need working around or in a lot of cases we have to re-locate corner steadies and even replace them with more compact versions, this could add extra charges to the basic towbar prices. Motorhome manufacturers are forever changing the way they support the rear overhangs so it’s extremely hard to keep up with the changes. Although a lot of the main brands, we do have a good idea of what to expect but this can often change which makes pricing up a towbar without seeing the vehicle or detailed photos of the rear underside extensions and how they are connected to the original chassis i.e. Fiat, Mercedes, Ford, etc. very difficult to price. We do have a minimum and maximum price band which will be explained when you make your enquiry, so if taking photos and emailing them to us is too awkward to achieve, which we totally understand, many of our customers trust us to price it up on the morning of the booking to save the hassle of climbing under your Motorhome. We have been known in many cases to estimate a price over the phone based on customers explanations and when the vehicle has been brought in, we have found it much easier than we thought and charged less than quoted. Armitages take great pride in their honesty and have always been a totally trustworthy company with old fashioned friendly values, which we will retain forever more.
Photo gallery (click on photos to enlarge)
Contact us today to find out how we can help you.