Je kunt mij huren, it says on the trailer’s side; You can rent me. And that’s exactly what folks here do when they’ve got something to haul, just rent a trailer and hook it up to your own vehicle. After the job is done, you bring it back to the rental company.
The towing vehicle can be anything, from a B-segment hatchback to a big SUV. Depending on the trailer’s size and weight, of course. The other day, my neighbor obviously needed something bigger than the widely used single- or tandem axle trailer.
A view from above, while standing behind an insect screen. The flatbed drawbar trailer with dropsides is a 2006 Hapert V3500. Its registered maximum GVM is 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs). The trailer itself weighs 1,470 kg, which leaves 2,030 kg payload capacity.
A standard hitch and trailer coupling. Evidently the (in)famous tongue weight is never an issue with a trailer setup like this.
Here’s my neighbor’s
tractor double cab panel van, a 2008 Volkswagen Transporter 2.5 TDI with an automatic transmission. The maximum power output of the inline-5 engine is 174 DIN-hp @ 3,500 rpm, its maximum torque output is 400 Nm (295 ft lb) @ 2,000 – 2,300 rpm.
Double cab panel vans like this get a registration as a commercial vehicle, yet they’re often also used as a family car. Unlike double cab flatbed trucks, which are strictly business. I must add though, that double cab pickup trucks (think Volkswagen Amarok, for example) are also frequently used as family movers.
Last week I passed a Jaguar XJ with a trailer, loaded with garden waste. Too bad I couldn’t take a picture of that fine combo…
That is one heck of a trailer, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like that with a drawbar here. It may be illegal or uninsurable, some fool would undoubtedly take it onto a major highway and try to do 130 km/hr with it.
The driver would certainly have to plan the route, tight town streets or backing up may be an issue in NL!
Drawbar trailers like this go up to an overall length of approx. 10 m (32’10”). The trailer in the article is shorter, about 8 m I’d say.
Not much route planning would be needed. After all, 50,000 kg big rigs (granted, often with multiple steering axles) drive around pretty much everywhere. And if they can go there, then this one can certainly too. What matters here are driving skills and a clear head, more than anything else.
Well without safety chains it certainly wouldn’t be illegal to use in the US.
It’s all well & good that the street is wide enough until some oaf parks right on the corner.
Edited to ask what is the deal with safety chains on light trailers US vs Europe? I don’t recall seeing them in Europe, but ironically the only place I’ve seen a trailer accidentally come unhitched in motion was in the US.
Lordy me, he’s got a biggie. If he backs it carelessly, do the Belgians complain of an invasion?
Perhaps less frivolously, do those front trailer wheels articulate at all?
The steering of a drawbar trailer works like this:
Ah! Now that makes sense. Without such, I was thinking he’d need most of the EU to complete any turns.
Fascinating. And essentially unheard of in the US except for double or triple semi trailers with dollies, in those states where allowed. I wonder if there are explicit rules on these in our states, or whether they just have never been considered. We’re so oriented to conventional trailer hauled by large pickups and such, with high (10%) tongue weights.
I could pull that with my xB! Well, empty, anyway.
It’s all state regulated. This type of trailer doesn’t make much sense here because we have wide open super wide roads with east corners and intersections.
That trailer is also only rated at an equivalent 7000 pounds with ~4000 pounds capacity.
We also have the pickup truck with massive power compared to their little cars.
A typical 18 foot car is hauler with dual axles out performs that particular trailer without even trying.
That one even looks aluminum, so even going to an aluminum dual axle trailer in the US will offer nearly 6k pounds of load, at only 18 feet even.
We do have trailers like this though here, but they are almost all for farm use.
If you want more weight, that can be arranged. In which case both the towing vehicle and trailer get air brakes + ABS all around. The towing vehicle must have a heavy-duty coupling, like on a big rig (straight truck towing a drawbar trailer).
It’s just a matter of what you want to haul.
It weighs 1.5 tonnes empty it aint aluminium the drop sides look alloy the frame looks like gal steel.
That’s right Bryce.
There are a few companies that make devices here in the US that seem to do the same thing actually.
Safety hitch has even got a few states to sign off on it as I recall.
That “safetyhitch 2” is a crazy set up look at the backing video from 0:42 to 0:52 and look at the scrub on the trucks rear tire and the mark it leaves on the pavement.
I saw one being towed behind a T6 heading towards Vienna on the A22 just the other day so they hit Austria now, too.
I’m trying to wrap my head around what all it going on with that coupler.
Looking at the boot on the round tube on the one hand the fact that is round makes it look like it is supposed to allow some rotation which would be good for preventing binding when operating on un-level surfaces or transitions into a driveway or the like. On the other hand the number of pleats makes it look like it should slide in and out like a surge brake system.
However you look under the round tube with the boot and there is a rod and a linkage. That would seem to limit the possibility of pivoting but I guess could be what actually activates the surge brakes. The bigger question is the part of that linkage pointing to the ground that looks like a fork. That looks like it sticks below the skid and would dig into the road if this came unhooked and hit the ground since there are no safety chains to carry it and keep it from digging into the road. I guess that could be intended to activate the surge brakes if it came disconnected, but what happens when it contacts the roadway because of un-level surfaces, transitions or a rough road.
Maybe this explains things a bit. Go to 2:20 and further for “live” demonstrations, with a good and bad ending (the abracadabra you hear is Dutch):
Neat video, terrible brakes, imagine on the highway and it decides to stop like that and other cars near, or a house… How stopping in a straight line?
Did you see the final demonstration with no brakes at all? Far better to stop quickly and mostly in the road than to not stop at all. Someone clearly says “Das a problem.”
It all depends where you are standing with or without the brakes, the trailer is free to go where ever it wants. Safety chains will give you a way to control the trailer.
So why aren’t safety chains required over there?
Only light, unbraked trailers have a secondary/safety coupling like a thick cable or a chain. Heavier, braked trailers have a thin cable (as shown in the video) that pulls the brake on and snaps.
Do really big trailers (like the ones towed by a farm tractor or a class 8 straight truck) also have safety chains in the US? Or gooseneck- and semi-trailers?
I’m not an expert, by far, but here’s an example: my own car weighs about 1,800 kg and it’s legally allowed to tow a 3,500 kg trailer. Say that said 3,500 kg trailer suddenly breaks loose yet stays “attached” to my car by a chain. I’m sure the trailer will lead the car…ending in a horrible crash of the whole combination, no matter what ??
Interesting food for thought and further discussion.
Gooseneck and pretty much any trailer with a ball coupling needs safety chains, at least in my state.
The whole idea of the safety chains is to be able to keep control of the vehicle and the trailer. Done right they connect to a suffeciently wide point of the frame such that they are crossed under the tounge to connect to the other side of the hitch from the ball. The length should also be carefully adjusted to allow just enough slack for turning.
Personally I have not had a trailer come uncoupled but a good friend of mine did many years ago when he was working for a landscaping company. The chains were done right thankfully and he was able to get the combination to the side of the road with no real damage to either the truck or trailer. It did also teach him the lesson of personally verifying something like this and not blindly trusting that the other person knew what they were doing.
That’s not to say that we don’t have breakaway brake requirements in the US. Trailers with electric brakes have a small on board battery that should be charged by the tow vehicle if done properly. There is a cable that pulls a pin in a switch that activates the brakes. Trailers with surge brakes also frequently have a lever and cable system.
Thanks again dude!
When I was working in a boatyard years ago a customer imported a small sailboat and trailer from the UK. I was fascinated by the trailer. Very different from what we see here. My favorite part is the parking brake for when you leave the trailer un attended.
In the US anything with a ball requires chains even goose necks thou the actually safety of that has been debated. 5th wheel (pin and coupler plate) hitch do not require them, mostly seemingly due to commercial trucking not wanting to deal with them.
I have had a coupler come loose once (and have seen it happen a couple more times.) In my case I was towing a large poorly loaded hydraulic boat trailer. I had the weight to far back and the trailer was pulling up on the hitch over bumps. As i was pulling off the road into the boatyard parking lot, the hydraulics on the rear most set of tires on the trailer started leaking down which shifted the balance further back. The coupler gave up and the tongue popped up stopped only by the chains. Luckily it happened where it did and I was able to grab the trailer with the front loader from the yard and bring it back in safety.
I wish we had in the US a better selection of trailers available to rent. The go to place is U Haul, but they refused to rent me a car hauler trailer to transport my Corvair. That was behind an Expedition which is more than capable to tow a trailer and Corvair. This kind of trailer looks like it would do well with a rear engine cars.
“Simple” single- and tandem axle trailers can be rented everywhere here, plenty of gas stations have a nice collection. Often trailers with a canopy.
On a related note, there’s a company nearby me that supplies sand and all kinds of soil. You get a trailer for free if you buy a load for your garden or whatever the job at hand is. Of course, you have to bring the trailer back…
Same here at DIY supply big box stores they lend you a trailer to get your purchase home, landscaping outfits usually have trucks availeable to deliver your stuff as some loads are beyond the scope of amateur drivers with trailers. Thats a cool trailer Johannes Ive seen similar rigs here though they tend to be owner built and operated for specific jobs, the steering dolly on the front will catch the amateur out when backing up.
…”the steering dolly on the front will catch the amateur out when backing up”…
Exactly. Backing up a drawbar trailer like the one in the article goes far beyond, say, parking a single-/tandem axle travel trailer on a camping site.
Only professionals use/rent drawbar trailers. “Schamelwagens”, as they’re called here. They are also available with tandem axles at the front.
Since November 1, 2014 (new) drawbar trailers are not allowed to have mechanical brakes anymore.
So they are all electric now?. Personally I prefer electric brakes since you can activate them independently and you don’t have to get out and flip a lock out lever to be able to back up easily. The better brake controllers are also able to be programmed to lead the tow vehicles brakes.
Air brakes are (still) more common. The towing vehicle, like the white Iveco Daily van further above, is equipped with a compressor and has aftermarket air brakes too.
Yeah there are few near me that rent car haulers but very few rent utility trailers. About 10 years ago I was at a Lowes and they had a 5×8 1,500lbs capacity trailer with a markdown tag to like $400.00 I went and found my Father in law and we split the price and bought it that day. The wiring has been an issue but other then that the thing was one of the greatest buys ever. I love pickup trucks but you can load a motorcycle or snowblower onto the trailer way easier then any pickup bed.
This video shows how a out of control trailer can take out its tow vehicle. Can’t tell if it was unhooked and chained when it went out of control, but the trailer was unattached completely at the end.
Maybe the thinking is if it comes loose better to separate and brake without possibly throwing the tow vehicle out of control. The shock of the seperation and the slack and movement of the chains could easily cause the driver to lose control. Actually kind of makes sense.
5th wheel trailers in the US don’t use safety chains, just a pull cable and battery to engage trailer brakes if they separate.
…”The shock of the seperation and the slack and movement of the chains could easily cause the driver to lose control”…
That’s what I was thinking of, certainly when the trailer’s GVM is almost twice the weight of the towing vehicle (as in my example above).
That looks like a classic case of too little/negative tongue weight. If you look at the 27sec mark as the trailer goes over it even looks like the trailer has been lengthened behind the axle. The tow vehicle also does not have the ball at the right height so the trailer frame is not level worsening the effects of that extension and improper tongue weight. The connection to the ball held up to quite a lot here as you can see the truck torque the trailer over with it.
When a trailer comes unhooked there is no big shock that will put the tow vehicle out of control, at least if it is set up so that the breakaway brake isn’t activated while the chains are still doing their job.
However I’d much rather see it take out the tow vehicle of the idiot who created the problem rather than shooting off out of control in who knows what direction taking out an innocent bystander or other vehicle.
Advice I never forgot came from my best friend’s father when I was a teenage driver. “Whenever you see a rented trailer on the highway get the hell away from it. If the guy had any experience pulling a trailer he would have one of his own.” I am sure this not true of every rented trailer, but it is undoubtedly true of enough of them that it is advice I still follow.
What Krautwursten says below. For any decent (as in weight) trailer, travel trailers included, you need a BE driver’s license. B for a vehicle with a maximum GVM of 3,500 kg (car, SUV, panel van, pickup truck, etc.) and E for a trailer towed by such a vehicle.
In the recent past, regulations have become more strict for heavy tailers (> 3,500 kg GVM).
As for me, I would certainly get the hell away from every big rented box truck driven by an amateur with a car driver’s license only.
I’d say it is wise to avoid both rented trailers and big box trucks.
However for the box trucks like those from Ryder or Penske chances are they are driven by someone who drives them regularly. The majority of their customers are businesses not private individuals. Many are actually short to mid length leases or are being used by a long term lessee while “their” truck is in for service. Others are used by business with a short term need. I work for an organization where I frequently drive a 26′ box truck to deliver equipment to events. Our Nov and Dec events are often a scramble for them to come up with the truck I need because Coscto rents them by the dozen that time of year.
Now U-Haul is a different story with the vast majority of drivers of those being private individuals that have never driven a vehicle that large before.
It was a bit tongue-in-cheek…
Driving around with a trailer here is as common as riding a bicycle. Keep in mind that the vast majority of rented trailers are rather small single- and tandem axle trailers, not even close to 3,500 kg GVM. For that kind of weight you need an SUV, pickup truck or a decent panel van as a towing vehicle.
It’s not that my neighbor would hook up the article’s trailer to his C-segment Volvo V40, you know…
What I’m saying is that you wouldn’t rent such a trailer when your car is a Ford Fiesta and there’s only a small heap of garden waste to bring to the recycling center.
3,500 kg trailers (or heavier) are used by professionals, like livestock dealers, contractors, gardeners, earth moving businesses and such.
I’m all for renting trailers for minor hauls, but holy moly, when you see those dolly trailer monsters it suddenly makes perfect sense to have a seperate driving exam and license class in the EU even for 3.5 tonne trailers, a weight that seems rather puny in the USA. Backing up a dolly trailer is a complete nightmare.
Also on a side note vehicles seem to be able to get a commercial registration far more easily in the Netherlands as opposed to here in Germany. Over in your country pretty much every pickup truck seems to be registered that way, as well as a ton of vans. Here in Germany the technical requirement is that 50% of the vehicle’s length from the pedals back (what a weird rule) must be a permanent cargo area, meaning not even seat mounts or seatbelts can remain. And for actually getting any tax benefits you must have a need for regular cargo transport, which usually is only granted when you have a business of some sort.
A short wheelbase SUV (like a 3-door Land Cruiser 150-series and Mitsubishi Pajero) is big/long enough for a registration as a commercial vehicle. That’s with an aftermarket van conversion. Rear seats out, flat cargo floor and such. And like in Germany, you must run some business as your profession.
We had a LWB T4 Camper for years, and we still miss it.